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We are beneficiaries

Written By: - Date published: 12:44 pm, February 8th, 2018 - 212 comments
Categories: benefits, welfare - Tags: , , , , ,

The sick and twisted thing about right wing politics is that tories like a certain level of unemployment because competition for jobs is essential for keeping wages low. Then they treat the inevitable victims of this like it’s all people’s own fault.

This is the single biggest reason why I don’t buy into the narrative that politics is a fun game and the other side are good people who want the world to be better like we do, they just want to go about it differently.

I’m sure that the exceptionally good ‘we are beneficiaries’ campaign has probably been covered on The Standard in some depth before. So forgive me if I am going over old ground, but I think this is an issue we simply cannot let swirl around in a sea of competing priorities. We must return to it regularly to make sure it remains top of mind.

It has got to be a serious priority of the new government to change the culture of Work and Income.

Here are a few of the more recent stories as told by we are beneficiaries…

I do feel for WINZ staff, as some of this stuff is put together in such a way that might suggest to some that they are all inhuman monsters who go out of their way to starve people. In reality, they are mostly poorly paid, poorly resourced workers who are only doing what they are told.

The problem is the design of the system and the tory culture of ‘everyone who seeks a benefit is a bludger’ and you must do everything you can to get people off welfare regardless of whether it’s for the good of the person whose life it is or the good of society.

Everything I’ve read about the WINZ experience (thank God I’ve never had to live through it myself) suggests that it’s set up to feel like a punishment and to be as off putting as possible in the hope that you will give up and magic away your financial problems somewhere else so as not to mess up their stats.

If you are lucky enough to even get an appointment, you are seen as a threat to security until proven otherwise and treated with hostility. They make you sit in an open plan space and discuss private aspects of your life where other staff and ‘clients’ can hear. They make you jump through bureaucratic hoops, and the tiniest mistake made by either you or them results in sanctions or no support. Any excuse to not help is seized upon.

We need WINZ to go back to a starting point of “how can we help” rather than “how can we get out of helping.”

I’m sure the new government will be working on this, and I know it won’t happen overnight, but unfortunately it needed to happen yesterday.

So we have to keep pushing.

212 comments on “We are beneficiaries ”

  1. McFlock 1

    Good post, especially the opening bit.

    The security aspect is also highly fucked up – I sometimes wonder how many people have died because they couldn’t get help, so either cut their living standards to “aggravating a treatable condition” or just succumbed to depression/despair… I really got the impression that they leapt at putting another barrier in place and “safety” was the handy excuse.

    It’s not like an unarmed guard would have stopped that guy, anyway.

    • Anon 1.1

      They’re armed guards though? At least that’s story I’ve heard, threatening upset people (who’ve been treated with indifference, if not outright contempt) with firearms.

      • Leonhart Hunt 1.1.1

        Not armed, at all not even pepper spray/baton/taser. They will in fact be useless if another shooting happened but fun fact they cost the taxpayer 80m per year.

        Reports also state that they are on min wage on zero hour contacts (at least with armourguard)

        • Draco T Bastard

          They will in fact be useless if another shooting happened but fun fact they cost the taxpayer 80m per year.

          True. They stand at the door while any incident is likely to happen inside and out of their reach.

          And it’s costing twice as much as actual benefit fraud.

          Reports also state that they are on min wage on zero hour contacts (at least with armourguard)

          That wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. Security guards get paid SFA and they still get to pay for their ‘training’.

      • Chuck 1.1.2

        Mate…don’t believe the hype!

        ENZO says “If you are lucky enough to even get an appointment, you are seen as a threat to security until proven otherwise and treated with hostility.”

        I can via first-hand experience say this is not correct, at least in the office’s I have attended.

        Unless you present as aggressive or under the influence (wasted) there is no issue with security.

        • McFlock

          Did they offer you iced water with cucumber in it, too? Maybe the Remuera WINZ office is different to most…

        • Whispering Kate

          Chuck – Get in the real world you ignorant idiot – one example from you does not make it right okay. I know from personal experience that a young woman in her pj’s in obvious distress in tears and in a serious health state was refused entry through the doors, the nazi on the door wouldn’t even go through the door and get her some issues to wipe her snotty nose and tears away – they have loads of boxes of tissues in WINZ if you haven’t noticed – all in anticipation of shock, tears and distress. Do not judge your experience as being what is happening in the “real world”.

          • Chuck

            “I know from personal experience that a young woman in her pj’s in obvious distress in tears and in a serious health state was refused entry through the doors”

            I hope you called an ambulance then, and she was taken to A&E. If she was in a serious health state she required medical attention…and not an appointment with WINZ.

            • McFlock

              oh piss off.
              Not everyone needing medical attention needs an ambulance, and even then at least let her in the fucking doors while waiting for it, ffs.

              • Chuck

                Thanks for that Dr. McFlock.

                In your haste to insult you forget to read what Whispering Kate wrote…

                “in a serious health state”

                Now I am no doctor – but “serious” kind of means well…serious.

                • And that health state may not have required an ambulance, but may have required her to urgently discuss her financial support with WINZ.

                  You might want to reconsider whether small hints tell you everything you need to know about someone’s experience and actually just take the time to listen, Chuck.

                  • Chuck

                    Lots of “may’s” in there Matthew Whitehead.

                    “You might want to reconsider whether small hints tell you everything you need to know about someone’s experience and actually just take the time to listen, Chuck.”

                    Hmm just like Whispering Kate did in replying to my post?

                    • McFlock

                      “Lot’s of “mays'” in there”.

                      Yes there are. Which is why your immediate “I hope you called an ambulance” merely confirms you to be an idiot.

                    • Chuck

                      “Yes there are. Which is why your immediate “I hope you called an ambulance” merely confirms you to be an idiot.”

                      McFlock you must be having a bad day…there are no “mays” in what Whispering Kate posted.

                    • McFlock

                      Is MS a serious health state? yes
                      Should we call an ambulance every time we see someone with MS?


                • McFlock

                  “serious” does not mean “emergency”.

                  I might not be a doctor, but I know what words mean.

                  • Chuck

                    “I might not be a doctor, but I know what words mean”

                    Heres a little help for you using “serious” in the context of being unwell.

                    “Medicine/Medical. (of a patient’s condition) having unstable or otherwise abnormal vital signs and other unfavorable indicators, as loss of appetite and poor mobility: patient is acutely ill.”


                    • McFlock

                      Yes, I’m sure Whispering Kate did a full assessment of respiration, blood pressure, heart rate, and enquired about the woman’s medical history and appetite, and therefore used the word in it’s clinical meaning to describe the woman’s situation when she asked for help and the guard did nothing.


            • Whispering Kate

              Ambulances do not take kindly to being called out for people who have mental health issues – and if they did come that person would not have been able to afford an ambulance. Get a life Chuck.

        • Anon

          They’re winz, they deal with people at the end of their rope and/or of diminished capacity all day – they need to better than “only helpful if you’re cheery and well adjusted”.

      • Anon 1.1.3

        The story in question is from someone close to me, not a random blog at 4am. I’m inclined to believe them. Even if not a firearm, whatever they had holstered and the intimidation the effect was the same – when winz holds peoples lives in their hands they should be better at handling emotion than that, even besides the point of them treating that life like dog crap in the first place.

    • Cinny 1.2

      Totally agree re security. Must be horrendous for the oldies among others.

      Security companies must be making a small fortune from contracting out to WINZ

  2. Leonhart Hunt 2

    Good luck at reform, hope you have more luck than me.

    After being prosecuted in 2017 by MSD for being in a relationship in the nature of a marriage with my flatmate (same flatmate for 8 years, because she’s a good flatmate and doesn’t mind that fact I have to live in semi darkness most of the time (light sensitive, to the point that sunlight causes pain) while on sickness/unemployment I can tell you how broken the system is.

    I get cluster headaches (still do), I was unemployed for 7 years couldn’t find work, got no help to find work (I am working now and thought support of my employer learning to be frontend web developer) but those 7 years are the Darkest in my life. Can you imagine living with headaches 3 times a week, it’s like someone is pushing a red hot drillbit into the back of your head for hours on end, then having to deal with MSD/Winz while this is all going on… Cluster headaches have a recorded 40% suicide rate.

    Finally you get better, headaches reduced in severity from 3 per week, to 1 per week (cluster headaches often come and go in cycles) finally start to look for work again, again no help, no support only “keep sending out those CV’s!” while employers look at my CV notice a huge gap and say.. nope.

    More time passes, finally someone gives you a shot, MSD takes you to court for “in the nature of a marriage” says you have defrauded the system because you lived with the same flatmate (not a rule written down anywhere btw) (seperate rooms, no social activities, no assets in common, no dependents or anything that a normal person would consider a relationship beyond what flatmates would share) MSD Wins (because there no definition under the law, its what MSD says it is (they have a 97% win rate), even my court appointed lawyer couldn’t tell me what the definition was/is because its built on case law), court says you have to payback everything and 250 hours of community service and home detention for 7 months. So now I have a $70,000 debt (7 years of winz if it sounds like alot, or $10,000 a year, $192 pw)

    MSD, new slogan should be “beneficiaries are criminals and we are the police.”

    Btw I have written to my local MP when they came into power(labour) who passed it onto the labour minister for social welfare, got a reply from the office then nothing. MSD also got a copy of my “Feedback” (all polite explaining how bad the system is and what could be done to fix it) no reply, send a copy to national MP and their minister while they were still in power… nothing only an automated reply.

    • BM 2.1

      Did your flatmate say you were a couple?

      • Leonhart Hunt 2.1.1

        Not that I know of, apparently an old landlord did.

        • BM

          Did you ever ask? I struggle to see how they could prosecute you just on the word of an old landlord?

          Did she pay all the rent?

          • McFlock

            Had the same flatmate for a few years – you settle into a routine that some people said was similar to a married couple. Never shagged, just made cups of tea without asking, had different roles around the house, that sort of thing.

            To someone peeking in on the outside, they could draw the wrong conclusion. And if the accusation comes from out of the blue, fumbling about for evidence of a negative can be an issue – especially as some court-appointed lawyers do more work than others.

            • BM

              Without knowing any facts, I’m guessing Leon flatted with someone who worked and made enough money that MSD thought she could support him without any sort of assistance.

              That would be the only reason why he’s been hit with a ‘pay everything back” ruling

              As unfair as this may sound for someone unemployed that’s probably a dangerous situation to be in especially if it’s a flatmate with occasional benefits sort of arrangement.

              • McFlock

                Doesn’t it strike you as odd that simply flatting with someone has become “a dangerous situation”?

                Good flatmates can be quite rare, and yet folks should ditch one after a few years for fear of prosecution…

                • BM

                  It’s a real weakness in the system that having a stable flatting situation actually puts in the firing line for benefit fraud.

                  Fuck, that’s rough.

                  • It’s not a weakness, it’s by design. This is what happens when your entire system is focused on gatekeeping eligibility as strictly as possible- you kick people out of the system who are indeed eligible. Anyone involved in that who didn’t know this would be a consequence is either incompetent or negligent.

                    I’m of two minds as to whether we should reform WINZ, or simply dismantle the entire organization and start from scratch. Whoever does their job needs a huge culture change to realize their duty is actually to support people in getting or keeping their lives on track, not to chuck as many people off assistance as possible with no view as to whether that will actually improve their lives, and making the culture change would most likely involve firing a large amount of bad apples, something the public sector is notoriously averse to doing.

                    • weka

                      The big barrier to transforming WINZ, or even starting from scratch, is that Labour hold the portfolio not the Greens. I hear Labour saying some good things, and there are good MPs there with good intent, but they’re not yet on side politically and ideologically with beneficiaries as a class. They still want us gone.

                  • AsleepWhileWalking

                    Mmmm. Imagine if the IRD took a similar line with “associated persons”.

              • Leonhart Hunt

                this situation arose because of sloppily legislation, there’s no definition for a relationship so MSD says it applies to who they say it applies to… and they’re not wrong Legally, that’s the problem.

                the law is also designed to target beneficiaries (who have no money), I was told that I can challenge the law but it would need to goto the high court as MSD likes the fact they can use it on anyone but unfortunately I had no money I was on legal aid which would not cover legal expenses to “fight” in a high court trial, which left me two option either come up with the estimated $17,000 or take the deal. (plead guilty, reduced penalty/time) I was informed that if I did not take a deal I would be incarcerated.

                I just wish they would tell people about this catch 22 when you sign up for a benefit, I would have changed flatmates every few years if I knew about it.

          • Leonhart Hunt

            As far as I understand after many letters and phone calls to MSD, community law center and a public defender In the nature of a marriage legislation applies to:

            “anyone who lives with any person for an unspecified length of time, regardless of intimacy/assets or dependents”

            no need for proof, that fact I had the same flatmate for 8 years was enough and they had bank statements showing I paid rent/food/utilities etc to the same account as my flatmate for 8 years -this was the “proof”

            I had my public defender point out that we had nothing in common apart from flatting, no assets/dependents etc and that we would not be considered in a relationship for other tests of the law, eg if she died and did not leave a will, i would not be considered a partner for her assets.

            I still don’t really know what I did wrong, as far as I understand it I lived with a girl for 8 years in the same flat was enough.

            • BM

              Well, that’s appalling and I hope someone takes up your case.

            • ropata

              Try writing to a few Lab/Nat MPs, you could be useful test case for imprioved policy/legislation. Also the minister of social welfare has the power to direct MSD to drop the case.

              Also, ask your lawyer if you can appeal the decision and maybe ask for a second opinion, find out when pro bono lawyers are available in your area.

            • RedLogix

              Geeze you have my sympathy. I used to get migraines quite regularly, but nothing as bad as yours. Mine were intense, but self-limited to about 10 – 12 hours at most. Anything that goes on past a day is just beyond my imagining.

              That’s an utter bugger of a story with WINZ, and not at all unusual. You need some heavy duty support to win this.

              • patricia bremner

                I used to get day long migraines. They were terrible, spots floating, sick as a dog then relief as the pain began to recede, Only twice a month, but I lived in dread. Stopped after 3 years, such a relief.

                I think how you have been treated is bordering on inhumane. How reasonable proof and a declaration is no longer acceptable is wrong.

                Too much power definitely corrupts, people and systems. This is bene bashing!!

            • AsleepWhileWalking

              I wish I could help.

              It’s draining frighting from a point of severe depletion. You need a posse around you, not just a lawyer.

              • Leonhart Hunt

                Yet, MSD provided no help.. at all, only a weekly stipend for the unemployed, as bad as my story is, what I find worse is not the prosecution (which I don’t really blame them for, the law is the law), but the neglect.

                I was unemployed for 7 years, for 3 of those year I could not work, at all.
                I did not receive any training,
                I did not receive any help finding employment
                I was not referred to any support agencies for assistance
                I wasn’t even offered any work placement or offers of employment until I wrote a story for Stuff (which went viral, I was offered to go on seven sharp, which I declined as MSD would have made it even harder) I was offered two jobs, one employer no longer messaged me back, but the other has been amazing (my current employer, who not only found me useful but is now offering full training and support to be more useful. (on his dime)

                So I had to use non traditional means to find employment, when as I look back all I needed was a little re-training, but I didn’t know this at the time, I was depressed and just came out of a debilitating sickness, I needed a hand up, not a hand out.

                I am not alone, many on benefits receive nothing that could be considered help, yet we pay for this “service” and a very large portion of our taxes go to social services, but its not being used to help people.

            • AsleepWhileWalking

              There is a basic principle in law that holds that the level of proof should match the consequences which is why the burden of proof for criminal cases is higher than a civil case.

              Not legal advice obviously, but could be a point to bring up.

              Other than that I thought work and income encouraged sharing accommodation to reduce costs? Puzzling but not surprising given their track record.

              • Leonhart Hunt

                Unfortunately “burden of proof” is an abstract concept, it varies person to person, judge to judge, what is acceptable to one is not to another there is no standard.

                In my Case MSD’s case was I lived with another person “in the nature of a marriage” which according to them is living with someone for a long period of time.

                Let me break it down.

                MSD alleges that I am in a relationship in the nature of a marriage

                The law is undefined what consists of a marriage, there is no test used to determine or factors (thanks national, for implementing this)

                The proof, was I lived with someone and here are the bank statements show he paid rent to the same account, utilities, food etc.

                My challenge was that living with someone did not meet the requirements of a relationship you need other factors, aka assets/debts some kind of physical thing that showed you were intending to build a life together. (child,house, marriage ceremony, joint bank accounts, a joint car, maybe even a joint holiday)

                Case law says nope, a relationship in the nature for a marriage for MSD is living with someone for X duration. (based on past cases this has been used)

                to change case law aka challenge the law in court would have required a 4 – 5 day high court trial on the nature of a relationship, picking apart my life (and would have made national news as well as dragging my friends etc though the entire process as witnesses… it wasn’t worth the future pain, I took the deal which means I cant challenge/appeal the ruling.

                • AsleepWhileWalking

                  I hear you.

                  MSD has criminalised a normal function of life in an arbitrary manner.

                  THIS COULD HAPPEN TO ANYONE.

  3. wayne 3

    Unemployment is 4.5% and the participation rate is 71%, the highest it has ever been.

    None of that is due the current government. It is the result of the National government.

    So hardly “sick and twisted”.

    The current government will be doing well to maintain these figures. It wouldn’t surprise me if unemployment goes up within the next twelve months.

    • Rosemary McDonald 3.1

      Ooh look!

      Here’s wayne.

      Someone must have hit a nerve.

      Onya Enzo!

    • Leonhart Hunt 3.2

      THe unemployment rate isn’t really a reflection of unemployment in nz, you need to look at the little quoted underutilization rate, under the Unemployment rate, if you have any work in a four week period it counts as employed, say you were a paperboy for one hour a month, this means you are employed.

      underutilization rate (which is also tracked stats.govt.nz) is unemployed + those working less than 30 hours looking for employment (currently this is at 11.8%) and is far better reflection of the state of our employment in NZ.

    • Anon 3.3

      So what is that /25%!/ not employed or on winz doing, when the benefit isn’t even enough to live on???

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 3.5

      Like Stats NZ, Wayne thinks that someone with 5 hours per week intermittent work at McDonalds on the minimum wage is “employed” – all is well, nothing to see here.

      • Hornet 3.5.1

        I’ve seen that argument run before. If it was valid in the past, it certainly isn’t now.

        From https://stats.govt.nz/news/maori-unemployment-rate-at-nine-year-low-but-twice-new-zealand-rate:

        Of the 93,000 net new jobs created in 2017, 71,000 were new, FULL TIME jobs. Only 22,000 were less than full time.

        Further, if we compare ourselves with what’s happening around the world, we in good shape, with an employment rate of 77.9%, the third highest in OECD.

        There is a lot to criticise the last government for, but that is some record to maintain for the new one.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          When the last government got unemployment down to 3% (like Lab5) they’ll be able to say they had an enviable record.

          Oops! We hold our governments to higher standards than you.

          • Hornet

            I am deeply sceptical of governments, which is why I am not a socialist. When I consider how a country is performing, I compare that country with other similar nations, so that factors such as global economic conditions are taken into account. The last Labour government were fortunate to navigate favourable global economic conditions, the last National government were not. That’s simply the facts.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              It’s a fact that you and Mordecai believe that very very hard. Whatever happened to that guy?

            • Stuart Munro

              Meh – the Gnats create their own unfavourable economic conditions.

              Look at Solid Energy – booming under Labour – bankrupted overnight by Bill ‘the rockstar’ English.

              No problem though, that let him loot its assets to prop up his papier mache façade of economic competence. Until he’d frittered away its capital value of course.

              • Hornet

                Are you suggesting the GFC, or the collapse of Solid Energy, was National’s fault?

                If so, you might want to read a little more background to Solid Energy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid_Energy#Retrenchment_2011_to_2015). And if you are intent on being so partisan, you might want to consider the environmental and potentially ‘ethical’ problems the company was having back around 2006.

                You might also want to check on when the GFC actually originated (before National were even elected).

                The simple fact is that the GFC wrought damage on the NZ economy that the previous Labour government did not have to contend with.

                • Stuart Munro

                  I am as it happens fully apprised of the causes of the GFC, Hornet – and not from Wikipedia either.

                  But, had the Gnats had a tiny fraction of their claimed economic acumen we’d have come through it significantly better.

                  The Gnat history was one of consistently falling short of their targets as their austerity pogrom created negative multipliers throughout the NZ economy.

                  Faced with a global economic downturn the mad slasher party would have been better advised to back off on the austerity a bit – but they were of course far too moribund to respond to local indicators, even going so far as to exploit the Christchurch crisis for as long as possible when any even marginally competent government would have prioritized returning NZ’s second largest city to full function on economic grounds alone.

                  • Hornet

                    There is ample international commentary on how well NZ navigated the GFC to silence your partisan nonsense, but I’ll leave it to the new (Labour) finance minister (https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/101218256/Low-public-debt-will-help-NZ-steer-through-global-turmoil-Finance-Minister):

                    “Low public debt and a strong labour market will buffer the economy from current turmoil, Finance Minister Grant Robertson claims. Treasury officials were recalled from their day off on Waitangi Day to brief Robertson on the global turmoil, but indicated they believed the economy was resilient. Robertson told RNZ on Wednesday that while there may be some turmoil on the sharemarket this week, that he was confident the wider economy would cope. “When you look at the fundamentals of global economic growth, and indeed of the New Zealand economy, I’m reasonably reassured by that,” Robertson said. “New Zealand is a country that always has to be aware of global shocks. It’s why we keep our public debt lower than other countries. “We’ve got good forecasts of economic growth coming down the line, averaging about 2.9 per cent [a year] over the forecast period. “We’ll have some employment and unemployment data out today that, hopefully, well continue to show a reasonably strong labour market, so I’m optimistic that this is something New Zealand will handle.””

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Speaking of partisan nonsense: who, in 2009, said “this is the rainy day the government has been saving up for”?

                      Was it:

                      a: Hornet.
                      b. Manintheniddle.
                      c. Groundhog.
                      d. Mordecai.
                      e. 3stepstotheright.
                      f. Acrophobic.
                      g. Someone else.

                      Take your time now.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      You really have no idea do you? I guess between the media and the RWNJ trolls on kiwiblog that’s not entirely surprising.

                      Robertson is hardly an oracle. And he’s obliged to use the same bullshit measures as Bill. 2.9% growth indeed!

                      Take out real estate inflation and you’re looking at between 0.3 and 0.6% growth – pretty low by OECD standards – and it goes a long way to explain how it is that in spite of getting on for a decade of ‘growth’ in the 3% range we’ve been going nowhere relative to comparable countries.

                      And our credit rating has dropped not once, but twice.

                    • Hornet

                      “this is the rainy day the government has been saving up for”?

                      I believe that was Bill English or John Key. And they were right.

                    • Hornet

                      “Robertson is hardly an oracle.”
                      No, he’s the current Minister of Finance in a Labour led Government. Your point?

                      “Take out real estate inflation and you’re looking at between 0.3 and 0.6% growth…”
                      Can you provide any material support for that?

                      ” – pretty low by OECD standards ”
                      …or that?

                      “…we’ve been going nowhere relative to comparable countries.”
                      …or that?

                      We compare very favourably when it comes to employment, and on a number of other factors, if our new MoF is to be believed.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      It’s really not hard to find Hornet, if you take the trouble to look.

                      “Strong net migration has lifted population growth to around 2 per cent over the last year, which means that per capita GDP growth has slowed to not much more than zero.”


                    • Hornet

                      “It’s really not hard to find Hornet, if you take the trouble to look.
                      “Strong net migration has lifted population growth to around 2 per cent over the last year, which means that per capita GDP growth has slowed to not much more than zero.”

                      You claimed this:
                      “Take out real estate inflation and you’re looking at between 0.3 and 0.6% growth – pretty low by OECD standards”

                      We are beneficiaries

                      Your cite doesn’t even mention real estate inflation. It refers to population growth. I quote “”[P]opulation growth has been the main driver of GDP growth,” Gordon said.”

                      Do you need me to spell out the difference between population growth and real estate inflation?

                    • Stuart Munro

                      I see you are trying to argue out of your depth Hornet.

                      I gave you the facts with regard to the growth of the NZ economy – but you want to quibble about sources. The information is out there – in articles that show our real growth has been essentially zero for the term of the last government.

                      There’s not much point in me digging for specifics for you – you’re essentially trolling, not trying to learn.

                      And you’re not fooling anyone. We live in this moribund economy and in consequence have a visceral appreciation of whether it is prospering or not.

                      Notwithstanding the bullshit of the HSBC’s Paul Bloxham.

                    • Hornet

                      “I gave you the facts with regard to the growth of the NZ economy – but you want to quibble about sources. ”
                      It’s not about sources, it’s about the actual claim you made. Population growth and real estate inflation are two different things entirely.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      “Population growth and real estate inflation are entirely different things”

                      Orly? Then by what process is population growth through immigration converted into the technical GDP growth that Bill has mis-marketed as clever economic management? Where does the money come from, and where does it go?

                    • Hornet

                      “Then by what process is population growth through immigration converted into the technical GDP growth that Bill has mis-marketed as clever economic management? Where does the money come from, and where does it go?”

                      An increasing population creates more demand in the economy. It’s as simple and as complicated as that. One of the successes of the past few years has been the economies ability to meet that demand yet retain such low price inflation. Thanks to the way the NZ economy has been managed for the past 3 decades +, our economy is in good shape by international standards.

                      I can quote more from Grant Robertson’s interview if you want.

        • McFlock

          Your link seems to say none of that.

          • Hornet

            You have to click through the links at the footer…


            You can also download the data at https://stats.govt.nz/news/unemployment-falls-to-a-nine-year-low.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              A nine year low? They changed the definition two years ago. Funny how these things work out.

            • McFlock

              Yeah I looked at that link too, didn’t seem to be any mention of “Of the 93,000 net new jobs created in 2017, 71,000 were new, FULL TIME jobs. Only 22,000 were less than full time.”

              If you’re going to make a claim, link to it. Which table? Which sheet? What was your methodology?

              • Hornet

                Did deeper.

                The comment “For the year ended December 2017, 92,600 more people were employed…” is contained at https://stats.govt.nz/information-releases/labour-market-statistics-december-2017-quarter which is linked from the footer.

                Do you not believe the DoS analysis, or are you just lazy?

                • McFlock

                  I just want to know where you got the figure that 71k/93k net new jobe were full time. Your latest link doesn’t say that. either.

                  I mean, stats NZ’s reliability is one thing, but figures reported by a fuckwit who takes three failed attempts to link to the source of the figures he uses – no, I don’t trust those figures, which is why I’ll ask you to make a fourth attempt at linking to where you got that ratio. Or at least say which data sheet you got it off.

                  I shouldn’t have to dig to Spain just to see whether you fucked up again. On the balance of probabilities I think you have. I’m just mildly intrigued as to what you left out, or misrepresented, or miscounted, otherwise fucked up.

                  • Hornet

                    So you’re just lazy.

                    92,600 is the 93,000. Get it now?

                    I know it takes you longer…

                    • Hornet

                      “There you go again, reading what you think I wrote rather than what I actually wrote.”
                      I suspect you just don’t understand why I wrote what I wrote, because it related directly to the points you raise.

                      “My simple point was that your crowing about “full time work” and “average hourly earnings” today is meaningless. Those terms might have once indicated that someone was a fully utilised worker and that most workers were earning in the ballpark of that wage, but now they have no real meaning.”
                      That is completely false. We measure employment consistent with established international standards, and we do so to benchmark our performance against both historical trends and other countries. The very point of what I wrote was to demonstrate that comparing 21st century employment with 20th century employment is simply pointless.

                      “In order to gain a real picture of say the employment market, we need to put those measures alongside others that we previously didn’t need – like income inequality measures, or actually looking at how many hours of work were shared between these “full time” jobs.”
                      No, we don’t. For example, income inequality is a part of a liberalised economy, simply because not all people, and not all jobs, are exactly equal. That is a fact of life. But if the economy is producing more jobs and generally higher wages, then income inequality is not such an issue. Unless you simply can’t get over your envy at higher earners?

                      “If you knew how to link to your source (rather than something that links to something that partially contains something mentioned by your source), we would have gotten there more quickly. But now I can’t be bothered.”
                      Well here’s the thing. I made several points. The link I gave supported them all, if you simply took the time to drill down. It wasn’t that hard…you managed to find most of it yourself!

                  • Hornet

                    Here you are McFlock…more good news…I’ll simplify it all for you…

                    “The employment rate remained at 67.8 percent, as growth in employment kept pace with growth in the working-age population. This is still the highest rate since the series began in 1986.”

                    “Average ordinary time hourly earnings increased to $30.68 (up 3.1 percent), while total weekly earnings per full-time equivalent employee (FTE) increased to $1,192.85 (up 3.4 percent).”


                    • McFlock

                      Holy fuck you’re incompetent.

                      Watch carefully:
                      Is this the data workbook you looked at?

                      Were you on Table 11?

                      Did you merely look at the difference between seasonally-adjusted (:roll: more on that later) numbers between the dec2016 and dec2017 quarters?

                      Did you neglect to do the same for “Total hours worked”? Could that be because the average hours for each of those jobs was 23/wk? But how could that be, if 76% of jobs were “full time”?

                      Oh, that’s because “Full time” means 30 hours a week.

                      Your crowing about the high proportion of “full time” is as meaningless as the 1hr/wk “employment” rate.

                      It gets even better – because the employment duration and total numbers were seasonally-adjusted seperately (which you’d know if you were the sort of chap to read data notes at the bottom of govt spreadsheets, rather than just copying stuff you agree with), they don’t add up. If a net increase of 71k workers were working the minimum to be full time (30/wk), 22k workers were sharing 10k hours of work a week. Which is below the 1hr/wk employment definition.

                      So congratulations, it seems I dug enough to find where you’d fucked up, and it seems that once again your crowing was meaningless drivel. [slow clap]

                    • Hornet

                      So here’s what we know:

                      1. You can’t follow a link.
                      2. You can’t read data tables.
                      3. You support the suppression of free speech.

                      Congratulations McFlock. I’m not sure whether you are asleep or just a troll.

                    • Hornet

                      And not only are you data deficient, you can’t read. From your own source:

                      “Full-time workers usually work 30 hours or more per week, even if they did not do so in the survey reference week because of sickness, holidays, or other reasons. Part-time workers usually work fewer than 30 hours per week.”

                      So congratulations. You can’t even get the definition of Full Time correct. A troll, I suspect.

                    • McFlock

                      1: you can’t link to a source, whereas I can;
                      2: you can’t explain away that 3/4 new workers were “full time” yet the average hours worked were 23/wk;
                      3: you haven’t answered whether the sources I linked to on the first try were the sources you failed to link to in four separate attempts;
                      4: Usually 30hpw means 30hpw plus maybe some more, usually. In the december quarter, was there an outbreak of typhus that sent huge numbers of workers home?
                      5:when your shit math and foolish ommissions are exposed, you fall back to lying about other arguments you were equally incompetent in.

                      Even if you’re an intentional troll, you’re an imbecile even compared to the other sockpuppets whom you mimic (OAB has a list I think). First batch of charter school graduates, maybe…

                    • McFlock

                      This is fun!

                      For the 22k part timers to qualify as “employed” in the same link with definitions, they need to have worked an hour in the previous week.

                      So that leaves the difference in hours -22,000 to give the average hours actually worked by the “full time” workers you were crowing about: 29.8 hrs a week.

                      Just to be clear: the “usually full time” workers you were crowing about were in actual practise part time workers in the december quarter, on average.

                    • Hornet

                      “Just to be clear: the “usually full time” workers you were crowing about were in actual practise part time workers in the december quarter, on average.”

                      So you lied about the definition, and now your scrambling.

                      You can’t follow the links I gave you, McFlock, and now it seems you just wasting my time. And you did support the denial of free speech. I’ll post the conversation if you like.

                    • McFlock

                      I followed the links. They didn’t go to where you got your data from.

                      As for definitions, you still don’t get it. Most people think of “full time” as 40 hrs, maybe minus lunch breaks. Not a nominal 30 hour week that isn’t even met in actual practise. No wonder so many “employed” people require income support to live on.

                    • weka

                      McFlock is one of the least troll-like commenters here, and one of the most likely to put effort into actual debate. Just saying.

                    • Hornet

                      “I followed the links. They didn’t go to where you got your data from.”

                      Then how did you find the 32,600 figure?


                    • McFlock

                      Then how did you find the 32,600 figure?

                      What 32,600 figure?
                      Do you mean the 92,600 figure, which as you said wasn’t even in your first attempt to link, it was actually a single line in a link in the footer of your actual link? You came up with that.

                      I was looking for your claim about the 71k being full time, not just the net total jobs. Hence going through the rabbit hole and eventually just doing a search on the statsnz website for the actual table, rather than checking links to three degrees of separation to where you claimed to have gotten the data.

                      Your failure to link to the excel sheet you got the data from was partly why I asked whether I had the correct table (which you never answered). Maybe you’d found a different table which wasn’t seasonally adjusted and didn’t have the pathetic hours for those new “full time” jobs sitting right next to the job numbers.

                      Whoops, it’s 4:15pm. You must be getting overtime in addition to the pay for your exhausting 6hours of full time work today. This thirty hour week will give you a heart attack, ease off, dude…

                    • Hornet

                      …the 92,600 which you managed to find from my link.

                    • McFlock

                      From another link that happened to be in your first attempt at linking to a source.

                      And certainly nothing about “71,000 were new, FULL TIME jobs. Only 22,000 were less than full time.” Which does not reflect the actual hours worked in those jobs, anyway.

                      And, just to clarify, are you really arguing that <a href="https://thestandard.org.nz/we-are-beneficiaries/#comment-1445033"my comment "Your link seems to say none of that." was incorrect on the basis that a “related pages” link on the document you actually linked to incidentally mentions one of the four numeric claims you made?

                      Your first link still says none of that.

                      Why didn’t you just link to the source of your claims in the first place? That way we would have found out much more quickly that you were lauding the creation of new 30hr/wk jobs that don’t quite reach that level in actual practise.

                    • Hornet

                      “From another link that happened to be in your first attempt at linking to a source.”

                      Which is what I said here https://thestandard.org.nz/we-are-beneficiaries/#comment-1445094.

                      You could have saved yourself all that time and embarrassment.

                    • McFlock

                      So you are indeed arguing that point. Go find a windmill to tilt at, they’re bigger.

                      And again, you’ve never said where you got your claims about 71k or 22k fulltime/part time jobs, so I guess that I found the correct workbook and table, and you just saw figures you liked without reading what they actually meant.

                      On a note more pertinent to the original discussion, I suppose it’s the next step in “international practise”: if “employed” is one hour a week, then frankly I’m surprised “full time” is as much as 30h/w (even if it doesn’t amount to that in practise, and that includes unpaid hours).

                      Gotta keep implying to the underclass that they’re the only ones suffering. If they knew how many others were also drastically underutilised, people might start keying sports cars and burning down gastropubs…

                    • Hornet

                      You’re really clutching. Or perhaps your new job as a mind reader qualifies you to determine how many hours a week every working age NZ’er wants to work.


                      “The employment rate remained at 67.8 percent, as growth in employment kept pace with growth in the working-age population. This is still the highest rate since the series began in 1986.”
                      “Average ordinary time hourly earnings increased to $30.68 (up 3.1 percent), while total weekly earnings per full-time equivalent employee (FTE) increased to $1,192.85 (up 3.4 percent).”

                      Record levels of employment, and rising earnings. It won’t be long before Grant Robertson gives the past government credit for this, along with the low level of public debt. Although it won’t be Willie Jackson passing the data on to him!

                    • McFlock

                      I did reply twice, but they disappeared.

                      Basically, the average wage is as relevant to most NZ workers as the 30 hour week is to people looking for “full time” work.

                      The fact is that the aggregate measures we use to measure the wellbeing of our nation are not fit for the purpose – average wage, “employment”, GDP, OCR – all of them tangential at best to whether the country is doing well or just the kleptocrats in the country are doing well.

                      They don’t even add up – you should have looked at the cherries more closely before you picked them.

                      edit: changing computers worked. Intriguing.

                    • Hornet

                      “The fact is that the aggregate measures we use to measure the wellbeing of our nation are not fit for the purpose – average wage, “employment”, GDP, OCR –”

                      These are all internationally recognised measurements, and therefore we can benchmark our position against both our own history and against other similar nations. No measure is going to be perfect, but I suspect you’re arguing against the measure because you don’t like what they’re saying.

                    • McFlock

                      No, it’s more that for most of them the inferences you are taking from them are no longer remotely reasonable, even if we overlook your comparison of independently seasonally-adjusted numbers.

                      For example, when the PM knew the names of the unemployed and inequality was much lower, yes, the average hourly earning was closer to being a general measure for where how most workers were doing. Now it probably just means managers got a significant pay rise and most workers barely kept up with inflation. When the home ownership rate was higher, the OCR had a bigger impact on people’s lives. When full time actually meant “40 hours per week” for most workers, 71k new full time jobs would mean closer to three million more paid hours of work for the population, not barely two million.

                      I notice you’re not crowing about GINI or p80:p20 or earnings medians vs means. Probably because what they indicate has actually become more significant in the last 35 years or so.

                    • Hornet

                      “Probably because what they indicate has actually become more significant in the last 35 years or so.”

                      You may be surprised how close our views are on that, McFlock, but I’m sure we will differ on the reasons and the solutions.

                      The economic landscape over the past 30 or so years in NZ has changed out of necessity, not out of some neo-liberal conspiracy. NZ could no longer afford the standard of living afforded it by decades of protectionism, because that protectionism was based on an unsustainable reliance on the support of unqualified trade with the UK. The best solution to that was economic liberalisation, and the results have been broadly beneficial for NZ, significantly so. That same liberalisation (again broadly) has reduced global poverty substantially over recent decades, and the free trade that has accompanied it has enabled a vast number of NZ’ers to enjoy a standard of living substantially better than previously.

                      As to employment, times change. Full time employment with a single employer in a single place of work for fixed hours is becoming less common, and as individuals we have to adjust to that. The concept of 40 hours being FTE is virtually redundant today.

                      Grant Robertson’s ‘Future of Work’ project promised much, but ultimately delivered platitudes. Shame.

                      Finally, inequality is an unfortunate side effect of economic liberalism, simply because we are not all created equal. I believe there are better ways to address that than we deploy at present, but in the final analysis the moves taken by successive governments over the past 3+ decades have freed this country to achieve a remarkable recovery from events such as the GFC. That is worth patting ourselves on the back.

                    • McFlock

                      There you go again, reading what you think I wrote rather than what I actually wrote.

                      My simple point was that your crowing about “full time work” and “average hourly earnings” today is meaningless. Those terms might have once indicated that someone was a fully utilised worker and that most workers were earning in the ballpark of that wage, but now they have no real meaning. In order to gain a real picture of say the employment market, we need to put those measures alongside others that we previously didn’t need – like income inequality measures, or actually looking at how many hours of work were shared between these “full time” jobs.

                      All of that other shit is an even longer digression.

                      If you knew how to link to your source (rather than something that links to something that partially contains something mentioned by your source), we would have gotten there more quickly. But now I can’t be bothered.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          “I’ve seen that argument run before. If it was valid in the past, it certainly isn’t now.”

          er…no. You mention that over 30% of the net new jobs were part time. For all the unemployment statistic cares, these jobs could be 5 hours per week, at the minimum wage.

          I personally know quite a few people with insecure, low-paid, low hours jobs. They are certainly employed according to the government measure, but their employment leaves them unable to live independent of government or family subsidy – and some are in poverty.

        • patricia bremner

          Well I’m sure they won’t massage stats to have them flatter the minister. Collins?

    • Stuart Munro 3.6

      Oh please!

      The government that hounded beneficiaries to death.

      As sick and twisted as it gets – even their numbers are infantile rubbish: remember Joyce’s 7500 jobs in Northland? http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/268947/northland-jobs-figures-always-regional-joyce there’s more substance in Joyce’s fiscal hole than in his massaged employment figures.

      A blatant lie from a serving minister. For which he did not resign because National no longer practiced ministerial accountability! Disgraceful.

    • AB 3.7

      On the cotton plantations of the old American south unemployment was probably 0% and participation maybe 100%. Whoopee!
      You are drawing completely inappropriate conclusions from dishonestly measured numbers. And nobody’s listening Wayne. We don’t want your precarious McJobs. We are coming after the wealth you’ve accumulated at our expense.

    • KJT 3.8

      One hour a week is defined as “employed” FFS.

      Looking around me there are many more either unemployed, working in uncertain zero hours jobs, or given up.

      National’s bullshit statistics. Wayne. Again!

      • Chuck 3.8.1

        “National’s bullshit statistics. Wayne. Again!”

        Statistics New Zealand follows international best practice, ministers no matter if from National or Labour do not determine what data is used or how it is measured.

        I could no more blame the current Labour Government then the last National one in using these statistics.

        • weka

          dude, read the thread. People have already explained this.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          …international best practice…

          Stats NZ certainly follows international practice. I’n not sure I’d describe it as “best” when “employed” equals “one hour of work per week”, and I’m curious as to how that became international practice, given that all countries are infested by Tory scum 😉

          • Anon

            They do ask if you want to work more hours or not. Not sure where that conversation goes if you say yes, I could answer yes or no for a variety of reasons and since I’d rather get off the phone quicker I answer no. Which I guess adds to the anecdotal weight of “those who gave up and are not reflected in stats”.

            I mean, they could ask “Ok but you’re not working full time, nor are you studying, why don’t you want to?” – but I’m guessing they don’t want to know that people have already given up.

    • The only way at all those figures are relevant to this post is if you’re claiming that National needed to violate the human rights of beneficiaries in order to achieve them, in which case, it says something about the depth of their failure in managing social policy and how uninterested they were in genuinely supporting people into better circumstances or independence. I expect if Labour does manage to reform WINZ in any significant way, they’ll actually do even better on unemployment after that’s done. Get used to Ardern making Key and English look stupid, it’s going to keep happening.

    • With 12% under-employment and a high participation rate is, as far as I can make out, a sign of desperation as many couples simply don’t have enough to live on.

    • Cinny 3.11

      Perspective is everything Wayne, did you know that if someone works just 1hr a week they are counted as ’employed’?

      Sweet others have mentioned it too.

    • Craig H 3.12

      A 71% participation rate is a disgrace. There is nothing good about a participation rate that high – National should be ashamed of themselves.

    • Nic the NZer 3.13

      Don’t have figures for the reserve bank (they don’t publish anything) but the NAIRU is claimed to be 4.25% presently and that is considered desirable minimum level for unemployment to fall to. Around this level the reserve bank will start attributing price inflation to any wage rises they observe I expect. And this doesn’t even take into account the 13% labour underutilization level which the participation rate figures elide over. This is your good news story?

      • Nic the NZer 3.13.1

        I should correct myself. There was a footnote in a recent reserve bank statement. Their estimate is the NAIRU is between 4% and 5.5% with a mean of 4.7%. So NZ is apparently at full employment already?

        Inflation has been and remains at the low end of the target for most of a decade.

        • Pat

          when you allow easy access work migration the NAIRU is effectively redundant

          • Nic the NZer

            Possibly. The NAIRU doesn’t take any account of other things such as under-utilization rates either. Also arguably if increases in demand elevate productivity and reduce inflationary tendencies of the economy then the concept doesn’t exist. Also notice for example when the unemployment rate was revised down recently due to stats NZ revising their estimation process, that exactly the same NAIRU remained un-altered. That is pretty damning because stats NZ’s estimation revisions didn’t alter employment at all so if the NAIRU related to stats NZ’s unemployment figures it should have automatically fallen in line with the revised estimation processes.

            The current fad is something called the time-dependent NAIRU which means we can’t work out what the NAIRU is because it varies over time. Other things which are hard to pin down include things like non-causal relationships between poorly defined and largely not causally linked aggregate values, like the relationship between unemployment and the rate of inflation.

            • Pat

              RBNZ has been looking through inflation pressures since end of 90s due to previous erratic performance…and im not sure how much weight is placed on Philips curve in the world of QE

  4. wayne 4

    No, just setting out the facts.

    The left are always going on about how bad and awful the right are, basically seen as bad people. And that the only virtues of goodness and morality are on the left. Enzo’s post is just another example of probably thousands of similar posts on The Standard. In that regard it is the mirror of Whaleoil.

    In contrast I have never seen David Farrar make such a post, basically saying the left are bad people (though some of the commenters on Kiwiblog are the mirror image of some of the posters on this site).

    It is why the Greens and National will never do a deal, no matter what the situation since the Greens as a group think National are bad people.

    [not setting out facts, but spinning. Here’s my suggestion, don’t troll posts about extremely vulnerable people. Don’t tell lies about the Greens. I see that your last ban was 1 month by Lynn for treating TS as if it were a hive mind. I’m giving the same ban for trolling by treating the Greens as a hive mind and being an utter dick under a post about beneficiaries.

    The only reason you are not getting a longer ban after Lynn’s is because you had many years of good contributions here before you started trolling. Pretty sure I’ve warned you before about this, now making a note in the backend, expect bans from me for similar behaviour to double from here on out. Personally I hope you go back to your thoughtful commenting and drop the trolling, but regardless there are limits here and they’ve now been pointed out several times. – weka]

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 4.1

      By their deeds you shall know them.

    • Stuart Munro 4.2

      You and your colleagues abandoned truthfulness, Wayne, the better to loot the country.

      The sooner and the more thoroughly you are punished for it the better.

    • McFlock 4.3

      Employment has nothing to do with poverty – something like 40% of poor people are “employed”. Whether you are deliberately or merely carelessly missing the point, it’s why I don’t like tories.

      In my youth, I thought tories were bad people, or stupid.

      As I matured, I recognised that some were well-meaning, but wrong.

      As I matured still further, I’ve come to the conclusion that the well-meaning tory who really takes an effort to look at the problems and obstacles faced by poor people (including the working poor), the effects the demographic and geographic distribution of poverty has on local communities, and doesn’t just rely on the crudest nationwide economic measures to explain it away, and still remains a tory… those tories are unicorns.

      • patricia bremner 4.3.1

        If a person has Tory values, people are not their top priority unless they are related or business superiors in my experience.

        They are not all bad people, just misguided and blinded by wealth creation, and not given to a great deal of thought about lifestyle unless it creates wealth or status.

        When I ask “Do you personally know any beneficiaries?” Usually they repeat some anecdote about someone they’ve been told about, or they mention a friend who “Lost everything”.

        There is often a “Bad choice” story attached to beneficiaries … Wrong friends/partner/lifestyle/habits.

        When I pointed out the wealthy friend had borrowed against the house to buy into the stockmarket (gambling) and “lost everything through a bad choice” I was told “No, just unlucky timing!!”

        They often concede “They were helped by children or family, or down-sized. …..” not quite the same experience as lining up at WINZ.

        • greywarshark

          When do good misguided people cross over the line and become bad though?

          “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke quotes from BrainyQuote.com.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          They are not all bad people, just misguided and blinded.

          That’s a pretty good definition of “bad people”. Cf: the banality of evil.

        • greywarshark

          Facts: people have all sorts of interesting ways of approaching them especially politicians so when you get tired of trying to dig down to real facts through the layers of factoids, have a bit of light relief from below which will separate you from your political stresses!

          If I just explain the facts, they’ll get it, right?

          Stan Freberg and St George and the Dragonet spoof
          where Just the facts came in.

          This is a doozy. True facts about the Cuttlefish.

    • Chris 4.4

      Commitment to neo-liberal economics requires selfishness or stupidity. There’s no other explanation.

    • Cinny 4.5

      Since we are setting out the facts…. Check out the comments on kiwiblog for Waitangi Day Wayne, the sexism and racism is rife, it’s freaking disgusting. I went there for a look the other day it was revolting an absolute disgrace by what appears to be a bunch of self entitled old white men.

      And all the while farrar allows it, encourages it, it’s a vile place.

      Much respect to the TS moderators, contributors, commenters etc etc, for not allowing such behaviour here.

    • Anne 4.6

      Ummm… Is this Wayne Mapp commenting? There’s something about the wording that doesn’t quite gel. I could be wrong, but is it possible someone is pretending to be Wayne Mapp?

      I have a recollection that it happened once before and although the commenter “wayne” hailed from the same region as Mapp, it turned out to be somebody else.

    • Keepcalmcarryon 4.7

      So you are insinuating whale oil is bad right Wayne? Hence the snide dig about TS being just like it?
      Why then was your government smearing opponents using the Prime ministers office and whale oil for dirty politics? You lot seemed to like whaleoil plenty then.

  5. Tiger Mountain 5

    WINZ/MSD–where government employees can be personally rewarded for NOT providing the assistance that vulnerable people seek…

    family friend in Whangarei; 3x per week dialysis, chair bound, makes knitted goods on a special rig with his good hand for his church, summoned to WINZ and told he had been assessed as “work ready”–sanctioned, left in tears, after his advocate had got involved there were grovelling apologies all round, but how the hell does this type of scenario happen at all?

    the PSA needs to seriously talk to its members on this, and consider ditching them, if they don’t start showing some basic humanity, and empathy, “just following orders” does not cut it in 2018…

    • Rosemary McDonald 5.1

      “the PSA needs to seriously talk to its members on this, and consider ditching them, if they don’t start showing some basic humanity, and empathy, “just following orders” does not cut it in 2018…”


      And the PSA call themselves a union.

  6. joe90 6

    I do feel for WINZ staff,


    The agency my SO works for has been warehoused with WINZ and according to my SO, from the top down they’re pricks with a them and us culture who speak disparagingly of their clients, with little regard for their rights and entitlements.

    • Kay 6.1

      What Joe says.
      Early on in Paula’s “reforms” one still could, but nearly all the case managers (until they decided to disestablish the role in the name of efficency) that were decent and did their best for us are now long gone. Even the ones who were genuinely sympathetic after their computer systems became rigged and they were no longer allowed to use common sense discretion- “computer says no”- they’ve pretty much all vanished and who can blame them? It’s interesting how the politeness and decency and even helpfulness suddenly exists when accommpanied by an eyewitness, often by the same worker who was as nasty as hell to you when alone there the week before.

      Somebody before questioned if WINZ should be reformed or torn apart and started from scratch (or words to that effect). I think it’s too late for reform, it’s got to be completely done from scratch, the first job being remove the CEO followed by mass redundancy and screw the Unions. Of course they’ll be able to reapply. I don’t know how it can work, but to keep WINZ as as organisation isn’t sustainable anymore- yes, of course there’s plenty of politicians and the I don’t give a damn public who couldn’t give 2 hoots, but the organisation has done so much damage to so many people, the cultural shift is needed, and that can’t happen without starting over.

      • Leonhart Hunt 6.1.1

        Honestly as a person who suffered under the current system there’s a better way.

        Split MSD up, currently MSD has these sections, Super, studylink, unemployment. Giant office, massive budgets and a huge amount of power it needs to be curtailed.

        Super needs to be its own branch, often the oldies have needs that should ne be paraded in a unemployment office, they need walk in branches with one, on one support.

        Studylink can be done completely digitally with say on campus access to a small office for rare paperwork, phone support for urgent needs, this can be managed out of an office in wellington/call center, no need for face to face, we live in a digital age, pretty much everyone can use a computer or video chat if needed.

        Unemployment needs to be split into two parts,
        Work – small office that has a work drop in center (eg, an employer could come to the office looking for day labour/temp work) a daycare for parents with kids and work classes with training course/skills seminars to teach people new or in demand skills. (work could also employ a few unemployed to help with data entry/paperwork/research for employment etc, etc)

        WOrk has nothing to do with money at all, no need for security guards, work is there to help you find/train for work (which doesn’t happen anymore)

        Income: Remote support, phone/computer – no need for face to face, forms can be in your local post shop – only deals with money.

        Emergency support, Maybe at a police station or council office, these need to be community based so people can come to them for help, be it food grants, emergency housing etc, etc.

        • Cinny

          Good ideas Leonhart.

        • Kay

          A good start. Add to that a separate branch for long term & permanently disabled & ill.

        • Craig H

          It’s worth noting that the NZ Employment Service was part of the Department of Labour before it was rolled into Work and Income. Worked quite well apparently.

        • ropata

          +1 please run for Parliament 🙂

        • AsleepWhileWalking

          I particularly like the idea of emergency support in the community.

          I’d like to see tech utilised more. Better to spend $ on making sure our population is online rather than large offices + overblown security.

          • Leonhart Hunt

            Def need to add long term sickness/disability support category as above comment, I would suggest based at hospital/libraries with social events as well as support groups/craft groups (maybe even basic work group as a sick person isn’t useless you just need to find a skill they can use) – need more thought.

            Emergency support should have always been in the community, MSD only put barriers up to help and you may as well put assistance where assistance is needed. and with the rising trend of using charities (often religious which creates additional barriers for the non-religious) for social support (which is almost always unregulated, underfunded) as charities rely on donated time/goods and often lack skilled personal to solve social issues which require skilled social services. (your counselors for suicide prevention maybe a local housewife with too much time on her hands, no degree and minimal training, while these people do have a place in support system it is not primary care, which is now the norm)

            Unfortunately there are obstacles to using tech for social welfare support.

            1) Msd treats beneficiaries like idiots, and will never understand that remote support is possible, the culture is deeply ingrained that anyone asking for help is less human and wants to rip off the system (which is not support by any facts)

            2) there is a large investment in these huge offices that a refit every-year with large amounts of local admin who will resist any efforts to decentralize control (not to mention the companies that do the massive refits)

            3) Large tech deployment controlled by Govt org’s have always ended in a mess, from IBM police system (52mil, unfinished and rolled back no money recovered.) to the most recent school payment software (which still isn’t working properly), once you introduce non-technical “managers” who think computers are magic fairies that grant wishes all scope goes out the window and overruns are inevitable and often the project becomes impossible to complete.

  7. Kereru 7

    .. great image of the lovely Paula.


  8. Steve Alfreds 8

    Says a lot about the culture of WINZ.

    • Rosemary McDonald 8.1

      ‘Lazy, that guy…”

    • adam 8.2

      You should call it what it is, it’s not ‘winz’, it’s called work and income.

      When you use the term winz you give them a pass.

      I know it’s a popular term, but they use the fact that clients use the term to look down on them.

      • weka 8.2.1

        Not going to type out Work and Income each time, and definitely not going to call them WAI.

        Also, they can get fucked with the amount of money they’ve spent in rebranding in the past 30 years. WINZ is suitably sardonic for me.

        • adam

          My point however, is when your trying to help people deal with this department calling it winz does not get you very far.

          • weka

            Do you mean when you are dealing with the department directly? I don’t use WINZ in official things, but I can’t say I’ve noticed the people I deal with at WINZ having a problem with my using the term on the occasions that I do. So it probably depends on the office and the staff one is dealing with.

            This space isn’t Work and Income, I can’t the problem with using WINZ here tbh.

            • adam

              So you do support work for people in work in and income?

              Because the game changes when your trying to help people, they get rather snippy. With the winz acronym being a pointless point of conflict, and a distraction. Hence why I drill people before hand to call them work and income staff.

              • weka

                That sounds reasonable, and I wish you had said that at the start instead of telling people here not to use the term WINZ.

      • Leonhart Hunt 8.2.2

        Actually they are called MSD now. Ministry of social development and WINZ is a sub-branch (all the communications now have MSD logo on the letterhead)

        • adam

          winz is a sub branch really??!? Gotta link for that?

            • adam

              And where exactly do they call themselves winz? Your first link is to Work and income, which is what I’ve been saying. Your second is a wiki link, which makes assumptions, and does not represent what the department is now.

              So do you actually help people with work and income? Do you get how much of a disadvantage it is, to call it winz?

              • McFlock

                I’m pretty sure that, without exception, you are literally the only person I have seen who has ever expressed confusion as to the organisation being referred to whenever someone says “WINZ”.

                • adam

                  My point is not about people knowing it as winz, or knowing what your talking about. Way off topic again McFlock. It’s about the fact in dealing with work and income, it’s not to your advantage, and indeed supporting people, it’s a down right disadvantage to call it winz. You write an appeal to winz, it will get instantly dismissed. Or you write to complain about winz, it is a instant ignore, because winz does not exist.

                  My guess is you don’t have much experience in dealing with the department. And so back to my point, winz does not exist, it’s not an entity you can engage with – can we call it work and income (it’s legal name) – so people don’t have their legs cut from them in trying to deal with this nightmare of department.

                  • McFlock

                    Oh, I had a lot of experience dealing with the department under a bunch of labels, and I’m thankful I don’t have to deal with them any more (touch wood).

                    Screw the labels. When you deal with winz, call them whatever you please. When I talk about them, I don’t respect them enough to bother keeping track of whatever they call themselves at the moment.

                    So you work with them frequently, and use the current terminology. Bully for you. You’re just lucky I habitually call them winz and not fuckwits, with some of the experiences I’ve had.

  9. Ian 9

    200 labourers coming in from China to finish a luxury hotel. Bloody Tories at it again.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1

      The OIA rubberstamped the deal in 2014.

      Nice attempt to tell lies though. Better luck next time.

      • BM 9.1.1

        I thought government was sovereign?

      • Ian 9.1.2

        winston realises the chinese are usefull. Hippocracy has a stench of it’s own and Jacinda needs to get a whiff of it.This Government got voted in on an anti immigration mandate .And you acuse me of telling lies. Good to see dairy prices surging.Might get a holiday next year if I start counting the pennies.

        • McFlock

          I suppose the stench of “hippocracy” would be formaldehyde or maybe disinfectant…

          • Ian

            .Liars are drenched in it. Politicians can’t smell it when they have lost their sense of honesty and telling the truth.

            • Stuart Munro

              It’s the hippos I feel sorry for – the Gnats must’ve milked them to a standstill.

              • AB

                Stuart – ‘hippocracy’ is government by horses. I believe Caligula tried it?
                Nothing to do with hippopotamuses.

            • McFlock

              It was more a play on the hippocratic oath in medicine than anything to do with hypocrisy, given OAB’s link means it was a done deal well before this government got in. As for the imported workers, there’s a skills shortage, you know…

              • Ian

                Which is why we need immigration and why no one needs Winston Peters apart from this hapless Government of hippocrits. Winston got voted in by all the anti immigration turkeys that beleived he was going to reduce immigration to 10000 . Looks like a major fuck up to me.

                • McFlock

                  The hotel is expected to be completed next april. The visas are short term. Migration is long term. If you’re really pessimistic, some of the 200 workers might be in NZ just long enough to be counted as migrants before they head home.

                  It’s irregular to hire so many fo one project, the minister is looking into it, but even the worst case scenario has nothing to do with migration levels

                • ropata

                  It’s a Chinese owned hotel chain being built by Chinese workers for Chinese tourists, probably using exclusively Chinese building materials. Smack in the middle of prime waterfront real estate. The Auckland Council made a pile of dough by selling the land, but public amenity will be screwed for ever. And the ongoing benefit to the council will be zilch. I presume the hotel is financed by the criminal money laundering HSBC.

                  I hope to fuck that the MBIE grows some balls and watches their employment and building practices like a hawk. I don’t really like the idea of slave labour and shoddy construction in the middle of Auckland.

                  • It’s a Chinese owned hotel chain being built by Chinese workers for Chinese tourists, probably using exclusively Chinese building materials.

                    And Chinese wage rates.

  10. Antoine 10

    > It has got to be a serious priority of the new government to change the culture of Work and Income.

    I hear ya, and I wish it was a serious priority, but are you sure it actually _is_?

    Have you seen any action in this area, or any targets or plans?

    > I’m sure the new government will be working on this

    What makes you so sure?


    • Antoine 10.1

      Like, I would have thought that fixing Winz would require a major overhaul including:
      – New CEO
      – New direction
      – New objectives and KPIs
      – Replacing a bunch of staff at every level
      – A whole lot more money
      – Maybe a restructure into several organisations
      – Maybe some legislative changes.

      Do you agree? If so, what of all this has been signposted by Labour and what is the timetable?


      • Leonhart Hunt 10.1.1

        None of it has been addressed by labour, in one of the campaign speeches it was said to be a “target” but nothing further has been said about it (as far as i’m aware)

        -New CEO def, but more than this, you need to split MSD up concentrating the offices in one place sounds like a good idea, but its not each section of support has its own challenges and you want to separate the support system so the staff don’t becomes jaded/cynical., so you need 4 new CEO’s.
        – New direction, for sure but not just for MSD but a marketing campaign for the public that highlights that those looking for help are not “bludger” but real people, with real problem who need real support.
        – new objectives and KPIs, yes but you also need to move away from trying to measure everything (its one of the reasons why we got into this mess) targets are important and should be used for overall goals but not to manage individual groups.
        – A whole lot more money, actually properly not, maybe a little more cant really say without a cost analysis but cutting out the risk assessment should save quite a bit (big data is expensive) reducing the amount of bureaucracy will help too, training programmes will cost, but a lot of them can be run by the staff.
        – Maybe restructure into several orgs, Yes def needs to happen.
        – Maybe some legislative changes, yes did you know hat MSd has some of the most powerful abilities in law for investigation? under section 5 they can search anything, anywhere and request info from any org without a warrant? did you know that head of social services can deny a benefit to any person for any reason? did you know that support can be cut by 50% without jsut cause? did you know that the appeals process has a 3 person panel and two of them are msd staff members (1 community) who votes on weather a sanction is to be upheld? as far as i’m aware no one has ever won an appeal?

  11. Sparky 11

    Repealing the 90 day law that lets employers simply fire people US style would have been a good place to start reform but instead they decided to leave it in place.

    It would be good to see govts doing something human about unemployment, maybe looking at a living wage like certain countries in Europe but I really doubt that will happen until the problem is so bad they have no choice. Which is typical for both NZ and Australia.

    In any case as it stands neither of the big parties has a good track record on this front and its yet another reason I’ll never vote for them.

    • Nic the NZer 11.1

      The unemployment problem is that government policy balances unemployment against the over all demand on the economy to maintain low inflation. A similar but more fair minded scheme would balance instead between employment in a job guarantee program vs total employment to measure how much demand there is on the economy. This would lead to a more fair trade off where people are not being forced to be unemployed because total spending has been maintained too low to create enough jobs to include them. It would also be more efficient as it allows individuals decide if they want more work without the government economists having to estimate correctly the right amount of spending to balance against employment.

      It’s the equivalent of maintaining a price rule for work (the minimum price is the job guarantee wage) vs a quantity rule where the quantity is sometimes guessed wrong. The reserve bank switched from using a quantity rule for settlement balances to a price rule around 1994 and now days any bank can obtain as many reserves as they need to settle at the official cash rate.

  12. Molly 12

    Two articles that are relevant to this discussion from The Intercept:
    The stock market swings tells you everything you need to know about our rigged economy

    and A leftist economist steps aside as debate swings his way

    The first, reinforces the point Enzo makes in the first paragraphs about the need to for current economic policy to have a proportion of the population unemployed:

    Karl Marx usedto say that unemployed people were capitalism’s reserve army. Though he didn’t invent the term, he meant that capitalism drew its strength from this army, standing at the ready to take a worker’s job if the current one didn’t like it. If unemployment levels are high enough, bosses can pay lower wages and treat workers poorly. If one of them quits, there are plenty more in reserve. But if the reserve army is depleted — if the economy is at full employment, and everybody who wants a job has one — then bosses can’t treat workers as disposable, and they can’t indulge their racism and sexism in the same way.

    A boss who treats women or people of color poorly, or refuses to hire them, is at a supreme disadvantage if there’s no reserve army.

    Think back to World War II, when unemployment evaporated in order to meet the demands of the war effort. Rosie the Riveter didn’t get her job as the result of a social movement on behalf of gender equity on the factory floor. She got it because factories needed bodies and had less ability to indulge their sexism. Full employment takes power out of the hands of bosses who use it to discriminate and gives power to workers to make demands — and if those demands aren’t met, they have the freedom to work elsewhere.

    Lawrence Mishel, the retiring president of the Economic Policy Institute has been commenting on the reality of economic policies on society for three decades.

    From the beginning, EPI elevated the daily struggle of those on the economy’s margins. Starting in 1988, Mishel and colleagues produced a biennial report, The State of Working America, with comprehensive data on wages, incomes, jobs, and wealth. The reports found a discordant trend in the economy: wage stagnation amid increasing productivity. Prior to the late 1970s, these two measures followed one another: as workers produced more goods, they made more money. When that changed, others made excuses for this bifurcation while EPI insisted that conscious policy choices shortchanged workers and funneled the gains to the very top, as evidenced by rising CEO compensation and the erosion of living wages. In other words, EPI argued, natural forces didn’t lead workers to their plight — those in power pushed them there.

    If these themes of rising income inequality sound familiar today, they were practically a foreign concept at the outset. In 1994, Mishel and Jared Bernstein created a now-famous chart showing the split between productivity and the median hourly wage. The researchers briefed Robert Rubin, then director of President Bill Clinton’s National Economic Council. Rubin’s proposal for increasing wages was reducing the deficit. He explained to Mishel and Bernstein how this would reduce interest rates and boost productivity, and that wages would naturally follow. Then the economists showed Rubin the chart. “We pulled out the chart. It showed that wages and productivity were not aligned,” Mishel recalled. “Rubin looked at it and said, ‘I didn’t know that.’”

    Both articles – and their linked data – are worth the read. Especially, in regards to the interrelated aspects of treating people either as resources for capital accumulation, or as a drain on capital accumulation.

    I haven’t read Karl Marx but the quote referring to the unemployed as capitalism’s reserve army struck the right note with me.

  13. adam 13

    Can we please stop calling them winz.

    Winz as an organization/government department/ torture unit, does not exist.

    It’s name is Work and Income, and we should call them that.

    I also find winz is a term used for denigration of people within the work and income system. And a term used by people who have not had much dealing with the department either.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 13.1

      I’ve had this fight before on TradeMe. It’s a lost cause because WINZ is just so catchy as an acronym and in the end I gave up trying to correct people.

      It has a touch of patronised positive vibe, nationalism, and it is much easier to type the shorter “WINZ” than the more correct “Work and Income” when bitching online 🙂

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