National starts political year beneficiary bashing

Written By: - Date published: 11:14 am, January 22nd, 2019 - 70 comments
Categories: benefits, Carmel Sepuloni, national, paula bennett, Politics, same old national, Simon Bridges, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, welfare - Tags:

National started off the year doing what National does and launched into an attack on beneficiaries. Same old same old.

But at a time when unemployment is low and things are going well it was somewhat predictable. Not to mention cynical.

Simon Bridges kicked things off with this claim:

Good to be back at it kicking off the year this morning. Unemployment’s down, there are plenty of jobs out there, but there’s 11,000 more people on the Jobseeker benefit than this time last year. We predicted this would happen under this Government, because they’re not enforcing the penalties on the books for those who aren’t making a good faith effort to get into a job.

Paula Bennett backed it up and said this on Facebook:

It makes no sense that with unemployment so low and with jobs for the taking there’s literally over 10,000 more people on the Jobseeker benefit than this time last year. The Government’s gone soft. There’s absolutely no reason why we should give up on the expectation that people put serious effort into finding a job.

And clearly there was an attempt to make this the news story of the day.

Simon’s visit to the AM show was reported by Dan Satherley in this way:

Simon Bridges has blamed a rise in the number of Kiwis receiving Jobseeker Support on the Government’s easing of sanctions.

At the end of December there were 134,000 on what used to be called the unemployment benefit, up 11,000 on the year before – even as the official unemployment rate hit a decade-low of 3.9 percent.

“It’s an outrage,” the National Party leader told The AM Show on Monday. “I warned this would happen – it has.”

Last year the Government told Work and Income case managers to ease up on penalties and sanctions against its clients. In December 8500 sanctions were applied, down from 14,500 the year before, RNZ reported.

Bridges ended with an ominous comment that benefit sanctions would be enforced more rigorously if National regained power.

The reporter, Dad Satherley did something naughty and tried to understand what was actually happening and described the situation in some detail:

Unemployment did drop from a high of 6.7 percent in 2012 to 4.7 percent under National, but that obscures a rapid rise in unemployment in the early years of John Key’s Government, as the global financial crisis tore through the New Zealand economy. Unemployment hit a record low 3.3 percent in June 2008, before that year’s general election.

Since the Labour-New Zealand First coalition formed in mid-2017, the official unemployment rate has dropped further to below 4 percent.

The unemployment rate and Jobseeker Support numbers can appear to be heading in different directions because they’re measured differently, and at different times. The Jobseeker Support figure is from the end of December, and is a snapshot in time, while the unemployment rate is measured quarterly and was last updated in November.

“This timing difference is particularly important when there are substantial seasonal rises in unemployment, for example towards the end of December,” according to Statistics NZ.

Ministry of Social Development statistics show a rise in the number of people receiving Jobseeker Support every December, but the rise this most recent December was slightly higher than usual. But it’s fewer than 4000 people more than were receiving the benefit in December 2013, despite record population increases.

Basically there is no crisis, overall the situation has improved significantly since the change of Government, and the number of people on jobseeker always goes up in December. Most importantly there is absolutely no proof of any correlation between people receiving the jobseeker benefit and the less inhumane treatment of people on benefits that this Government is seeking to introduce.

Bridges and Bennett know this, or at least they should do.  But beneficiary bashing is one of their most potent weapon, for their base this is the equivalent to talking to lefties about climate change or discrimination.

And as Carmel Sepuloni has pointed out the overall change is minuscule, with the proportion of working age adults on a benefit being 9.9% compared to 9.8% in the December quarter last year.

Expect more of this to happen as National looks to shore up its support. Fear and loathing of beneficiaries is regrettably a potent weapon for right wing politicians.

70 comments on “National starts political year beneficiary bashing”

  1. Morrissey 1

    Here’s one bludger they might be interested in checking closely….

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/2910957/Bill-English-buckles-over-housing-allowance

  2. ropata 2

    Bludgers everywhere

  3. One Two 3

    11…10…

    Bridges has fallen into the outrage trap

    Those who willingly give in to emotion through moral outrage…are on thin ice when calling others out…

  4. Cinny 4

    How long was the summer break for simon & co?

    No new ideas then?

    Say’s it all really.

    • patricia bremner 4.1

      Cinny they pretend that Bennett and her cohorts in the previous Government did not concern themselves too much with homelessness, and many had no address to supply Winz, they then could not get ‘Job seeker allowance’,
      A larger number now qualify as the current government removes gnats mean mealy mouthed rules, bit by bit. Yes their mantra was ‘We”re rich you”re poor.”

  5. Ross 5

    An increase in employment is not inconsistent with an increase in unemployment. The working age population goes up, some find work and some don’t. That the Tories could be so ignorant of this shouldn’t come as a surprise. But I suspect they aren’t that thick, they’re simply trying to appeal to voters who maybe don’t know any better.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      There’s a reason why National and other RWNJs always use absolute figures rather than proportional ones. It allows them to say that things are more or less without getting into the complexities of other changes that also apply.

      Unemployment has gone up by 11,000 under this government has a much different connotation than Unemployment has decreased from 4.7% under the previous government to less than 4% now.

      Both statements are true but the first gives the wrong impression.

      In other words, it allows them to lie.

  6. rata 6

    By 1975 I believed there were not enough jobs.
    My solution then and still is to share the work out.
    Under all Govt’s unemployment has risen continuously.
    Half the superann’s would work if there were jobs. So add 300k.
    Kids staying at school longer. Add 50k.
    Tertiary students. 150k.
    Sickness. Add 40k.
    Those with working partners. 30k
    Part time counted as working. Add 30k
    Add 650k to the 100k = 700k.
    So true unemplyment is at least 700,000.
    The answer is to share the work out.
    Work as much as you need.
    Every one gets what they need.
    So Simple.

    • Brutus Iscariot 6.1

      What you’ve just proposed is a perfect example of the “lump of labour” fallacy.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        Personally, I think the Lump of Labour Fallacy is also a fallacy.

        Consider, NZers average 43.3 hours per week. If we limited it so that people could only work 40 hours then either some of that work that is presently done won’t be or more people would be employed. I know people who do 60 hour weeks while being paid a 40 salary. That’s actually enough hours to warrant having two people doing those jobs and doing that would decrease stress on those people, improve their living standard while also resulting in having the jobs done better.

        The Lump of Labour Fallacy becomes a fallacy when its used to ignore all the work that’s done by too few people.

      • rata 6.1.2

        No its sound common sense because what I said is true.
        Where are your answers?

  7. Ross 7

    National should stop talking and start listening.

    “an OECD report published last year says 29,000 New Zealanders reported being laid off, made redundant, or dismissed from their previous job”.

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/in-depth/365540/why-being-made-redundant-in-nz-is-so-tough

  8. WeTheBleeple 8

    Bludgers everywhere. The ones in suits are the worst.

    Hows the ones in suits pointing their fingers at others in suits hoping to stop pesky R&D and innovation, and to bring it down to who’s got the biggest pile.

    https://www.taxpayers.org.nz/no_more_corporate_welfare

    How’s that for some insidious shit. The layers of dishonesty are staggering.

  9. Tamati Tautuhi 9

    Problem is most of the jobs are in Rural Areas where there is a population shortage, I am picking most of the unemployment is in our major cities ?

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Problem is most of the jobs are in Rural Areas where there is a population shortage

      ahhahahahahahahahahaha

      deep breath

      hahahahahahahahahahaha

      The amount of work in the rural sector continues to decline as productivity increases. The rural sector used to employ 25% of the population. Now it doesn’t even employ 7%.

      So, how many jobs need filling in agriculture compared to how many unemployed?
      And WTH aren’t farmers increasing wages so as to encourage people to move to the rural sector as the free-market demands that they do?

      • Most are probably fairly decent, but as with any sector there will be employers who will refuse to be decent.

        Hypocritical because that refusal of common decency results in the current attrition rates experienced across the farming sector.

  10. Tamati Tautuhi 10

    Simon is trying to blame the current Coalition for something which is not actually a problem, he must have been a little whinger as a kid, as he hasn’t changed and has carried these behavioural patterns through into adulthood IMHO

  11. BWK 11

    Probaly a fair percentage of those number are people that got browbeaten out of applying for a benefit with the mean punitve regime where you had to reapply for a benefit every year. And making it much harder for people with permanent severe disabilioty to apply for the Supported Living Payment because Winz made the final decision instead of a medical professional and they make people reapply every two years.

  12. NZJester 12

    I bet 10 to 1 that the new portfolio of drug reform National created and put Paula Bennett in charge of is just going to be another front for benefit bashing and not for

    Bridges said he had created the new drug reform portfolio because New Zealand needed a well-thought through and evidence-based approach to drug reform that balanced public safety with the need to help vulnerable people.

    as they are saying in the media.

    Remember all those random drug tests as National said a lot of beneficiaries apparently could not get jobs as they were on drugs that statistics showed to be a lie?

    • Bridges says: …New Zealand needed a well-thought through and evidence-based approach to drug reform that balanced public safety with the need to help vulnerable people.

      Well, yes. But National is the party least-suited to offer that approach, by both history and temperament. I assume this will be like their approach to climate change, ie find ways to pay lip service to evidence-based approaches while quietly working hard to ensure that as little as possible actually changes, to avoid upsetting their constituency.

    • patricia bremner 12.2

      The ‘contamination’ hysteria which was false and made people homeless.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 12.3

      Like legalizing synthetic cannabis ?

  13. Sabine 13

    the raise of increase in unemployment numbers in december is in large part due to temps/part time worker being on forced unpaid vacation while many businesses close for he summer holiday, and considering that they receive no pay they are fully entitled to apply for unemployment benefits. After all they fund that service via their tax contribution. Maybe someone should teach civics to the leader of the no mates party.

    As for the bene bashing, i believe that is all the no mates party has got.

    • WeTheBleeple 13.1

      There’s also students going in and out of the dole via ‘student hardship allowance’ over this time. The reporting and intent is blatantly dishonest.

      • Sabine 13.1.1

        agree, the reporting is to whitewash numbers and not to give an accurate reflection of what is happening in the job market.

        anyways, my friend who is on a benefit is happy she can now go to the doctor (it appears that fees have been cut for people on the benefit), in saying that she still has no chance of finding a job where she is with her age and her health issues (it does not get better with aga :))

        and that is the matter of the crux, we are not creating jobs. we are not growing decent jobs. And so far Labour has done little to nothing – from where i can see it – that would grow jobs outside of Auckland.

        • patricia bremner 13.1.1.1

          Whoa Sabine, apparently the regions are doing better than Auckland at present

          • Sabine 13.1.1.1.1

            as i said, my friend (who does not live in AKL) is happy to the reduced doctor fares as it actually allows her to go regularly and thus she can control her thyroid issues (she had throat cancer) better. But jobs for her? Nope. Her son, part time in sales, studying but again, unless he moves to AKL later for further studies or maybe a job ………..:)

            Here in Rotorua the seasonal jobs have finally been picking up. And they will dry up in about 2.5 – 3 month. Then it is back to casual for all the hotel cleaners, waitresses, line cooks etc etc etc.

            Same for Taupo, Turangi, Tokoroa, Whakamaru, Mangakino etc etc etc. These places have only full time jobs for maybe 50% of the working population living there if that, the rest lives of various forms of wellfare and casual/temp/seasonal jobbies.

            So if the regions to better, please let me know where, cause it ain’t here.

            Also don’t try to find a rental in Taupo, Turangi, Mangakino, Tokoroa if you are a min wage worker or a single income family. You can’t compete with those that have bought up cheap to put the house on the Batch Rental market from the 25/12 – 28/02. the rest of the year these houses are empty cause it beats having to deal with actual tenants. And besides you can fetch up to a grand for a week on summer tourists. and i hear its not taxed as income.

            I thought Auckland was bad, but believe me the regions are as bad. And i don’t see government here. I don’t hear about government here. But yeah, i am pleased for my friend. She can finally afford to go see her doctor for her prescriptions.

  14. Peter 14

    They are going to go full ‘fear factor’ this year to embed elements they can rekindle and get burning next year.

    Of course they mightn’t get very far into the programme this year before we all fall down the $20 zigillion hole Steven Joyce found or the world ends as promised by the losers when the coalition came about.

  15. Ad 15

    With the National bench reshuffle announced today, Paula Bennett will be focussing more on drugs and drug legalisation than social welfare.

    This is smart to go for those who oppose drug liberalisation, many of whom will be older and can tilt towards National anyway. A natural 2020 platform that should impale Labour on the fence of democracy, similar to Corbyn over Brexit.

    Her portfolio of tertiary education, skills and employment has been assigned by leader Simon Bridges to Shane Reti, a large increase in responsibility for the 40th ranked MP for Whangarei. Reti is as far as I can see the most Labour-leaning of National’s caucus, but surely he would have been better in health. He’s a qualified doctor with certs in obstetrics and dermatology.

    Bridges has also made finance spokeswoman Amy Adams the shadow attorney-general, with the retirement from politics of Chris Finlayson. Just in case this government needed effectively no opposition in either Finance or Justice, National has delivered for the government once again.

    Nick Smith becomes spokesman for Crown-Maori relations, and Mark Mitchell becomes spokesman for Pike River Re-entry.

    Go for it Nick.
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12194251

    • Michelle 15.1

      This will be a ding dong argument cant wait old versus old and young versus old conservatives the latter has had its way for far too long

    • Tamati Tautuhi 15.2

      Te tangata whenua and iwi’s around New Zealand should get some entertainment out of Dr Nicholas Smith.

      • Michelle 15.2.1

        just shows how much the gnats care about Maori issues when they have him in charge, they don’t.

    • Sabine 15.3

      oh i can’t wait for Nick Smith running around on his knees cause he’s got his feet in his mouth.

      and will Mrs. Benefit receive a whip to go with her new job? Cause the no mates party is not known for health care so i can only see her whip people into submission rather then help them get of the sauce.

  16. AB 16

    Seems strange – National love the idea of people getting money for doing nothing. Think of all their supporters gorging on capital gain from residential property speculation – all un-taxed too, unlike earning money from actually working.
    Managing to be both authoritarian scum and hypocrites at the same time takes a special kind of ethical deficit.
    Or, to channel Once Was Tim – it takes “persnill ikslince, going forward”.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.1

      National love the idea of people getting money for doing nothing.

      Of course they do but they also realise that for all the people that get money for nothing there needs to be a lot more people actually working for nothing. Adam Smith said that there needed to 500 workers for every rich person.

    • OnceWasTim 16.2

      Yep, sorry about that.
      It’s just that I sometimes need a bloody interpreter to understand some of them. Key, Bridges, Bennett and Mitchell in ptikyala. And Bennett could be set to music at times when she goes off on a spin.

  17. johnm 17

    Simple Simon, can’t go wrong here. Ask him anything remotely challenging and he throws his toys out of the pram.

  18. patricia bremner 18

    The big beneficiaries are farmers. 870 million for an industry caused disease.

  19. Kay 19

    Time for another media blackout for a while then. Doesn’t even matter they’re in opposition, just sick to death of being reduced to an ongoing political point scorer 🙁

  20. rachael 20

    There is also no sickness benefit now, there is only job seekers, so people previously on sickness are now on job seekers, with the increase in mental health issues alone, many from stress over the lack of housing etc, it’s really not accurate anyway. And it’s all well and good for pb to talk about people going and picking apples, but is there housing there? How does a person uproot their whole family to go and pick apples for a few weeks / months? Then what? There is no easy transition back onto job seekers at the end of it, there is a stand down period, what are families to do? If people are lucky enough to have a roof over their heads right now, they’re not going to jeopardise it or their family’s well being to chase anything temporary.

    • Descendant Of Smith 20.1

      And no widows benefit many of whom are now on Job Seeker Benefit and all those sole parents who are now on Job Seeker Benefit because either their youngest child is 14 or they have given birth while on a benefit.

      Duncan Garner was particularly fatuous in talking about the Job Seeker numbers as if they were the same as the old unemployment numbers.

      What Labour should do as a starting point is put all the sole parents back on a sole parent benefit and start giving some clarity to who is actually on benefit.

      Still if in 9 years the media researchers were so useless that they couldn’t call the national party on its claims that sole parent numbers were the lowest they have ever been by pointing out that many of them were just on a different benefit now its a bit much to expect them to understand it now.

      Fools like Duncan Garner would have sole parents with 3 month old babies planting trees.

      Also in the latest WINZ sheets there seems to be quite a regional variation – increases seem to be Canterbury as the rebuild work reduces down and Auckland for whatever ungodly reason Auckland would be going up – construction down-turn, internal migration?

      Of course labours researchers are just as crap as the medias cause they can’t coherently explain anything either.

      It’s time the government released the data daily in real time and let researchers with a clue such as Alan Johnson is the Salvation Army do the analysis for them. The media if they had any brains would demand this instead of this quarterly controlled release bullshit that’s too late to consider what is happening now.

  21. [ Basically there is no crisis, overall the situation has improved significantly since the change of Government, and the number of people on jobseeker always goes up in December. Most importantly there is absolutely no proof of any correlation between people receiving the jobseeker benefit and the less inhumane treatment of people on benefits that this Government is seeking to introduce. ]

    Well said, MICKEYSAVAGE.

    ———————————-

    The far right wing ChiNational party at it again with lies and bullshit.

    Over 100 years ago we fought these kind of bastards , and again a few decades later…

    Lest we forget…

    John McCormack – It’s A Long Way To Tipperary – YouTube

    • ropata 21.1

      To say the Nats are “right wing” would imply that they have some kind of principles. No they are simply a PR machine for foreign business interests seeking to pillage NZ, and privatise (steal) as much of our taonga as they can before anyone notices.

      • WILD KATIPO 21.1.1

        Hence the play on words , the ‘ Chi – National ‘ party.

        They are neither ‘nationalists’ who believe in a nations sovereignty , – whether that be of either the Left or Right persuasion. They observe no political standing or ideology barring self enrichment and a global world govt.

        They are , in fact , nothing more than opportunistic ‘globalists’ .

        As were the pirates of old in the 17th century who cared not what govt was in power as long as they enriched themselves. Basically , anarchists at heart. Without the latter day political sanitizing of the definition.

        Who play on the fact that as society has progressed , they can rest easily in the fact that there will be no penalty of death at all for their subversion’s when they are called out for who they are.

        Gibbet – YouTube

  22. Tricledrown 22

    They treat their own no better Jamie Lee Ross has laid a complaint against a National MP. Who texted “go kill yourself” which is a very serious offence.
    Then the serial Dirty politician who posted to Lprent”hurry up and die” Toxic behaviour has come home to roost and it explains National’s pathetic distraction attempts knowing the spotlight is going to be on their daliances’s

    • Ross 22.1

      I don’t believe the MP said go kill yourself to JLR. The MP’s text is quoted as saying “you deserve to die” which is quite different to the spin JLR is putting on it. And of course we don’t have any context for the MP’s text. JLR could provide the context but hasn’t.

      “The woman sent him messages asking if he was okay and had support but when no contact could be made, the police were called to help search for him.”

      If she was asking him if he had support, it appears she was concerned for him. Indeed she may have called police such was her concern. I have no idea why JLR would go to police if he is trying to put this matter behind him.

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12194471

  23. Jackel 23

    Simon Bridges and Pulla Benefit looking down on the unemployed again. Life must be very tedious on the opposition benches when you’re the unemployed party formerly known as the john’s party.

  24. Al 24

    If the Gnats want to chase those not meeting their obligation to society why not all their mates who find all sorts of ways of avoiding paying tax – e.g. land banking due to nil CGT. Their attacks on the most vulnerable are nothing to do with obligation to work (similar to the failed drug testing) rather their own open hatred of a selection of their fellow man.

  25. Nic the NZer 25

    Totally agree with Si and Paula. Its too many people looking for work and unable to actually find it. The government should introduce a job guarantee and instead of signing them up for jobseekers, sign them up for a job guarantee role immediately and until they find other employment.
    (They should also reintroduce invalids and solo parents benefits). Probably the Green party has some low skill, low carbon ideas for how to employ these people towards greening the economy (though other public interests could be persued).

    The optimum time to set this up politically is when unemployment is low.

  26. woodart 26

    now that slater is just another bludging beneficiary, hopefully his former friends give him a kicking as well, on the way up the ladder.

  27. Chris 27

    Bridges and Bennett need to think about the number of people wrongly sanctioned by MSD because of how ridiculously complex the sanctions rules are. MSD stop a benefit at the drop of a hat, if a person misses a meeting, for example. Whether a sanction’s been imposed “correctly” is very seldom investigated. The number of wrongly imposed sanctions is bound to very large indeed.

    Perhaps MSD’s been forced to comply a little more than usual by this decision? Not very often these sorts of cases get the attention of the High Court.

    https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/Documents/pdf/jdo/9c/alfresco/service/api/node/content/workspace/SpacesStore/76cf873c-8bc5-4562-aaec-7a2267563cd3/76cf873c-8bc5-4562-aaec-7a2267563cd3.pdf

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