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National’s plans to torment poor people leaked

Written By: - Date published: 8:08 am, October 4th, 2019 - 110 comments
Categories: benefits, child abuse, child welfare, education, national, poverty, same old national, spin, uncategorized, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

So at the same time as the left is steeling itself to work out what it can actually do to contribute properly to this county’s commitment to saving our environment the right have something else they want to champion.  Tormenting poor people.

From Jason Walls at the Herald:

National is looking into fining the parents of young people who leave school early, and don’t go into education or training, up to $3000 if it returns to Government.

This is just one of the policies understood to be under consideration by the party as part of its social policy review, due to be unveiled later this month.

Other policy areas the party is looking into include:

• requiring gang members to prove they don’t have illegal income before they receive the benefit

• a 25 per cent reduction in the number of people on the benefit

• reassessing the obligations of people who are on the benefit

A spokesperson for National Leader Simon Bridges said the party was yet to finalise its social development policies and it would be releasing discussion documents before the end of the year.

The Herald understands that at the end of this month, National will release a number of different policy proposals it plans to develop ahead of next year’s election.

The proposals will be in areas such as social welfare, skills and employment, vulnerable children, sexual violence and social housing.

National’s first problem is that these proposals were leaked.  National’s reputation for discipline is a joke and clearly it is not Jami Lee Ross leaking this information.

The second problem is that the proposals are so naff.  Clearly the only motivation is to bash poor people for political gain.  Auckland University researchers found a strong correlation between poverty and truancy.  Reducing beneficiary numbers by 25% has that lets pluck a figure out of thin air feel about it.  Where are the jobs going to come from and what will they do with all the old people?  And the gang requirements will prevent a gang member from ever going straight.

It will be interesting to see the final policy proposal and what changes happen.  But I suspect we are going to see something similar to what the leak shows and that National’s recent lack of policy restraint is going to continue.

110 comments on “National’s plans to torment poor people leaked ”

  1. Nic the NZer 1

    The government could almost certainly cut benefit numbers by 25% by implementing a job guarantee. Its almost certain that more than one in four present beneficiaries would take a job if available.

    This has the added benefits of,

    * giving beneficiaries a day-to-day means to contribute to society (with likely improvements in their mental health and well being).

    * aleviating the systematic discrimination of employers against employing the unemployed.

    * providing a more effective means of controlling inflation without damaging people (who are left unemployed).

    * providing an increase in contributions towards environmental and social policy goals (the extra job guarantee work carried out).

    • weka 1.1

      what's a job guarantee and how would you prevent National from using it to harm poor people? How would you protect ill and disabled people from being forced into work they can't do?

      • Kay 1.1.1

        @Weka, ill and disabled never register with these people, never have. We're just collateral damage. That's why we're never even mentioned any more- no reference to the fact we exist and their supporters can't feel guilty about supporting all the other sadistic policies, can they? Same with the WEAG report lack of implementation- crowing about what they were going to do was all related to work, work, work. Not the people who can't work. We don't exist, remember?

        • Nic the NZer 1.1.1.1

          Any job guarantee scheme is a voluntary scheme. People who can't or simply don't want to participate in such a scheme should still be given a benefit as a matter of course. In my opinion people who are handicapped out of the economy at present probably need more income support than they receive at present.

          • adam 1.1.1.1.1

            " handicapped"

            You are Nic the NZer. What a ideological hack. Were suppose to have a rational discussion with people who use these BS emotive arguments. God the right wing are so bat shit crazy these days it's freightening.

        • weka 1.1.1.2

          "We don't exist, remember?"

          Yep. Thanks Labour.

      • Nic the NZer 1.1.2

        (Using NZ specific terms). A job guarantee is an *additional* policy to others offered by WINZ. Should somebody *want* more work they can go to a WINZ office and ask to be part of this program. In exchange they will be given work to do and should immediately receive the benefits of being employed (firstly they are paid next period for up to 40hrs work per week at minimum wage). What kinds of work? Firstly things the government already deems worthy minimum wage work and needs more of, secondly something not for profit groups can apply to be part of.

        How to insulate it, first pay is provided directly by the Reserve bank. WINZ says who gets paid for work, the Reserve bank does the paying. Second its voluntary membership, anybody needs to sign an employment agreement with the specifics of how they will be employed and remuneration terms, terms around number of hours and how to request more or fewer hours and what they are employed to do before starting.

        • greywarshark 1.1.2.1

          And what sort of work? Stripping off asbestos from renovated buildings? Which would be regarded as cheap labour by developers, and where they could get away without providing any safety gear, breathing masks, health checks, ameliorating devices like constant fine water spray.

          Like being sent to jobs which would require work that a person was unsuited for. Planting trees for someone unfit, would wreck that person's body and health, and if a parent would leave them so wretched that they couldn't attend to their children's needs at night, and get them off to school because they would be picked up at 6 am to head out to the site.

          That sort of work would not fill the bill. WINZ actually needs to offer them work that they can manage, for as long as they can stick it, get them into fitness classes together where they can laugh at each other as they fall over in trying to get through the exercises, and cheer each other on as they improve. Some camaraderie and improvement in body and mind in a positive manner. Eventually they would be fit, able to work when it was available.

          And WINZ would pay out a basic living wage in between jobs with no stand-down, they wouldn't be checking all the time to see whether someone had earned another $20 than allowed. I think the allowance now is $90 per week extra before the main benefit is cut, but there are sneaky ways they can poison your well, built into the system, like they at one time would cut $1 Accommodation Supplement for each $1 gross that you earned. If you were being taxed at 15% then you would lose $1.15c from your normal weekly accommodation supplement, so that time and work done to earn some extra to help with household costs would result in a penalty. And the mantra from the RW is that 'everyone knows, studies show' that working people are better off, which they turn into a lie.

          Practically the system would be run so that the person would be encouraged to work and earn decent wages, to respect themselves and look and feel well, and get to be a support for the country with a place in the myriad tasks needing doing with security and wellbeing. Needs met, and opportunities to move up in skills, or just keep working where they liked and were wanted.

          Kay finds the right word for the present job policies and much of the 'welfare' system – it is sadistic. And it says a lot about the sort of people in NZ that are satisfied with the present system, and keep voting for the National Party. Peel back the outer layer of cosmetic covering and contrived manner, and a very different face would be revealed.

          • Nic the NZer 1.1.2.1.1

            If you lead with the negative parts it can make the overall narrative negitive, amoung your reasonable comment.

            I think assigning jobs to people would become one of the more enjoyable WINZ roles as it involved getting to know peoples abilities, skills and being able to assist NZers into rewarding contributions (instead of the apparently frequent dehumanizing punitive sanctions, and investigations into the minutae of peoples spending habbits).

            • greywarshark 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Nic the NZer I understand your point. Thanks. But what I have suggested is a real possibility and must be kept in mind. Now we know what the fine NZ psyche can do, we can't afford to be idealistic about the possibilities.

              However I will change the order that I put things. First the positives, and finally the concerns for which we should take the precautionary approach.

            • Molly 1.1.2.1.1.2

              However appealing this idea may seem to you in the abstract, in terms of implementation the likelihood of mismanagement, abuse of the system, and negative impact is very high.

              We have a dysfunctional Work and Income at the moment, providing them with further responsibility seems overly optimistic. There is also the issues brought up by weka and greywarshark, regarding the match of work to worker, and the need to stop treating income support purely as an expense that needs to be reduced, rather than an social investment in individuals, families and communities that pays off in social and health dividends.

              There are also many instances of supported work schemes that have facilitated the degradation of workers rights, while subsidising unethical business or management. Farm workers and seasonal workers come to mind here. Those issues, while identified, have not been solved to my recollection.

              What makes this even harder to imagine, is the changing nature of work, which will be impacting on us all. The idea is actually what happens when people are able to get off benefits – when they find a job. Are you suggesting a full employment placement service?

              • Nic the NZer

                See my conversation with the Alien below. These disfunctions exist so participation in the scheme must be voluntary and not coercive (and improveing it against your criticisms should also be undertaken).

              • Nic the NZer

                Some more.

                Any job guarantee work should be not for profit its for social need.

                Its also going to change the meaning of work. Remenber the Artists benefit? That could be accepted as a job guarantee job the condition being the artists will need to produce some art.

                • Molly

                  I see what you mean. However, that example gives a good idea of what could happen if a discussion about what is an acceptable product of art is to administrators conflicts with what an artist conceives. And also about the social value of art when it is in isolation or directed.

                  There are many existing forms of time-usage that are not even elevated to the level of art, but which contribute to social wellbeing everyday. Caregiving is the first that comes to mind. Emotional and practical support and encouragement often relieve state providers from extra workloads. Getting a bit off-topic though, but I think these existing long-standing issues are still here because the interconnectedness of the problems are not identified and so solutions are often designed that fix one aspect but cause disruption in another.

                  I would primarily, as I understand you would – like to see Income Support be considered and discussed as an investment rather than an expense, and observe changes in both the public and the government departments that deal with it make positive changes as a result.

          • HJH 1.1.2.1.2
            Lots of what you say here is true, and valid. I am retired now , after 49 yrs in work force. 2 periods of redundancy/unemployment.. 22 moth in all. 1988 i took a job, paying $42 a week less than the dole i was paid the week before. Just got on my feet 1992, employment contracts act, $38 slashed outta my pay! And never got that back. Has me asking today, ‘if the dole is subsistance allowance/safety net until, what do you call employers who pay people less than that susistance allowance?’ why do i ask that? Because those cuts back then, now determine my retirement! I had no money to dam well save, and now totally dependant on just the pension. I have no confidence in national party, nor in labour party, as they are interested only in their ‘supporters’. We need a government for all new zealand i am now legally blind, but even that does not stop me being a volunteer in stuff. Good work benefits us all. Some of the stupid ideas proposed by bridges/bennett and co, benefits nobody but their cronies who benefit from the ‘cheap labour’ they want to tap into.

            [Please don’t use capitals throughout – second warning]

            • HJH 1.1.2.1.2.1
              I am legally blind, and don’t want the spelling police after me!

              [lprent: Now you have the sysop after you – Use the Zoom. ]

              • weka

                Hi HJH, can you please let us moderators know what the concern is with the spelling police, and how that connects with using all capitals? thanks.

      • Nic the NZer 1.1.3

        The Wikipedia page is a good description of this also.

      • HJH 1.1.4
        To nats all benefit recipients are all the same… disablrd, as i am sight-impaired, or terminally ill cancer victim, or some bludging youth with too much time on their hands. They will not hard-core come down on the gangs. Nor on the real rip-offs of the system that is too hard. The nats will pick on our most vulnerable with these polices! Iain duncan-smith policies from uk! And they actually demonstrate how stupid and short-sighted their policies are… $3000 fines on parents… already struggling to pay the ferryman where will they get the money to pay the fines? Yes, dumb as they come!

        [Please don’t use capitals throughout; it is considered shouting]

    • weka 1.2

      Leaving Super aside, there are roughly 291,000 people on benefits. 25% of that is 72,750. To reduce benefits by 25% we need 72,000 people off their current benefit.

      The number of people on jobseeker (i.e. the people available for work) is 136,000. So 25% of all beneficiaries is 53% of beneficiaries officially available for work.

      Of those, some are ill or disabled (both Labour and National hide them in the unemployment category) and are not available for work either. I don't know what % that is, but let's guess the people on JS available for full time work is more like 100,000. To get 25% of all beneficiaries off a benefit via work, we're now we're talking about 72% of the beneficiaries available for full time work.

      That's 25,000 new, full time jobs. Which would be fantastic except National wouldn't create full time, stable jobs. Their goal is to get people off benefits, so it doesn't really matter how that happens eg having people live in poverty and moving around low income, intermittent jobs would get them off a benefit. A job guarantee in that case would be good, but how would you tory-proof it?

      https://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/statistics/benefit/latest-quarterly-results/all-main-benefits.html

      • Nic the NZer 1.2.1

        As you can see from my other comments today, i believe those questions reduce to do 72% of that pool prefer a paid minimum wage job to being unemployed. I believe its a no brainer that 72% would sign up for that at present.

        • weka 1.2.1.1

          The point of the maths was to show that National's 25% is either punitive and detrimental towards people who can't work, or is actually 72%. It's a daft policy.

          I agree that many of the 72% would love full time, stable jobs. I'm not sure if that's what you are suggesting, but will reply above.

          • Nic the NZer 1.2.1.1.1

            I just reparsed the analysis you did above.

            Of course the job guarantee policy is not coercive so the government could hardly have absolute certainty but…

            As you said 25% of beneficiaries is only 53% of people saying they would take a job if they could find one (job seekers benefit). It seems almost certain 53% of those people are going to live up to that (even with some invalids being pushed into that WINZ program). As i said a 25% fall in numbers seems almost certain to occur.

            Once established i think there may also be ways to allow invalids to participate in some kinds of work. Some are quite able but not for 35+ hours a week so part time work could be an option to broaden the program here. I expect Kay could explain some measures and guidelines to incorporate more inclusive kinds of work here and would not hold my own conception of these aspects very highly here.

            • weka 1.2.1.1.1.1

              remove the abatement on beneficiary earnings. Currently beneficiaries lose 30c in the dollar between $100 and $200 earned, and 70c in the dollar after that. If they get TAS, the hardship grant that most long term beneficiaries rely on because the base benefit isn't enough to live on, they lose $1 for ever $1 earned, from the start up to the value of the TAS they receive I think (can't quite remember how they calculate that).

              I think they also pay secondary tax on all those earnings. Women with kids pay childcare as well (some subsidies).

              It's dire and daft af.

              What would also help would be to put all medium and long term beneficiaries on an annual declaration of earnings (or give them this choice). At the moment many are having to declare weekly. It's a nightmare of bureaucracy and doesn't work for people with variable earnings.

              https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/on-a-benefit/tell-us/income/wages/deduction-tables/supported-living-payment.html

              • Nic the NZer

                I agree thats something to be reformed. My hope would be that for a lot of people they can just move from the benefit to near enough full time employment and so completely escape that trap, but thats not going to be everybody.

                My perception of this is probably questionable but i dont really have a problem with 1 for 1 abatement rates for people getting into work (I think most would prefer the work to the equivalent benefit due to non financial rewards of working), but where people are getting less income for getting into work the abatement rates become a problem.

                • weka

                  if we're talking about Invalid's Benefit, people aren't 'getting' into work. They're working. There is no getting off the benefit. What you are suggesting is that someone with a disability should not have enough to live on. If the benefit is set below liveable (it is), and the point of waged work is to have a living wage income, then having a dollar for dollar rebate just keeps people in poverty (you said earlier you wanted disabled people to have more income).

                  Add to this that for disabled people, the cost of living is usually higher than if they didn't have a disability. eg they can't mow their own lawns, so have to pay someone. Their time is likewise often not as freely available.

                  But even for people on the dole who are getting back into work, it's still a problem unless they can get enough hours to get off a benefit onto a living wage (minimum wage isn't enough). eg most people I know on the dole who can afford to actually run a car don't take their car to the mechanic for an oil change. They either do it themselves (thus become more time poor), or they get a mate and trade via the informal economy (thus using social capital and time).

                  If you believe dollar for dollar is ok for the poorest people you are valuing them for the hours they can work when badly paid rather than for them as humans having a right to a basic standard of living.

                  I've met a few people who are willing to lose income with the bet that it pays off with full time work, but the reality is that it usually doesn't and eventually people give up. Abatements and how they are managed are the biggest barrier I can think of for people on benefits improving their lives (that and having to deal with WINZ). Take away the abatements and suddenly people's live improve and they can take advantage of the opportunities to work, voluntary or paid.

                  • Nic the NZer

                    I hope i am not suggesting that invalids should have an exclusionary income level, because i don't at all believe that. Of course as you highlight the disabled often require additional income to compensate for their disabilities. In my simpistic and quite probably misinformed view its acceptable for the base line for them to be that they are receiving the same income if they are working or not. At that point i make no moral judgement on if its preferable for them to be working or not (and I take the same position for somebody who is fully able as well). I want people to have that option but i dont care if they exercise it or not.

                    The main thing i was highlighting with that statement is that a job guarantee can be implemented in a form which is helpful to the disabled as well as to help able beneficiaries. There is nothing in it which claims only the fully able can participate in a job guarantee program, contrary to Kays contrary claim that its automatically exclusionary as a policy. Beyond that however I don't have a good understanding of the positive discrimination needed around the program to enable it to help less able people to volunteer their participation in the scheme as well.

                    The other thing I should highlight is that I don't prescribe a lot of the parameters of the scheme. These parameters (such as the wage rate) are choices which should be made by a democratic process. Say the scheme elects to pay the living wage rather than the minimum wage, what happens is that the minimum wage of the economy then becomes akin to the living wage. I think that would be a good thing but… At present collectively we both accept however that many being paid only the minimum wage. The specific wage level, the nature of jobs in the program, the nature of other benefits are still decisions for the government of the day to take in line with its values rather than being an inherent part of the policy itself. It would still be a good policy to implement even if the wage rate in it is just the minimum wage rate. It would also be a good policy choice for the minimum wage to be raised to and maintained in line with the living wage.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      "As you said 25% of beneficiaries is only 53% of people saying they would take a job if they could find one (job seekers benefit)."

                      You need to be careful not to conflate the old unemployment benefit with Job Seeker benefit. Job Seeker benefit includes sole parents who have a youngest child 14 years or older and sole parents who have had a child while on benefit.

                      That's a significant group who were moved there by National (and left there by labour). Historically they would have been part of the sole parent count.

                      I would suspect that the sole parents on Job Seeker are an increasing proportion but WINZ doesn't seem to show figures on the number of sole parents in this group.

                      It's disingenuous to suggest they would take a job if they could – many are raising young children with little familial support and were simply moved there at the stroke of a pen. Some ill people also can't afford the expense of going to the doctor so don't bother with medical certificates to say they are not well.

                      How you can tell how many actual unemployed there following nationals last welfare reforms is beyond me. If Labour would move the sole parents back we might get a better idea.

                      Probably needs an OIA to find out how many sole parents are classed as job seekers.

                    • Nic the NZer []

                      I agree and understand that not everybody on jobseekers is actively seeking work.

                      But to reach the 25% as weka highlighted thats only slightly over half on jobseekers being correctly categorized by their jobseekers relationship with WINZ. It would also be incorrect ("disingenuous" is clearly the wrong word here, I am not lying by my inexact estimates) to claim that none of the parents on jobseekers could possibly be seeking work.

                    • Edit
                      DoS
                      You point out a valid problem for many parents and other beneficiaries. Oppressed by the state keeping benefits lower than wages so there is maximum push for people to work, then forcing wages low and conditions such as ‘flexible’ or few hours of work to the point they are uneconomic, etc which result in high demands.

                      It's disingenuous to suggest they would take a job if they could – many are raising young children with little familial support and were simply moved there at the stroke of a pen. Some ill people also can't afford the expense of going to the doctor so don't bother with medical certificates to say they are not well.

                      It is dispiriting and definitely not enabling of social mobility which was always present with opportunities for improvement in the past. That's before it was decided that people were not fellow humans, but were to be listed under human resources.

                      (I have put the quote in italics to differentiate it from the rest which are my words and opinions. Is that hard to understand for readers who seem more concerned with style than substance?)

                      [Using block-quote makes it even clearer]

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      I wasn't suggesting you were lying.

                      It's disingenuous because in substance there is no difference between a sole parent with a one month old baby on Job Seeker Benefit and a sole parent with a one month old baby on a sole parent benefit.

                      If we are going to consider A as part of the unemployed why then not B? If we are going to exclude B then we should exclude A.

                      They don't choose which benefit they are on – tis legislated for them.

                    • Nic the NZer []

                      I dont understand what the substance of you comment is about. Your suggesting well less than 53% of people on jobseekers would take a job if one was available?

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      What I am saying is, is that it used to be clear who the unemployed were and how many there were. Everyone public, media, politicians simply counted the number of people on unemployment benefit.

                      It's now not clear as with a stroke of legislative pen many people were moved from sickness benefit to Job Seeker Benefit, from Widows Benefit to Job Seeker Benefit and from Domestic Purposes Benefit to Job Seeker Benefit.

                      This legislatively lifted the number of "unemployed" beneficiaries overnight.

                      Took a bit of hunting on the MSD website but I found the number on unemployment benefit as at June 2013 was 48,000 with 3/4 being male.

                      https://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/statistics/benefit/historical-factsheets/national-benefit-fact-sheets-2003-2013/2013-national-benefit-factsheets.html

                      In September 2013 Job Seeker Support numbers were 126,470 with roughly 50% male/50%female.

                      Weka noted that today's numbers were about 136,000. If we used the 48,000 as a guide that would mean maybe 52,000 in yesterdays terms might be unemployed in the historical sense.

                      The gender change proportions reflects pretty much how the change to categorise sole parents as unemployed impacted on women as did the rhetoric around reducing the number of sole parents as being a success when much of that reduction was just a shifting of benefit.

                      Those most affected in some respects were those who had children while on benefit. They now got treated legislatively not as sole parents but as job seekers – as if the children they had didn't even exist. One of the most dehumanising pieces of legislation ever to grace our shores in modern times.

                      So when we are talking about people (and not numbers) I see no difference at all between the two legislatively differentiated sole parents. We count them both as unemployed or neither.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      "I don't understand what the substance of you comment is about. Your suggesting well less than 53% of people on jobseekers would take a job if one was available?"

                      I'm pretty sure most take jobs when they are available where the jobs are available. Maybe you should think about whether it is a static group of people or a predominantly transient one as people move in and out of work.

                      The quality, including pay rates, and duration of work is more likely a bigger issue. How many do you think might have worked in the last 12 months? Pre the recession in 2010 weren't most of the unemployed working – did they suddenly decide one day just to stop? How much of the shifting of people to the unemployment pool was an economic decision to increase the size of the unemployment pool – supply and demand – to keep wage demands down.

                      Similar to how reducing state housing shifted more people into the market to increase the demand and pricing of houses and rentals. Immigration policy then exacerbates both situations by keeping a high unemployment pool and further increasing demand for housing.

                      Pretty straightforward economics – all three policies intertwined and intended to achieve one thing – make the well off more well off.

                    • Nic the NZer []

                      You seem to be conflating across two ways of measuring the unemployment rate. There have been and still is some information about unemployment collected by msd. On the other hand thats a poor way of measuring unemployment as it assumes the unemployed are in contact with msd (e.g are accessing WINZ). The better way is the information collected by the stats dept which presently says around 109,000 people are unemployed.

                      Further categorization of people do not necessarily influence them. MSD can change the categorizations of people into (or out of) the job seekers category all it wants but this doesn't get reflected in what stats estimates as the unemployment rate. Nor is this going to influence market wage rates.

                      Not clear what your saying about some party (National?) purposefully increasing unemployment. If they succeeded this ought to have shown up in the stats employment series though this doesnt imply how it was caused.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      This discource isn't about the official unemployment rate it's about the notion that there are lots of unemployed.

                      Economics is not a science because perception in economics is as important as actuality – business confidence is an example of this.

                      While the employers and public believe there are lots of unemployed then there is less pressure on wages – workers think they can be replaced. And if not replaced by the unemployed then immigrants.

                      Clearly if you took the sole parents back out of the perception of "unemployment bludgers" then the problem looks less severe. Increasing the NZS age added more to the pool as well. Would be interesting how many of the current pool would be over 60.

                    • Nic the NZer []

                      I don't need to investigate how deep this rabbit hole goes.

                      I am still pretty convinced that the government could reduce beneficiary numbers by 25% by implementing a job guarantee (there would be of course many other improvements from this policy not relating to beneficiary numbers). Of course its pretty unlikely National is thinking of this policy when they make that a goal. On the other hand Labour and I think NZ1st both included (very) limited forms of a job guarantee in their platforms last election, so maybe.

              • Craig H

                Use SB secondary tax code or request a special tax code, no extra tax paid – can request in myIR (online IRD account).

                Agree, reduce abatement to 20c on the dollar, and also make it on total entitlements, not individually eg accommodation supplement, TAS and benefit are added and the abatement is on the total amount so there's not an effective abatement of 55c (or more) in the dollar.

          • Descendant Of Smith 1.2.1.1.2

            There was massive job growth in Auckland while National was in power and they couldn't get those on benefit in Auckland into jobs with that opportunity.

            If they couldn't do it then what makes anyone think they have the capability to do it at another time.

            Previous generations soaked up unemployment for youth and those with disabilities through jobs in the public service. That generations welfare system was well paid, meaningful, gave purpose and in today's level of understanding seemingly invisible.

            There’s a pretence that this wasn’t a welfare system – it was just a bloated public service. It wasn’t – it was a deliberate, socially driven welfare system using public sector employment.

            The profit driven private sector will never employ sufficient volumes of people at either the youth end or the disability end of the spectrum to make a dent in the numbers – particularly in our low wage / high productivity (through labour) expected economy. Most managers are rubbish at engaging or dealing with either group in a meaningful way. They are seen as problems not opportunities. If the problem is mental health rather than physical or intellectual even worse.

            Many young people I know have massive levels of aniexty – bad treatment by poor employers, applying for in some cases over a 100 jobs and being rejected over and over again, unresolved sexual harassment issues, struggles to feed and clothe themselves with high rents, precarious employment when they can get it – many of them feel pretty crap.

            You could also reduce those on benefit by putting NZS age back down to 60. That would be useful.

        • The Al1en 1.2.1.2

          It's a tough one for the government and left parties as the default response is to champion the poor and needy, but having people sit on the dole for nine years is a clear failure up and down the line. Push too hard and you're victim bashing, don't do anything and you leave yourself exposed to easy right attacks and let them play off the people who work all week for minimum wage against those who may or may not be taking the piss out of the system.

          I don't like work for dole, and of course invalids and temporary sick shouldn't be asked to participate, but governments should consider mobilising the unemployed as a way of negating benefit poverty. After six months from signing on, if you haven't got yourself a job, then you get help with cvs, letter writing, interview pointers etc, after a year if still not employed, you take a government job at minimum wage. If you don't like it you can always go find one yourself that suits you better, but it does open up families to wff tax credits on top of wages and a bit of self respect which as a former bene, I can say was my biggest bonus when getting a job, not having to be beholden to the desk natzis at winz

          • Nic the NZer 1.2.1.2.1

            A job guarantee is not work for the dole. If somebody prefers the dole they still get that, if they want a job guarantee job they can do that. If anybody is being forced by WINZ into taking a job guatantee job its morally wrong.

            • The Al1en 1.2.1.2.1.1

              Sure, I just prefaced my point with the fact I don't agree with work for dole as a policy. I do however believe that after a certain amount of time out of the workforce, after assistance and support is given to assist them, able bodied people should be given part time or full time jobs at minimum wage if they can't find one until they can find one they'd prefer.

              • Nic the NZer

                If they are required to take a job or lose the benefit its work for the dole and morally wrong (WINZ should never do that). If its voluntary there should not be a time limit before its available, and they no longer receive the dole (pro rata) they are paid for their work.

                • The Al1en

                  Well it wouldn't be work for dole, it would be work for a full wage and wff add ons, and I differ in that it's immoral to double or treble a household income by giving them a job. How do they not win here?

                  What isn't moral, in my view, is letting people sit on the dole in poverty for years on end, eroding their chances of gaining employment the longer it goes on, at the whim of changing governments satiating a need to victim blame and shame when they take hits in the polls.

                  Chances are nothing as beneficial to the unemployed will ever happen anyway, so no point fretting over it.g

                  • Nic the NZer

                    There are (probably) some people who would rather be on welfare than any kind of work. I don't begrudge them that. As long as its voluntary to go into the job guarantee its fine. If its work or punitive income sanctions however its not ok.

                    • David Mac

                      What would you call a benefit paid to someone that just can't be bothered making a contribution to the nation that feeds, clothes and houses them? …Job Avoider? The surfing bursary… I think something like that will come Nic but right now I can't see how it wouldn't be election suicide.

                    • Nic the NZer []

                      When you pay somebody a benefit I would say the government makes a benefit payment.

                      This policy allows people who would rather be employed to get into paid work. People who really don't want to work don't contradict this policies ability to help people who do at all. Beneficiaries who don't want paid work are already in that situation today (as are retirees) and that doesn't change with this policy.

                    • David Mac That sort of description could apply to a healthy, active retired person who is well-off, plans to live to near 100, and spends his or her time pleasing themselves and spending their money on trips overseas so not even supporting our own economy. That is a picture of many superannuation- ints?

                      Retire at 65 and spend one-third of your life on a benefit getting advantages that struggling young parents aren’t considered for. And if that person goes on working and so is putting something back into the community, they are occupying a job space that in a time of limited jobs is not available to someone younger, and they are also getting super. If they forego super while working, they are still occupying a job which would be appreciated by someone younger.

                      They could however start a new business and employ someone, that would be putting something back into the economy,

                    • David Mac

                      No it doesn't apply to the retired grey. It applies to work capable people that aspire to watch Emmerdale. I don't think a majority of NZers are comfortable meeting every one of the needs of someone that is not the least bit interested in helping themselves. I think they need attractive and attainable opportunities and a peer flush.

                    • Janet

                      Greywarshark

                      “Retire at 65 and spend one-third of your life on a benefit getting advantages that struggling young parents aren’t considered for.”

                      That is me but I too was a struggling young parent and worked nose to the grindstone until 65 yrs and paid taxes along the way.

                      “They (pensioners) could however start a new business and employ someone, that would be putting something back into the economy,”

                      Now I am small-time, self-employed producing food – putting back into the economy – my small production gives small bits of work to people along the food chain, from suppliers of farm growing needs, the companies that make the packaging, the freighters and couriers who carry my food to it customers, to the telecommunication and media companies I use to advertise and promote my food and so on…..

                      I do not get wealthy it just keeps me busy. Without my pension I could not do this.

                      From my experience I can see how and why a Universal Basic Income, instead of an endless pursuit of pensions and benefits, would be a positive move if introduced into New Zealand.

      • HJH 1.2.2
        Pretty well sorted there. Tory-proof it? Not possible!. Nats imported terminology of uk tories… e.g. jsi, job seekers allowance. A la iain duncan-smith. Much the same attitude too. ‘Who cares’! They wud not tackle the hard-corebludgers… but if you are disabled,terminally ill, or suffer serious mental illnesses be prepared to be harrassed to the flaming grave! Weka, tory-proof? Not when they get back in! Even legally blind like myself, who saw the brit tory system rise 12 yrs ago, suddenly feel awesome let me loose surges.

        [Changed to sentence case]

        [lprent: Changed all of HJH’s comments to whisper state. HJH should learn to use the zoom on his browser and stop being an obnoxious. ]

    • mauī 1.3

      I like the job guarantee idea. I would be all for providing voluntary paid work doing something meaningful, like doing up a local community building. Put no expectations on the workers so they can choose to work for 1 hour or 8 hours a day (pay rate increases as you work consecutive hours).

      Strip it all back, remove all the bureacracy, like cv checking and pointless seminars and give every man, woman and child a paint brush or a spade.

  2. ScottGN 2

    I’m no expert but it does seem as though National’s leadership has spent a lot of time recently throwing red meat to their base?

    • Sacha 2.1

      Trying to out-bid other factions to supporters in caucus and the party hierarchy. Getting feral in there as Curia reports lower poll numbers than the public have seen yet.

    • Graeme 2.2

      Or pitching to whoever is the potential funder / patron on any given day. Evangelicals, CCP, or any other lot they think they can sell something (us) to.

      Not only throwing it, but chucking it all over the place with little apparent strategy except possible desperation..

  3. To be fair to National, its approach to climate change is that BAU must be protected at all costs, and for its MPs, coming up with ways to torment the poor is BAU.

  4. DirkDirkin 4

    My guess this is a fake policy. I don't think National intends to implement it. My guess is they will push it aside before the election and say "look at us, we listened"

    • Chris 4.1

      While it's a nice thought, Bridges and Bennett are too hateful for that. And they'd see it as a difference they can capitalise on. Unfortunately, the state of the NZ psyche will make that pretty easy for them.

    • Sacha 4.2

      They're just 'vice signalling'.

    • David Mac 4.3

      Yep, they are bullet points in a policy review discussion. Hopefully they've included outlying discussion points in both directions. Double benefits at one extreme and chuck em to the wolves at the other.

    • Naki man 4.4

      It is not policy, it's talking points and Micky is trying to spin it as some sort of plan.

      [You are making up shit AKA lying because it is in the OP in the quoted text from the piece in the NZ Herald. Please explain why you come here to lie – Incognito]

      • Incognito 4.4.1

        See my Moderation note @ 11:48 AM.

      • Naki man 4.4.2

        I have not made anything up. It is an area they are looking into, as David Mac says above it is a bullet point in a policy review discussion. They are talking different ideas. It is not policy or a plan and i doubt it would ever happen.

        [Oh great, you want to argue with a Moderator! I’m afraid Jason Walls at the NZ Herald (see OP) and the Editorial in Stuff (https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/116334119/fines-for-parents-of-school-dropouts-is-a-bridges-too-far) appear to disagree with you. Irrespective of whether these are plans (f)or policies and regardless of whether they will ever happen (at all or in this exact manner?), you made up this where you said “Micky is trying to spin it as some sort of plan” when clearly he took it from the NZ Herald. I realise that you are not willing to backtrack, but if you keep on arguing you are wasting Moderator time and you know this will have consequences. Now, let’s see whether you engage your brain or some other (smaller?) bodily part – Incognito]

  5. Tiger Mountain 5

    Default Nashnull vote herding via “war on the poor” and “tough on crims”.

    They rely to some extent on “last place aversion”–the phenomenon where people need to have a group beneath them, regardless of how miserable their own circumstances may be.
    The Nats target self employed, middle class on WFF in work tax credits, boomers on Super, and the aspirational working poor in this regard.

    Labour’s answer to this crap from the torys, should be to implement forthwith the recommendations of the WEAG–Welfare Experts Advisory Group, released in May 2019, with no substantive action since, bar some token tinkering on abatement rates–major revision on abatement rates on income is needed.

    http://www.weag.govt.nz/weag-report/

    It is well past time that this Govt. tackled the recalcitrant neo libs that infest the top layers of the public sector, and the sadistic culture they have developed that case workers and staff operate by. These weasels leak, backstab and hinder at every opportunity–Govt. Ministers like Sepuloni owe them nothing and should act decisively.

  6. mac1 6

    Is there a legal definition of a 'gang member'?

    How do I prove a negative? How do I prove that I have not got an illegal income?

    How does the government discover that a man has illegal income? How can this be done, when an 85 year old ex-shepherd told me on a train yesterday that he and his fellows got an ex gratia payment from the boss annually in an envelope and told "not to tell Nordmeyer"?

    How can National be so sure they can discover illegal income when somewhere between $1.5B and $7B is lost to tax revenue annually?

    And finally, if the government does find illegal income to a beneficiary, would that not be enough to disqualify the benefit, involve legal proceedings and maybe even gain some tax revenue?

    It's just a dog whistle to social conservatives.

    • It's just a dogwhistle to conservatives who are 'anti-social' FIFY.

      • mac1 6.1.1

        Here's why the term 'social conservative' came to mind.

        Veery interesting article on NZFirst voter attitudes before and after the 2017election.

        https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/116301095/nz-first-voters-preferred-national-to-labour-at-2017-election-by-wide-margin

        I'd love to see some wise commentary upon tese findings and how they will affect NZ politicking.

        • greywarshark 6.1.1.1

          That change of who they would support going into coalition which taken after the election, gives an indication to me that they are people who don't think much about anything. They like BAU when it suits them and anything that may impinge on the comfort and softness of their cushions is given the thumbs down. They do not wish to put themselves out to do anything, take responsibility for anything, care about anything that doesn't relate to their own satisfactions.

          I know someone like this, though I think this person would vote National. And what a moaning minny, someone in a glass bubble, you shake it and the environment swirls around, settles, the person remains unmoved. The academics may name this type social conservatives but they definitely aren't social in any of its meanings.

          • Sacha 6.1.1.1.1

            Some people like to support the 'winner', whoever that may be.

            • mac1 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Sacha, very true. Which is why I want the All Blacks to win, as somehow our sporting achievements influence our support of the government.

          • mac1 6.1.1.1.2

            Social in the sense of mores, beliefs and views on society.

            I heard Winston speak last election. A conservative on social issues but inveighed heavily on neo-liberal, multi-nationals, corporate NZ.

    • David Mac 6.2

      The shepherd earned his bonus and is guilty of tax evasion.

      The gangs aren't ramping up NZ wool exports. They peddle pain and misery.

      The shepherd could be subjected to a random IRD audit at anytime. Unless it's in his mattress, he would need to explain the mystery bonus.

      A gangster rolling up in a $100k American pick-up for his WINZ appt doesn't sit quite square with me. If he can't prove he has paid for the vehicle with legally earned money I can see an argument for auctioning it off and steering the proceeds into drug rehab.

      and yeah, I agree, dog whistle for social conservatives.

      "Hey Paula, lets go kick some benes."

      • mac1 6.2.1

        I am not a lawyer but I understand that I only get my assets taken if they are the proceeds of crime, and after conviction.

        I still ask how does the law define a gang member? Are there legal guidelines?

        Are we not innocent until proven guilty? I can surely see an argument for action being taken against a convicted person with unattributable assets.

        Maybe the Nats can word their thinking more clearly, but then the whistle wouldn’t be as loud, would it?

        • David Mac 6.2.1.1

          An individual that is not a member of a gang would sport a gang affiliated tattoo at their peril. Few gang affiliates don't sport aligned ink. They bark as their sentences are read out in court Mac. They have the club name across their foreheads. Our authorities will know exactly who the fat cats are.

          The cream only floats up to those that are in up to their necks. The soldiers struggle to maintain a WOF.

          So how do we identify them? Isn't as simple as requesting proof from a guy with 'The Mob' written across his face as to how the 1.8 million dollar house was paid for? If the response is "I dunno where the money came from." Do you think that our government's position should be "Oh, ok then, nice helicopter."

        • A 6.2.1.2

          Well that's the beauty (sarc) of this concept.

          +100 for the policy genius who came up with forcing gang members, or anyone who MSD thinks might be a gang member… to prove a negative (technically impossible). 25% reduction in benefit numbers would be just a matter of shooting fish in a barrel from that point.

  7. Cinny 7

    The majority of those on a benefit are pensioners, are national going after them next?

    Re punishing parents, how about sending those parents on a parenting course on how to deal with problematic children? That would make change, fining people won't educate anyone.

    And why don't certain kids want to go to school? Is it because they are embarrassed that they are failing academically? Or could it be because they are been bullied at school? It's a complex issue that should be addressed and not avoided by fining parents.

    If the parents are fined does that mean kids go hungry or homeless because parents have to pay a fine, does that mean that more kids will get beaten up by their folks because of the anger of paying a fine? Good work national, NOT!

    • Sacha 7.1

      The plan is not about actually solving a problem, merely sucking up to punitive voters.

  8. Sacha 8

    Madame pours cold water on the idea live on telly, showing who is running her party: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/10/judith-collins-doesn-t-support-fine-for-school-dropouts-parents.html

    • JC is building a better image for herself. The 'Crusher' has to go in favour of a less agressive but still frm approach, with some practicality.

      • McFlock 8.1.1

        Yeah, Benefit and Oravida are really working on their profiles. Their caucus co-contenders need to play catch-up lol

        • greywarshark 8.1.1.1

          Don't coach 'em. At least charge a hefty fee and give to the poor!

          • McFlock 8.1.1.1.1

            on the contrary – the more pretenders to the throne, the uglier the shitfight and the long no-bridges stays at the helm lol

            Mercenary mark and tod mcclay really need to (in the words of a "more left than most" concernobot) "up their game". And what about maggie barry? A little bit of positive exposure and she really would be in with a chance!

            lol

  9. soddenleaf 9

    NF have dragged the coalition to the right. A lot of stuff needing doing ain't being done, usually labour gets a good run at progressive policies. So National were thrownout for a whole bunch of reasons, and those serious policy changes that NF being a conservative party can stave off are not being addressed.

    National have consistent been moving to ACTs old positioning, and that turns so many off, conservatives too.

  10. Daniel 10

    I'm on a benifit at the moment, im a qualified builder and Quantity surveyor, will be leaving Nz after Christmas and will be working in Sydney.. Gas prices etc etc everythings expensive.

    The reason i don’t work is because i get 580 a week on a benefit with my wife and my mortgage is only $300, however if i work i end up with around $900 a week as a carpenter, and i eat alot more food and use alot more petrol, it works out to be the same in the end.

    • Doesn't sound good Daniel. I didn't notice tradesmen doing very well out of a recent family housebuild. The main guy went bust and the others had to be haggled with to get the job finished.

      Your attitude might reflect bad reality but it's good that some guys are still out there trying. We need to look after our tradespeople better. Someone has to do the graft for those sitting on their bums and working with marks on a screen.

      • Sacha 10.1.1

        Lack of management skills are the major problem in that industry and most of our others.

    • The Al1en 10.2

      Don't let the door hit your arse on the way out, leech.

    • David Mac 10.3

      You can live the dream Dan, a $300 a week mortgage on a house worth $500 to rent. You're already $200 better off. Consider comprehensive income insurance in Oz, there is no safety net for a kiwi chippie that runs a saw over his knuckles or gets the DCM.

  11. karol121 11

    It may take a while for "Crusher" to clean up her tarnished image in relation to those photos of her smirking face with the; "Make my day" grin holding that revolver, just as it may take a while for Cameron Slater to clean up his; "bad hairdo day", boxing ring encounter images. I am sure that Judith will get over though, and soon enough. All she needs are a few more connections, more; "under the bed sheets" styled internal reporting and (maybe) more bottom line, (money that is), lined up in rows for her to consume in her pursuit of glory.

    It may take some time for Ms Bennett to wake up to to her origins and history, which although appearing to be that of family/personal self-reliance and enterprise, is far from it. There is no point her hitting on people in the lower socioeconomic spectrum when the fact is that much of her historical success is a glowing advertisement for taxpayer related welfare or other funding. Every member of Parliament is a civil servant after all. She may believe that she is on her way to being an "Eisenhower" made woman, but she's going to need to behave to get there, and not upset too many in the USA who may not share her episodic (and often demoralizing) viewpoints on social policy. She should perhaps consider that soldiers, statesmen and humanitarians, (even as leaders), still fight for or support most of those who are dependent on some form of social security safety net.

    However, it may take some time for Mr Key to admit that New Zealand will only likely be; "open for business" for as long as it gets trade related support from powerful and influential foreigners who will not feel threatened by hostile self interest groups forming a large portion of the NZ community, and who will not be led to believe that they are being insulted or ridiculed behind closed doors at both senior and general commerce level. The human assets that were used by his ilk have nearly run dry, and many may have been destroyed, and so I guess that he has probably rung out as much juice as he can, for the meantime.

  12. Why shouldn't everyone be expected to contribute something to society as long as they can. If it is doing something they enjoy, then it can be enjoyable and help as a therapy in some cases. Certainly give a feeling of self satisfaction and self worth that lifts out of depression.

    That would be a general statement of intent from government. Different from the present which is similar to saying that 'Work sets you free' which was twistedly sadistic.

    People could think of something they would like to do that would contribute something to society and be asked to do it for at least an hour a week. The official stats I think still include one hour of paid work a week into their employment stats, which of course for real information value of employment levels totally skews them. Volunteer work of one hour a week would be aimed to be of benefit to the giver and the receiver, and could be far more valuable in its good affect than a day's paid work.

    • A 12.1

      The issue I have is that the policy presupposes non contribution to society. I would point out that if the rate of benefit covered basics (it does in some cases, but certainly not all and the gap can be very wide) then I imagine most people would do so naturally.

      Fact: The rate of payment for the pension has increased substantially more than the rate of Supported Living Payment.

      As a result of the above situation we have more pensioners volunteering than permanently and severely disabled. It's not that people dislike contributing, but our system is so brutal that's just the way it is. #reformwelfare

  13. peterlepaysan 13

    The leak is scary. National never learn, until something major is done by opposition parties they never change course until cataclysmic happens.

    Remember 1984 when NZ was "rogered" by Douglas and cronies.

    National were outraged. I remember seeing demos in Wellington, from national voting provinces, with fed farm bases claiming it was a communist plot.

    Once the naz got used to the new order we got j Shipley and "the mother of all budgets"

    from wotzername.

    Unfortunately NZ political parties rely on private donations to fund their operations.

    Wealth dictates politics.

    We need an independent tax payer funded source of money that all political have access to.

    We need a wealth tax.

    If that ever happened the naz would declare themselves a charity so that private donations, from whatever countries were admissible.

  14. The saddest part of this story is that we won't see a Labour politician stand up and fight the narrative. It is a narrative ingrained into the middle class like a stain on an old pair of underpants and no politician on the left will confront and explicitly fight for beneficiaries. There was one who did and she was unanimously dismissed and her political career swiftly terminated. Her name was Metiria Turei and her bravery and advocacy for beneficiaries during the 2017 election elicited howls of outrage across NZ middle class who acted as though she'd admitted to murdering children and burying them in her back yard. How dare the poor and powerless expect anything less from their beneficent superiors.

  15. Ken 15

    If there's work to be done, employ people to do it and pay them a proper wage.

    If you're creating fake work simply to punish the unemployed, then don't bother.

    • karol121 15.1

      My belief is that so many New Zealanders do have a generous amount of talent and creativity, but so do so many others around the globe.

      Competition is stiff on the "E-Frontier", or on any frontier which requires New Zealanders to compete on a global market whilst sitting in their offices, (whether in a nominated office in a commercial area, or at home in an office room attached to the dwelling). The spin doctors constantly fuel people with narrative suggesting that we should all live the prosperity dream, and then retire comfortable.

      Many would tell them to get real and tone the spin down somewhat.

      Hong Kong has tried this angle on with it's students. Get a degree or qualification, and then walk in to a really good position. Now look what's happening.

      On local workforce in the manual labour arena.

      Given customer base (not to be confused with population base), for the number of customers domiciled in New Zealand, an employee can only flip so many hamburger patties and mow so many lawns before the demand is exhausted.

      Having stated this, grass usually grows back, and bellies get hungry again.

      Personally, I'm not against fake jobs, just as long as the employee receives a net amount (in their hand) for doing so, after job completion.

      I guess the problem for many might be in relation to who would pay them to work a fake job, and what their motivation might be.

  16. Bruce - not the same Bruce 16

    So you muppets place up a photosopped photo of a pic stolen from another blogger and think that is reasonable journalism! Pfffff

    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/08/28/not-enough-love-for-cyfs-kids/

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