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The other welfare report

Written By: - Date published: 9:33 am, December 2nd, 2010 - 12 comments
Categories: families, national, welfare - Tags: ,

Probably everyone reading this blog is aware of the Nats’ welfare working group lead by Paula Rebstock. Stacked with right wing extremists its recommendations are, predictably, good old fashioned Tory welfare bashing (see also here, here, here, here). The following is a typical quick summary:

Welfare revamp to push single parents to work

A major review of the welfare state has put forward options that could require the vast majority of sole parents, sick and disabled beneficiaries to look for work.

The review by the Government’s welfare working group chaired by economist Paula Rebstock suggests that as few as 20,000 of the 144,000 sickness and invalid beneficiaries might be exempted from job-search requirements.

Sole parents could be required to look for work when their youngest children turn 3, or even 1 – both much tougher than the requirement introduced two months ago to look for work when their youngest children turn 6. …

The publication of a very different report on welfare will give us all a chance to see the Rebstock group’s punitive ideology in the context of a little real world sanity:

People not on dole by choice – report

Many people are on the dole because of “horrible” incidents in their life and feel vulnerable when portrayed as lazy, a welfare report released today says.

Welfare Justice, established by Caritas, the Anglican Social Justice Commission and the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation of New Zealand in July, released its first report today.

Welfare Justice was established in July following the launch of the Government’s Welfare Working Group as concern grew the latter would demonise beneficiaries.

Chairman Mike O’Brien said today’s report aims at giving beneficiaries the opportunity to become part of the welfare reform debate.
It outlines the views and experiences of over 400 people who participated through written submission and public meetings.

“Many people who spoke or wrote to us were at pains to explain that they had not chosen to be supported by a social security benefit, but that this was a consequence of something horrible happening to their life,” he said.

Beneficiaries felt information in the media were portraying them as lazy or fraudulent, which causes them anxiety and feelings of vulnerability.

People were on the dole because of circumstances such as marital relationships that had turned violent, being a solo-parent, caring for a family member with a disability or being born with a health condition that impairs opportunities for paid work, the report said.
Barriers of employment, included lack of affordable, flexible and quality childcare, the scarcity of family-friendly workplaces, and the lack work opportunities for health impaired people. …

Ominously, the Nats are signalling an “overhall” of welfare as one of their top issues for the next election. I know which welfare report they will be guided by. The wrong one.

12 comments on “The other welfare report ”

  1. Hilary 1

    I think you will find that Caritas is Catholic, not Anglican.
    Whatever, it is a great report. And the column by Steve Maharey in the DomPost earlier this week was also interesting as he has done some thinking on this area since being the SD minister. I particularly like the comment he made about disliking it when well paid people say jobs are the way out of welfare without adding they need to be well paid and sustainable jobs.

    • toad 1.1

      True, Hillary, that Caritas is Catholic, but both Caritas and the Anglican Social Justice Commission are sponsors of the report, along with the Beneficiaries Advocacy Federation.

    • just saying 1.2

      So, the perennial question for Labour –

      Which side are you On?

      Pity I can’t place a bet at the TAB. The answer is……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
      Leaning towards the razor gang for the redneck vote, with just a couple of pathetic, threadbare gestures thrown in to appease the benes and those who care about them, and to mention when addressing disability groups and down-at-heel electorates.

      Prove me wrong.

      • No, no, no, surely we heard bold vision and brave, never-say-die determination to raise people out of poverty from their most recent lickspittle, shiny, vacuuous, hand-picked new candidate?!

        Didn’t we?

        Sorry JS, based on very recent history, the TAB won’t be taking your bet.

        The saddest thing is, the people who least need more of the kind of bullshit you skewer so well, turned out and voted for Tweedletrough (and gave Tweedletrougher a fair few votes as well) while pointedly ignoring the one candidate who would actually have fought like hell to help them.

        In short, we’re f***ked.

  2. swimmer 2

    It seems inhumane to force a parent with a toddler or baby to carry the burden of looking for work. Rebstock certainly doesn’t have the right to decide that a person with a serious or multiple illnesses should be forced out into the workforce. These people didn’t choose to be sick and have enough to deal with, without having stigma attached to them. There are many people who have lost their jobs during the recession who through no fault of their own can’t find new employment.

    I rather suspect that this report is designed to soften people up for the harsh, but not as harsh as the report’s recommendations, changes that the government is planning.

    • Olwyn 2.1

      Yes, for a “fiscally responsible” government they are willing to pay quite a bit for PR initiatives of this sort.

    • ianmac 2.2

      Yes swimmer: Sole parents could be required to look for work when their youngest children turn 3, or even 1 – both much tougher than the requirement introduced two months ago to look for work when their youngest children turn 6. …

      What’s the bet that the kindly John Key rejects this and instead goes for much better scheme for sole parents; that is when the youngest gets to 6years. Oh much nicer. Thanks John. But he would say that the trade off would be halving the DPB for these parents then halving it again until they were employed.

    • Swampy 2.3

      Yet. mums not eligible for the DPB are putting their kids into childcare and going back to work. So why make the distinction?

  3. ak 3

    Going by the haste and pizzaz with which “Switzerland of the South Pacific” has been dusted off, polished up and rolled out, I’d say the Fearhouse “Bash-a-benny” Christmas special isn’t selling too well. Hence Mauler Benefit’s hesitation to comment until a more favourable poll comes in. Wheron it may be quietly filed alongside Fire at Will.

    That middling target group is feeling a wee bit shakey: a shrinking market for fearmongering if aimed at potential victims.

    Signs of panic in the blue tent, and angst in the target pants: a big push right now from Labour could pay dividends.

  4. Jenny 4

    What an alternative Left Budget looks like.

    From the USA:
    Alternative Left Budget – Gives a Warning to John Key, “Austerity Will Crush The Economy“

    Will Labour heed the warning too?

    Or will the corporate lobby be to powerful to resist?

    Of course the easy option would be to stay in opposition, and wait till the recession is over, so you never have to face the hard questions.

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