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: carmel sepuloni
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.
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.