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Two Tier. Bull. Shit.

Written By: - Date published: 2:58 pm, May 25th, 2020 - 217 comments
Categories: class, class war, cost of living, discrimination, Economy, election 2020, labour, poverty, quality of life, unemployment, welfare, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , ,

Usually when someone becomes unemployed through no fault of their own, they can apply for a basic benefit of $250 p/w after tax. And there are many hurdles and hoops to navigate in order to obtain that $250.

But whaddya know!

The government in its infinite wisdom, and nothing to do with this being an election year or wanting to hide the reality of subsisting on welfare entitlements from the public at large, has decided that newly unemployed people are deserving of untaxed payments of ~$500 p/w (at least until after the election’s out of the way)

That’s $500 a week whether single or married as long as a partner does not earn more than $2000 p/w.

For us “unworthy” unemployed, we’re prosecuted if in receipt of basic entitlements and WINZ decides we have a partner. For us “unworthy” unemployed, the result can be a jail sentence followed by full repayment of all monies received (not just the proportion of monies deemed to have been obtained by fraud).

And we’re all in this thing together?!

I don’t begrudge anyone receiving $500 p/w by the way. It’s just that it’s utterly cruel to expect people to get by in any meaningful way on $250 (plus whatever  they might be able to squeeze out of the so-called welfare system if they know exactly what to say, and what not to say, and  perform like a fucking monkey on an impossible trapeze – for a few tens of dollars).

The government obviously fully understands the basic inequity and inadequacy of the welfare system or it wouldn’t be bolting this short term second tier onto existing welfare provisions . But I guess their only aim is to mollify the suburbs in these straitened times. I also guess they don’t want the vote of any “unworthy” types this election – people who used to be supermarket workers or cleaners or binmen/women, and who were in every way probably pretty much exactly like the newly discovered “worthy” jobless of today.

Unlikely as it is, it would be nice to think meaningful support would flow to us “unworthy” types and that the “good folks” of the suburbs would signal to the government that this kind of discriminatory crap isn’t on.

Or are we not really all in this together? Do some, perhaps, have stars on thars?

217 comments on “Two Tier. Bull. Shit.”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    Totally agree. WINZ/MSD is a punishment maze, and the Govt. well knows it–which is why they have instituted this work around for one group. “Deserving/undeserving” recipients of state payments are a core tenet of monetarism.

    It is not a matter of berating the new beneficiaries on $490 pw, it is about organising to support urgent demands for lifting those on the $250 pittance now.

    The Govt. cannot put off for much longer ripping out–sorry, disestablishing–the structural neo liberalism infesting public service since 1988. The Covid fall out will persist for years, so the sooner a Basic Income, with social security agency safety net as well, is instituted the better.

    • Adrian Thornton 1.1

      @ Tiger Mountain +1, thanks for this much needed piece Bill, Labour have probably just lost my vote…I used to make and paste up a poster that read National=Class war…I might as well now add Labours name to that poster…well at least now they have well and truly pinned their colours to the mast….kindness to own class, the rest of you can get fucked!

    • Tricledrown 1.2

      I would not say that welfare a close friend of ours had to go on a benefit because of a disability wins could not have been more helpful.Financially she had to sell her house because it was to expensive to run.winz helped her with bridging finance to get through to house sale pay high electricity Bill's etc.

      The way you treat them is very important telling them everything helped .She is not as well off as when she was working but is living comfortably.

      • Geoff Lye 1.2.1

        Lucky her ! She would be one of the lucky few % who don't get put through the mill.
        Some of the stories I have been told and seen, as admin of the Facebook Group "Under Funding of Medicines By Pharmac" are down right bloody disgusting. What 2nd opinion doctors and case workers do to people with a long term illness, even going to the extent, of calling a long term illness, not an illness band denying help, anything at all basically to save WINZ MSD money . Decline an SLP then they go through the Job seekers app and get declined that due to relationship status or income limitations.


    • sumsuch 1.3

      Good stuff.

  2. barry 2

    I am also gobsmacked. If there is money for newly unemployed to be paid enough to live on, there is no excuse to keep others starving.

  3. Cricklewood 3

    All benificaries are equal it's just that this 'caring' govt sees some beneficiaries as more equal than others…

  4. aom 4

    It sounds like a case of making sure newly out of work people with mortgages – including landlords, can keep up their payments to the banks. Imagine the delightful chaos if the housing market failed and took the banks down with them!

  5. Barfly 5

    fair enough comments – what would a Todd Conehead government do?

    fyi I am a beneficiary

    • Cricklewood 5.1

      Yes the Nats would be worse but that's not really the point… not to mention a rubbish standard to compare this govt to.

      • Barfly 5.1.1

        4 months to an election in case you haven't noticed

        • bill

          And the $500 p/w payments run out when? 😉

        • Janet

          When they decide that UBI is a much more sensible solution and way forward.

          • Chris

            They need to be very careful with a UBI. Robertson's reference to how Labour was "looking at" a UBI following the Future of Work conference a couple of years ago was clearly lip service back then – he obviously wasn't into it at the time. However the pressure's mounting now to act. But if they go too quickly they'll stuff it up.

            The first thing they need to do is get rid of relationship status and relax the income test significantly. This could then be followed by a series of controlled pilot schemes with a cross section of people. Would be bloody interesting to see what happens.

  6. bwaghorn 6

    Just out of interest bill how long since you held down a job . And what jobs are you willing able to do . ?

    • Tiger Mountain 6.1

      Is it really necessary to target other posters?

      • Barfly 6.1.1

        long term beneficiaries (such as me ) are often happy at the crumbs we get – newly spawned beneficiaries – perhaps less so

      • bwaghorn 6.1.2

        Just trying to understand what the barriers to long term unemployment are . I realise I'm running the risk of the wrath of the mods ,but I have a record of being genuine I believe.

        • bill

          Just trying to understand what the barriers to long term unemployment are …

          Being fortunate enough to have a job that's a job for life?

          Being so financially desperate that the job with the abusive boss or/and culture of abuse and/or crap wages is the better option when compared to the dehumanisation and starvation level welfare entitlements via WINZ?

          Maybe being trapped in a domestic situation such that the workplace becomes a haven?

          There's also being victim to the acculturation that would claim self respect blossoms from wage slavery and the general opprobrium that society heaps on the unemployed.

          I'm sure there are other barriers too.

        • Spa

          I'm interested in the answer to this question as well.

        • weka

          Lots of people on Jobseeker used to be on Sickness and if those there the ones who should be on SLP. i.e. they're not able to work full time.

          WINZ’s abatement rate means that it’s hard for some beneficiaries to afford to work part time.

          Every NZ government since the 80s had run an economy with a permanent unemployment rate. There aren’t enough jobs.

          • Barfly

            ""Every NZ government since the 80s had run an economy with a permanent unemployment rate. There aren’t enough jobs."


          • Adrian Thornton

            " Every NZ government since the 80s had run an economy with a permanent unemployment rate. There aren’t enough jobs "

            Not quite true, there might not be enough jobs for every person in country ( I don't know) but when you take into account the tens of thousands of jobs being done throughout NZ now by migrant workers what ever level unemployment is, it would be quite a bit lower if these jobs were done by NZ citizens.

            But of course this isn't going to happen as both Labour and the Nats run defense for a liberal free market low wage economy, so the only way to get people to do these paid jobs is to import labour from third world countries..yep that's our Labour full of the milk of human kindness (for their own class that is).

    • Adrian Thornton 6.2

      What on earth has that got to do with this story? Not sure why the mods wouldn't pull you up?…maybe a two tier system here too?

  7. Craig H 7

    Congratulations to the journalists for asking lots of questions about the differences between benefits and this payment – really got the message out there about those inconsistencies and put the ministers on the spot.

    That said, the Finance Minister flagged a lot in his press conference about the package Labour will take into the election and that there will be an overhaul in that package. He referred to social security around the world, particularly Denmark and Norway, and his future of work commission, and that given this was the third major financial shock after GFC and Christchurch earthquakes which required special support packages, the current social insurance settings need to be reviewed with a view to making those support packages permanent.

    • weka 7.1

      I haven't listened yet, but two things about Labour. One is they see the solution to welfare as paid work. This leads them to ignore the people who cannot work.

      The other, and it's a consequence of the first, is that they appear to take the position that they will pull up certain people out of poverty and leave the rest behind. Today's announcement is entirely consistent with that.

      • Craig H 7.1.1

        The Labour policy platform has plenty of support for something more than subsistence living for those unable to work, but I agree that it would be nice it actually got funded properly.

  8. Peter Don Wilson 8

    You do realise don't you that this is the precurser to UBI!

    • weka 8.1

      A UBI without welfare bolted on is a nightmare.

      • bwaghorn 8.1.1

        The ubi is a blind alley we shouldn't go down . If it's to high people wont work if it's to low it needs a welfare system as well . The left should focus on fixing the welfare systems

        • weka

          I'm trying to think what could be done with a UBI that can't be done with mending welfare. Ease of access is probably the main one. It's paid automatically rather than having to apply.

          • bwaghorn

            Just make the benefit easier ,lift abatement rates ,no stand down periods. There still needs to be some stick but not sure what that should be .

            As for the ubi .

            Let it go let it goooo

            • weka

              here's what a UBI can do that welfare can't. Someone has variable hours. Some weeks they get a full 40 hours, other weeks they get 5 hours. A UBI stops them from falling behind on rent or not being able to pay for that crucial car repair so they can get to work.

              To get that support from WINZ, even if WINZ were mended, would require time, access to WINZ, meeting criteria, and then there is a time lag between the need for the money and getting it.

              A UBI is already there, in their account.

  9. ianmac 9

    Jacinda was asked about this just now. She say that yes it is inconsistent but it is a short term response to a major event. The issue of how such payments are made is historically flawed and is up for review. I think she was hinting at the need for benefits to be lifted and the process be simplified.

  10. observer 10

    Because a government is not a party.

  11. ianmac 11

    Isn't it great that Jacinda answers questions clearly and succinctly. Compare that with Donald, Simon or now Todd. Todd will have to up his game.

    • tc 11.1

      Todd will dogwhistle as Nats do to shore up their vote however he'll have to be careful post COVID as bashing the unemployed may be a counter productive strategy.

      MAGA is a good indication of where his campaign style will head toward, national prefer the presidential style as the teams a mix of dull, toxic and who ? electorally

  12. barry 12

    The more I think about it the more it sucks.

    So some people have lost jobs and that is a financial shock that they hadn't planned for. Yes I get that!, But how did that not apply to people who lost their jobs before March? Did they plan to lose their jobs? Is the job market any friendlier for them?

    So if you are suffering on a benefit, or know anyone suffering on a benefit, or expect to ever have to rely on a benefit then you only have one choice. VOTE GREEN. Because labour is NOT your friend.

  13. froggleblocks 13

    At the 4pm press conference Jacinda said this is the 3rd time this style of support package has had to be used (GFC and CHCH Earthquakes the other two) and that unlike most countries NZ doesn't have a social insurance model that people are entitled to, only the means-tested and restricted jobseeker benefit.

    She said this is a temporary measure, but given that this is the 3rd time it's had to be used in such a short period of time, she think there will need to be longer term ways to deal with this issue.

    So expect Labour to campaign on stopping the jobseeker benefit be tied to your partner's income, and/or a UBI.

    • ianmac 13.1

      Goodness Froggle. Are you saying it is the same as GFC and Ch Ch Earthquakes? But that was under the National Government so they could not possibly make a fuss when this Government now follows the same path. Todd would be a hypocrite to find fault with the payments, and as a new bright Leader geared up to rescue us we should TRUST him. Right? angry

      • bill 13.1.1

        Are you saying it is the same as GFC and Ch Ch Earthquakes?

        The post is not about any wage subsidy that went to employers who furloughed staff in the cases of now, or the Christchurch earthquake and during the GFC.

        The post is about differentiating between unemployed people and giving some twice the amount of money than others and without the usual strings attached too.

        • Bazza64

          Bill I agree this seems overly harsh, but I think if Labour continue to govern after the election the newbie beneficiaries will be quickly dropped back to the same level as others. After that Labour will be trying to pay down debt quickly so they are perceived as financially responsible (as they are now) but NZ still has low levels of debt so maybe they should go for less debt repayment & keep the money flowing to people a bit longer.

          • bill

            after the election the newbie beneficiaries will be quickly dropped back to the same level as others.

            Well, yes. That's precisely what's going to happen. But if the recognition is that entitlements are inadequate, then why not default to the higher denominator?

            Government debt diminishes over time if an economy is growing – ie, the billion dollars of today is worth progressively less with the passage of time. There is no need to "pay it off" given that it eventually and quite naturally "disappears".

            Allow people to live and stop with the unnecessary financial punishment that's meted out via WINZ as an incentive to pick up any bullshit job on the block.

          • weka

            the higher amount is for 12 weeks.

            • bill

              In other words, some time in September. The election's on the 19th. The $500 kicks in on June 8th. (Don't know if it's paid in arrears or what, but essentially looks to expire around election time)

              • Sacha

                If they were being cunning it would expire after the election, not just before it.

                • The Al1en

                  My understanding of the scheme is you can apply if you lost/lose your job between March and October, so if you're laid off on September the 30th, you're still guaranteed the 12 weeks from then.

              • Herodotus

                A couple of points regarding this policy – From below if you are made redundant on or before 30 Oct – So it must apply beyond the election – Perhaps 12 weeks from 30 Oct means payment will continue to the new year (18th Jan 2021)? Yet if you were made redundant on 30th March and its not retro, so you would only receive 3 weeks, 22nd June. From my understanding

                "To receive the Income Relief Payment, you must be a New Zealand citizen or a resident who normally works and lives in New Zealand, and you must have lost your job between March 1 and October 30."

                "Payments will only begin after June 8 and won't be retrospectively paid. So, if you lost your job before June 8, you won't be back-paid."

                • weka

                  Imagine being the person that lost their job in April 30.

                • James Thrace

                  You'll be paid 12 weeks from when you apply.

                  My understanding is that if you are on the job seekers as a result of losing your job after March 1 (no stand down period!) You can apply to get onto the new Covid wrap-around, and have this paid for 12 weeks from the date you apply. It's not 12 weeks from when you lost your job.

              • weka

                12 weeks from June 8 is August 31.

      • bwaghorn 13.1.2

        Muller on te news say it's wrong to have a 2 tier system, no one thought to ask him if that meant all beneficiaries should get $500 or $250 .

        • bill

          I'm sure Mr Muller would prefer everyone not in "gainful employment" be on the receiving end of private charity. Muller's opinions are precisely beside the point though – utterly irrelevant.

    • Craig H 13.2

      Finance minister and social development minister said the same earlier, so they've clearly got the talking points together.

    • bill 13.3

      …but given that this is the 3rd time it's had to be used in such a short period of time, she think there will need to be longer term ways to deal with this issue.

      So expect Labour to campaign on stopping the jobseeker benefit be tied to your partner's income, and/or a UBI.

      Talk of a "social insurance model" and it doesn't cross your mind that an intention to privatise aspects of social security is being signaled?

      • I Feel Love 13.3.1

        Yeah the "social insurance" sent a chill down my spine, very ACT…

        • James Thrace

          NZ already has a successful social insurance model.

          It's called ACC.

          And prior to 1974, NZ had social insurance for welfare then too. It was scrapped when the DPB was introduced. That old model meant every worker paid 5c on the dollar towards an unemployment insurance scheme.

    • Spa 13.4

      I alsoh the reference to this being the same as post GFC and CHC earthquake but I actually don't remember what the equivalent package was then. If anybody does remember I would be I interested in the details.

  14. Wayne 14


    It is effectively a 3 month extension of the current wage subsidy regime bought about by the most exceptional circumstances since WW2. Essentially it gives time for people to adjust, if they can't get a job.

    I know you won' agree with this, but the fact is way more people will becoming unemployed than is usual, and they will be drawn from those who never expect to be unemployed. Thus they are likely to have financial obligations that hitherto fitted within the income from what they thought to be secure employment (think Air NZ staff). So mortgages, hire purchase, car payments, etc.

    It gives people time to adjust.

    Yes, it is a two tier system, but it is bought about by truly exceptional circumstances. It is noteworthy that many countries are doing this, that is, providing payments beyond the usual welfare entitlement, typically for up to six months after a Covid induced loss of employment.

    • weka 14.1

      Wayne, part of your comment was in the name field (which is why the comment got held up). Please check the name details for your next comment.

    • weka 14.2

      What's the difference between someone who worked at Air NZ and lost their job in Feb due to disability and someone losing their job this week? Really, I'd like to know why they should get different rates.

      • froggleblocks 14.2.1

        A line has to be drawn somewhere.

        Why February? Why not January? Why not December? Why not November? Why not 2017? Why not 2013? Why not 2001? Why not always?

        The answer is cost, and immediate response to a global pandemic. Sorry.

    • bill 14.3

      It's not an extension to the wage subsidy – it's an unemployment payment. Read the post Wayne. Because I've been quite explicit in saying I do not begrudge people $500 p/w tax free and with few strings. I do object to the gulf in "understanding" in regards people who have found themselves unemployed for whatever reason before March. You think those of us who qualify for $250 p/w live on fucking fresh air?

      • Wayne 14.3.1


        I know it is an unemployment benefit, which is evident in my first para. I was using the wage subsidy as the analogy. After all the rate is the same as the wage subsidy.

        The specific point being that the Covid emergency is so unusual that special rules are appropriate. Specifically a 6 month period of wage subsidy/unemployment benefit that is higher than is usual and has different eligibility rules.

        I know it can be shot through on the basis of being an unfair differential treatment, but in my view it is a pragmatic response.

        And Bill, as you know there are additional benefits above the standard $250, the most notable being AS.

        • Wayne

          I have fixed the handle. Sorry for not noticing it earlier.

          To comment on the differential approach. I suppose one thing that could be done is have the UB at a higher initial rate, then drop back after some time. However, I am not sure that would be very welcome. I also note that some countries tie the rate to the recipients previous income, a bit like ACC.

          Perhaps it is just easier to accept that Covid is a 1 in 100 year event and thus requires special treatment.

          • weka

            It's unlikely to a be a 1 in 100 year event though. We can expect another pandemic, as well as increasing climate events.

            • Enough is Enough

              I think we are a lot better equipped for the next pandemic, and unlikely to ever need a level 4 lockdown in the way we did for covid.

              We had no testing capability. We did not know what contact tracing was. We were slow to close borders.

              Next time we will pull those measures together a lot quicker.

              Yes we will always be susceptible to a pandemic. But we have learnt a lot in the last 3 month and being an Island will help- us next time.

              • Sacha

                Will still affect any industries (and people) reliant on overseas customers.

                • Enough is Enough

                  We will still be affected. Just hopefully not to the same extent.

                  I get the feeling it would be difficult to get people to willingly make that sacrifice again.

              • weka

                A new virus will need new test gear. Is that still being made overseas? What will happen if it's ore virulent and deadly and countries that manufacture the gear can't produce enough?

                We've done really well and will be better prepared in the future. I'm still not seeing the whole overview though: quakes, pandemics, climate change, GCFs. A big quake alone could cause more damage than covid. There's also the cumulative effect.

                We're still very reliant on the global economy. I'm not that confident our current economic forecast will hold if other countries and trading partners fail.

                This is a Sept 11 moment. Everything has changed and we don't yet know all the effects nor which pathway we will go down.

                I don't mean to be so doom and gloom. I think we are in a good position, but our big weakness is thinking we're adjusting BAU.

                • Enough is Enough

                  I agree that it feels like we are just heading back to BAU.

                  I think that is being lead by the government that hasn't really given any indication that they intend to reshape and reform our economy. Temporary relief for wage earners and the unemployed until the election appears to have been the boldest thing they have done.

                  • weka

                    I'd guess they are working on longer term plans but it takes time (they keep referencing the Future of Work thing). But yeah, I can't see it being the change we need.

            • Adrian

              But we will be a lot better prepared for the next one. Expecting it not just hoping it won't happen.

        • froggleblocks

          The rates are not the same.

          Wage subsidy is $585.80/$350 for full/part time.

          This new benefit is $490/$250.

        • bill

          "…special rules are appropriate."

          No. What would be appropriate is for every unemployed person to have those "special rules" applied to them.

          Put another way. If welfare needs to have "special rules" bolted on the side, then something's not right with welfare.

    • hoom 14.4

      they will be drawn from those who never expect to be unemployed. Thus they are likely to have financial obligations that hitherto fitted within the income from what they thought to be secure employment (think Air NZ staff).

      You think a meatworker with kids & a mortgage who lost their job because their boss decided it would be more profitable to close the plant down (or insert any number of alternative situations) expected to become unemployed?

      In some ways its a shame that more of these people made unemployed by these 'truly exceptional circumstances' don't have to try to live on $250/wk.

      Not because I wish them ill but because then a lot of these 'people who never expect to be unemployed' will realise that its fucking hard & we might get some more compassionate public discourse -> voting if they did.

  15. Tricledrown 15

    This is the biggest hit to our economy for 80+ years. Whole industries wiped out.Those already on benefits get more than the basic welfare payment.Labour has made it easier to access food grants winter power top ups.

    Good stop gap measure giving those a chance to find a new job.

    Not perfect but good National would have done little or nothing.

    • bill 15.1

      So (essentially) the "worthy" unemployed receive an amount of money that gets towards being in line with reversing the cuts of the early 90s. And the "unworthy" unemployed get to fuck off down the road to a food bank.


      • Herodotus 15.1.1

        As long as your partner earns less than $104,000 !!!!

        Those long term beneficiaries must wonder what they have done wrong – (could not find but I gather WFF still applies if there is a wage earner to this newly created group.) Perhaps current beneficiaries were always going to vote Labour so they don't matter – Its those nasty swing voters that have to be "persuaded".

        • Patricia 2

          Maybe the Government thinks that as their actions have created this situation they now have an obligation to allow the Covid unemployed slide into the usual Job Seeker rates over a period of weeks. A breathing space to negotiate their debts / mortgages and living circumstances.

      • Cinny 15.1.2

        And those who lived off of three days annual leave for over a month because their employer didn't want to give them the subsidy….. were they left to fuck off down to the food bank over lock down? Yup, probably part of the reasons why food banks were stretched.

        Should there be a UBI, yes.

        However at present this solution is a good short term measure.

        Am still at a loss as to why some employers did not apply for the subsidy for their employees.

        • Molly

          " Am still at a loss as to why some employers did not apply for the subsidy for their employees. "

          My view is that there is a marked difference in employers. Some regard employees as an asset to their business and invest in them and take care of them. Others regard them purely as expenses, and try to reduce the cost (zero-hours contracts anyone?) and consider them both dispensable and replaceable. It would be the latter that would not have bothered when it became apparent the benefit to the employee was associated with an implied support from the employer as well.

          John Key popped out of the worm-ridden woodwork himself, to suggest that the Covid-19 situation was an opportunity for businesses to rid themselves of up to 20% of their workforce.

          • Cinny

            Thanks Molly, you've summed it up well, there is a marked difference in employers, there really is no other explanation.

    • Adrian Thornton 15.2

      @Tricledrown…you have exactly the right avatar name there pal.

  16. I'm thrilled to bits about this increase in benefit payments.

    It might only be in response to a one off event, and, naturally, its limited to those affected by that event, but it does provide a test case that will be useful if we are ever to get either an actual and permanent lift in payments, or, even better, a kiwi UBI.

    • froggleblocks 16.1

      Bill's much more fond of looking the gift horse in the mouth.

    • Adrian Thornton 16.2

      I think the only operative word in your statement is "if" although I will say that the word suits this governments modus operandi vis-à-vis the poor and disenfranchised perfectly..because we all know it really means never.

  17. Ken 17

    Long term beneficiaries are unlikely to have mortgages to pay.

    • weka 17.1

      this is not true (there are plenty of beneficiaries with mortgages, think through why that might be). But for those that pay rent instead, what difference does it make?

      • froggleblocks 17.1.1

        Long term beneficaries, or those with a history of periods of under and unemployment, are likely to have fit their lifestyle to their budget.

        Those who have never been unemployed before, have marketable skills and have never had problems getting jobs before, even in prior recessions, have also fit their lifestyle to their budget.

        Now something that is globally unprecedented in living memory has occurred and you're pretending like these sets of people are exactly the same and should be treated exactly the same. But they aren't the same and it doesn’t make sense and nor is it affordable to treat them the same. Sorry.

        • weka

          I'm not pretending they're the same, I'm saying there aren't two groups in the way being discussed here.

          eg someone who lost their job in January, is on welfare, and has a mortage. At what point do they become long term? At what point should they sell their house and become renters with the same accommodation costs as before?

          • froggleblocks

            Denying the groups exist means you are treating them as one group, ie treating them the same.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          And how many unemployed are long term – hint you don't properly calculate it by taking the number of unemployed now and then counting the number over 5 years/10 years whatever.

          You can't exclude those that were not long term as they went on and off again.

          So if you want 5 years count everyone who has been on benefit for the last 5 years. Then divide the number over 5 years into that number. You'll find it is a pretty small percentage. Do 10 years and it's even smaller.

          Basically it's about as useful a consideration as counting those with buck teeth.

          • froggleblocks

            Already covered by the very next part of my sentence: "or those with a history of periods of under and unemployment"

  18. pat 18

    Completely understand the anger at this policy (and also understand the rationale behind it) but suggest that this is an opportunity …the reality is that the disposessed largely do not engage with politics (also understandable) so if the desire is to have those interests considered and met then the lesson is get to the polls…..its not rocket science.

    Politicians will continue to play to those who vote

    • ianmac 18.1

      Jacinda said that there was a serious need to review the benefit delivery and size. National was happy to ignore the inadequacy when they were in power but I think the low will eventually become the high $490. Note Super is about $320 pw.

    • Sacha 18.2

      Pat, it is up to all of us who can to engage on this. The most vulnerable have too much on their plates already and yes they do not tend to vote on their own behalf. We can.

      • pat 18.2.1

        the fact is (largely) we cannot…..until the disposed flex their electoral power the parties will not offer the option….consider what happened to Metiria….and the Greens (who are the closest to advocates) polling at close to threshold.

        It cannot be done on behalf because we only have one vote (party)

        • weka

          The Greens got 94,000 fewer votes in 2017 than in 2014. Let's assume they mostly went to Labour rather than the non-vote. That's a 6 MP difference. Yes getting the non-vote to vote might help, but it's clear that the ball is also squarely in the court of current Labour voters.

          • pat

            "…but it's clear that the ball is also squarely in the court of current Labour voters."

            Is it? why would you expect someone to change their vote to compensate for someone else that doesn't bother?….most 'middle class' voters are not that politically engaged but they know the value of voting

            • weka

              it's not to compensate for the non-vote (and we don't know how they would vote anyway). It's about anyone with an actual conscience around poverty in NZ doing the right thing. I'm as critical of the non-vote as I am of those that say they want change and then vote Labour. But the new Labour voters aren't dependent on the non-vote, they stand in their own right.

              • pat

                then like Sacha you are hoping against hope and are destined to be disappointed….we have had 5 elections since the Greens first entered Parliament (in their own right) and not only have the policies largely not changed the Greens are polling barely above threshold…and I make this observation as someone who has voted for them the past 4 elections.

                The dispossessed hold their future in their own hands if only they would exercise it….it cannot and will not be done on their behalf.

                • Sacha

                  Your compassion and nous are noted.

                • weka

                  For most of those five elections the Greens have had far more MPs than they do now. I gave you the numbers above of how many Green voters went to Labour in 2017. If you have a coherent argument for why they should stay voting Labour instead of going back to the Greens, please make it. 'Blah, blah, the Greens are useless' isn't a coherent argument.

                  • pat

                    far too defensive Weka…I don't pass judgement on either the Greens or Labour (in this instance) I simply point out the history and the fact that as a strategy to change how the dispossessed are treated it has been a failure and as somebody famous observed doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result etc….

                    • weka

                      everyone knows about the non-vote already. I'm not seeing you presenting any solutions here. Your argument seems to be that poor people should vote. No shit.

        • Sacha

          So cast your party vote as if you were one of those people, Pat. Encourage others to do the same. That is all it takes.

          • pat

            hasn't worked to date…almost 30% of the electorate don't bother….its expecting the impossible to make up that shortfall don't you think?

            • Sacha

              I am not expecting any more people to vote. I am asking you to make yours count on this and encourage other people who actually vote to do the same. That's all.

    • bill 18.3

      Any party wants my vote, they're welcome to win it.

      • pat 18.3.1

        you're suggesting no one deserves it?

        • bill

          I'm saying my vote can't be taken for granted.

          • pat

            non votes can be taken for granted too

            • bill

              lol – well, if any party reckons potential non votes could be determinative, they could always offer something and get some votes under their belt, aye?

              • pat

                id suggest there are one or two who currently do…and have done for sometime (very effectively)

  19. Sacha 19

    This is not a principled move.

    Giving enough income support so that people do not need to constantly apply for add-ons and without much hoop-jumping just reduces the short-term pressure on winz (who would otherwise have to hire and train way more staff to cope with the current surge).

    That's regardless of whatever further income support policy the governing coalition parties can negotiate internal support for, or campaign on individually.

    Has anyone asked Winston First or the righties in Labour where they stand on this? History suggests they would be the main roadblock to progress.

    • weka 19.1

      Does it need to go through a parliamentary vote? If not, does Winston First matter? I'm more inclined today to think this is on Labour.

      • Sacha 19.1.1

        It's a decision for cabinet, which gives Winston and Labour's righties a say. Coalition agreement may give Winnie a further veto?

        I guess we will see during election campaigning where Labour has agreed internally to stand on this.

        • weka

          Labour would outvote NZF in Cabinet though. Is there an outright veto? On everything?

          • Sacha

            Would the left of Lab outvote their right + NZF? And who knows what is in that coalition agreement..

          • froggleblocks

            Winston's put the kibosh on other things before, capital gains tax being one (I suspect this was specifically mentioned in the coalition agreement?) but more recently and perhaps instructively, the EV feebate championed by the greens. Apparently also automatically giving residence visas to relatives of the victims of March 15.

        • Wayne

          I am pretty sure this will have to be legislated for. It is a specific appropriation for a benefit that is regulated by statute. That almost certainly require specific legislation.

    • mickysavage 19.2

      It is the sort of decision you reach when you have a cabinet with Winston Peters and Shane Jones and a government depending on NZ First support.

      Ugly I know but totally predictable.

  20. Middle class welfare to prop up the landlord class? I don't get it.

    • roblogic 20.1

      & one more… there's a lot of disappointment out there

  21. Bill, I found it hard to grasp until Jacinda spoke. This is to protect systems. Do you think they should fail? Or should as she said, they should be improved?

    This Government is in a profoundly different place to any past situation. They see the tsunami of grief and loss coming, but they are giving people a chance to work out how they can weather this, selling assets gaining a new job, paying down or rearranging debt.

    Further the Government has not been able to make huge changes because of NZ First, but is signalling their intent and interest in having some backstop for people against general losses in a 1 in 100 situation.

    They are moving very fast to deal with a huge body blow. This will open them to criticism. Perhaps the blow back will allow them to change this for everyone. It may be their first mistake?
    They have not mentioned private business. Past situations such as World Wars meant insurance companies would not cover buildings, so the Government formed State Insurance. I think this is more the model being considered for income insurances.

    Money paid into the fund which would be Government backed and have a period where the person was paid say 80% of their normal wage.

    The low benefits were put in place by Paula Bennett, and to see her kept at number 13 in the National Party is really insult to injury.

    In this situation nothing will be perfect, and getting agreement from someone who has huge self interest in the next election is expecting miracles. Toll Muddle will be saying "Make NZ great again"…..You know… The Rock Star Economy!! The surplus gained by taking away services and maintenance.

    But a woman in the street said exactly what I thought. "I trust this Government, they care about people" I will write to Jacinda. She listens.

    • weka 21.1

      Low benefits weren't put in place by Bennett (although she did a huge amount of damage to welfare). They were put in place by National in 1990 and then kept in place by subsequent Labour and Nat govts. Labour are the party that removed the hardship grant in Clark's years that basically keeps so many in poverty now.

      I get the rationales for todays move. It's still wrong. It's just wrong on a deep, deep level. There are so many ways they could have handled this differently, but what they did is actually consistent with Labour's position on poverty, which is to help some and leave the rest behind.

      Peters is no longer an excuse. Best thing that can happen how is for the people who are so angry today to mobilise. Turei started it, it's on us to finish it.

    • Descendant Of Smith 21.2

      Those systems keep brown people poor – now that white people are being laid off they get more money so they don't join them.

      The government is supposed to consider the impact of all policies in relation to the Treaty. I'd be interested in what considerations were made in this case.

    • pat 21.3

      "This Government is in a profoundly different place to any past situation. They see the tsunami of grief and loss coming, but they are giving people a chance to work out how they can weather this, selling assets gaining a new job, paying down or rearranging debt."

      Agree….it is (yet another) delaying tactic to allow people (businesses, systems) time to adjust to a new normal….like the wage subsidy it provides room and time.

      It will only slow the impact and at the margins however….and provides the government themselves more time to install the longer term mitigations (employment . training etc)…and allows a more accurate assessment of the scale of impact

  22. Chris 22

    No surprises. Just like the in-work payment. The poorest get screwed again.

    Maybe this will finally hit home the need to sort the existing main benefit rates out?

    • pat 22.1

      Maybe it will force those negatively impacted to the polls

      • Molly 22.1.1

        That perspective ignores any contribution that current party policies, and media reporting of those policies make to any disenfranchisement that non-voters have with the political process.

        You also assume that non-voters have life experiences that assure them they they have influence over their lives and political outcomes. I would be surprised if that is true.

        • pat

          It ignores nothing….it does however offer the path to change.

          There is a clear option available and that option has been promoted by many here and in the media over the years.

          • Molly

            If you think that what is on offer is a path to change to all – rather than some – then you will always be blind to those who can see otherwise.

            Acknowledging that the current political climate is sometimes offering nothing to the disenfranchised, opens up the possibility for wider engagement.

            If that is not even acknowledged, then let's see how far the current method of telling people to vote for the least worst option does.

              • Molly

                I voted Green in the last election, not because I think they are effective but because they are most aligned to my values. And most aligned does not mean that I think they are or will be effective at addressing social issues, housing and climate change under current conditions.

                However, the conversation is about encouraging non-voters to participate, and posting up a policy page is just more of the same, that has led to decreasing voter turnout.

                I read a good article coming from a wider perspective from The Nation: Recovery will take more than money, by Mike Gecan. On it he talks of his work as a social activist and his recent work going into neighbourhoods that have been devastated by the US opoid epidemic. He writes about the ability (or not) of local authorities and representatives to listen and engage, and gives some insights into how this can be achieved – and importantly – recognised when it has occurred already at local levels.

                This kind of approach will be more likely to produce long-term sustainable voting engagement than the current one. But it would require authenticity and commitment.

                • pat

                  "However, the conversation is about encouraging non-voters to participate, and posting up a policy page is just more of the same, that has led to decreasing voter turnout"

                  That might be the conversation you want to have but it is not the conversation Im engaged in….as previously said, the solution is there for those that desire it…and its there for those political parties to promote.

                  You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink

                  • Molly

                    " You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink "

                    Ain't that the truth?

  23. Sacha 23

    Finance Minister playing a different line than the PM – guess they are hoping reactions will tell them what to emphasise during campaign. https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2020/05/25/1201328/new-benefit-leaves-out-migrants-existing-beneficiaries

    Robertson said the need for the extra payment didn't indicate that the existing benefit system doesn't provide enough to live on.

    "It's an acknowledgement that people who have been in work have suffered a very sharp income drop, and obviously that's very unexpected, because of Covid-19. It is […] a temporary payment and it's a recognition that we need to cushion the blow for people," he said.

    Peter Sykes, chief executive of Mangere East Family Services, said this explanation didn't hold up. "It creates a second class of beneficiaries," he said of the Income Relief Payment.

    "There's something in there about, 'People who are losing their jobs have got a sharp income drop and are not used to this'. Well, give me a break. That's what unemployment is. This is a benefit for the middle class."

    Sykes said Jobseeker Support alone is not enough to live on and funding of food banks in the Budget and the creation of the new benefit for Covid-19-related job losses show the Government knows this.

    • RosieLee 23.1

      It's absolutely pointless overhauling the welfare system/increasing benefits unless there is a corresponding overhaul of housing and rents. Much more urgent impetus on state housing – driven by the state, not property developers, is needed. This government also wimped out on CGT, so residential property speculation remains as an attractive "investment" option. Much of the benefit increases will just go into landlords' pockets. All the talk about poverty and wellbeing is just that – talk. A rent freeze for a couple of years would be a good place to start in the mean time.

  24. Sacha 24

    The Māori Party's responsible co-leader on this. https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO2005/S00335/maori-party-co-leader-calls-on-government-to-lift-incomes-of-all-beneficiaries.htm

    “Our economy has been structured in such a way that many Māori were already locked out of employment before the pandemic – Māori unemployment has consistently been double the rate of Pākehā unemployment.

    “There is no justification for someone who has just been made redundant to receive double the income support of someone who has made redundant before the pandemic. We are entering what is likely to be a major recession – all people needed guaranteed secure incomes, and not just for 12 weeks. It’s likely many recently unemployed people won’t be able to find new work within 12 weeks.

    “The Government is continuing to ignore its commitment in the Labour-Green C&S agreement to “overhaul the welfare system” and the advice of their own Welfare Expert Advisory Group to significantly and permanently increase core benefit levels. It’s about time they delivered for the lowest income New Zealanders, many of whom are Māori,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

  25. Sacha 25

    Unite Union's national secretary Gerard Hehir. https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO2005/S00336/all-those-without-jobs-deserve-decent-income-support.htm

    “If you were unemployed before 1st March your chances of getting a new job have plummeted along with everyone who lost their job after 1st March. If you are too sick to work apparently you only need half the income of someone who recently lost their job. Really?”

    “And why do thousands of migrant workers who are stuck in New Zealand who have lost, or will shortly lose, their jobs still being forced to ask for handouts to live? Many have been here for years and were applauded as ‘essential' workers during lockdown but now they are literally told to go and beg for food to stay alive.”

    Both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have repeatedly told the Australian government they should extend benefits to New Zealanders in Australia – but refuse to do the same for non-resident workers in their own country. At least Australia doubled benefit payments to avoid the glaring double standard of creating two classes of beneficiaries.

  26. weka 26

    Just listened to Ardern. Some think she is signalling Labour fixing welfare in the future. To me she sidesteps the two tier issue entirely and vaguely hand waves in the direction of how to have a better system for the next time we have mass job loss. She's not saying anything about helping long term poor.

    Starts around 23m

    • weka 26.1

      She references the Future of Work work. My guess, Labour are looking at a UBI, and probably not doing a lot about welfare generally. Because this is how Labour roll, it's all about the work and jobs, they will design a UBI that is for the precariat.

      • Craig H 26.1.1

        As a Labour member since 2014 who followed the Future of Work Commission (and threw in his 2c when the chance arose), and who was listening to Grant Robertson at the press conference today, they sound like they are preparing the electorate for a new welfare system, possibly modelled on the Danish flexi-curity system, or perhaps a French-style social security system. Grant has never shown a lot of enthusiasm for UBI, so I personally don't think he is going down that path.

        • Sacha

          If the system is insurance-based, the Nats will privatise it the first chance they get.

          • KJT

            They haven't succeeded with ACC.

            If we follow the same model with sickness and unemployment, there is no reason for it to be any less enduring.

            As we've seen with super and the current ACC, the wealthy have little incentive to remove or privatise things they get too.

            I've been advocating extending the ACC to sickness and unemployment for some time. Of course ACC as it was originally designed, not the deliberate fuckup, aimed at replacing it with private insurance, it has become.

            It is another option, which may have wider support, and more likelihood of being done, than a decent, UBI.

            • Craig H

              I managed to get a policy proposal through regional and annual conferences on extending ACC to sickness in 2018, so hopefully it still has some traction with Policy Council (Labour).

              • Geoff Lye

                WOW .

                Sure hope it goes some where as you can see further down the blogs comments I have commented on exactly that .

                Winz Msd as it is now on long term illness sufferers healthcare welfare is a nightmare and with the relationship rules prohibiting access to job seekers only makes their health care ten times worse when they have to deal with Pharmac's inadequate funded medicines funding.

                So they land up dealing with a 3 HEADED HYDRA going nowhere and with every early death rumoured to cost the country $5,500,000 for every death fixing it would be a better option than allowing the current system to continue to operate.

            • Sacha

              The Nats only failed to privatise ACC in 2008/09 because the GFC and our small size made it unappealing at that time to Australian insurers who had been invited into negotiations.

              Labour had stupidly failed to overturn the funding changes that Shipley and co had made to prepare it for just such a fate. I have no confidence their successors will be any smarter.

              • KJT

                I suspect there was a bit of business kickback as well.

                I was in the office of a large company, part of investigating it, when they gave the option of replacing ACC, with a private scheme for larger companies.

                The bean counters stopped it in the end. ACC , is actually very good value for money, to an employer. Especially as the cost of litigation, and the randomness of legal judgements, is mostly removed.

                My US business counterparts, in particular, were very envious. Accident insurance is a large part of their business costs.

            • Geoff Lye

              Other questions to added to the insulting benefit talked about in the article.

              UPDATED _______Questions ________to be asked while unemployed Re funding of medicines and healthcare add them here to add them to a possible survey.

              Take NOTE the questions have been rephrased.

              This is why I say only targeting medicines funding is only HALF OF THE MEDICINES FUNDING PROBLEM.
              This is why I say we need a MULTI TARGETED APPROACH.

              I would not be surprised one bit, if half the unemployed are people in a relationship, WHO ARE REFUSED A BENEFIT of any sort including the supported living payment.

              Due to the restrictions in place which allows you to have or not have the slp or Jobseekers.

              How many of them are unable to buy all their meds every week or even the doctor or xray or whatever, that had to be paid for that you would get paid for, if you were under ACC care or benefit because of not enough money.

              This discrimination due to relationship status has to be brought to an end.

              In my opinion it is a breach of Article 25 of the Un Human Rights Act .

              Denial of healthcare and welfare due to economic status.

              We hear of chemists saying all the time of people not being able to afford even funded meds let alone unfunded meds.

              Then we have the waiting lists to get into the hospitals etc.

              I my opinion we need to start the discussion to turn ACC into a full blown MEDICARE AGENCY that covers ALL LONG TERM ILLNESSES no matter how they are occured.

              I suggest we get a survey done and measure the following.


              1 what % of the population is in a relationship with a long term illness .

              2 what % of the population that is in a relationship is having trouble funding funded meds ( Not all towns have a countdown or Bargain Chemist with free prescriptions).

              3 what % of the population that is in a relationship is having trouble funding unfunded meds.

              4 what % of the population that is in a relationship has applied for a Pharmac statutory authority and been refused funding.

              5 of that % of the population (Q4) that have applied for a statutory application. How many applications in total has their doctor applied for and been refused.

              6 How many people with long term illness have been refused the supported living payment benefit.
              6a- What was the reason for Refusal

              7 How many people with long term illness after being refused a supported living payment have been refused the Jobseekers benefit due to being above the relationship income limit.

              8 How many people with a long term illness that’s not recognised as a "long term illness" have been refused an SLP
              8a What was the illness you have they refused the application for slp.
              8b How many people with a long term illness that’s not recognised as a "long term illness" have been refused the Jobseekers benefit due to the relationships rule limits.

              9 How many peoples medicines costs are above the disability allowances maximum Level.

              10 Due to the new Responsible lending laws, how many people with funded or unfunded medicines, are not going to be able to access the number of loans they could previous to June 1st 2020 , to pay for their medicines after the new law comes into effect on June 1st 2020.

              Lets face it all winz benefits for anyone with a long term illness are inadequate anyway.

              They are nowhere near enough to pay for your medicines as they only pay a %.

              The disability allowance was originally intend only to pay for travel to your doctors and doctors fee's it was never intended to pay for Medicines.

              Even if you make a statutory application to Pharmac to get a medicine funded, there is absolutely no guarantee you will be funded, no matter how many applications your Doctor or specialist makes.

              So what does everyone think.

              LETS CHANGE THE NARRATIVE !!!!!!!

              Any other questions you can think of we should ask ?

              THIS IS ANOTHER PRONG TO BE USED IN THE TOTAL ABANDONMENT OF THE RELATIONSHIPS RULE and to get long term illnesses and medicines funded.


              AT NO TIME DO WE HEAR OR SEE ANYONE DISCUSSING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INADEQUATE MEDS FUNDING AND INADEQUATE FUNDING OF PEOPLE IN A RELATIONSHIP long term welfare funding on the SLP or rejection of the SLP Benefit or a rejection of an Illness as even being an illness. Then after being rejected for an slp then being rejected for a job seekers benefit .

              • Geoff Lye

                Attention admin I have landed up copy and pasting three copies of my post.
                Can you fix it please ?

                • weka

                  Done. The edit window is something like ten minutes at the moment, so it's always good to check one's comment after posting to make sure it's what we want. Cheers.

        • weka

          thanks. This makes way more sense of what Ardern said than the idea that they are going to mend welfare.


          • Sacha

            It is important to recognize that the flexicurity concept has been developed in countries with high wages, besides clear progressive taxation, as in for example, Denmark.

            Let's hear how they plan to transition us from a low-wage economy – not by propping up tourism, that's for sure.

            • weka

              Apparently Labour are talking about employment insurance.

              People really need to stop saying that Labour are going to mend welfare. There's just no evidence of it.

          • KJT


            We already have a successful model of social insurance here, with ACC.

            Extending ACC to illness, disability and unemployment I suspect, would read well politically and is easy to understand.

            The original ACC, principle, that disabled peoples income rose over their life, in parallel with their abled cohorts,

            Of course some of the deliberate failures introduced in ACC, to help the push for privatisation, require improving.

            • Sacha

              Ah, snap.

            • weka

              ACC are easily as bad as WINZ. It's origins are good, but it's terrible for many now. It also has major holes in it (you get paid in proportion to what you were earning the previous year, so students or low income earners or people who weren't working for whatever reason, are disadvantaged).

              Is this what you think Arden was referring to? That employers pay into a scheme that then will pay out weekly income to people who become ill and lose their job. Because to me it looked like she was talking about insurance against pandemics or GFCs, and given they've just done two tier welfare it's hard to see why they wouldn't design an insurance scheme likewise.

              The big problem here is that they refuse to mend the broken things. ACC, WINZ, MoH. From what I can tell, that's because of their values.

              • KJT

                Originally, an apprentice I knew who was paralysed, got ACC wage rises as his fellow apprentices got paid more. I think that is long gone.

              • KJT

                Values, or because the right have been so successful in the othering and demonization of beneficiaries, that it has become politically difficult?

                I expect that to change as so many more people are relying on "handouts".

                Though all the "handouts" to farmers, have not made them more sympathetic to others getting them.

                • weka

                  "I expect that to change as so many more people are relying on "handouts"."

                  You're more optimistic than I am on that. If the government is ok with a two tier system, why shouldn't the citizens be as well? So I think it's a values thing. Yes National and the MSM dominated the poverty debate up until Turei, and yes NZF are a brake on Labour. But, yesterday, Sepuloni and Robertson and even Ardern could have said things that were meaningful to beneficiaries. There was nothing. Seriously, there was nothing. Well, there was denial of course. It's true that I can't tell if that's ideology or incompetence, but I don't see anything from Labour suggesting that they will mend welfare and I fully expect them to continue on their path of 'work will cure all ills.'

  27. gingercrush 27

    Right move bad targetting. People losing their jobs due to circumstances beyond their control should receive money for a period of time that is higher than a longterm benefit. Just like benefits should not be dependent on the household income. Some thing should be done with genuine sickness benefit amounts too.

    Not sure what should be done with people longterm unemployed either. Forcing people onto useless one day courses seem meaningless. At some stage benefits need to be reduced for someone longterm employed. I do wonder if forcing someone 60+ into work is too much to expect either.

    No easy answers and being a neo-liberal I'm not the most sympathetic to the unemployed. But I've seen it and it isnt easy. And the way winz expect people to take up some serious questionable work or do some real shoddy courses needs to change.

    • Sacha 27.1

      At some stage benefits need to be reduced for someone longterm employed.

      What does that achieve?

    • KJT 27.2

      Except for a very few, the "long term unemployed" have physical and or mental illnesses or injuries that prevent them getting a job.

      Almost all others are on the dole for less than two years. The rest of the time they are, "tax payers".

      The healthy dole bludger is a recurrent, and inaccurate, myth, used to justify starving welfare recipients into taking low wage jobs, with shockingly exploitative employers.

      There is no justification for a two tier system.

      All "suddenly unemployed" are equally struggling, whether due to Covid, illness or redundancy.

      The "long term unemployed" are very often much more in need. "Suddenly unemployed" usually have equity in a house and other assets. And have the work record and skills to "pivot" to another job,

      • Descendant Of Smith 27.2.1

        And others do not get any assistance due to a spouse earning. The burden of not only providing for your own costs but your spouses in this low wage two income economy as well as trying to provide for super is partly why many relationships have been failing.

        I don't know for instance any one income two person family who is in Kiwisaver. They are too busy trying to survive on one income with high rents and increasing food costs. Kiwi-saver and the relatively high minimum is just not an option.

        One of my neighbours was in tears when he found Labour were getting rid of including underage spouses. He is already physically struggling with his manual labouring job and sees that he will have to try and work another five years until his wife will qualify. The difference between NZS and benefit is so great that he will have to stay in work.

        I'm thinking he won't reach 70. Labour is no friend of the working class and the poor. The sad thing is, is that they had so much opportunity to be so. There spending now shows they could have applied the WEAG recommendations.

        They are probably listening to all the National appointed public servants and Treasury economists who think the poor suck. Pretending to care has become an art form in this country. It's part of modern managerial risk management – they know exactly what to say to tick the right boxes.

  28. David Mac 28

    It was refreshing to hear Jacinda say "Yes, I see the differential you speak of" today.

    A National govt would imply 'Those beneficiaries have been making do for years, these people that need to meet their mortgage payments got thrown out onto the street yesterday.'

    We're in a state of flux. It's the right time to say 'Hey shouldn't all of us standing in the street get the same $?"

    It's an argument that someone wired like Jacinda will address. It has her ear.

    Like when questioned about her campaign trajectory, her focus is elsewhere right now and I think that's a good thing. The $ don't matter if you're dead.

  29. Paul 29

    What about unemployed migrant workers with no other options? Food parcels if they're lucky

    • RedBaronCV 29.1

      Their employers should be pushed into helping if they are on an employer specific visa – otherwise support to return home where transport links are available ( viable for some but not all) and yes basic living support but their embassies need to step up.

      Nobody wants to add to the destitute and living in the street crowd. The students (20hr) visa's should have enough money to continue studying regardless .

      But if all the visas where eligible then we are looking at a payout of about $2billion for the 12 weeks at a higher rate than local unemployed and pensioners receive.

    • KJT 29.2

      The employers that have been exploiting them, should have to live up to their responsibilities for their welfare.

  30. Craig H 30

    I would rather Labour did what it could than nothing, and also would rather they made it an election battle than risked being attacked from the right for being too generous now, and lost the election in which case nobody gets anything.

    • Start small
    • Expand later when it can be seen to be working
    • Make it permanent because everyone realises it's fairer
    • Generational change achieved
    • Sacha 30.1

      How hard would it be for them to signal that was their intention?

      • froggleblocks 30.1.1

        You have to understand the distinction between the current government, and Labour running for the election.

        Jacinda and Grant have both indicated that they expect to have changes in this area for the long term.

        • Sacha

          Fair point. Bloody hats..

        • KJT

          I can see the point of trying to get more enduring changes, after a large number have seen what it is like to live on a miserly benefit.

          However with this, they won't.

    • froggleblocks 30.2

      Much more productive to throw your toys out of the cot when you don't get everything you want right away.

      Let's have the good be the enemy of the perfect.

  31. adam 31

    So much fun watching the incrementalists trying to justify how shitty this.

    Just another reminder for the underclass in this country – both labour and national hate your guts.

    • Molly 31.1

      … No, really they do care about them.

      All they have to do is wait until the time is right… which is (once again) not right now. (/sarc)

  32. Sacha 32



    Researcher Jess Berentson-Shaw, who has argued for universal payments for families, said the policy revealed a stark injustice and lack of common sense in existing support and unemployment policies.

    “That current unemployment and indeed other support policies have deep moral judgements about people's character at the heart of them. In the case of Covid-19 responses we are seeing an unconditional and supportive policy approach to those who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19. Which is absolutely as it should be.

    “The policy is based on the knowledge we have that people have goals, they want work and to participate in our society, and that Covid-19 is taking away from people the opportunity to do these things. However, existing support polices are not founded in such thinking. And the irony of it is if they were, then the research shows outcomes for all people and our economy would be much, much better. Better work, more skill acquisition, less stress, better outcomes for children…. This is why the welfare advisory group recommended changing the values used to build welfare policy in New Zealand.”

  33. Brendan 33

    Y’all Green voters who jumped ship to Labour because you liked Jacinda better bloody well go back to Green because Labour’s progressive credentials are light blue. If they’re below 5% and we end up with a National NZ First coalition, I am blaming you. They’re is a snowballs chance in hell that Labour is getting a majority, so sure up the support for the one party in Parliament who’s actually progressive.

  34. bwaghorn 34

    It gives people 12 weeks to get them selves back to work or else shes the bread line for you . Quite blunt but very motivating I guess.

    • KJT 34.1

      Motivation doesn't help when there are not enough decent jobs.

      • bwaghorn 34.1.1

        My personal feeling is that if the only job going is shoveling shit then shovel shit ,its easier to get a good job if you have a job .

        • Descendant Of Smith

          Nah not always. My sons have been in that boat – ever tried asking an employer in those types of jobs for time off for a job interview for a better job, or annual leave if you want to try and hide it, or the interviewing employer to do the interview after hours or on a weekend. There's plenty of employers that get rid of you as soon as they know you are looking – and yeah you could take a grievance if you want to be blacklisted.

          It is easier to go from a good job to a good job – often from a shit job it's hopeless. It's mostly easy to go from being a high paid shit CEO to another CEO job though.

        • KJT

          Doesn't work that way for most.

          For a start, are you going to put a "shit shoveller" at the top of your interview list, for prospective employees.

          Then the 60 hours a week to make minimum wage, in the "shit shovelling" job, allows no time for upskilling, or hunting for a better job.

          Seen so many youngsters stuck into dead ends like that, by WINZ, insisting on them taking the first shitty job that comes along. Unable to leave, even if the employer is totally abusive.

  35. 3forMe! 35

    As a tier three unit, I find this all so funny. No one saw it coming? Nothing? As you all lost yourselves in Jacinda's smile? When the solution to this problem is National, the problem can best be summarised: How did Labour manage to fuck things so badly by sitting on it's hands for thirty years? The solution of course is to have National totally screw these people so badly that no one anywhere can live in a la la land where this kind of state enforced poverty for the sake of private fortunes can continue, and our political landscape finally changes forever. A long time ago I thought it could be done without the pain, but the behaviour during covid lockdown, and now this, shows we aren't capable of the intelligent option.

    and what? How does someone become long term unemployed? Easy.

    1)Episode of mental illness

    2) Brain doesn't function well enough to work, out of commission for couple years.

    3)Brain functions ok again.

    4)No one wants to acknowledge reason for gap, so gap is all that matters

    5)No one wants someone who has a gap

    6)Silence from employers

    7)More "education"… still a historical gap, plus explanation why

    8)More silence from employers

    9)Confusion, rage, massive emotional upheaval in addition to life falling apart

    10)More silence

    11)More gap

    12)More silence

    13)Realise society is closed

    14)Live life as best as can

    Yeah life happens, and if that scares you, then too bad. Contrary to Hollywood claims, an episode of mental illness doesn't make you a famous artist or sudden genius. You won't go from Drain layer to Nobel Laureate. Mostly you're running as usual but with added severe limitations. Imagine what it's like for a person who can't "recover".

    • adam 35.1

      Well said, and thanks for posting.

    • Kay 35.2

      @3ForMe, perfectly summarised, that good old 'gap.' Might be able to get away with it with the main caregiver to a baby thing (way more socially acceptable)- but CV blanks from illness- mental or physical- just forget it. When are we going to see these 'business leaders' etc lining up to take on all the disabled people languising on a benefit, quite capable of working but subject to employer discrimination?

      Notice how- once again in this debate over if the benefit rates are liveable off, guess which group of people are once more conveniently missing from the narrative? It's almost like we need some sort of, I don't know, mass non-fatal illness that takes out a lot of these nice middle class people from being able to work long term. in one hit, and the Govt will be feel in imperative to double the SLP rate. You think maybe the spotlight might then go on our plight, especially when they find out they'll also be punished for being in a relationship?

  36. Tricledrown 36

    Brendan you forget the left wing of National the right wing of Labour ie NZ first are wagging the dog.

  37. Brutus Iscariot 37

    The Covid-19 thing is now a red herring. Based on current trajectory, Covid will be well and truly fixed in New Zealand by the end of October (we will be in Level 1 and have no cases), and the economy will still be in a secondary recession with jobs being shed.

    At what point does a lost job become just a lost job, not a job loss "caused by Covid"? There is no defined end date for ramifications to the economy.

  38. Barfly 38

    My analysis of this is that it is unfair and discriminatory but at the the same time practical and politically very clever – National would screw themselves by being on either for or against this as Todd Conehead has already done.This is both cynical and politically brilliant,I am a beneficiary on the – you are buggered scale – and I get it. I am all ready at this point $65 a week better off ( thank you coalition government) I have faith that the long term will be better for me have faith I urge you try to see the big picture please!laugh

    • newsense 38.1

      Triangulation. 3 way BS. Dreams of 50%+. Net result will be ten years time WINZ will discover some mistake like the redundancy one and no meaningful effort will have been made on climate change.

      This needs the Greens to be worth their salt and sell actual action.

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