Under Labour, when there was effectively full employment, there were still 1,700 people who had been continuously on the dole for over 4 years. I was prepared to accept most of these were ‘bludgers’. Turns out I was too cynical. Paula Bennett found only 658 of the now 21,000 who have been on the dole for more than a year were ineligible.
Werewolf has an excellent article busting more benefit myths.
You should read the full article but this, to me, is the crucial point and one that has regularly been made on The Standard:
In the mid 2000s, dole numbers had shrunk to around 17,000 – one quarter of the current number, and solid proof that the problem is not a lack of motivation and/or of strong incentives. The vast majority of people want to work. The history of the last ten years in particular shows that when jobs exist, people work. Conversely, no amount of self-motivation by a solo parent will create a job at her local supermarket when they are laying off staff.
It is a very odd situation. The same politicians who have been unable to manage an economy so that it employs people, are now blaming people for not finding jobs that do not exist. Nothing in this process is directly about reducing or alleviating poverty. It is mainly about reducing costs by making it harder for families to access the assistance they need in adversity – and this is being done in part at least, to make up for the revenue given away in last year’s tax cuts. It is part of the wealth transfer from the poorer to wealthier members of New Zealand society occurring on the government’s watch.
People want to work. The jobs aren’t there. Punishing workers and their families for a disaster they didn’t create to free up money for tax cuts for the rich is despicable. Simply, it’s class war.