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Spot the difference

Written By: - Date published: 9:37 pm, June 25th, 2012 - 39 comments
Categories: benefits, same old national - Tags:

There – “Cameron announces Tory plan to slash benefits.”

Here – “The Government wants Work and Income to cut the number of long-term beneficiaries on a working-age benefit by 30 percent over five years, Prime Minister John Key has just announced.”

Probably what the posh boys talked about over lunch at No 10 Downing Street a couple of weeks ago. The similarities are eerie, even down to promises to avoid anything to do with benefits for the aged.

Tories normally do this when they are in trouble.


39 comments on “Spot the difference ”

  1. joe90 1



    In 2006 (when figures were last available) James Dyson contributed the bulk of the income tax paid by the 54 billionaires then resident in the UK. Out of £14.7m paid by all 54, he contributed £9m. That’s a whopping 61 per cent of the total tax take from billionaires. Current figures are not available, but it is widely agreed in the tax accounting community that JK Rowling and James Dyson are the only UK billionaires who pay a tax rate even remotely proportional to their income. So, on average, your grandma pays tax at a rate roughly 250 times that of the richest people in Britain.

  2. Beryl Streep 2

    There’s plenty to have a go at this government about, but I can’t understand how anyone could come out against reducing the numbers of long term beneficiaries. Surely that’s a good thing for the beneficiary and our society as a whole. I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that would disagree with this as an amiable goal, albeit a lofty and maybe unrealistic goal.

    • lprent 2.1

      The most common reason for people to be a long term beneficiary who isn’t on superannuation is because they have a disability.

      Of course, you’d also probably argue that doing it in the middle of a deep recession when there is no work for the able is simply to strengthen their personalities. It simply means that you wind up with them in hospital from starvation from exploitive employers or in meaningless “training” because they are less likely than anyone else to find work.

      But it is pretty easy to see your disability – congenital stupidity.

      • Pete George 2.1.1

        LP: I think your last comment is unnecessarily nasty, and not just directed at a person you happen to disagree with, but at family.

        BS: I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that would disagree with this as an amiable goal, albeit a lofty and maybe unrealistic goal.

        Well, you found one person, but I would expect most people would agree in general, as long as they don’t feel compelled to bitch just because the other lot have suggested it.

        The most common reason for people to be a long term beneficiary who isn’t on superannuation is because they have a disability.

        I presume that’s because of the number on sickness benefits, but you haven’t provided any figures.

        The goal should surely always be to get as many people as possible off long term benefits as possible, whether unemployment or sickness. Many people with a sickness or disability can still work – and would often be better if they could do some work.

        The most common reason for people to be a long term beneficiary who isn’t on superannuation is because there aren’t enough suitable jobs.

        • Vicky32

          Many people with a sickness or disability can still work – and would often be better if they could do some work.

          OK, Pete, but where’s the job they’re supposed to do? BTW, you say ‘many’, but let’s see some figures!
          I worked for Polyemp in 2002-3, job-coaching people with cerebral palsy. It’s all very well to say that they can still work – some can, but employers don’t want to take on someone who needs to be toileted etc. Trust me, I know.

        • BernyD

          “The goal should surely always be to get as many people as possible off long term benefits as possible”

          You’ve labeled people here Pete.

          • BernyD

            Why is that the “Goal” ?, The civilised ideal that no one will starve ?.
            Anything less and it has lost its point.
            Our country is not a “Small Business”
            It does not want its “Children” to starve

          • BernyD

            The long term goal is Recovery and Rehabilitation.
            Not getting them of the Benefit.

          • BernyD

            Does that make me “Green” ?

    • North 2.2

      Jobs jobs jobs Beryl. Dog whistling the relative “haves” and abusing and defaming beneficiaries is not jobs jobs jobs darling. It’s cynical manipulation designed to keep their fat arses on parliamentary seats while they turn NZ into a commercial playground for them and theirs.

      Picking the right time is Crosby Textor’s jobs jobs jobs and clearly they’ve devised that now is the right time for pulling out the old bullshit yet again.

    • Vicky32 2.3

      but I can’t understand how anyone could come out against reducing the numbers of long term beneficiaries.

      Well, how do you propose that should be done? No one wants to be on a benefit, (why would we?)
      Unemployment beneficiaries look for jobs (1000 + applications in 4 years in my case) but can’t get them.
      Sickness beneficiaries are sick.
      Invalid beneficiaries have disabilities.
      DP beneficiaries have children to look after.

  3. Of course, you’d also probably argue that doing it in the middle of a deep recession when there is no work for the able

    a) It’s a five year plan. We should hope that the recession doesn’t last right through another five years and there is some scope for reducing the number of beneficiaries over that time. It makes sense to put in place measures to address getting more people into work in advance of an improvement in the economy to be ready to do as much as possible.

    b) There are signs we may be slowly starting to recover from the recession – and it can be argued that we are not in “deep recession” now.

    c) There is work for the able, quite a bit of it, albeit not enough for all.

    d) It’s well known that many employers have trouble employing sufficient staff.

    e) There are some people who are able to work, and for whom work is available, who choose not to work.

    • lprent 3.1

      I was arguing with my old man last night. He thought that the ‘recession’ would last for a further 5-10 years – closer to 10. Didn’t think that it would be less than 5 years myself, but not as long as 10. It is a structural shift, not a temporary slowdown.

      I have no idea why you are so optimistic. There are no signs in the economy of any upturn because all growth so far is well below the population increases – ie on average everyone is getting poorer. The only signs of “growth” are in the housing market, and they merely show the lack of building in the last 5 years not keeping with population movements.

      Employers have problems getting sufficient staff of the highly skilled and experienced types. Reason is that those people have been leaving the country for Aussie for the last 4 years. I’ve been looking at the relative economic benefits there myself because the differential is getting extreme as our economy stagnates (virtually no new high tech businesses started in the last. 4 years). That applies everywhere from manufacturing (my sister’s factory is still downsizing as well) to English language schools.

      But a demand for that type of staff and a lack of supply does not translate into a demand for low skilled and/or inexperienced staff. It takes a lot of effort to make them useful and you don’t waste the time of the few skilled people you have training in a flat market.

      The prospects for agricultural earning don’t look flash either. There is only so far that increased volumes can compensate for falling prices.

      And we are one of the best economies. Most in the OECD are worse, and the BRIC’s are slowing rapidly as well.

      Your lack of business acumen is showing…

      • Pete George 3.1.1

        Employers have problems getting sufficient staff of the highly skilled and experienced types.

        Yes. But employers also have trouble getting low skilled and/or inexperienced staff who are prepared to start somewhere and work their way up (I have close contact with a work broker).

        I’m not “so optimistic”. There are a lot of potential problems around the world, most beyond our control. But I don’t think perpetual pessimism will help, I’d prefer cautious optimism – and if the custard starts to go lumpy at least we will be in a better state to deal with it.

        • lprent

          But employers also have trouble getting low skilled and/or inexperienced staff who are prepared to start somewhere and work their way up.

          In Auckland the usual reason for refusing minimum wage* work is the transport issue. A “opportunity” part-time job on minimum wages* that is 20km away and takes more than an hour each way on public transport is pretty common here. When you look at the economics it is frequently less costly to stay at home hunting for a different job that is closer.

          But fulltime jobs that are permanent entry level are a hell of a lot rarer. Typically when advertised there are a few hundred people turning up for them.

          * Or less – that particular phrase “..who are prepared to start somewhere and work their way up..” is usually used by exploitive employers when they offer ‘intern’ jobs with no pay. Their standard practice is to offer an “opportunity” for a few months then dump for “lack of performance”. And tasks like commission telemarketing come to mind. Your mate sounds like one of those arseholes.

          • Pete George

            Your mate sounds like one of those arseholes.

            You can’t help your arseholeness, can you.

            My ‘mate’ is very frustrated for two main reasons – a lack of available jobs, and a disinterest in taking what jobs are available by a significant proportion of ‘clients’.

            Some employers are after skills, but some just want a decent work attitude. Some don’t expand their business because a reasonable workforce isn’t available. ‘Exploitive employers’ are the exception.

            • lprent

              Having been an employer quite a few times, what you tend to look for in permanent staff is simply existing experience and the right type of personality for the hole. Not the simple minded aphorisms that betray your lack of employer experience..

              The reason being that it takes a lot of effort by someone to bring people who are inexperienced up to scratch. Over recent years that has mostly been graduate programmers who require something like 6 months to bring up to the point that you don’t have to spend much of your time helping them learn how to build robust code.

              Right now I’m watching it happen between an engineer and a production specialist. In that case there is the experience, so I’m not expecting it to take longer than a month or two.

              When I was working or running in factories, the people I most dreaded were the unskilled who were so damn eager. They’d sell themselves into the job and then do the same things with the job.

              For an example I always remember one machine operator in an injection moulding plant who was so determined to keep the production schedule that he kept opening the gate early as the die was opening. This allowed him to speed up the cycle time. After a while the plastic in the pipe that was busy being melted wasn’t being fully melted and had solid plastic granules. Needless to say that wasn’t a good result for the strength of the resulting mouldings.

              Basically you often aren’t interested in the “decent work attitude”. What you’re interested in is getting the right person for the job. One of the best hires I ever made was a guy who had virtually no “decent work attitude” but was one of the few people I’d ever run across who had the skills to run a server cluster without getting bored waiting for something to happen. He could waste time like few other people that I’ve ever seen. During a usual day he’d only do a few hours of actual work doing backups, moving files, checking logs, and looking for problems. Whenever a task got too time consuming, I’d automate it out of existence.

              Consequently whenever a crisis did happen on the live servers he wasn’t doing anything important that needed to be dropped (unlike the programmers). He had the competence and was willing to spend the hours and effort required to hold the damn servers that created the companies wealth running while we got the damn problem fixed. That is a really valuable skill because it allowed the rest of us to do that task.

              He’s still at the company nearly a decade later doing pretty much the same task. Programmers have come and gone, but his lack of a “decent work attitude” is a hell of useful skill to the usual workaholics if used in the right way…

              Basically I suspect you have a one size fits all simple mentality. It’d make you a crap employer.

              • You’re the one displaying simple minded aphorisms about employment here, not me.

                You have no idea what my employer/employee experience is. And you don’t seem to have a very broad experience in employment, if your comments are anything to go by.

                Basically, many employers look for a “decent work attitude” in order to find the right person for the job.

                • lprent

                  You have no idea what my employer/employee experience is.

                  And you don’t seem to have a very broad experience in employment, if your comments are anything to go by.

                  Oops you said that didn’t you…. But I guess that it does describe you rather well. So far we have seen zero examples from you displaying any knowledge about anything to do with employment. Gee I wonder why.

                  I’ve worked in everything from managing factories to writing code as my examples show. But I tend to regard “Software Consultant” as being a fancy way of saying has never employed anyone in particular, but has been employed mostly by corporates or retail. I bet you spent most of your time showing people how to install and run and train on packages. I have even done that for a wee time down in Dunedin after the MBA while I waited for my partner to finish her degrees there.

                • Why don’t you enlighten us if your employment history is so relevant to the discussion, then, because it sounds like you’re just unwilling to talk specifics.

          • Kotahi Tane Huna

            His “mate” – or his work broker? I’m picking the latter.

        • just saying

          I’d prefer cautious optimism – and if the custard starts to go lumpy at least we will be in a better state to deal with it.

          The custard is already “lumpy” for a significant, and rapidly growing number of citizens.

          But quite right, we won’t mention it until People Who Matter are affected. People like you.
          Anything else would be far too negative.

        • Vicky32

          (I have close contact with a work broker).

          In that case, Petey, ask him where I stand! I am not willing to ‘work my way up’ because I have skills and experience, but not the skills and experience ‘the market’ wants! (Trades, IT and accounting from what I see).
          I am now a ‘long-term’ beneficiary, thanks John Key. A woman at the Chamber of Commerce told me that I have only a 20% chance of getting an admin job because of my age. Tell that to your pet job broker and see what he says.

    • bad12 3.2

      “It is a five year plan”, are you being deliberately stupid or is the defect something provided to you by one of your genetic donors,

      ‘A plan’ by definition would have an end goal plus the steps necessary to enable such an end goal to be reached,

      Slippery having viewed the latest National Party internal polling is simply clutching at straws attempting to push as many knee-jerk reactions as possible,

      Your stupidity extends to showing little knowledge of the ‘labour market’ which in the current ongoing depression of the economy, much of which is deliberate National Government economics, will by ‘market churn’ in employment produce more long term unemployed as employers have far more choice and a wider array of candidates with a wider range of skills to fill their employment needs,

      In such a depressed economy those ’employable’ but the ‘least employable’ according to the whims of that ‘labour market’ will spend longer unemployed and that is simply the ‘market’ choosing who is and is not employed…

    • tracey 3.3

      mr english announced the recession was over back in late 2009 or 2010.

      Remember when the job summit was going to be a do fest not a talk fest, well this pm now has list fest. No plan, no goal met but a lovely smokescreen that is “hard to argue with”. Getting people off benefits requires more than a list, it requires job growth, in lower skilled jobs, it requires retraining. But wait training funding for those on the dpb was cut. By this government. Still we have a list, who needs a plan.

      People are becoming wary of these goals because it appears the plan, such as it is, is to make it harder to access govt services, which lowers the bill but doesnt necessarily people are going into, or back to, work. Acc long term drops but number on benefits rises. Thats rearranging deck chairs on the titanic not getting people into lifeboats. The only way to distinguish these is to see the plans, the practical steps to the goal. Still we have a list.

  4. vto 4

    Lprent is right in that this is a structural shift, entirely foreseeable various years ago. We have entered a form of revolution. Hindsight in 20 years will provide clarity around the reality of these times. These times where we don’t need people to make stuff for us anymore. We need to change the way we occupy ourselves.

    This is where the government can help. The focus on purely jobs is missing it – the focus needs to be on occupying the populace’s days. Idle hands and all that … It is about people doing things with their lives (not just jobs) during this revolution (not all revolutions are violent things) and when we emerge at the other end way down the track (like lprents old man says) then you will find that our days are occupied in quite different ways from 40 years ago.

    Those thinking that jobs jobs jobs and growth growth growth are the answers are non-thinkers who do not examine history, both past and current.

    • I agree pretty much with all of this. It is very difficult to redirect the momentum of society, but it’s something we need to give serious attention to. The Greens have got some of it right but I don’t think they have the formula to get enough popular support, too much arrogance and too anti things that people are reliant on and addicted to. Note the lightbulb syndrome.

      Re-evaluating the future of the human race and finding an achievable re-invention needs to somehow go mainstream. Trying to force it on people won’t work. We will either wait by default for self destruction and try and recover from the mess, or the main mass of population needs to come to believe that major preventative change is for their own good right now.

      • bbfloyd 4.1.1

        Ahhh pet “little hair”….yet another pointless waste of words from the master of mealy mouthed excuse making for the incompetent seat warmers that are supposed to be governing…. A new record… on present counting, the most words used in one comments section to say absolutely nothing of any use whatsoever…..

        Keep it coming “little hair” .. I have many, many more jokes to polish up… Your assistance has been invaluable…

        • Enough is Enough

          Was there a point to your comment

          looks like mindless abuse to me

          [lprent: And I even agree about the pointless part.. Except I can’t actually see the abuse in there “Little hair” perhaps or “mealy mouthed”. Doesn’t ring any bells for “abuse”. Please don’t attract my attention without a real reason. Otherwise I’ll might decide that enough is really enough. ]

      • So what’s your formula for making it work, if your favourite punching bags have the right philosophy but the wrong attitude? Because the only philosophy your lot ever seems to talk about is referendum-driven policy, which is only going to help if we have so many that everyone’s busy counting them. 😛

      • fender 4.1.3

        FFS PG, you should take a break.

        You start with agreement as entry in order to put the knife into the Greens, and then you spout some waffle that only someone unsuitable but nevertheless dreaming of being an mp could muster.

        “Re-evaluating the future of the human race and finding an achievable re-invention needs to somehow go mainstream.”

        Theres plenty of re-evaluating taking place, except among the neo-lib junkies and UF of course.

        “We will either wait by default for self destruction and try and recover from the mess, or the main mass of population needs to come to believe that major preventative change is for their own good right now.”

        Dont think you can recover if you have self destructed can you PG.

        But anyhow Pete, the future of the human race in NZ is dependant on the likes of UF and all other gravy-train wanabes staying away from the beehive. With this National wrecking-ball gang in power we dont need an aged anti-dandruff model or his apologist helping with the destruction.

        “Note the lightbulb syndrome”

        Oh is that the one where sufferers dont see the light? Like you and Dunne.

  5. ianmac 5

    This maybe a prelude to adopting the American plan. You get so many months on the dole then you are off, regardless of work available. Saves the taxpayer money of course.

  6. Robert M 6

    In the 1980’s Margaret Thatcher pushed strong market reform and tight monetarism, which saw huge closures in Nth England and Scotland of fading rust belt industries. Unemployment also increased as a result of the phase out of UK indigenous coal industry as a result of union militancy and cheaper imported coal and North Sea Gas. Thatcher in the 1980’s did not press for benefit cuts or even a crackdown on the extensive black economy of underground beneficiary employment because she regarded it as part of the social contract and compensation for the close down of the rust belt economy in the Midlands and Scotland. Unlike the harder line Tory Ministers such as lawson, Tebbit and Portilo ( at the time) Thatcher did not believe the market reforms and supply side economics would benefit ordinary people or the unempolyed. Thatcher actually according to many commentators ridiculed the idea of trickle down , believed in by Chancellor Lawson and even regarded Ronnie Reagan as somewhat simple in believing the ordinary worker would benefit. The reforms were to benefit, London the South and the young and educated.
    I remain unconvinced the untalented, odd and solo mothers benefit from being kicked into low grade work. My view is that young women and those with stress or mental illness problems have a right to a good sex life and a good body, particularly when their under 30.Often older even more untalented workers and the burnt out women,who resent their lost youth and body- seem to me to want revenge on the young and alive.

    • Vicky32 6.1

      Often older even more untalented workers and the burnt out women,who resent their lost youth and body- seem to me to want revenge on the young and alive.

      Bizazrre and meaningless… I recommend you take your sexual obsession with young women and get a life… lost

    • McFlock 6.2

      tend to agree w/Vicky (and that hardly ever happens). 

      That last paragraph is just plain weird. 

  7. Robert M 7

    Well actually what I was saying the Act type activists, middle age embittered shop keepers, truck drivers, middle aged people who have wasted their lives in hard low paying jobs and burnt out their body, so their useless for sex or pleasure are the sort of people that complain about DPBs or the supposed mentally ill , having a good sex life.
    I just find it odd why people should be enforced into hard physical work of low status, if their good graduates or come from a middle class professional family. The downward mobility that mental health staff and Act type people attempt to enforce on people who have had a breakdown or are out of work to me is outrageous nonsense and abuse. To me its nonsense that low IQ Policemen or mental health staff seem to think they have the right to respect or to enforce the predjudices of their limited minds on other people. In the 1970s, Thomas Eagelton was twice reelected to the senate from Missouri after having being thrown off the Presidential ticket by McGovern. Harold McMillan became Briitsh PM despite several mental breakdowns in the late 1920s and early 1930s that were treated in private clinics in Germany..
    To me Vicky 32 is a person who shows outrageous predjudice and hard working class attitudes to the mentally ill , which is a form of outrageous abuse. The view often heard in Auckland that the mentally ill, have failed, are people with bad genes and degenerating minds and any low grade working class people is superior to them is nonsense. There is zero scientific truth in psychiatry, it is a convinient lie to maintain social control and suppress anyone odd or different.
    In my view for good health everbody needs a good sex life, a good body and a fair bit of alcohol. The same applies to mental health- my view the truth is the opposite of everything believed by kiwi psychiatrists, Latta or Mike King. People need privacy, sex, drink, income- not work or groupthink.
    Alcoholic beverages relax people, allow them to socialise and function at a high level on about half the sleep the sober need. Those who drink like heroin addicts almost never get colds or the flu.
    It was said of UK journalists they either drink or have mental breakdowns.
    I simply see no reason why intelligent people should be forced to work for low wages or exploited in internships for next to nothing. Much of the workforce contributes little to productivity and creating jobs for them, just costs more and induces economic and environmental waste .
    Everybody can make their own decisions-women , the mentally ill, anyone over 16. Not parents , police, pharmac or the media.
    If you want jobs, create an open city, reduce the truly unproductive , the police and social workers by half, close talkback and refuse to recognise legal rights for the uneducated without SC English and Maths.

    • vto 7.1

      Hey Robert, you should be a writer – some good stories probly plop out of all that… plop plop plop…

    • Vicky32 7.2

      To me Vicky 32 is a person who shows outrageous predjudice and hard working class attitudes to the mentally ill

      Don’t be ridiculous! I’ve worked for years with the intellectually disabled and the mentally ill, (not necessarily the same thing, btw). Are you saying that you have mental health issues? If so, my sympathies – but you don’t half talk a load of complete shite.
      I have far more sympathy for and understanding of the “mentally ill” than you could ever know – and no, I am not about to tell you why. Your insufferable nonsense is not excused by your own issues.

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