Paula Bennett must take responsibility for privacy breaches at her Ministry

Since the massive privacy breach at the Ministry of Social Development was made public on Sunday 14th October, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has consistently passed the buck and refused to accept responsibility for the total failure of leadership she has provided. The release of the damning Deloitte Independent Review of Information Systems Security on […]

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Wondering how well-behaved we might be: reflections on conduct in the NZ Parliament

There was an exchange in the House last week that occasioned some media interest and concern from the public. It took the form of some theatrical antics by cabinet minister Paula Bennett, which prompted a rebuke from the Speaker, Dr Lockwood-Smith.  Likening the behaviour of a cabinet minister to that of a three-year-old inevitably caught […]

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Nanny Goat Gruff does coercion, corruption, and corporate greed – Part 5 of many

In the confidence and supply agreement with Act, the Government agreed to open up employment services to non-governmental organisations (NGO). Usually NGOs are not-for-profit organisations. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett talked last month about the likely providers of these employment services being community based organisations such as the Salvation Army and iwi. I spoke to […]

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Aspirational beneficiaries get shut down and shamed

Last week, the Associate Minister for Social Development, Chester Borrows, told the House (and by virtue of that the whole country) that beneficiary Tania Wysocki of Pukekohe was getting “the equivalent of a salary of $43,000 a year plus her entitlement to 20 hours’ early childhood education”. He also said that she is no worse […]

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Paula Bennett: Celebrating social policy failure while refusing to answer questions on Christchurch

Yesterday, the Minister of Social Development and Employment issued this bizarre media release: Recently released figures show that Work and Income are helping more people in need says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett. “Special Needs Grants for hardship have increased by over 50 per cent since March 2008,” says Ms Bennett. “So yes, that does […]

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The Welfare Working Group and the back to the future work-for-dole fallacy

Here’s some more information to support my argument that the Welfare Working Group’s recommendations (PDF) are driven by far right ideology rather by evidence. At page 23 of its report, the Welfare Working Group recommends: …a credible work for welfare scheme be established, in order to test the willingness of a small group of recipients […]

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Paula Bennett on Welfare Working Group: Nothing is ruled out

Metiria Turei questioned Paul Bennett today on whether she will rule out some of the most extreme and punitive recommendations of the Welfare Working Group. Bennett rules nothing out. We really do have a mean and uncaring Government that seems intent on further victimising those who are already victims of the Government’s own failed economic and social policies.

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Crime and access to welfare

Paula Bennett is horrified that people claim to have committed crimes because of poverty and difficulties accessing welfare. She claims welfare is accessible for those in need and is enough to live on. Newsflash Paula: There’s a huge black-market out there of people struggling to survive on low wages and benefits who do all kinds of things to supplement an inadequate income.

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Welfare Working Group: Submit, submit, submit

It’s great to see the lively discussion continuing on my post last week about the future directions of welfare policy. There is a view being circulated by some that the Government’s Welfare Working Group’s Options Paper doesn’t deserve much attention; that it follows the Brash 2025 Taskforce formula of misrepresenting the issue as some massive […]

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More questions than answers over ACC cost shifting

A couple of months ago, following ACC Minister Nick Smith’s u-turn on counselling for ACC sexual abuse claimants, I called for an independent review of the wide-ranging cutbacks to ACC imposed by the Government. I have now asked some questions about people being moved from ACC to welfare benefits. What really disturbed me about the replies is the huge increase in the number of people being shifted from weekly compensation onto welfare benefits since March 2009.

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National’s Plan B: Strip-mine the poor

A printed copy of an email from Paula Bennett turned up at my lilypad very early this morning. Or was it just a nightmare? National’s Plan B – having failed in their objective to strip-mine the land: Strip-mine the poor. Bad for forcing down wage rates; bad for low-income employment churn, especially given the Fire at Will extension; bad for productivity; so ultimately bad for business too. Just plain dumb!

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Beneficiary-bashing Bill back in Parliament, and worse than ever

Paula Bennett’s draconian Social Assistance (Future Focus) Bill has been reported back to Parliament by the Social Services Select Committee.  Despite overwhelming opposition to the Bill by submitters, the National Party used its majority on the Select Committee to report it back largely unchanged. They even decided to recommend a harsher reduction of benefit regime for […]

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Inequality in Aotearoa: inequality and social mobility

You can’t move from rags to riches when there’s a yawning gap between rich and poor. Much of the post-Budget debate has been focused on whether John Key and Bill English’s prescription for the country’s finances will increase or decrease the gap between rich and poor. Despite assuring us that he cares about inequality, Mr […]

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An ACC model for welfare? No thanks

Over the weekend, Social Development Minister raised the prospect of an ACC model for sickness and invalid’s benefits. My bet is that Bennett is talking about moving sickness and invalid’s benefits to the insurance model that ACC is increasingly becoming based on, rather than to a model based on the Woodhouse principle of complete rehabilitation that it was founded on.

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