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The Nats’ useful bludger myth

Written By: - Date published: 1:30 pm, February 16th, 2011 - 14 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, jobs - Tags:

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.

14 comments on “The Nats’ useful bludger myth ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    Saw the start of Campbell Live last night (don’t usually watch it). They had a story on a few days ago about a free store being opened up in Auckland where people could get cheap/free food that had expired or been donated etc, and last night they had a follow up.

    The feedback from viewers that they had was all people talking about “the bludgers”, how they “obviously weren’t starving” because they were fat and how they were all wasting their money on cigarettes and if they didn’t smoke then maybe they could afford to buy food etc

    Interestingly enough, Campbell said they went through the entirety of the footage they had taken, including stuff that was not shown on TV, and of all of the hundreds of people they saw, only 2 of them were smoking cigarettes.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      NZ is turning into a very mean society (or maybe it was always this way).

      The robber barons are chuckling as the serfs scrap amongst themselves for drippings.

      • Bored 1.1.1

        So true: then there are the fools who nail their colours to the masts of the Robber Barons and parade in Emperors clothes on this site: hello TS, lowerstandard, Burt and a few more whaleblubberers….bet you guys dont even get a cent pay out for your loyal support. But you do “aspire” I take it?

  2. Olwyn 2

    I alluded to the Campbell Live thing on open mike last night, too late for anyone to see what I said (I was having trouble sleeping). It is fairly usual I would think in any society for the well-off to consider them some how better than the poor. But a hatred for the poor seems to be getting nurtured in NZ that veers toward persecution, and it strikes me as both disgraceful and dangerous. When you see people leaving NZ, and saying that they can’t stand the place and never want to come back, you see the same sort of response as you see in people who have escaped abusive relationships. Even people who have felt forced to leave chaotic and impoverished countries tend to retain a love for their country that is tinged with sadness, a feature often lacking in NZ escapees.

    • Carol 2.1

      Twas always so in NZ that many people don’t have much empathy or umderstanding for those outside their narrow worlds. I left NZ un the early 70s, along with many others. At that time I hated Muldoon’s NZ, and the inequalities of various sorts, and narrow-mindedness of many people. I didn’t come back for well over a decade. But, the sadness and nostalgia grows over time, especially when you realise that each country has its own short-comings, and many of them simce the 80s have to do with the shift to neoliberalism.

      I know people who left NZ when I did, and who still never want to return.

      I think the growth in inequalities have focused some on the people less well-off than themselves, with such nastiness.

    • marsman 2.2

      Olwyn, Shipley’s wee stint at terrorising the poor is being re-enacted by the current mis-administration.

      • Olwyn 2.2.1

        There is an unequivocal response to the free shop saga by an American on the Campbell Live website. A sample: “Your govt. TAXES water, food, electricity, and FOR GOD’S SAKE EVEN BABY FOOD!!!!!!!….this means you can’t even live as an ANIMAL without paying 15%…. All the anger should be directed at the govt. that holds you down while your being brutally assaulted by MetroWater, Mercury Energy, Fonterra, the fish industry and Foodtown/Countdown. What are our tax dollars doing when the Commerce dept DOES NOTHING FOR THE PEOPLE and for example the Telco Minister who can’t seem to find his own ass with both hands.”

        http://www.3news.co.nz/NZ-unsympathetic-for-those-lining-up-for-Free-Store/tabid/817/articleID/198442/Default.aspx

  3. M 3

    Excellent Marty

    Perhaps some flyers in the form of he said/she said would be good from TS refuting Nat’s sweeping generalisations and made up stats, e.g. National says 90% of DPB recipients are young slapper who got unlucky after the pub one night / Department of Stats says 5% or whatever it is.

    The RWNJs can’t argue with what’s down in cold black and white.

  4. Carol 4

    And Key has just claimed, in the House, that the increasing numbers of people at food banks etc, are because some people on low incomes don’t manage their money efficiently: ie if they did, they’d be able to live off their incomes and wouldn’t be looking for extra handouts, on top of their benefits.

  5. Wyndham 5

    Carol, You forgot to mention that Key also said that people are now in receipt of tax cuts thus enabling them to have greater purchasing power !

    • Deadly_NZ 5.1

      They do have greater purchasing power.. In Sydney . Washington London Oh and don’t forget Hawaii for our minister for incompetence.

  6. SPC 6

    The number on the dole fell to 17,000 in early 2008.

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