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Open mike 25/08/2013

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, August 25th, 2013 - 130 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

130 comments on “Open mike 25/08/2013 ”

  1. xtasy 1

    “Welfare staff hit, abused”

    “Threats and fists have been flying in Work and Income offices across New Zealand, with 54 people physically assaulted at work last year, new figures reveal.

    Work and Income staff reported 3757 incidents of abusive client behaviour in 2012, including 448 classified as “serious abuse” – 54 cases of physical abuse and 394 verbal.

    Minister for Social Development Paula Bennett said the numbers, obtained by Fairfax Media under the Official Information Act, were unacceptable.

    “We should never accept this behaviour as just ‘part of the job’ – there is no justification for it whatsoever.”

    But the union representing staff said recent government welfare reforms that tightened up on benefits could cause even more friction.”

    Quoted from ‘Stuff.co’ and the ‘Manawatu Standard’ as part of Fairfax Media, here is a link to the online story:


    So here we have the tip of the iceberg figures on how the increasingly stringent, draconian and punitive welfare regime under the National led government and Paula Bennett is affecting clients and staff at Work and Income. It seems like some cannot handle the pressures, expectations, demands and in some cases also arrogant, insensitive treatment by some WINZ case managers any more.

    Naturally this also reflects badly again on beneficiaries, and the media just love such reports and statistics, to reinforce the prejudicial views of WINZ clients too often being seen as nasty, abusive and prone to criminal behaviour.

    While I am not usually listening to talk back on 1ZB, this morning I was made aware of many WINZ clients and others that had experience with WINZ calling in to their midnight to 06 am talk-back with Garry Denvir. He mentioned this news as one of the topics he was open to talk about.

    He may have anticipated some different reactions, but a lot of the callers had quite some stories to tell. Here are some audios that can be downloaded and listened to:

    (this is the download overview for Sunday midnight to 06 am this morning, which allows tracks at 15 minutes a go to be downloaded from the night time talkback show)

    [audio src="http://content.radionetwork.co.nz/weekondemand/auckland/10230.mp3" /]
    (a caller calling in at about 06 minutes and 40 seconds into the track, with a story of unreasonable expectations and him getting his benefit cut off)

    [audio src="http://content.radionetwork.co.nz/weekondemand/auckland/10315.mp3" /]
    (one audio track where about 8 minutes into it Gary reads out an email from a listener, about pressures WINZ case managers now put on clients, and how Dr Bratt and designated doctors are used to put pressures on sick and disabled to get jobs)

    [audio src="http://content.radionetwork.co.nz/weekondemand/auckland/10330.mp3" /]
    (another audio with another caller calling in about 5 minutes into this track, on WINZ and Dr David Bratt as Principal Health Advisor, talking about his insight in what is happening at WINZ, ACC and so forth)

    [audio src="http://content.radionetwork.co.nz/weekondemand/auckland/10345.mp3" /]
    (the same caller from the track before still carrying on…)

    [audio src="http://content.radionetwork.co.nz/weekondemand/auckland/10400.mp3" /]
    [audio src="http://content.radionetwork.co.nz/weekondemand/auckland/10415.mp3" /]
    [audio src="http://content.radionetwork.co.nz/weekondemand/auckland/10430.mp3" /]

    [audio src="http://content.radionetwork.co.nz/weekondemand/auckland/10515.mp3" /]
    (another audio with a disgruntled older client of WINZ calling in at about 06 minutes and 20 seconds into the track, sharing his experiences)

    So a usually somewhat “conservative” host with insufficient insight into the WINZ workings and present benefit categories had to listen to some stories by those affected, not having much good to say about the welfare system and how it is being administered.

    P.S.: If there is some problem with the audios, try to download the tracks from about 02:15 am onwards, and especially listen to times from about 03.25 am and close to 03.36 am at least.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 1.1

      Thanks for that X, I read the story in Stuff and thought it presented staff as victims. Most people who are subjected to our benefit system have a vastly different take on things.

      That being said, a small proportion of the clients ARE crazy and violent for no specific reason – but that is what remote client units are for and for those staff threats are part of the job.

      • logie97 1.1.1

        FFS. Whatever the circumstances, an assault on a WINZ staffer is NEVER, EVER acceptable. If it was a corner dairy the in-house camera footage would be on National television immediately and the police would be in pursuit.

        • AsleepWhileWalking

          FFS If you are refering to my comment re threats being part of the job in the Remote Client Unit, the clients who are there are dealt with remotely (different from being tresspassed – I’ve no idea why but it is) because they pose a physical risk to staff, hence the “remote” component, the fake staff names, and secret location. This risk is the same for prison staff, police, mental health workers dealing with violence and the risk involved is part of the job (although it is possibly higher due to the fact they have to have direct contact).

          Make no mistake this story is part of the ongoing public relations campaign to turn the public against beneficiaries. Work and Income can and do call the police on occassion if they deem it necessary, as would the corner dairy. And Work and Income have in house cameras which cover all parts of their office.

          • Colonial Viper

            Yep, most WINZ front line offices are set up as secure, locked down areas. For instance you cannot move from one space to the next without swipe cards, key pad access, etc.

        • weka

          “Whatever the circumstances, an assault on a WINZ staffer is NEVER, EVER acceptable.”

          Not as simple as that. If you subject people to regular humiliation, strip them of their power, in a situation where their survival is at stake, then it’s likely you will get some violence. I doubt that many people understand quite how institutionally violent WINZ is to its clients. Eventually something has to break. I feel sorry for many WINZ frontline staff, but there is a massive problem with the system. Maybe someone could report on that.

          • bad12

            Definitely ‘not as simple as that’, take the case of the wheelchair bound beneficiary in Northland,( can’t remember if it was earlier this year or late last year),

            Refused his legal entitlement on the basis of God knows what this beneficiary finally snapped and resorted to taking a hammer to the local WINZ office where He smashed a number of windows,

            Lo and behold, the media attention which resulted from this ‘madness’ had WINZ reviewing His case again and He suddenly became the recipient of what were His full entitlements all along,

            His treatment, or should i say mistreatment at the hands of WINZ staff isn’t an isolated incident, such mistreatment happens on a daily basis in WINZ offices and the abhorrent Bennett driven changes to the system which puts into the hands of ‘case workers’ even more ‘power’ to effectively destroy what little livelihood beneficiaries have will only worsen an already dire situation…

            • Draco T Bastard

              His treatment, or should i say mistreatment at the hands of WINZ staff isn’t an isolated incident, such mistreatment happens on a daily basis in WINZ offices…

              Yep and the only real way to stop that abuse is to go to a Universal Income that pays more than enough to live on (at least 20k). That way the only time you’d go to the MSD was when you’re really, really desperate.

              • srylands

                I doubt 20k is affordable but 12-15 probably is. Then there would be no welfare, no WINZ no work tests, no nothing. Everyone gets a cheque for $300 per week. Have a nice life.

                • Colonial Viper

                  You’re killing me man (in a good way), the UBI in some form is an absolute must if we are going to cut through the complex mess that the benefits/taxation system has become.

                • McFlock

                  because everyone needs no more than that, right?

                  Well, meds maybe, special assistance, special equipment, well – tough for them, there’s no WINZ to help them out. We can lock ’em up when they finally go overboard, problem sorted.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Far be it for me to defend srylands, but I think that some of the detail can be worked out over time.

                    • McFlock

                      Nope. The UBI looks good because there are no details. You saw what spy wrote – an arbitrary base figure, no winz, nothing else from them. Fucked if you need dental work, or a social worker.

                      The devil is in the details. Basically, the tory looks at the UBI and goes “oh, here’s something we can set to average needs (and forget those who need more), forget to link it to inflation, and still blame people for their imagined shortcomings if they need more than that”.

                      I know people who could live like kings on $300/w.
                      I know others who, for a variety of reasons, would need more.
                      So we set it to $500/w, and tories bitch about the ones who live like kings (and ignore those who might need more).
                      Or we set it to $200pw, and when the morbidity/mortality stats start to rise the tories would point out that the same group of perople are scraping by.

                      I like the idea of a UBI from far off, but something nags at me about it. I think what might be nagging is that applying one value (whatever it might be) to a diverse population as never had a single instance of good outcomes in the past.

                    • weka

                      “but I think that some of the detail can be worked out over time.”

                      Why not work some of it out now?

                      Srylands says $300/wk. But how many people can live on that and be ok? There are reasons that welfare payments and entitlements are complicated. Part of it is historical. Part of it is the abatement issue. Part of it is ideological (neoliberalism says stick not carrot, therefore you cannot pay welfare at a livable rate, therefore you have to have a system of supplementary benefits). And a big part of it is simply that different people have different needs in regards to income. How do we make this fair? How do we make this affordable? How do we make this workable? I can’t see a UBI progressing if we can’t even figure out some basic concepts.

                    • weka

                      snap with McFlock

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Well I’m saying let’s have that discussion, and it will be one which takes months, but don’t toss away the concept of a UBI just because we haven’t had that discussion yet.

                    • srylands

                      “But how many people can live on that and be ok? ”

                      A sign of success would be that over the next 30 years the proportion of people making more than the guaranteed minimum rises. That is because you divert enforcement and abatement testers into useful work helping people to upskill.

                      There are many pitfalls with a universal income, but they can be worked through – no system is perfect but it offers a better solution than the current one because it gets rid of the fear (work testing) and high EMTRs (abatement) from the system.

                  • srylands

                    “Well, meds maybe, special assistance, special equipment, well – tough for them, there’s no WINZ to help them out. We can lock ‘em up when they finally go overboard, problem sorted.”

                    No there would be no WINZ. There would be a specialised crown entiity to deal with disability issues and a massive investment in dealing with mental health problems, especially in youth.

                    I didn’t say there was nothing except a minimum income, just that a universal income would replace the nightmare of work and means testing. You would shut down the crazy state aparatus dealing with work testing and overpayments and redepoy them to do useful things – i.e helping people.

                    I would also have a massivew investment to prevent reoffending and abolish all prison sentences of less than 5 years – prison as a last resort, and only for serious offences or where the public are threatened.

                    Of course to pay for all this, we need a vibrant market economy, which is where I suspect we part company.

                    • McFlock

                      Quite frankly, I’d want to double check any social policy suggested by someone who thinks that the first step involves kowtowing even more to the market economy.

                      I reckon the only reason worktesting is crazy is because tories have been running it for thirty years, and turned it into a tool of harassment rather than assistance.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I would also have a massivew investment to prevent reoffending and abolish all prison sentences of less than 5 years – prison as a last resort, and only for serious offences or where the public are threatened.

                      You’re continuing to stun me with progressive ideas

                    • Greywarbler

                      What’s happened to you. You are noting ideas that sound practical, effective and good-outcome oriented. They sound as if based on George’s Seinfeld principle that if all the time what has been done has turned out wrong, then turning right round to a different approach must be right. Of course what you hear in a comedy show can’t be taken as serious steps to a better society, but then many a true word has been spoken in jest they say.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Of course to pay for all this, we need a vibrant market economy, which is where I suspect we part company.

                      A market economy fails to produce any more wealth due to the simple fact that the amount of wealth that can be generated is dependent upon the actual resources available.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  20k is affordable. Wages averaged across the entire adult population is about 40k so that would leave another 20k that everyone could earn by working. Of course, that does mean that CEO salaries and similar will have to come down.

                  Also, the reason why I think it should be that high is that it should be enough to allow people to be entrepreneurial rather than the slightly less than subsistence existence that the present welfare provides which really only wastes a huge amount of talent.

                  Our present system is, quite literally, rewarding the wrong people.

            • Rhinocrates

              Exactly. I had an encounter with a WINZ lackey a while back that showed that their job is now to prevent the poor from getting benefits and off the lists. She was rude, ignorant and her only sparks of intelligence were aimed at blocking any claims. She tried to conceal her identity from me, but I found out that her name is Carmila. She works at Wellington’s Willis St office. Note that and record any conversation you have with her. She’s one of many.

              Name and shame them.

              • infused

                Going back a good 11 years now, when I was on the dole, the chick told me, they get bonuses for getting people off the benefit.

                Also, last time I was in one of these places, it was all opened planned.

              • johnm

                Hi RhinoCrates
                You’re brave, many would be dismayed and disheartened dealing with this darkness, keep the light shining mate. 🙂

                • Rhinocrates

                  I’m not brave – just a bloody stubborn Scottish bastard. Underestimating that quality has got some presumptuous arseholes (hello Massey “university”!) in trouble and out of pocket before though…

              • Chooky

                @ Rhinocrates

                Well Carmila poor girl did not know what she was dealing with …is all I can say …I almost feel sorry for her …smile

                ….except that begging for a life support benefit is no joking matter!….it is humiliating to good NZers and it should NOT happen in a caring society !!!!

                ….This is why the real Labour Party must get back into being a voice for all the people, especially those vulnerable at the bottom of the economic heap…and be a viable force for those 800,000+ disaffected Labour who did not vote last time.

                • Rhinocrates

                  This is why the real Labour Party must get back into being a voice for all the people

                  Yeah, Labour isn’t the party of the bloated middle class ageing yuppies like Goff and Mallard. We poor aren’t all roof-painting bludgers and that’s why I don’t feel at all sad about the hypocrite Mumblefuck’s resignation.

                  Hopefully that arsehole didn’t go too late and hopefully his cronies won’t have too much influence after.

                  That’s a lot to hope for, I know…

                • Rhinocrates

                  Well Carmila poor girl did not know what she was dealing with

                  They take their money and they stamp on us for their coins. Never pity them. Name them and expose them.

              • srylands

                “I reckon the only reason worktesting is crazy is because tories have been running it for thirty years, and turned it into a tool of harassment rather than assistance.”

                The state should assist people to find work. But it should not be a “test” i.e linked to threats to reduce someone’s income. You can’t control that system.

                • weka

                  “The state should assist people to find work.”

                  The state should run the economy so there are enough jobs.

                  • srylands

                    “The state should run the economy so there are enough jobs.”

                    When you have 20% of students not graduating from high school, that is impossible. What are they going to do? Who would employ them? To do what, exactly in a modern society?

                    • Rhinocrates

                      Here’s a hint – when you ask a rhetorical question, you’d better have an answer ready right away, otherwise people will come up with their own, and they won’t be the answers you want.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      NZers don’t “graduate” from High School.

                      And your 20% number is made up.

                      Further it doesn’t matter if you have a uni education, you’re just as likely to be unemployed in the USA now.

                      We are creating a financialised economy which does not need workers.

                    • weka

                      You don’t need to graduate from high school in order to be able to work. Or learn a trade or skill. So that’s not really a useful measure of anything.

                      There is plenty of work needing doing, so that’s not an issue either.

                      That leaves how to pay them. And we have plenty of options there if we really wanted to take them – fairly distributing wealth, and relocalising economies. If the effort that WINZ and the MSD put into punishing benes instead went to supporting people wanting to be self-employed or set up businesses that fed the local economy*, the picture would change immensely.

                      *rather than the global economy.

                      Plus there are going to be a percentage of people who can live on the $300/wk UBI (although I tend to think the UBI should be tied to some expectation of contribution to society).

                      I’m guessing the reason none of that is obvious to you is because you can’t see past neoliberal economic ideology and theory.

                    • srylands

                      “You don’t need to graduate from high school in order to be able to work. Or learn a trade or skill. So that’s not really a useful measure of anything.”

                      Yes you do. Without NCEA L2 you can forget about a trade in NZ. Simple as that.

                      “If the effort that WINZ and the MSD put into punishing benes instead went to supporting people wanting to be self-employed or set up businesses that fed the local economy*, the picture would change immensely.

                      So get rid of WINZ and work tests and income tests so there is no dreaded WINZ debt.

                      *rather than the global economy.”

                      No our future is exactly the opposite of what you are proposing – the future is in serving the global economy. All our efforts should be devoted to playing a leading role in APEC integration and the WTO. Otherwise we will end up looking a bit like a temperate Samoa, with a similar GDP per capita.

                      One of the (few) good aspects of the 5th Labour government is that Clark/Cullen/Goff realised this objective and pursued it. Nothing will change with the 6th Labour Government.

                      There’s a lesson: “should” is not the same as “is” and it never will be.

                      What “is” is globalisation. It will be pursued full steam ahead by the Labour/Green government after the 2014 election, which they are likely to win.

                      Try to think about that.

                    • srylands

                      “We are creating a financialised economy which does not need workers.”

                      We will always need workers. We will need bartenders to serve all the tourists for a start.

                      We need dairy workers.

                      Why do we import Samoans to pick crops?

                      I pay a cleaner $70 to clean my house every week. He looks like a worker to me – albeit running a v successful cleaning business.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Good to have the shitlands we know back in force. How rya mate?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      No our future is exactly the opposite of what you are proposing – the future is in serving the global economy.

                      Nope, the future will be a a primarily local economy with minimal international trade.

                      All our efforts should be devoted to playing a leading role in APEC integration and the WTO. Otherwise we will end up looking a bit like a temperate Samoa, with a similar GDP per capita.

                      Nope. Continue that route and we’ll end up looking like Palestine. They were owned by foreigners as well and look what happened to them. Nearly a century since the fall of the Turkish Empire and they still don’t have control of their land or their lives.

                • Rhinocrates

                  Ah yes, naive libertarians… you’re almost amusing. “Should” is your favourite word isn’t it?

                  Gravity should be less, so I don’t get sore feet, cancer shouldn’t exist so my friends don’t die, the market should be fair so everyone gets what their labour is worth, fairies should exist so everyone has their wishes granted. “Should” is such a wonderful word isn’t it?

                  Here’s a lesson: “should” is not the same as “is” and it never will be. Try to think about that.

                  • srylands

                    “Nope, the future will be a a primarily local economy with minimal international trade.”

                    Nope, the future will be a a primarily global economy with massive international trade.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Doubtful. The process of deglobalisation and deterioration in western incomes is well underway and will continue.

    • johnm 1.2

      +1 Thankyou for the good work 🙂 My impression they’re trying to bring in the fascist punitive sanctions regime already going in the U$K. It’s scary while you’re appealing with a review you’re expected to live on nothing. If you have a bastard landlord you could end up on the street, once homeless you’re not entitled to a benefit until you get an address. (Correct me if I’m wrong) This is not the Kiwi way, we are not fascist bastards though Europe has a sad history of that cruel disease.

      The 800,000 who didn’t vote last election allowed Yankey john to get in with his extremist ideology, they must get off their rears and vote the coming election.

      key’s Mum was a Jewish person who left Austria due to its fascist persecution of her people. It’s sad her son is now a fascist too persecuting the new Jews right here in NZ. 🙁

    • millsy 1.3

      Not condoning violence, but if confronted with the fact that I have no way of meeting the weeks living costs, I would be lashing out as well.

      Sometimes violence is the last resort of those who have been completely robbed off all power. And that is what the right is about — giving the powerful more power over the powerless.

      Those on a benefit need to get off their butts and…..ORGANIZE!!!

      • johnm 1.3.1

        +1 What beneficiaries are up against is institutional violence at the touch of a computer key. OOPS! that’s your living gone ’cause we sanctioned you. If you commit suicide that’s not our fault- You had to apply for 24 jobs in 24 days but only applied for 17.

  2. North 2

    7.30 this morning the first comment on Open Mike was from Xtasy and included audio links to Talkback ZB I think, wherein beneficiaries described their various experiences at the hands of WINZ.

    When I came back after double right clicking my comment in Open Mike yesterday in general support of Xtasy’s important contribution – http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-24082013/#comment-684411 – it was no longer there.

    Which is a pity. Hopefully it will reappear, allowing everyone the chance to walk in the mocassins perhaps.

    For your ears Xtasy I repeat – your contributions on this topic are important and for me, welcome. Keep it up, along with your spirits !

    • xtasy 2.1

      North – thanks, I see the comment awaiting moderation, possibly for someone to double check the audio links. I hope it will appear again soon. Maybe it will take a while, given it is early Sunday morning.

      • IrishBill 2.1.1

        If you put too many links in a comment the auto-moderation will treat it as potential spam and throw it into moderation.

        • xtasy

          IB – I understand, and try not to put too many links into posts, just this one necessitated it somehow, as 1ZB have this piecemeal kind of download option. Thanks!

          • North

            Xtasy – I listened to all the audios linked to your comment.

            The following general conclusions seem apposite –

            1. In the drive to deal with those Paula Bennett/50 million dollar 170,000 new jobs man John Key chooses to identify as unworthy, the government has created an out-of-control bureaucratic monster which even its administrators cannot leash.

            2. Treating unemployed people like rubbish, as well the ill, the physically disabled, the mentally impaired, the illiterate and innumerate, does happen on a significant scale in the execution.

            3. Stand downs for three months and more understandably induces terror. Some people in terror act badly. Of course.

            4. It is unintelligent, facile, indeed cruel for people not in the grips of such terror to “tut tut tut” when deliberately conceived and applied terror measures have ill consequences. Worse to then cite those consequences as further proof of unworthiness.

            Those are my conclusions. Now for some hard facts –

            5. To my sadness I recognised a voice on the audios as a man I have known for nearly 30 years. Very, very, very talented, decent, caring of others. Has formal training. Has addiction. I know his shame and his reaction to the terror of a 3 month standown. Variously, anger, verbal abusiveness, resort to addictive acting out, petty crime. Surprise surprise. Be honest people – just imagine out-of-the-blue being rendered destitute, penniless, for 3 months.

            6. The 70% disabled man who smashed two windows at a WINZ office late 2012 had gone to WINZ with all his bank statements and a professionally prepared budget to apply for a food grant. Incredibly he was repeatedly told, loudly and roughly in front of numerous other waiting “clients”, to go away and get a new budget – there being a 3 week waiting list to see the budgeter. The WINZ person knew that.

            7. No matter – “Go to the budgeter !” Repeatedly, in front of people. Callously, viciously, humiliated.

            8. At court he was convicted and discharged without further penalty. I was there and I am satisfied that in a heart of heart sense this man was identified by everyone present as a person inhumanly pushed to the end of his tether. That on a broad appreciation this was a justifiable act.

            There will be more of this. Key and Bennett, and the tea partiers seated behind them are the social criminals here.

            • Macro

              ” Key and Bennett, and the tea partiers seated behind them are the social criminals here.”

              Well said North.

              “There will be more of this”

              Sad but so very true.

            • xtasy

              North – you got it!

              As for those budget advisors, those services are now “financed” at a shoestring budget approach by MSD, and the rules to follow, i.e. to abide by the expectations of the Ministry and WINZ have been substantially “tightened” under NatACT, so that there is no room anymore for too much true independence and even “dared” advocacy work for them to be allowed to do. Do NOT bite the hand that feeds is the domineering approach by MSD and Bennett and her government.

              I met people on benefits, whatever types, who unfortunately only have temporary additional support available, as the more lenient, former “special benefit” has largely been phased out. They were confronted with astronomical rent increases here in Auckland, but only entitled to a capped TAS top up, which left them in situations nobody could survive under. So some had been sent to the WINZ suggested “budget advisor”, and one here in Central Auckland even clearly stated for one client I know, that no way could he survive on the benefit he was getting.

              He went to WINZ with the report, showing a clear shortfall between income and totally basic essential outgoings, and they just told him: “You will not get any more, as that is all you are entitled to!!!” So he had to lose his flat, rented for 9 years on a private market, and ended up in a cockroach infested, damp, unhealthy and overcrowded boarding house, even run illegally.

              He was fobbed off endlessly by Housing NZ, saying he had “suitable accommodation”, and in the end I and him went to the very top, and also the Herald on Sunday by the way, to raise issues, and within a week or two, he suddenly was offered at least a humbly suitable Housing NZ home, which they repeatedly claimed before he had not entitlement to.

              That is how damned rotten the system is, and sadly most do not get what they need, as they have no knowledge and strength to see it through as we did in that case. That is just one story by the way, and do not start me on many other ones, I will be here all night. WINZ and Bennett now heading the Ministry are the worst abusers and liars out there, and this must be exposed!

              • srylands


                What is NatACT?

                • xtasy

                  National ACT party dictatorship, and you are a benfactor, due to supporting it, we are the enemies, we get surveilled, and persecuted, so you fascist cunts run the show and deal to us, that is my message.. [deleted]

                  [lprent: Ok – I missed that. You are now on notice of a rather long banning if I see this happen again. And my toleration level just dropped. ]

                • xtasy

                  srylands – my angry comment was not to be meant literally, of course, but it disturbs and dismays me what this government is dishing out to sick, disabled and some sole parents on benefits now. As I am affected, I am furious about what I see and hear. NatACT is the combination of the villains behind it, and some of their thinking resembles a soft form of fascism. That is where I am coming from.

                  • srylands

                    So why do you think I am an apologist for the Government’s benefits policies? I have posted repeatedly that I support dismantling the punitve apparatus that seeks to punish beneficiaries.

                    • xtasy

                      “Of course to pay for all this, we need a vibrant market economy, which is where I suspect we part company.”

                      While some of your ideas may sound ok and sensible, others are just ideologically coloured, and more of what this government is already doing or planning to do.

                      The market economy will never allow for social fairness for disabled and longer term sick with incapacities, as they will never be able to compete in a “vibrant market economy”, except perhaps very few.

                      Competing with fit and healthy for jobs will continue to be a problem. A universal income of $ 300 is not going to allow for most to survive reasonably and humanely, certainly not in Auckland, and I feel you are not having the real answers to solve existing issues effectively and fairly.

                    • srylands

                      “The market economy will never allow for social fairness for disabled and longer term sick with incapacities.”

                      Well I would be surprised if the incoming Labour Government actually dismantles the market economy.

                      In fact I predict the incoming Left Government will institute less ambitious changes to the benefits system than I am proposing. Under Labour you will still have the general WINZ apparatus that punishes beneficaries – you know the one I am sugegsting should be dismantled, and for which you suggested that I should be hung from a lampost?

                      You may want the market economy overturned and for NZ to withdraw from the WTO and on and on, but it is not going to happen. A guaranteed minimum income and an end to beneficary bashing on the other hand, is a realistic objective. Advocating it does not warrant my hanging.

                    • xtasy

                      I did not state that the total abolition of a market economy was necessary, only that disabled and sick with incapacities would not be able to compete and would thus not be treated fairly and socially equally. So there will always be special needs such people have and that must be met.

                      As for WINZ and abolishing it, whatever would replace it will inevitably have to cater for normal unemployed and others unable to work, on a case by case basis. Letting an agency like IRD look after them, or privatising it all, that will lead to even worse outcomes.

                      I am not taking this further, as I made my point and am mindful of presence here being screened by other agencies, that this government has empowered to do more, for “security” and whatever else. It pays to be very careful now.

                    • srylands

                      “As for WINZ and abolishing it, whatever would replace it will inevitably have to cater for normal unemployed and others unable to work, on a case by case basis. Letting an agency like IRD look after them, or privatising it all, that will lead to even worse outcomes.”

                      Just a final word to clarify my views –

                      WINZ would be replaced with nothing. Because there would be no social welfare system to administer. Everyone would receive a guaranteed income.

                      Unemployed people would be given employment assistance by a new agency with a focus on assisting people to fins work or training.

                      I also advocate a massive increase in assistance for the disabled and sick. mental health care in NZ is a disgrace (for example).

                      IRD would be out of the picture and there would be no privatisation of such services. (IRD is there to collect tax.)

                      I am convinced that a government cannot provide such services if it is also maintaining the current WINZ machine that focus on administering income and work tests (and inevitably pursuing “overpayments”).

                    • weka

                      I am convinced that a government cannot provide such services if it is also maintaining the current WINZ machine that focus on administering income and work tests (and inevitably pursuing “overpayments”).

                      I agree, but the govt would still need a department to administer income. And supplementary benefits. How else are you going to take into account individual circumstances?

    • weka 3.1

      From the same link

      Both Fitzsimons and Locke seemed sad to see former leader David Shearer depart.

      Fitzsimons said it was “a shame that being a good and principled and honest and caring person is not enough to be prime minister because I think David Shearer was all of those things . . . I think it’s sad that in politics, really good people often don’t make it”.

  3. North 4

    Archetypal feral Michael Laws. Imagine taking the tragic example of two people, that’s right, two people to brand much, much wider ? And this vicious, narcissistic polemicist fancies he’s fit to resume a mayoralty ?


    • ak 4.1

      Ae, Lhaws. The vicious, demented stoat of politics taking yet another lunge at the neck of the weakest. Toxic filth personified, an evil spectre lurking round poor old Whanganui, the pervading stench of shit dooming its proud heritage until the day this mutant mustelid is eliminated.

      And well done Xtacy – keep on exposing the truths they try to bury in the wee hours, much appreciated.

    • Morrissey 4.2

      Get in contact with him, North. I did in February last year, as you will see if you click on the link. Just a warning, my friend: Laws is not a serious or thoughtful correspondent, so don’t take it personally when he calls you a sickness beneficiary or a loon. That’s just his way of engaging with people.

      Here’s that correspondence I was talking about….

      Open mike 22/02/2012

      • North 4.2.1

        Thanks Morrissey but I won’t bother writing to Laws……..narcissistic feral is narcissistic feral after all.

    • millsy 4.3


      It a nasty word that Laws uses to dehumanise those he despises.

      We should be thankful that the guy ended up leaving parliament. The thought of him in cabinet leaves me cold. Its people like him that end up dressing in unfiforms and making stiff armed salutes, and having undesireables exterminated.

      • chris73 4.3.1

        Annnd Godwins law strikes again…

      • srylands 4.3.2

        “Feral” is an apt description for the same group of people. It is used widely in the UK and in Australia, including by the Left. Interesting essay by Mark Latham covered the growing problem of a feral underclass in Australia.


        “According to Latham, poverty isn’t about a lack of money. The dole is generous enough to cover people’s basic needs, he says. It isn’t about a lack of opportunity either. He says our thriving post-Keating economy has plenty of jobs for those with the ambition to pursue them.

        “According to Latham, the real problem is an underclass mired in a culture of poverty. It’s a group of people trapped by shared sense of hopelessness and a pervasive lack of aspiration. Instead of taking responsibility, these people have gone feral “leading lives of welfare dependency, substance abuse and street crime.”

        You could say much the same about New Zealand.

        • millsy

          You want the poor to live on the street dont you.

          And you want to take money off people as well.

          • srylands

            “You want the poor to live on the street dont you.

            And you want to take money off people as well.”

            No on the contrary. I would very much like to see a universal income of $15,000 per year for everyone over 18, and a guaranteed State house (or flat) for everyone who wants one. Nothing flash, but basically the state guarantees a basic income and a basic house.

        • weka

          ““Feral” is an apt description for the same group of people”

          There’s already a subculture of people in Australia called ‘ferals’.


  4. Saarbo 5

    The subtext of Matt McCarten’s, HoS article is pushing for Robertson over Cunliffe. I get the impression that McCarten has always been afraid of Cunliffe, I suspect he feels that Cunliffe will cannibalize voters from Mana, more so than Robertson.


    Anyway, I liked his second last paragraph…I think he has a good point here:

    “Personal support for National and Key is a mile wide – but only an inch thick. In any event, the possibility of National sleepwalking to victory at the next election evaporated this week.”

    • bad12 5.1

      i would have said that personal support for National and Slippery the PM was miles thick but a mere inch wide…

      • tc 5.1.1

        Agree they rely heavily on key and a fawning MSM cheering his every move.

        If DC gets the gig and he places hard working focused shadow ministers across the main areas the house of cards will crumble.

        I mean who are labours spokespeople on education, justice, welfare, industrial relations, resources and environment under DS as they should be all over crusher, benefit, bridges to nowhere, nickless smith etc.

        • bad12

          One of them at least, Fran O’Sullivan apparently got ‘a slap’ for Her piece of ‘Jonolism’ in yesterday’s Herald,

          i didn’t see the retraction, but, it was reported in yesterdays Open Mike that O’Sullivans ‘opinion piece’ of that day had to be pulled and replaced with the retraction after O’Sullivan had claimed Council of Trade Unions Prez Helen Kelly had said that the Union Affiliates to the Labour Party would be ‘block voting’ in the contest to decide the next leader of Labour and Prime Minister after 2014,

          A total crock of course, Helen Kelly made no such statement and it is virtually impossible, from what i understand, for the Union Affiliates to ‘block vote’ on this issue,

          My view is that the Herald should get some ‘decent’ opinion writers that show some balance of opinion equally across the political spectrum on a daily basis, and i know that’s a forlorn thing to call for, i will ‘see God’ befor i ever get to see the mass media in this country exercise that political balance on a daily basis across the spectrum,

          For Her abysmal efforts at ‘Jonolism’ the Herald’s Fran O’sullivan is the recipient of a much coveted ‘Golden Turd Award’ for dis-services to truthful and unbiased journalism in New Zealand…

  5. (a review of ‘the nation’..)



    “….williams then talks utter shite..by saying he wants shane jones to run..(!) (‘can i do a shout out to my best friend shane..?..rachel..?.’.)

    (and funny story..!..williams relates how labour (under his presidency) received its’ lowest vote ever..

    ..and he seems to be puzzled by this/looking around for someone to blame..(!)..

    ..get thee to a mirror..!..mike..!..)..”

    phillip ure..

    • fender 7.1

      I’m pleased the self-proclaimed “newcomer” Andrew Little has the nous to admit that the job of leader is one he is far from being ready for. If only Shearer had done the same thing 20 months ago!

  6. A Short Plank 8

    Heads up – the TPP has little to do with Free Trade and even less to do with Fair Trade:


  7. Morrissey 9

    Lyse Doucet: “I am there for those without a voice.”

    Radio NZ National Mediawatch, Sunday 25 August 2013

    I don’t know which was more depressing: hearing Lyse Doucet pretend to be a respectful and serious journalist, or the supremely ignorant comment by Colin Peacock at the end of this cozy little interview.

    Lyse Doucet has recently been appointed as the Chief International Correspondent for BBC World News. She made a flying visit to New Zealand and was interviewed by her old friend and colleague Colin Peacock….

    LYSE DOUCET: We really do want Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security side by side. …. The great moral leaders of our age say that if you don’t take a side, you are siding with the oppressor. I have always found that there are stories on both sides of a conflict. … I do take a side—on the side of people. I do speak out when I see injury, suffering, abuse and impunity. I do take a side. I am there for those without a voice.

    COLIN PEACOCK: How do you deal with criticism of your journalism?

    LYSE DOUCET: I welcome criticism—as long as it’s not done to score a point or because someone has an agenda. … When I get negative Twitter messages, unless I think there is an agenda and I have no control over that, I respond with kindness. Some people are on a certain campaign… I always say journalism is story-telling. I listen to our competitors. I listen to Al Jazeera, and Russia Today.

    COLIN PEACOCK: [snorting] But some of those are backed by the state, aren’t they, in a way that is different to the BBC obviously….

    Nine years ago, Glasgow writer and blogger John Hilley, one of those point-scorers with an agenda, was trying to get Lyse Doucet to explain her fawning coverage of a glamorous U.S. general….

    • North 9.1

      Hey Morrissey……. Lanthanide thinks you’re dumb –

      Open mike 24/08/2013

      Then Mr Smith says to Lanthanide – “No…….you’re dumb


      Further down, Lanthanide unrepentant.

      Cha !

      • North 9.1.1

        Sorry Morrissey………messed up those links. Check out Open Mike 24/8/13 @ 22, 22.1 and 22.1.1

        Good fun. Await your response.

      • Morrissey 9.1.2

        Thanks for the heads-up, my friend. Lanthanide is an old buddy of mine, in the cyber sense of the word of course. When one sees one’s oeuvre described as “strident raving”, even if it is by a buddy, it’s not nice, of course, but I’ve been served up much worse on this forum.

        Lanthanide remains a good friend, even if we disagree occasionally. For instance, I would not support the siting of a nuclear power station in Christchurch.

  8. Not a PS Staffer 10

    On Q&A
    Anger management problem boy Hipkins trying to avoid a contest.
    Like all ABCs he beleives that matters should be sorted behind closed doors.
    His is a caucus centric view of the party that has to be removed.

    A future ambassador to Nuie.

    • Murray Olsen 10.1

      What have Niueans ever done to you that makes you want to wish Hipkins on them?

  9. North 11

    How refreshing to see Russell Norman refusing to comment on the Labour leadership, saying “That’s Labour’s business”.

    Very refreshing against all the rest, each attempting to demonstrate their omnipresence. Prebble for example. Why the hell would anyone take seriously that mad dog of a scab, about anything ?

  10. Not a PS Staffer 12

    People who have been financial members of the Labour Party
    sometime between January 1 2011 and August 22 2013
    but have not yet paid their membership for 2013
    can renew their membership and vote,
    so long as they do so before 12.00am on Friday 6 September.

    This can be done by opening this link:


  11. Jackal 13

    Amusing how the feed from Brian Edwards’ latest post ‘On the extremely rare danger of overestimating Labour Party stupidity!’ starts off with: Normal 0 false false false. LOL!

  12. helen clark has endorsed cunnliffe for the top-job..



    “….with the only revelation being williams saying that helen clark thinks that cunnliffe is the best man for the job….”

    phillip ure..

  13. Colonial Viper 15

    Another “The Secret Diary”…this time of David Shearer


    • bad12 15.1

      Lolz, amusing, i have been refraining from taking the piss in any way as far as Dave goes, good little kid i am showing a little respect for His feelings which i cannot say He fully earned with the ‘Bene on the roof speech’…

      • Colonial Viper 15.1.1

        I hope Shearer stands again in Mt Albert. He would make an excellent Cabinet Minister and I look forwards to seeing him in action in Government.

        • Rhinocrates

          If he thinks beneficiaries and teachers are useful public sacrifices, then the bastard can go to Hell.

  14. ak 16

    From the Paris Design Week self-portraits, it looks like the great and continuing quest for Tory Art might have have some slim joy in the next generation…..maybe even the mythological Tory Humour and Tory Compassion might be based on a distant reality, who knows? (so very glad she ordered chips with that…)

    • Linz 16.1

      That will go down well with the Old Nats in the Otago Electorate. Let them eat Macs.

    • millsy 16.2

      1) What the PM’s daughter does is no one elses business and..

      2) I hope one day we get a PM’s offspring who go to the local co-ed/uni/polytech.

      • TheContrarian 16.2.1

        “2) I hope one day we get a PM’s offspring who go to the local co-ed/uni/polytech.”

        Why? What difference does it make where there PM’s daughter/son go to be educated?

        • felix

          None whatsoever.

          Just like it makes no difference where the PM takes holidays.

          Just like it makes no difference where the PM has chosen to spend most of his life.

          These are all isolated, unrelated questions and none on its own says anything about the PM’s connection to our country.

          • TheContrarian

            “Just like it makes no difference where the PM takes holidays.” Not the PM’s son

            “Just like it makes no difference where the PM has chosen to spend most of his life.” Not the PM’s son

            “These are all isolated, unrelated questions and none on its own says anything about the PM’s connection to our country.” Not the PM’s son.

            So any comment on why it matters where the PM’s child is educated?

          • TheContrarian

            “Not the PM’s son” should read “Not the PM’s children”

      • srylands 16.2.2

        “2) I hope one day we get a PM’s offspring who go to the local co-ed/uni/polytech.”


        • felix

          Some of us prefer representatives to uberlords.

        • srylands

          This is ridiculous. What parent would not celebrate a chance for a child to attend the Paris Art School rather than Weltech in Petone? In fact we should all celebrate it.

          • Colonial Viper

            That’s education on the right side of the train tracks for yer

          • felix

            What parent would not celebrate a chance for a child to attend the Paris Art School

            So what srylands? Doesn’t make Key any more representative of the people than any of the other trappings of his international jet-set lifestyle.

  15. Colonial Viper 17

    In spy lingo “SIGINT” is “signals intelligence”. So what is “LOVEINT”?

    National Security Agency officers on several occasions have channeled their agency’s enormous eavesdropping power to spy on love interests, U.S. officials said.

    And I bet that is just the start. Making money on stocks and bonds suddenly becomes a hell of a lot easier when you have access to the emails of Apple senior management.


    • Bill 18.1

      Hmm. Used to have some regard for Ames. But that piece, fairly packed with innuendo as well as fact, alongside an interview he recently did where he dissed Snowdon – being more concerned with wanking on about his own time in Russia, how terrible the Russian state is and how Snowdon will become a lackey, are kind of shifting my perceptions quite fast.

  16. NZ Femme 20

    And Grant Robertson is the first to throw his hat in the ring:


    • Saarbo 20.1

      Grant Robinson was just provided with 6 minutes of TV3 news by Paddy. mmm I wonder if he has been Paddy’s “inside leaker”. I thought the contestants were going to be announced tomorrow.

      • NZ Femme 20.1.1

        Not sure. I know they have until 10.00pm tomorrow evening to declare their intentions to run. Stuck at work until 8.00pm so missed the news…bugger.

    • Rhinocrates 20.2

      Fingers crossed, eventual failure will teach the overstuffed bastard some much-needed humility.

  17. Greywarbler 21

    I’ve been away and have just caught up with the scurrilous little NACT badmouth piece on the Shearer stepdown on National Radio. They interviewed seemingly, every one of the NACT cabinet and they all put their poisoned daggers in to Labour. With a lot of specious nonsense implying that Labour were awful and they by contrast were good and wise. A very, little comment from the Greens and Winston.

    Finlayson’s remark on the Labour caucus being feral was spiteful and Poorer Benefit commenting was laughable right wing populist stuff which she excels in. A number of speakers gave Shearer the faint praise of being a nice person, as if that was the difference between him and the other Labour contenders.

    Opponents say Shearer couldn’t handle a feral caucus ( 3′ 31″ ) Friday 23/8/13
    06:38 Just 20 months after David Shearer beat David Cunliffe in a battle to replace
    Phil Goff as leader of the Labour Party, the party is now beginning the process of selecting a new leader.

  18. just saying 22

    Hi LPrent,
    The Standard has been going back in time, for me at least. Three times I returned to the site and each time there were less comments on the Robertson post. And a different picture. Last time this sort of thing happened there were serious problems. Hope it’s okay this time.

  19. xtasy 23

    Just downloaded this, BUT …

    This is all a bit over boisterous, by the socialist leaders of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and so forth, but it may be good for the spirit.

    AND to worry –

    SORRY guys, this is maybe my final message here! There are highly suspicious things happening to my browser and other things, and I cannot exclude the fact this site and traffic to and from it are now being surveilled 24/7. Some unexplained and very strange things are happening.

    I am fearful and frightened, and I will advise everybody to no longer communicate via internet and blogs in NZ, and resort to letters and physical means of tradition.

    We are BEING WATCHED and SURVEILLED here, 24/7, and I have NO doubt about it, and I now realise what RedLogix mentioned last night!!!

    This country is under threat, real threat, we are being surveilled and there is NO MORE real freedom here, you would have to be brainwashed and ignorant to not understand.

    I am signing off, sorry, maybe for good.


  20. srylands 24

    “srylands …
    25 August 2013 at 10:52 pm

    What is NatACT?

    xtasy …
    26 August 2013 at 2:28 am
    National ACT party dictatorship, and you are a benfactor, due to supporting it, we are the enemies, we get surveilled, and persecuted, so you fascist cunts run the show and deal to us, that is my message.. [deleted]


    This seems OTT behaviour.

    [lprent: It is. Usually a moderator would give a rather stern warning/banning over any suggestion or encouragement of violence towards groups or individuals (and X has already had a warning so it’d likely have been banning).

    However I was asleep for most of the last couple of days after doing an over-nighter working on this site last week. I prefer to ban within hours of the offense to maximize the effect on others. So X gets a pass this time

    But I’ll warn X again with an escalation. Thanks for highlighting it ]

    • fender 24.1


      [lprent: are you really looking for a ban? ]

    • xtasy 24.2

      Just responded to your earlier post at the top, it is over the top, apologies, but was not meant literally of course. I have seen similar stuff on sites like Whaleoil’s and even hints of it on Kiwiblog. As one affected by soft forms of fascism by this government, I have been through hell, so I have little sympathy for anyone supporting NatACT style government (National – ACT Party aligned policies).

      [lprent: Doesn’t matter if it is on Whaleoil or the Kiwiblog. What matters to me is if it is written here. In this case I didn’t see it within a reasonable timeframe and obviously no other moderator did either.

      However I’ve now marked you down for a double up ban next time. I seem to remember that you’re already been banned for this previously. If so, then you’d be looking at about 4 weeks ban. I’d suggest that you proceed very cautiously because I will be looking for it. ]

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago