National’s war on the poor

This afternoon John Key and Paula Bennett announced the National Party’s long-heralded welfare reform package.  As I expected, it is a punitive war on the poor that will harass beneficiaries into low paid jobs, or in many cases off benefit and into no job at all because the jobs simply don’t exist.  Metiria says National is backing the wrong horse.  I agree.

Earlier this year I went on an extensive tour of the country, consulting with communities about welfare reform.  My full report on the tour is here.

My regional welfare tour reminded me that a once respected welfare system has been destroyed and its original context of a Government commitment to full employment, state housing for all in need and fair benefit rates has been lost. The grim poverty of low benefits and low wages has been normalised and individuals are routinely blamed for their inability to find work, or be well enough to work. Child raising by parents has no value if the parent is single and reliant on the state. Caring for people has no value if it prevents people from being available for paid work. Disabled people should compete in the job market.

All these messages and the associated double speak assist maintaining structural unemployment and a low wage economy. The human cost is a disgrace.

Communities want models of fairness and hope and decent state support when people are in need. People need to be treated with dignity by the state and by the media, rather than scapegoated. Creative solutions to job creation and participation in society should be facilitated by all sectors of our society, including government, business and community.

The Green Party’s plan to create 100,000 new jobs will help move beneficiaries who are able to work into employment.  The National Party’s punitive beneficiary bashing approach will just push beneficiaries into greater poverty and despair.

 

75 thoughts on “National’s war on the poor

  1. National’s Beneficiary Bashing Policy

    Nationals projected savings are only 1% of the total amount that will be spent on welfare over the next four years with the cost to implement the changes projected at $520 million for same time period. This makes any savings as low as $480 million or approximately 0.5% of the total welfare spend. However the social cost to Nationals policy on poor communities will be huge…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7 (+2)

  2. Mr Key’s talk of closing the wage gap with Australia & creating employment that will get beneficiaries into work is just that : “TALK” & “Political Spin”, you’re certainly not fooling those who are at the lower end of the economy !!
    Where are the jobs Mr Key ?
    You can’t even be honest about closing the gap between rich & poor in your own country. Giving the biggest tax cuts to the top 10% & then raising GST (which you said you would not do).. which slugs those at the lower end the hardest.
    Mr Goff said it & now I will too “you lied !”

    Anyone who is a wage & salary earner, who is seriously thinking of voting Nat. needs to stop looking at the ‘smiles & waves’ & start listening to the policies. Key has already indicated.. another three years will be, more of the same & ASSETT SALES too !! “Wake up Aotearoa”
    Kia-ora

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3 (+6)

  3. One of the greatest acts of hatred one can commit against humanity is to encourage/enable people to lead a life of dependence when they are able bodied and mentally sound.

    Condemning individuals to a life of mediocrity and purposelessness is cruel and evil, especially when you consider their children.

    Why do you want this so bad for NZers Catherine? If you do,I think you are sick.

    I could never support a party that is prepared to enable dysfunction and cruelty to this degree.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 25 (-5)

  4. Catherin overlooks that somebody has to pay for “full employment, state housing for all in need and fair benefit rates”.

    Given that people like me are paying for several benificiaries (and Actherine wants me to pay even more) I rekon that benefit rates are fair enough: why should a beneficiary have a better standard of living than me – who is paying for it all?!?!?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 18 (-1)

  5. The dysfunction and cruelty of ensuring people have a roof above their heads and enough food to eat… surely you jest Shunda?

    The only people who are sick are those who want to create a large section of our communities that are desperate and therefore exploitable.

    National’s contempt for the poor of this country is utterly disgusting!

    I could never support a party that enables such inequality when there is no need for it to exist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 10 (+10)

  6. The dysfunction and cruelty of ensuring people have a roof above their heads and enough food to eat… surely you jest Shunda?

    Yeah, I liked the beneficiary ‘food and rent card’ too, makes a lot of sense.

    It’s just wrong to spend money on booze and smokes when your kids are hungry and the rent is due.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 13 (+1)

  7. Shunda (and National, for that matter) have missed the important point.

    We don’t have jobs for the current bunch looking for work. There is already too much competition for jobs. New (well, replacement) Kaiapoi New World supermarket, (round numbers) 40 vacancies, 900 applicants. How will having 1500 applicants for those same 40 jobs benefit the country?

    If we had genuinely low unemployment and needed more people to work, then getting the current beneficiaries into work would be a really good idea. Instead what will happen is that a lower proportion of people will sucessfully find work.

    The lack of jobs problem needs to be fixed first. Only I’ve already explained that it cant be, and thus we need to transition to a society where it is socially acceptable to not work. Now that makes Paula’s current challenge look like childsplay.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 7 (+6)

  8. Thanks for sharing your views Cathrine. Great job done by you. It is very informative post.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 (+6)

  9. Many beneficiaries have a better standard of living than FC, even though he is paying more than enough tax to pay for the income of several beneficiaries. Quack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7 (-2)

  10. could we have a list of what is ‘acceptable’…?

    (maybe in a side-bar..?..)

    ..and go and read the thread frog..

    ..that is tame in comparison to what i..and my son..were called/accused of…

    ..but hey..!..miss the point..!..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7 (-5)

  11. New (well, replacement) Kaiapoi New World supermarket, (round numbers) 40 vacancies, 900 applicants. How will having 1500 applicants for those same 40 jobs benefit the country?

    Oh please!

    Do you think that maybe, just maybe there have been some exceptional circumstances in the Kaiapoi/Christchurch area of late??

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6 (-3)

  12. MS. You are paying for several beneficiaries and you have a lower standard of living than a beneficiary. ????

    I am paying for several beneficiaries also. Three extra ones at home because of the lack of work. But i have a much higher standard of living than a beneficiary.
    A benefit should be enough to participate in society.

    As for booze and smokes. If I was on a minimum income with little hope of getting off it, I would be hitting the drugs too.

    Or do you expect people to sit at home with no recreation going nuts because they are on a benefit. Why don’t you just put them in cages and feed them twice a day?

    Luckily I can go sailing instead.

    The really ignorant thing about Nationals plans is they do not even stack up from a right wing market economy viewpoint. Taking a billion of local spenders out of an economy that is just recovering from recession will send it back into it. Hurting employers and employees alike.

    If low wages and benefits are so “good” for business, why aren’t businesses in Somalia and the Philippines doing better than here?

    Why did so many SME’s close their doors during Ruthanasia.

    Watch it happen again when NACT’s next round of meanness to ordinary people and borrowing to steal, bites.
    Subsidising marginal business by artificially keeping wages low, from PAYE and other taxes paid by businesses who are successful enough to actually cover the costs of their inputs is a poor use of human resources. Much more of “”MS’ money”” is going to prop up the profits of business who cannot pay the true costs of the resources they use than is going in benefits.
    WWF is a direct subsidy from businesses who succeed to those who are marginal. Not to mention outfits, like the casual labour suppliers and fast food joints, who rely on tax payer paid benefits to their employees to enable their business model.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4 (+7)

  13. And Shunda. One minimum wage shop job in Whangarei, 250 applicants. This stuff about beneficiaries preferring to stay at home and bludge is total bullshit.

    I get several people a week asking about work and apprenticeships.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2 (+8)

  14. The lack of jobs problem needs to be fixed first.

    dbuckley, I beg to differ. The problem isn’t the lack of jobs, the problem is that the skills the unemployed have does not match the skills that the workforce needs. If you look here (http://www.immigration.govt.nz/NR/rdonlyres/89185A40-27D3-41F4-84BE-30129920411D/0/ISSL.pdf), you will see that as of July 2011, there was a list nine pages long of occupations in which there were immediate skills shortages (there is also a twelve page long list of long term skills shortages here http://www.immigration.govt.nz/NR/rdonlyres/063ECB35-F5D5-44D8-8325-7041A727A9D5/0/1093.pdf). What we need is to look at all the unemployed, see what their natural aptitudes are and require them to go into training in the fields where we have skills shortages. Once those skills shortages are fixed, then and only then would it be acceptable in my view to have some unemployed people.

    Or do you expect people to sit at home with no recreation going nuts because they are on a benefit.

    Kerry, I don’t mind people getting a benefit because I don’t expect them to live on the street and go hungry. Where I draw the line is people who choose to waste their benefits on drugs, alcohol and gambling whilst their children aren’t being fed.

    And I would also note that there are places to enjoy recreation for free – have you never heard of a park, or a library?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 (+9)

  15. Yeah. But your lot want to remove or charge for Libraries. National parks already charge fees. And then you have to get to them from South Auckland.

    And the benefit is not enough to feed and house a family on benefits.

    What do you think of the people who gambled away billions of our wealth. Like Hotchin, The South Canterbury finance insider traders, Key, Brierly, Fay Rich etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1 (+8)

  16. “One of the greatest acts of hatred one can commit against humanity is to encourage/enable people to lead a life of dependence when they are able bodied and mentally sound.”

    Quite so, which makes me wonder why National is pushing people to be dependent on the employers who frequently demonstrate no concern for their employees’ welfare, and grumble about the minimum requirements they are expected to meet?

    There seems to be a concerted efort to make training less available to increase people’s options – we seem to have a idiotic market-driven education system that makes it easier for people to get academic qualifications of doubtful value, rather than practical skills that are in demand.

    And we have WINZ’s pointless, box-ticking approach to the unemployed that seems designed to simply waste time and money, doing such things as sending people on courses to learn skills to apply for jobs that aren’t there (and only means everyone is competing with each other at a slightly higher level, and more adept at selling the same ‘product’ – i.e. themselves – rather than improving the ‘product’). Or requiring people to apply for ten jobs – regardless of whether they have any chance of getting them – before they can apply for the dole, which is just a waste of their, and potential employer’s, time.

    By all means get the unemployed into useful training. But remember that this will cost (taxpayer’s) money. You need to invest if you want a result.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2 (+9)

  17. I’m totally puzzled, when I hear Mr. Key & Ms Bennett saying that they were from families that received the DPB & yet they seem adamant about making ALL beneficiaries lives even harder than they already are. How soon they forget, the reality of living ‘on the bread-line’, now that they are ‘successful’.

    Maybe they can gives us all a toot & a wave, as they pass by in their ministerial BMWs ??

    SHAME on you.. We are people too !!

    Kia-ora

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3 (+10)

  18. Yeah. But your lot want to remove or charge for Libraries.

    Which I believe is a pity – a library is a good service

    National parks already charge fees. And then you have to get to them from South Auckland.

    I’m not thinking of National Parks, I was thinking of the park down the road – there are plenty of those in South Auckland.

    What do you think of the people who gambled away billions of our wealth. Like Hotchin, The South Canterbury finance insider traders, Key, Brierly, Fay Rich etc.

    In the case of the Finance Companies, I don’t think that they should have been bailed out, and the right legal processes needed to be in place to ensure that the directors behind these schemes could not manipulate various structures to minimise their legal liability. I don’t think though that the likes of Key, Brierley or Fay Richwhite actually gambled away our wealth – they took advantage of legitimate opportunities – in the case of Brierley, you had companies that were clearly undervalued, and in the case of Fay Richwhite, you had a government which sold companies far too inexpensively.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  19. zedd..that is actually why i call bennett ‘the apostate’…

    (actually someone going to her public meetings should make up a sign..

    ‘bennet is the apostate’..

    ..the media/telly would love it…

    (mildly literate insult/political-attack..)

    ..and of course it would work on key as well..

    ..key the apostate…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4 (-2)

  20. Kerry and dbucklys repetition of various forms of ‘there were xx jobs and yy applicants’ fails to factor in several things, such as the skills needed for many of those jobs (eg being able to drive a forklift, or to read and write) vs the (non)skills of many applicants (given 20% of school-leavers cant read or write to any functional level, (and many teachers seem happy with this)).

    Their repetition also fails to consider just how many of those applicants were real applicants, and how many were going through the motions in order to tick-box with WINZ (as another commenter has noted). When an applicant for a retail position says in their application that they want to be an actor (as happened in Wellington an few months ago) then that sort of applicant ought to decrement the yy-number kerry and dbuckly regularly repeat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5 (0)

  21. “..they took advantage of legitimate opportunities ..”

    as in being the ones to advise the govt to sell the state assets..

    ..and then to rush over to the other side of the room..

    ..and buy them at a ‘steal’-price…?

    ..and then to flog them off/asset-strip them..

    ..to make millions in tax-free profit..?

    ..all legal of course..but..y’know..!

    ..is that what you mean by ‘legitimate’..?..there..jonnson..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3 (+2)

  22. Kerry challenges my comment about how I have to pay for several benficiaries, but also have a lower standard of living then they do. Consider this:
    – many beneficiaries can take their kids to the pool for free, while I have to pay
    – many beneficiaries have flat-scren TVs and Sky. I cant afford those.
    – many beneficaries have a car. I cant afford to replace my ute that got stolen
    – many beneficiaries get free medical care. I have to pay.
    – many beneficiaries et discounted school fees. I have to pay
    – many beficairies get lots of time with their kids. I have to work to pay for my kids. And their kids.

    So yeah, many of the benficaries I have to pay for have a better standards of living than I do.

    And people like you want me to pay more, and you want to make that injustice worse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 14 (-5)

  23. May I suggest you get car insurance next time and take budgeting advice from a beneficiary (are private school fees necessary) coz you earn way more than them. Get the flat screen TV’s at the Boxing Day sales etc or off Trade Me etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2 (+5)

  24. As for booze and smokes. If I was on a minimum income with little hope of getting off it, I would be hitting the drugs too.

    Then you already have a problem.

    If your response to adversity is to get wasted then your strength of character is very weak indeed.

    I wonder whether your current financial success is a fluke.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7 (-3)

  25. JS. You don’t think that people who advise Government on sales and then buy them is more than a bit fishy.

    Many of the companies Brierly stripped were doing fine, just not earning as much as US securities. Some, including one I worked for, he stripped the employee super scheme which was the main asset.

    When Key suggested that his employers make money playing the NZ dollar, did he stop and think it may be morally questionable to cost his countrymen billions so he could make more money.

    What about the large sums that were invested in finance companies by various wealthy insiders after it was obvious to all but the public they would be bailed out? And the speedy moves by NACT to make sure they profited.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 (+5)

  26. @M.C.
    I worked for over 25 years, prior to being made redundant several years ago.. I’ve been in & out of temp. work & on benefits ever since.
    Its so easy to put down & label beneficiaries (especially as part of the election campaign from the right)isn’t it ?
    The truth is; it is not a free ride,

    I do not own a motor vehicle,
    I take public transport,
    I only have a small TV (not flat-screen),
    I do not have SkyTV,
    I pay for doctors bills ,
    I only have dial-up internet for email etc.
    My computer was a Xmas gift from my family.

    May I suggest you check your ‘so-called facts’ before joining the rest of the ‘beneficiary bashers’ from the right !

    Kia-ora

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3 (+9)

  27. “..If your response to adversity is to get wasted then your strength of character is very weak indeed…”

    um..!..who the hell do you think you are..?

    ..that you can sit and pontificate/judge over anyones”character’..?

    as i said..

    ..who/what the hell do you think you are…?

    ..because you torture and kill and eat defenceless animals…eh..?

    because of that…to me..yr ‘character’ is way down the toilet…eh..?

    ..and you sit yrslf up on some pedestal..

    ..and pass judgement on someone for having a beer/whatever..?

    ..you got a nerve really…eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6 (-1)

  28. Well I have had to be off work for a few years and I would not recomend booze and drugs at all.

    I read a lot of books and I have just completed a book myself and OK it may not hit the best seller list but I feel that I have accomplished something.

    By putting my views and philosophy in the context of a narrative it definately consolidates my world view and makes me a stronger person.

    There needs to be support groups to teach unemployed people how to be creative and help them keep their minds off unemployment; a problem that is not their fault.

    George Orwell (Blair) got through the 1930’s depression by writing about it,by looking at it objectively and he came up with an award winning novel ‘Down and Out in London and Paris’.

    Well worth a read.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 (+7)

  29. Maybe consider yourself lucky Shunda, despite your self-confessed drunken ramblings at times, that alcohol hasn’t taken over and destroyed your life, as it has so many others. I see it more as a vulnerability, too often a direct result of abusive/neglectful upbringings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2 (+5)

  30. @ Kerry Thomas

    A benefit should be enough to participate in society.

    It is actually a requirement by law that a benefit allows for participation in the community and social interaction… but try telling that to Beneficiary Bashing Bennett.

    @ john-ston

    The problem isn’t the lack of jobs, the problem is that the skills the unemployed have does not match the skills that the workforce needs.

    The problem is both a lack of jobs and people being properly trained for the jobs that do exist. National has ensured these problems have got worse.

    @ Sam Buchanon

    Quite so, which makes me wonder why National is pushing people to be dependent on the employers who frequently demonstrate no concern for their employees’ welfare, and grumble about the minimum requirements they are expected to meet?

    The sad truth of the matter is that when you create dysfunction in peoples lives they look for fulfillment in other areas. This increases consumerism and thus props up the very system that creates much of the dysfunction in the first place.

    @ phil u

    as in being the ones to advise the govt to sell the state assets..

    ..and then to rush over to the other side of the room..

    ..and buy them at a ‘steal’-price…?

    Hit the nail on the head again.

    @ Misanthropic Curmudgeon

    And people like you want me to pay more, and you want to make that injustice worse.

    How does the plan to create 100,000 Green jobs cost more in welfare payments? Clearly you are trolling MC. Piss off!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1 (+4)

  31. john-ston – bang on the money; at last someone who argues the same view I’ve been doing for some time. And the Curmudgeon mentions it as well, well done.

    So to restate the problem: the skills and abilities of those looking for work don’t match the jobs on offer. If you are a guru level software engineer, you can pick up the phone and have a choice of well paid (ie several times the minimum wage) jobs by lunchtime. There is a much bigger demand for these skills than there are people to fill them.

    On the other hand, if you are the sort of person who could usefully work in New World (any New World, not just the one in Kaiapoi) then you are likely to find it hard to find a opening. Simply because there aren’t lots of vacanices at this level, and there are literally tens of thousands of people seeking these kind of jobs.

    Given that this is a steady state situation, the unpalatable truth is this: We are going to have a lot of unemployed people who simply aren’t capable of being retrained to fil the job shortages we have.

    This truth is unpalatable because once you accept this as the truth, you then have to ask what we as a society are going to do with all these unemployable folks. Thats a hard question with no easy answers.

    But one thing is certain: Neither of the Big Parties are anyware close to addressing the issue. The Red Big Party seem to want to make matters worse, for the reasons I outlined above which are still valid: adding more people who are unemployable to the unemployment pool won’t actually help matters at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1 (+8)

  32. MC

    You claim to be paying sufficient tax to support several beneficiaries and also that they have a better standard of living than you. This is scarcely credible – you’re not writing stuff for the PM are you?

    Governments can choose to afford state housing for those in need, or to afford a focus on full employment or to afford a focus on preventing the children of beneficiaries being raised in poverty – they are not unaffordable.

    There is a cost in accommodation supplements in not providing housing, there is a cost in benefits (and lower tax revenues) of not providing jobs and the consequences of raising children in poverty are with us in the lives of these people as adults with poor health and education outcomes. Ensuring food in poor area schools and healthy homes is more of an investment in our 21st Century future than building roads.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1 (+6)

  33. dbuckley, have you considered that in an increasingly global market many countries prefer to avail themselves of opportunities to pick up skilled migrants than focus on training their own labour? In fact when this country abandoned the apprenticeships system and separated employment and training, it did so while enabling business to bring in skilled workers while there was a local shortage. Thus of course, in mitigating the local shortage, it created a decline in demand for the upskilling of local labour. This kept wages low (and is why business supported this approach) and ensured that those who were skilled would go offshore (Oz) for higher pay.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 (+4)

  34. If you are a guru level software engineer, you can pick up the phone and have a choice of well paid (ie several times the minimum wage) jobs by lunchtime.

    Unless you are 60 years old. They don’t have so much interest then.

    :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 (+3)

  35. To fix the problem we have to divorce ourselves from the fraud of globalization and neo-liberal ideology. Divorce ourselves from the fraud of Fractional-Reserve currency. Divorce ourselves from the fraud of debt based money and embrace money that is backed by work done, issued by our own bank, backed by our work, or energy.

    Then we demand that when someone comes to us to deposit their “money” they have to bring a boatload of “work-done” to back it up… and we wind up paying for the foreign goods at rather higher prices than currently prevail. Which makes it more reasonable to employ Kiwis to make the goods we consume… locally.

    Without ever slapping on a tariff. Just putting a bit of impedance in at the border of the country, making it harder for speculators and bankers to rob us. Want money? Produce something. Can’t get money from doing nothing, producing colored bits of paper….

    We’d be fully employed within 4-5 years and debt free with little effort, with a sustainable economy.

    It is a simple enough equation. Just unpalatable to the wealthy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2 (+2)

  36. BJ,

    Just unpalatable to the wealthy.

    I actually think you are only half right on that score. There is much to be made from the new system (which as a capitalist I fully endorse — the current system is not capitalism).

    It will be old moneyed concervatives that will fear it, not the new moneyed or non wealthy enterpreneurs.

    I see this change happening already at grassroot level. Especially here in South Auckland.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 (0)

  37. With the third incarnation of capitalism about to be consigned to the dustbin.

    history lesson here http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10763427

    The debate on how to make society more equitable enters another era. And yes the “occupy” movement is but an incarnate of what is possible but is already to late.

    The fourth wave of capitalism is already underway. And beneficiaries who are waiting for government handouts will be sorely dissapointed.

    Those that seize the opportunities will be rewarded.

    This now getting exiting. The anti-government revolution is underway, cash and barter will be king, the state will shrivel under the lack of taxable funding and borrowing to bribe the beneficiaries will be impossible when the Greeks default.

    A perfect vacuum that can swing to either individual freedom and responsibility or state repression (or private warlord repression – gangs).

    So the outlook for beneficiaries is bleak if they think nothing is going to change and the smaller and smaller taxable base is going to keep them in the manner they have enjoyed. Not going to happen.

    They will either move into the fourth wave of capitalism through their own initiatives or fall subject to state or private repression.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  38. Doesn’t matter how he counts, until and unless “Capitalism” is supported by a money definition that makes sense it is as you say NOT Capitalism but something else. Change that and OWS gets what it needs. Don’t and no revolution makes any difference, as the bankers retain control of the money. Rothschild was not joking.

    BJ

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  39. The skills of the unemployed do not match those required in NZ for 4 simple and very obvious reasons.

    NZ employers think that training is something tax payers and trainees should pay for.
    NZ employers do not want to pay skilled people. They want skilled people, but they want to pay them peanuts while barely skilled managers get all the money.
    The supply of skilled immigrants is drying up as they realise they can have a higher standard of living in other countries.
    Other countries have costs that match their wages.

    We have third world wages and first world living costs.

    It is a bit funny that we are told we have to pay high rates to get good management. A common skill which most SME owners have. While the same managers expect to retain, rare, skilled staff on peanuts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4 (+3)

  40. The Greeks average longer hours for less money than the Germans and the French.
    Who have money to lend to them because they are paid more and they own a lot of Greek industry.

    Who is really living beyound their earnings is not that simple..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 (+5)

  41. Gerrit.

    In your localised small scale market economy, which I am actually inclined to agree with.

    Do you really think that the local market gardener, blacksmith whoever will not look after the elderly, sick, young and those who cannot find work?

    It is much harder to let people starve when they are your neighbors and family, than when they are an abstract, Beneficiary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 (+6)

  42. Gerrit

    the current system is not capitalism.

    It is a form of capitalism that has been corrupted.

    Those that seize the opportunities will be rewarded.

    Beneficiaries that work towards employment under national will face wages as low as $10.50 per hour depending on their age. How is that a reward or an opportunity considering the cost of living?

    smaller taxable base is going to keep them in the manner they have enjoyed.

    You mean the over 200,000 New Zealand children living in poverty enjoy their circumstances? As usual your argument does not make sense Gerrit!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1 (+5)

  43. When you tell, even rabid benny bashers about individual beneficiaries and ask. Should they get a benefit, the answer is usually yes, but what about those who, Insert your favorite bene myth here.

    Like this one.

    Despite serious health problems herself this woman cares for two mentally ill brothers at home. Her husband is barely mobile and dying. She also helps out at the local craft centre for the mentally ill.

    The only help they get apart from an invalids benefit is 1 hour each of respite care and house cleaning a week.

    Should we withdraw help from them, just so someone on 200k can pay a little less tax?

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  44. BJ,

    It is ALL about the benficiaries as the current economic model is unndergoing a change where the sustainability of maintaining the present welfare system is in question. Call it benificiary bashing all you want but the reality is the economic model current employed will not fix anything.

    We can easily fall into the Greek trap of paying more and higher benifits from a dwindling tax payer base. Simply not sustainable.

    Same goes for Todd/Jackal argument.

    Was 100,000 in “poverty” now 200,000. So how much extra tax will you need to collect? From whom? It is sustainable? Where is the budget? How long will the inequality be sustainable where one person goes to work in the morning while his neighbour stays in bed (figuratively) for the same income?

    Current complaints are about inequality that the person going to work has a higher income than one staying in bed (figuratively). What should the inequality difference be?

    Problem is as soon as the economic factors are considered, the benificiaries are considered a sacred “cow” (bad analogy I know but no offence implied to benificiaries).

    Well in South Auckland the revolution is underway towards fourth generation capitalism. Long live the revolution.

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  45. You don’t think that people who advise Government on sales and then buy them is more than a bit fishy.

    Not ideal, but the government does not always need to accept advice.

    Many of the companies Brierly stripped were doing fine, just not earning as much as US securities. Some, including one I worked for, he stripped the employee super scheme which was the main asset.

    As I understand it, the companies that Brierley bought into in the 1970s and early 1980s had Net Asset Values that were higher than their Market Capitalisations – essentially, these were massive arbitrage opportunities that anyone could have potentially exploited.

    When Key suggested that his employers make money playing the NZ dollar, did he stop and think it may be morally questionable to cost his countrymen billions so he could make more money.

    You have to ask yourself why was the money making opportunity there? Usually under a properly functioning market, you don’t get arbitrage opportunities – so if such an opportunity existed, then you need to ask yourself why.

    What about the large sums that were invested in finance companies by various wealthy insiders after it was obvious to all but the public they would be bailed out? And the speedy moves by NACT to make sure they profited.

    Personally, I don’t think that the finance companies should have been bailed out at all – they should have been allowed to go under. All that has emerged as a result is a moral hazard – people will remember next time. As an example, I very nearly invested in Tranz Rail when it was 30 cents a share, in part because I knew that the government were going to bail it out (like with Air New Zealand) – the reason why I didn’t was because I didn’t have access to the necessary capital at the time (I was in 4th Form when it all happened)

    May I suggest you check your ‘so-called facts’ before joining the rest of the ‘beneficiary bashers’ from the right !

    Zedd, given the proliferation of booze outlets in South Auckland, the proliferation of pokie machines in South Auckland and the field of Sky TV dishes in South Auckland, do you seriously think that the majority of beneficiaries are as contentious as yourself?

    ..and pass judgement on someone for having a beer/whatever..?

    Phil, I don’t mind someone having a beer so long as their kids are being fed. If their kids are not being fed, then you have to ask where their priorities are.

    The problem is both a lack of jobs and people being properly trained for the jobs that do exist. National has ensured these problems have got worse.

    Jackal, are the beneficiaries actively looking at training opportunities? In saying that, the provision of said training opportunities could be improved.

    Neither of the Big Parties are anyware close to addressing the issue.

    Agreed – a whole of economy approach needs to be taken; we have a nine page list of areas in which there are a lack of skilled workers right now, and a twelve page list of areas in which there is long term shortages. I am not sure if this is the case, but if it is, then it is a good thing – all the long term unemployed should undergo some form of aptitude testing and see whether or not they would be suited for some of these fields and then push them into the training opportunities that are out there (i.e. tell them that they will apply for these training opportunities or their benefit will be cut off).

    Once you have run out of long term unemployed, then look at the shorter term unemployed and possibly those on the sickness benefit.

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  46. At the end of the day, its all about the ‘haves’ & the ‘have nots’ & as long as Mr. Key can convince the ‘haves’ that he is looking after them.. the ‘have nots’ probably will remain as : ‘never likely to’

    Its called; ‘Greed’.. people !

    Kia-ora

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  47. the current economic model is unndergoing a change where the sustainability of maintaining the present welfare system is in question

    I don’t think so Gerrit. I understand the notional cause-effect, but it is NOT the principle problem. We do NOT have the jobs, we will NEVER have the jobs on current form, the pay for the jobs we still have will decline further… this isn’t about the beneficiaries, it is about an economic system that is based primarily on selling our own country out from under us, exporting produce instead of products.

    The beneficiaries are partly a RESULT of that, as jobs they could be doing don’t exist any more… but they aren’t in any way the cause of it.

    Too many for the economy we have? Yeah.. we can get there, but not the same way the Greeks did, and we aren’t there yet at all.

    BJ

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  48. Once you have run out of long term unemployed, then look at the shorter term unemployed and possibly those on the sickness benefit

    What happens when you run out of those who can “pass” an aptitude test? That will happen a LOT sooner than you run out of beneficiaries… and you’ll have a lot of businesses still begging for those smart people we educate here but who leave for Oz because it pays better.

    WHY does it pay better? Why isn’t there good work for them here? These are the questions and answers we really need.

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  49. Maybe consider yourself lucky Shunda, despite your self-confessed drunken ramblings at times, that alcohol hasn’t taken over and destroyed your life, as it has so many others.

    What are you on about?? if someone’s response to a low wage is to become a habitual drug abuser then they have a big character problem.

    And for your information Suz, enjoying a glass or two of wine is hardly being a drunkard, what are you? chairperson of the local wowsers club?

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  50. ..who/what the hell do you think you are…?

    ..because you torture and kill and eat defenceless animals…eh..?

    Are you serious?? the hypocrisy of your ranting is astonishing, no actually, it is par for the course.

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  51. it’s all right there shunda…

    i know you are a long way away from ‘getting it’…

    ..on so so many levels..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  52. John Key with his great international working experience is showing Nz what it is like to be a 3rd world country with no social welfare and that NZ is to become a sanctuary for wealthy overseas immigrants who are in the same position as himself who show no compassion for those who have little .
    He reminds me of another very wellknown Austrian who was dead by the time he was 56 A little harsh dear me

    [frog: Let's leave Godwin out of it. That doesn't enhance your argument]

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  53. What happens when you run out of those who can “pass” an aptitude test? That will happen a LOT sooner than you run out of beneficiaries…

    At that point, then it would be acceptable to have those people on welfare because there is no real mismatch. I do think though that you are putting little faith in those who are unemployed (and who are on the DPB and who have curable illnesses) – many of them just need to upskill themselves. It is not as though the nine pages of shortages are purely fields where you need a huge amount of intelligence.

    and you’ll have a lot of businesses still begging for those smart people we educate here but who leave for Oz because it pays better.

    At that point, it is likely that there will be more pressure to increase wages – the pool of unemployed would have shrunk to a shrivel, and it is not as though we could use immigration all that easily.

    WHY does it pay better?

    My personal theory is that it was because the Australians never put such a huge proportion of its population into unproductive jobs – in New Zealand, we had maybe a hundred thousand people by the mid 1980s who were not working in productive jobs; jobs such as making cups of tea for the Railways. When that got tidied up, it reduced pressure on wage increases as there was a massive pool of unemployed that could be absorbed.

    Why isn’t there good work for them here?

    In general it is because we don’t have a strong economy, and that is because we have taxed the corporate sector to death. The corporate tax rate in New Zealand is higher than it is in socialist Sweden. Indeed, the top two countries for corporate tax rates in the OECD are Japan and the United States – not exactly poster children for successful economies.

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  54. No wowser me, Shunda, more’s the pity…must be my “weak strength of character” despite not being a beneficiary.

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  55. WHY does it pay better? Why isn’t there good work for them here? These are the questions and answers we really need.

    There isn’t good work here because we have (mostly) the wrong kind of businsses, giving us the wrong kind of economy.

    We need, really, really desperately, to have better value buinsesses. I’m willing to give those who are willing to start and stick with the right kind of businesses any incentive. Anything. Zero tax, never ending supplies of call girls (or boys) and/or McVities jaffa cakes. Anything, because right kinds of businesses are worth so much to our economy, and thus to our GDP, and S&P rating, and tax, and thus social programs.

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  56. The national party are a divide and rule bunch and part of this is they employ the use of negative sterotypes.

    The breeding solo mother = solo-mothers

    The bludging beneficary = unemployed

    Druggies = anyone who uses a different recreationl drug than alcohol

    and so on …..

    Sterotypes are dangerous and lead to prejudice, discrimination and in extreme cases mass murder ( the holocost )

    John Keys with his heritage should never even consider using such bad dangerous things as sterotypes for political advantage.

    “greedy jew’ is the mother of all sterotypes and the prime example of why they should never be used.

    Calling cannabis users “druggies” and using the justice system to criminalise and persecute them is more than one step down the ‘wear a yellow star’ path. Actually the yellow star is now a criminal conviction.

    Criminalizing the non-criminal either for something like being a a jew or being cannabis user shows that the wrong people are in positions of leadership

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  57. nznative 5:46 PM

    I agree with your general thrust about negative stereotyping, but I don’t like your association of Jews with cannabis users in an attempt to substantiate your argument. People cannot change their race; but they can change their behaviour – not that I think moderate cannabis users need to.

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  58. John-ston – for most of them there aren’t even bad jobs. Upskill to do what. These are for the most part, people who would be employed in factories, too numerous for mechanized farms… and we have damned few factories of any sort. We don’t MAKE our own anything… and there is a bad reason why we don’t.

    The myth of “comparative advantage” being applied to everything we do.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ralph-gomory/manufacturing-and-the-lim_b_227870.html

    The Financial Times, calling on the wisdom that the recent economic successes of the financial sector had apparently made self-evident, told the Japanese to give up manufacturing and concentrate on research and on telling other nations what to manufacture.

    …oops

    We know better than that here.

    There is no such thing as a post-industrial economy. If you give up building the things you use you give up all control of your economy.

    You also give up the jobs your less capable workers might be doing.

    On a global scale it is somewhat less efficient… but the benefits of achieving that efficiency are not distributed among the participating nations. They belong solely to the ones that are producing the goods.

    So what can a country like NZ do?

    Obviously, not what we ARE doing.

    Not what we were doing 8 years ago with Labour either.

    Not what we were doing 15 years ago…

    Is there an example of a country that IS managing well?

    I don’t know of one.

    Again, I go back to the basic. The money we use. The money backed by debt. The money that crosses borders at the speed of light, while the products travel at the speed of ships and planes. The energy that goes into them travels at the speed of ships and planes but isn’t currently related to the money at all.

    We can only do this by changing the rules. The OWS movement is about changing the rules. We Greens are about changing the rules.

    New rules need to tie energy transfers to the money transfers. The money cannot then overwhelm the rest of the system as they do now.

    …and we wind up having to build more stuff here. They wind up having to pay more in terms of REAL “money”. We would become more independent and jobs would appear, real jobs building real things.

    respectfully
    BJ

    BJ

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  59. Your right toad but my point was about how bad and dangerous stereotypes are.

    And people in glass houses ( john keys )throwing stones.

    Maybe it would take a big rock thrown at greedy johns head to make him stop and look at the stones in his own dirty hands.

    If he has any dead jewish relatives who were killed by nazis they should be spinning in their graves at the bad sterotypes shit that he and the Nats use.

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  60. John-ston – for most of them there aren’t even bad jobs. Upskill to do what.

    As I posted above, there is a nine page list of areas in which we have skills shortages right now, and there is a twelve page list of areas in which we have skills shortages over the long term. Sure, some of those areas might not be appropriate for Joe Unemployed, but I am pretty sure that with sufficient training, they could become a baker, or a motorcycle mechanic, just to use two examples.

    The myth of “comparative advantage” being applied to everything we do.

    Except that bjchip, comparative advantage is just taking the concept of specialisation to a global scale. We aren’t all expected to be skilled at woodworking, motor mechanics and growing food – we instead get the carpenter to build our furniture, or mechanic to fix our car and the farmer to grow our food.

    There is no way that a country such as New Zealand could attempt to manufacture everything that we need – and in the past when we tried to do that, all we ended up with were products that cost an absolute fortune (and it was also during that time that we slid on the world economic rankings – we basically spent the period up to 1984 sliding – since then things have stabilised).

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  61. There is no way that a country such as New Zealand could attempt to manufacture everything that we need I think this is False

    Realistically we can make most of the things we need. More, we can retain the ability to make all of them if we should need to. We do not have the ability to make all the things we want.

    comparative advantage is just taking the concept of specialisation to a global scale

    Which is unfortunately a scale at which it does not properly apply as long as we are not in a unified global economy with globally applied regulations. The application of global wage and resource arbitrage by the corporations that are large enough to do it, makes the specialization of which you speak a tool in their hands, to be used to suppress the wages of workers and destroy the environment of the planet… all in the service of money.

    The notion that you can “upskill” the out-of-work population is ideological pablum for consumption of the right wing. You might move 10% of them on such a game. The bulk are not simply unskilled.

    We are limited in our abilities here largely because we have chosen to be. Successive governments looking at short term costs and benefits. None planning for NEW ZEALAND for the long term… except us.

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  62. Beekeeper
    Baker
    Weaver
    Upholsterer
    Truck Driver

    Maybe one or two others that would be open to someone without a University diploma or a boatload of experience.

    That’s your 9 pages. Averaging 9 to the page.

    Very little there for those who are not that fortunate in terms of the “gifts god gave them”.

    BJ

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  63. Add Horticulture to that list BJ – people will always need to eat and if you know how to grow stuff at least you can feed your family and trade the surplus. I agree with you, as a society we have lost sight of what makes life worthwhile; we have confused needs with wants and our enslavement to money, which is just a concept (or perhaps a religion for some) has led us far from what is really valuable.

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  64. Realistically we can make most of the things we need. More, we can retain the ability to make all of them if we should need to. We do not have the ability to make all the things we want.

    I beg to differ – as I said before, we tried that approach in the post-war period, and it merely resulted in the price of products being phenomenally high. We simply do not have the size to maintain car manufacturing plants, computer manufacturing plants and so on.

    Which is unfortunately a scale at which it does not properly apply as long as we are not in a unified global economy with globally applied regulations. The application of global wage and resource arbitrage by the corporations that are large enough to do it, makes the specialization of which you speak a tool in their hands, to be used to suppress the wages of workers and destroy the environment of the planet… all in the service of money.

    As I see it, the issue there is that the world economy developed in a lopsided way during the much of the 19th and 20th Centuries, so that such an arbitrage opportunity could be created – and it could take decades before things get back into balance. We are already seeing though that places such as the People’s Republic of China don’t quite offer the same low wages that they would have a decade ago.

    The notion that you can “upskill” the out-of-work population is ideological pablum for consumption of the right wing. You might move 10% of them on such a game. The bulk are not simply unskilled.

    What are they then bjchip? Clearly said person is unable to get a job – and generally speaking, the reason why someone cannot get a job is that their skills and abilities do not match the skills and abilities that employers demand. If one were to upskill these people so that their skills and abilities matched what employers demanded, then generally speaking, they would get jobs.

    Very little there for those who are not that fortunate in terms of the “gifts god gave them”.

    Ah, but there is also the twelve page long Long Term Skills Shortage List. You can include the likes of Automotive Electrician, Diesel Motor Mechanic, Electric Line Mechanic, Electrician and even Chef to that list.

    We are limited in our abilities here largely because we have chosen to be. Successive governments looking at short term costs and benefits. None planning for NEW ZEALAND for the long term… except us.

    Except they tried your approach during the post war period, where we attempted to manufacture everything we needed in this country and during that period we slid economically – we went from being among one of the top economies in the First World to one of the worst. That would suggest that the economic policies of the post-war period were generally a failure.

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  65. We don’t have the size to maintain car manufacturing plants… for cars of the sort we are used to getting from Japan second-hand. How about a basic economy or electric or commuter vehicle? Could we do that? Well yes we could. Not something you’d think of, being so wedded to supplying the market’s demands rather than its needs, but something that we COULD do. We have the Aluminium smelter, we could make lightweight components quite easily.

    We don’t have the size to maintain bicycle manufacturing plants.

    We don’t have the size to maintain railcar manufacturing plants.

    We don’t have the size to maintain refrigerator manufacturing plants.

    We don’t have the size to maintain…

    We don’t make any goddammned thing here… it isn’t economic to do so.

    Yet I did not specify that we could make everything we want. Just ALMOST everything we need, and it would be a damned good idea if we maintained capability to build small volumes of things here. We don’t need to have a large chip fabrication facility, or a major disk drive production facility. We don’t need the ability to build iPhones, but basic mobile handsets are in our reach… and once the prices go back towards the actual costs (as opposed to being subsidized by borrowing as they are now) we’ll find a more reasonable balance between building here and buying from there.

    Right now it is not reasonable, not balanced and not sustainable.

    BJ

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  66. We don’t have the size to maintain car manufacturing plants… for cars of the sort we are used to getting from Japan second-hand. How about a basic economy or electric or commuter vehicle? Could we do that? Well yes we could. Not something you’d think of, being so wedded to supplying the market’s demands rather than its needs, but something that we COULD do.

    I am pretty sure that the cars we used to build here in New Zealand were of that basic economy type, and yet manufacturing cars in New Zealand was so uneconomic that back in the 1980s, it was possible to fly to Japan, purchase a second hand car there, ship it to New Zealand and all for less than purchasing a car in New Zealand.

    We tried car manufacturing in the past, and it was a failure.

    We don’t have the size to maintain railcar manufacturing plants.

    We don’t have the level of demand necessary to support such a venture. Wellington only needs to get fresh EMUs once per generation, and even Auckland might only need a decent sized order once every ten to fifteen years. This isn’t like Australia where you have five cities ordering fleets of EMUs at all different times, enabling a near continuous production of EMUs.

    We don’t make any goddammned thing here… it isn’t economic to do so.

    Bingo and trying to do so would be a waste of time and resources. When we tried to manufacture everything in New Zealand, we ended up with product which cost a small fortune – and our economy slid in the world rankings. We should focus on the things where we could have potential – high level technology and the like.

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  67. I am pretty sure that the cars we used to build here in New Zealand were of that basic economy type

    Not that I am aware of.

    I know we had Mitsubishi assembling vehicles from imported parts in Porirua. We didn’t actually make parts here.. so the overall economic benefit was not ever going to be found. That lasted until 1998 but was dying from 1988. Was it as bad as you say? Not according to the histories I have found online.

    What happened was that New Zealanders were encouraged not to pay other New Zealanders to build things. Cheaper to buy something from overseas IN THE SHORT RUN. In the long run the economy of the country self-destructs on that sort of thinking.

    in the 1980s, it was possible to fly to Japan, purchase a second hand car there, ship it to New Zealand and all for less than purchasing a car in New Zealand.

    …of course it was. A used car wouldn’t attract the import duty of the new car and would be… well… USED. I don’t see that what you described made the production here “uneconomic” except in terms of the fact that it was permitted in the first place.

    We tried car manufacturing in the past, and it was a failure.

    I wouldn’t call what was done manufacturing and I wouldn’t call it a failure except in terms of the neo-liberal philosophy that says we shouldn’t do anything that someone else can do “more economically”.

    We don’t have the size to maintain railcar manufacturing plants.

    We don’t have the level of demand necessary to support such a venture. Wellington only needs to get fresh EMUs once per generation, and even Auckland might only need a decent sized order once every ten to fifteen years.

    Oddly enough we don’t HAVE to have a “venture” to make the things here. The maintenance yards we have were perfectly capable of building the EMUs. That decision was IMHO one of the most absurdly fncked up decisions of the past century.

    We don’t make any goddammned thing here… it isn’t economic to do so.

    Bingo and trying to do so would be a waste of time and resources.

    Bullsh!t You cannot HAVE high level technology unless you are building things here. Far from being a waste of time and resources it is something that is absolutely essential to build things here if you are going to have the R&D and technology sector that only exists on top of the manufacturing sector.

    There is no such thing as a “post industrial” economy. Give up the manufacturing of the things you need… and die.

    BJ

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  68. Reverse thinking, mabey there are enough jobs just too many people ? stop having kids you cant afford, stop letting in plane loads of migrants.

    Manage the population.

    Also solves other problems (not enough water, food, to many cars on roads, greenhouse gas outputs).

    If only we can get over ourselves and realise that breeding should not be considered a right anymore, but a privlidge allowed by the government (like all the other things you try to control).

    Application to have kids should be supported by stable income and work history, being law abiding, being in a long term relationship. Reduces other problems as well (crime, troubled youths, domestic violence).

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