The Government thinks that poverty is the fault of the poor, and some budget advisers

Written By: - Date published: 10:29 am, May 25th, 2016 - 121 comments
Categories: benefits, national, poverty, same old national, spin, uncategorized, welfare, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

Poverty in NZ

The Government is engaged in a review of budget advice services offered throughout the country and some of the services’ funding is threatened.  The review involves the use of classic Orwellian doublespeak.

From Radio New Zealand:

Budgeting services are facing an uncertain future, as the government prepares a major shake up of the sector.

Next month all the country’s budgeting services will have to reapply for funding, and if successful they will be part of a new system which launches from November.

The Ministry of Social Development has already cancelled 14 other contracts, saving $374,000, and it’s feared others will follow.

The reason for the shake up?  Does the Government really think that budgeting organisations are the reason that poverty is getting worse?

Ministry of Social Development figures show a quarter of households had only just enough money to meet their needs and 12 percent did not have enough to meet their everyday needs.

The Ministry said those who were struggling needed a more comprehensive response and has launched a “major shift” in how it funded and supported budget services.

It wants to move away from teaching people how to budget to what it termed financial capability. ‘Budget advisors’ will become ‘financial mentors’.

Clearly the Government thinks that poverty is the fault of the poor.  All they need is a can do attitude and a bit of financial mentoring and all their woes will be taken care of.  How this can help poor families pay for huge rent increases in Auckland for instance has not been identified.

Carmel Sepuloni describes the reality for too many families:

“You listen to families talking about how they’ve managed to buy $80 a week of groceries one week, and then only $35 the next for two people, and you just think how are they possibly surviving on such limited amount of food. And that’s all because they have such limited amount of money.”

Ms Sepuloni said the problem was that people didn’t have enough money to buy food and pay bills, let alone save money and reduce debt – one of the new strategy’s long term outcomes.

To give it credit the Government has invested more money into the sector.  But the problem is that the need has exploded and the funding is not sufficient.

The Ministry of Social Development contracts more than 170 budgeting services, which receive almost $14.9 million dollars, up by $6 million in the current year.

But budget services RNZ News contacted said it was not enough, as they are already seeing twice, or even more than three times, the number of people they were funded for.

The budgeting groups are afraid to publicly express their concerns.

The groups declined to be interviewed for this story, fearing it could jeopardise their chances of winning a contract.

They told RNZ News the Ministry of Social Develpment had given no indication of any new funding – and some have been told they will be losing it.

This response summed up the views of many:

“There is not enough funding to pay sufficient staff to keep up with demand from clients needing financial help.

“The process to qualify for funding changes regularly and takes up a lot of time that services are really lacking due to being so busy with client work.

“It appears that the funder has difficulty measuring success amongst a very stressed and diverse group of people who use services.

“Evidence has been provided that our service can be proud of. Many of the factors affecting this group of people can be separate from budgeting such as mental health, addictions, lack of housing and cultural issues,” one said.

The proposal clearly displays the Government’s views of the causes and nature of poverty.  A review will throw further doubt into a sector that is struggling to meet need that has escalated dramatically.  Use of Orwellian double speak suggesting that some help from a “financial mentor” will solve the problem is both insulting to the poor and doomed to fail.

121 comments on “The Government thinks that poverty is the fault of the poor, and some budget advisers”

  1. Richardrawshark 1

    It’s the first time in NZ I ever heard the term WORKING POOR.

    that alone is fkn shameful.

    • greywarshark 1.1

      No Richardrawshark that’s reluctant honesty which isn’t shameful. Now it’s admitted there should be a further honest step to improving wages and conditions. If there is not – that is where Shameful! should be spoken.

      People can just manage being poor if they have time to hunt round for bargains, mend their clothes, grow, make and sell things at the market, swop clothes at community meets, Help a mate with car repairs, look after someone’s children at short notice, things which add to an inadequate income and fill the gaps.

      But that income needs to be a regular known amount, with regular known-in-advance hours. The government has created a situation where the candle is being burnt at both ends, and whose fingers get burnt in that scenario, the tender skin of the vulnerable person in the middle, often trying to nurture children in this harsh, barren neo liberal economy. The poor are being oppressed by dehumanised people in power in what is supposed to be a fair democracy.

      I heard Jo Goodhew, 2nd in line to Social Welfare Min or something on Radionz this morning. She was very compassionate about the difficulties that poor people are going through and they have been unable to get the adequate help and advice from the budgeting services which would enable them to handle their income better and avoid hardship. That was the gist spoken in a voice that she must practice at drama classes.

      Trouble is that government doesn’t want to solve the problem. Having poor people to scapegoat actually increases the satisfaction of the comfortably off, so why bother to value them, if life improved they would probably vote Labour anyway. So gummint doesn’t want to hear, to know the truth, can’t handle the truth, has the symbol of the three monkeys tattooed on their bums. But I have heard budgeting service people say for many years that they can’t help many people, because those people don’t get enough money to meet basic expenses anyway.

      Some with any extra they can save buy a bottle of sherry to go blotto for a while.
      I had a house let for a while to people who eventually had to go when it was plain the woman was an alcoholic, and smoked in bed, setting the mattress on fire. It was put out okay for her, but that’s a risk from drug addiction. She found sherry and I think port very satisfactory for reaching the stage of having no worries.
      edited

  2. Lanthanide 2

    If the new scheme is to provide support and financial planning help earlier for people, ie before they take out the HP on the flash TV because the glossy mailer that arrived in their letter box made it look so cheap, so that the person is armed with an understanding about interest rates and repayments and the concept of ‘having a buffer for unexpected costs’, then it seems like it better outcomes should be achieved. By comparison a lot of budgeting advice is only given to people once they’ve dug themselves into a deep hole (or in many cases, through circumstances largely beyond their control have fallen into a deep hole), and they don’t have a lot of options for getting themselves back out.

    However I expect such a scheme, to be truly effective, would need a lot more funding than what it is being given. Most likely this is a slick re-branding, with some minor changes around the edges, but overall the service will be the same, or worse, than what is currently provided.

    • greywarshark 2.1

      The problem is, Lanthanide that it could happen that poor people never can have anything but existence if they manage to save some money for a future purchase like a TV, or a problem or for a future project. Government will not help with needs if you have some money until you have spent it all first. And you might be saving for a TV, a bike for the kids at Christmas, whatever.

      When you have a NZ government that doesn’t want you to have enjoyment of life at all when you are on a benefit, to the extent of refusing a packet of chocolate biscuits when using a food voucher, then it pays bennies who want to lighten their dull grey existence, to take up an opportunity now such as buying a TV for only $2 a week or such.

      It’s a matter of not having enough money, not having hopes of earning enough money, and not seeing any likely improvement in future under the regime of people who despise or hate you.

      • Lanthanide 2.1.1

        “It’s a matter of not having enough money, not having hopes of earning enough money, and not seeing any likely improvement in future under the regime of people who despise or hate you.”

        Right, which is addressed by what I said below:
        “There needs to be a lot more done around training and coaching people into work. A pre-requisite of someone holding down a job is likely to be them and their family living in a stable, healthy environment.”

        If people had hopes of earning enough money in the future, because they received active and genuinely useful support in coaching and mentoring them into a job, and giving them a good place to live, then people on benefits (or among the bottom rungs of the employment ladder thanks to above government intervention) should have more to look forwards to than buying a new TV for $2 a week on HP and paying through the nose for it.

        • McFlock 2.1.1.1

          But the problem isn’t restricted to people who go mad on hp for fripperies. It’s because for a lot of people benefits are not enough money to live on.

          Yes, I know some people do see only the weekly price, not the true cost. But I also know others who go to their budget advisor and the math simply does not add up. And work/income just do a debt that gets bigger and bigger.

          • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1.1

            Sure, I was just saying that on the face of it, having some sort of ‘financial mentor’ would seem to be a better service – for some people. For many it won’t make a jot of difference.

            However I doubt that whatever service is being proposed, won’t be meaningfully different than the current system.

      • The New Student 2.1.2

        +1 on point with your post above too

    • Craig H 2.2

      Good points.

      My thoughts are that the best time to teach financial literacy is school, which conveniently is one of Grant Robertson’s pet projects.

  3. NZJester 3

    Budgeting services are not miracle workers. When the cost to rent a rundown house and buy food alone is outpacing the rate of income from working a minimum wage job and even some non minimum wage jobs, there is no way to budget you out of debt. Even those lucky to get a second minimum wage job are finding it hard to make ends meet.
    The only real solutions are a few things this National Government will never do.
    1: Increase the minimum wage to a realistic level (A living wage).
    2: Move the tax burden back onto the rich and off of the poor especially by decreasing G.S.T. and getting rid of all this mess of tax loopholes.
    3: Put in place real controls to ease the out of control housing bubble in Auckland that is dragging up rent prices with it.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      Putting the minimum wage up to the living wage will cost people jobs. Some of those people may no longer be employable at all.

      While that is part of the solution, it can’t be the largest part of it.

      There needs to be a lot more done around training and coaching people into work. A pre-requisite of someone holding down a job is likely to be them and their family living in a stable, healthy environment.

      The whole situation requires a very big up-front investment by the government, for productivity and reduced costs in the future. Unfortunately it’s difficult to get the public to vote for that sort of thing, in New Zealand.

      • greywarshark 3.1.1

        Lanthanide
        That meme about losing jobs because employers can’t pay more is just an excuse to subsidise inadequate business managers. Wages are a large part, but still only a part of the various costs of being in business. If there is a change in business costs or turnover and they have to close then so be it. That is about being in business, which is not a publicly funded entity. There has to be a demand for things to be sold at a price people will pay. Lots of businesses fade out now. They have to find a way to attract more people and get bigger turnover, or raise prices to what the market will stand.

        Because they are in business they should not expect a subsidy from government-controlled low wages, unless government decides that they are an essential service, and of value to them, and then pay workers more directly as a supplement. This could happen if the business was specialising in employing and training entry-level workers in their first jobs, for instace.

        If people get a rise in their minimum wages it will give a rise to the level of cash flowing around the market place, so there will be more to spend. That is, unless landlords put up their prices to mop up the rise, which is possible. In a market that is so unbalanced as in housing, the supply and demand balance at the various price levels that ordinary people can afford is not being provided by the market. Governnment should be admitting that housing inflation is out of control, while measured CPI is very low.

        People shouldn’t be starved of income so that some sort of balance can show up on government financial statements. Get at the housing vultures, say those sweet and clever young things that have six houses by the time they are 25 and the investors who can sit at home looking for advantage for themselves. Stuff them. Let them pay for their houses with monopoly money and enable ordinary people to have some stability in housing paid with real money from decent wages and hours.
        That is what is needed as a start to break away from this desperate poverty dragging down the country’s low income people and reputation as a happy, vital country to live in or visit.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2

        Putting the minimum wage up to the living wage will cost people jobs.

        The growing evidence shows that higher wages increase the number of jobs.

        • Lanthanide 3.1.2.1

          Sure, but that’s just the total number of jobs.

          A statistic about the total number of jobs in the economy doesn’t help if yours is one of the jobs that is cut because your (crappy) employer can’t afford to pay you any more, because the value you generate for the company is less than your wage cost.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2.1.1

            Well, that’s just it. chances are that the employer would be able to keep you on as the increased money flowing through the economy maintains the jobs that are there while also increasing the number of jobs available.

            • Lanthanide 3.1.2.1.1.1

              Yes, in the long-run. Doesn’t help if you’re made redundant *today*, because your employer won’t have the cashflow for the next 6 months to pay you.

              Sure, in 6 months time once all that money is sloshing around, you might get your job back. Or someone else might get it instead.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Is there anything to support this deeply held right wing belief other than repetition?

                A single instance somewhere in the world where right wing reckons about the minimum wage actually happened?

                • Lanthanide

                  Here’s the single instance you asked for:
                  http://redalertpolitics.com/2015/04/30/pizza-shop-worker-loves-seattles-new-15-minimum-wage-finds-cost-job/

                  Actually it’s 12 instances, since his 11 co-workers also lost their job.

                  • Nic the NZer

                    http://www.workingwa.org/blog/2015/8/3/zpizza-wrong

                    Its highly debateable if this story amounts to more than rightwing propaganda. But if you just look at one off examples then you can neglect the fact that the inefficient businesses (who need to close due to the mw hike) are being replaced by more efficient ones anyway.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Nothing in that blog post says the store didn’t close and that the employees didn’t lose their job because of the minimum wage increase.

                      Yes, it might be the case that another pizza store opened there, and that there is a shortage of jobs in that particular industry. But if you look at the original story, the owner is saying because of the way the law was written, they didn’t get to bring in the increase over 7 years like other businesses were able to. The blog post doesn’t say whether the new store opening in the same location has to pay the same wage rates that zpizza did, or that it has offered employment to the same people who used to work at zpizza.

                      So there is still no evidence that the new store is ‘more efficient’ because we don’t know if we are comparing apples with apples.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Or the right wing media ran with the made up BS.

                      Anyway if raising the minimum wage has resulted in a shortage of pizza staff it was a massive success. Why are you so keen on favouring z pizza anyway.

                      Its a reasonable assumption that the new stores comply with MW laws and that implies the new business is more efficient.

                    • Lanthanide

                      “Anyway if raising the minimum wage has resulted in a shortage of pizza staff it was a massive success. Why are you so keen on favouring z pizza anyway.”

                      You’re assuming causation when all we have is correlation, at best.

                      “Its a reasonable assumption that the new stores comply with MW laws and that implies the new business is more efficient.”

                      Sure, and zpizza complied with the MW laws too, and the nature of their business required them to pay a very high minimum wage, while other companies in the same city had 7 years to gradually lift their wages up to the new level. You still haven’t presented any evidence that the replacement store:
                      1. Hired all the same employees that zpizza had to lay off
                      2. Had to pay the same minimum wage rate that zpizza did (and, if it could pay less than zpizza, then even if it hired all the staff from #1 this exercise hasn’t achieved anything for those workers except needless stress).

                    • Nic the NZer

                      “You’re assuming causation when all we have is correlation, at best”

                      Wrong, at best you have causation, in fact a plausible cause is suggested through out these discussions. Raising the minimum wage may have a more positive impact on turnover than the added costs. Yes, there is no real hard proof, but just to point out how off your rocker your position is, your model (minimum wage undermines jobs) does not even have correlation going for it in many many studies of the real world (its contradicted by the evidence in many cases).

                      “Sure, and zpizza complied with the MW laws too, and the nature of their business required them to pay a very high minimum wage, while other companies in the same city had 7 years to gradually lift their wages up to the new level.”

                      This z-pizza franchise sounds horrendously inefficient to me. Purportedly their franchise costs were so high they could not comply with minimum wage laws and still pay their owner profits. So if a non-franchise business sprang up it might hardly be surprising that it was able to succeed in its place. I should also point out that if the franchise was in some way compelled to be early adopters of the newer wage laws this simply undermines what your evidence was trying to suggest, (e.g that a change in the minimum wage applying to every job will reduce jobs).

                      “You still haven’t presented any evidence that the replacement store:
                      1. Hired all the same employees that zpizza had to lay off
                      2. Had to pay the same minimum wage rate that zpizza did (and, if it could pay less than zpizza, then even if it hired all the staff from #1 this exercise hasn’t achieved anything for those workers except needless stress).”

                      That is an extra-ordinary standard of justification your demanding there, not only must the change on average make it easier for the average worker to find a job (which is what the studies which look at this often show), but specifically everybody involved must live happily ever after as well. That is a standard that nobody ever demands before claiming that the minimum wage laws inhibit job creation (typically with no evidence to support this).

                  • McFlock

                    That’s not a consequence of the minimum wage, it’s a consequence of cheaper automation – the $15/hr jobs won’t exist at $12/hr in about as long as it takes to phase it in. Supermarkets and mcd’s are already doing that without the excuse of significant minimum wage increases.

      • Lara 3.1.3

        I very strongly suggest that you have made an assumption (which is a very common assumption) here. That higher wages will cost jobs.

        I very strongly suggest that you accept it is an assumption and then get some data and look at it to determine if the assumption is correct or false.

        Dept of Stats have stats on unemployment rates. They used to also have stats on number of people laid off / made redundant. Not sure if they still do. They also have stats on number of people in employment.

        Information on minimum wage rates and increases is also available online.

        About half an hour with Google will give you the answers.

        I guarantee you will be surprised. I was surprised when I did this exercise. I’ve done it more recently, and my conclusion hasn’t changed because the data still shows the same trend.

        If any other readers want to trot out the old assumption “increasing minimum wage rates will cost jobs” then please, check your facts first.

        I did this some years ago in a year 10 social studies class to teach kids how to research, where to get reliable data, how to draw a graph, how to form an hypothesis and how to test it.

        This was done within one period of class time (I provided the data from Dept Stats to make it quicker).

        If a bunch of year 10 kids can do it, so can adults reading this site.

        • Lanthanide 3.1.3.1

          “That higher wages will cost jobs.”

          Higher wages *will* cost *some people* their jobs.

          • Nic the NZer 3.1.3.1.1

            If the evidence suggests that increasing the minimum wage actually increases the number of jobs (which it frequently does) are you going to hang on to your make believe that somebody losing their job (in the sample) is a consequence of the minimum wage increase rather than something which happened regardless of the minimum wage increase?

            That sounds rather illogical.

            • Lanthanide 3.1.3.1.1.1

              If you’re certain that *no one* ever loses their job when the minimum wage goes up, please present that evidence.

              • Nic the NZer

                That is definitely not the question. People lose their jobs when the minimum wage is reduced in some cases just as much.

              • Enough is Enough

                The first thing that shitty employers do when their profits begin to shrink is sack employees.

                That is why in a recession we see mass redundancies usually of the lowest paid workers.

                It is the employers’ default position. Rather than taking a bit of a hair cut in terms of their dividends – they sack employees.

                So yes I agree, the added cost of increasing the minimum wage does result in employers doing what naturally come to them.

                • Colonial Viper

                  It is the employers’ default position. Rather than taking a bit of a hair cut in terms of their dividends – they sack employees.

                  This is particularly the case with large corporate employers who have to meet the expectation of major shareholders and hedge fund investors.

                  For a lot of small to medium business owners, they will hold on until the last possible moment before laying off staff.

                  Another reason why locally based SMEs should be differentiated from transnational corporations.

                • Nic the NZer

                  I think the conclusion is however incorrect. During a recession the potential sales fall so its natural for a business to lay people off with turnover falling. Usually when the MW goes up overall turnover doesn’t fall. A business which lays people off as a result of the wage costs will need to deal with the possibility its market share falls (say it has fewer staff than needed to meet turnover). By laying people off the business may miss out on the lower but still available profits.

                  What you are suggesting would apply at the margins, but minimum wage studies indicate that unemployment doesnt function in this way in the real world. At most businesses dont appear to actually operate at the margins.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Usually when the MW goes up overall turnover doesn’t fall.

                    Depending upon the business many that pay minimum wages will actually see their turnover go up – possibly by enough to cover the increased wages and then some.

                    At most businesses dont appear to actually operate at the margins.

                    IIRC, the LSE did a survey of businesses. They were surprised to find that not one business operated on the margins as the economists had hypothesised for better than 200 years. They all worked on a cost+ model – exactly the same way that a monopoly works in fact.

                    As far as I know, not a single ‘economist’ anywhere in the world has updated their hypothesis to account for this fact.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Fred Lee studied this kind of price setting behaviour for his whole career.

                  • Lanthanide

                    It’s not uncommon in small businesses for the owners of the business to be paying their employees more money in annual wages than they themselves earn, either through salary or drawings on profit.

                    In such businesses, putting the MW up to the LW, which I believe is something like $19.40 vs our current MW of $15.25, could quite easily put those business owners into poverty since it comes directly out of their own pay packet, so for their own self-preservation they have to lay off staff.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      But empirical studies still indicate its more likely the opposite of that conclusion will occur. Those businesses which cant operate profitably at a decent minimum wage have no right to exist.

                    • Lanthanide

                      @Niz the NZer
                      “Those businesses which cant operate profitably at a decent minimum wage have no right to exist.”

                      As well as may be, but again that doesn’t really help the employee who is now out of a job. See my comment at #3.1.3.1.2.1 for what I’m really getting at.

                  • Enough is Enough

                    You have more faith in business owners than me. And no one is claiming that “most” businesses do this.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Actually, in the real world, there is almost no evidence that businesses operate at the margins. That is the model which suggests raising the minimum wage reduces over all employment. There is some evidence that raising the minimum wage has in practice increased employment and a lot of evidence that businesses use cost plus for their price setting which implies that the cost (minimum wage) increase needs to be significant before its no longer worth it for the owners.

              • Colonial Viper

                bit of a shift of the goal posts there mate.

                Let’s just start by understanding that payroll is the biggest cost to the private sector and the private sector will always act to drive payroll and headcount down where possible.

                Therefore relying on the private sector to provide all the employment needed in a society is going to be a futile exercise.

                In fact, we should be making it less necessary for people to have to work full time jobs to make ends meet.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Therefore relying on the private sector to provide all the employment needed in a society is going to be a futile exercise.

                  Precisely. The private sector does makes higher profits when there’s high unemployment as they can drive wages down. This is why National attacks beneficiaries and forces them off of the ‘safety net’ that’s supposed to be there to protect them and not there to punish them.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                No, you are the one making the assertion: we know that Cullen raised the MW nine times in nine years and unemployment fell.

                So it’s up to you to provide the evidence that it didn’t really happen.

                • Lanthanide

                  He didn’t raise the MW to the Living Wage in a single jump, which is what I’m talking about.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    It’s what you’re speculating about, unless you have (at the very least) a case study.

                • Enough is Enough

                  OAB National has raised the minimum wage every year as well, and unemployment has done what……

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Steve Keen worked this out years ago.

                    To make unemployment fall, you need to have accelerating levels of debt, either public or private, pumping money into the economy.

                    Those were the exact conditions which helped Cullen reduce unemployment levels.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      It’s not that you need accelerating levels of debt. It’s that you need lots of money pumped into the economy to cover the money taken out by the rich. The present system does this through debt and the private banks creating money.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Demonstrated that the relationship between unemployment and policy isn’t governed by minimum wage rates?

          • McFlock 3.1.3.1.2

            Actually, I’m not sure what you base that on.

            Higher minimum wages affect most severly those on a minimum wage.
            Those industries, such as hospo and cleaning, also benefit from increases in disposable income. Like when people get an extra $20 to buy a dinner with.

            But either way, even if some people do lose their jobs, more people will gain jobs they otherwise wouldn’t have had, and the people who keep their jobs will have more income.

            In the cold math of public policy, minimum wages could do with a rise to a reasonable rate.

            • Lanthanide 3.1.3.1.2.1

              “But either way, even if some people do lose their jobs, more people will gain jobs they otherwise wouldn’t have had, and the people who keep their jobs will have more income.”

              That’s not of any comfort to the individual person who has lost their job, and is now forced to find another one.

              Waving your hand and saying “on aggregate, it’s better” isn’t actually addressing my point – that such a policy, for some people, will result in them losing their jobs. Some of these people may not be employable in any other positions and may be permanently locked out of the workforce.

              There was a story on the radio I heard a few weeks ago about a company in NZ (unsure where) that employs disabled people, and has a special dispensation to pay less than the minimum wage. The owner of the business was interviewed and said he can see the issue from both sides – those who say that he should be paying minimum wage. But the simple fact of the matter is, if he had to pay minimum wage for all of the employees, he would have to make a lot of them redundant and possibly close the whole operation altogether, and that would be doing a bigger disservice for those who he currently employed.

              They interviewed some of the workers, who said that they enjoyed working there and having something productive to do with their life.

              Now, one thing you could do to address this point, which so far no-one in this thread has suggested, is the government could ramp the minimum wage up rapidly over a period of time, eg the space of a year, and put in a special short-term funding for 2 years where if people are made redundant, and the employer says it is because of the minimum wage rise and can provide reasonable evidence to back it up, that people laid off in such a way get a special benefit or additional support in finding another job.

              But instead all anyone has said in this thread in reply to me is that it’s either a myth (it isn’t), or that it doesn’t matter because there will be more jobs in aggregate.

              • greywarshark

                Lanthanide
                I made a point at 12.14 pm about government helping out some businesses.
                Because they are in business they should not expect a subsidy from government-controlled low wages, unless government decides that they are an essential service, and of value to them, and then pay workers more directly, as a supplement. This could happen if the business was specialising in employing and training entry-level workers in their first jobs, for instance.

                And you have made this very sensible suggestion:
                There was a story on the radio I heard a few weeks ago about a company in NZ (unsure where) that employs disabled people, and has a special dispensation to pay less than the minimum wage.

                So that would tailor the policy to suit the case which seems to offer an intelligent reasonable and responsible government a good path.

                Then you say that in the move to higher minimum wage many will win and some will lose and suggest this:
                the government could ramp the minimum wage up rapidly over a period of time, eg the space of a year, and put in a special short-term funding for 2 years where if people are made redundant, and the employer says it is because of the minimum wage rise and can provide reasonable evidence to back it up, that people laid off in such a way get a special benefit or additional support in finding another job.

                Which again seems to meet the intelligent standard.

                So here you policy gurus and Chief Minister sitting on the Putea, pay out some of the money for good policy officially drawn up which we present you for nothing. Great cost benefit to you, and will probably save six months work by your department.

              • Colonial Viper

                for some people, will result in them losing their jobs. Some of these people may not be employable in any other positions and may be permanently locked out of the workforce.

                Seems like we need an employer of last resort in this country. What an idea that would be.

                • Lanthanide

                  Yip, still a better response than “people losing jobs because of the MW going up is a myth” and “don’t worry, the total number of jobs will go up over time”.

                • Nic the NZer

                  Bloody good idea. Would do a damn sight of good about wages keeping up with productivity I think as well, as the present ‘reserve army of the unemployed’ will have significantly better options than benefits (and depressing wages)!

                  Isn’t there an ACT party website where Lanthanide could be hanging out?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    It would be good for private sector employers as well. Private sector employers are very reluctant to hire people who have been out of work for even one or two years. (Observe the awful phenomenon in the USA where employers started specifying that you needed to be in a job already in order to qualify for the position that was being advertised).

                    An employer of the last resort prevents this problem. Prevents the phenomenon of good people left rotting on the shelf, along with many other positives.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Yes. Of course this is a very complimentary policy to raising the minimum wage as it largely negates any concern about creating unemployment.

                      Some people tend to hold the view that the unemployed only want the income out of being in work. I dont believe that at all they also understand that potential employers can and do discriminate against the unemployed.

                      Of course the macro effect of this will be to reduce inflationary bottle necks and improve the economies recovery from recessions.

                    • Lanthanide

                      @Nic:
                      Which has been my point this entire time.

                      Saying “oh, people don’t lose jobs, that’s a myth” or saying “oh, well there will be more jobs in total, so who cares if Joe Bloggs loses their job today because of this policy” is actually a pretty right-wing position to take, where you don’t care about individuals and their livelihoods, only the ‘bigger picture’ of a market economy.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I find the “we have to keep your wages low for your own good” arguments utterly absurd.

                      Especially when the only people saying it are top decile earners.

                      It’s like claiming beatings build character and look what happened to that kid who wasn’t beat enough.

                      Lanth: people lose their jobs every day. It’s the job of the Left to create an economic system where that doesn’t become a personal disaster for people, and they have something good to go on to other than what the “market provides”.

                    • + 1 CV Good points and to the point.

                    • Lanthanide

                      @ CV:
                      “Lanth: people lose their jobs every day. It’s the job of the Left to create an economic system where that doesn’t become a personal disaster for people, and they have something good to go on to other than what the “market provides”.”

                      I agree, which is why I said in my original comment at #3.1, which most people have selectively read and fixated on a small part of:

                      While [raising the MW to the LW] is *part of the solution*, it can’t be the *largest part* of it.

                      There needs to be a lot more done around training and coaching people into work. A pre-requisite of someone holding down a job is likely to be them and their family living in a stable, healthy environment.

                      Emphasis added.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      I dont think you have been paying very good attention Lanth. The point is not that job losses dont happen the point is there is skant evidence to suggest a causal mechanism connecting job losses to higher wages. If anything the evidence points slightly to the opposite conclusion.

                      What you are claiming as fact (because it happens in a fictional model of reality) is not observable as such. This assumption has no standing in the debate and should have no influence on its outcome until it can demonstrate some empirical validity.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Also the claim that its about training is a failure and part of the problem (just leading to more market only solutions). The problem is that the jobs market does not provide sufficient jobs. No amount of training will ever address that. In this situation the govt must step in an provide jobs. At present we can conclude the FOW will fail due to this issue which it fails to address.

                    • Lanthanide

                      “What you are claiming as fact (because it happens in a fictional model of reality) is not observable as such.”

                      And yet we have observed 12 pizza employees losing their job because of the minimum wage increase.

                      You keep denying the evidence right in front of your face. It’s very strange.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Maybe you dont understand it but the model which says minimum wage hikes cost jobs are talking about the average. One off examples provide no evidence for or against them. If they were right then those laid off didnt find other jobs if they were contradicted then those laid off found other jobs and then some.

              • McFlock

                So my first question would be:why are they not being paid the current minimum wage?
                Answer my second question is: why wouldn’t they qualify for the same dispensation under a living wage?

                A better path in that particular case would be to pay the workers the minimum wage and subsidise their employer. That way they’re not tied to one workplace.

                But I’m still not sure that anyone to whom the minimum wage actually applies will lose their job if the minimum wage is increased. If their work was that disposable then they’d be on the chopping block anyway.

                • Lanthanide

                  “Answer my second question is: why wouldn’t they qualify for the same dispensation under a living wage?”

                  They were more illustrating my point, in a rather extreme fashion, that there are people who may lose their job due to MW increase and not be employable anywhere else.

                  “But I’m still not sure that anyone to whom the minimum wage actually applies will lose their job if the minimum wage is increased. ”

                  I’m only talking about a large increase to the MW, such as going from the current $15.25 to ~$19.40 living wage. I’d say even phasing that in over 2 years is pretty fast.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    You’d still have to explain why the work they did suddenly became unnecessary.

                    • The lost sheep

                      Have you lost your copy of ‘Economics for Dummies’ OAB?

                      Much work is unnecessary, and if it stops happening things just roll on perfectly well without it, or the effort is picked up easily elsewhere.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I see that as usual, you bring nothing to the discussion.

                    • Lanthanide

                      It’s not “unnecessary”, it’s uneconomic.

                      Anyway, that’s a strange view to take really, because the majority of jobs in our economy aren’t strictly necessary – if you listen to Draco’s worldview, the government should do everything, and manufacture and sell exactly 1 model of toaster, dishwasher, oven, microwave etc. That way we wouldn’t have all that pointless duplication of effort, with all the administration staff, accountants, salespeople etc to go with it.

                      So, if a corner bakery store goes out of business because the MW goes up significantly and the owner wasn’t making enough of a profit to keep it going, was that corner bakery store “necessary”? Are people going to be starving in the streets because it is now shut?

                    • McFlock

                      So, if a corner bakery store goes out of business because the MW goes up significantly and the owner wasn’t making enough of a profit to keep it going, was that corner bakery store “necessary”? Are people going to be starving in the streets because it is now shut?

                      But that’s only looking at increased minimum wage as an expense – the money goes to the people most likely to spend it immediately in their local community. So your bakery faces an increased cost, but people passing in the street are more likely to pop in for a bagel.

                      Hell, the baker could easily end up hiring more employees.

                    • Lanthanide

                      @McFlock
                      Yes, that *could* happen.

                      But if you are forced with paying higher wages TODAY, and you don’t see an increase in turnover/profit for 2-3 months (because people sensibly have to pay off debt with their new cashflows, you see, and spend it on essentials they may have been going without, of which baked goods definitely aren’t one), then it is quite conceivable you will have to fire your workers TODAY, even if you ultimately employ more people 6 months from now.

                      For businesses where the owner of the business is paying themselves less than their employees because cash is tight, when faced with a substantial MW increase, their choice is to go into poverty themselves, or cut employees, or in the case of zpizza just shut the entire operation down.

                    • McFlock

                      If everybody gets the MW rise at the same time, why would there be a lag of 2-3 months?

                      As for the zpizza story, the fact that it’s almost immediately been replaced by another pizza joint (one with better conditions for its employees) suggests that the problem was management, not wages.

                    • Lanthanide

                      @McFlock:
                      I already answered your question in my comment.

                      If you get a substantial increase in the MW that you have been earning, it is quite likely you will have racked up debts that you haven’t been able to pay down quickly (remember this whole article is about budgeting, of which paying debt is a large part of it).

                      There also may be essential items you’ve been going without because you couldn’t afford them – glasses, clothing, blankets, food, electricity, etc.

                      So on the first week of your substantially increased wages, are you going to be paying back debt and buying essentials, or are you going to go down to the corner bakery store to buy baked goods?

                      My bet is that discretionary spending at places like bakeries and pizzeria’s will have a lag time of a few months – remember only people on the minimum wage are having their wages increased, it is not everyone in society who is. That lag time is of no comfort to the bakery owner who from the moment the legislation takes effect will have to pay their staff more.

                      And since the wider public haven’t received a pay increase, if the bakery puts their prices up to cover their increased wage expenses, it may not increase their revenue – as price goes up, there is less demand (per economic theory).

                      So, the owner of the bakery may very well be stuck between a rock and a hard place – having to pay their staff more, but not actually having an increase in revenue to cover the increase.

                      “As for the zpizza story, the fact that it’s almost immediately been replaced by another pizza joint (one with better conditions for its employees) suggests that the problem was management, not wages.”

                      1. Were the same people employed by zpizza offered jobs at the new store? If not, then these people have had their lives negatively impacted by the minimum wage being increased.
                      2. The reason zpizza shut down is because they were specifically targetted by the MW increase, whereas other companies may not have been. So it might actually be the case that the replacement store can continue to pay the old minimum wage, whereas zpizza was forced to pay the new higher one.

                      So you can’t draw the conclusion, on the information we have available to us, that management at zpizza was the problem – the whole reason the place shut down was the new law, so we can look at that as being the proximate cause, even if it isn’t the ultimate one.

                    • McFlock

                      Your timeframe explains a week or two, not the months you mentioned.

                      And even if the people who get a pay rise are buying essentials, the people selling them those essentials experience an upturn in business – which they might spend on a bagel.

                      2. The reason zpizza shut down is because they were specifically targetted by the MW increase, whereas other companies may not have been. So it might actually be the case that the replacement store can continue to pay the old minimum wage, whereas zpizza was forced to pay the new higher one.

                      It wasn’t specifically targetted, all large businesses were targetted. Part of their mismanagement is that they seemed to adopt a model that gave them the disadvantages of being a large business without actually any of the benefits. That’s the start of the mismanagement. If they couldn’t make pizzas worthwhile when their replacement apparently can, something they were doing was wrong.

                      So you can’t draw the conclusion, on the information we have available to us, that management at zpizza was the problem – the whole reason the place shut down was the new law, so we can look at that as being the proximate cause, even if it isn’t the ultimate one.

                      If the minimum wage increase zotzed them, they would have gone under if there were a few consecutive snow days or if their pizza oven needed a repair. At what point is “proximate cause” simply a rephrasing of “something any sustainable business would have been able to take in its stride”?

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    No, they won’t be starving in the streets, because as has been comprehensively covered in this thread eg: by Hanswurst, McFlock & Nick, minimum wage increases don’t cause unemployment.

                    No amount of “what if” scenarios are going to change that.

                    • Lanthanide

                      “No amount of “what if” scenarios are going to change that.”

                      I gave you 12 instances of people losing their jobs because of a large minimum wage increase.

                      So, I have evidence that people do lose jobs as a result of MW increases, and no amount of “what if” scenarios is going to change that.

                      Rejecting evidence that doesn’t fit with your world-view is classic denialist behaviour.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      You mean the ‘evidence’ which was
                      *anecdotal
                      *appeared to apply not in general but to large franchises only
                      *was looking at the wrong thing (a specific business rather than businesses in the region).
                      *filtered through the lense of right wing propaganda (good chance its total BS)
                      *was contradicted by other reporting of anecdotal evidence.

                      Is this your best example?

                    • Lanthanide

                      @Nic,

                      So you ask for evidence of people losing jobs as a result of significant wage rises, I present some, and now you come up with reasons why my evidence doesn’t count.

                      It’s quite black and white – these 12 people lost their jobs because of a significant MW rise, something you have claimed is a “myth” and “doesn’t happen in reality”.

                      Yet, it happened.

                      “*anecdotal”
                      Reported in the newspaper. I haven’t seen anyone say that the company didn’t shut down or didn’t fire the workers. The rebuttal article you came up with didn’t rebut either of those points.

                      “*appeared to apply not in general but to large franchises only”
                      Which is irrelevant, because all I have said is that putting the MW up a large amount will cost *some people* their jobs. 12 people working at a franchise counts as *some people*.

                      “*was looking at the wrong thing (a specific business rather than businesses in the region).”
                      Again, these are 12 living, breathing, human beings. As much as it is inconvenient for your case that humans never get fired when the MW wage is increased by a large about, that is exactly what happened to these human beings.

                      “*filtered through the lense of right wing propaganda (good chance its total BS)”
                      It didn’t look filtered through any sort of lens to me. Anyway, if it’s bullshit, you’ll be able to find a reliable article stating that.

                      “*was contradicted by other reporting of anecdotal evidence.”
                      You haven’t provided any “anecdotal evidence” that shows these 12 individuals were not fired.

                      You may have provided anecdotal evidence of other people being hired or businesses doing better in general when the MW is increased. Sure, I’m not denying (unlike you) that such evidence exists. But these 12 people still lost their job.

                      “Is this your best example?”
                      Since you haven’t actually refuted the facts of this case, I don’t think I need any other examples.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Lanth, the problem with what you have presented is that it does not challenge the basic theory that a higher wage leads to increased turnover and more jobs (on average). Because it fails to do this its not evidence that a higher wage leads to fewer jobs (again on average).

                      And that is the question of interest. Not whether some inefficient franchise structure of pizza businesses will survive the change.

                      Unless you can refute the average case you are missing the causal link. Thats why you cant talk about the MW hike as a cause. What you are arguing on that basis is simply a fairy tale (in support of regressive employers).

                    • Lanthanide

                      @Nic:
                      I take from your last comment then, that you now agree putting the MW up by a significant amount can cost *some people* their jobs, as you have stopped saying it’s “a myth” and “doesn’t happen in reality” like many of your other comments have said.

                      Now you want to talk about “the average” case.

                      That’s fine, I agree with you that on average, putting the MW up will increase employment. I, in fact, have never disagreed with that statement.

                      My point all along has been that while putting up the MW is important, it can only be part of the solution, not most of it. One of the reasons for that is that because some people will lose their jobs because of the change, and there’s the potential for those people to become completely unemployable going forwards.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Your the only one here who believes that on average creating more jobs would be an insufficient justification for a minimum wage hike. Again if the evidence said minimum wage hike means on average fewer jobs then i might agree with you, and you can maybe say its causal.

                      The causal link is important. Lets say i gift you some money and as a consequence you make your rent payments, then maybe you can say a caused b. Or instead of gifting the money i take it and you miss your rent payments then again maybe you can argue a caused b. But say i gift you the money and you still dont make your rent payments then are you going to argue again a caused b? The direction of the average effect is your causal link. Without that the correlation supporting the causal link anecdotal evidence does not qualify as evidence.

                    • Lanthanide

                      @Nic:
                      “Your the only one here who believes that on average creating more jobs would be an insufficient justification for a minimum wage hike.”

                      No, I don’t believe that, and nor have I ever said that.

                      That is the problem when someone’s comments are taken out of context. This is what I was actually replying to:

                      Budgeting services are not miracle workers. When the cost to rent a rundown house and buy food alone is outpacing the rate of income from working a minimum wage job and even some non minimum wage jobs, there is no way to budget you out of debt. Even those lucky to get a second minimum wage job are finding it hard to make ends meet.
                      The only real solutions are a few things this National Government will never do.
                      1: Increase the minimum wage to a realistic level (A living wage).

                      I said:
                      “Putting the minimum wage up to the living wage will cost people jobs. Some of those people may no longer be employable at all.

                      While that is part of the solution, it can’t be the largest part of it.”

                      I have not said that the average employment going up is not sufficient justification for increasing the MW, I have said that increasing the MW in order to help people budget shouldn’t be the largest part of the solution for helping these people.

                      I think your problem this whole time is that you’ve not actually understood what I’ve been arguing.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      You have said that. 3.1.3.1.2.1 for example.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Quote it, then, because I’ve just re-read it and it doesn’t say what you seem to think it says.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      The rest of this comment is copied from 3.1.3.1.2.1
                      “But either way, even if some people do lose their jobs, more people will gain jobs they otherwise wouldn’t have had, and the people who keep their jobs will have more income.”

                      That’s not of any comfort to the individual person who has lost their job, and is now forced to find another one.

                      Waving your hand and saying “on aggregate, it’s better” isn’t actually addressing my point – that such a policy, for some people, will result in them losing their jobs.

              • Hanswurst

                I think that the problem with your argument is twofold. Firstly you’ve only really provided a sliver of anecdotal evidence. Secondly, and far more importantly, it’s rather difficult to see where the relevance of your point lies. People are losing their jobs because of different economic factors all the time. If there are changes to the minimum wage, some people will lose their jobs. When the minimum wage remains the same, some people lose their jobs. You’re really just saying, “Such a policy change might help some people in the short term and not others”, to which the only really fitting reply is, “So…?”.

        • greywarshark 3.1.3.2

          Good Lara. A lot of statements are made that are really just assumptions, presumptions and regurgitated gossip.
          and

          Lanthanide
          I repeat that a number of things may cause a business to crash.

          The whole neo lib thing in NZ was started knowing it would cause businesses to crash. They didn’t care then, under the airy assumption that anything that came after the good dose of medicine from opening up borders and the free market, would lead to a gradual growth in jobs and business.

          That did not happen, and we still have the continuing unemployment and consequent debility of those people today. But higher wages done gradually, will result in an uplift in spending and growth. If a business is already just existing with zero hours, unpaid overtime, and a wage rise is the last straw then let it be laid to rest, flowers sprinkled on the spot, and a requiem be sung. But let;s see it replaced with a NZ owned place with NZ workers, and as much NZ goods as poss, and then people go and buy there,. pay an extra 50c to $1 per item and give the workers a smile. They may have one to give back.

      • NZJester 3.1.4

        Putting the minimum wage up to the living wage will cost people jobs.

        That BS is what they always say to try and keep wages down.
        How many times have I seen businesses claiming they can not afford to put up worker wages and then not long after you hear the CEO got a big pay rise of an amount that would have covered double the cost of the pay rise the workers asked for. Not only do the workers loose out but also the tax department as that extra normally ends up in a tax haven somewhere un-taxed.

    • greywarshark 3.2

      NZJester
      +1

  4. Enough is Enough 4

    It is amazing how much destruction that John Key has brought upon this great nation in just 8 years.

    The country is hardly recognisable from the one he inherited from Helen Clark.

    When she left office, we didn’t talk about working poor and people living in cars. Everyone was looked after.

    Now due to John Key’s reforms we have huge portion of our people living on streets and getting by through begging or stealing.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      When she left office, we didn’t talk about working poor and people living in cars. Everyone was looked after.

      Well lets not get carried away. IIRC there were still at least Kiwi 150,000 children living in poverty at the end of Helen Clark’s reign, home ownership rates were rapidly dropping and no one earning an average salary or wage in Auckland could afford a median Auckland house = ~$500,000 by that time.

      • Olwyn 4.1.1

        It is true that property prices began to escalate under Labour, but it is also true that they intended to take steps to contain them in 2008, if they won the election. I was at the campaign launch, where it was announced. Moreover, I know people who bought a house late in 2009. They began bidding for rundown three bedders , usually with smallish back yards, in Arch Hill and Newton, in the $380,000-$420,000 range, and were being regularly beaten by developers, who could always come up with just that little bit more. After a few rounds of this, they decided that it was not enough to take one step out, since the developers were onto that – you had to take two. Which they did. It it true the median house price was approaching $500,000, but rising values had not yet swallowed every square inch of the city.

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1

          Given that Auckland housing prices had been rapidly rising all through the Labour 5 years, and that by 2006 international reports were classifying Auckland house prices as “severely unaffordable” I believe that both Clark and Cullen were quite happy with “wealth effect” halo that rapidly rising house prices were giving to the propertied middle class voter in Auckland.

          But maybe I am being too cynical.

          • Olwyn 4.1.1.1.1

            I don’t know how much these things creep up on politicians, but they creep up on ordinary people because things take on a different meaning under neoliberal rules, and by the time it becomes apparent it is too late. When house prices first began to rise, unemployment was dropping and the rise seemed to make sense in the old-fashioned way, with the promise of using the house to develop the business etc. Then people got onto rentals, especially with the growth of shonky finance companies, telling each other “at least you’re safe with housing.” Then little by little it starts getting scary. Mike Williams has talked about people worrying about their kids, but there is also the worry of over-valued houses alongside the lack of other real sources of wealth. It puts people in the position of having a highly priced object but no means for defending it, should the need arise – eg: a government edict, after being lobbied by developers, “Everyone has to X (earthquake-proof, decontaminate, whatever else). ” But you can’t afford to X without taking on a mortgage you can’t pay. That is roughly one of the ways in which land gets taken under colonisation.

          • greywarshark 4.1.1.1.2

            Yeah maybe. It will be a great day when you can be the Good News Fairy (no snide meaning).

  5. Ad 5

    It’s getting so bad even the Taxpayers’ Union is agreeing with Labour against the government, comparing the push for five-star tourist accommodation with government effort on housing :

    The Taxpayers’ Union is labelling Steven Joyce’s “Project Palace” (yes that is really what he is calling it) the National Party’s version of a planned economy. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

    “It appears Steven Joyce never got the memo that the Soviet Union failed. He is literally using taxpayer money to have officials pontificate on the precise number of hotels New Zealand needs and do the work of investors with business plans written by bureaucrats.”

    “Does Mr Joyce also have production figures for steel, coal and corn as part of his USSR-style list of economic goals?”

    “While the Government pours corporate welfare and central planning into international tourist accommodation, Mr Joyce’s party has completely failed to slash the regulatory red tape which has resulted in New Zealanders being forced to sleep in their cars. No wonder the Labour Party is questioning this Government’s priorities.”

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Mr Joyce’s party has completely failed to slash the regulatory red tape which has resulted in New Zealanders being forced to sleep in their cars.

      The red take was slashed years ago. It’s why we have poverty. But then I suspect that they understand that.

    • greywarshark 5.2

      ACT can always find a way to take the high line. The problems about housing seem now according to them, that councils haven’t slashed regulatory tapes that have been needed to avoid an unplanned free for all in housing and roading and sewerage etc.

      They were probably around as a worm in the apple that Eve is supposed to have given to Adam. That was probably one of their lies too, though.

    • Ad 6.1

      For politicians, there’s no need because that’s what focus group polling is for. Group conscience.

      • greywarshark 6.1.1

        Focus group = dereliction of duty by government to make any unfruitful decisions.
        Proverb Hunter
        Everybody’s business is nobody’s business
        Here ‘business’ means ‘duty’ or ‘task’.
        When nobody is directly responsible for doing a thing, nobody does it, because everybody thinks somebody else is or will be doing it.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      the welfare system designed to be a safety net instead reinforces the poverty trap.

      It may have been designed as a safety net but under National it’s a club they can use to keep people down and compliant hence all the rules that result in people being kicked off of benefits when they’ve got nowhere to go.

      While competition is good in most instances, it also increases tensions between groups, undermines solidarity and triggers resentment towards marginalised groups.

      An oxymoronic sentence. It says that competition is good and then tells us why it never is. It’s the type of sentence that you get from someone clinging on to their faith while all the evidence shows that faith to be misplaced.

  6. left_forward 7

    This is also a serious lack of respect to the budgeting service providers who will now be suffering huge uncertainty around the future of the work that the do. Many of these practitioners do it, not for the pittance that they are paid by Government, but for their passion for their community.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Many of these practitioners do it, not for the pittance that they are paid by Government, but for their passion for their community.

      I’m pretty sure you’ll find that this government is counting on that to keep the services up and running. They get the service but don’t have to pay for it which would allow them to cut taxes.

  7. AsleepWhileWalking 8

    I hope those in power realise that going back repeatedly to budget advisors might be part of monitoring so you don’t go backwards, and you have someone to account to, OR it might be a sign that the continued strangulation of mental health/addiction funding is having a wider impact.

    What is this country becoming?

  8. whispering kate 9

    Where it cripples people on benefits is when you have to tack on to your food bill household cleaners, washing powder, for women sanitary items each month which are expensive, deodorants, shampoo/conditioner – other products which are not food items, things that just cannot be afforded on the benefit, this is when the food voucher is helpful. Somehow WINZ can’t see this, also the Nazi check out operators enjoy making people feel like shit when they are at the till paying up, vitamins are a no no, if you are not eating as well as you should because of prohibitive costs and want to avoid colds then Vit. C will be argued about at the check out. People on benefits are punished every way which way by an uncaring people, be it Government or others who have dealings with them.

    When you are left without a job, or taken ill through no fault of your own, why is this a punishable offense? Why has it become such a terrible thing to be in an unfortunate situation and to be so hated? Something is very wrong with this country when we see homeless people on the streets and living in sub standard dwellings or cars and decent people struggling to literally stay alive on a pittance. Their life is difficult and miserable enough without being bashed about the head and stigmatised on a daily basis. The more I see and hear our cabinet ministers with their lies it just sickens me quite frankly. It just brings us all down to their level having to endure their polluting of our lives each day and not being able to do something constructive to get rid of them.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Why has it become such a terrible thing to be in an unfortunate situation and to be so hated?

      It distracts from the real cause of the problems – capitalism and the rules that the rich have managed to have emplaced to keep them rich.

      • Sabine 9.1.1

        it makes those that still can hold on feel better about themselves.
        Once they realise that trying hard is not a safe guard against reconstruction and job loss, or redunancy and job loss, and sickness and job loss they would have to admit that they too are only one kick of a stone away from abject poverty.

        Fuck i would say that about 50% of the country is three paycheques away from homelessness. So by keeping sweet they hope to god and dog that it never happens to them, because choices.

        And they know darn well, that when it happens to them the country won’t be any nicer to them and their kids then they them self have been to others. And that may be the scariest thoughts of them all.

  9. Erik Bloodaxe 10

    I find it massively disturbing that providers are afraid to speak out for fear of missing out on funding. This is the ethic that the “market” brings to the table in provision of social services, although in this circumstance the funder is actually the government, thererfore an obvious distortion in the said “market”. Clearly another example of this government winding down funding to the point where the efficacy of the service is compromised – only for the government to then say public intervention isn’t effective therefore we need to look to the saviour in the private sector. Oh Dear!

    • AsleepWhileWalking 10.1

      It’s been like this for a few years now. Nobody wants to have their main source of funding cut and unless you are self sufficient there aren’t many options.

  10. Delia 11

    I guess they said one to many times, their clients did the best they could but did not have enough income. They will now leave to be replaced with staff more acceptable to the National party line. Same happened with Relationship Services, replaced by happy clappy drones.

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