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Through the Looking Glass.

Written By: - Date published: 12:57 pm, October 31st, 2016 - 15 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, discrimination, International, political alternatives, uk politics, unemployment, welfare - Tags: , ,

The culture being addressed will be familiar enough to many here in NZ who deal with Work and Income. Government strategies to address that culture? Well, that’s another story. This isn’t just happening half a world away. It might as well be happening in another universe – back on the sane side of some looking glass NZ has fallen through.

From last Friday’s Glasgow Herald.

In the words of Social Security Minister, Jeane Freeman …

“Creating a (social security) system that treats people with dignity, fairness and respect shouldn’t be a big ask. But given people’s experiences of the current system it absolutely is a big deal.”

…ministers are to turn their backs on talk of ‘welfare’, Ms Freeman said.

“It is important to us that this is a social security system. We are absolutely convinced that social security is an investment that we make individually and collectively for ourselves and each other. Neither you nor I know when we might need that help and support,”

“Rhetoric from some politicians and parts of our mainstream media has created the impression that people who need the support of the social security system are undeserving,” she said. “Where there are fraudulent behaviours, we need to spot them and deal with it. But that is very different from designing a system that presumes that everyone who comes into it is trying to pull a fast one,”

Before the end of the year, the Government aims to recruit 2000 volunteers to help advise it over the next four and a half years, as it sets up a social security system from scratch,…Volunteers will mainly be people who currently rely on benefits, but also workers with knowledge of the system, such as welfare rights advisors, and those with experience of payment systems and even ex-DWP* employees…

Meanwhile, back here in ‘godzone’?

Pants.

* equivalent to Work and Income.

15 comments on “Through the Looking Glass.”

  1. Henry Filth 1

    Social welfare systems are usually a good example of systems designed by people who don’t use them.

    Clever people creating bad or second-rate systems out of ignorance.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      Clever people creating bad or second-rate systems out of ignorance.

      I’m pretty sure you’ll find a whole heap of arrogance in there as well.

      • Henry Filth 1.1.1

        Mmmmmmmmmmmm, no, I’m not so sure.

        I’m pretty sure it’s ignorance. New Zealand has become such a class-sodden society that there is a real ignorance about what all those pretty flow-charts and interaction-diagrams actually mean for the real people who live in the real world.

        Theory and process take precedence. Sad. Very sad. But I doubt that you’ll find more than a smidgeon of actual malice or arrogance.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1

          Arrogance != malice

          Arrogance

          offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.

          Bunch of people acting with an I know best attitude without truly understanding what’s happening in the real world.

        • Rosemary McDonald 1.1.1.2

          “But I doubt that you’ll find more than a smidgeon of actual malice or arrogance.”

          I’m not so sure about that.

          When it comes to accessing government funded disability supports (for those disabled NOT on ACC) one has to go through the NASC. (Needs Assessment and Service Coordination).

          After 17 years of assuming that the stunning level of ignorance and incompetence was down to simple lack of education and experience (and this was the reason that our needs had not been recognised nor any services coordinated) we asked for our file from our local NASC.

          Hmmm…Yes we found ignorance. And yes, we found indicators of lack of knowledge and experience of specific disabling impairments.

          But…we also found gross inaccuracies in record keeping, which when we challenged these and asked for an explanation, we were told that those ‘team members were no longer working there’. A quick phone call to the NASC confirmed that two of the ‘team members’ mentioned in our complaint where actually still working there. The manager lied. In an email. Then lied again. In an email.

          So…eventually a meeting with manager, advocate, and two high up bureaucrats from local DHB.

          The manager and his superiors from the DHB closed ranks and flatly refused to address ANY of our issues with their history of shit record keeping and gross inaccuracies.

          Flatly refused.

          We had to ‘move forward’, despite the fact that our being able to trust this government funded service was of paramount importance.

          Unsurprisingly to us (we have followed the welfare, NHS and disability support ‘reforms’ that have wracked the UK over the past decade) the lying manager and the hard faced and uncompromising bureaucrats were ALL recent migrants from Britain.

          Funny that.

      • Richard Rawshark 1.1.2

        Paula Bennet is not clever, but still she managed it.

      • Liberal Realist 1.1.3

        Clever people creating bad or second-rate systems out of ignorance.

        I’m pretty sure you’ll find a whole heap of arrogance in there as well.

        And clever people creating bad or second-rate systems by design.

  2. Venezia 2

    The Ken Loach movie “I, Daniel Blake” is highly recommended here. From what I have heard, it traverses very similar experiences to those dependent on Work and Income in NZ over the past 8 years.

  3. Siobhan 3

    I’m all for small victories and all that “The new social security powers will only account for 15 per cent of the total Scottish benefit bill, or £2.7 billion – with the bulk of spending still controlled at Westminster, including job seekers’ allowance and the employment and support allowance.”

    But how are the SNP planning on paying for it all?? Ah yes…”deepening spending cuts on councils, schools and student support.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/mar/01/scottish-government-to-set-up-benefits-agency-to-streamline-welfare

    • Bill 3.1

      Are you being deliberately mis-leading or just idiotic there Siobhan? The point of the post is that the culture is being shovelled.

      That piece you linked was from just before the Holyrood elections (y’know politicking and all that?) and reports that unnamed opposition parties asked “how increased payments would be funded amid deepening spending cuts on councils, schools and student support.”

      I won’t go into all the swings and merry-go-rounds of undermining UK imposed austerity policies on a fixed budget.

      Given that at that point in time Labour were still the main opposition and Dugdale was reported as claiming that “Neil’s proposals fell short of her far more ambitious offer, which also included doubling maternity grants to £1,030, and giving care leavers full grants for further and higher education.”, I’m guessing the main opposition weren’t complaining and the Guardian was just stirring its usual shit on Scottish affairs.

      That you then ripped even that shoddy piece of reporting out of context and tried to give it extra wee false legs is less than impressive.

      btw. Labour (third party in Holyrood now) have signalled their appreciation over the fact that the SNP adopted an amendment around (I think carer allowances) that they’d proposed but had no hope in hell of pushing through using traditional parliamentary procedures – ie, bullshit numbers games.

      edit. Skulled from the comments below the article linked in the post.

      Gail Hughs – “Where does it come from in other countries? The UK spends 16.5% of GDP, or 37.5% of total government expenditure on social protection. The average of the 28 EU countries is 19.5% of GDP or 40.4% of government expenditure. The UK spends just 0.2% of GDP on unemployment, only Bulgaria of the EU-28 spends less at 0.1%. The EU average is 1.5%. On sickness and disability we match the EU-28 average at 2.8% of GDP. Our pensions cost us 8.5% of GDP, trailing behind the EU-28 average of 10.3%. How do those countries afford their social protection?”

      As an aside, and it is an aside because the post is about a shift in culture – I wonder what the percentage is in NZ?

      • Rosemary McDonald 3.1.1

        “I wonder what the percentage is in NZ?”

        http://briefingpapers.co.nz/2016/05/recent-trends-in-public-spending/

        A clever person might be able to put Mr. Easton’s graphs up…

      • Siobhan 3.1.2

        It’s all opinion ain’t it Bill…even the Glasgow Herald has its agenda. There is no harm in presenting different points of view. In fact I find people who resort to personal abuse in political discourse are those most in need of confrontational opinions…so here’s one on the SNP, just for you, from Mr Jeremy Corbyn…who has his agenda too…

        Mr Corbyn said: “Just under a year ago I was elected leader of the Labour Party because people could see a need for change. That need for change isn’t going away – and neither am I.”
        He added: “It’s Labour’s commitment to making that difference that means that we’re not looking for an alliance with the SNP.
        “Let me make it clear. I will welcome support for all or any of our policies from any other political groups or parties … but I’m well aware that Labour and the SNP come from different traditions and have different goals.

        “I don’t see a party that welcomed (then Chancellor) George Osborne’s corporation tax cuts, relentlessly attacked local government and is committed to a benefit cap as reliable allies for a radical Labour government.
        “There are many people who have voted for, or even joined, the SNP who want to see many of the changes we want to implement.
        “I don’t think these people are always being served properly by the SNP.”

        • Bill 3.1.2.1

          If you’d been paying attention you’d have been aware that I’ve repeatedly pointed out that alliances (ie – coalitions) have no place in places with fixed term parliaments and that parties work through things on a case by case basis.

          The SNP tried to point this out during the last UK election while the media spun its lines about an SNP tail wagging the Labour dog in a Westminster coalition government.

          Corbyn’s more or less just speaking common sense but underpinning it with Scottish Labour speaking points – speaking points that have seen them lose their position as main opposition in Holyrood to the Tory Party.

          But again, the post was about dismantling a heinous social security culture that exists over here just as much as it does over there.

  4. Richard Rawshark 4

    Bill, I see no point in referring to the UK system as this lot ain’t interested in looking at anything anyone else suggests.

    They are following their idea’s come hell or death, there is no good outcome .

    Change the government. end of.

    • Bill 4.1

      Not aware of any such thing coming from opposition though. The SS Act here is a bloody shambles and the culture no better than in the UK.

      Government after government has made hollow promises to review and/or rewrite and nothing has ever happened.

      Like I wrote in the post – NZ is pants. Change the government and it’ll still be pants.

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