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The spirit of ’35

Written By: - Date published: 10:32 am, June 24th, 2014 - 50 comments
Categories: activism, benefits, capitalism, election 2014, greens, internet mana party, labour, poverty, welfare, workers' rights - Tags:

Jan Logie published a post on Frog Blog yesterday, that deserved to be read and re-read by anyone interested in the future of NZ society, and the current state of the country’s governance.

Logie mic

In “Work and Income – stories from hidden people“, Logie reports on her meeting with a group of people at a pre-employment course.  The stories are not the kind that are hidden from beneficiaries who deal with WINZ these days.  nor are they hidden from those who have listen to or read of similar stories online. These are the kind of harrowing stories that speak of the depth of callousness of our current government.  They speak to the level of misinformation and neglect that dominants our public culture. Logie reports:

Everyone, including the tutors was worried about what  is happening in Work and Income.

Among the issues they raised with me was the basic inadequacy of income. One young man gets $144 pw and has to pay $100 for rent, excluding expenses, leaving him $44 a week to cover all his costs . The young woman next to him was around the same age and had $80 income over her rent each week. They all felt that what you got was really dependent on luck and the case manager on the day.

The same young man had to leave the session with his tutor because , we were told, he was about to have his benefit cut for not turning up to WINZ instigated meetings. This was despite the tutor having a letter saying that the students were not required to attend Work and Income meetings while on the course.

The efforts the man had to go through to convince work and income staff that he had not been non-compliant were mind-boggling. Added to the injustice of it all was that the meeting he was being punished for not attending was a budgeting session; to learn how to pay for everything with his $44pw.

A tutor was also very concerned that a mother had had her benefit cut in half for missing three days of the course when it turned out she and her baby had been admitted to hospital after getting the flu and having seizures. She didn’t have enough money on her phone to tell anyone.

More harrowing stories at the above link.

paula bennett inequality

The struggles of such people should never be forgotten as the election campaign continues. There was a time when Kiwis were proud of the country’s record in caring for it’s least well off, and least powerful citizens.  In 1935, the Labour became government committed to providing comprehensive care of citizens “from the cradle to the grave”. In 1938 the historic Social Security Act was past.

Savage social security

NZ History Online summarises its content and significance:

Labour won the 1935 election with a policy that every New Zealand citizen had a right to a reasonable standard of living. The community was responsible for ensuring that people were safeguarded against economic conditions from which they could not protect themselves. Labour’s ultimate response to the Depression was the Social Security Act.

The Act combined the introduction of a free-at-the-point-of-use health system with a comprehensive array of welfare benefits. It was financed by a tax surcharge of one shilling in the pound, or 5%. ‘Pensions’ were renamed ‘benefits’.

Micky Savage crowd

The NZ History article ends with hints of how this system of care, compassion, inclusiveness and social well being has since been undermined by the powerful spinners of callous, profits-before-people, economics: an ideology that benefits the few at the expense of the many. The result is the kind of society where stories of those struggling are hidden, marginalised, or worse.

We can be much better than that.  We can return to the spirit of ’35 and elect a government that works for the whole country.  A true economics puts social and community wellbeing as before finances, balance sheets, and corporate profits.

Many things have changed since 1935, so we need a renew blue-print for a society that is measured by the wellbeing of all, including those with least money and power.

Opposition Party Policies:

Green Party polices are part of an integrated whole.  The Income support policy,

Key Principles

  • Everyone has a standard of living that enables them to participate in their community.

  • People have sufficient income for their personal and whanau/family’s well-being.

  • People are actively involved in meeting their potential and creating a fulfilling life.

  • A commitment to full employment.

  • Greater emphasis on sufficiency, simplicity, universality.

Specific policy points include this:

  • Improve the culture of Work and Income so that people are treated with dignity and respect and are enable to access their full entitlements promptly.

Labour Party: I couldn’t find a specific policy area on Labour’s website for anything resembling income support or social security.  It is touched upon in policies that focus on children and the elderly, and on full employment, a living wage for all and fairness at work.

The Mana Party also puts a strong emphasis on work, a living age and fair employment legislation addresses social security specifically with its Social Wellbeing policy.  It explains,

Anyone who is unable to support themselves because they are out of work, sick, injured, disabled, elderly, or a sole parent deserves support from a compassionate welfare system.  The current system is far too complicated.  It wastes huge amounts of taxpayers’ money on administration, and does not provide even minimal adequate support for most people on benefits.  All too often people coming to Work and Income are treated with disregard and contempt.

Specific policy measures include:

Radically change the culture of Work & Income so that people coming in for assistance are treated with respect, granted their full entitlements, and so that staff are trained and supported to work sensitively with people from a diverse range of backgrounds.

On the Internet Party website, I don’t see any policy area (as yet) for social security.

Vote for a return to the spirit of ’35, while focusing on the practicalities of the 21st century.

50 comments on “The spirit of ’35 ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    The carrot is not enough. We must also wield the stick against persistent human rights abusers, especially those employed by the state.

    Not just disciplinary measures: police action.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      They’re doing the work of the state, as approved by the state. Why would you punish front line staff and front line supervisors, who themselves are merely wage serfs, for that.

  2. Kaye 2

    “Labour Party: I couldn’t find a specific policy area on Labour’s website for anything resembling income support or social security. ”

    That’s because Labour don’t give a damn about beneficiaries, even the ill/disabled ones. That was made crystal clear to us during their reign in the 2000s. At least National don’t pretend they like us and want to help- we know where we stand with them. Labour for the most part agree with what National’s doing, they just won’t say it out loud. MJS would be rolling in his grave if he could see how Labour are behaving towards NZers who are down on their luck through no fault of their own.

    Labour have betrayed beneficiaries big time, and if they want to know why their support has dropped considerably- we’ve shifted our allegience to Greens and Mana who do actually give a damn. And yes, benefiaciaries do still have the vote, despite many who have relegated us to 4th class citizens, and a large number of us still vote, beaten down as we’ve become.

    • Mary 2.1

      I was so outraged to read that Labour had no social welfare policies mentioned on its website (which of course we’ve known for years now but it’s still riling to see it mentioned) that I launched straight into the post below without reading anything else. Yes, everything you say about Labour is correct. It’s time people started telling the truth about this. There are so many (it seems to me, anyway) Labour supporters who don’t want to face up to the fact that Labour has sold the poor down the river. It’s something too traumatic for tribal Labour to face. You can even put the legislative amendments that Labour have passed in front of them but they turn away.

      I hope I’m wrong but I fear that things are too far gone to convince Labour to change its spots back to what MJS saw as fundamental to the labour movement, which was that there is no distinction between the working poor and non-working poor. We need to send a message to Labour not to take its support for granted. At the moment it’s clear that Labour is no friend of the poor. They’ve proved it time and time again, and have given no indication it’s going to change. It really is time for a change of strategy, and that must include moves to relegate Labour from being a main party.

      • karol 2.1.1

        I think in this election campaign, the most positive and helpful approach is to vote for the parties pledged to work for the working & non-working poor – and the ones aiming for an approach that puts social and community wellbeing front & centre – and to let people know WHY you/we are voting that way.

        I am supporting the Greens because these policies are included in a holistic approach to a fair and inclusive society.

        That’s the best way to let Labour know what we want from left wing parties.

        At this stage of the campaign, I’m not into fragmenting the left, but in promoting strong left wing polices, and getting as many people on board as possible to throw out the current anti-people bunch.

        • Kaye 2.1.1.1

          But unfortunately NZ is now a country where social inclusion and what’s good for society as a whole doesn’t come into it any more. It’s every person for themselves and quite literally, survival of the fittest. If you’re lucky enough to be able to work, even on the minimum wage, then the fate of someone not able to work isn’t your problem. Your concern becomes keeping your job and hopefully get a pay rise and tax cut, so vote for the party that presents that bribe. A generalised statement I know- I’ve met many employed people who don’t think like that (they tend to vot Green)- but for the most part that’s what it’s become.

          • karol 2.1.1.1.1

            Yes. There needs to be a whole culture shift away from “What’s in it for me?”

            That’s why it’s important to let people know the values we follow when voting.

            Voting is not enough on its own.

            But if we don’t vote, we enable the current government to continue to destroy everything valuable for society.

            • Mary 2.1.1.1.1.1

              “But if we don’t vote, we enable the current government to continue to destroy everything valuable for society.”

              Yes, I agree entirely, and I would add that a failure to vote also means throwing away an opportunity to send the message to Labour that it can’t take its support for granted. Voting for the Greens or Mana at this election will help to send this message, and sending this message to Labour has a further significance in terms of preventing the current government continuing “to destroy everything valuable for society” because at the moment we have two main parties who are not prepared to place value on the need to ensure participation for all including the poor. That’s what’s got to change and it never will change if both main parties keep doing what they’re doing. This is why Labour has so much to answer for.

              As far as this election goes there’s nothing more to do than vote Greens or Mana, but the only difference between doing this in 2014 and what the Left needs to do after the election is to convince more and more people to do the same in 2017. Labour has proved that absolutely nothing else will ever get them to change their stance on social security and the non-working poor. This is why we need to start telling the truth about Labour and if this isn’t enough then they need to accept the consequences which may very well mean face calls for relegation to being a minor party. This has to be the logical extension of the debate about Labour and its abandonment of traditional core values.

    • Vicky32 2.2

      “That’s because Labour don’t give a damn about beneficiaries, even the ill/disabled ones. That was made crystal clear to us during their reign in the 2000s”

      That has not been true in my experience, Kaye. David Shearer as my local MP and his staff, have been very helpful to me and to people I know.
      Vicky

  3. Mary 3

    “Labour Party: I couldn’t find a specific policy area on Labour’s website for anything resembling income support or social security. It is touched upon in policies that focus on children and the elderly, and on full employment, a living wage for all and fairness at work.”

    Herein lies the problem. Until Labour pulls its arrogant head in nothing will change. We live in a country where the two main political parties don’t care about the poor. This just strengthens the modern day anti-poor / anti-beneficiary climate of opinion that was created in the Shipley/Richardson decade of hell. All well-reasoned and principled social security policy comes from two minor parties that the right-wing spends a huge amount of time and money trying publicly malign. What a mess. And it’s a mess that’s allowed to continue with not a jot being done about it because of the very same attitudes that keep feeding the problem.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      The writer of this piece forgot to mention that Labour in 1935 pushed through many progressive policies because of the pressure and expectations foist upon it from a vast number of civil society organisations and mass movements. Huge unions, the communists, the socialists, the Red Feds just to name a few.

      None of those organisations and mass movements exist today to do that, hence Labour meanders here and meanders there, under the variously changing guidance of highly paid social liberals, academics and intellectuals.

      • Mary 3.1.1

        And the right-wing does everything it can to crush and destroy those civil society organisations and mass movements.

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1

          Yep. Right down to taking away night classes and closing down community facilities. They are thorough.

          • karol 3.1.1.1.1

            Yes, some very important points, CV.

            My experience of this was in London under Thatcher’s government. At that time, I reckon that the UK had the strongest left wing networks and organisations in the English language world. And that government set about systematically, gradually and patiently dismantling them one way or another.

            • Mary 3.1.1.1.1.1

              “And that government set about systematically, gradually and patiently dismantling them one way or another.”

              Yes, it was done “gradually and patiently”. The nats in the 1990s had the same agenda and while they did some serious damage, they also failed to achieve much of what they set out to do because they tried to do it too quickly. The resistance to many things was simply too strong. The current government has learned from that experience so is now “systematically, gradually and patiently dismantling” everything perceived as an impediment. Doing it this way makes it easier to dupe the voting public into thinking what they’re doing is just great which then means we vote them back in again so they can then get to work on the next phase of screwing citizens even harder but in a way that still makes us like them even more and so we then vote them in yet again. Easy peasy.

              • Colonial Viper

                And with raising the retirement age and voting for NAT benefit reforms Labour is playing that same game.

    • greywarbler 3.2

      Well said Mary.

  4. weka 4

    Here’s the comment I left on Frogblog

    Thanks for this Jan, it’s a very good write up of how bad things have gotten and how much despair this creates for people.

    Can you please tell us if the Green Party is going to include Social Security as one of its priorities in post-election negotiations? Had the GP done any work yet on how to restore WINZ to the agency it should be ie one that helps and supports those in need?

    It’s important to hear the stories, but if the political parties don’t take action not much is going to change.

    The GP have positive intent in their policy, but I want to know if any work is being done on the how and the when.

    • karol 4.1

      Excellent point, weka. I will look out for the response.

    • weka 4.2

      Just looking at the Mana policy compared to the GP one, with a focus on improving the culture at WINZ.

      GP: “Improve the culture of Work and Income so that people are treated with dignity and respect and are enable to access their full entitlements promptly.” No detail.

      Mana have more detail:


      Radically change the culture of Work & Income so that people coming in for assistance are treated with respect, granted their full entitlements, and so that staff are trained and supported to work sensitively with people from a diverse range of backgrounds. First steps will include:

      Removing review of decisions from the Benefit Review Committees to a far more independent body.

      Creating an independent social security ombudsman to deal with complaints against Work & Income staff who humiliate or mistreat people.

      Implement a social marketing campaign to begin to undo the negative stereotyping of beneficiaries.

      Provide stable, ongoing funding for community based beneficiary and ACC advocacy groups throughout the country.

      Those strike me as suggestions from people who deeply understand what the issues are.

      • karol 4.2.1

        Agreed.

        A Mana vote is for positive change.

      • karol 4.2.2

        Did you look at the full Green Policy in this pdf? It includes a lot of detail eg repealing sections of the law, ensuring various things, etc.

        The policy also includes the following:

        9. Ensure that the Ministry of Social Development, including its Work and IncomeService, (MSD/WI) works to:

        a. Ensure that all people using their services are treated respectfully and heard, by implementing an effective complaint process.

        b. Ensure that people who are dissatisfied with decisions of MSD/WI re their entitlements have access to a speedy and independent review and appeal process that operates in accordance with the principles of natural justice.

        c. Ensure staff training, instructions and incentives encourage staff to engage in active listening and make positive efforts to inform individuals of their full entitlements and provide them.

        d. Improve outreach efforts to minority groups through their community organisations, including training of MSD/WI staff.

        e. Expand vocational guidance services so that unemployed people can be given proper, individually tailored assistance in finding appropriate employment and training opportunities from the time they first register as a jobseeker.

        10.Ensure quality support and advocacy services for people dealing with Work and Income and other relevant Government departments by:

        a. Significantly increasing MSD funding and infrastructure support to community organisations that provide beneficiary advocacy and support services.

        b. Supporting and enabling training and information sharing in and among advocacy groups.

        c. Providing proper accountability mechanisms for MSD/WI to all key stakeholders.

        d. Further developing appropriate ways for community organisations to provide feedback to the MSD/WI on the effectiveness of its services in each of its regions.

        e. Developing the capacity for community organisations to carry out research and contribute to policy development.

        f. Enabling community advocacy and support organisations to have access to appropriate MSD/WI information with proper informed consent and security processes and within the limits of the Privacy Act.

        But I’d also like to know what level of priority the Greens give this policy.

        • weka 4.2.2.1

          Thanks karol, bit of a brain fade and didn’t look further. I’d hazard a guess that Mana took some of its policy from the GP one. However, there is something about the Mana one that speaks to me as a long term benerficiary more than the GP. It seems more pragmatic and focussed on specifics that make sense in the real world. The GP one seems more idealistic and abstract.

          Having said that, maybe the GP one is just more wordy.

          My comment at Frogblog still isn’t out of moderation.

          • karol 4.2.2.1.1

            Could it be that Sue Bradford had significant input in the drafting of Mana’s policy?

  5. I can certainly identify with the testimonials from those dealing with winz saying the benefit is not enough to live on.
    After paying my weekly bills I have the monthly phone/internet bill this week ($69). I will be left with $25 from my benefit, accommodation supplement and temp additional support for food and everything else. I will get $29 tax credit from ird, so $54 to get by. No going to the quack this week, and no cough medicine either.

    Of course I could cancel my internet and phone, which is one of the cheapest deals out there, but who will pay the cancellation fee? Not winz.
    I am indebted for what receive, but I have no car as it’s run out of wof and registration and it’s stupid to rack up potential fines by winging it, my shoes are falling off my feet, my clothes need replacing and the cat has been home cured after it’s bloody then pussy fight with a possum.
    Yes I can eat noodles, but is that really living.
    Give me a job or give me more money. Simple.

    • Kaye 5.1

      Allen- I consider myself lucky by beneficiary standards- Invalids- so the highest rate and currently not subject to work testing, single no dependents, and cheap rent so I’m not starving and can pay the bills. But I’m very aware that could change, and I have friends in similar situations to yourself.

      While I’m not going to post my rate here, what I can say is since 1996 my benefit (including supplements) has increased by the grand total of $88/week. And back in 1997 my power bill was only around $20-30/month. There was a bit of discretionary money left over and it was possible to have a bit of a life (go to the movies, save for a holiday, not a chance now.) So in real terms benefits have been decreasing every year, that’s common knowledge, but the press releases still go out every year to inform the public that benefits will be increased on April 1st to meet the cost of living increase ha ha ha…

      We’re not going to get any more money Allen. The only hope for most is that jobs will turn up again. But for those of us who are permanently disabled, we’re stuck with WINZ for life. That is really terrifying, as are general elections.

  6. NickS 6

    And it’s stuff like this that makes me so stressed to go on to the sickness benefit, as any of the above or similar would just make things worse for me.

  7. Ennui 7

    I can remember years back when unemployment spiked being out of work for a few months and being treated shabbily by what was then the DOL and DSW. They seemed to think it right to make our relationship as contentious as possible. That was at the start of the Rogernomics era.

    A key thing done by that bunch of scumbags was the redefinition of the citizens relationship with the state. You became not an unemployed citizen talking to a public servant but a client talking to your case manager. The semantics betray the change of the power balance and the point of the exercise.
    The individual became a client with a case, no longer assisted with service from a public servant but managed by a manager.

    Since this charade began in the 80s our whole relationship with the state has become more excluding of the citizen. It has become including of tax payers. If you don’t have work and pay tax you are a client, to be managed and excluded from everything possible. You might otherwise become a burden on the state. And cost money. No account is taken of prior contribution, that’s yesterday.

    Who is this state we talk about? What is a citizen? Time we forced the politicians to redefine this before we redefine them.

    • weka 7.1

      That’s a very good point Ennui. The whole power dynamic in that shift is with clients being passive, whereas citizens have agency. Where we are at today is an end point, where clients are treated like shit, or economic units that need to be incentivised.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      You became not an unemployed citizen talking to a public servant but a client talking to your case manager.

      Yes. Languaging is absolutely key.

      And the trend continues with Ministries and their “Chief Executives”, flash $250,000 logo designs, essentially a corporatisation of the public sector.

      In too many instances the state has gone from a role of helping the citizen to that of one hindering the customer. It’s BS and both Labour and National continue along this track.

      And now, in the case of the Liu OIAs, the public sector has actively taken sides against the Leader of the Opposition. WTF.

      • karol 7.2.1

        Good points, CV. Am I to take it you have resiled from your previous position on “language police” re gender, etc?

        • Colonial Viper 7.2.1.1

          Oh droll, karol. Nope. Did you see me suggesting somewhere that we need more trivial language police, or indeed language policing of any kind?

          • karol 7.2.1.1.1

            You are acknowledging the power of language – far from trivial.

            • Colonial Viper 7.2.1.1.1.1

              Absolutely – but one day I got sick and tired of people wanting to confine and derail the language used in discussion and debate to the parameters that they approved of.

  8. Kaye 8

    And not content with turning us into “clients” with “case managers”, they then went and took our “case managers” away. Now even long term beneficiaries have no consistency, it’s someone new at every appointment and have to explain our whole complex situation over and over again. Apparently this is more “efficient.” Yep it sure is. That’s because so many of us now can’t cope with going anywhere near them to ask for assistence that we know we’re entitled to, we’d rather go into debt or go without. I’m sure that’s their plan.

    I guess they don’t care too much about how much it’s costing the taxpayer for the extra (unnecessary) hospital admissions resulting from all of this. Of course not- it’s someone else’s budget, nothing to do with them. Right, Paula?

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      “efficiency” is that neoliberal speak again, reflecting an inhuman system deliberately designed that way, where both the “staff” and the “clients” suffer on a daily basis.

    • greywarbler 8.2

      @Kaye
      I think the case managers got the push because some of them might show empathy and ‘weakness’ in demanding compliance with whatever they deem fit to impose. What is wanted is cold objectivity and the beneficiary not allowed to feel settled or happy.

      Unhappy and unsettled and uncertain is the state of mind wanted. I feel that I am right about the approach and the outcome wished for by the admin of WINZ. From what I have heard, this is a common experience.

  9. Will@Welly 9

    I just love the fact that partners of those ‘in work’ have no ‘rights’, regardless of what taxes they have paid. Years of working hard, ‘salting’ money away for old age, forgoing holidays, then one of you is either laid off or is taken ill, and WINZ just gives you the bird.
    So much for the much vaunted hand up.

  10. dimebag russell 10

    are winz staff still getting bonuses for kicking people off the dole?

    • Kaye 10.1

      Officially no, and they never were, that was just a wild rumour (sarcasm). Seriously though, I’m not sure about the current state of play. If there are bonuses going on then they’re going to make damn sure that info doesn’t get out like last time. It might induce a slight bit of sympathy towards the unemployed person by the general public and we can’t have that, can we?

  11. Rose 11

    Does anyone know if the dole is linked to the government’s Food Price Index?

    According to Statistics NZ, the annual change in the FPI from May 2013 to May 2014 was:
    food prices up 1.8%;
    fruit and vegetable prices up 5.6%;
    meat, poultry and fish prices up 0.5%.

    I wonder if the dole has been adjusted to keep pace with this 1.8% rise in food prices in the last year?

  12. Michael 12

    Responses to this post demonstrate why Labour will get another hiding from the people on 20 September. (1) It is a disgrace that it took a Green MP to disclose WINZ’s abuses, when every Labour electorate MP (and most of the list MPs) are well aware of them (if they are not, they shouldn’t be Labour MPs in the first place); (2) there is absolutely no evidence that Labour will do anything to make WINZ (and ACC, too) treat people decently if it wins the election; (3) WINZ has been abusing people for many years, under successive governments (including those led by Labour. ACC’s abuse is even worse); (4) Many New Zealanders, especially those who traditionally vote Labour, have been shafted by WINZ (or ACC), or know someone who has; (5) it is not unreasonable for these people to conclude that Labour cannot, or will not, make government work for them and help them deal with the adverse effects of capitalism (Labour’s historic raison d’etre); (6) Therefore, 000s of New Zealanders will not bother to enrol, or vote, as they believe Labour has abandoned them, while no viable alternatives yet exist (although the Greens and Mana are moving that way).

    • Ergo Robertina 12.1

      +1

    • weka 12.2

      While I agree that Labour need to up their game significantly, I don’t think it’s true to say that Labour does nothing at all.

      Life on a benefit is generally somewhat easier under a Labour govt than National. What remains to be seen is what a Cunliffe Labour govt will do.

      Labour have been addressing some of the issues re WINZ. Google Sarah Wilson and Labour, and also there is this (which I think is problematic, but at least they are trying) http://action.labour.org.nz/fair-treatment-hard-times#top

      The GP seem much more together, but I remain unconvinced that they will make WINZ changes a priority. Both Labour and the GP can hardly bring themselves to mention beneficiaries (unless it’s in the context of child poverty).

      • karol 12.2.1

        I think having both the GP and Mana in parliament is a very good thing. Both put pressure on for betetr treatment of beneficiaries. I think n the future both parties will put pressure o the government for changes to social security. If they lead the government, Labour is way more likely to take positive notice of them than National.

        I do think Mana has dtronger focus on people on low incomes than the GP. But I don’;t think that means the GP won’t advocate strongly for changes to social security. I like the way this fits in with other GP policies as well.

        I think it has been a good way to appeal to the consciences of Kiwis by focusing on child poverty.

        Even Mana has done that with “Feed the kids”.

        Mana’s two main areas of action this term have been “feed the kids” and the state housing protests – plus some Unite action.

        It has been Sue Bradford, and AAAP that has been advocating the strongest for beneficiaries.

  13. Descendant Of Sssmith 13

    The last betrayal by Labour was to put the $20-00 per week back on NZS but not on benefits.

    They at least showed they can do as a matter of policy when they want it but do it for the worst off – not on your nelly.

    Remember too the youth rate being changed from 18 to 24 was another significant benefit cut that also needs correcting.

    The absence of even something as simple as doing for beneficiaries what they did for superannuatants shows how little they are interested in the poor and vulnerable.

    Just like they no longer believe in an 8 hour working day, 40 hour working week, state housing for life, government departments employing the young and those with disabilities because the private sector wont, that rail is a service not a profit making enterprise, that tax cuts should be reversed and people should pay more, that hospitals and schools should not compete against each other, that education should be secular and so on and so on.

    I’ve always liked how the description in the 1997 yearbook:

    “The present system cannot be characterised according to any single principle, theory, or formula. As already stated, it has evolved from changing needs and experience in dealing with them. For example, it looks like a form of community insurance, but is not financed, funded, or administered on an insurance basis. It is financed from general taxation; but a person’s benefit bears no relation to his tax contribution. While basically income-tested and selective as to need within classes of benefit, it is also universally applied without regard to other income or means in three main cases (superannuation, family, and medical benefits) and in the lesser miners’ benefit. It transfers income from the more to the less affluent mainly on the basis of greatest help for those in greatest need. It reflects the traditional humanitarian, egalitarian, and pragmatic approach of New Zealanders and, most importantly, reflects an acceptance of community responsibility for social welfare. ”

    If only Labour could articulate anything remotely close to that.

  14. xtasy 14

    Jan Logie is doing some good work here!

    Sadly she is one of the very, very few MPs who actually bother to talk to the affected, and to take on board their distress, fears and suffering. I wish there were more opposition members in Parliament who would actually get out of their climatised offices and go out and make such visits to WINZ offices, to such seminars, to the now newly outsource providers for “mental health employment services” and “work ability assessments” and the likes.

    Yes, it is shocking, what is happening, and it is not likely to get any better, certainly not under another National led government, should they get a third term.

    As others have realised above, and as it is NOT NEW, there is damned little we hear from Labour on this, and almost nothing in welfare policy that goes beyond of middle class welfare, and a bit more help for poor kids and those on the minimum wage. While all that is welcome, it seems that Labour do otherwise tolerate the abysmal treatment of sick and disabled that I have heard about, and also experienced myself. They certainly share the staunch work focus as the Nats have adopted from UK “experts”.

    But we know, the ruthless Principal Health Advisor that now leads all Regional Health and Disability Advisors in the MSD and WINZ Regional Offices, that is Dr David Bratt, who likens benefit dependence to “drug dependence”, he got his newly created job under the last Labour led government, so they will hardly dare criticising the man they helped into his job.

    As far as I can see, only the Greens and Mana have some serious concerns for those on benefits, and with no or little prospect of employment, for various reasons. And they also have at least some useful policies.

    This is how they are going about to deal with sick and disabled now, at WINZ:
    http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/work-ability-assessments-done-for-work-and-income-a-revealing-fact-study-part-a/

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/16092-work-ability-assessments-done-for-work-and-income-%E2%80%93-partly-following-acc%E2%80%99s-approach-a-revealing-fact-study/

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/15463-designated-doctors-%e2%80%93-used-by-work-and-income-some-also-used-by-acc/

    Those facing assessments by WINZ “designated doctors” or the new outsourced work ability assessment providers may wish to read this to prepare for it:
    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/13301-what-to-do-if-you-are-required-to-see-a-winz-designated-doctor/

    Fight this shit from the beginning, I say, before it becomes too accepted and established!!!

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