- Date published:
8:38 am, September 8th, 2017 - 27 comments
Categories: bill english, crosby textor, democracy under attack, drugs, election 2017, national, Politics, same old national, spin, Steven Joyce, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:
So Steven Joyce thought he was onto a winner. Just like 2011 and 2014 he would jump up and say that Labour had stuffed up its costings and was not fit to lead and hey presto National would have a fourth term.
We have been here before. As noted by Vern Small (h/t Idiot Savant) similar events happened during the last two elections. From that radical left wing publication the Dominion Post Small noted the following:
July 2011: Steven Joyce attacks Labour’s fiscal plan, saying it would leave a huge hole over the next 15 years and add $18.4 billion to debt.
August 2014: Steven Joyce claims reckless Labour spending of almost $18b.
Let’s just say that even before this week National campaign manager and finance spokesman Steven Joyce has form.
By comparison with his attempts in 2011 and 2014 the “hole” he claimed to have found in Labour’s 2017 plan – $11.7b – was relatively small.
So same old, same old. Accuse Labour of fluffing its economic analysis and wait for the press to fall behind and support National.
But this time it is different. Labour presented as pristine a budget as you can imagine and had the perfect explanation for Joyce’s claims. And Joyce’s release was lazy, typical of a third term Government, and full of holes. And when the media was persuaded to investigate those holes they saw that Joyce was indeed talking through a hole in his arse. Sorry for the language but I get upset when right wing parties try to influence our democratic choice by feeding us shit.
The media have seen through it. And National is trying to change the nature of the debate into one concentrating on left over funds in 2020 and 2021. They are clearly desperate.
So what does a right wing party do? What they have done basically for ever and beat up on beneficiaries and criminals. Preferably both at the same time to maximise the effect.
National’s getting even tougher on beneficiaries – in particular, the young ones who have been on the unemployment benefit for six months.
If they refuse drug rehabilitation, training or work experience, their benefits will be chopped by half.
“They need to take some personal responsibility,” National leader Bill English said at the policy announcement.
Mr English wants new obligations and sanctions for the 16,000 young beneficiaries he claims are at risk of becoming welfare dependent.
“The longer you’re on, the longer you’ll stay,” Mr English said.
His plan works like this: If you’re under 25, don’t have a child, and have been on a job seeker’s benefit for more than six months, you’ll have to take up work experience or training that’s offered to you.
Or if you have a drug problem, you’ll have to get clean.
Otherwise benefit payments will be halved after four weeks, and eventually cut altogether.
Labour’s not impressed and advocates say it’s vote-grabbing beneficiary bashing.
This is so cruel. People with drink or drugs problems have complex needs. Aggressively cutting their benefit every time they relapse is a sure fire way to increase the crime rate.
The justification according to Anne Tolley is that
… one in five beneficiaries tell us that drug use is a barrier to them getting a job – so we are increasing the support we give them to kick drug use and get work ready.”
How reliable is this one in five figure? As far as I can tell it is utter bunk.
And the evidence? Well National has been spending large amounts of money drug testing beneficiaries and the failure rate has been less than 1%.
For instance in 2014 the failure rate was 0.27%. From a post I wrote at the time:
The first batch of results are in and the figures are shocking. Of 8,001 beneficiaries sent for testing only 22, yes 22, either failed the test or refused to take it. This is a fail rate of 0.27%. It appears that the state has paid in the vicinity of $1 million on testing beneficiaries who have given clean results.
Bennett with typical spin says that the result shows that the policy is working. Not knowing what the figure was before and having done no analysis whatsoever has not stopped her from coming to such a conclusion.
The CTU and beneficiary advocacy groups are calling for the policy to be scrapped.
The scheme is a colossal waste of time and money. Our taxpayer money is being burned so that Bennett can look like she is being tough on beneficiaries.
And in 2016 the figure was even worse, with only 55 beneficiaries sanctioned for failing a drug test out of 31,791 referrals. It may be that as noted in the article some beneficiaries had turned to synthetics because they were not detectable but even if this is true it shows the futility of the policy.
Bernard Hicky asked Tolley’s office where the one in five figure came from and tweeted the response he received.
Tolley's office tells me 1 in 5 number came from 'anecdotal' WINZ survey over four weeks in 4 regions incl Nthland/BoP. No sample size given
— Bernard Hickey (@bernardchickey) September 6, 2017
The policy is desperate and the justification lazy. Its time to get this lot out of Parliament before they cause even more damage.
Its weaponised poverty.
— Idiot/Savant (@norightturnnz) September 6, 2017
— ClareBear (@7_clare) September 6, 2017