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NZ being used as international example of a bad welfare system

Written By: - Date published: 7:02 am, August 2nd, 2016 - 104 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, human rights, poverty, welfare - Tags: , , ,

The Nats like to pat themselves on the back over reducing the numbers on benefits. For a while now I’ve been asking a quick question – what happens to those who are kicked off? Fewer than half move in to jobs. What happens to the rest? No one seems to know “officially” – though the rising tide of poverty and homelessness seems to answer the question in the real world.

Maybe we’ll see some more focus on this question – now that concerns have been raised internationally:

Australia can learn from the limitations of New Zealand’s welfare reforms

The Australian government is embarking on welfare reform to try and wean people off long term benefit reliance. Social Services Minister Christian Porter has indicated that New Zealand’s investment approach is one to follow, after the government flagged it would be cracking down on people cheating the welfare system during the election campaign.

This isn’t the first time this idea has been floated in Australia, as the final report of The McClure review of welfare in 2015 also promoted the approach.

But in using New Zealand’s investment model as a guide, it may be doomed to make the same mistakes.

New Zealand’s welfare system is focused on getting people off benefits. But it fails to measure the true economic costs and benefits of doing so.

The over-arching concept behind the approach is sensible. In making dollar decisions about allocating employment programmes – job search assistance, training or subsidised work – to beneficiaries to get off welfare and into jobs today, the future consequences should be considered.

However getting into the nitty gritty detail of how this is actually achieved in New Zealand is when serious problems emerge. Despite the stated aims of the New Zealand policy reforms, the investment approach is not about finding people stable employment.

Rather it is about getting people off benefit over time. That is what it measures. That is what is valued. That is how government agencies’ performance is rewarded.

Leaving benefit and getting a job are positively – but far from perfectly – related. People may go off benefit into education, building up a debt they are unable to service.

They may move into the black or grey economy. They may re-partner. They may move onto the streets. Or they may get a job.

The investment approach is indifferent to all these vastly different potential destinations. And even if people go into jobs, the investment approach treats all jobs as equal.

So the claim, made by the New Zealand government, that the investment approach is working, even if true, only judges the approach by its own narrow yardstick. That yardstick is an inappropriate one in assessing economic and social efficiency of allocation of government resources to help people get work.

The second issue with the investment approach is that it confuses income redistribution with economic efficiency. Welfare benefits are what economists call transfers. … It treats the long term liability as a true cost. That is a basic error and it’s now the conceptual basis for New Zealand’s public policy in the welfare area.

There are further issues. A successful welfare system is one that ensures only those who are entitled to welfare are paid it, and all those who are eligible for welfare and need it, get it.

The investment approach does create performance incentives to winkle out welfare cheats. But it does not address the other side of the same coin – connecting the truly entitled but stigmatised and uninformed with income support. Indeed, it creates incentives to increase stigma and muddy entitlement information. Again, this is policy failure. …

Well I’m glad someone finally said so! And in The Guardian:

New Zealand experts warn Australia data-driven welfare ‘abuses and brutalises’

In 2012 New Zealand introduced a new welfare system based on data collection. Australia is now planning to do the same, to the horror of experts who say it harms rather than helps the most needy

New Zealand welfare experts have slammed the Australian government’s decision to copy their welfare system, saying the changes are unproven and are causing New Zealand’s most vulnerable to “check out” of any relationship with the state.

“In New Zealand our welfare system operates the same way as our prisons – it treats beneficiaries as a threat to society, to be policed and managed,” said Darrin Hodgetts, a professor of societal psychology at Massey University and an expert on poverty in New Zealand.

“If Australia want to abuse and brutalise their people, then sure, copy our system.” …

NZ under National is being used internationally as an example of a bad welfare system. This is the Brighter Future.

Do we care? Are we going to fix it?


104 comments on “NZ being used as international example of a bad welfare system”

  1. Paul 1

    The Guardian also posted an article about young women not being able to afford sanitary items.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/30/new-zealand-schoolgirls-skip-class-because-they-cant-afford-sanitary-items

    And the EU is looking at our tax systems.

    We are no longer a leader or even a follower.
    We are the Mississippi of the South Pacific.
    Backward and shameful.

  2. Ad 2

    Anthony are there any stats on the % of people who leave a benefit and go “onto the streets” i.e. how much of the positive statistical relationship shows a negative outcome?

  3. The Chairman 3

    Do we care? Well yes, some of us do. Are we going to fix it? Ask Labour. What changes are they proposing?

  4. Sirenia 4

    It is so easy to be kicked off a benefit. They ask you to provide some obscure piece of information that is hard to find or very expensive to access and if it is not provided within a short time your benefit is cut. It is then very, very hard and time consuming to sort it all out. Many people, without someone to advocate, make endless phone calls and appointments drop off permanently.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      I got kicked off of the UB for not going to a find work course when I was already on a find work course. And that was after I was told that it was completely voluntary.

      • ianmac 4.1.1

        What happened next Draco?

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1

          I contacted some help groups and found out that I could challenge the ruling and did so. Then I started a degree at Unitec.

      • Wensleydale 4.1.2

        Oh yeah, the “voluntary” thing.

        WINZ have their own definition of what constitutes voluntary. In their bizarre magical fairy kingdom, voluntary and mandatory are interchangeable. I remember having an argument over the phone with a woman from WINZ back in the late ’90s. She would tell me that attending a patronising work skills course was purely voluntary, but if I didn’t attend I’d be sanctioned. I patiently explained to her that punitive measures made a voluntary course of action mandatory, unless clients wanted to starve or be chucked out of their home for not paying the rent. But no… she insisted, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that it was voluntary. So I attended and spent three days typing up other clients CVs for them after the facilitators discovered I was an intelligent, capable human being with marketable skills.

        Did I acquire any new skills during my time there? No. Not unless you count cursing under your breath, or practicing a variety of pained facial expressions.

        • Sabine 4.1.2.1

          a friend of mine was told by winz she should train to become a machinist.
          this friend of mine has a degree in costume and design with honors, has an extensive list of tv productions that she worked on here in nz and in oz. She also has severe arthritis which sees her hands swell to balloons with crippling pain.

          she patiently explained to the winz drone that she could and should run the course for others to become machinists, and that in all likelihood she could teach the tutor of the machinist course a thing or two about making haute couture from scratch.

          no they don’t read cv’s at winz. its just if you loose your job its because you can’t type a cv, nothing to do with the company that one worked for closing down or re-structuring.

        • ianmac 4.1.2.2

          @Wensleydale.”So I attended and spent three days typing up other clients CVs for them after the facilitators discovered I was an intelligent, capable human being with marketable skills.”
          My wife wondered about that as a recently unemployed person she could go on the job seekers course and learn how to construct a CV. She has a Masters and recent employment in the Emirates and in Vietnam. Her full CV is 24 pages long. Luckily she gained a job instead so did not need to go on CV training course or go to job interview lessons.
          The blanket treatment by Winz that everyone is the same is unhelpful

          • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2.2.1

            The blanket treatment by Winz that everyone is the same is unhelpful

            And that blanket treatment approach is forced on them by National who, interestingly enough, always tell us that the blanket approach doesn’t work. Other blanket treatment approaches forced on the nation by National include National Standards, privatisation of government services, and subsidising multi-billion dollar multinational corporations.

          • Wensleydale 4.1.2.2.2

            Yeah, you’re all the same and it’s learn-by-rote.

            One of the guys at the course had had one job his entire life as a school groundsman, when he was made redundant. He was virtually illiterate and I suspect dyslexic. I had to fill out all his forms for him and create his CV which, with liberal padding and a lot of white space, I managed to stretch to a whopping two whole pages. The poor bloke obviously needed serious attention in terms of retraining, but this wasn’t covered within the “scope” of the course. There were also a pair of Indian part-time taxi drivers. One was a qualified civil engineer. It was probably the most depressing three days of my life.

            • Chris 4.1.2.2.2.1

              And then you’re told by some 18 year old with pimples you can’t get a food grant to feed your kids.

              Basic benefit levels must be increased. Better still, basic incomes.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 4.2

      Yes, spend half your very meagre income trying to go to pointless WINZ appointments, meeting their constant requests for information they already have etc. All just a scheme to boot people off by unofficial means.

  5. save nz 5

    The only way to reform welfare is to change the government.

    The Natz are ideologically blind to the dangers to society with their ridiculous, non sensical approaches. We have already had 2 dead WINZ workers, people living in tents and cars including working people, emergency housing in $2000 hotels, increasing prison population and no doubt an underground economy to take up the space of people not in work and not on a benefit. We have overseas aid going to Scenic hotels instead of pacific island neighbours who have had their lives decimated with cyclones and disasters. Every penny seems to be being siphoned off away from the needy and into some rich listers, crony or politicians pockets.

    The most important thing people can do to change it, is to vote in local elections and government to get the Natz and their cronies out of positions of power so we can rebuild NZ back into it’s former functional and fair society.

    • Michelle 5.1

      Agree with you Save NZ we certainly need saving

    • Jenny Kirk 5.2

      + 100% with you, savenz
      We have to take NZ back if we are ever to be able to hold our heads high in the international scene again. And if we want to look after our peoples.

      • Michael 5.2.1

        But who do we replace “government” with? Not National-lite, surely? We’ve been there and done that and, while Labour don’t appear to have learned any lessons from their last two times in government, some us have learned not to trust the bastards. For myself, I’d rather have an oppressive enemy in power than a false friend, if those are the only alternatives, as I believe they are.

    • Leftie 5.3

      +1 Save NZ, Michelle and Jenny Kirk.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.4

      +1

  6. grumpy 6

    If people are staying long term in motels, why arent they being charged a weekly rather then daily rate?
    I often travel with work and insist on a reduced rate when in the same place for several weeks.

  7. grumpy 7

    to be clear: winz should be negotiating better rates with motels then the prices we hear in the media.

    • Sabine 7.1

      i think you will find that the underlying motive is profit

      soon people will own WINZ more money then Winz gets from the government. and bill english the useless double dipping tosser from dipton needs the ‘positive’ of that debt to make his magically appearing surplus.

      • Jones 7.1.1

        Which means more smoke and mirrors from this Government as that debt will never be paid back… nor should it be.

        • Olwyn 7.1.1.1

          This kind of debt is more pernicious than the US subprime debt that lead to the GFC. At least in the US case people could walk away from their mortgages, whereas large WINZ debts, along with the debt-creating system that has replaced legal aid, are there for life, or until some government decides to wipe them, which under current conditions is unlikely. Even a modest lotto win would no longer be yours, but the state’s, and working for NZ wages most certainly would not be enough to release you from debt bondage.

          • rhebe Rosewood 7.1.1.1.1

            Actually your winz debt is wiped if you file a”No asset procedure” but not your student debt. Well it was 6 years ago anyway when I had to jump thru the hoops to have a better life.

            • Chris 7.1.1.1.1.1

              The maximum covered by the NAP is $47,000 so mightn’t be that great for for those owing $80,000+ for emergency accommodation. The only answer for these kinds of debts is that they’re converted into non-repayable special needs grants. Bennett said this won’t happen because this is what people had “signed up for” as if it’s some kind of fucking contract. It’s not and the government can fix all this if it wants to. The upshot is that the government’s quite happy for people to go into life-long debt as a result of receiving welfare assistance. Bloody diabolical.

            • Olwyn 7.1.1.1.1.2

              I wonder if that is still the case, given the homeless people who are reported to have huge debts from having been sent to motels by WINZ. A month or so ago when homelessness was very much in the news, the minister said that those debts would not be waved. So either many people don’t know of this procedure, or the rules no longer allow it.

              • Chris

                I guess a question could be whether someone with a debt of more than $47,000 could have that amount scrubbed from the motel debt to Work and Income (i.e. does the NAP allow for the partial wiping of a debt) or is it that the NAP can’t apply at all to any debt more than $47,000? I don’t know.

                There’s also the problem of other consequences of the NAP like how it affects credit ratings etc. For some people the NAP mightn’t be appropriate for a number of reasons.

                The Auckland Action Against Poverty are challenging some of these motel debts and I hope they’re successful. I think this is probably the best way overall to deal with this situation – which is just so completely and utterly surreal.

    • Chris 7.2

      Why? So that people who need emergency housing end up with a $50k debt instead of $80k?

  8. Sabine 8

    one of my shop staff is on the ‘benefit’.
    I am number two of her three jobs!. Non of the jobs she has came courtesy of WINZ. Yet it is WINZ who hassles her constantly to ‘increase’ her hours, as if it is she who keeps the hours low.
    So despite working three low hour jobs – all she could get as a women without formal training in her fifties – she still needs to go to WINZ every few weeks and explain to them why her bosses have not increased her hours.
    She also needs to call in every week to give WINZ the number of hours worked and then the benefit is calculated. She has had to call WINZ to tell them that her last payment was very high considering other payments. OOOPSIE the lady said, we mis-calculated and overpaid you.

    WINZ, should be dismantled, everyone working there should be send on to the unemployment benefit until they have found a job or three and WINZ should be renamed and re-purposed for a world in which 40 hour jobs are a rarity, and above all the people working there should be employed on their capacity to work with people not as is know on their capacity to humiliate people so much that they simply don’t come back for help.

    • Sirenia 8.1

      We need a Universal Basic Income

      • Jones 8.1.1

        Agreed. Administered by IR… and WINZ could probably be dismantled in its entirety.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1

          That does seem to be what’s needed. WINZ culture of beneficiary bashing is now so toxic that it cannot be saved.

      • save nz 8.1.2

        +1 Sirenia

      • The Chairman 8.1.3

        And how is Labour coming along with that (UBI)?

        Moreover, what do they plan to do in the interim? Will they bin this investment approach if they win power?

      • mosa 8.1.4

        Labour MUST campaign on the UBI as part of a complete culture and attitude change as far as Social Welfare is concerned.
        It will need too be sold the right way but as a country we need too confront our serious social issues and it WONT happen untill we have a BRAVE progressive centre left government and a supportive less punitive delivery of social services that help all the way through and not punish or marginalise those seeking assistance.
        My fear is that Labour wont come out fighting and say what they are going too do and make bold policy decisions and drawing a line in the sand.
        Lets hope kiwis are ready too listen and contemplate sensible change in this area if Lab/green put the UBI on the table and campaign hard.

        • Sabine 8.1.4.1

          Labour could also not run on it, but implement it once the government has changed hands.
          i don’t care either way, but i think that winz should not hassle people that have jobs but still need a top up. That is wasting time and resources.

          • Chris 8.1.4.1.1

            Labour still hasn’t said anything that’s close to suggesting it’s changed its mind about welfare since supporting National’s legislative attacks on the poor in 2014. Everyone was waiting for that before the 2011 election and then again before the last election but it never came. Let’s hope 2017’s different, eh? Someone should run a book on it.

            • Michael 8.1.4.1.1.1

              Labour are currently voting in favour of the Nats’ latest beneficiary-bashing legislation, the so-called “policy neutral” Social Security Rewrite Bill. Naturally it is anything but. Naturally Labour is so busy acting as cheerleader for the Nats that it hasn’t bothered to read the legislation, much less debate it. On the positive side, the Nats are sacking more WINZ staff and replacing them with “My MSD”, an online welfare agency for those with access to technology.

              • Chris

                Yes, that Bill represents everything the Nats have wanted to do since the reform Bill of 1994/5 that got shelved because it was way too drastic. Labour opposed it then, then turned around in 2004 and abolished the special benefit, followed by doing a whole lot of other stuff in the 2007 amendment Act that removed whole cornerstones of what we thought represented the safety net we’d been proud of since 1938. And it was a Labour government that destroyed it. Even the most strident Labour stalwarts missed all of this. That’s how insidious these changes were. What’s more important, though, is that the current Labour people have given absolutely no indication that they’d do anything differently if they became the government, let alone fix the damage they’ve already done.

    • Jenny Kirk 8.2

      Could you staff member, Sabine, get hold of a beneficiary advocate and go in and make an arrangement (in writing) that she advises WINZ every six months of her earnings, and they make an adjustment as necessary at that time.

      For that matter, at the end of every financial year your staff member would get an IR3 return from the tax dept – and that would show the amount of her earnings from her three jobs plus what WINZ topped it up to ….. and the adjustments could be made at that time, if necessary.

      This is a stupid and costly way in which WINZ works – its not efficient, and I think its designed to put people off going into WINZ.

      But if your worker had a beneficiary advocate to help her, then maybe a more reasonable and practical way of dealing with it could be found. But it would need to be in writing !! so your worker has a record of what’s agreed.

      • Sabine 8.2.1

        i will increase her hours coming into the mad season of christmas starting around september till Dec. and then we see how stuff is going in the new year.

        but frankly she just don’t want to rattle the boat. she is afraid that if she does make a noise they find something anything to just dump her. Considering that she only gets about a 100$ per week, but she still needs that money to pay rent etc etc etc.

        I essentially have offered her to meet with her ‘case manager’ and explain to her why her hours are what they are, but yeah, not rattling the boat is important.

        • save nz 8.2.1.1

          Sad that people are too frightened of WINZ to complain.

          • Sabine 8.2.1.1.1

            this is the intended outcome, not only do they want them to be afraid of complaining, they want them too afraid to come and ask for help in the first place.

            • UncookedSelachimorpha 8.2.1.1.1.1

              I’ve seen this a lot. Definitely a deliberate strategy at WINZ.

          • mosa 8.2.1.1.2

            Sad that people are too frightened not too vote for John Key.

    • Philj 8.3

      Thanks for this information albeit demeaning and punitive. I wonder what will wake up the good citizens around Aotearoa.

      • Anne 8.3.1

        This is exactly the situation that existed in the 1990s (think Christine Rankin) under the last Nat. government and the good citizens did eventually wake up near the end of that decade. Let’s hope they wake up in time for next year’s election.

        • Chris 8.3.1.1

          This is exactly the situation that existed since the 1990s. – FIFY

          • Anne 8.3.1.1.1

            Wrong!
            The Clark govt. put and end to it by sacking Christine Rankin and her management toadies after the 1999 election. It began again in 2009 when Paula Bennett (who famously said she regarded Christine Rankin as a mentor) took over the Social Welfare portfolio and it’s been going downhill since.

    • Gangnam Style 8.4

      “Ministry Of Vulnerable Workers” maybe?

  9. UncookedSelachimorpha 9

    Often families and friends of beneficiaries (or ex-beneficiaries) end up subsidising and picking up the slack to allow the desperate to survive, I am involved with some of this personally.

    Almost invariably those making the payments are from the poorer end of town – often at or barely above benefit level themselves.

    So the behaviour of WINZ under this useless government simply piles more debt and cost on the poor, for the benefit of the very rich. That’s all it is.

  10. The New Student 10

    Are you allowed to record the audio of your interactions with WINZ?

  11. srylands 11

    I am not sure you can say this is an “international” criticism. The author is Simon Chapple from Otago University.

    http://theconversation.com/profiles/simon-chapple-190661

    he makes some good points. The problem is that if you are going to change the investment approach you need to include some measurable metrics that cover the wider costs and benefits that Simon correctly points out are missing. it doesn’t mean you get rid of the investment approach. Going back to the liability management approach of the previous Government is untenable.

    Sadly this is yet another example of commentators here advocating higher (in this case much higher) Government expenditure while at the same time calling for lower public debt. I should keep a tally.

    Interesting this is the same Simon Chapple who killed the “Closing the Gaps” policy in 2000.

    http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0ahUKEwjAu8is56HOAhVINJQKHZlcDiIQFgghMAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nzherald.co.nz%2Fnz%2Fnews%2Farticle.cfm%3Fc_id%3D1%26objectid%3D157083&usg=AFQjCNFceu5BD_uDAxNH_nwqiecX4JqsuQ&sig2=MzcpJqJrmtha_ZiZ4FiuYQ

    • Chris 11.1

      The point is that if there were proper monitoring of where people go after being on a benefit it’s more likely than not that the so-called investment approach would be exposed as the crock that it is. More homelessness, health problems, reliance on charity and so on.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.2

      The problem is that if you are going to change the investment approach you need to include some measurable metrics that cover the wider costs and benefits that Simon correctly points out are missing.

      Yes, it’s like someone working on pure ideology and belief put in place the policies and simply decided that they’d work and so didn’t need measuring…

      or..

      It’s like someone knew that the policies would make life worse for the most vulnerable and decided that measuring the outcomes would show that and so decided not to measure them.

      As National and right-wing policies in general are psychopathic I figure it’s the latter.

      • srylands 11.2.1

        Are you sure you don’t object to the investment approach on the basis that Paula Rebstock was the architect?

        If Labour does win the 2017 they will keep the investment approach to welfare management. They will change the name and the rhetoric but it will remain. And I hope that some of Simon Chapple’s critique is investigated. His points are especially pertinent to extending the investment approach to education which is the next logical step.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 11.2.1.1

          Known shameless trash desperately tries to keep snout in trough.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.2.1.2

          If Labour does win the 2017 they will keep the investment approach to welfare management.

          As I’ve said before, Labour is right-wing party.

          His points are especially pertinent to extending the investment approach to education which is the next logical step.

          No, right-wing policy is never logical nor rational and so the proper thing to do is to scrap it altogether.

  12. McFlock 12

    Yes, keep a tally of your false dichotomy. It’s not like you care about poor people dying.

    • srylands 12.1

      Yes I do care. I also care about policies to promote prosperity.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1.1

        The policies you’ve taken money to parrot have been utterly shit, achieving the opposite of the values you pay lip service to, and you continue to leech off the taxpayer to spin them.

        Snake oil merchants cry crocodile tears. You’ve made a career of facile mendacity. Own it or choke on it. You have no place in the solutions to your failure.

      • Stuart Munro 12.1.2

        If you did you’d be asking some very serious questions of this worthless government. Why is productivity falling? Why are you allowing corruption in the public sector? Why are you sabotaging education and reporting? Why are you doing nothing effective about a bubble so big it dwarfs the rest of the economy?

    • srylands 12.2

      You are being childish. I was simply pointing out the obvious You cannot logically wail about the case for higher welfare payments and countless other causes, and at the same time berate the government for moving too slowly on reducing debt.

      It is simply extraordinary.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 12.2.1

        Transparent sophistry, your only talent, leaves you unemployable by any evidence based endeavour.

        Sob sob.

        • Chuck 12.2.1.1

          That’s a pretty boring response OAB…how about answering srylands question?

          Although I assume its tax the f&*k out of the rich pricks…

          • One Anonymous Bloke 12.2.1.1.1

            I was sure you do, but then I checked your “knowing what other people think” certificate and it was issued in China.

            Cheap trash like you can’t afford actual insight, so you have to make do with projection instead.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 12.2.2

        Welfare Payments or National Debt. There is only this choice.

        What bollocks. What about lost revenue from cutting tax on the rich and allowing the uber wealthy to contribute almost nothing? Remember, they possess most of the nation’s wealth, beneficiaries possess almost nothing.

        You should shift your concern about our national debt to where it belongs – to the top end of town.

      • Andrea 12.2.3

        “berate the government for moving too slowly on reducing debt”

        Governments are berated for not ‘reducing debt’ quickly by people (often in business) who persist in thinking that a government’s budget is similar to a household budget. Who, furthermore, want government out of what look to be low-hanging fruit fit for private exploitation. There is little to no altruism behind the berating, be assured.

        Like banks, governments can ‘create money’ to do some good in the country they purport to govern. They can easily wipe the ‘debt’, and would be fools to do so.

        The ‘reducing debt’ line can best be regarded as scare mongering – unless you know there’s a lien over your income for you to pay your share of the national debt?

        It’s the household debt the government needs to reduce – and PDQ at that. However, it would seem that major economic revision is far, far beyond the capacities of the little Blue people. Most single parents on benefits run their budgets better.

      • Stuart Munro 12.2.4

        Yes we can – this is an epic failure government – it does nothing right.

        Consigning our people to poverty idleness and vice is very poor governance. It costs money to be as ineffectual as Bill English – penny wise and pound foolish is the term, because none of his austerity measures have saved NZ a cent.

        In fact they’ve cost us $120 billion minimum. Removing this fuckwit is a national interest priority – and the proof of his ineffectuality is his constant need to lie about results and revise targets downwards. Competent management generates robust enough results not to need to fake the numbers.

  13. Wayne 13

    Using a New Zealand expert (Professor Hodgetts) as the evidence for international condemnation hardly meets that requirement.

    His language, as quoted in the Guardian article, clearly puts him in an partisan ideological space, in a way that for instance Jill St John would not do.

    Jill St John’s approach has the result that she is listened too. Her research was influential in the decision to provide the $25 increase in benefit levels.

    In fact the whole point of this item is rather lost on me. The origin of your first item quoted is that the New Zealand approach was likely to be followed in Australia. So rather the world (or at least Australia), condemning NZ, it looks like the Australian government wants to learn from NZ.

    And I would note there are a large number of Australian commentators who consistently praise New Zealand, and just wish their government could do as well as NZ.

    I appreciate that it is a meme in The Standard that New Zealand is consistently held up for ridicule (well at least by John Oliver). However in Australia, the widely held view is that the John Key/Bill English combo have done pretty darn well. And I also know this is also held to be the case in conservative circles in the UK.

  14. Wayne 14

    Sabine,

    To engage seriously as opposed to responding to the caricatures.

    National historically has had good relations with the Conservative Party in the UK and the Liberals in Australia, and we would consider that the current governments of both countries are generally reasonably moderate. Both Turnbull and May seem to come from a liberal tradition. That is not the same as agreeing with every single thing they do.

    I suspect most people on the centre -right in New Zealand would prefer a Hillary victory.

    • Lanthanide 14.1

      “I suspect most people on the centre -right in New Zealand would prefer a Hillary victory.”

      Pretty low bar, really, given that anyone with half a brain would prefer a Hillary victory.

    • Sabine 14.2

      you know what Wayne, the only reason i would vote for Hillary is the because i like so many other women on this planet like sex without consequences. This however is only possible with the freely available birth control, freely availble pregnancy terminations, sexual health care that is provided by medical staff and not some ‘fake pregnancy crisis centres’ and so on.

      the reason I would never vote conservative in the US is i don’t like men curtailing my right to sex without consequences. Like, abstinence only education, or
      ‘the pill causes breast cancer busllshit’ or only sex in marriage is the good kind o sex, or catholic hospitals are not providing health care when a women is having a miscarriage cause god would not allow for an abortion in the case of miscarriage or 72 hours waiting periods, forced vaginal ultrasounds, removal of food stamps, removal of medicaid for vulnerable people and so on and so on.

      other then that i would have voted for Sanders. But the man did one thing wrong, namely run on the democratic platform when he instead should have run as an independent and then he would have won.

      I think you suspect what would want and what suits your bank account. I just think you are very very wrong. National is a party of do nothing, sell everything that is not nailed on, screw the poor, screw the sick, screw the handicapped, screw the hungry, screw the homeless screw everyone but me party and in the end will screw themselves.

      You sir, together with your party are what is wrong with this country.

  15. Under National?

    No – had 7 2/3 years to get this far and sweet stuff all progress has been made. Should say enough about the prospects for the remainder of the time this Government is in office.

    Under Labour?

    Maybe. Though I get the impression that the two big parties prefer nibbling around the edges of problems and eating the crumbs whilst ignoring the core of them.

    This is why I don’t vote for either of these two parties. This is also why I think the legal framework under which our welfare system is run needs an overhaul. Too unwieldy, obsolete and like trying to cross a bridge where half the deck has fallen out.

  16. Michael 16

    Although it seems increasingly unlikely that another “Labour” government will be elected next year (if ever), that’s probably just as well from a welfare-based perspective. The last “Labour” government’s welfare policies received well-founded criticism from Neville Harris, author of “Law in a Complext State: Complexitiy in the Law & Structure of Welfare” (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2013). Harris observed that Labour’s 2007 amendments to the Social Security Act 1964, far from achieving their stated aim of simplifying the welfare system, actually made things worse by over-complicating law and policy. Labour also started the “Future Focus” trajectory in welfare law and policy, which the Nats simply continued: “Future Focus” is Newspeak for stopping financial support to people unable to earn an adequate income from the “open” job market. The irony of overpaid state beneficiaries legislating to shaft poorer beneficiaries who don’t have the letters “MP” after their names is one that would have delighted Franz Kafka.

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