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Sick bastards

Written By: - Date published: 7:07 am, July 18th, 2013 - 68 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, national, welfare - Tags: , ,

My default mood on politics is a kind of resigned irritation. But this – this makes me genuinely angry:

Welfare now has health warning

Doctors have been told that putting patients on welfare is akin to putting them on “an addictive debilitating drug … not dissimilar to smoking”.

Tough new welfare reforms that came into force yesterday include a new “work capacity” medical certificate that urges doctors not to put their patients off work if they can avoid it.

It says on the cover and again as a note at the top of the certificate itself: “The evidence is compelling: for most individuals, working improves health and wellbeing and reduces psychological distress.”

The Ministry of Social Development’s principal health adviser, Dr David Bratt, told general practitioners last year that the health risks of long-term worklessness were equivalent to smoking 10 cigarettes a day – a “greater risk than most dangerous jobs”. He said welfare benefits were “an addictive, debilitating drug with significant adverse effects to both the patient and their family (whanau) – not dissimilar to smoking”.

The social welfare safety-net is one of New Zealand’s proudest achievements. Historically we were world leaders, and the helping hand in times of need fit well with our egalitarian society and out “fair go” ethic. Since the 1991 Mother of All Budgets the safety-net has been under attack. The last Labour government did not do enough to repair it. And now National wants to tear it apart.

National want to re-frame the safety-net as “an addictive debilitating drug”. In their world beneficiaries are not ordinary people in trouble, in need of help. They are addicts, weak, to blame. In their world you are doing an addict a favour by kicking them off welfare. See how it works?

Like most effective lies National’s framing of welfare as addiction is wrapped in the garb of truth. It is true that work is good for us – of course it is! It is true that being out of work is correlated with many negative factors. The Nats’ lie is to deliberately confuse cause and effect. Welfare does not cause people to be out of work – welfare is where people go when they cannot work (or there is no work). Welfare does not cause negative factors – it is the inability to work that causes them, welfare is a protection from even worse outcomes!

OK – got it – here it is in fewer words. National are blaming the bandage for the wound.

Nats are constitutionally mean and they resent every cent spent on welfare. They want our consent to keep kicking people off it as fast as they can (though none of them can answer the question of what happens to the people so “culled”). They hope that they can get our consent by re-framing New Zealand’s social safety-net as a dangerous addiction. This is the work of very sick bastards indeed.

68 comments on “Sick bastards”

  1. muzza 1

    Neo-liberal dogma, money as debt, offshore borrowing, unaccountable departments, private control over public funds, off-shoring, out-sourcing, bail outs, lies, fraud, corruption, etc etc etc

    Nothing addictive in any of those /sarc,

    These deflecting tactics will been seen for the bile they are!

    Good article, r0b

    • aerobubble 1.1

      Long term welfare dependency shows up the government failure to its due care duties. It was only a matter of time that the National party would start calling the failure of its governance, the failure of the almighty powerful trillion dollar entity. A personal responsibility problem of the most marginalized (by government legislation putting onerous compliance costs on businesses, building sprawling ghettos, leaving the tail behind, having kids turn up at school without shoes, etc, etc) and dis-empowered. This is hardly surprising from the party of the wealthiest.

  2. Mary 2

    This is the sort of “evidence” Work and Income is using to try to persuade doctors not to issue medical certificates, particularly in relation to the invalid’s benefit (now the supported living payment). It’s a complete outrage because it assumes a professional medical opinion can be overridden by non-medical data, and which in any case is at best broad-based speculation dressed up as “research”. Even if it is based on some kind of evidence, Work and Income’s Dr Bratt makes the grave error of trying to identify causal links between broad observation and specific medical conditions an individual may suffer from. xtasy is the expert on all of this but for what it’s worth, what’s going on here is just as bad if not worse than ACC using their lackey doctors to kick people off weekly compensation, but of course nobody cares because we’re only talking about beneficiaries and beneficiaries don’t really count, not even by the courts anymore.

    Click to access David-Bratt-Benefit-Sunshine.pdf

    http://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/in-print/2012/august-2012/1-august-2012/harms-lurk-for-benefit-addicts.aspx

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    So if “worklessness” is such a dangerous state for long term health, both major political parties have plans in place to urgently create a state of “workfulness” for the nation instead, right?

    • Te Reo Putake 3.1

      Crikey, CV, if this worklessness is really so bad, you might need to get a check up yourself 😉

  4. infused 4

    Heh, I doubt doctors would care anyway. They hand out med certs like candy. I can’t ever take time off, but when I wasn’t working for myself I remember getting a virus. I was fine actually, as I was leaving, doc said ‘you want a med cert’.

    So yeah, I can’t see this having any impact.

    • framu 4.1

      Are you talking a doctors certificate for absence from work to show your employer or a medical certificate for the purposes of validating your presence on the sickness benefit?

      They are quite different

    • felix 4.2

      Not the same thing at all infused.

      WINZ med certs for work capacity are a very specific document, nothing like those ones your doctor writes up to give you a day or two off work, and doctors do not hand them out willy nilly.

      How’s the Party coming along btw? Got your 500 signed up yet?

      • infused 4.2.1

        Ah ok. Well I have no idea what those certs are there.

        Ah give it a rest mate. I never even went to the Facebook site. Couldn’t care less to be honest. Seems now he’s trying to sell it, or his GF to use the money for a party?

        Good scammer.

        • felix 4.2.1.1

          Ah sorry, for some reason I thought you were one of the sponsors.

          I withdraw and apologize.

    • muzza 4.3

      I can’t ever take time off

      Thanks for the bias confirmation!

    • tracey 4.4

      you had one experience to base your opinion. nats must love you. people like you make it so easy for them to manipulate the electorate

  5. King Kong 5

    Don’t let the expert advice on this matter stop you from championing the rights of the malingerer.

    • Rosetinted 5.1

      KK
      There’s probably an expert I could find somewhere who would certify you as delusional and mentally unfit to comment on anything, and certainly on this blog. Stick to your natural home over at Kiwiblog.

      • King Kong 5.1.1

        Though the principal health advisor to the Ministry of Social development is not just “finding some expert” is it.

        Of course you commies have a bit of form for locking away dissenting views under the guise of mental illness.

        • King Kong 5.1.1.1

          Is there a reason my comments are in moderation?

          [r0b: there was an old (1 week?) ban still in place, I have removed it.]

        • tracey 5.1.1.2

          you mean like when trwasury says the convention centre deal is not good?

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.3

          Though the principal health advisor to the Ministry of Social development is not just “finding some expert” is it.

          No, that’s a specific instance of National finding an “expert” that agrees with them.

          • Arfamo 5.1.1.3.1

            Exactly. The old “ here is our conclusion: who can we find who will accept a large salary to pretend to justify it “.

  6. Zorr 6

    Well, the one thing I noticed when I first read this (a couple of days ago now) is that it is joblessness that leads to the declining health, not the welfare. However, as with all good National patsy’s, don’t let that get in the way of the logical disconnect you need to make in order to make your argument.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      +1

      Joblessness is akin to not having a role or purpose in a capitalist society.

      • weka 6.1.1

        If that were true then all the housewives in the past without paid work would have been ill.

        • s y d 6.1.1.1

          good point…joblessness…not necessarily paid work, but I’m thinking more some sense of worth and participation/connectedness.

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.1

            that’s more what I meant.

            If that were true then all the housewives in the past without paid work would have been ill.

            Decades ago society had expectations of the housewife/mother role being properly fulfilled. Mothers were expected to clothe, educate and feed their children well. People would stand up and give up their train or bus seat for a pregnant woman.

            Many women cheered when this kind of traditional expectations were done away with.

            These things do not exist today. Capitalism in its current incarnation values only profit making work. Work emotionally caring for other people is the lowest paid and lowest valued work of all.

            • McFlock 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Well, there are two ways to “do away with” those expectations.

              One is to expect nobody to clothe/educate/.feed kids well. And for people who have no trouble standing to refuse to give up their seat (like that “1A” airline passenger who delayed a flight because she refused to allow a disabled person to sit in “her” seat).

              The other is for all “caregivers” to be expected to raise kids, attend daycare, etc, and for everybody to be a bit more considerate of those who might find standing to be more difficult than themselves. I think that those do still exist, although I agree that they have been attacked by the plutocracy.

              I received a particular book as a birthday present several years ago, called “How to be a Gentleman”. Little maxims of social etiquette for this day and age. Most of the maxims concerned basic courtesy, rather than arranging the silverware for 20-course banquets and tying bow ties. The gist would be “don’t hold a door open for a woman just because she’s a woman, but do check behind you to make sure that you’re not going to slam the door in someone’s face”.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.2

          Exactly and it’s probably true that most people on a benefit engage in some sort of work and for some of those people getting a job will actually get in the way of that work and cause a net loss to society. Being in paid work isn’t always the best use of peoples time but, as it enriches a the already rich, National want to force people into it.

  7. Rosetinted 7

    These NACT politicians under the neo liberal umbrella, are just playing again the scenario when slavery took place. There was a highly profitable circuit with three cargoes, all paying well, I think it was slaves, rum, and ? On the basis that all profitable business is sanctified by the possession of money, then one isn’t worse than another, and how profits are made is of minor importance. And those who can’t climb up the ladder of money making just have their fingers stamped on till their grip weakens and they fall.

    So caring about your neighbour, your fellow citizen, putting back the same proportions into society as you earn in a fair way, all go out the window. This simple creature, the aspirational wealthy person, the profit-centred businessperson, this god amongst men, this queen of societal position and comfort, this gliding gilded lily in the latest fashion, they are completely brainwashed and dazzled by their own brilliance as nouveau riche.

    A tendency for cool patronising critique of the rest of the world seems inherent in us all. In Britain there was the fun/serious classification of U or NonU. In NZ there are those who want to wear a swanky label garment with it sewn on the outside. There is the little group of professionals, or civil servants, or sports teams old boys, or ‘hooray henrys’, who sit together at public meetings, drink together, watch together at their children’s sports matches, no mixing with the Others. And its just a short step in NZ from self-satisfied disdain of lower income, no-er income, sick, druggies, addicted gamblers etc. to depriving them of standing as humans at all.

    Now they are just a burden on the wealthy who have better things to spend their money on, overseas trips, label clothes, new European cars – BMW, Mercedes are popular, plus the ubiquitous garden shed on wheels, then there are the glittery baubles at Michael Hill, the music lessons for the violin performances he sponsors, the lovely food, the tasting of wine. There are better things to do with money than pay a fair share of tax and give some recompense to those others who have been forced out of jobs because of bad commercial deals by the government that have given away tariffs and the way they prefer to buy everything overseas, while demeaning the unemployed here, all the while exhorting the wonders of NZ.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      So caring about your neighbour, your fellow citizen, putting back the same proportions into society as you earn in a fair way, all go out the window. This simple creature, the aspirational wealthy person, the profit-centred businessperson, this god amongst men, this queen of societal position and comfort, this gliding gilded lily in the latest fashion, they are completely brainwashed and dazzled by their own brilliance as nouveau riche.

      Money on the Mind
      And do watch all of that video.

    • Chooky 7.2

      Like your comments and analysis Rosetinted…for one who wears rosetinted glasses you sure as hell see clearly ….

  8. Rosetinted 8

    National want to re-frame the safety-net as “an addictive debilitating drug”. In their world beneficiaries are not ordinary people in trouble, in need of help. They are addicts, weak, to blame. In their world you are doing an addict a favour by kicking them off welfare. See how it works?

    This is the thinking that led religious zealots to burn witches. They were purifying the person, burning away their sin and readying them for entry to God’s heaven. Otherwise they would have been plunged into eternal damnation in hell. Doing them a favour! Having to be cruel to be kind! See how it works!

  9. Rosetinted 9

    What a piece of work is man – feature for the week – Dr David Bratt and his doing-in on google.

    http://www.tumeke.blogspot.co.nz/2010/11/welfare-razor-gang-leaked-report-night.html

    on acc forum heading – . An enthusiastic follower of the perverted “bio-psycho-social model” …
    on gpcme – . Dr David Bratt, Principal Health Advisor to the Ministry of Social ….. CSL Biotherapies. 31.
    on nzdoctor – you seem to need to pay to see whether they have anything worthwhile to say.
    Probably more concerned with doctors making money and advertising promotion for drug companies.

    • weka 9.1

      Can’t quite figure out what that post by Bomber is. He says something about a leak, then gives no citations, and posts a letter without saying who it is by.

      Yes there are very real concerns about what is happening. But scaremongering doesn’t help the vulnerable people most affected.

  10. burt 10

    I agree rOb, people loved being owned by the state.

    • Rosetinted 10.1

      burt
      Everybody is owned by the state – you too. And if we didn’t have a state but just lords or princelings, then if you were one of those, there would be a top one who would be over you.. And you wouldn’t be top because people who get to that position don’t stop to debate things they just concentrate on staying supreme – and ruthless.

      Bob Dylan had something (a lot!) to say about this.
      Bob Dylan song – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHn3EI48vTI

      Blues for Peace –
      Gotta Serve Somebody
      Bob Dylan
      You may be an ambassador to England or France,
      You may like to gamble, you might like to dance,
      You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
      You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody
      Yes, indeed You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
      Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

      You might be a rock ‘n’ roll addict prancing on
      the stage, You might have drugs at your command,
      women in a cage, You may be a business man or
      some high degree thief, They may call you Doctor
      or they may call you Chief

      You may be a state trooper, you might be a young
      Turk, You may be the head of some big TV network,
      You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or
      lame, You may be living in another country under
      another name

      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody
      Yes, indeed You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
      Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

      You may be a construction worker working on a
      home, You may be living in a mansion or you might
      live in a dome, You might own guns and you might
      even own tanks, You might be somebody’s landlord,
      you might even own banks

      You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride,
      You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the
      side, You may be workin’ in a barbershop, you may
      know how to cut hair, You may be somebody’s
      mistress, may be somebody’s heir

      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody
      Yes, indeed You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
      Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

      Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear
      silk, Might like to drink whiskey, might like to
      drink milk, You might like to eat caviar, you
      might like to eat bread, You may be sleeping on
      the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

      You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy, You
      may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy, You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray, You may call me anything but no matter what you say

      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody
      Yes, indeed You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
      Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

      • TightyRighty 10.1.1

        At least under lords and princes you only then one days work a week.

        • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1

          Amazing. Just think, with all the productivity increases over the last 300 years we now only have to work 7 days a week.

  11. Sable 11

    National always beat this drum, its predictable behaviour from the far right. Fact is they have “no idea” how to run the country, how to boost the economy and as a result attack the symptom of the problem hoping people wont notice how inept they are.

  12. johnm 12

    100% right Anthony Robins 🙂 Well Put
    I’m currently unemployed with 4 months to go to super age, 65. I have applied for many jobs which I must do as my obligation and all those employers not one sent me a reply! They want younger people but under the current regime I could have my benefit stopped if I stopped looking for work.
    The answer is a citizen’s right to a minimum income under all circumstances.
    The current rubbish of welfare as an addictive drug is equivalent to the Nazi’s Arbeit macht Frei, meaning if you don’t get the work this National government will cremate you in the ovens of destitution ( hyperbole for put you on the street, lonely, cold, hungry, demoralised and being moved on by the police)while Heil Shonkey disappears for another soul pad holiday in Hawaii. It Stinks to high heaven of the 19c workhouse attitude it’s so backward and cruel. That’s why people came to NZ to get away from this class system of the rich beggaring the misfortunate. Wasn’t Heil Shonkey a refugee from Nazi occupied Austria? Correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Rosetinted 12.1

      johnm
      Exactly – you spell out all the evils that come from this thinking, or lack of it. And what you say also illustrates why I don’t agree with Labour’s Shearer talking about putting the old age benefit age level to 70, Why torture people who are already old with this rigid and punitive demand. You really know you are ‘under athe state’ when you have to deal with the ghastly preachy self righteous jerks in Welfare – they put you in such a state that some go out and kick their windows in or threaten the flunkey interviewing them. They are just soldiers doing their job though!

      When what could be done is accept most volunteer work as ‘work’ and ask older people to do at least 10 hours a week at something helpful to the country. That could include overseeing young unemployed, for instance shelf filling in a grocery, and help them get into work routines so they could get better jobs.

      And the wealthy would have a progressive tax on their benefits as a special tax, different from what they pay on their income. Something clear and straightforward that reduces as their other income rises or their assets reach $1m until they just receive a small maintenance amount which also entitles them to medical benefits and public hospital if they wish to use that.

  13. weka 13

    From the Herald

    Instead, the first page is a new section headed “capacity for work” which asks doctors first about their patient’s “barriers to work” and, in a new question: “What accommodations, supports or services could be put in place to assist the person into suitable and open employment?”

    Any decent, thoughtful doctor is going to make that work for their patient’s benefit eg recommend that they receive SB for 6 months without being pressured to get back to work when they need to rest and recover from whatever illness/injury they have.

    People need to know that if they don’t have a supportive doctor, they can get another one. For some people that won’t be possible, but for many it will.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      Until WINZ sends them to their doctor instead of the persons doctor.

      • weka 13.1.1

        That’s different, that’s a review process. And afaik, beneficiaries are still able to choose a doctor off the WINZ list rather than being assigned one.

  14. Blue 14

    It’s times like these that I get worried. History is littered with examples of how low human beings can sink when treating one particular group in society as subhuman becomes widely acceptable.

    The crusade against beneficiaries is starting to take on that sort of tone.

    • johnm 14.1

      Blue
      100% right!

    • saarbo 14.2

      Yes, I suspect also that Inequality leads to the extremely wealthy paying a very large amount of tax in absolute terms (in % terms it is always well under what the rest of us pay). They then use their power to drive lower taxes, smaller government etc. Improve equality and some of the heat comes out of this, Robert Wade is exactly right (Q&A last Sunday), this needs to be done through favourable legislation and pre tax (I think that was his term?). Obviously the easiest place to start is to put the minimum pay rate up to the Living Wage level. If businesses cant handle this the they are effectively being subsidised by the workers, which is ridiculous. If you want to run your own business then you have an obligation to pay your staff at least enough to live on…surely.

  15. BevanJS 15

    ‘OK – got it – here it is in fewer words. National are blaming the bandage for the wound.’

    or, in fewer words National prefer to blame the person laying in the bed, not the bed?

    • felix 15.1

      Nah, they blame the person laying in the bed, not the injury that put them there you doofus.

      • BevanJS 15.1.1

        An injury is less than likely to sort itself out – the person with the injury stands a better chance of moving things forward.

        A person without work lessons their chances of finding work considerably by giving up looking.

        Nothing wrong with setting very clear expectations. How those expectations get implemented …

        • framu 15.1.1.1

          aww – you say it like beneficiaries werent expected to look for work till just now.

          and the person with the injury can only move things forward if the doctors arent strapping them to the bed, pouring toxins in the wound and poking around with knives trying to figure out why the darn thing just wont heal

          • BevanJS 15.1.1.1.1

            That’s not how I meant it at all. If people continue doing all the right things then they should expect the system to “look after” them. I don’t think its changed much except an intent to implement some active pressure on those who stop trying.

            Its a good thing but there’s certainly bigger fish to fry out there in the corporate sector.

  16. Rosetinted 16

    Anne yesterday in Open Mike commented on the questionable methods of Social Welfare.
    Anne 22 17 July 2013 at 8:23 pm
    I remembered a piece from John Mortimer in one of his Rumpole stories on the methods of what he calls wryly the UK ‘caring’ profession. He was a barrister as well as an author with a heightened awareness of people’s culture and difficulties. This is from what he wrote in 1992, R. and the Children of the Devil and would I think portray the truth about what the ordinary citizen would experience when coming into the ambit of the prescriptive welfare mentality.

    A group of nine primary children put on devil masks and rush into the playground scaring others.
    The head teacher considers that this is a serious matter and contacts the Social Services and Welfare Department of the local council. This was the first step of a young girl ‘being taken into what is laughingly known as care, this being the punishment meted out to children who fail to conform to a conventional and rational society.’

    He comments how childhood has got worse since he was a boy, ‘but there was one compensation. No one had invented social workers. Now British children, it seems, can expect the treatment we once thought was only meted out…[by] Joseph Stalin. They must learn to dread the knock at the door, the tramp of the Old Bill up the stairs, and being snatched from their nearest and dearest by a member of the alleged caring professions.’

    ‘The dreaded knock was to be heard at six-thirty one morning on the door of the semi…There was a police car flashing its blue light outside the house and a woman police constable in uniform on the step. The knock was administered by a social worker named Mirabelle…She was a ..pleasant-looking girl…When she spoke she modulated her naturally posh tones into some semblance of a working-class accent, and she…referred to the children’s parents as Mum and Dad and spoke with friendliness and deep concern.

    She knocks and advises the child’s mother in a reasonable tone ‘We want to look after your Tracy, Mum. We feel she needs rather special care. I’m sure you’re both going to help us. We do rely on Mum and Dad to be very sensible… We do have a court order. Now shall we go and wake her up? Ever so gently?

    The parents are told that they can argue the case in court eventually, and they take the daughter and a small case with a few clothes. ‘Mirabelle took the Barbie doll from her, explaining that it was bad for children..to have too many things that reminded them of home.
    So young Tracy Timson was taken into custody and her parents came nearer to heartbreak than ever in their lives…Throughout it all it’s fair to say that Miss Mirabelle Jones behaved with the tact and consideration which made her such a star of the Social Services and such a dangerous witness in the Juvenile Court.’

    It’s quite a chilling portrayal of the usurping of citizens rights and overrule of their lives and autonomy. And the lack of concern for the tender psyche of a child. In the UK there were large numbers taken from homes on the suspicion of a female doctor that suggested they had been sexually abused. Some children were permanently alienated from their family. And I have a book about chidlren sent out to Australia after WW2 by UK welfare authorities to the Sunshine Farm or such. Many never to see their only parent again. Some told that their parent had died. Many came from mother-only families.

    I’ve heard anecdotally that such attitudes and actions would be matched by reality in this country. And now there are the professionally trained women to take up these roles who have the narrow views of the conventional materialistic middle class that would underpin their actions. As Mortimer comments – conforming to a conventional and rational society!

    • Anne 16.1

      Anne yesterday in Open Mike commented on the questionable methods of Social Welfare.

      Thanks Rosetinted. It happened 30+ years ago but is a relevant story to this post.

      I relate a story which happened three decades ago to a member of my family. It’s as relevant today as it was then. She was a solo Mum of three small children (Dad met another woman and left her literally holding the babies). The youngest (two years old) was prone to tantrums. It was an attention getting exercise and she would let him scream himself to sleep. A woman whose home backed onto the relative’s property (couldn’t see anything) rang Social Welfare and claimed physical abuse of the child. She made no attempt to ascertain the truth and my relative was put through the hoops. She was interrogated (twice) and made to feel like a criminal. The toddler was eventually examined and found to be fit and healthy. No apologies were forthcoming of course. This is the outcome of punitive ‘tracking’ exercises as being proposed by the Nat. govt. Innocent people get hurt and it can take a long time to recover from the ordeal.

      Another good case in point was the “dob a beneficiary a day” campaign in the mid to late 1990s. Disgraceful stuff happened… I should know as I was one of the many victims who were falsely (and maliciously) dobbed in.

      • Rosetinted 16.1.1

        Anne
        That dobbing stuff was awful. Encouraging the worst attitudes in society, the meanest, the most divisive, the inflated lie, the negative opinion embroidered to gain apparent truth, all appealing to the bigot who feels entitled to create misery.

        And encouraged by a miserable government. Just like the one we have now. It has become the default position apparently of the right wing. And they and Labour fight over who is Centre Right. Time we changed our road markings for politicians like the NZTA have just done to us.

  17. RedLogix 17

    Last time my younger brother (who is deafblind) had to deal with WINZ they insisted that the interview be conducted in an open, very noisy office space. With all that noise he could not make any sense of what the WINZ person was saying. He asked if they could go to a quieter room.

    No. We are not allowed to because the managers are afraid of what might be happening out of their view.

    OK so what is the procedure for dealing with deaf people then? Oh .. we conduct it all in writing. Good oh. Let’s do that. So they try writing on screen. Lighting and font is hopeless. He can’t see that either.

    OK so what is the procedure for dealing with blind people? Oh we have a special person for that. Good oh … how about that then. So they ask if that person is available. Not for some time; they’re on leave.

    Come back two weeks later (benefit cancelled in meantime). Greeted with .. “you do not meet our requirements to be treated as a ‘blind’ person.” But says my partner, who has accompanied him this time asks, “Can we phone his support person at the Royal Society for the Blind who have had him registered as blind for decades?” ” No. He may be blind as far as the Royal Soc is concerned, but not as far as we are. WINZ has a different method of appraisal.”

    OK so can we at least go into a quieter room this time? OK I’ll ask the manager. Grudgingly approved. Turns out to be badly lit, with a chair in a wholly unexpected place … over which my brother falls full length badly cutting a shin (again.). No apology, no assistance … bundled out onto the street at top speed.

    There’s more to this routine tale… eventually my partner who is a saint of patience and devious intelligence works her way through the process over a period of some more weeks. My brother says that if you are disabled it’s easy to tell when National is in power …the endless WINZ process goes from merely depressing and tedious to humiliating and soul destroying.

    The point is that my brother actually does work where he can find it, on the margins. He does contribute to the best of his ability. He was born like this, and he’s never known life any different. He’s not asking to be treated any differently … but for me it’s the personal face of the anger Anthony writes about in the OP.

    • r0b 17.1

      I’d ask to put that up as a guest post – if I didn’t think that it would risk retaliation…

    • Rosetinted 17.2

      Redlogix
      Thanks – it puts something solid into the concerned discussion. Hope all goes well. I look forward to a change of government with a better one after 2014.

      • Macro 17.2.1

        +100
        What a tragic lot this present “administration” are….
        As for those who are supposedly “case workers” …. well the less said about that the better. 🙁

    • johnm 17.3

      RedLogix
      Shameful! 🙁 Heil Shonkey though the guy’s supposed to be a Jew!

  18. captain hook 18

    thats what the GCSB legislation is for.
    so they can spy on the poorest people in New Zealand.
    how edifying for them.

  19. McFlock 19

    For those who have gotten this far, here’s a picture of a puppy.

    It seems to be a sort of perverse evolution that as memories of hardship dim across generations, the measures that reduced or eliminated that hardship become weapons against those people that are in need of help.

  20. Follow-the-money 20

    If worklessness is so bad, why is John Key unwilling to raise the retirement age?

  21. Vanessa 21

    the MP’s making the laws and finding ways of ‘saving money’ by taking it away from people who have nothing, are not the ones that have to face them or tell them that their benefits have been cut. The ones making that law do it all from behind a screen where they can hide like cowards. Its only the lowest form of scum that will take from those whom have nothing…. why don’t they start looking at the other end of the spectrum…. CAPITALISM HAS TO END!!!

  22. big brother and the screw u co 22

    The point about this govt attitude is as you say -I would be a down right more specific and say that these arrogant selfserving members of this tory govt are nothing more than destroyers of the last resort for workers in this country of very little opportunity of a wage that they can live on and a benefit has no future at all because now that this country has let the employment situation slide for nearly 40 yrs with no idea on who is or should be responsible for the situation other than to fall back on the inherent position of all rich ruling classes and destroy democracy in the in the masses so that the rich cannot be held responsible
    Keys airy fairy paradise relies on tourism, dairy farming, financial institutions ,oil exploration ,mining and exploitation of any thing he can get a buck out of that satisfies his vision funded by the people who he paid to con us into thinking that he was a respectable politician
    Well you dont need to be a genius to see the evidence to the other view on that

  23. hellonearthis 23

    I guess National are creaming statistics when looking at “working vs beneficiary” percentage of mental illness and coming up with a False positive not looking at how having a mental illness in NZ effects employment availability.

    These fences National are building to state welfare are causing people to not jump them but slam into them. If you have no money for rent, then you have no fixed address and that means more fences to smash against or take up the job of beggar in our community because ‘any jobs a good job – Paula B.’

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