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 […]
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 […]
CYFS is not keeping national records of the numbers of children abused in its care. Meanwhile the Government could be supporting a simple initiative that would help to improve the experiences of children and young people in care through an independent support network.
Yesterday we saw Work and Income boss, Janet Grossman, quit less than a year after being head-hunted from the UK. This succinctly answers our pending question – how is Minister Bennett’s newly appointed Welfare Board going to work with existing management staff in the Department of Social Development? In this case it has become clear. […]
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 […]
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 […]
Submissions on the Government’s Green Paper for Vulnerable Children close tomorrow. If they urge the Government to address child poverty and inequality, will the Government listen?
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 […]
The Herald has launched a six part series highlighting inequality and poverty in New Zealand, showing why we need action on the root causes, not the consequences.
The Green Paper for Vulnerable Children should be focused on how to address the root causes of child abuse and neglect – poverty and inequality.
Prime Minister John Key announced his new Cabinet this morning. The line-up is pretty predictable, but some of the portfolio allocations and rankings are interesting: The big winners are Steven Joyce and Hekia Parata, moving up 10 and 13 places respectively in the Cabinet ranking. Parata replaces Anne Tolley as Minister of Education. Paula Bennett’s […]
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 […]
Parliamentary questions are meant to be one of the ways in which the Government and its Ministers are kept accountable to Parliament, and through those of us who are privileged to serve as its Members, to the people of New Zealand. So I am pretty disappointed when I get replies like these to written Parliamentary […]
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has realised that if you’re going to work-test sole parents and force them into low-paid jobs when their children are six (or younger), someone’s going to have to look after the kids.
Yesterday, I went along to the $8.95 Welfare Forum organised by the Alternative Welfare Working Group. I was pleased to see around 100 people turn out – twice the number I’ve been told were at the $895 Welfare Conference opened by Paula Bennett yesterday. Minister Bennett was, as I expected, a no-show at the $8.95 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
Buried at page 53 of the Welfare Working Group’s report is this extraordinary statement: “…the total number of jobs will expand to equal the number of people who are available and actively seeking work.”
Gordon Campbell has a great piece in this month’s Werewolf debunking some of the myths about welfare trotted out by the beneficiary bashers. Here are a few of the highlights:
Last week I got quite a response to my post on crime and access to welfare, so I thought I would write a little more about why many beneficiaries can’t get ahead financially without breaking the law, however hard they may try. I’ve had a look at what happens to a single sickness beneficiary aged […]
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.
It seems Paula Bennett has been reading my Christmas message. She asked me to sing some of it in the House yesterday.
However I wasn’t in the House for the purpose of entertaining the Minister. I wanted to know if she was prepared to meet with the Alternative Welfare Working Group, whose report was launched yesterday.
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 […]
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.
New Zealand’s labour force grew by around 43,000 yesterday. That is the approximate number of single parents receiving domestic purposes benefit whose youngest child is aged six or over. As of yesterday, they all became part of the labour force; not necessarily because they all want to obtain paid employment but because Work and Income […]
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!
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 […]
I was delighted to read a rare media story this morning depicting a beneficiary in a positive light! Well done, New Plymouth Mayor Peter Tennent, and well done, Taranaki Daily News.
Paula Bennett: “This debate could get uncomfortable…it could get emotional…we may even see an ugly side of New Zealand…”
And who created that ugly side, Paula?
Today and tomorrow, the Welfare Working Group is hosting a forum on welfare issues to look at the big picture. It was advertised as open to the first 250 people who enrolled, and billed as bringing together “a diversity of opinions and experience”. Metiria and I immediately registered, along with one of our researchers, because […]
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 […]
There is a sharp contrast between the Prime Ministerial responses to last week’s respective indiscretions by two of his more accident-prone Ministers.
The Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett made a speech recently at the National Party Regional Conference in Oamaru, in which she talked about how terrible it is for children to see their parents on a long-term benefit. I must experience a more complex universe than the Minister. The worst experience for a child is […]
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.
While both I and Green MPs have slammed Paula Bennett’s beneficiary bashing policies, I haven’t climbed into the information privacy dispute between Bennett and DPB beneficiary Natasha Fuller – until now! Bennett is going too far, and seems to want to escalate the dispute for her own political ends.
Cameron (Whaleoil) Slater has been having a bleat about how he has been treated by the private insurer Fidelity Life, which has cut off his income protection insurance. Funny how those on the political right don’t seem to get it – until it affects them personally, that is.
Remember the bad old days when Jenny Shipley was Minister of Social Welfare and there were beneficiary bashing measures in every Budget (including the benefit cuts in the 1991 Mother of All Budgets that have never been restored)? Surprised there is nothing similar in this year’s Budget?
Most people spend less than a year on a benefit and use that time to rebuild their lives and education. The few who abuse the system pale into insignificance against losses from failed investment companies, tax evaders and corporate fraudsters.
Today in the House, Catherine Delahunty posed a perplexing problem to Paula Bennett. Which Peter was she talking about? Last week, Catherine hit Paula up about the Welfare Working Group and the obvious bias of the people she had appointed. When asked about Peter Saunders’ statement that there is a link between “low average intelligence […]