Inside the welfare forum we were un-invited to

Today and tomorrow, the Welfare Working Group is hosting a forum on welfare issues to look at the big picture.

It was advertised as open to the first 250 people who enrolled, and billed as bringing together “a diversity of opinions and experience”.

Metiria and I immediately registered, along with one of our researchers, because we have a deep interest in these issues, and received emails accepting our registrations and sending us the forum timetable. It was never suggested that the forum was closed to MPs.

However, about five days before the forum we all received an email telling us that they were sorry but we couldn’t attend because “priority has been given to community and voluntary sector organisations”. Not even our Parliamentary advisor on work and income has been allowed to go along.

This was pretty rude given the way the Forum was advertised as open to all (especially because it looks to me in this video like there are were plenty of spare seats today!)

Fortunately, we have our contacts from the community and they are keeping us briefed.

At the end of Day One they tell us it is feels like a closed conversation promoting the Government’s agenda. They tell us that it was opened by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett who said she was there to listen and then promptly left. The keynote speakers have been advocates for a range of depressingly draconian welfare ideas from time-limited benefits to turning welfare into ACC.

My contacts tell me this discussion is ridiculously 1990s and is an attack on the fundamental principles of welfare which include supporting the vulnerable and the poor.

No matter how many times they say “empowerment” the reality on the ground is that the Government’s “Future Focus” Bill is planning to sanction the sick and sole parents by cutting benefits – all at the same time as cuts to Early Childhood Education.

So the forum won’t hear the Green challenges about welfare and they probably won’t listen to heroes of the unemployment movement like Sue Bradford and Kay Brereton who do have a brief platform at the event. We look forward to the Working Group’s conclusions which will no doubt help the Government to rationalise this latest attack on the poor.

When times get tough the tough attack the easy targets, but lets not pretend it has anything to do with fairness or positive change for beneficiaries and their children.

174 thoughts on “Inside the welfare forum we were un-invited to

  1. research on the values of privileged people and one of the interesting beliefs is that they think they are entitled to all the world can offer.

    Interesting. My cohorts were leaving school and uni in the late 80s and very early 90s. Youth unemployment was stratospheric. For young people being unemployed was, well, just a part of life you had to get through. Most young people were on the dole for a while at some point then – and if they weren’t they had friends who were.

    Talking to conservative students at university 5 years ago, kids who’d gone to uni during a labour shortage of skilled people, they had no idea what that sort of thing was like. They talked about how they would be too proud to “accept” the dole (as if they’d have a choice with rent and bills to pay and no job!). They seemed to not really accept, not really, that unemployment results from economic circumstance rather than from moral failing.

    It’s a strange world.

  2. When I read the lists in this blog of the behaviours of “bad poor people”, drinking and owning flat screen TV etc while neglecting their kids, it makes we wonder when we will start scrutinising the wealth dependent and how many of them are not perfect parents.

    But studying privilege is not as popular as criticising beneficiaries. There is a research group called “Whariki” doing some research on the values of privileged people and one of the interesting beliefs is that they think they are entitled to all the world can offer. Their expectations of life are very diffefrent from people brought up in poverty.

    If we want to “Mind the Gap” we might need to think about that research as well as how to make the benefit system more useful to people at vulnerable times in their lives. We might need to look in the mirror as well as pass judgement on the struggling people.

    And then we might get a better quality of decision making around deprivation and what is needed to support and encourage people to get decent jobs at a living wage.

  3. Photo, I do not deny your spending, but as said it depnds on the larder/pantry you are replenisihng and size of fridge/freezer etc. Jenny Shipley responded similarly when Minister of Social Welfare in 1991/2??? as did a lot of famous folks like Graham Mourie and all said they could survive for a week on a benefit with supplements. A week, fortnight, month, even year is surviable with noticeable falls from grace unelss the bank forcloses on the mortgage. As said above, read their report as my summary of their findings/methodology is selective. And I repeat, I have seen no criticism of their findings from reputable sources.
    Surviving on a benefit for longer periods than a week, fortnight, month can result in forced shifts (with children needing to enrol at new schools and loosing credit for work partially completed), over-crowding, no security over growing one’s own garden… There are all sorts of deprivation issues when people cycle from insecure low-paid jobs and benefit status. All issues of relative poverty in NZ, but not what social scientists or poverty researchers would call “absolute poverty” than God.
    Possible reforms of the NZ welfare system, of which this thread is the subject are headed in the direction of the US, not the Scanadanavians, and they are likely to incrase child poverty. Many of those involved with this thread appear to point to dysfunction thta curently exists, and are not discussing the impacts of the possible reforms.

  4. Graham – as I said, we have a weekly spend less that the supposed “minimum” levels required for basic nutrition, that includes about 30% of items that I would consider non-essential – beer, wine, chips, fiz, ice cream etc. And of course it also includes all the non food items like washing powder, toothpaste etc.

    And that’s without budgeting particularly hard.

  5. And as for rejecting the Bible, you do not have to treat it as truth, or even instructiions by which to live one’s life, but it is an influential set of books, perhaps one of the most influential in the western world.
    Hugely contradictory in parts (at one point it implores folk to trun their pruning sheers into spears, and on more than one occasion it says kill thy enemy then at other times the complete oppostie). It needs to read with some knowledge of the times and pervading culture and political environment.
    Among the more radical suggestions of an economic type is the forgiveness of debt each seven yrars. Jewish society did not appear to crumble because of it, but then they had slaves at the time…

  6. And as regard the Dept of Human Nutrition, I suggest Photo and others read their reports going back close on twenty years now. I have seen no academic challenge to there findings, but have seen anecdotal and politically motivated challenges based on false premises. Having fridges and larders means most people do not shop from an empty larder hence most people’s understanding of the needs are flawed – but read their reports, do not just take my short summary – it is biased as is all commentary on poverty.
    The rates for Wellington are 61 for an adult male. 58 adult woman, 77 adolescent boy, 64 adolescent girl, 50 ten yr oldm 34 five yr old, 31 four yr old and 27 one yr old.
    The pricing is done over a number of weeks, not necessarilly at the cheapest supermarket because they try to replicate the conditions of the stypcial shopper relying on the basic diet.

  7. Photo, you do not appear to understand that the vast majority of people who are at one stage a beneficiary are also a non-beneficiary for most of their adult life (that is they are in paid employment or have a marrioed partner and are at home doing what some regard as they rightful set of duties). Thus household size is not related to being a beneficiary per se, and if you looked at the data I do not believe after accounting for ethnicity that at any point in time beneficiary households are any larger on average than non-beneficiary ones (The Census is good place to check….)

  8. No – I’ll be up there in heaven with favoured angels and suitable musical instruments (with new strings – that bothers, will there be new fresh things in heaven? – must be!)

    Sap; My experience as a Marketing/Financial Manager is that this is not so much a Christian concept as an economic one…..that dollar or two that the poor keep circulating is actually the Mass of the economy – I would call it Numbers, not Philosophy – purely mathematical if you will…thinkez-vous?:
    cheers

  9. Drak,

    SOCIALISM is very much a Christian concept that works in harmony with all that is environmental.

    Capitalism is a bast@rd offspring of private enterprise, it focuses on the ‘I’, ‘Me’, ‘My’.
    A collective consciousness based on the I, Me, My is proving to be a very destrustive force to the global environment!!

    Hilarious, totally fracking hilarious. Best laugh in a while. Its funny how the same religion can be made to justify both socialism and capitalism. Even extreme forms of both. It displays perfectly how the infected just selectively choose parts of the bible to justify their own preconceived ideas. Christian values? Its almost an oxymoron.

    As to the truth of the bible, well you would have to be a postmodernist just to believe there was enough to even make the book worth reading!

    Oh, I hate postmodernism; so very very much.

    It does amuse me, though, that, if there is an afterlife with brimstone, that is where most ‘Christians’ can expect to be. Tards.

  10. Drak: Socialism props up what would otherwise be a failing idea called capitalism. It is one instance where our tendency to label is most unhelpful.
    All the ‘Capitalist’ nations have an extensive ‘socialist’ safety net that allows small amounts of dollars to be re-circulated in the local economy by a large number of people.
    It has been made into a ‘dirty’ word by Media Magnates(& friends) who would like to own every last penny.
    The widespread homelessness in the US has been brought about by greed – a simplification, perhaps – but realistic enough to the millions who spent their last winter in caravans and tents – they live there still.

  11. Drakula – several years ago I spent quite a few years working and traveling in Africa. We always stocked up on food and supplies in the capitalist countries, because all the socialist countries were very poor and had little in the way of food or supplies.

    It could be quite remarkable – same topography, same ethnic groups, similar resources – yet cross a line in the map from capitalist to socialist and there was an ineveitable drastic drop in peoples income and wellbeing.

  12. SOCIALISM SHOULD NOT BE A DIRTY WORD!!!

    Photonz ‘wages have increased significantly in recent years?’ try telling that to UNITE union!!!!

    I am a member of the Green Party and yes I am a SOCIALIST!!! and damned proud of it and I make no secret of it.

    Why should I?

    Socialism should never have been stigmatised the way it has in this country.

    It is not to be confused with communism, which the far right is hel! bent on doing.

    Socialism allows enterprise but keeps in check what should be public property or the ‘commons’ like ‘water’ and ‘national parks’ and ‘education for our children’ and ‘health care’ etc.!! In other words taking care of all society!

    SOCIALISM is very much a Christian concept that works in harmony with all that is environmental.

    Capitalism is a bast@rd offspring of private enterprise, it focuses on the ‘I’, ‘Me’, ‘My’.
    A collective consciousness based on the I, Me, My is proving to be a very destrustive force to the global environment!!

    I hope that in future all enterprise will be channeled into ‘SOCIAL ENTERPRISE’ for the benefit of all!!!!

  13. Bj; I will have to read Chromsky but when it comes to fitting more words to an idea, or more ideas to less words, I think that Carl Jung fits that bill!!

    Consider; ‘As a plant produces it’s flowers, so the psyche creates its symbols’.

  14. Minimum wages have increased significantly in recent years – positive news – we can’t have that. How to make it sound bad????

    If wages are going up, that means benefit rates are falling RELATIVE to the minimum wage – there – that sounds negative and bad, eh Graham.

    You can have some families getting by and some living in absolute poverty despite getting the same benefit.

    As for the Otago University’s Dept of Human Nutrition recommended minimum budget for healthy food – at $240 per week for two adults and two children, it’s fairly generous for a minimum. Our family of four can get by on less than that INCLUDING non-essential items – beer, wine, biscuits, chips, fizzy drink, ice cream, etc.

  15. One reason we have a relatively high percentage of children living in poverty, is because people on average incomes largely make a decision that they can only afford one or two children.

    And people who don’t earn much or are on a benefit often make a decsion that even though they can’t afford the children they already have – they will have lots more anyway – someone else will pay for them.

    Namely the people who decided they can only afford one or two children.

    So even if you work hard and decide you can only afford two children – you are going to be paying for more anyway – it’s just that they’ll be someone elses who can’t afford them.

    Hence our system encourages more children in poor homes.

  16. Relative poverty has its uses in that you can compare nation states in terms of outcomes…. For example, you can relate a set of public policies and the resultant child poverty, or poverty among over 65s or whatever… (Scandanavian countries versus the English-speaking OECD ones) and draw conclusions…
    The hardship measures, some of which I have described have been used by MSD to develop what they call a “Deprivation Index” and that shows strong correlation to the low income deciles (which are also used to determine statistics such as child poverty rates…. along with rates of poverty of the over 65s and poverty among the working aged population and various forms of houeshold etc).
    And as per benefit rates, NZ’s are falling relative to other incomes such as the minimum wage and median wage. When recently made redundant workers discover the benefit rates they are genuinelty shocked – not that it makes re-entering the workforce any easier because for many the jobs do not exist in sufficient quantity to make the re-entry possible.

  17. Anyone who thinks benefit levels are not an incentive to get work has not had to live on one.

    I live on about half of the IB quite happily and I have to pay it all back. Does that count? My doctor is constantly urging me to go on the IB, maybe I should take her up on it just to see how hard it is. I admit I don’t have offspring to support, but that is another benefit entirely.

  18. E-prophet,

    I totally agree with you that cutting benefits will not solve the problems the underclass (for lack of a better word) face. I also fully agree with you that there need to be programs to help people who have fallen off the bottom of the ladder back onto it.

    The fact that the middle class people you talked to did not think this was important is precisely because they are middle class; the bottom of the ladder is sufficiently far away that they do not see it. Ask the same question to someone who is working, but can see that bottom rung, and you might get a different answer … unless they have been brainwashed by the right into believing that the people who have fallen off the ladder are a threat to their jobs and they had better not play up if they don’t want to join the ranks of that underclass.

    I believe that many of the problems our society face are directly caused by the neo-liberal policies that governments have been following for the last 25+ years. We were told that (ex) government businesses such as telecommunications, railways etc were run inefficiently and needed to be rationalised (just preparation for privatisation in reality). Fair enough … but no one bothered to think what would happen to the people laid off. Presumably the market would magically re-assign them to some job where they could be more productive? Of course we know what happened in practise; while some people did find jobs elsewhere, some have fallen off the bottom of the ladder and remain there today.

    The problem is that once people have fallen off the bottom of the ladder, getting them back on to the ladder is so much more difficult than it would have been to make sure they didn’t fall off the bottom in the first place.

  19. Hi
    We need to look at the fact that most elderly people are quite comfortably off when the young are struggling. Do we want to do that to our kids. The biggest welfare benefit is still superannuation. Since Muldoon made it an election bribe super has been the elephant in the room nobody talks about. Instead of gold cards a subsidy on public transport for teenagers looking for work, A guaranteed minimum income for children. I get annoyed when people i work with over 65 who are on a good wage crow about receiving super, why should they before they retire? Inflation is a no-no because it decreases the value of monetary investments, but some is beneficial as it also has the effect of transferring capital from those who have a lot to young wage earners. Bernard Hickey talks a lot of rubbish at times but he is right about our failing to help our young people.
    Now anyone who wants to come off a benefit faces even greater obstacles in gaining skills. Apprenticeships are almost impossible to get. Entry to tertiary education is being limited. Funding for study is not enough to keep a family and study. Anyone who thinks benefit levels are not an incentive to get work has not had to live on one.
    Employers get off very lightly in NZ. No payroll taxes, no 9% super contributions, fire almost at will, cheap immigrants allowed if they cannot get a NZ’r to work for low wages, no rights to strike, Go bankrupt and start another company if it dosn’t work, any twerp can start a company, big pool of u8nemployed to keep wages down, almost all training paid by taxpayers. WFF so employees can survive on low wages. WFF is actually a subsidy for employers. What more do they want. I suggest that low productivity is due to lack of investment in training and plant rather than anything employees do. We already work more hours than the Japanese we used to feel sorry for.

  20. Graham,

    My point is that measuring poverty in relation to an average, preferably median, income is essentially meaningless. Measuring child poverty in relation to severe overcrowding and disease is far more meaningful and is far closer to the definition of absolute poverty. Measuring it in relation to the average is merely meaningless scaremongering.

    I would go into further detail but I have an exam in an hour and one tomorrow to prepare for. Suffice to say, glue-ear, while primarily caused by infection, only becomes problematic (i.e. becomes thick and impairs hearing and thus learning) either due to severe repeated infection (usually serious bouts of tonsilitus) which generally requires surgery (as in my case) or due to substantial and prolonged parental neglect. In north land it is the latter by far. Its primary incidence being raised highly where the parents smoke.

  21. Child poverty figures in the OECD are measured in relative terms, and absolute child poverty can be defined in terms, or at least measured by still births, infant mortality from starvation that would be avoided with for fairly cost-effective policiy initiatives such as fresh drinking water/sewage. No one wants that anywhere.
    OECD measured child poverty can be seen as the numbers in households below a relative figure. It can also be measured in terms of the degree of that impoverishment and how static or entrenched it is given movements in average incomes.
    NZ performs badly in this regard, as does the USA and some of the poorer Europen nations. This results or can be measured by such as diseases (glue-ear, skin dieases), over-crowding (children sharting bedrooms and lack of space for homework), poor housing (dampness, poor heating) and access to food, lack of access to the telephone or motor vehicles etc. (The MSD and Statistic NZ have reported on this as wel.)
    Yes, some parents are poor parents regardless of disposable income as photoenz1 has testified too, but while too many these are still relatively few when we consider 15% of children are regarded as the child poverty statistic.
    I repeat a statistic I have used before: MSD own figures show at best 60% of families on the lowest income for on-going hardship assistance actually get it. When the post-accommodation costs are factored in for these households they have less disposable income to spend on food at levels recommended by the Otago Univeristy’s Dept of Human Nutrition for a basic diet.
    And as for the relationship between the OCR (Offical Cash rate) and employment…. Given NZ operates within a world economy the recent drop from 4% to 2.5% must be seen as an attempt to stimulate (or at least maintain) consumption in a time of recesssion. Typically increases in the OCR is used to dampen demand and that impacts of supply. Read this as consumption and production…(or price and wage growth)

  22. To talk of child poverty in this sense is essentially meaningless. The greater the standard deviation in any standard distribution, even skewed, the greater the number that will be below any set, sub norm, point. It is almost a tautology to say that a more unequal society will have more child poverty. Relative poverty is an incredibly poor yardstick. It is absolute poverty that deserves attention and that is what needs to be addressed through the benefit system. Don’t talk of relative child poverty as some terrible, or even relevant, statistic.

  23. Yes samiuela
    The people Photonz are referring to do actually exist in significant numbers. There are many factors to blame not the least our school system. However from my experience as a supervisor at the now non-existent Rehabilitation League cutting their benefit would just increase crime and violence. These peoples have attitudes that are hard to change but they are not the only ones just look at the attitudes of our fellow bloggers.
    Before the last election I went to 5 forums and at not one of them did I get this question selected, “Considering the likelihood of increasing unemployment what is your party going to do; blame the unemployed or implement programmes to prepare them for when there are more jobs as the result of your policies?” So the attitude of the middle class chairers was that this was not an important question.

  24. Glad I don’t have a computer at home to read all the weekend nonsense. Not sure to be scared by the smart-card stuff or not or simply amused because the anonomyous subscribers above have no power, but then Paula does have it. The comments show big brother and tne new right are bed buddies, and the world’s history is littered with those in power imposing their will on those them deem unworthy.
    My understanding of our nation’s laws allows intervention by the state to safe-guard children at the type of risk decribed above (albeit hearsay), and I would hope if personally witnessed such care and attention i would do something rather make points on this medium.
    And further, I am unaware of ECE provision of the type implied above either.
    I note too that no one confirmed one or otherwise whether they wanted policy intiatives that would move our child poverty rates in the direction of the USA or the Scandanavian countries. The former is at 20%, we are at 15% and the later is, at worst 10%. (And is this measuring as an income below 50 or 60% of median incomes…meaning the Scandanavian sufferers are probably far better off than children from middle income NZ households…..)

  25. Well, this seems to be the place to come to for new ideas on addressing distressing social issues – not. Most of you seem to blame capitalism as your primary premise. Actually (stating the obvious here) we live in a mixed economy which includes both large measure of socialism and corporate state cronyism. this has been the case for generations. If we had a true free market capitalist society most of this current government and their minions would be out of a job.
    If you keep basing your thinking on a straw man false premise, you will fail to identify the causes of problematic issues and will therefor fail to find remedies. Start with a more true premise – that current severe social problems are a result of the system that has been in place without significant changes in policy for several generations. You wont get any significant improvements without making significant changes to the system. Come on, let’s see if you can come up with some truely radical ideas.

  26. BJ,

    I think alot of it comes down to the early development really. When one just lets it flow one tends to just write what they are most habituated to, at least in my experience. One could find support for this hypothesis in the anedoctal evidence that spelling has gotten alot worse with the introduction of word processors, but anedoctal evidence is icky.

    I find I can spell well most words if I try, but that requires deflecting some of my attention toward spelling and away from the actual topic.

    As to the obsession, a touch of it would result in greater focus on incorrect spellign and thus greater exposure and ‘practice’ for correct spelling.

    As to the communication, that would seem common statistically. I cant hold a conversation with someone normative, even though I may try. They simply do not think in sufficent depth, at sufficent speed, or with sufficent connectivity. That is not to say autistic though, while it is true that autisic difficulties are common in the moderately high groups, the truely high groups appear to have little difficulty in the social arena.

    Samiam,

    Do you actually know my identity? You hit me squarely with the first three!

  27. On a more serious note, I do believe that there are some people that are just so unsuited for parenthood that they should not be allowed to procreate or should have their offspring removed.

    Ones mental capacity is probally the most influential factor when it comes to success in life, contribution to society, and general satisfaction. Ones mental capacity relies heavily on ones previous learning as that previous learning ultimately creates a scafhold from which more advanced processes are learned. An example of this would be immitation, immitation is not inate, it is learnt very early in life in most children, but not all. Immitation is crucial for without this skill learning of newer and more advanced behaviours, particuarly verbal behaviour, is essentially impossible. Even slight delays in the rate at which such skills are acquired can have massive developmental effects. One could extrapolate that how effective the scaffholds are and when they are learnt provides massive reinforcement and punishment systems which ultimately effect if people like to think or like to let others think, if they are moral or immoral, etc., etc..

    An uncaring parent is like a mellet to the head, and that before one accounts for the genetic inferiority likely.

    The proliferation of people like this is of great detriment to society, particuarly where there is increasingly less work that needs them and less casualties to war and famine proportionate to the total population. It is not practical to go out and kill them all or steralise them all but one should take account of just how much damage they cause to the next generation and to society as a whole. Imagine if it were not a case of denying procreation but of granting it, if everyone was infertile until given a prescription; one has to ask if one would give them the pill.

  28. Sapient

    My observations are simply this, over my lifetime of interacting with a lot of very very smart people. Some spell automatically, and I do that. Others cannot, no matter that they try or not… Some detect errors in wording and sentences others do not. It does not appear to be a matter of effort, more a matter of some portion of the brain that trains itself to do this job. Doesn’t do anything else worth noting except perhaps, to make foreign languages more difficult to acquire.

    Chomsky is indeed a man who can fit more words into a single idea than any other person I’ve ever read. :-) (I think I am paraphrasing a Lincoln quote here)

    I don’t know that I am “obsessive”… somewhat perhaps but it is a weak trait, much like the touch of Asperger’s that appears to impair my communications with just plain folks.

    What I know is that I don’t consider a person’s spelling, unless it is completely effing impossible, as indicative of anything but their ability to spell. It doesn’t matter how well an erroneous understanding of the world is spelled, it is still an error.

    BJ

  29. 1) Postmodernists
    2) Rabid Libertarians
    3) Other Rabid Ideolouges
    4) Bankers
    5) Tards
    6) Pacifists and vegans
    7) People with doof doof cars, bling, whom like rap, etc.
    8 ) People on the dole for more than a year or two
    9) People whom drop out of school in fifth form
    10) People whom like really loud metal
    11) People whom fail more than half of their papers at uni.
    12) Christians
    13) All members of the DSC
    14) Anyone with an IQ under 115 (im being generous) (gradually, we will introduce the machines slowly and catch them unaware!).

    Sounds good for now.

    It is a bit worrying that most of my friends/associates fall from 7 through 14.

  30. Greenfly,

    On the whole, indeed.

    I dont know much of the BP officials, but they cannot of been too smart; they just lost themselves billions, brought the publics attention too them, and probally lost themselves their jobs when they could have maintaiend all the benefit with only a slightly higher expendature; a silly gamble realy. The BP issue, though, is better put down to the regulations existing because the vast majority of Americans are god-bothering tards and the politicians they elect are, allmost by neccesity, just as bad and slightly more greedy.

    P.S. ‘tards’ is inclusive of ‘norms’.

  31. BJ,

    P.S. Genetic detirmination would imply a Chompskian linguistic endowment. Chompsky is a widely respected intelectual but he is a romantic tard whom makes an excessive use of strawmen and is so out of touch with parsimony that he would likely travel ten kilometers to travel one. An obsesive tendency could provide a partial genetic basis but that would be a very very week mediation and would still be vastly behavioural in nature.

    *procrastinating about studying postmodernist bullsh!t*

  32. You’re confident the brainiacs would make a better job of things?
    Were the BP officials norms and tards? (stupid question really – I must surely be below the ‘retain the family jewels’ cut-off point myself!)

  33. BJ,

    No, I would say its almost entirely behavioural. But then again, I’ve never been good at spelling (though still better than most engineers).

    Incorrect spelling and grammar frustrates me to no end, I have a tendency to spend hours going over a single sentence to make it sound right. Here and in other interactive forums, though, I tend not to give a frack; its an interesting discrimination.

  34. Greenfly,

    I do not know. But I would gladly give up my own procreation for the systematic steralisation of the tards. Especially if we raised it to a standard deviation above the norm.

  35. I always figured spelling was a genetically determined thing. I can hardly make a mistake, they grate on my nerves when I see them and unless I am in a great hurry I’ll check if uncertain or use another word if the right spelling does not leap from the page for me as it usually does.

    BJ

  36. How about the combination of someone who makes spelling mistakes and espouses mass castration on a public forum?
    Is that enough to earn a place on the table?

  37. As an aside, I am perfectly able to spell. I just attribute far more value to the ideas than to the words and thus just let it flow with little consideration for such trivialities. As I tend not to go back through my brain spew, the product tends to be rather raw in terms of spelling, typos, and punctuation.

  38. Samiam,

    Certainly not! Spelling mistakes show a binary distribution; they are frequent among the stupid and among the brillent. It would be a poor criteria indeed. Better to use something like high alcohol consumption or veganism as a criteria and use spelling to complement it; they tend to be most high among the retarded and spelling would help seperate the truely retarded from the only moderately retarded.

  39. Yep the Nazi solution works perfectly in reducing benefit payments :-) . Unfortunately no pool of unemployed means no way of scaring the great unwashed into working for very little.

    There we go! Better for everyone! Less benefits means more spending elsewhere or less tax, less competition means higher wages, and as they are not alive they dont suffer!

    If we go with the castration options the benefits are more slight, but atleast they dont get to traumatise and retard another generation.

    On a only slightly more serious note, I approve of the whole steralising retards thing that was going on in Canada. Though, I would increase the level of retardation to one standard deviation bellow the present norm rather than two. Someone sitting at the norm is already sufficently retarded as to never make a real contribution. The killing of the stupid is perhaps the biggest benefit of war. We should hold more ‘wars’ just so we can send the retarded and long term unemployed along! Make the world a better place one battle at a time. We get rid of the tards and as an added bonus some farmers dont need to fertilise their feilds for a couple of decades.

  40. Yep the Nazi solution works perfectly in reducing benefit payments :-). Unfortunately no pool of unemployed means no way of scaring the great unwashed into working for very little. Beneficiaries are also good for business in that all their income is spent on current consumption unlike the nasty wealthy who save some of it.

  41. The prescription we were given was like lopping of the patients head to cure a cold.

    Oh? Can we? Please?

    If not their head, then atleast their sexual organs!?

  42. Photonz I never said it was so good before 1984. Just that the cure imposed on us did not fix the disease. Rather put us more in the basket because it was overdone by ideological maniacs and then de regulated to the extent that the crooks were in control. The results, leaky buildings, railways, power, share market burgled, brain drain, viable companies sold down by asset strippers after their super schemes etc etc. Massive income drop against Australia only starting to reverse with a refocused Labour.
    I too remember paying 60% tax for Muldoons social welfare for farmers and big business, and over generous superannuation schemes. so they would keep voting for him. The boat and caravan tax which removed entire industries to Australia. The gerrymandering of election boundaries. The borrowing for election bribes. Sounds similar to National now. If National stays in we will be heading for the same hole.
    The prescription we were given was like lopping of the patients head to cure a cold.

  43. Drakula, face reality.

    Politics is always dirty, any group that actually listens to catherine is doomed to fail, and capitalists may be bad but the state of the nation is a heck of alot better under them than it would be with the likes of the red-baner cloacked ideolouges hiding out in this supposedly green party.

  44. DIRTY POLITICS!!!!!!

    It seems to me that the Welfare Working Group is a total farce, I think that Catherine should have turned up anyway and insisted in being included especially when their initial registrations were accepted!!!

    I was in the middle of posting on Thursday night, and just when I was about to hit the Post button the phone line was cut! So there you are they are watching me!!

    A lot of the posts here revolve around the issue of who is entitled to what payment and who is abusing the system and why is the government using (or not)these arguments as a pretext to abdicate it’s responsibilities. Is that relevent?

    The main pertinent and fundamental issue here is that these issues should be seen in the wider context of government policy of cutting funds from social services (like all other services)to keep it’s tax cut promises to the capitalists.

    Furthermore; those who wish to defend public services have been denied a platform that claims to be open and transparent!

    This is really dirty politics!!!

  45. So the Spirit Level tells us what will happen overall but doesn’t speculate on the mechanisms (other than inequality stresses people out when they don’t have much).

    Not what I said. You’re the one speculating.

    I see the Spirit level has its’ critics:

    I don’t have the book now, but remember that the stats they used were the official stats published by the countries themselves and the US states, plus income data from the UN.

  46. Kerry – I remember those “golden” days before 1984.

    New Zealand productivity amongst OECD countries was the very worst – and had been dropping down the list for over a decade, partly because unions were strangling productivity.
    GDP growth was also the worst of all OECD countries, and all sorts of OECD factors were plummeting.
    Cook Strait Ferries closed for stikes every school holidays, Christmas and Public Holidays
    Wages were frozen
    It took six weeks to get a new telephone installed
    Massive sales tax rates made prices on all sorts of goods exhorbitant

    And the country was effectively bankrupt, and would have gone down the gurgler if drastic changes weren’t made.

    The Labour Govt in 1984, within a day or so of coming to power, realised that had inherited an economic basket case.

    Ah yes – it was all so good in the golden days up to 1984.

  47. So the Spirit Level tells us what will happen overall but doesn’t speculate on the mechanisms (other than inequality stresses people out when they don’t have much). I think that the spirit level (what I know of it) raises many questions however.

    Overall it makes sense that a society is healthier where people don’t go for broke (earning $1000/ hr as consultants etc) and screw everyone for all they can get. In the NZ setting it makes a difference if you believe we have an unhealthy welfare mentality (as I do); an expectation that it is o.k to get pregnant without an income, (the state will support you… it’s the states duty (like providing public hospitals)). I feel sorry for unemployed people (genuine cases) and sickness beneficiaries but if more equality translates to greater spending on welfare we will (I predict) end up with even more on welfare (when I hear the Green party speaking I think: “Unemployed Workers Union”).

    I see the Spirit level has its’ critics:

    Wikipaedia:

    “Swedish welfare economist Andreas Bergh thinks that Wilkinson and Pickett mistake correlation for causation, and points to Sweden as an example where increased economic inequality has gone hand in hand with better health and better gender equality.[11] Another Swedish Economist, Danne Nordling points out that while Wilkinson and Pickett rank Japan as the country with the highest income equality, all other sources rank Japan as being in the bottom of the OECD table.[12]“

  48. I understood the question.

    “However the nurses said it’s been tried already but a common problem is the parent(s) concerned seldom bothered getting out of bed to take their children to daycare. ”
    —-
    How will a more equal society (Spirit Level) fix that?

    It’s not a good question, because the Spirit Level correlates overall rates of occurrence of societal indicators with income inequality, not specific anecdotes of lazy parenting, for which we don’t even have a measure. You should read the book if you want to know how it works.

  49. “Giving it to the child directly is the better way to go”
    There’s a thinking man, right there!
    The State feeds the children while the parents aren’t watching.
    I’m for that.
    Think along those lines photonz and I’ll be right behind you.

  50. Hi
    photonz1 I am all for business and profit. I had my own business for 12 years. Who do you sell to if no one is earning any money?
    Shareholders rarely contribute to a business after the initial fund raising. Unlike owner operators. Many shareholder owned businesses are gutted by heavy borrowing to pay dividends.
    The proportion of GDP in NZ going to shareholders has increased dramatically in recent years with a large decrease in economic performance and a migration of skilled workers offshore. Could they be connected? Since 1984 the amount of money burgled from our economy by so called businessmen, asset strippers, get rich quick financial schemes and finance companies has been many times greater than a few beneficiaries who manage to rort the system for a couple of hundred extra dollars a week.
    Australia is still healthy because Unions have had enough power to stop an income grab by overseas shareholders and kept wealth in the country.
    In the US the monetary value of the share market grew many times faster than the underlying productivity of the businesses traded. All that money go round has removed trillions from the economy and left debts they may never be able to repay.
    Shareholder capitalism which by definition requires constant growth is not sustainable in a finite world. We need to get used to the idea that constant and unlimited financial growth is a mirage.

    Governments should be funding and encouraging steady state small business and trades which actually produce things people need instead of speculation.
    As for power companies the results show they should never have been privatised in the first place.

  51. Photonz,

    Unless you are proposing that along with the introduction of the stamp scheme we also increase the contributions, it will make no real difference. Those whom are genuine will continue to be so, only with more beurocracy; their children will not benefit any more. Those whom presently spend it on smokes and booze will continue to do so because it would be so easy; again, there would be no benefit to the children. It is only those on the boundary that have even the remotest chance of receiving a benefit and i doubt there are very many in that situation; “I want to spend all my money on smokes, booze, and pokies but i can give that all up and feed my child properly if only i would have to walk an extra block once a week to get it changed to cash”.

    Giving it to the child directly is the better way to go; food in schools, daycare, doctors, etc. All without parental mediation.

  52. Greenfly – so it’s terrible to use the word “they” but ok to use “recidivist rorters”?

    I’d call what is happening child neglect – you call it maintaining their advantage

  53. The recidivist rorters you fear, would maintain their advantage no matter what system you care to put in place photonz1, hence my lack of support for the system you indicate that you would like to put in place.

  54. Kerry – typical of the “everyone elses fault” and the “anti-business” “anti-profit” attitude of too many greens.

    Take for example electricity companies, slammed by greens for making massive profits (most make not much more than 5% profit).

    Typical green calls are for
    – higher wages
    – more holidays
    – more tax

    All supposed to come from the meagre 5% profit.

    On top of that they want lower power prices, also out of the 5% profit.

    On top of that they want more spending on renewable energy, and new spending on security of supply.

    And if anybody is going to invest new money for new spending, they are going to want at least a meagre 5% return for the risk of investing in shares.

    Though if the above calls came true, what would actually happen is shareholders would sell on mass and the company would colapse.

  55. greenfly – we were talking about the people who rort the system – THEY could probably rort the new system as well.

    You could talk about olympic medalists – THEY are really good sportswomen and men.

    Talk about any group, and decribe what THEY do.

    Clearly you susbscribe to PC gone mad if you are offended by the word THEY.

  56. Businesses can’t find workers because they want to pay such piddling amounts of money that people spend more on transport to work and living than the job offers. Employers who pay anywhere near decent rates do not have a problem. Taypayers are supporting employers such as McDonalds and fruit farmers by paying benefits to their workers so they can afford to work for these businesses without starving.
    We do not have wage parity with Australia because of the meanness of spirit which says that a labourer is not worthy of their hire. Successive Governments of all stripes have done their best to remove jobs for New Zealanders, drive down wages and drive up unemployment.
    Now they propose to blame the victims. What about the cronyism which removed billions of dollars in the 80’s. After the Douglas Government to Labours eternal shame. NACT now wants to repeat the same disaster, but Labour did little to reverse it when they had the chance.

  57. Could they wear a badge of some kind, to help us identify them?
    (sometimes they pose as us you know! The buggers!)
    Perhaps something sewn onto their clothes.
    A small star?

  58. Sapient – every system is rorted – none more so than the current one.

    The point is there would be a substantial improvement for some children.

    And that’s a lot better than the current situation.

    Your statement that it’s not going to work, is like saying some people speed, so speed limits don’t work.

    It might be the sort of thing that could be trialed on a small scale.

  59. Photonz,

    There is no need for the food to be on-sold. It is a simple currency conversion, in effect.

    Take for example, credit cards. One cannot take money out on them generally and there are an array of deliberate barriers to stop such but many food stores will simply say that you purchased more than you actually did and will give you cash back. Alternatively, one can buy items and then return them. The same could be done with any card system. $1 worth of stamps for $0.8 worth of currency. Both profit.

    So, unless you put a large amount of funds into policing it all or limit it such that it is effectively a oligopoly, its not going to work. One could limit it to the main supermarkets and petrol stations but then that is a massive subsidy to them, it allows them to increase prices even more, and they tend to be far more expensive than the more varied specialist shops where someone who is struggling with cash really should shop.

    This is another one of those topics that we have discussed extensively in years past.

  60. Samiam says “Do I want ‘nanny state’ in those cases?
    HELL YES!

    We had this exact discussion last night. As someone who hates the nanny state, and has spoken out against it in the past, I actually came to the conclusion that in discfuntional families it may be the only hope of pulling children from the abyss.

    A smart card sounds like it might have potential. There will still be a range of choices for those on a smart card system, but they will all be good choices.

    Chances to scam the system will be limited – i.e. they won’t be able to onsell electricity, and I can’t see a massive market for selling second hand food.

  61. Valis

    Still waiting for an intelligent question.
    ==========
    The claims made in The Spirit Level are based on correlation: equality and a host of “social indicators” (I think that’s the word). I’m interested in the dynamics of equality and photonz referred to this type of situation:
    .
    “However the nurses said it’s been tried already but a common problem is the parent(s) concerned seldom bothered getting out of bed to take their children to daycare. ”

    Assuming a hard core, will equality measures help with this group. If so how?

  62. I’ll be forever wary now of any politician’s claim that he ‘has his hands full’ (or that his hands are tied for that matter).

  63. “However the nurses said it’s been tried already but a common problem is the parent(s) concerned seldom bothered getting out of bed to take their children to daycare. ”
    —-
    How will a more equal society (Spirit Level) fix that?
    .
    “these people don’t see part of the good side of life” (Sue Bradford discussing the Kahui case)?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 (-1)
    ========
    Not worth an intelligent answer?

  64. “However the nurses said it’s been tried already but a common problem is the parent(s) concerned seldom bothered getting out of bed to take their children to daycare. ”
    —-
    How will a more equal society (Spirit Level) fix that?
    .
    “these people don’t see part of the good side of life” (Sue Bradford discussing the Kahui case)?

  65. Cards and vouchers and the goods they provide would become tradable in a black market sub culture. If you think you could out wit people who have already honed their skills in this area, you haven’t thought very deeply. Attempts to prevent trading/transferring of products and services would require some pretty oppressive systems, Super-Nanny Sam!

  66. The card could work given modern data systems. Everything these days is bar coded/RFID, as are the retailers selling the goods. Unlike geenfly’s comment “dictate the details of what a beneficiary spends his/her money on”
    Certain bar codes would dictate what they CAN’T spend MY money on. I have a fuel card, it’s loaded such that I can buy fuel and oil, that’s all. It’s great.
    You say that there are ways around any system, sure there are, but the onus goes on the retailer then…if any get caught breaking the rules by supplying different goods to those scanned, they get the ‘red card’ and are off the system.
    Photonz scenario
    – enough money for cigarettes
    – enough money for sky tv
    – enough money for large flat screen tv
    – enough money foa a pretty good car
    – enough money for plenty of booze
    – enough money for lots of dogs
    – NOT enough money for childs healthcare or medicine, or proper food.

    – enough time to spend the day watching movies or tv
    – NOT enough time to look after children
    – NOT enough time to clean the house
    is sadly too often true, as BJ says due to ‘poverty of wisdom’
    Do I want ‘nanny state’ in those cases?
    HELL YES!

  67. bjchip – you use the term “parent’s poverty of wisdom” – you’ve hit the nail on the head with that.

    john-ston – we could be onto something – a smart credit / debit card that only works for certain goods and services.

  68. Talked about this tonight at a social function with a group of public health nurses – dealing with the sharp end of it all. Unfortunately a number of them are so sick of bashing their heads against a brick wall and want to transfer.

    As they put it, they are doing the job so they can make a difference, and when you put so much effort into the children of the awful families they deal with, and can see no change, then the massive effort and resources put in are effectively pointless.

    I had an idea of free day care for these people so they can rid themselves of their burden (their children) and the children can at least spend part of their day in a more normal caring healthy educational environment.

    However the nurses said it’s been tried already but a common problem is the parent(s) concerned seldom bothered getting out of bed to take their children to daycare.

    As they said – if the parents just don’t care, then it’s almost impossible to help the children short of removing them from the home.

    What’s the solution – I’m not sure, but how about a much lower benefit with the addition of a credit card that only works for child care, fruit and vegetables, health care etc.

    As much as I hate nanny state, it’s possibly the only way some children will get the basic neccessities they need.

  69. “If the long term unemployed were a big problem – why was the total number unemployed on the benefit down to only 30,000 not so long ago and some of them were there only short-term?”

    They were not the big problem statistically, they are a problem because these are the people who have become welfare dependent – stuck on benefits for sometimes years at a time and not able to get employment.

    “How should the targeted money be delivered? Some kind of debit card?”

    Samiam, there is no reason why something like that could not be linked to the current WINZ cards that are given out for emergency food aid. I am personally in favour of such a move, since I don’t think that we as taxpayers would be in favour of our money being spent in items such as cigarettes or alcohol over and above food for the children or clothing.

    In terms of Julie’s comment, that is exactly the right attitude, and it shows that with a little hard work and sacrifice, one can survive on a benefit.

  70. We’ve been over this before, and more than once.

    The goal here has nothing to do with punishing anyone, but with making sure that children do not suffer for their parent’s poverty of wisdom, and that support for children is provided in an even-handed manner, all children getting as equal a chance in life as we can arrange.

    So providing money for any purpose would have to be a poor second to any other provisions we can make.

    Breakfast and Lunch, Medical treatment, School Uniforms, School itself. There is no need for money to change hands. Heat and Power, Housing, these get more difficult. Some kids have family homes, some are less fortunate in their choice of parents. The parent of a child needs enough actual money to buy birthday and christmas presents, lollies and ice-cream, and to look like a parent (source of good things) to the child. That is a lot less money than is handed around… and the notion of having additional children in order to get more money has to be clearly unworkable, as it currently is not. Any policy that fails that test is simply wrong.

    I look at our policy and it hands out money to people who are NOT children. Most governments and social welfare agencies do exactly that, as it is the easiest way to do it. It is also an invitation to multiple generations of continuing trouble. Photonz often appears mean-spirited, but there IS a problem with handing out money.

    Sapient is of course, correct in that the card system and food-stamp system also fail. Anything that relies on a parent who is irresponsible to start with, to deliver anything like a fair upbringing for their child, is going to fail far too many children. No card, no credit, no money… provide the thing itself. Children’s size. Directly. Provide enough and provide it to every child without consideration of parental situation. The benefits in terms of money are cut back as are the tax rebates.

    respectfully
    BJ

  71. Should the taxpayers dictate the details of what a beneficiary spends his/her money on Nanny Sam?

  72. Samiam,

    I like it in principle but in practice it is almost entirely ineffective. People just make a purchase but dont get the item. Incidently, there is a ‘criminal minds’ on at the moment that, from memory, touches on how this happens with stamps in the US.

  73. Don’t like the card idea at all Sam, nor do I like the concept of ‘non-permitted’ things.
    Everything is permitted but not everything should be readily available nor should it be ‘actively promoted’. Imho :-)

  74. Julie – great attitude. Clearly that will be a good role model for your kid(s) (and the people I was talking about could learn a lot from you).

    Graham – It’s not just one or two families. They spent the whole day going around families like this. They will spend a day next week doing the same thing with another set of similar families, and the following week, and the following week etc.

    You can try to minimise the problem all you like, but it won’t actually minimise the problem.

    Look at the difference in home environment for children between Julie above, and the houses I describe. And the difference is all because of attitude – giving children top priority instead of last.

  75. What’s the forum’s opinion on some means by which welfare money can’t be spent on bad things (smokes, booze, pokies etc)?
    What should the non permitted things be? (fat, sugar?)
    How should the targeted money be delivered? Some kind of debit card?

  76. Janine, Is your daughter pro-active about finding work? Applying for jobs with dozens of others is not the way to go.

    Doorknocking, and dropping off a CV shows an employer one of the most important things – that you are keen to work, and have a good attitude – it puts you ahead of any que. Something like 75% of jobs are never advertised.

    Also advertising, sorting CVs and doing interviews is a total pain in the …. for most employers – it is expensive and very time consuming, and at the end of it, you rely on CV and interview information of which nearly half of appplicants admit to exagerating or giving outright false claims.

    Employing someone is a very big risk, especially for small employers. Employ the wrong person, and it can put your whole business at risk, and it may be very hard and expensive to let them go.

    From many employers perspectives, attitude is probably the most important thing – even more so than skills or experience.

    Doorknock, show you are keen, and your daughter is much more likely to get results without having to even go through interviews with lots of competition.

    I have a number of neices and nephews who get work all the time like that. If you doornock 20 places a week, in a month you’ll have shown over 80 employers that you’re keen for work. That number would take seven years if you were applying once a month for a job.

  77. A wide of comments, talking past each other and accusations flying. The original point was the nature of the two day forum, who was invited, who spoke….
    From the persepctive of colleagues who attended the people from communities around the coutry (main urban centres to small provincal places) felt “talked to” not talked with or part of a discussion process as to solutions to poverty or the welfare mess we have.
    It seems decisions may have been made and that will lead to greater poverty and less than lawful responses as people survive.
    Of course dysfunction exists, and I think photonz1 ended up identifying one client/family for eachj of two health workers, which while deeply horrific for the children involved hardly puts it on epidemic scales.
    Interestingly WHO reports into child poverty, health status findings across populations all indicate the worse the income disparity the worse the statistics.
    And among the child poverty statistics, I noted the USA significantly worse than NZ – yet the model NACT is headed in is more like the US than the Scandanvian nations who are well below 15% (NZ’s level)… makes you think, eh!….Makes me scared actually.
    And as for benefit rights; if b’crats were unbiased and understood the Social Security Act beneficiaries would not need people arguing for their full and correct entitlement. Just one stat from MSD (W&I) – about 60% receive the on-going hardship assistance of those MSD deem to be entitled. That is, 40% are missing out on their lawful entitlements.

  78. I’m on the DPB and usually discussions and forums surrounding benefits make me feel worse but finally I saw a comment that made me feel a bit better…

    I agree with photonz1 that many negative social issues are the result of ill-educated lifestyle choices.

    – enough money for cigarettes (not me)
    – enough money for sky tv (not me)
    – enough money for large flat screen tv (only a 20 inch)
    – enough money foa a pretty good car (a 95 toyota)
    – enough money for plenty of booze (not worth the hangovers)
    – enough money for lots of dogs (cat died last year and I chose not to replace my pet because I thought it was a bit irresponsible to bring new costs into my life)
    – NOT enough money for childs healthcare or medicine, or proper food. (am doing OK with these)
    – enough time to spend the day watching movies or tv (watch lots of kids movies with my little one)
    – NOT enough time to look after children (yes I can)
    – NOT enough time to clean the house (yes I can)

    I am a firm believer in education. I would love to see our kids leave school with real life skills… cooking, budgeting and parenting skills.

    Even though my little one can’t read yet I have already decided on our family rules to cover most values and ethics…

    Respect Yourself. Respect Others. Respect Property.

    Good luck to all the other beneficiaries out there.

  79. Of course there are terrible families – they exist in all countries – who don’t prioritise their children; of course simply throwing more money at them will not solve the problem. I fail to see, though, how reducing money for all beneficiaries improves that situation.

    More money for social workers perhaps. Meanwhile, making life harder for people who, for whatever reason, already find it hard doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

    If you want everyone to work, then give them the tools to do so: education (oh, right, that is being cut back…) access to jobs – hundredes of civil servants out there competing for jobs won’t make that easier.

    Bennett wants sickness and invalid beneficiaries to work – well, most of them would LOVE to find a job, but it is even harder to find work if you have an illness or a disability. And, yes, there are some people who probably take advantage of that too – but why should that reflect on the genuine ones? My daughter asked her case worker to help her find work, signed up for Willing Workers – the result? Absolutely nothing! She is literate, intelligent, has some skills, can drive a car – but she cannot get work. This doesn’t mean she does nothing – she does, but it is uncertain, irregular and not enough to live on without the benefit.

    This whole approach is 19th century thinking – read your Dickens and weep.

  80. The irony of this focus on long term unemployment is that the welfare issue is actually the increase in number on benefits from 2% in 1966 to 12%.

    When we had recent “full employment” – there were only a total number 30,000 on the UB and yet there were still close to 10 times this number on benefits. There were 150,000 on the IB and SB and 100,000 on the DPB. Given not all the unemployed on benefits are long term and the total was only 30,000 this fact is salient. Of that number, many were young without children and with WFF and the minimum wage increases there were huge incentives for men with a partner and children on the UB to find work – thus there are very few families on a benefit are on the UB when we create jobs.

  81. johnston

    If the long term unemployed were a big problem – why was the total number unemployed on the benefit down to only 30,000 not so long ago and some of them were there only short-term? The availability of jobs and the impact of WFF even had the DPB numbers coming down. It’s only when the rate gets down to 3 and 4% that such movement from DPB and the long term on the UB into work is really happening.

    Yes a factor is women who cannot get the benefit, but who are looking for work (and don’t seek W and I help by registering, where others do because they can access a benefit).

    photonz, You think attacking the long term unemployed is the way to get employers to hire them over other job applicants? The long term unemployed rarely get to the interview stage, employers screen them out. It’s only when unemployment drops they get interviews. Progress is a positive development and occurs from constructive engagement.

  82. SPC – you seem to have a relentless sttitude that it’s always everyone elses fault. And there’s absolutely no fault whatsoever on long term unemployed.

    That’s exactly the sort of attitude that make people unemployable.

    The problem will never be solved if people continue to refuse to take even the slightest responsibility for themselves.

  83. “This will result in small groups of people unemployed for longer periods – those left as the residual unemployed when we have full employment. This is what has happened since the 1980’s end to full employment.”

    SPC, don’t forget that prior to the mid 1980s, unemployment figures were based on the registered unemployed – since the mid 1980s, a labour force survey has been done to determine the number of unemployed. A lot of your short term unemployed do not become registered unemployed because they find their jobs within a short period of losing their prior job. Therefore when you have unemployment of 4 to 5%, you are in a pretty good state since the vast majority of the unemployed are only going to be so for a few months.

    The bigger problem is the long term unemployed and that needs to be addressed.

  84. photonz , there was and often is a problem filling skilled worker jobs – this is always the case in health and medicine. We import migrants to cover this, employers simply cite a shortage of local skilled workers and seek to import staff.

    You were inferring that jobs were going unfilled because unskilled workers on welfare would not do the work. Not so, sure there are vacancies, there always are – but eventually staff are found. The only case of bringing in outside workers for unskilled work was seasonal.

    Rising unemployment (and a perceived need for a reserve pool of labour for flexibility and to “fight inflation”) was not a result of working women … but the change to a market economy and free trade.

  85. Well given no other country has a flat rate GST on food (but always a lower rate or an exemption) and the child poverty figures within the OECD are based on being under half the medican income of the country – without any further quantification for the impact of such as regressive tax on food … I am going to guess a different measure of child poverty is going to show a different result and less fortunate than the one cited.

  86. SPC – you asked to see “…links to the “couple of years when there were regular news reports of businesses struggling to get workers.”

    And said of my claim that busineeses couldn’t get workers “What don’t you understand about how wrong you were with your earlier claim? ”

    I provide a link that exactly backs up my claim that jobs weren’t filled.

    Your earlier claim of full employment in the 80s conveniently forgets that vastly larger proportion of females didn’t work in those days. There were far more stay at home mothers.

  87. photonz – the RB Governor does push up the OCR when there’s inflation being driven up by wage demands.

    You say the opposite has happened. You say this is so because there were high wage increases in 2007 and he reduced the OCR afterwards by 4% between Aug 2007 and Feb 2008. Well you have the dates wrong.

    There have been other factors such as the rise and fall of oil and food prices on the total CPI (which can outweigh wage increases in impact) and rising home values. You should perhaps do a timeline of when unemployment reached its lowest levels, relative to the CPI rate, the rise and then fall of the OCR and when our recession began caused by the high OCR AND before the GFC and plot the impact of the GFC on the figures.

  88. photonz the story was called “War for Talent”. Not a search for unskiled long term unemployed workers as staff. The key words are “STRUGGLING” (MY CAPITALS OK) to find unskilled workers”, and 41% CAN’T get skilled staff. They would “struggle” to find the sort of employee they would have found a few years earlier and preferred. So they would have to go to Work & Income for staff-those unemployed.

    “the largest number of vacancies is for sales assistants.” I suppose workers were leaving for better paid jobs …

    “In Southland, where the unemployment rate is just 2.4%, the hottest demand is for farm workers.” Dairy boom, no surprise – they needed people to move in from elsewhere. pushing up housing values in the end.

    “And there’s a quote from a construction company so desperate they’re employing people with positive drug tests.” Amongst the underclass bludgers on dope there were those who only needed a chance to work …

  89. Photon

    Sweden also has a 57% top rate of tax and has managed to tweak tax and benefits so that marginal tax as people earn more, is a monotonically increasing function. Something that WFF was supposed to help here but couldn’t… because we’re too effing stuck on catering to the wealthy and racing to the bottom at the expense of our kids.

    BJ

  90. photonz, is there any other OECD country with a flat rate GST on all things including all food? Does not seem so …

  91. Quotes from the Listener 2007 – Main Cover Story – War for Talent

    “A fifth of companies are struggling to find unskilled workers, and 41% can’t get skilled staff, according to the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research’s quarterly survey of business opinion.”

    “In some sectors (truck drivers, engineers, mid-level accountants and lawyers, and qualified childcare workers, among others), there’s virtually nil unemployment. The crunch is being felt across the board, not just for skilled workers: according to the Labour Department’s Job Vacancy Monitor, the largest number of vacancies is for sales assistants. In Southland, where the unemployment rate is just 2.4%, the hottest demand is for farm workers. ”

    And there’s a quote from a construction company so desperate they’re employing people with positive drug tests.

    See
    http://www.listener.co.nz/issue/3527/features/10132/the_war_for_talent.html

    SPC – So much for your theory that when there’s high wage inflation the reserve bank puts interest rates up. Exactly the OPPOSITE happened.

    The highest wage increases in decades coincided with the steepest FALL in interst rates in over a decade.

    Over the period of the Listener story (Dec 07), interest rates fell a massive 4% (Aug 07 to Feb 08)

  92. “unemployment movement”
    “beneficiary rights”

    Now someone needs to explain these to me…

    Surely the only movement you need is to look for a job and the only right the freedom of movement to do so…

  93. SPC – Finland has 22% gst, with 17% for non restaurant food, recently dropped to 12%, Sweden 12% for food, and 25% for most other things including restaurant food, Iceland 7% for food and 25.5% for most other things, Norway has just put VAT up from 13% to 14% on food, with 25% on restaurant food and most other things.

    It’s pretty simple to find the info – try here
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value_added_tax
    and here
    http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Trade-and-Economic-Relations/0-Tariff-and-tax-information.php

  94. jc2,

    It’s not hard to see “bludging” is not the welfare problem – maintaining a permanent level of unemployment will result in long term beneficiaries, some will make it a choice and survive intact on a lower level of income than the rest of us, some will cope because they have to but really struggle with it and some will self-destruct and cause havoc. The first group may the least of the problem and required in the system in any case.

    12% are on benefits about 1/3rd – 4% – for more than 4 years. Some will be IB, some SB, some DPB – they are on benefits longer than those on the UB. The numbers of those on the UB for more than 4 years is way below 1/3rd.

  95. photonz

    “You are now talking of bludgers after previsouly saying there were none.”

    If so, then you can show where I said there were no bludgers. But you cannot. I did say bludgers were not the welfare issue.

  96. SPC,

    I think I understand what you meant by your ‘net zero cost’ argument. I think you meant that, after we’d paid the costs of maintaining some specified rate of structural unemployment for labour market flexibility, anyone who was unemployed from choice was invisible inside that rate, and caused no additional cost. It’s a fairly sophisticated argument, so if it didn’t come across clearly the first time, I’m not surprised.

  97. I wrote
    “Yes of course we are the only nation in the OECD with GST on food and we have it right and everyone else has it wrong .. We have the child poverty and they do not.”

    My intended meaning clearly being
    “Yes of course we are the only nation in the OECD with GST on (ALL) food and we have it right and everyone else has it wrong .. We have the (GREATER) child poverty and they do not.”

    When you chose to misrepresent my position by saying I was claiming there was NO child poverty in the rest of the OECD I added in the word greater to point out the bleeding obvious … and then you nit-pick on this and claim it is my misrepresentation of the earlier post. Truly devious and cynical photonz.

  98. Hi All,

    Photonz1, thanks for the link: http://stats.oecd.org/childwellbeing/

    Everyone else, it takes a long time to load, and then you have to click on the “Children in po^” column, to sort it. Lots of other data is available that I don’t understand.

    It shows that we’re worse than the UK and the OECD average, and that the Slovak Republic is doing surprisingly well, compared to (say) Poland.

  99. SPC – you keep contradicting yourself.

    You are now talking of bludgers after previsouly saying there were none.

    You are now talking of child poverty in other OECD countries, after previously saying there was none.

  100. photonz would you please link your claim that OECD Countries with sales tax on food include “Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UK (some food), Portugal, Poland, Norway, Luxembourg, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Germany, France, Finland, Czech republic, Cyprus, Canada, Belgium, and Austria.”

    We have GST on (all) food, do these countries have sales taxes/VAT on (all) food?

  101. What is the “underclass” you refer to photonz – do you refer to families or individuals? Working class income families or just beneficiary families, do you think parenting is linked to source of income … ? In your own words … which so far has been a parroting of well-known stereotypes.

  102. samuela – at least you can see that there is a problem, unlike head-in-the-sand SPC.

    SPC is even falsifying their own quotes
    “So I wrote “we have the (greater) child poverty and they don’t.”

    No you didn’t.

    You wtote (4.05pm)
    “We have the child poverty and they do not.”

    Your previous sentence was also factually incorrect –
    “Yes of course we are the only nation in the OECD with GST on food and we have it right and everyone else has it wrong”

    OECD Countries with sales tax on food include Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UK (some food), Portugal, Poland, Norway, Luxembourg, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Germany, France, Finland, Czech republic, Cyprus, Canada, Belgium, and Austria.

  103. Oh photonz – do you know what the Reserve Bank Governor, does when he sees inflationary pressures building as we reach the “virtual full employment” rate of 3%.. you really don’t …

    The number of those bludgers has been less than the rate of unemployment for the last 20 years – regardless of how long they stay on the dole they don’t add to the cost of carrying unemployment. It’s funny how the number of “bludgers” gets lower and lower when the level of unemployment falls and they get offered work. Want to really end “bludging”, support unemployment falling below 3% and allowing a higher level of wage inflation – it’s the only way we can catch up to Oz in wages.

  104. photonz

    I am a little surprised that only half the OECD had better child poverty statistics.

    But the method they use confuses things. They use a number of categories, not just “Material well-being” (poverty assessed as half the median income and we have low median income compared to most) and they do not assess cost of necessities like food in their method – thus exclude the impact of GST. We are lower than middle on material well-being (and that is as I said without any factoring in of GST on food). There is also Housing and Environment, Educational well-being, Health and Safety, Risk Behaviours and Quality of School life.

  105. SPC says ” if those people did not exist someone else would be unemployed in their place.”

    So what do the govt policy analyst do if too many people are employed – order private businesses to start sacking people ?

    SPC “Thus the net cost of bludgers is zero”. Bizarre comment

    Of course I’m being misrepresented. Philip starts telling me what my views beleifs are of things I haven’t even talked about.

    I’m talking about a serious problem area – the underclass – then you and Philip falsely attribute my comments as applying to all unemployed, or all poor.

  106. When we had a focus on full employment, we had only 2% on welfare. As soon as 3% unemployment is seen as full employment, then unemployment will go over 6% in a recession (and up to 10% – 1990’s). This will result in small groups of people unemployed for longer periods – those left as the residual unemployed when we have full employment. This is what has happened since the 1980’s end to full employment. People then have to cope with life on a low benefit income long-term. This economic hardship ascerbates problems in family life and couples separate. Through the 90’s school leavers faced the prospect of going onto the dole (apprenticeships being cancelled) as there were more skilled workers on welfare ready to take any jobs available. This left others without working partners and on the DPB, rather than the dole. They called this inter-generational welfare dependency …

  107. jc2 – here is the OECD link you asked for that shows the comment by SPC “We have the child poverty and they do not” is total rubbish

    http://stats.oecd.org/childwellbeing/

    Click on column 2 and you see OECD child poverty rates as a percentage –

    NZ – 15%
    Canada 15.1%
    Italy 15.5%
    Ireland 16.3%
    Germany 16.3%
    Portugal 16.6%
    Spain 17.3%
    USA 20.6%
    Poland 21.5%
    Mexico 22.2%
    Turkey 24.6%

    And above 10% includes Belguim, UK, Czech Republic, South Korea, Slovak Republc, Netherlands, Australia, Luxembourg, Greece and Japan.

  108. photonz

    Do you have any evidence that the source of income determines parents puting children first and that therefore wherever a parent gets a jobs all family problems go away?

    Your anecdotal evidence, supplied second hand by someone else, is dubious, household circumstance is set by past income as much as present source of income and health problems occur in working families etc.

  109. photonz

    And you wrote this
    “You talk other total nonsense as well – like we have child poverty and the rest of the OECD does not. What utter rubbish.”

    We were debating the value of taking GST off food, placing GST on food
    is unique to New Zealand and we have significant child poverty problems -greater than elsewhere in the OECD. Having GST on food is one contributing cause.

    So I wrote “we have the (greater) child poverty and they don’t.”

    You claim
    “according to the OECD we have LESS % of children in poor homes than Germany, USA, Canada, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain….”

    Provide a link, and do better than you did on “citing seasonal work”.

  110. The people Photonz are referring to do actually exist in significant numbers. They have been referred to by various names in the past, such as the “undeserving poor”, “lumpenproletariat”, and now most commonly as simply the “underclass”.

    I don’t know how to solve many of the problems this underclass face. I do know however that they are used by the right to justify much broader attacks on working people in general. While those on the right are screaming about how “welfare bludgers” are spending tax payers hard earned money on smokes, the pokies and grog while their children go hungry, they are simultaneously attacking low paid working people (and often not so low paid workers); but they don’t want us to see that. Instead they focus on the “undeserving poor” to highlight why the policies they advocate are necessary.

  111. photonz

    For example you wrote this
    And just to prove you are in fairyland, you say….quote
    “Thus the net cost of bludgers is zero”. (after claiming such people don’t exist).

    You either did not understand what I wrote – and it was quite clear, perhaps you just crack under questioning … and feel the need to just make stuff up.

    I said the number of people that would fit into any related category would be less than the permanent pool of unemployed that is kept by economic policy settings. So there is no net cost … if those people did not exist someone else would be unemployed in their place.

  112. photonz

    I note you are claim you are being misrepresented, when you are not, and then move to deliberately misrepresenting my opinions. So I will presume this was a deliberate move on your part. Perhaps you just don’t like your bigotry/beliefs being questioned.

    philip explained why debating with you would not change your opinions, but I am still going to challenge you to provide evidence and question your assumptions.

  113. Philip Says:
    My understanding of human nature is that none of us make fully rational choices about anything – certainly not to ‘make a lifestyle choice to live on a benefit’(even if it were actually possible!!). There are so many influences on our choice-making, many of which we are unaware of.
    ===
    well this comes close?:

    don’t know how relative this is..but i can’t help but bring this issue back to the personal..

    in that i have two children..to two mothers..

    thru bad management..(or whatever)..both of these children were conceived in the fag-end of relationships..

    ..in the first case..i was a rabid junkie at the time..

    ..all i know is that in both cases..both mothers would in many eyes..have been quite within their ‘rights’..to have had abortions..

    i am just forever grateful to them both for not doing that..

    and had they done that..

    ..neither of my beautiful children would be here..

    (and a western springs soccer team would be nowhere near as strong in defence..)

    so..y know..!

    life is messy/imperfect.
    =====
    I wonder what choice that person would have made if there was no dpb, state house etc?

  114. photonz – stop wriggling on the hook you made for yourself.

    You wrote this at 9.33am
    SPC “The only bsuinesses struggling for workers were seasonal ones.”
    photonz “Clearly you must have been out of the country for a couple of years when there were regular news reports of businesses struggling to get workers.”

    Now you write
    photonz “You completely dismiss known facts, like for a number of years businesses have been unable to find workers. That’s the why orchards and vineyards have had had to apply to immigration to bring workers all the way from Vanuatu.”

    Only being able to cite seasonal workers just means you had to accept what I wrote was true.

  115. bjchip – You managed fine with selective gst returns. Does that mean you’ve actually had to do selective gst returns yourself?

    Or you merely happened to live in a country where other people had the nightmare of selective returns (and you coped fine because there was zero effect on you)

    I’ve been to Australia and UK this year, and in both places there was discussions in the media about rediculous situations with selective gst and vat – like the same item having tax added or not depending on if it was sold hot or cold.

    And the nighttmare of businesses having a large grocery bill and having to sort out which of hundreds of items had which tax rates.

    As for the people against it all being greedy and earning vast amounts of money and fiddling the books – obviously a gross and false generalisation. Chip on your shoulder perhaps, bjchip?

  116. Photonz

    I come from a place with selective sales tax – otherwise known as GST. We managed just fine thanks, even before there were computers involved.

    One has to wonder who is promoting this particular untruth, but it doesn’t really matter. It all boils down to a self-justification for people who are making vast amounts of money, to keep all of it. Cut education funding, freeze ACC, fiddle the books so that you can cut tax rates but don’t account for inflation or add brackets or do any of the other things that might actually make it more fair.

    On current form the National party is the enemy of every single person earning less than about 50K whether this is recognized or not… and isn’t doing folks in the 50-100K realm any favors. Their real constituency is the “haves and have mores” as Dubya so aptly put it, and their greatest success is in fooling half the people into voting them into office. Though it is hard to see how they could have failed with Labour and Winston First as first line opponents.

    BJ

  117. photonz1:

    Selective GST is a really stupid idea.

    Yes and no. I’d like a system where the difference is per-shop, depending on the wealth in the area (Stats already has per-meshblock data) and the things the shop sells (I’d like: mostly food; not tobacco, alcohol or gambling). Somebody in a meeting with me yesterday is not convinced by the Auckland study, and thinks supermarkets will take per-item GST as a profit opportunity. Australia has a system where their IRD connects GST rates to product barcodes. Specifically regarding restaurants, I suspect that very little of what they sell would qualify as ‘fresh fruit and vegetables’, which is one of the proposals.

    There seems to be an incredible effort here to pretend there is no problem.

    I accept that there’s a problem somewhere in the cycle that includes both intergenerational poverty and worklessness. I just haven’t seen a proposal that’s currently live that I think will make it better.

    According to the OECD we have LESS % of children in poor homes than Germany, USA, Canada, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain….

    Link please.

    You completely dismiss known facts, like for a number of years businesses have been unable to find workers. That’s the why orchards and vineyards have had had to apply to immigration to bring workers all the way from Vanuatu.

    That’s seasonal work. It’s been covered.

  118. philip – you make sweeping generalisations about beliefs on unemployed, poor, laziness, dishonesty, including such a gross generalisation as “‘the poor choose to be that way and could change if they wanted to’ then FALSELY state they are my beliefs –

    – you are doing EXACTLY what you are complaining about.

    You should take you own advice.

    And read what I actually said – instead of taking a set of preset gross generalisations and falsely stating they are my beliefs.

  119. SPC – again you misrepresent what I say. I did not say that unemployed don’t seek work. Such an all encompassing statement would be absurd.

    Just as absurd as thinking ALL unemployed work hard to find work.

    You completely dismiss known facts, like for a number of years businesses have been unable to find workers. That’s the why orchards and vineyards have had had to apply to immigration to bring workers all the way from Vanuatu.

    And just to prove you are in fairyland, you say….quote
    “Thus the net cost of bludgers is zero”. (after claiming such people don’t exist)

    You talk other total nonsense as well – like we have child poverty and the rest of the OECD does not. What utter rubbish.

    According to the OECD we have LESS % of children in poor homes than Germany, USA, Canada, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain….

    And the children living in poverty in the houses I’m talking about, aren’t in poverty because there’s not enough money – it’s because instead prioritising spending on children, food and healthcare, top priorities are sky tv, big screen tv, car, cigarettes, alcohol, and junk food. Children are the lowest priority.

  120. I’ve been listening to views like those of photonz all my working life – which has been largely spent with the people he judges so harshly. His judgements are basically based on a certain set of beliefs about human nature, and on anecdotal evidence chosen to support those beliefs. These beliefs have been around a very long time, and include ideas like ‘the poor choose to be that way and could change if they wanted to’. The holders of such beliefs are not available for the rationality being used by SPC. They fail to see that the human traits of laziness, carelessness, ignorance, profligacy, dishonesty, etc. occur at all levels of society. They believe instead that these are the attributes of the poor, and we encourage them by making it too easy to get benefits.

    My understanding of human nature is that none of us make fully rational choices about anything – certainly not to ‘make a lifestyle choice to live on a benefit'(even if it were actually possible!!). There are so many influences on our choice-making, many of which we are unaware of.

    A suggestion to you, photonz…..have an honest look at your beliefs about human nature and see what they’re based on.

  121. photonz

    The inequality problem is inter-generational, in terms of providing the environment necessary for children to do well. Many working families have problems, the income source is not the issue.

    So this problem is not even directly linked to the benefit system itself let alone the UB part of it.

    However there are problems with children being raised on the DPB – poverty. And also SB and IB also for some years – poverty. Families on low incomes for years have difficulties. Most of the people on the UB who have children are on the benefit for only short periods.

  122. photonz – are you just unable to understand the most basic concepts of human decency – you cannot cut back a temporary rate benefit payment without creating extreme poverty. Anything less than a temporary rate (which is lower than a long term living allowance) means the person is unable to afford to meet basic living costs.

    You presume that there is some vast unaffordable problem here and you do not even know the number of long term unemployed who even have partners and children. The numbers of long term unemployed is less than the numbers kept unemployed as government policy tool (seen as about 3%). Thus the net cost of bludgers is zero.

  123. photonz, you earlier claimed that there were jobs that were not filled. If that is the case Work and Income would refer the unemployed to those jobs. And then they would be offered work. If they refused, they would lose the dole. What don’t you understand about how wrong you were with your earlier claim?

    Now you persist with your bigotry filled attack with the claim that the unemployed don’t seek work, so don’t get job offers. In actuality, the recently unemployed are preferred to those long term unemployed – not for the reasons you describe, but because they have recent work experience.

    Yes of course we are the only nation in the OECD with GST on food and we have it right and everyone else has it wrong .. We have the child poverty and they do not.

  124. SPC says “No one who rejects job offers gets the dole.”

    1/ How many people does this actually happen to?
    2/ If you don’t apply for a job, or have a record of not giving a sh!t, or show you’re not really motovated to work, you’ll never get an offer in the first place.

    Selective GST is a really stupid idea. It won’t change some peoples diet of chips and coke. It means New Zealanders will end up paying MORE tax to make up the gst lost from tourists. It will be a nightmare to administer, and you’ll end up with the bizarre situation like in UK where the same products falls into taxed or non taxed because of it’s status – i.e. cold pie is vat free and but the same pie has to have tax added if it’s heated.

    A restaurant would have to itemise thousands of products into gst and non gst. How much gst does it claim gst back on a meal when some of ingredients had gst on them, and some do not?

    The call to drop gst on some products is usually made by people who have never in their life had to do a gst return. It would result in an incredible amount of ADDITIONAL work to collect LESS tax.

    If you actually read what I say, instread of making assumptions (wrongly) you’ll see I asked a question.

    Should someone who needs a temporary benefit while they are out of work get the same as someone who chooses to bludge on the dole as a lifestyle, and never tries to get work?

    There seems to be an incredible effort here to pretend there is no problem. Talk about head in the sand – you’ve just about completely buried yourselves.

  125. Maybe photonz will come out and declare his support for Labour’s idea for taking GST off fruit and vegetables. But I suspect he will find some reason not to do so …

  126. What would you like to see photonz – decision making over feeding children taken out of the hands of parents and given to the State?

  127. Photonz I wonder at the discriminatory PR (incitement to love our fellow humanity).

    “it’s obvious that there’s a problem group of unemployed who would rAther bludge than work.” “Is it cheaper to keep these sorts of people the dole than potentially cause damage in someones business,
    and if so, should they get the same level of support people who are genuinely looking for work?”

    No one who rejects job offers gets the dole. So you concede that sometimes when the long term unemployed seek work employers could reject them and claim they cannot find (suitable)staff and you want to punish them for this by cutting their support level. The dole is set at a level for a temporary period between jobs, the IB is set at a much higher rate as it is required for a longer time, proposing cutting back the rate of the dole (after 1991 cuts and its continuing fall in real terms as the average rate CPI is often less than the actual increase in necessities costs) for those on it long term is mean and nasty.

  128. greenfly – re proper food.

    Easier to describe what it’s not – it’s not feeding babies and toddlers a diet that consists of nothing of any nutritional value (i.e. primarily cheesels and coke) leading to third world type nutritional deficiencies, diabetes, rotten teeth etc in young children and babies (some of the reasons many of the kids were on the risk list and getting visits)

  129. photonz

    You seem to be confusing the long term unemployed on the UB and what you call dysfunctional families (many on the DPB are not work-tested). Do you even know how many of the long term unemployed have partners and children to provide for? I doubt it, real evidence is not useful propaganda is it?

    you wrote “SPC seems to be in denial that there’s a hard core problem group who don’t have the slightest interest in working. Their legacy is to leave the country another broken dysfunctional generation who suck huge resources from all our systems – health, welfare, police, cyps and corrections – and put in nothing.”

    You cite only anecdotal evidence in families where there are health problems – these could be on the DPB (more families) or UB (not that many couples and families). These families may not even be work-tested.

  130. photonz

    I dispute the legitimacy of your attack on the long term unemployed.

    “When we had rates like 35% of those on the dole had been there for four years of longer, at a time when businesses were struggling to get workers, it’s obvious that there’s a problem group of unemployed who would rather bludge than work.”

    First as unemployment falls, there are going to be those who are last to be hired back into work – so there will still be some who have been long term unemployed. And of course as unemployment falls those recently out of work or out of education are hired quickly, so of course at this time the proportion out of work for a few years will be high.

    As for the claim there are those who would bludge rather than work, if it’s economic policy to keep a pool of unemployed, government requires some of the people to be unemployed.

    Those who have a problem with there being long term unemployed when they are just an inevitable result of governmenet policy, exploit the unemployed for political purposes.

  131. Photonz Care to provide links to the “couple of years when there were regular news reports of businesses struggling to get workers.” Just name the years and show an example or two. I don’t regard negative anacdotes about the nature of beneficiaries and heresay assertions as evidence.

  132. Greenfly – they are health workers – there to try to help – and in one house a father and friend thought it was funny to try and scare them with threats (after they stood up for the toddlers who were being bullied by adults).

    In another they fled with the kids when the parents were seriously intent on trying to kill each other (they probably don’t even have the authority to take kids but what do you do when there’s a seriously violent fight going on?).

    They are the sort of houses that if two female health workers give them a strong messasge they’ll probably leave in an ambulance.

    Phil – who said anything about average sole parent, or even sole parent?

    Do they sound like average sole parents to you??????

  133. eh?
    here’s your story:

    i don’t know how relative this is..but i can’t help but bring this issue back to the personal..

    in that i have two children..to two mothers..

    thru bad management..(or whatever)..both of these children were conceived in the fag-end of relationships..

    ..in the first case..i was a rabid junkie at the time..

    ..all i know is that in both cases..both mothers would in many eyes..have been quite within their ‘rights’..to have had abortions..

    i am just forever grateful to them both for not doing that..

    and had they done that..

    ..neither of my beautiful children would be here..

    (and a western springs soccer team would be nowhere near as strong in defence..)

    so..y know..!

    life is messy/imperfect..

    ..and declamatory absolutes from either side..

    ..answer/prove nothing..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    http://blog.greens.org.nz/2008/06/11/abortion-again/
    =========================================
    I was brought up in a one parent family after my mother died.
    My father did shift work (tucked me in and went off to work), did the cooking and the garden while raising 3 kids (and I have paid tax all my life ….as did he… as u do or…don’t).

  134. and that’s yr average sole-parent..is it photonz..?

    (have you thought of getting a job with farrar..?

    as one of his ‘pretend’ sole-parents…?

    you do a good purple-prose there…

    ..he likes that in a fake-benificiary…

    ..eh..?..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)
    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  135. Did she give them a ‘strong message’ or does she support the plan to give them less money?
    That’ll help enormously..
    As the woman interviewed on tv last night intimated,
    “Crime will go up, eh!”
    That’s something we can all share – an increased rate of crime.

  136. jc2 – I’m not suggesting halve their benefits, but there needs to be a strong message that the way they live is not acceptable.

    My wife spent part of this week visiting families who had children on a health risk list. Almost without exception, the families had the following common traits –

    – enough money for cigarettes
    – enough money for sky tv
    – enough money for large flat screen tv
    – enough money foa a pretty good car
    – enough money for plenty of booze
    – enough money for lots of dogs
    – NOT enough money for childs healthcare or medicine, or proper food.

    – enough time to spend the day watching movies or tv
    – NOT enough time to look after children
    – NOT enough time to clean the house

    These people had no problem verbally abusing children in front of health workers, in some cases just for the hell of it cause they could – not because the children had done anything wrong.

    In one house they had to grab the children and flee when the mother and father got into a violent fight. The children are now in care.

    The children in these houses are the lowest priority. More money would go on high priority items – booze cigarettes, drugs, sky tv, car etc. You could double the benefit and it wouldn’t change much.

    These people could clean their children, and at least keep them out of the dog faeces in the corner of the room if they cared about their kids – it would cost them nothing. But they don’t even do that.

  137. photonz1:

    Their legacy is to leave the country another broken dysfunctional generation

    Ok. So we could halve their benefits, so their children are fed worse, and drop out of school sooner, and if the only way to get enough to eat is to change from being a child to a solo mother, by getting pregnant, then some of them will do that too. Oh, and the boys will probably hurt someone and then go to prison.

    Do you have a plan that you like better than this one?

  138. “Maybe it’s just about keeping it less political and more social orientated,”

    I’d be happy with that, but a brief glance at the programme shows a bunch of government officials and academics, with only a very small sprinkling from the social and community sector.

    Years ago (1990s), I went to a session with a government set up taskforce on unemployment, headed by some banker guy, which we were all suspicious of, but they pleasantly surprised us by doing a really good job consulting with the community and doing a lot of genuine listening. Their conclusions were pretty reasonable, therfore largely ignored by the government.

  139. SPC says “The only bsuinesses struggling for workers were seasonal ones. ”

    Clearly you must have been out of the country for a couple of years when there were regular news reports of businesses struggling to get workers.

  140. I don’t know who heard “Morning Report” on welfare today but the agenda is pretty clear and also based on comparisons with the 1960’s when the work force was much smaller because far fewer married women went out to paid work.

    I would like to be at the Forum because my spies tell me it is full of empty seats and Paula Bennett is not there, after a brief speech. I would like to be there because the Greens are the only political party prepared to support the community advocates who stand up for beneficiary rights.

    This whole debate is a good way for the Government to talk about their low wage economic strategy which finds unemployment a useful way to keep the workers accepting whatever low pay they can get. If Work and Income was a safe place to go and get help to find a job that would be a huge step forward.

    But i agree with commentators who see this in the context of the broader Nat agenda of privatisation!

  141. Kevin says ” Nothing shamefull about being on the dole…”

    Unless it’s by choice.

    SPC seems to be in denial that there’s a hard core problem group who don’t have the slightest interest in working. Their legacy is to leave the country another broken dysfunctional generation who suck huge resources from all our systems – health, welfare, police, cyps and corrections – and put in nothing.

  142. @valis

    I’d only have a whinge about having an invite retracted if there were other MPs invited to remain …if you or Ms Delahunty can provide that then yes, I suppose I was speaking in an apologist manner…if not then clearly a quite clear argument was provided :)

    interesting issues though I dare to say…

  143. Nothing shamefull about being on the dole, what is shamefull is being in power & doing nothing.

  144. The system does not work, how many times does this have to be said.
    English language is being twisted here so I cant comment too much exept, vote properly or leave for China. At least they are ahead of us here by……30 years.
    I flew from Invercargill to Welly to start a job for the govt & was told to f… off but feel a bit better now that someone else was treated in similar fashion.I would really like to know when a political party gets into power why they dont change all the old staff & contractors involved in parliamentary services, as it seems that a lot of enemies so to speak are close to the table.

  145. photonz, do you include Super as welfare? Do you include WFF tax credits? The cost of carrying those on IB is, those on SB is, the DPB is (as compared to providing childcare if they were working), those on UB is. Those are the relevant figures to be discussed. The only bsuinesses struggling for workers were seasonal ones.

    Long term unemployment is a self-fulfilling part of the employment market. Those on the UB the longest are the last hired, as we never reach full employtment … . That the group is cited as somehow undeserving poor is just another exploitation of them (here for political purposes to promote welfare reform or as you do suggest they go onto even lower incomes) – they are also used to keep wage costs down for those who employ people at the minimum wage level.

  146. SPC- the unemployment theory is all well and good, until you work out that were spending $21b per year on welfare – that works out at an average of over $10,000 per year, or $200 per week of additional tax needed from every worker to pay for it.

    When we had rates like 35% of those on the dole had been there for four years of longer, at a time when businesses were struggling to get workers, it’s obvious that there’s a problem group of unemployed who would rather bludge than work.

    I suppose a relevant question is “Is it cheaper to keep these sorts of people the dole than potentially cause damage in someones business, and if so, should they get the same level of support people who are genuinely looking for work?”

  147. Just like in Education, they don’t want to engage with those that really understand the issues.

  148. photonz, Economic policy is premised on keeping a permanent pool of unemployed labour. The idea is that full employment is inflationary – does not allow for labour market flexibility. If new jobs had to attract people from existing ones this would both push up wage levels and undermine new job creation. Thus keeping a permanent pool of unemployed is good for new business creation and thus economic growth.

    Thus in recent decades the west has seen some worth in the cost of keeping the unemployed on benefits (or otherwise having the largest prison population in the world – once you allow private prisons advocacy for three strikes and term limit welfare gets business funding), and the political advantage for the right with the middle class in associating the left with supporting the poor on welfare. Given the economic policy setting, going beyond the normal beating on those on welfare would only be part of a wider reform to make any sense.

  149. There are rediculous opinions on both sides that beneficiaries are all deserving or all underserving.

    It’s clear that there is a sizable minority who see bludging from the government as a lifestyle.

    Denying this is just sweeping a major problem under the carpet, and condeming another generation to the junkheap.

    Denying that there is a problem, makes the problem WORSE.

    And it’s not a problem that higher benefits will fix – that will also likely make the problem worse among the problem minority.

  150. Unemployment insurance is a trial run for compulsory health insurance, then education vouchers. It’s part of a process of ideological conditioning – that creates momentum and expectation of further reform on the same premise. Those who accept the principle for others end up having to bite the bullet themselves later. It’s basically a form of entrapment of the middle class who despise those on welfare. Because they are the ones who will pay the unemployment insurance and the health insurance, while the budget savings will deliver tax cuts to those with real money.

    As to benefits, the government campaigned with a promise not to cut benefits and to increase them by the CPI.

    Cuts and term limits would be 2011 election campaign issues or without an electoral mandate.

  151. Maybe it’s just about keeping it less political and more social orientated, I’m fine with that frankly, politicans attend to many of these forum things or protest or address to many in order to state policy rather than allowing the community to express it’s own views without worrying about whether a future Minister of their repsective work area coming along with revenge at a later date :mrgreen:

    as for empty seats…cafes are quite popular places…

  152. Bennnet makes me quite ill,,just watched her on the news talking about how this proposal may show an ugly side to NZ!!! Absolutely appalled that National do this same old same old every time they get into power …Bash those most vunerable….

  153. Looks like at least 50 seats free, Catherine! Either the current flu is hitting harder than we thought, or Bennett doesn’t want her little scam exposed.

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