Jan Logie
Welfare Reform goes nanny goat gruff – Part 2 of many

When the Government announced their reform plans this week we were hoping to see a reinstatement of the Training Incentive Allowance for higher level courses, as suggested by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett in a Cabinet paper signed off in October last year. It is very disappointing not to see this eventuate.

The TIA for higher level courses is proven to help people get off the DPB earlier and stay off it (the only other thing that seems to do that is a ‘catching’ a partner with a job). Reinstating the TIA would at least make the talk about an investment approach to welfare more plausible.

The government will pay for sub-degree courses up to level three. Many, though not all, of these courses will result in low paid jobs. Low paid jobs are often less flexible and it’s hard to stay in work when you’re struggling to pay for child care, or after school care and work around the needs of your children. Higher paid jobs are more likely to enable parents to successfully juggle family commitments. The evidence backs this up, clearly demonstrating that high level study enables people to get off the DPB earlier and stay off it longer.

I’ve written already about the personal pain this rule change has caused some women. As well as being a poor economic decision it’s also just unfair. When we have two pretty impressive women leaders in Parliament who both used the TIA to get their degrees I think we should all be able to see the potential of it.

77 thoughts on “Welfare Reform goes nanny goat gruff – Part 2 of many

  1. A tale of two politicians.
    One used the training allowance to get a law degree, support her family and now defends those at the bottom of society in Parliament every day.
    The other used the training allowance, upskilled, advanced her career and is now desperately trying to stop anyone else using the training allowance.
    The first is of course Metiria Turei, the other is Paula Bennett. Now Bennett is going around saying that working a low paying job in fast food is noble. What a filthy hypocrite. Jobs like that weren’t good enough for her, so why should they be enough to sustain people with no opportunity to move forward with their career?
    http://afinetale.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/soon-nobility-will-be-revolting.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5 (+6)

  2. alex is disparaging of the notion that “working a low paying job in fast food is noble”, which is quite peculiar.

    Noble is supporting yourself and your family. Noble is making wise decisions. If that means flipping burgers then it is to be commended.

    What is ignoble is considering yourself to be above flipping burgers, while expecting burger-flippers (who have their own families) to pay their taxes to support your family while you continue to have more kids that you expect these burgerflippers to support. That – to use Jans term in another post on this subject – is repugnant.

    There is nothing ignoble about trying to stand on ones own two feet. the welfare state was deisgned for thise who cant stand on their own two feet, not for those who choose not to, or have a blister on thier little toe and for whome this whole idea of lookinag after yourself if you can is all just too inconvenient.

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

  3. Nope, you misunderstand me completely MC, I am not disparaging of flipping burgers for a living. In fact, I do flip burgers for a living. Those jobs though are meant to be entry level, but without qualifications and the chance to upskill, they are dead end. Furthermore supporting a family on minimum wage would be bloody difficult. The government should not be taking away the opportunity for those people who want to upskill to support their family.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1 (+11)

  4. How many burger flippers do we need Misanthropic Curmudgeon? Is that your grand solution to the unemployment problem? What further job opportunities are available to burger flippers? How much job satisfaction is there in that kind of work? As alex correctly points out, without further training (which National has made harder to acquire) it is a dead end job.

    Why should my tax money go to subsidize the income of a burger flipper just because fast food outlets pay peanuts? Why should my taxes pay for the promotion and distribution of food that is bad for people and causes huge amounts of ill health? I then have to pay taxes again so that the people who have become ill from eating crappy food can get treatment. It is likely to be cheaper to pay for people to be trained into proper work that pays a good wage than it is for me to subsidize businesses milking New Zealand for all we’ve got. What is noble about that?

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

  5. Jackal says “… it is a dead end job.”

    No job is a dead end job. EVERY job is a step up the ladder from being unemployed.

    If I had people apply for a job and they’d stayed on the dole or DPB when they could have had a minumum wage job, I’d immediately rule them out as unemployable as they don’t have the right work attitude.

    Even someone with lower skills would be preferable. It’s easier to train someone than to change a appalling attitude to work or outright laziness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3 (+5)

  6. “EVERY job is a step up the ladder from being unemployed.”

    Prostitution, photonz1?

    Cooking in a ‘P’ lab?

    More to the point, are these occupations ‘noble’ as Bennett would have us believe.

    Not saying they aren’t, just wondering if you think they are.

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  7. No job is a dead end job. EVERY job is a step up the ladder from being unemployed.

    Except when the job is a job that shouldn’t exist at all.

    McDonalds shouldn’t have burger flippers any more. The only reason they have burger flippers is that it is cheaper to employ people to flip burgers than it is to mechanise the job.

    We don’t need burger flippers; we need burgers flipped. We have a century plus of industrial engineering that says that having people undertake this entire category of activity is wrong.

    The reason it’s cheaper to employ a person is that the minimum wage is manifestly too low. You can see exactly where I’m going with this so I won’t bother continuing to type.

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  8. greenfly says “Cooking in a ‘P’ lab?”

    I haven’t seen those jobs advertised.

    You forgot to add assasssin, mercinary, medical guineapig.

    Funny that the Greens campaigned to have prostetution seen as a legitimate legal profession, and now when it suits they use it as dirty disgusting job that no one should do.

    The point is this. An employer is often faced with two or more people applying for a job. One may have been on the dole but took on work way beneath their qualification, and the others did not.

    The one who took on work shows exactly the attitude and work ethic that employers want.

    Those who did not, show exactly the attitude and work ethic that should be avoided at all costs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4 (+4)

  9. greenfly..ahhhhh prostitution is a legal profession..

    $160 an hour is pretty good money for opening yur legs and talking dirty for a few minutes. Im sure they meet all sorts of neat people in the course of a day.

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  10. “legal profession”?

    Here was me thinking that described lawyers and such.

    Is $160 an hour pretty good money for performing those services, do you think?

    I’m not so sure.

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  11. Would the majority of customers be willing to pay more than $160 ? not likely.

    $160, 2 lays a day 5 days a week and 4 weeks holiday = $50K per annum after 33% tax, not bad for a few hours work.

    Put in a full day and youre hitting 100K a year.

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  12. One of the wonders of debating this and that on the net is coming across a fairly typical conflation, some people when debating against a “group” of people will seize on some comment (distortion of the comment for this purpose being par for the course) by any one of that group and claim that it represents the whole group.

    So for example, a poster called greenfly asks what the comment “any job being a step up the ladder” from being welfare dependent might mean, and refers to well known methods for making quick amounts of serious money, the response was

    “Funny that the Greens campaigned to have prostetution seen as a legitimate legal profession, and now when it suits they use it as dirty disgusting job that no one should do.”

    It’s the modern version of one Jew did a crime, all Jews do that (crime).

    The approach sums up how many people contend against the Green brand in the way they try and misrepresent it (irony intended).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3 (0)

  13. Greenfly says ““legal profession”?

    Here was me thinking that described lawyers and such.”

    There’s a difference?

    Don’t they both make money by screwing people?

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  14. You would have thought Billing English was a lawyer rather than someone trained in economics.

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  15. @photonz1 10:26 AM

    Funny that the Greens campaigned to have prostetution seen as a legitimate legal profession, and now when it suits they use it as dirty disgusting job that no one should do.

    The Green Party also campaigned (successfully) at the time for provisions in the law that prevented Work and Income or ACC cutting off people’s entitlements for refusal to work in the sex industry. Not because it is a “dirty disgusting job” but because it is a job that many people have a personal and/or moral objection to doing.

    I actually think the law should go further in that regard. For example, Muslim or Jewish beneficiaries can be denied their benefits if they refuse to work on a pig farm. And vegans can be denied their entitlements if they refuse to work in a meat works.

    I think a strongly held ethical belief should always be a legitimate reason for refusing to work in a particular industry.

    If I were on a benefit, I would be absolutely distraught if I were sent to a job in the fast food industry – not only because of its extremely poor employment practices but because I think it represents almost everything that is wrong about consumerist society.

    But I would have to take the job, or risk losing the subsistence income the benefit provides. At least the Greens managed to achieve an exemption from that requirement as far as the sex industry is concerned.

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  16. Low paid jobs are often less flexible and it’s hard to stay in work when you’re struggling to pay for child care, or after school care and work around the needs of your children. Higher paid jobs are more likely to enable parents to successfully juggle family commitments. The evidence backs this up, clearly demonstrating that high level study enables people to get off the DPB earlier and stay off it longer.

    Ahh the hypocrisy of the Greens knows no bounds.

    So what you are saying is that unless the government helps the unemployed to participate further “up the ladder” and take a greater slice of “unsustainable pie” then they are really really bad.

    More evidence that the environment is a very distant second to tired old left wing ideology.

    The new Green MPs are a total let down, just boring Mana party wannabees with the convenient Trojan horse of feigned environmental concern.

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  17. Shunda – when commenting on Frogblog, a useful rule of thumb for you would be:
    when finding yourself writing the words ‘So what you are saying”, stop, think, think again, then with a clear mind, finish your comment.

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  18. taod says “I think a strongly held ethical belief should always be a legitimate reason for refusing to work in a particular industry.”

    That sounds fair to me, perhaps with the word “genuine” added in before the word ethical.

    greenfly says “…when finding yourself writing the words ‘So what you are saying”, stop, think, think again, then with a clear mind, finish your comment.”

    Ditto with “the logical conclusion…”

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  19. What is it about ‘strongly held’ that makes you think an ethical belief would not be genuine?

    Have you some experience of strongly held ethical beliefs that are not genuine?

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

  20. Two thoughts comes to mind

    1. More of the only true green is a National Party bluegreen mantra.

    So why does National not hold its MOU talks with the bluegreens and let’s see if they have more or less influence than Banks or Dunne?

    2. When job creation and upskilling, rather than having more and more work tested people compete for the same low wage jobs, is seen as tired old left wing thinking, we know expectations of (this) government have reached zero.

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  21. Have you some experience of strongly held ethical beliefs that are not genuine?

    Are you kidding?

    People claim to believe all sorts of things if they think it will get them what they want.

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  22. For example?
    (I’m looking for a strongly-held belief that is not also genuinely-held. I sense impossibility :-)

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  23. @Shunda barunda 6:59 PM

    Shunda, given your comments on previous posts relating to abortion, would you be prepared to do a job that required your disposing of aborted fetuses at an abortion clinic if you were unemployed and Work and Income sent you there for a job?

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  24. greenfly says “What is it about ‘strongly held’ that makes you think an ethical belief would not be genuine?”

    It is merely the difference between a belief that someone says is strongly held, and one that is actually strongly held.

    Then there is the further question of whether it is a reasonable belief or not.

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  25. Shunda, given your comments on previous posts relating to abortion, would you be prepared to do a job that required your disposing of aborted fetuses at an abortion clinic if you were unemployed and Work and Income sent you there for a job?

    No.
    Do you think that is even a remotely logical example though?

    Would you work in a Christian factory making “God hates fags” placards?

    Silly isn’t it.

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  26. “It is merely the difference between a belief that someone says is strongly held, and one that is actually strongly held.”

    You’ve changed the meaning of your original statement, photonz1.
    Now it’s whether someone does believe, or whether they don’t but merely say they do.
    Glad I asked. It alerts me to how you debate (shifting sands and all that…)

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  27. There is something I wish the Greens would answer in a straightforward way.

    Is there welfare abuse in NZ?

    Simple question.

    Is there or isn’t there?.

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  28. Toad’s example is logical, Shunda. It’s not likely though, nor useful. Pushing examples to the extreme usually moves the discussion out of the ‘productive’ zone, into the ‘theoretical-but-not-applicable’ realms. Really though, I should leave you and Toad to wrestle, it’s just that I’m feeling feisty!

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  29. “Is there welfare abuse in NZ?”
    If we answer ‘yes’, what will you say, Shunda?
    And if we answer ‘no’?

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  30. Oh, there will be no “yes” answer, that level of honesty doesn’t exist in political discussions like this.

    Which is exactly the problem.

    Poor = left wing political football.

    And ya can’t boot a ball with no air in it, (not far anyway).

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  31. Don’t be a dill, Shunda. Take the opportunity to assume that ‘yes’ has been said and express yourself.

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  32. Would you guys get real?

    “Strongly Held” = “Genuine”. If it isn’t genuine it CANNOT be strongly held.

    Sigh…. So MUCH wasted heat without a single lumen shed on the subject.

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  33. Sigh…. So MUCH wasted heat without a single lumen shed on the subject.

    You could apply that to this entire political debate between the left and right.

    This crap just goes round and round and there isn’t a hope in hell of the truth in the situation being revealed.
    Politics isn’t about making life better for anyone, it’s seems to be more about “beating those b@stards over there”.

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  34. There is welfare abuse. Not as much as the Right thinks, but it exists. There is corporate welfare abuse as well.
    There are abuses of the tax system.

    There are all MANNER of abuses here, and the problems are all too often solved, in the current system, by penalizing people who are already in great difficulty and providing tax relief and subsidies to people who are wealthy enough to buy access to the lawmaking process.

    That IS how democracy works right now, even here in NZ.

    Maybe we’re a bit better than places like the USA and Greece, but that isn’t actually hard given the qualities of those places.

    Electing a banker is not really very bright though.

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  35. Electing a banker is not really very bright though.

    What about electing someone from a solo parent state house in Christchurch?

    You can’t deride the guy for one aspect of his life without looking at others.

    It would appear that the Prime minister is at least qualified to comment on welfare.

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  36. “You can’t deride the guy for one aspect of his life without looking at others.”

    What if he was an actor?

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  37. What if he was an actor?

    Well that depends.

    If they present a logical and intelligent argument then that would be great.

    If they seek to exploit a shallow loyalty from fans of certain characters they play then that would be pathetic, shallow, and counter productive to any valid cause they seek to represent.

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  38. greenfly says “You’ve changed the meaning of your original statement, photonz1. Now it’s whether someone does believe, or whether they don’t but merely say they do. Glad I asked. It alerts me to how you debate (shifting sands and all that…)”

    Wrong – what I said, and meant, has not changed. You often jump to extreme conclusions so perhaps you haven’t picked it up correctly.

    I could claim all sorts of strongly held ethical beliefs – which may or may not be geniune.

    There’s probably one to avoid doing every type of job.

    Or one for all jobs.

    Like a “strongly held ethical belief” that one should not be part of a capitalist system.

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  39. Thinking of Maggie Barry here…

    Hey, at least we know for certain that Maggie Barry likes native plants and is a keen advocate for their protection, we don’t know the same for all the Green Mps……….

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  40. She also champions the sale of New Zealand’s energy assets.

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  41. Which they campaigned openly about before the election.

    Whether we like it or not, that = mandate.

    Having a particular open ideology is not exactly the same as tricking people into voting for the party a fictional white trash (though loved deeply by morons) character would vote for.

    Hell, it’s even more dishonest than that, the reality is that “Sheryl West” would likely not vote at all.

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  42. My comment related to banks and bankers and their control of governments.

    Not to Welfare.

    Nor IMHO, is this PM anything but a good liar. Which isn’t entirely bad for a politician. Most of them are absolutely brilliant liars. :-)

    However, given my opinion of banks, bankers and the monetary system in general, it is sufficient that he is a banker.

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  43. Shunda

    A referendum on asset sales would give them a mandate. What they got was a slender majority in a divided parliament with a vote that was basically a beauty contest of Goff vs Key. The notion that selling assets is anything but a short term one shot whack at a finance problem that has grown over several administration’s failure to tax people who have money and own stuff. Cullen was as guilty of that failure as any National party problem exacerbator. The difference is that he actually could be approached and eventually listened. Late but not never. For these guys it is an ideological non-starter.

    BJ

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  44. In the end there is no substitute for a brisk rate of job creation from a strongly growing economy.

    Although thats not the right answer, it’s certainly an answer I’d settle for, and one that would be good for the country for a goodly number of decades.

    If you want a decently funded wefare system whilst you’re attempting for 100% employment, then GDP is what is necessary.

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  45. A referendum on asset sales would give them a mandate. What they got was a slender majority in a divided parliament with a vote that was basically a beauty contest of Goff vs Key.

    Come on BJ. It was made abundantly clear to the electorate, without any shades of grey whatsoever that if a National led government were elected, then there would be silverware fire sales. The only way top prevent asset sales was not to elect a National led government.

    You can put any spin on it you like, but that is the long and short of it. There was no scope for misunderstandings.

    Thats not to underestimate Labour’s (continuing) inability to elect a credible leader.

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  46. “Is there welfare abuse in NZ?”
    If we answer ‘yes’, what will you say, Shunda?

    If the answer is ‘yes’ then we have to take a slightly different approach to the reforms that National is implementing.

    Welfare is not good for people long term when they are able bodied and capable of doing something productive, it is a slow and soul destroying existence, been there done that.
    I think we have to take the approach that people are better off without it – a safety net is not supposed to be lived in forever but it is absolutely necessary to have when needed.

    I have personal experience living on welfare and now living in an area with a lot of welfare dependency, I think that gives me at least some experience on the issue.

    In my opinion the welfare system has been failing people and especially children, we have been killing people with kindness.

    This has to change, welfare was never intended to be an enabler of poor decisions and life choices, but rather a stop gap measure to give people a chance to rise above their circumstances.
    Even hinting at the possibility of welfare being a lifestyle choice or a legitimate way to live is an appalling abuse of the principals of social welfare, and that has been the unfortunate result of the previous left wing government.
    If the Greens truly value social welfare then they would have strong policy on welfare abuse, not attack National for what in reality are relatively minor changes.

    No one is proposing removing welfare from this that really need it, there is nothing wrong with encouraging people to take responsibility for their lives and the lives of their kids.

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  47. BJ says “A referendum on asset sales would give them a mandate”

    We just had an election, where this was far from a secret – in fact it was probably the main election issue.

    Polls, depending on how leading their questions were, showed big differences in results, but only one poll counts – the election.

    And if people cared about asset sales, they didn’t care about it much.

    BJ says “…a short term one shot whack at a finance problem …”

    Wrong. When you pay off debt, you pay it off forever. In 50 years time (and every year in between), you are still saving on interest costs compared to if you hadn’t paid it off.

    It’s about the safest most reliable investment you can have.

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  48. Placing a focus on surplus labour while the economic system is set up to have surplus labour is deflection – and what was globalisation but exporting jobs for cheaper cost products, good for those who still had jobs but bad for those left as surplus labour.

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  49. Wrong. When you pay off debt, you pay it off forever.

    Wrong. If you do not address the cause of the debt, you go right back into debt.

    The problem Photonz, is that income and outgo aren’t well matched. We don’t tax enough and we spend too much. National has exhibited stuff all ability to do anything but put people out of work. Now it is going to export assets as well. But it won’t tell people who actually OWN things and have money, to pay tax EVEN AT THE RATE I AM PAYING TAX. It raised GST instead.

    Fuck ‘em with a Fork Sideways… FEWAFS.

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  50. …and if you think that the election was fought on “Asset Sales” alone you missed an awful lot. More to the point though, is the slender margin by which National actually controls Parliament. One person crosses the floor and they are done… and I really doubt that they have unanimity in their caucus. A referendum would give them a “mandate”. The last election certainly did not. Claims to the contrary are risible if not outright lies. What would be the outcome of a referendum Photonz?

    Really. You can’t claim a mandate for this. They don’t have the moral right to do it at all. We should call for re-nationalization of any assets sold, as soon as National loses its supposed “mandate” – with a guarantee that the people who buy the assets gain nothing by it.

    The only way there is a mandate is if there are enough people in the country to support it that the sale can be expected to stand whichever party has the reins of government.

    BJ

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  51. SPC says “…but bad for those left as surplus labour..”

    Perhaps they could do jobs in the vineyards and orchards of Central Otago so 500-600 foreign workers don’t have to be flown to NZ to do the work.

    Or Marlborough.

    Or Hawkes Bay.

    Or the thousands of workers that the dairy industry is short of, all over the country.

    We’re short of people for beef farms in all regions.

    We’re short of people to work on poultry farms in central North Island, Auckland, Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and central and upper South Island.

    We’re short of orchard workers in all regions.

    We’re short of forstry workers in all regions

    We’re short of Market Garden workers in all regions

    We’re short of pig farm workers in all regions

    We have numerous shortage in health and social services.

    We have numerous shortages in the oil and gas industry

    We have shortages in bars and cafes

    We have shortages in many trades in all regions

    We’re short of truck drivers in all regions

    We’re short of scaffolders in all regions

    We also have long term shortages in construction, science, engineering, electrics and electronics, IT etc.

    A recent survey showed the majority of all businesses currently have skill shortages.

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  52. photonz1

    I could claim all sorts of strongly held ethical beliefs – which may or may not be geniune.

    I think you’re looking at this the wrong way. It is not whether a person should be allowed to use what they believe in to avoid working in certain jobs, it is whether people should be forced to work in certain jobs that go against their belief system.

    The Human Rights Commission is very clear on this matter… you cannot force somebody to work in a job against their will and belief system. Likewise, the government cannot expect people to conform to their political direction just because they are in power. Their are reasons for people’s beliefs that deserve to be respected, not simply dismissed because it suits their neo-liberalism.

    It’s about the safest most reliable investment you can have.

    You do realize that the lost revenue is more than the interest payable on the debt photonz1? The proposed MOM asset sales are going to cost the country money. The only people who will benefit are “Mom and Dad” investors ie National and their rich mates. No wonder then that they are ignoring a third of their own voters who do not want asset sales. Two thirds of the voting public don’t want asset sales… an election does not give the government a mandate to act against the will of the people.

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  53. bj says “Really. You can’t claim a mandate for this. ”

    Even commentators on the extreme left like Chris Trotter are saying there is a mandate.

    Personally, I don’t really care. They made it blatantly obvious that they would sell assets, and NZ voted them in.

    Your panic about this is surprising considering a 1c change in petrol price makes a much bigger difference to your financial welfare than asset sales.

    It’s like everyone has got themselves worked up into a tantrum without ever bothering to work out that the financial difference it makes to them is insignificant.

    BJ says “with a guarantee that the people who buy the assets gain nothing by it.”

    Yes BJ Mugabe. What a fantastic idea.

    [frog: Too far. Be warned.]

    Completely root the countrys financial reputation, and bankrupt us by scaring all foreign investment out of the country.

    All because of your 5 cents a week – and some flawed ideology.

    So why haven’t you been campainging just as strongly to renationalise Auckland Airport, Air NZ, Contact Energy, Wellington Airport, Telecom, Yellow Pages, ANZ Bank, BNZ Bank, State Insurance, Film Unit, Printing Office, Petrocorp, NZ Steel, NZ Shipping, Ministry of Works, Computing Services, Rural Bank, Terralink, Tower Insurance, The Radio Network, Tourist Hotel Corporation, etc etc?

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  54. Shunda

    In my opinion the welfare system has been failing people and especially children, we have been killing people with kindness.

    This is absolute right wing rubbish! You cannot kill people with kindness, you kill people by making their lives a misery where they and their children do not have enough to meet their basic needs.

    This has to change, welfare was never intended to be an enabler of poor decisions and life choices, but rather a stop gap measure to give people a chance to rise above their circumstances.

    Welfare is not an enabler of poor life choices. It is a safety net when things go wrong. Most of the time it’s not the fault of the person who requires the safety net for their predicament. You also need to comprehend that some people’s circumstances mean they will be on welfare forever. I think your comments are an insult to them. Grow some legs screams Shunda… stop being handicapped etc. Your gross generalizations are highly insensitive.

    If the Greens truly value social welfare then they would have strong policy on welfare abuse, not attack National for what in reality are relatively minor changes.

    There is no systemic welfare abuse Shunda, and therefore no further policy is required. There is however a growing problem of corporate corruption in this country that needs more attention. Strangely I have seen very little from anybody on the right of the political spectrum jumping up and down about rich people ripping the system off. I wonder why?

    No one is proposing removing welfare from this that really need it, there is nothing wrong with encouraging people to take responsibility for their lives and the lives of their kids.

    National’s policies have been removing people from welfare, which you would know if you weren’t so ideologically blinded. I agree that there is nothing wrong with encouraging people to take responsibility for their own lives, however you don’t achieve that by kicking beneficiaries in the guts, creating more unemployment, less jobs and less training opportunities.

    As of 30 June 2011, Future Focus resulted in 7,423 previous WINZ UB clients no longer receiving any kind of benefit. Only 2,155 found employment while a whopping 3,698 apparently did not bother to reapply, and are not documented as having any other income at all.

    You also don’t create people who can look after themselves by controlling what they do, where they live and what they spend their money on. You create institutionalized victims who will need even more state assistance in the future.

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  55. photonz1

    Even commentators on the extreme left like Chris Trotter are saying there is a mandate.

    Chris Trotter on the extreme left… are you mental photonz1?

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  56. jackal says “you cannot force somebody to work in a job against their will and belief system.”

    I have no problem with that if it’s a 1/ genuine belief and 2/ a reasonable belief. i.e. rather than one made up just for job avoidance, or because if someone has a “strong belief” that they shouldn’t have to work with gays/blacks/muslims/jews (pick your own minority).

    jackal says “You do realize that the lost revenue is more than the interest payable on the debt photonz1? ”

    Genesis hasn’t been paying anything. And do you really expect interest rates to still be at all time historical lows in five years time?

    jackal says “an election does not give the government a mandate to act against the will of the people.

    It does if they openly and loudly said they will sell the assets if you vote for us, and then NZ votes them in.

    Why do you panic so much about something that makes so little difference to you each week, that it’s less than the smallest denomination coin?

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  57. What is really interesting about the so called skills shortage in the provincial area jobs is that it’s for staff with some education/training AND 2 or 3 years work experience. That means locals are supplanted with low wage imported labour from offshore – how do locals get the experience … and why train if the imported labour get the jobs … classic catch 22 to ensure the wage cost remains low.

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  58. jackal says “Chris Trotter on the extreme left… are you mental photonz1?”

    The left wing blogs like The Standard call him strongly left.

    He’s into unions, socialism, NZ per 1980s, wrote no right trun, and his column is “from the Left”. From memory he’s had a few political connections to the left of the Labour Party.

    Perhaps far left would be a more accurate description than extreme left.

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  59. SPC says “What is really interesting about the so called skills shortage in the provincial area jobs is that it’s for staff with some education/training AND 2 or 3 years work experience.”

    No – the 500-600 jobs in Central Otago are jobs that any inexperienced able bodied person could do.

    And you’re also wrong about cheap imported labour. It cost s MORE to bring in people from overseas than to hire local workers.

    In todays paper there’s a story saying employers are hoping tighter benefit rules will mean MORE New Zealanders do the work so they don’t have to pay to fly workers in from other countries.

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  60. You referred to various categories, not just one – and they required training and work experience.

    Provide links for the newspaper story, … what paper?

    … Women on the DPB are not going to be doing the jobs 9 to 3.

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  61. As for seasonal jobs, employers prefer experienced workers who provide good productivity (this makes the industry viable). Locals are not available year on year for this work.

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  62. Found the news item, the “peak” number of “seasonal” jobs in Central Otago is 500-600.

    Employers would surely prefer the younger ones (backpackers and students) and the regular high productivity workers (guaranteed via returning immigrant workers) – otherwise it’s a pool of labour kept on the dole (and or casual work) the rest of the year, just to specialise in seasonal work? I wonder what the accomodation or transport solutions are for that? Given there is no scheme set up for it.

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/business/199443/work-available-locals-employers

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  63. Even commentators on the extreme left like Chris Trotter are saying there is a mandate.

    OK… so you don’t want to answer my question about what happens in any ACTUAL referendum, so you appeal to the authority of.. Chris Trotter?

    :-)

    I don’t think I can deal with any more amusing suggestions of yours in the time I have. That one was funny though.

    Just do pay attention to the natural monopolies. Power is one of them, rail is another. The artificial divisions are… diversions.

    The reality is that there are now multiple layers of duplicated management being paid by my power bill with a serious profit motive, where once there was one layer of management which was entirely if indirectly answerable to the voters of the country, with the motive of providing and ensuring the production of power. I don’t think you can make any sort of REAL case for improved efficiency overall either. Pffft… got to stop now. Too tired and it is going to take a while to stop laughing

    Chris Trotter… Oh my!

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  64. …commentators on the extreme left like Chris Trotter…

    Huh? This is the guy who endorsed Phil Goff’s racist “Nationhood” speech and attacked those on the left who condemned it.

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  65. “Personally, I don’t really care. They made it blatantly obvious that they would sell assets, and NZ voted them in.”

    Those commenters who insist that the Government has a mandate by dint of being in Government interest me, in that they are clearly unable to grasp the opposite argument – particularly that there are a number of other factors that, despite serious reservations from the majority of New Zealanders around selling assets, still got them into power. the thinking of otherwise thoughtful people stalls at this hurdle, ‘they said they would do it, they won the election, therefore they have the mandate.’
    It’s a brick wall though, and I’ve not seen anyone break through out of the murk of ‘mandate’, into the light of reason where New Zealanders are looking at the asset sale plans and saying, that’s not what we want. It’s a delusion that resists reason. Even that of our resident Logician and Very Reasonable Man, bjchip, is dismissed in a dull and off-hand way by the likes of fluffy-thinkers like photonz1, as the quote at the start of my comment shows.

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  66. photonz1

    It does if they openly and loudly said they will sell the assets if you vote for us, and then NZ votes them in.

    It is clear that you do not or cannot comprehend even the basic understanding of what a mandate is. Some people voted for National despite not wanting asset sales. National did not stand only on their asset sales policy.

    If a percentage of the population says they like McDonalds the most, and no other fast food outlet has more votes, it does not mean that New Zealander’s like cheese burgers the most. People might have voted for McDonald’s because they like the chicken McNuggets or French Fries. Is that a basic enough explanation for you photonz1?

    Why do you panic so much about something that makes so little difference to you each week, that it’s less than the smallest denomination coin?

    Panicking? Im concerned that a National led government is acting against the will of the people to the detriment of New Zealand. MOM asset sales do not make good fiscal sense. You cannot make good economical decisions by staring into a crystal ball.

    Perhaps far left would be a more accurate description than extreme left.

    LOL! Trotter is a token leftie the right wing media roll out whenever they need to appear to have a balanced opinion. He is more often criticizing the left and supporting the right and is often quoted by bloggers like Cameron Slater and David Farrar. Once upon a time you could say that Trotter was left, but presently he falls into the void of no mans land… and you know what happens to people out there.

    Strangely I have not seen you comment at The Standard, unless you use a different handle. Gosman perhaps?

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  67. The last few comments have wandered a bit far off the topic of this thread, which is meant to be welfare reform. If you want to talk about asset sales, Gareth has a recent thread on that over here.

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  68. Those commenters who insist that the Government has a mandate by dint of being in Government interest me, in that they are clearly unable to grasp the opposite argument – particularly that there are a number of other factors that, despite serious reservations from the majority of New Zealanders around selling assets, still got them into power. the thinking of otherwise thoughtful people stalls at this hurdle, ‘they said they would do it, they won the election, therefore they have the mandate.’

    It is difficult to image that a simpler choice was given to the county at the last election. National reminded us at every possible opportunity that if the next government was National led, then there would be asset sales, to the point that it was the centrepiece of their manifesto committment.

    There was no space for interpretation, for wiggle room, or doubt, or lack of clarity.

    The electorate (thats us, we the people) created the circumstances where we have a National led government. Therefore it would be wrong of national not to follow through on their manifesto committment.

    Example: Lets imagine a left wing party had swept into government just as weakly as this National government had, promising to (for example) fix low wages and benefits, and then having been elected they say “ah, well, actually, we’re not going to do that, it was just something we were thinking about.

    Now imagine what every left wing blogger in the country (including in this very blog) would be writing about such a party that failed to honour it’s central comittments.

    The country had the opportunity to stop asset sales dead in their tracks, and failed to do so.

    Of course, the Red Party need to take a goodly chunk of the heat for that, for being such a bunch of useless tossers from about 2006 onwards, continuing to this day.

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  69. Sorry, Frog.

    Back on topic, there’s a great article by economist Susan St John slamming the Nats’ welfare reforms in today’s NZ Herald:

    The Key government should be ashamed to be promoting these highly complex tax credits as the answer to shortcomings in the relatively simple benefit system. Sole parents with young children need support and calling government support by another name doesn’t make a parent more worthy.

    Sole parents need to be treated better when they earn a bit more on the benefit. Part-time work needs to be encouraged with less loss of benefit. It is a good way to get work experience that might be manageable with young children.

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  70. Sorry frog, I promise never to talk about hamburgers again.

    Thanks for the link Toad, a very good article. This bit is also interesting:

    As the Tax Working Group showed, the Minimum Family Tax Credit has a 100% effective marginal tax rate, making it the worst work incentive ever devised. That means for every additional dollar of net income earned up to $22,204 per year, the Minimum Family Tax Credit disappears dollar for dollar. At the minimum wage, someone who was working 20 hours would have to work an additional 17 hours before being any better off at all.

    The Minimum Family Tax Credit is effectively a subsidy to employers. They can get away with paying only the minimum wage as they know a higher hourly rate will not give any more in the hand to someone receiving the Minimum Family Tax Credit.

    This shambles is impossible for IRD to administer fairly and leaves sole parents vulnerable to having their incomes reduced sharply should their hours fall below 20 a week. Workers who face casualised employment have the ongoing problems of reporting in to IRD on a weekly basis, as well as extremely uncertain income.

    Yet another good argument against casualisation.

    The system is currently set up so that unless people can specifically conform their work to meet restrictive criteria, they are effectively working for free. Therefore in some cases there is no real financial incentive. This is not only damaging in that it disincentivizes people from working, it means jobs are designed to fit the criteria when this is not always beneficial in terms of the work required and productivity. Let’s call it the Douglas method.

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  71. dbuckley – on asset sales, I’ve challenged your comment on Gareth’s thread.

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  72. I’ve argued that the low minimum wage and thus the use of benefits to supplement these wage-earners is a benefit to poor bsuinesses, paid for by a tax on decent businesses that pay their workers a good wage.

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