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Simplest way to get 100K off the benefit

Written By: - Date published: 6:35 am, May 31st, 2011 - 87 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, jobs, labour, national - Tags:

Elect a Labour-led government. Create 100K jobs.

[‘Main benefits’ are: unemployment, sickness, invalids, DPB. Also added a table of benefit costs]

87 comments on “Simplest way to get 100K off the benefit ”

  1. Bored 1

    Zet, I take the point that National care less when one considers that Labour reduced unemployment by 100000 during 9 years of relative prosperity and good times. The big question is why in a country of 4 million a whopping quarter of a million (yes thats right 250000) were still out of work at the end of Labours run?

    I would suggest that the continuation of new right economic orthodoxy under Labour has only been ramped up by National. When will a Labour Party commit to full employment policies in the way that Savages Labour Party did?

    • Zetetic 1.1

      you’re conflating benefits with unemployment. Only 17K on the dole at the end under Labour. The rest were sickness, invalids, DPB

      They got unemployment under 4% and joblessness under 150K. Not good enough in my books but ‘full employment’ according to the economists and a fuck load better than these days.

      • Bored 1.1.1

        Thanks Zet, when I saw the graph I thought “jeez” thats not good. I take it back, the Nats are proportionally off the scale. Still want full employment as a plank policy though.

        • Zetetic

          nah, fair enough. added a line to make it clear.

          • Bored

            Zet, its even better with the table included. What it shows me is that we dont have “bludgers” as the Nats would insist but a lot of deserving recipients.

            National dont see these as real people with real needs / circumstances, they only see them as a cost to avoid so that those who have most can have more. Its a sick philosophy for sick puppies based upon venality and avarice. Thats 100,000 extra years in Purgatory John…..

        • Bunji

          Is that a Plank policy, or something core? 😉

          (Agreed it should be core. Less keen on Key Plank stunt)

  2. Peter 2

    Thanks for the information. It would be good to know how much more National are paying out than what Labour did in its last three years..

    • Zetetic 2.1

      good idea. added table from budget.

      fuck, I must be in a good mood this morning.

  3. Eddie 3

    wow, check out the way unemployment benefit cost fell under Labour. All the costs have blown out with the Nats, $3.7 billion more in 3 years, only $1.5 billion from super.

    I’d rather be spending that $2.2 billion on job creation than benefits. National has no vision.

  4. RobC 4

    It’s fucking laughable, all this focus on dole bludgers while the elephant in the room taking up nearly 50% of the spend keeps getting bigger and bigger.

    And a recent poll reckons half of us think raising the age of eligibility to 67 is acceptable. But not the PM.

    • ZeeBop 4.1

      Long term welfare dependency for single people is tantamount to self imposed home detention since without spare money they have to stay in, unless mates and family help. There’s nothing essentially wrong in trying to help people into work, but it costs money. So National clamp down on bludgers would likely throwup more cost not less. The bludger myth came out of the surfer culture where some young very healthy man would be on a benefit while they went surfing every day. In those perverse tides of history, now we want beneficiaries to get and remain fit, and want them to enjoy surfing and turn it into a job. But the myth has been morphed into a tool, that is used to cut (rather than grow) our economy and its individuals potential. Lack of work should be rejoiced by society as a opportunity to grow, educate, re-skill, find what you love. But in the world of National Socialism as talked up by the media and both major parties, its all about workers fighting for the betterment of the economy even if in the same sentence the elites say they should do everything to avoid taxation. Will someone tell ACT that money is not just the only way government taxes the people! The writing is on the wall, energy will not cost less next year as it did last year, we do not have three decades of cheap middle east oil to come, the politics of tyranny for the greater good of the people’s republic where the elites can snob their noses up at avoiding paying their fair share are over. And so why are National so reckless in there pursuit of the bottom? Simple anyone who is hurting is getting a lesson in life, that in hard times you start looking after your neighbour than doing them injury, and National policies whether intentional or hopeless vacant of the reality coming. But alas I think National want citizens to move to Australia, because the big banks here like the status quo of profits flowing out to Aussie.
      Our banks have an interest in keep NZ a back water economy, less churn means less uncertainty and greater profits for them.

      So why is the NZ dollar so high? Could there be a wind of change in the NZ economy? What would happen if Labour-Greens won power and introduced a CGT. Well lots of debt would be less valuable as debt holding and more valuable paid down. And to stop a loss of wealth those who lent the debt would want to insure their investments and have to help the holders of the debt pay down their debt. Think US home owners and banks not foreclosing since then the property goes on the depressed market and the bank loses heavily across its mortgage portfolio when all the homes are downgraded in value.

      So is National trying very hard to screw the economy now, just so they lose and middle NZ pulls its finger out, takes its debt medicine and puts in the adults to broaden the tax system?
      Well if National fail, and are returned to office, kiwis will have chosen to delay inevitable and pay heavily in assets the world currently awash in cash wants to buy. Only the dullest of business people would want government to sell assets into this market.

      end rant

  5. Nick K 5

    The reforms in the 80’s and early nineties allowed Labour to prosper from 99 onwards. That was the point of the reforms. Policy takes years to manifest, and this is the best example. The opposite is now the case: The shoddy Labour government of 99-08 has led to terrible a terrible economy now. These things don’t happen overnight.

    • Eddie 5.1

      I love these magical reforms.

      In your dream world, they created absolute hell at the time they were introduced but, by wonderful and mysterious coincidence, created growth and jobs for the exact period of the fifth Labour-led government. And then, equally mysteriously, stopped at exactly the point when Labour left government.

      And Labour’s ‘terrible’ economic policy equals record growth, record low unemployment, record wage increases, record low government debt during the time Labour was in power but then manage to fuck up the economy after Labour left power.

      How did the reforms know exactly when to work to apparently give the exact opposite impression to your hypothesis? Come on. Explain why the neoliberal reforms only worked from 1999 to 2008 and Labour’s ‘bad’ management had no bad effects until exactly after Labour led office.

      • mickysavage 5.1.1

        NickK obviously took the bluepill.

        • ZeeBop

          Dig faster, and if we don’t see sunlight again its our own fault for not digging fast enough.

      • Bunji 5.1.2

        And whether you look at the last 20 years or the last 70 years growth is significantly greater (by ~0.5%pa) on average under Labour governments. Presumably always a coincidence.

        First time there’d been no net debt (in fact 6.7% of GDP in credit) since Vogel borrowed for a rail network in the 1870s? Also a coincidence, Labour clearly rubbish at managing the economy…

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      Wow, some reforms take 20+ years to come through (the RWNJ reforms) and others (The reforms done by a right of centre government that he sees as left) just days according Nick K.

      He obviously failed to see the big problem caused by the 1980s/90s which is now called the GFC.

  6. What the top graph cannot show is that the reduced number represented mainly people who spent only short periods relying on a benefit. The long term dependents which feature mainly amongst the DPB and IB remain. National’s reduction goal of 100,000 is too small. It can be achieved without touching inter-generational dependence.

    I also support raising the Super age.

    • Eddie 6.1

      “What the top graph cannot show is that the reduced number represent people who spent only short periods relying on a benefit”

      that’s wrong. long term benefit numbers fell under Labour. There are now 40,000 more people who have been on a benefit for longer than a year than three years ago.

      Will you grow up and admit that Labour has the better record on reducing benefit numbers?

      • higherstandard 6.1.1

        Neither National nor Labour have anything but the most fleeting effect on the economy and employment numbers.

        With a population and economy as small as ours we will always be more affected by externalities (apart from the impact of those rare occurrences like the Canterbury double earthquake)

        • Blighty

          So, the clear and undeniable fact that benefit numbers go up under National and down under Labour is just a coincidence?

          If National and Labour’s economic policies don’t matter, then why do you support National?

          • higherstandard

            “So, the clear and undeniable fact that benefit numbers go up under National and down under Labour is just a coincidence?”

            Simple correlation does not = causation

            “If National and Labour’s economic policies don’t matter, then why do you support National?’

            Perhaps you should check out my previous musings on political parties and politicians I’d hardly call myself a supporter of any of the retards in parliament.

            • Blighty

              I really hate idiots who quote cliches as indisputable facts.

              Correlation is a prima facie case for causation. You show another explanation for the correlation.

              • higherstandard

                Strange that, I really hate idiots who don’t know what a logical fallacy is.

      • Lindsay 6.1.2

        Eddie, It is not a matter of growing up. The big drop under Labour, and I don’t mind admitting it, was in the unemployment benefit. That is where most short term receipt lies.

        Under Labour the DPB dropped slightly but the sickness and invalid benefits grew. Those are the benefits where reform needs to be focussed.


  7. felix 7

    Wow, spending on unemployment benefits has doubled since National took office. And meanwhile the spend on sickness and invalids continues to rise.

    So much for the moronic right-wing myth that Labour only got unemployment so low by putting unemployed people on the sickness and invalids benefits.

    Truth is they got unemployment so low by running an economy that created jobs.

    • PeteG 7.1

      It helped just a tad that they had the international economy going for them too. Didn’t it?

      It would be interesting to compare that graph against the unemployment rates in other developed countries. Not just Australia.

      • Zetetic 7.1.1

        make the graph, then. Stats NZ has the data on OECD unemployment rates.

        I don’t think you’ll like the result.

        • PeteG

          Why do you think I wouldn’t like it? I said it would be interesting, I didn’t say it would please me. I’ll look at it later when I have more time.

          One neat graph does nothing to prove a government in waiting. I thought you might want to present a more complete picture to make a case. Do you mean you don’t like the result?

          • felix

            Please do, Pete. Seriously.

            You obviously have the required time on your hands. Chop chop.

            • PeteG

              Try this one then seeing as they are supposed to influence our and the world economies so much – shows some similar (last 10 years) and some different trends for the US, .

              Funny thing is they had righties while we had lefties.

              • felix

                You were going to compare us to the rest of the OECD weren’t you?

                Or are you stopping now?

                • PeteG

                  Not so pretty but more meaningful:

                  The OECD area unemployment rate, at 8.2% in March 2011, was unchanged from February following three consecutive monthly decreases. The Euro area unemployment rate was also stable at 9.9%.

                  These countries must have even Toryer governments than ours:

                  Hungary (11.9%), Ireland (14.7%), Portugal (11.1%), and the Slovak Republic (13.9%). Spain’s 20.7%

                  The current NZ rate is 6.6%

                  OECD total unemployment:
                  OECD – Total

                  2000 – 32,370.5
                  2001 – 33,201.2
                  2002 – 36,549.4
                  2003 – 37,566.0
                  2004 – 37,288.4
                  2005 – 36,484.1
                  2006 – 34,025.8
                  2007 – 31,848.7
                  2008 – 33,866.6
                  2009 – 46,714.6

                  • PeteG

                    Those totals are 000s, and there seems to be a distinct tweak in 2009 that Michael Mann would be proud of. Seems to correlate with Zetetic’s graph, but we know that correlation doesn’t mean anything.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    These countries must have even Toryer governments than ours:

                    Yes, correct, they are and they’re presently initiating strong austerity measures as recommended by the RWNJs around the world.

                  • felix

                    Have you given up on comparing NZ to the other countries in the OECD then Pete?

                    I’m still very interested to see the results as I’m sure you must be.

                • Blighty

                  PeteG. I can’t be bothered doing the whole graph for you, but each HLFS release from stats ranks NZ in the OECD countries for unemployment. In March, we were ranked 11th best. Three years ago, we were ranked 6th.

      • felix 7.1.2

        Yeah that would be interesting. Especially if you broke down the countries according to where they sit on the spectrum of being free market, mixed, or planned economies.

        • Bunji

          I’m really looking forward to this graph you’re going to post PeteG, with all of felix’s ideas please, it’s going to be great…

      • felix 7.1.3

        Do you think you’ll have the graph done today Pete? Or will you be posting it as part of your early morning slew tomorrow?

        Let us know, won’t you? Don’t want to miss it.

  8. If the wingnut view of the world is right the number of bludgers has increased since the election of John Key by 100,000.  Why would this have caused this massive outbreak of bludgerism?

    • PeteG 8.1

      I don’t know which wingnuts you’re talking about.

      The level of bludgerism is going to be somewhat below the lowest number of unemployed during Labour’s nine years – a fair proportion of that base level will be churn, and there will also be a permanent level of unemployable.

      There can be a fine line between trying to encourage people to go out and look a bit harder for jobs and being seen to be bene bashing.

      • felix 8.1.1

        It’s a fine line if the jobs are there.

        It’s a dark, thick, heavy line if they aren’t.

      • mickysavage 8.1.2

        Agreed PeteG.

        So you agree also that bene bashing is counterproductive and not called for and based on a mistaken view of reality?

        • ZeeBop

          Labour had money to help long termed unemployed into work. National doesn’t, and does not have the will to provide real opportunities. National purpose seems to be trying to shake the tree that even those who are ill make for the crossing to Australia. The great exodus continues. We will of course have a higher percentage in jails, and on benefits for health reasons since we export our brightest, healthiest and skilled. Even our migrants more here to move to Australia! And we all now that once a kiwi has a criminal record they aren’t let in. So when they do get caught in crime in Australia they will be sent back to NZ. Is like a bad farmer, pulling and eating the best crop and using the seeds from the worse of the crop to grow farm output.

          National are fill with people who got where they are by being tough, single minded in a low energy, easy credit, when it mattered that you were a rock in the great wash of money and activity. But now with energy prices rising and credit hard to get (and keep) those in power are unless to our economy since their edicts no longer hold sway, their time has passed. Now we need people with business, not fiscal experience, we need people who think outside the ideological strapped box, we need people who worry about risk and real lost opportunities. The market has not got a lot of spare capacity, money, to suddenly fill the gaps. The tide is out, the rocks are now just rocks, not hidden channels of power and turbulence.

          As someone pointed out, greed isn’t the problem, its people who define themselves by their greed, who make greed their virtue, their reason for living. We could sustain them when the cheese was overflowing and they seem to help make the mountains of excess cheese go down, but now they look like little mice starving and needing our charity to keep up their invincible supermen egos.

          I say fire National, we can’t afford them.

  9. Tangled up in blue 9

    While I agree with Labours approach of removing barriers to work and creating incentives to work (over Nationals ‘make things harder as an incentive to change’) – I think that taking into consideration the boom-bust cycle of the economy would be more objective.

    • Campbell Larsen 9.1

      National ‘making things harder as incentive to change’

      You mean:
      Attacking peoples fundamental right to raise their own children and not have them raised by the state in child-care brainwashing centers (which the govt force parents to pay for by slaving away in a low wage economy)

      Stigmatizing and demonizing beneficiaries by portraying them as lazy unmotivated druggies and alcoholics

      Removing even the pretense of a ‘minimum wage’ through work for the dole type schemes.

      In short trying their damnedest to make no job, no money = no rights.

      The only genuine ‘incentives’ to work are fair pay, good working conditions and meaningful work, anything else is just a stick to beat people with.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.2

      There’s no such thing as a “boom-bust cycle of the economy”. That boom bust cycle belongs solely to the delusional capitalist paradigm. Get rid of that and the real economy, the environment and hard work, can supply us with everything we need to ensure that everyone has a good living standard.

  10. NZ Groover 10

    Lookng at this graph you’d think there was some sort of global financial crisis or something in 2008.

  11. NZ Groover 11

    Lookng at this graph you’d think there was some sort of global financial crisis or something in 2008.

  12. randal 12

    so simple correlation does not equal causation?
    then will someone explain the facts?
    we have record exports and overseas funds but the economy is tanking.
    where the hell is the redqueen hiding?

  13. Richard 13

    Keep in mind that the further to the right you go, the greater the population is, so Labour’s reduction in people on benefits for that period, far outstrips the percentage ‘inflation’ you’d expect with a growing population

  14. queenstfarmer 14

    You forgot the arrow indicating when the global boom ended, and the worst recession since the ’30s hit. I wonder where that would be? And who was the Government at the time? And would it be fair to blame that Government, any more than to take credit for a global boom?

    Create 100K jobs

    How? And why not 200K?

    • felix 14.1

      Yes we’re aware that YOU don’t know how to create jobs.

      The record shows, however, that Labour does.

      • PeteG 14.1.1

        The record shows that Labour knows how to create government jobs that are an overhead.

        I haven’t seen a record that shows Labour knows how to create productive jobs. The graph in the post only shows what happened across Labour’s terms, and before and after, not what caused the changes.

        • felix

          You’re right, it could be a coincidence that we always have high unemployment under right-wing govts and low unemployment under left wing govts.

          And Labour’s stated goal of full employment, and National’s stated belief that this goal is unrealistic?

          Probably coincidence too.

      • queenstfarmer 14.1.2

        Not at all. Any Govt could “create” 100% employment immediately, if it wanted to. Just like any Govt could “create” surpluses by putting the tax rate up to 90%. The trick is making them real jobs and surpluses, and not destroying the economy.

        • Draco T Bastard

          You may not have noticed but NAct are doing their very best to destroy the economy by giving farmers a free pass to pollute and over-exploit it. They want to do the same for minerals as well.

    • r0b 14.2

      Why not 170K, like the Nats “predicted” in this budget. Oh, in the last budget too. Which somehow didn’t happen.

    • RedLogix 14.3

      Nah.. QstFarmer,

      The pattern goes back way, well before the 1990’s. While the business cycle has it’s own global rythyms, there is no denying that centre-left wing govts tend to get things moving.

      Long ago it was Bob Jones who said he prefered Labour govts to Nat ones because the economy does better under Labour.

      • PeteG 14.3.1

        Do you think the economy would always do better if Labour were always in government? Serious question, not just a ra ra Labour opportunity.

        Or are government changes a part of the cycles?

        • Blighty

          “Do you think the economy would always do better if Labour were always in government?”

          Based on the evidence, yes.

          • PeteG

            Where’s the evidence that under Labour we would have reduced 100k off the benefit if they won the last election?

            Where’s the evidence that Labour have the policies to get 100k off the benefit if they win the next election?

            • RobC

              You’re outdoing yourself today PeteG, asking for evidence to hypothetical questions. P.I.T.W.

              • PeteG

                Yeah. Like Zetetic proposed a hypothetical solution.

                Ah, no felix, many people with vested interests try and speak up their own party and speak down opposing parties. It can get a bit predictable, can’t it.

                • felix

                  Can you explain that? Sounds like sarcasm but it’s hard to tell.

                  If it is, can you explain what you mean by it? Do you think Zet should be proposing hypothetical solutions?

                  Bit of clarity would be helpful.

                • felix

                  I don’t have a party to promote, Pete.

                  My “vested interests” are that I want a better society to live in. Selfish, I know.

                  My idea of “a better society” includes measures like more people in jobs and less on the dole. My bias must be palpable.

                  I’m truly sorry that I can’t just vote for everyone, Pete. I know they all deserve a crack. But I really think I should vote for the parties who serve these “vested interests” of mine or I’d be doing myself a disservice.

                  I’m a prick like that.

            • felix

              That’s obviously impossible to prove as it’s a hypothetical scenario.

              However the record of each party speaks for itself.

  15. Samuel Hill 15

    “The latest Labour Market Report tell us that the unemployment rate for 20-24 year olds is 12.5%. In reality the number of 20-24 year olds without a job is closer to triple that amount. 34.9% (110,100 out of 315,500) 20-24 year olds in New Zealand are currently not in paid work.”


  16. In the 1980s the local Waikato MP said in public “That NZ needs at least 7% unemployment to be financialy sound . That’s the Tory philosophy .National despite its denials believes in unemployment.Why ? Because their rich mates can then reduce wages and hire low paid help.
    It weakens their arch enemy the unions . They have a fear of working people demanding decent wage ,conditions and equality . The answer to these troubles for them unemployment!!.

    • PeteG 16.1

      Interesting to hear that the whole future of Toryism is doomed by one statement by a local Waikato MP in the 1980s.

      Bloody employers. If we didn’t have any of them everyone would have a decent job.

      • Charlie Parker 16.1.1

        It’s true, they would. And no company tax at all. You may have stumbled onto utopia.

      • Draco T Bastard 16.1.2

        It was a statement echoed by the current finance minister who thinks our present low wage economy (caused by high unemployment) is a “competitive advantage” in the 1990s.

        • McFlock

          PeteG can’t tell the difference between mentioning an event that epitomises a problem (and demonstrates its non-recent origins), versus using a low-incidence event to besmirch a larger group (e.g. saying too many undeserving people are on benefits because of the mythical “long term beneficiary”).

          • RobC

            PeteG couldn’t tell you the difference between a butch lesbian and a supermodel …

  17. JaJ 17

    Yes because correlation implies causation, obviously this is air tight. Data on one labour government is obviously sufficient. Excellent analysis. Cannot think of any confounding factors at all.

    • felix 17.1

      So show us the rest of the data that disproves it JaJ. Pete’s been trying his best but he’s struggling.

      • JaJ 17.1.1

        It really is up to the proposer to prove the link rather than I to produce evidence for the null hypothesis.

        But to entertain you first I’d like to say global financial crisis.

        Second I’d like to say that the government in this country is functioning much the same as it was under labours last term. There have been changes but these are relatively minor in the scheme of things. You need to point out exactly what teh national government has done that a labour governmetn would have done differently and make a strong case that these differences could have such a dramatic effect.

        • PeteG

          They would have convinced everyone to spend up large to keep the economy moving rather than tighten their belts in tough economic times. Or something.

          • McFlock

            Well, they wouldn’t have given tax cuts to the rich and then complained about government deficits. And then there’s the gutting of the public service, which is obviously good for the employment rate and the consumer demand of several thousand >=average wage earners. Let’s not forget building rail wagons overseas, when we have 2 very good local suppliers.
            Fuck, Key can’t even build a cycleway to get jobs going…

        • felix

          Quite right JaJ, the govt couldn’t have possibly done anything differently that would’ve seen more people in jobs today.

          Oh, apart from sacking all those people and destroying the economy of course.

          Just a coincidence though I suppose, like everything else.

  18. felix 18

    Eddie’s comment this morning is so fecking on the money I’m reposting it here:

    I love these magical reforms.

    In your dream world, they created absolute hell at the time they were introduced but, by wonderful and mysterious coincidence, created growth and jobs for the exact period of the fifth Labour-led government. And then, equally mysteriously, stopped at exactly the point when Labour left government.

    And Labour’s ‘terrible’ economic policy equals record growth, record low unemployment, record wage increases, record low government debt during the time Labour was in power but then manage to fuck up the economy after Labour left power.

    How did the reforms know exactly when to work to apparently give the exact opposite impression to your hypothesis? Come on. Explain why the neoliberal reforms only worked from 1999 to 2008 and Labour’s ‘bad’ management had no bad effects until exactly after Labour led office.

    Yep it’s all a coincidence. Policy means nothing. Stated aims are irrelevant. Whatever happens happens and it doesn’t matter who’s in govt or what they do.


    • Bored 18.1

      If you are old enough you might remember being sold the line that technological change would relieve us of the need to work so bloody hard and give us lots of leisure time and money to spend on it.

      I can tell you now the technology to do this did arrive, but instead of more time at the beach / pub / golf it was harder work for the few of us not made redundant.

      It was the same lousy fuckers who took the gains from the Roger revolution who had already taken those gains, and who today insist they should not be taxed. Who the hell else can we tax, they are the only ones left with money?????????

      And it all went on under National Labour National Labour National….

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