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TV3 – The Hui – Special report on poverty

Written By: - Date published: 11:13 am, May 15th, 2016 - 43 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, poverty, tv, welfare - Tags: , , , ,

Sunday 9:30 an on TV3, Mihingarangi Forbes fronts an excellent current affairs show, The Hui. This morning was a special report on poverty. From the Facebook page:

Coming up on ‪#‎TheHui‬..
Doing it tough..

We come face to face with some of Aotearoa’s most desperately in need, forced to rely on welfare and not getting the help they’re entitled to.

We look at why are so many are being locked out of the gates of our rock star economy.

A special 2 part report on poverty..

9:25am Sunday’s on TV3.

We’ve missed it live but it will appear at The Hui archive for streaming.

For a while now I’ve been asking a quick question – what happens to people forced out the benefit? Some of them are telling their story on Twitter #TheHui.

43 comments on “TV3 – The Hui – Special report on poverty ”

  1. save nz 1

    There is something wrong when the government is more interested in protecting cronies in offshore tax havens than actually caring for people living in cars or being forced out of their communities by an insane policies and low and insecure wages…

    • mauÄ« 1.1

      It’s an effective ponzi scheme. The people at the bottom aren’t ever going to get anywhere near the top. The people running the scheme ignore that the bottom dwellers continually fight it out (gangs, violence, crime, suicide) and the thing rolls on.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1

        The people running the scheme realise that it’s better that the poor people fight each other rather than fight them.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Yes, the government is corrupt.

    • johnm 2.1

      It’s disgusting this dehumanising treatment of beneficiaries reducing them to destitution. These are our fellow New Zealanders for God’s sake! We’re making them into home grown Syrian Refugees on our streets begging! 🙁 Meanwhile Shonkey keeps giving tax cuts to those who already have more than enough.

      When people have lost everything and have nothing else to lose they lose it!

      Re the shootings down south in a WINZ office. Most though would just suicide it’s easier. What if you need money for medication and seeing a doctor? You, just die!?

      Shame on this heartless tyranny.

  2. The Chairman 3

    Here’s the Noam Chomsky film that was mentioned.


    • Draco T Bastard 3.1


      Must watch. Chomsky details what I said to Wayne that the rich tried to prevent democracy in the US and still try to prevent it today.

      You cannot have democracy in a capitalist society.

      • Ch-ch Chiquita 3.1.1

        I’m not sure that what Chomsky is saying is you can not have a democracy in a capitalist society, mainly because he claims we do not actually have a capitalist society.

    • Bill 3.2

      Thankyou for putting up the link. Precise. Informative…and not visually tedious 😉

  3. jcuknz 4

    After supporting the Nats in two elections the stopping of a neighbour’s benefit is what makes it highly unlikely there will be a third time.
    I can see some argument for it if the person is anti-social et al… but just for being pretty clueless … no way … However annoying for their case manager.

  4. Jack Ramaka 5

    The Auckland Housing Market is effectively a Ponzi Scheme driven by offshore money being fed into the marketplace via an Investment Category Immigration Scheme, whereby offshore citizens can gain residency by floating $$$’s into the Auckland Housing Market.

    There are virtually guaranteed capital gains as there is a limited supply of housing stock and ever increasing demand from offshore investors for houses.

    Also NZ is seen as a safe haven for parking $$$’s.

    • jcuknz 5.1

      “Also NZ is seen as a safe haven for parking $$$’s.”
      Until the bubble bursts ? Then the miss-management will arrive to bite all of us.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        And then the government will bail out the rich with money from the poor.

    • Keith 5.2

      By an investment house, claim a tax rebate on a percentage of the interest paid, claim on “depreciation” or loss and the coup d etat, score the housing suppliment from your tenant. At least 3 ways of paying less tax whilst bludging off the taxpayer, distorting the housing market and denying those who want to buy a house to live in the ability to do so, much less an affordable one. National not only love it, they encourage it!

      Who is a beneficiary again and are they going to crack down on these parasites?

  5. adam 6

    Thank goodness that the wonderful Mihingarangi Forbes hosts this.

    The problem is this is just to uncommon, actually let me rephrase that to rear – that we speak about the hell that the bottom rug of labour have to deal with. And that the bottom rung of labour is disproportionately made up of Maori and Pacific.

    The divide between working and non-working poor is almost non-existent. Again with Maori and Pacific being disproportionately working poor.

    If the standard is a reflection of society, and I think it is much of the time. Then we are poor in recognising, that the poor, working or other wise, are labour.

    That labour, people who now essentially wages slaves in one form or another – are in this country, going backwards.

    • weka 6.1

      Sorry do you mean Labour the political party? Didn’t quite follow that.

      • Bill 6.1.1

        I believe he’s referring to labour as working class people or/and the precariat.

  6. Richardrawshark 7

    I had my invalids benefit under the new rules, but they had sewn the seeds of doubt and I went and got a job at an engineering company.
    Because it was full time I quickly ran out of sick days, ended up getting paid 2-3 days sometimes. went two weeks no pay once. Never got paid at xmas, apparently bosses don’t have to pay you, the bank does and if it’;s a bank holiday well, tough.

    Got told to work through my smoko’s about 30 times and when I asked for remuneration for loss of my break he told me he already pays me for smoko and to basically fuck off.

    I ended up spinning out over a bird in the loft grabbing a fellow work mate and telling him if he didn’t stop trying to kill the bird I would kill him, I meant it literally and at that moment had lost reality I am bi-polar and wasn’t taking medication as I could not and work at same time. I realized after why i can’t work, at all, but had never experienced lossd of reality and impulsive reaction before, I will not be returning to work as I am now aware of what the issues really are with my illness.

    I am back on stable meds and stable, but working and bi-polar, is not going to happen for safety reasons.

    So I went to winz, dec 15, it’s May now I had to see a psychologist in Hams and they lady said since you went back to work you can work. LOL

    I have had to go into details with them of the issues which are many and far more than I wrote above. Still waiting an answer.

    Slow, refuse to listen, think they know you better, a nurse,(told she wasn’t a nurse by the tokoroa winz manager I know really well) that I was fit to work.. a nurse..not a nurse.


    • Rosemary McDonald 7.1

      That’s a terrible thing to have had to endure.

      You may have read about this….http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11457938

      …with the pilot scheme aimed at getting those with mental health issues back to work. It all sounds oh so happy clappy…with the person going to their GP, expresses a desire to work and there is a facillitator right there at the doctors surgery ready and waiting to guide the person into supported employment.

      It is quite likely to be trialed in the Waikato, through the Wise Group….http://www.wisegroup.co.nz/

      This is not something I would EVER advise people to have any faith in.

      On the other hand, there is this….The Revision of the NZ Disability Strategy….mental health comes under this…


      They are calling for submissions….probably a waste of time…but…you might want to give it a go.

      Mt partner, who has lived with a significant disability for most of his life, says that he has never felt so worthless and undervalued as he does now. Forty six years ago…things were tough, but folk gave you a go. Over the past 20 years….there is more being spent by the government to “providers” of disability supports and way less confidence in the supports offered.
      He is working on his submission as I type.

      Kia kaha.

    • Nikki T. 7.2

      Hi Richard,

      I’m in Tokoroa too on the Job Seekers. I’m schizophrenic but I’m not in the mental health community. I usually just go to the doctor for medications. I used to live in Auckland and saw a great doctor there. I was able to talk to her and at that time I used to be on the medical certificate. I lost my job in 2007 and have been on the benefit since.

      Ever since coming to Tokoroa two years ago I have had a myriad of doctors and they never get to know you. One doctor asked if I was looking for work. I’ve always hoped to get back to work but with my illness and lack of skills I can only do so much. I said yes. He immediately took me off the medical certificate. At that time, I was made available for full time work and not the 15 hours I was used to. I went away quite uneasy and I should have spoken up.

      Next minute WINZ required me to go to meetings. And have cut me off when I was ill. In the last two years I have been under pressure personally and I have had a lot of stress. I ‘talked’ about suicide (not an intention to do it but I was so damn low) with my friend (who was a darling) but I was concerned how low I was getting.

      Trouble with mental health is that you get put away if you talk to a counselor. Therefore I don’t want to be locked into this situation. It’s ok the feeling has gone but I don’t like what happened to me. When I’m ill, I hear voices and I get confused as to where I am. I literally get lost. I’m planning to go back to my doctor to get on the medical certificate. What I would like is Supported Living but they have made it so impossible. With a history of never going to the doctor for help (whinging) it doesn’t look like I can get on. But as it stands, I finally understand and accept I will never be normal and will just about need this assistance to live.

      I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. But yes, I’m going to get the help soon. Living on such a low income would be easier if I didn’t have the pressure of attending interviews. If there were jobs in Tokoroa I’d probably have applied.

      • Richardrawshark 7.2.1

        Nikki I can certainly relate, I have for years been swapped Dr’s and never found the right medications, I don’t think you ever do now, all you can hope for is one that keeps you stable with the least annoying side effects.

        I too was offered counceling there is not a lot more mental health could do, i’;m not doing counceling cannot afford it.

        As for Winz, they new me well and know of the reasons I will not be returning to work. I tried and I gave it a bloody good honest try. Lack of sleep, unable to take criticism led me to massive reactions and suicidal thought, impulsiveness was dangerous especially with rotating lathes, Missing meds because of rushing off to work. Sick periods and running out of sick days left me nearly penniless and losing my house. That I fixate upon things , I say strange things that offend people and caused friction. All those things I didn’t know and more, they never mentioned the issues I might face, just work will make me better..ahh no it didn’t I have been more stable off work than on, I was fully more suicidal and more often down cyclked whilst working due to increased pressures and more negative critisim.

        Those were the realities I faced.

        Now I am trying to explain this to winz.. wish me luck i’ll need it.

        My suggestion is to try and see Hilary Wilson at the medicentre she’s good and replaced Wiles, she’s much better and working weith us instead of brushing people off.

        I had a heart to heart with lisa and she got me sorted at winz. I just told the truth and the issues I had, at Tokoroa they were actually good about it. It’s this visiting lady and Hamiltons board that make the decisions and they are not well. Not well at all.

      • Bill 7.2.2

        Your doctor should have issued the medical certificate even though you were looking for or undertaking some type of preparation for work…WINZ would have sought a renewal after three months. (Maybe it’s one month initially and then every three months) That’s the whole point behind the … damn, I can’t keep up with the bloody name changes…sickness benefit (someone will have to provide the current name). Invalids benefit (again, that’s the old name) means you neither have to look for or prepare for work.

        And for anyone reading this, I think I just made a point I wasn’t setting out to make. The system has to be approached by ridiculously convoluted routes and the signposts along the way are as confusing as hell. Once you’re ‘in’ and doing it ‘by the numbers’, is easier. But finding the door in the first place and supplying the right password or set of passwords…it’s an arse even if you’re ‘on to it’, articulate and assertive. And if, for any number of reasons, you’re a wee bit vulnerable or uncertain, well…

        • weka

          Jobseeker, with medical exemption? is the new SB.

          Supported Living Payment is the new IB.

          • Bill


            So there is only ‘jobseeker’ and ‘supported living payment’, but ‘jobseekers’ are split into two categories – those with a medical exemption and those without one.

            Just finished watching the Hui episode (after watching the rather excellent Chomsky film linked above) . Wish there’d been more of a systemic investigation going on rather than just a series of multiple ‘human interest’ stories. The idea that knowledge of the WINZ system and simply asking for help will go anywhere is wrong. The idea that a couple of extra bucks a week will make everything okay is wrong. The notion that most people will find work and stay in work and be reasonably secure as a result is also wrong.

            New Zealand needs to get honest with what has been going on these past 30 years and re-orientate its priorities – hugely.

            • Rosemary McDonald

              “Wish there’d been more of a systemic investigation going on rather than just a series of multiple ‘human interest’ stories. ”

              Funny you should say that Bill. Just the other day a friend (who also daily battles within the disability arena) was saying that the only way to get it through to the voting public about how shit it has become for so many individuals, is to find a forum in which those individual stories can be told.

              The day before, at a disability meeting, my disabled partner and my voices where silenced when we tried to do just that…tell our story as an example of how current policies are failing those with high and very high needs. In that environment, with other disabled people, one would think it would have been safe for us. No, we were told that they were looking for ‘big sky’ ideas….not detailed examples of system failures.

              Then we realised that the majority of those in the room were in the pay of the government to provide some form of disability support or ‘advocacy’. Government $$$ buy the narrative.

              One of those “human interest stories”, the mother unable to work because of her commitment to her son with Down Syndrome typifies how compromised the system is…how dangerous.

              The ‘story’ said how she had not been paid the Child Disability Allowance, and I imagine this had continued not to be paid to the son when he turned 18. Up $40 bucks per week….

              Just last year…it was reported that some 11,000…that’s eleven thousand parents of sick and disabled children had lost their CDA.


              “More than 11,000 disabled children have lost access to a welfare benefit that is supposed to support them, as officials try to rein in previously-ballooning costs.

              A Child Poverty Action Group report on disabled children, launched in Auckland today, said children supported by the child disability allowance almost trebled from 17,600 in 1998 to 45,800 in 2009, but were then cut back to just 34,500 last June.

              The cut has been achieved both by tightening criteria and by simply not publicising the allowance.

              Zach’s asthma has got better as he has got older. In his early years he often had to go to hospital, but last year he went only once.

              But he still needs two puffs a day on Ventolin, which costs $18 a month, and two adult doses of asthma preventer Serevent, at $5 a month.

              In winter, he gets wheezy two or three times a month. He then needs to take steroid medication Redipred, at $10 a month, and a daily tablet, Singulair, costing $96 a month.
              “He’s supposed to take Singulair every day but I don’t give it to him every day because I can’t afford it,” Ms Reid said.

              Doctor’s visits cost another $10 a visit about three times a month in winter.

              Ms Reid said the steroids Zach takes when he is wheezy makes him “hyper” and she is afraid to send him to school on those days after she found him with blood all over his face when he ran into a wall.

              “He takes probably a good 10 weeks off school a year,” she said.

              For that reason Ms Reid can’t get a job and survives on a sole parent benefit. She also receives a $60 a week disability allowance for her own asthma, which covers medical, heating and lawnmowing costs.”

              The mistake Zach’s mum made was to be a New Zealander…a country with one of the highest incidents of asthma in the developed world.

              • Bill

                Just to be clear Rosemary, I’ve no interest in silencing people. Hell, I’ve even used this forum to highlight my own WINZ situation in the past. More than once actually.

                But I’d rather see documentary or current affairs programmes tell those stories against a backdrop of rigorous, no holds barred breakdowns of the larger policy framework – the politics – that unfortunately, or for the most part, just seem to float on by quietly and unseen in the shadows.

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  My ‘tell the stories’ friend is, like many of us, rather desperate to see a change of government.

                  Was in a state of desperation before the last election.

                  Stunned, when so many were doing it tough, that National won.

                  How many know National voters who would not have voted National again had they only known how badly some people have been treated. So many hide the fact that times are hard….shame is a powerful silencer.

                  “Hui” could have dispensed with the panel session at the end and put up some solid graphics showing policies and legislation that have brought us to this.

                  All in all though an excellent program.

                  • weka

                    I was thinking about the need for a forum too, and then I thought about how many ill and disabled people aren’t safe to speak out. I’m not sure how many people realise just how far down that track we are.

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  “But I’d rather see documentary or current affairs programmes tell those stories against a backdrop of rigorous, no holds barred breakdowns of the larger policy framework – the politics – that unfortunately, or for the most part, just seem to float on by quietly and unseen in the shadows.”

                  Remember this guy….http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10768107

                  “Investigative journalist Bryan Bruce fronted the hour-long insight, and focused on how child health had deteriorated over the last century. He painted a picture of hungry kids, mouldy damp rooms in slum-worthy houses, and rising medical and electricity bills.

                  The documentary claimed 150 children who died in New Zealand last year would have lived had they been born in Japan, Sweden or the Czech Republic.”

                  One of a number of docos that not only told the stories, but how we did in the past, how other countries manage to do it better and how we could do it better….y’all remember the shitstorm?

            • weka

              Thanks for the synopsis, I don’t think I can bring myself to watch it. Does Tolley say that they have no idea what happens to people that get kicked off a benefit?

  7. Sabine 8

    just came a accros this


    quote:Kids!” she announced excitedly, “I’ve got a treat for you!”

    My brother and I gathered around the table as she produced a cake from the grocery bag. “Ever have a Boston cream pie?” she asked.

    I was furious with her.

    By 6th grade I had already figured out that we were poor and that it was a moral failure on our part. We were defective, and therefore unable to afford the things that normal families could afford. My friends had snack cabinets full of treats that they could just reach into whenever they felt like it. We had no phone, often no electricity, and if there was a package of ramen in our cupboard, it was a very good day. I wasn’t quite sure why, but I knew that this was all my mom’s fault. She had married the wrong man, she had gotten the wrong job, she hadn’t saved enough or scraped enough or worked hard enough. But we had no food in our fridge and I was pretty sure this Boston cream pie was why.


    I didn’t want any part of it. I didn’t want my mom to enjoy any part of our poor existence. I wanted her to be ashamed and sorry.

    I didn’t understand that my mom already was ashamed and sorry. I didn’t know that she walked around ashamed and sorry every day. I didn’t see that she stood in food bank and church lines ashamed and sorry. I didn’t see that she went to holiday collection services ashamed and sorry. I didn’t see that she took us to our free dental appointments ashamed and sorry. I didn’t see that every time she passed over those food stamps to try to feed us she was ashamed and sorry. I didn’t realize that every message that had surrounded me and told me that we were poor because my mom was a bad mom who couldn’t take care of us had not only surrounded my mom, but had filled her lungs and rested in her heart. I understood only what the pundits had wanted me to see—that she was a poor woman who was squandering what she already didn’t deserve. ” Quote end.

    as for the poor in NZ that don’t get help from Winz, they move in with their families, their friends, into a garage, a shack under a bridge. They beg, they steal, they try to live of cashies, they sell themselves, anything to make a buck and make it another day.

    NZ does not care.

  8. slumbergod 9

    I’ve had enough of life at the bottom. It is just too hard dealing with WINZ; they do everything they can to deny you entitlements and threaten you with fraud. It just isn’t worth it. You ask for help and they just refuse to help you so its like waiting for things to get increasingly worse as each new set of welfare reforms is shunted through.

    That Labour and NZ First supported the lastest welfare reforms absolutely DISGUSTS me. They are are such hypocrites. I expect BS from the Natzis but from Labour too 🙁

    • Richardrawshark 9.1

      If your having trouble with Winz getting things you have a right to, seek a Winz advisor to assist your claim. You will get it straight away if you need it, they work well keeping the winz service agents following the letter of law and not denying things based on attitudes.

    • Jenny Kirk 9.2

      These are dreadful stories, and absolutely awful for the people targetted by WINZ. But don’t blame Labour and NZFirst Slumbergod – they didn’t support the Natzi’ social welfare reforms – not at all.

      • weka 9.2.1

        They do and they don’t. They have voted for some of the legislation. And everytime National bash benes and Labour doesn’t stand up for them, it’s another affirmation that bludger culture rules and that beneficiaries are third class citizens. There are those of us who also believe that Shearer’s painter on the roof story was unforgivable. Until Labour make some kind of ammends for that, it’s hard not to see them as part of the problem.

        When the time comes I don’t feel confident that Labour will do right by beneficiaries. That unfortunately is based on experience.

  9. weka 10

    Listening to the stories of people here and on twitter (and having heard many in my own life), this is why we should be working for the wellbeing of all people. I understand the big push to address child poverty, but I also think that underlying that is the abandonment of beneficiaries. The left and the people of conscience deciding to go for the gains they can get for one group that necessitates the sacrifice of others, because at least some gains can be made that way.

    That Labour have abandoned beneficiaries is clear*. The best I have heard is that Little, when prompted, will state that Labour work for all NZers. So at least he is aware of the issue and still has some conscience. But in action Labour are actively following the path that says don’t mention the welfare. And that is hurting people. Real, live people.

    I’m not sure where the Greens are on this. Their focus on child poverty is understanablde and still problematic. They have at least voted against National’s welfare reforms. But still there is very little voice from them in standing up for what is now an intentionally created sub class of NZers.

    This happened on our watch. The thing that really gets me listening to the stories above is that we knew that people with mental health issues were already at risk. We knew that in the 90s, when the health reforms were happening. It’s hard for me not to see us as having thrown those people under the bus. I’m talking about the left here.

    • Rosemary McDonald 10.1

      “It’s hard for me not to see us as having thrown those people under the bus. I’m talking about the left here.”


      An acknowledgement that Labour could have done better.

      Much, much better.

      For some of us, its as if Labour paved the way.

      • weka 10.1.1

        Is that ‘finally’ aimed at me? If so, please have a look at my many years on TS of criticising Labour over benefit issues (and many other issues).

        (sorry if it’s not aimed at me, still cautious after all the Labour bashing for the sake of it stuff).

        btw, that last sentence of mine wasn’t about Labour. It was about the left in general, including here on ts. You and I know what’s been happening to people with disabilities all this time. It doesn’t get much attention in the cut and thrust world of macho politics.

  10. weka 11

    As an aside to that, for the lefties who think that data sharing is a good thing because it will provide better health care, I want you to go and reread the stories above and think about the serious breaches of humans rights that are already happening. That people can have their income removed completely by the stroke of a pen from a prejudicial doctor (god knows why people think that doctors are better humans than the rest of society. There are just as many neoliberals within medicine as without). At the moment it still takes effort for the system to do that.

    If Bill English gets his super data system, it will be very very easy for the system to pull out whatever data it wants and use that to punish people or simply just push them away. In the UK, mass data is now being shared with non-govt organisations, and this is starting to happen in NZ. English wants to include NGOs. The upshot of all that is that people like the beneficiaries in this thread and on twitter will have yet another level of disempowerment laid upon them. Some will be able to fight back to protect themselves, most won’t. Please bear in mind that ones posting on the internet are the ones still doing relatively well despite the sometimes huge harm they are describing. We need to remember the ones who have no voice at all as well.

  11. Rosemary McDonald 12

    Someone really, really needs to superglue his arse to a chair and make him watch this “Hui” program.



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