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 off without the Training Incentive Allowance.

Tania has been getting a hard time about this. People working hard in low paid jobs now think she’s a bludger and are telling her so. The truth is though that someone working 30 hours a week on the minimum wage is still $87.28 a week better off than Tania. In fact, Tania is currently living below the poverty line.

Someone in Tania’s circumstances but in employment rather than study and earning $43,000 a year would get the same amount of childcare assistance and Family Tax Credit as Tania gets in addition to his or her salary. She or he would also get the In Work Tax Credit of $60 a week which Tania, as a student, cannot receive, and an Accommodation Supplement of $47.  Overall, he or she would have $327 a week more disposable income than Tania does.

The Associate Minister’s response in the House last week represents the worst type of cynical politics. Setting beneficiaries up against low paid workers is an old ploy to keep the marginalised down. It annoys me when it’s done in a generalised way, but to do this to an individual is a cruel type of politics.

The Government tells us the answer to child poverty is getting parents off the DPB. Yet when they’re presented with a woman studying to try to get off the DPB early and into a well-paid job they vilify her.

Here’s her story to give you more of a sense of reality:

Tania Wysocki , mother of two gorgeous children, has discovered that the only way she can cover the costs of higher study is by doing escort work, which she doesn’t want to do.

Tania left school with school certificate and has been working pretty much since then on stud farms. The unskilled work isn’t very well paid though and when she tried to go back to work after having children she was $60 pw worse off after travel and childcare costs were factored in.

Being highly motivated to build a better life for herself and her children Tania investigated a veterinary nursing course and was accepted based on her prior work experience. Tania doesn’t have to work or study but because she wants off the DPB she wants to do this now so she can get into well paid and fulfilling work.  Unfortunately the course is a level 6(degree level) course and the Government changed the rules last term and stopped the entitlement for the Training Incentive Allowance (TIA) for higher level courses. The TIA would have covered pretty much all of Tania’s travel and childcare costs. Without the TIA she is $113.42  a week short. It’s categorically untrue that she is not worse off without it.

The course is full time and the only work that will enable her to see her children and get some sleep/study done to cover that shortfall is escorting. She can earn the short-fall in a couple of hours and pay a friend to mind her children during that time. There is no other employer who will pay enough to cover the costs of childcare and let her spend time with her children every second weekend. When you look at it it’s really just a common sense solution. The only problem is that Tania doesn’t really want to do sex work and all of us know this is not a job to do when you don’t want to.

Tania is a brave woman who has spoken out knowing she will probably not get the benefit of a policy change but hopes others after her will. She’s exposed all her finances to the glare of New Zealand to this end.  I admire her.

Look at these numbers and tell me what costs could be cut. Actually, better yet, write and tell the Minister.

Income per week
DPB: $288.47
Accom. supplement: $131.00
Family tax credits: $149.23
Childcare subsidy: $138.24
Loan ($500/30 weeks): $16.67

Total: $723.61

Rent: $280.00
Groceries: $150.00
Petrol, car repairs etc: $67.00
Car & other insurances: $22.73
Phone: $17.50
Power: $12.50
Debt repayments: $12.50
Christmas club: $5.00
Childcare: $196.60
Train pass: $72.20
Total: $837.03

Shortfall: $113.42

I can only assume the Minister misrepresented and vilified Tania because her story exposes the hypocrisy and true results of the Government’s policies. This Government does not support social mobility or the kiwi battler. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett herself used the TIA to get a degree and now she is pulling the ladder up after her to keep parents in low paid work.

58 Comments Posted

  1. Yup, I agree that it is tedious and often exhausting working in minimum wage positions. I can tell you from personal experience that it fairly sucks the lifeblood out of one at times.
    People juggle working low paid jobs and studying and parenting without turning to prostitution. Yes, it is really, really hard and I know the current economic climate is extremely punishing for people on low incomes who are wanting to better their situation.
    I remember the “witch hunts” of Work and Income in the 1990’s too, when there were TV ads encouraging the public to inform on women who were ripping off the state. The spectre of a new regime for parents on the DPB is nothing I haven’t previously experienced. We were required to work in those days too. I still don’t think she has no other choice than becoming a prostitute. If she wants to, I am not judging her for that, it is the claim that she has to do this and there is no other way forward for her that I don’t swallow.

    Note about “shit” jobs: It comes across as lofty and a bit contemptuous to disparage minimum wage jobs by describing them in such a way. I think most people doing this kind of work want to be in a better job if possible. However these people choose the reality of having employment as opposed to having none. It doesn’t help anyone to denigrate their position on the career ladder. I also think the minimum wage should be raised to better reflect current living costs.

    I know women who were single parents before the DPB existed, their personal stories of not giving up when facing ongoing hardship give a different perspective to the creeping sense of entitlement that can be seen currently from time to time.

    Lots of people need help at the moment. How do we work out who is most entitled? Should it be the people who make the most noise and seek the most attention?
    Personally I would choose to double the current wages of the cleaners in our public hospitals. (Now there’s a shit job for you).
    I have no time for Paula Bennett and the National government’s welfare agenda.

  2. @Flamencita 6:05 PM

    I don’t understand why this woman feels that she has no other choice than prostitution. Surely the logical choice is to stay at home and raise the youngest child until she is five.

    Flamencita, the hurry is because of the work-testing regime this Government has introduced for the DPB. Once her youngest child turns 6, she will be expected to go out and do some shit job stacking supermarket shelves or flipping burger patties at MickyD’s on the minimum wage.

    She wants a better life than that for herself and her kids, and knows she needs to get a qualification to achieve that, and sooner, rather than later.

    Good on her for making a stand.

  3. I don’t understand why this woman feels that she has no other choice than prostitution. Surely the logical choice is to stay at home and raise the youngest child until she is five. By focussing on parenting she can build emotional and mental resilience into her child that will benefit her for the rest of her life. What is the hurry to get the qualification now? It seems a very immature way to make decisions, to become a prostitute rather than just accepting that we can’t have exactly what we want, exactly when we want it. Three years of quality full-time home-based mothering would be a wonderful thing for any child and I’m sure a lot of other parents would love the opportunity to be at home with their kids in the pre-school years. I realise that this family lives on a very tight budget but this case is presented as the mother wanting to study a specific course and the cost of that forcing her to become a prostitute. Not that she is needing to prostitute herself to put food on the table. Why not sit tight for another three years and do the best job of parenting possible and then re-assess the situation and the inherent costs? I simply do not accept that this woman is somehow being forced into prostitution.
    I speak from the experience of being a single parent for eleven years, always in employment, sometimes part-time. I have raised two children who are university educated and are fully employed in NZ in their respective fields of endeavour. I did not pass on inter-generational welfare dependence because I worked hard whenever I could in paid employment and also was a very committed parent, the kind who puts the needs of the children first. My children grew up seeing me working hard to contribute to society in one way or another every day.
    I know how hard it is to parent as a single person so I think twice before I criticise a person with such a heavy load. This parent hasn’t thought enough about possible effects on her children and is naive to think they are too young to understand. When her children become of an age to use the Internet it is extremely likely that they and their classmates will discover this debate. Which child wants to be known as having a mother that launched her career as a prostitute via the national media? She also has not protected their identity. These young girl’s names, ages and area of residence are now in the public domain as part of a debate involving sex work. It is wonderful to be aspirational and get off a benefit, and I believe this woman will achieve this, with or without becoming a prostitute. It is also wonderful to be grateful that we don’t live in a third world country and to make the best use of tax-payer’s support for the children in the family .

  4. I have just read the article from Whale Oil in his correspondence with
    Tania Wysocki and I would like to congratulate Jan for putting the interests of Tania first. Well done

    I hope Jacinda Ardern apologies as it appears she used the women’s position to “score a point” against National.

    If you keep this up the Green Party will be the largest left leading party – no one likes political point scoring

    I know Whale Oil is not popular here but when it comes to some issues he likes to back the underdog.

  5. I only know she already was on the DPB before she had her second child and that moves to apply a work test on women with children over 6 meant that some women with children who undertook study would not be able to complete their study before their child turned 6.

    Legislative change has (often unintended) consequences, and is why women with children over 6 should be required to either look for part-time work where child care is available or be involved with study (for employment). Then there would be no incentive to game the system.

    PS Placing women on the DPB in desperate poverty pushes them into desperate relationships and often that involves breeding by the partner so they accept providing for the (all the) children.

  6. SPC says “She was in a relationship before she had her children ”

    After she split up with her partner, she very quickly had another child with a different father who she is not with.

    Our system encourages the people least able to support and bring up a family (financially and otherwise)to breed the most.

  7. What’s the relevance to this thread of your referencing to those women who have children alone?

    She was in a relationship before she had her children – most children living in poverty supported by parents on the DPB were born while their parents were together. And you want them to remain in poverty and restricted to low paid work, rather than their parent get ahead and get a better paid job?

    Is any discusssion of help to sole parents to become a forum for those needing yet another opportunity to use their dubious association techniques to attack sole parents in general? As part of a culture of, blame the poor, to excuse the widespread willingness to tolerate the poverty of children.

    The current policy leads to this conclusion, it is the intention to develop policy to limit childbearing to those who continue to work, so they can support them alone if their partners leave.

    Because the consequence of any marital breakup is poverty for the sole parent – who will raise children in poverty and be unable to access educational opportunity to provide for them.

    A cynic would suggest this is National’s real response to WFF and the cost of supporting low wage one income parents with tax credits.

  8. As usual we have 100 excuses for not doing the right thing.

    And only ever one solution – “get someone else (taxpayer) to pay”.

    SPC worried that we’ll continue to have 20% of the population as an underclass. That would be a good result. Because currently our system encourages the bottom 20% to breed at a significantly higher rate (in some places over double) than the other 80%.

    Graham hit the nail on the head earlier. Too many people have children without being in a stable long term relationship. Or do little to preserve their families.

    BEFORE anyone has a family, they should
    – get a qualification or experience that gives them a reasonable income.
    – be in a stable long term relationship
    – work until they are financially secure.

    If you want to have a family you should work to get yourself in a position that you can support one.

    Instead of expecting the people who do this, to provide for your family as well.

  9. @K1W1 10:04 PM

    …most students do not skank around as hookers…

    I find that terminology offensive. Sex work is legitimate work, and is recognised under law as such.

    The issue is whether people (and in your example, students) who don’t really want to do sex work should be forced to do so because they don’t have any alternative that will provide the the finance necessary to continue their studies.

    Some years ago I had a flatmate who chose to do sex work to finance her education because she didn’t want to have a big student debt. That is imo a legitimate choice and a very different situation from that of Tania, whom Jan is supporting, who has exhausted all other financial support options and has no choice but to do sex work if she is to get a higher education.

  10. K1w1, I never said most students did, but some do, and the reason they do is to obvious. The need for many to work long hours is why we have such a high fail to complete course rate, that apart from pulling out of courses because they cannot find part-time work. This is happening at the moment.

    And most women do not choose to be raising up children alone, they had partners at the time and then faced bringing up children on one income. That means a future of work testing for low wage jobs or getting an education.

    And working part-time, while studying full-time, and providing child care is (if one can find part-time work in low cost housing/rent areas) is difficult.

  11. @ SPC, most students do not skank around as hookers, most who have a job, give up singicant amounts of their weekends to undertake paid work. Been there myself, foregoing many social opportunities to raise my standard of living, by just a little bit.

    Sure some may choose to be hookers, but that is a minority by a long margin!!

    And, most students live off much less than $20,000 gross per year, and most do it for longer than 2 years… If I had known I could get twice that with a couple of kids, well perhaps I would have not worked my ass off and had more social time and more sex instead!!

  12. anonymous – she is paying for a phone, presumably on-line – Telecom and Telstra charge about $40 a month, $10 a week. The other $5-7 may refer to either a cell phone or a cheap on-line service.

    general, students are working as strippers or in prostitution or via “sugar daddies” because the hours do not interfere with full-time study workload – the hourly rate is c$100 – don’t talk about other options (cost of transport, time travelling to part-time work) when there is child care involved. Or even presume that she would be employed before other applicants in this market.

  13. This thread discussion explains why we have child poverty and why we are the only OECD nation with rising trends in “third world” diseases.

    We no longer believe that we should do any more than blame parents for raising children in poverty, and we are no longer willing to give people a hand up. Heck some people don’t even believe we should help sole parents to get an edcuation. That they should simply be work tested for low wage jobs (that come and go) until they desperately hook up and become dependent on a partner.

    We have to date been fortunate that many have used the hand up to get better paid jobs so that loss of a partner has not led to a long term experience of living in the shoes of the underclass. But this is now changing.

    This means we are not only prepared to accept the 20% underclass in perpetuity (continuing poor housing, lack of nutrition, poor educational outcomes, health costs and becoming part of a surplus of unskilled labour welfare dependency work tested while on SB) – but we are facing a future where people who decline into this state will find it harder to escape it.

  14. I agree with Graham. Theres plenty of other types of jobs that can make up the short fall. Support work for home help with flexible hours. And theres places available for rent within the price range, plus your accomodation supplement changes depending on rent costs.

    @Toad dont kiwi online still do $9.95 a month unlimited? I was on that plan once myself. Ok its not ideal but it would get the job done.

    Budgeting is hard but it comes down to looking at every cost and seeing what can be done to reduce it. and it can be done.

  15. “… the only work that will enable her to see her children and get some sleep/study done to cover that shortfall is escorting …”

    I don’t know, but I would be VERY surprised if there wasn’t some sort of work out there other than escorting that would fulfil these criteria. Cleaning? Baby-sitting? Part-time at a supermarket?

    Moving closer to her campus seems to be the obvious answer. Cut her travel expenses, spend less time travelling = more time with the children. You say she’s currently paying $280 out at Pukekohe? 5 minutes on Trademe turns up a 2 bedroom unit in Onehunga for $285. Catch the bus to Mt Albert and save on car costs. Sorted.

    “Maybe her home isn’t big enough to have a boarder.” Or, maybe it is …

    “And even if it were, many people with young children don’t want to take the risk of having a stranger move into their home.” But she’s thinking of doing escort work? Pull the other one.

    Face it, there are options. Or yeah, she could just sit at home and complain that “it’s just TOO HARD”.

  16. nzmr2guy:

    I had a friend who blew $1,500 at the casino (when in university) that was supposed to pay for his living costs for a term. Irresponsible? Well, he ended up admitting to me that he would never have done it if he knew that his father wouldn’t ultimately bail him out, if the worst came to worst (as it did). So he wasn’t irresponsible – he knew exactly what he was doing. He was basically just abusing his parents insurance.

    My point is that if we got rid of that ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, we may not even need the fence at the top of it. I think that generally people only take “irresponsible” risks when they know they can ultimately get away with it.

    I do not necessarily endorse the removal of the DPB, because the kids must ultimately come first, but the principle is something worth thinking about.

  17. @anonymous 11:33 AM

    Some of your suggestions may be practical (e.g. Xmas Club, and reducing food) but I suspect others are not. Moving closer to her campus (Unitec, Mt Albert) would cut her travel costs substantially, but would likely increase her accommodation costs by more. She’s currently paying $280 out at Pukekohe – from what I’ve seen of rental costs in Mt Albert she’s not likely to have any change from $400 if she does that.

    I also suspect the phone costs listed includes internet, since that’s not listed separately, but it is pretty much impossible to be a student without internet. In which case $75 a month is pretty reasonable.

    Cancelling insurances is just plain stupid. When I was unemployed back in the early ’90s I did that, had a relatively minor car accident, but ended up with a debt of over $3,000 because I didn’t have insurance.

    And maybe her home isn’t big enough to have a boarder. And even if it were, many people with young children don’t want to take the risk of having a stranger move into their home.

  18. 10/10 for wanting to get a career and better herself, although strange order to do things

    Work low paid job, have kids you cant afford then decide its time to better your life.

    Why dont people think about this before popping the kids out ?, its not hard really is it ? kids cost money…so dont have them unless you can afford them.

  19. Lets make something very clear. There needs to be a Significant financial benefit in what someone earns working, over and above what someone can get paid on the benefit. Did anyone watch that documentary on poverty on Nz based in Porirua. Its clear benefit money doesnt always reach the children so rather than give beneficiaries more money I agree with the doco that said invest in free school lunches and doctors based in schools so the kids are benefiting.

    In the mean time, back to original post which asks where to cut money from that budget, I suggest cancelling insurance and xmas club money, they are extras. Maybe shave some $ from food bill. shop around for a cheaper phone plan ($17 per week on phone bill is around $75 a month, pretty expensive for phone plan) plus she has both petrol & train costs at around $140 combined per week. If this is justified maybe she needs to move closer to destination to reduce long term costs. Or maybe get a boarder? All of these suggestions are things I personally have done to cut costs including moving. and i work full time.

  20. @Ivy 10:41 AM

    Ironically, I think publicising stories of those such as Tania will serve to discourage the (very small) number of teenagers who think having children and going on the DPB is somehow an easy option. Even if Tania were a stay-at-home mum and didn’t have the added travel and childcare costs related to her study, on the basis of the figures Jan posted above, she would have only around $16.50 discretionary spending a week once the essentials are met.

    Contrary to what some on this thread are asserting, life on the DPB is not easy.

  21. No, I don’t have children. Unfortunately people cannot afford to have children on less than 50k in this country (given the high cost of living), and I am not going to have children I cannot afford to raise. Australia is the best bet for people intending to reproduce, given the higher wages there.

    On the DPB, if child support is largely offsetting the DPB, that’s not resulting in any additional money going towards the upbringing of the children, instead it is reducing the burden on the government. While increasing government income is definitely something we should be trying to achieve in NZ (capital gains tax!) I thought child support was supposed to… support children (by providing more resources for their upbringing)?

    toad: photonz’s comment is valid as this is a widely publicised story that tells anyone who finds the appropriate newspaper that being on the DPB will get them plenty more income than they can get from working – especially if they don’t have qualifications. Whilst Tania’s circumstance is exactly what the DPB is set up for, there will be some who see far better prospects (particularly in the current job market, and with training subsidies being removed) in having children.

  22. I know nothing about this woman, other than what is in the media, and hence I may be about to do her a dis-service by what I’m about to say. The problems seem to have started when her relationship broke down. And right there is the root cause of SO MANY of New Zealand’s problems.

    These days, people seem to think the only solution for their unhappiness in a relationship, is to end the relationship. They don’t stop and think of the consequences. They don’t think about what it was that first attracted them to their partner. They don’t think, “Hey, maybe we should try and work things out”. They don’t think, “Maybe this is just a speed hump, and things will get better”. They don’t think, “What about the children?”. They go into relationships far too casually, with the view “Well if it doesn’t work out we’ll just separate. No harm done”.

    Now as I said, I know nothing about this woman. And I’m not advocating that people put up with anything to keep the relationship going, such as physical abuse. But far too many people seem to have a shockingly casual attitude towards relationships. If you’re thinking about starting a serious relationship (and if you’re going to have children, that’s about as serious as you can get), then think about whether you are really prepared to stick with that person for better or worse, richer or poorer, through the good times and the bad. And if tough times come along – as they inevitably will – work through them. Don’t just give up.

    If this woman had stayed with her partner – or if the children’s father cared enough to help (not just bagging her) – none of this would have happened.

  23. @photonz1 12:03 AM

    This has nothing to do with teenage mothers. From the original story in the Herald it is clear that Tania is aged 38 (i.e. nearing the end of her childbearing years), had worked for 15 years in the horse stud industry before the birth of her first child, and went on the DPB only when her relationship broke up.

  24. Frog: If I were you I would just get rid of him completely. Honestly he brings the tone right down. He makes frog blog look like a junk forum.

    [frog: Done, following his reaction above. Now, let’s get back on topic.]

  25. Jan – thanks for highlighting what is so stuffed up about New Zealand – you can get $700 a week in the hand from tax payers – just for breeding.

    That’s why my wife has trouble convincing high school girls not to deliberately get pregnant so they can go on the DPB.

    She tries to convince them to get educated and get a job, and they say why bother when it’s easier, and pays better, to simply have babies.

    And why our local high school now has to have its own child care facilities because there are so many girls with babies to care for.

  26. and don’t try to bullshit a bullshitter..’s i have criticised have been moaning..

    ..haven’t they..?


    [frog: That’s enough, Phil. Your reaction has had it escalated to a ban. Bye-bye.]

  27. Jan this is a great piece of writing. What an indictment on our society when women have no choice but to join the sex trade to bring up their children.

  28. the ‘not caring ‘that loops directly back to the treatment of sole-parents etc..

    ..entirely/totally relevant/on-topic..

    ..plse tell me how this is not so..


    [frog: Four successive whinging/trolling comments on this thread since you were warned have done it for you Phil. There is increasing concern from other commenters about your frequent trolling. Welcome to moderation! Accept the frogblog rules and you can have normal posting rights again in a month.]

  29. and are unaware of how infected nact are with/by rand..? is the philosophical underpinning for their ‘not caring’…

    ..are you just a tech-person hired to look after the blog..? you not know much about the political nuances..?


  30. cd u plse point out to me what i said in this thread that would make you feel it deserved auto-moderation…?

    …did you just feel like threatening..?

    ..are you feeling insecure in yr position..?

    ..from being questioned/challenged on yr neglect of this blog..

    ..i’d be picking..


  31. “..[frog: I would quickly clamp down on a discussion about Rand on this thread anyway. ..”

    it is not about rand.. is trying to find the source of his randite/neo-lib bullshit..

    ..there is a difference..

    ..are you unable to ascertain/comprehend that from the above comments..?

    ..why don’t you ask someone to point out/explain the difference for you…?


  32. @Ivy 3:07 PM

    I’ve just finished a doctoral degree and am going to start a full time job earning significantly less than Ms Wysocki gets from the government.

    And do you have 2 young children too? That makes a great difference, asd if you did you would be able to claim the same Family Tax Credit entitlements as Tania does, and get $60 a week In Work Tax Credit that she is not entitled to receive.

    Also, where exactly are the fathers and why are they not making a proper financial contribution?

    I’m no fan of deadbeat dads, but assuming they are paying their child support obligations (and they would be scumbags if they are not as far as I am concerned) it will be retained by the state to offset the DPB paid to Tania.

    That further defeats MC’s 3:15 PM argument, because the cost of the DPB paid to her is further offset by the child support received by the state in respect of her children.

  33. I have already indicated, enough I thought, that I have not studied Rand.

    There is nothing ‘hidden’ about any of my commentary.

    Accept that I am not interested in discussing anything more with you personally.

    [frog: I would quickly clamp down on a discussion about Rand on this thread anyway. It is too far off topic. Phil, please note; don’t push the limits or you too will end up in automoderation with the company of a few of the less restrained right wing commenters who are already there. I hope that is not the company you want to keep.]

  34. @Misanthropic Curmudgeon 3:15 PM

    I’m calling bullshit on that. What she gets from the taxpayer is just over $700 a week (the loan is not income as she has to pay that back).

    Supplementary allowances are not taxable and WFF is a tax credit that offsets taxable income, so you are making it up as you go.

    Tania wants to study so she can get off a benefit, earn a decent income, and contribute to society without being reliant on state support.

    It seems you would rather she languish on the DPB until her youngest child turns 6 an she is work-tested, and then get a job stacking supermarket shelves at the minimum wage, in which case she will be claiming Working for Families, Accommodation Supplement and Childcare Subsidy for at least another 12 years (I read somewhere her youngest child is 2, and a child can’t legally left without adult supervision until 14).

    MC, what you are advocating is the same sort of dumb economics the national Party espouse – short term gain at the expense of much greater long term cost.

    Funding Tania to get a degree level qualification will likely see her getting a reasonably paid job that will enable her to be completely independent of state support within 2 to 5 years. Failing to do so will likely ensure the state is still subsidising her and her family until at least 2024.

  35. you are trying to hide where you are coming from..

    while trotting out classic neo-lib/randite bullshit..?

    do you think we are really stupid..and can’t see that..?

    why won’t you answer a simple question:

    have you read the writings/ideas of ayn rand..?

    ..and yr level of support for them..out of ten..?

    (i’m picking the answers are ..’yes’..and 9.5 out of ten..)


  36. SPC: I never said that. I simply make the assertion that education will not solve the problem overall. If everyone gets an education you will still have the same core problem, other things being equal. The problem is macro-systemic. Let’s not waste time on false hope – I suppose that’s my essential message.

  37. phil u: You’re a dick. I can’t be bothered with you. That’s why I don’t answer your questions.

    “International rankings on ease of doing business”. That could mean anything. ‘Ease’ in itself means what? Competitive? Cheap? Again it means nothing in itself. People will invest in New Zealand when it makes sense economically – not whether or not it’s “easy”.

    What I previously said was basically the truth. Over-education does not solve fundamental problems in the low-income economy. It just wastes more resources. In a healthy, egalitarian economy people would be paid well to clean toilets in the middle of the night.

  38. never answered that question:..’have you read rand..?’..

    ..and you are just telling total lies.. international rankings new zealand always comes near the top in ease to do business in.. neo-lib/rand-ite ‘talking-points’…eh..?


  39. So you propose people on welfare should remain where they are until the economy supplies enough low paid jobs for them all?

    That reminds me so much of National in the 90’s, a lot of people unemployed and so they cut apprenticeship training.

    Then we received all those immigrants 2000-2003 because we lacked skilled workers when the economy improved – they set off the last housing bubble.

    That resulted in the RB raising interest rates to contain inflationary demand (rising dollar) and undermined investment in export business.

    Tried that Andrew, failed last time as well.

  40. If everyone gets a degree then will the low-paid work disappear? NO.

    The need for unskilled work will remain, and if everyone gets a degree then you will basically be left with an economy of over-qualified bus drivers, etc. We already largely have this today.

    So, what is the real problem and how do we solve it? Forget education (or what passes for it) – we already have too much of that. The problem is a lack of capital investment and too much immigration too soon (depressing wages), and government regulations that tell business start-ups to run for the hills (to other counties).

  41. There used to be a term “guaranteed minimum family income” – it was of an intent that families should be above the poverty line. It meant family tax credits were delivered to ensure this level of income was reached.

    Since WFF, brought in because minimum wage levels were insufficient, we have become accustomed to the argument that

    a. this only encouraged working poor people to have children they could not afford.

    b. and since National decided to accept WFF, that beneficiary families should remain in poverty to give parents an incentive to get off welfare.

    But we have since ended cheap/low cost adult education, the TIA, and now with the (part-time) work testing of those on the DPB with children over 6, access to (full-time) study is cut off – so women with children over 6 cannot study full-time on the DPB as Paula Bennett did, or get the TIA as Paula Bennett did.

    Welcome to the party of no, those who climb up to high position/office with the help of others and then close the door on those left behind them.

  42. Jan,

    1) How much have you given her, from your own pocket?
    2) Why do you insist that I give her (even more) money too?

  43. Toads defence dodges the issue at hand: she’s getting nigh on a grand a week (gross) off the taxpayer, complaining about it, and some people want to give her even more of my taxes.

  44. You say that she wants to get into “well paid work”.
    The website, which I assume has some degree of authority gives incomes for vet nurses as follows
    Starting $31,200 to $37,440
    1-5 years exp $37,400 to $43,680
    5+ yrs $41,600 to $49,900.
    On those numbers she is probably better off on her current benefit.
    As well I can only consider that if you think those incomes are “well paid” I assume that you consider your own salary and perks, at about 5 times the figures for early years, as being obscenely overpaid.

  45. I’ve just finished a doctoral degree and am going to start a full time job earning significantly less than Ms Wysocki gets from the government. I doubt there’s much financial incentive to completing a vet nursing degree given that she’s getting more from the government now than she will likely earn after qualifying.

    Also, where exactly are the fathers and why are they not making a proper financial contribution? That is the real issue that needs to be solved, and solving it could make a difference to levels of child poverty in this country.

  46. @Misanthropic Curmudgeon 1:59 PM

    You are doing the same as Borrows did – comparing gross with net. His $43,000 is a gross figure. Someone in Tania’s circumstances but in employment earning $43,000 gross would actually receive $54,300 once WFF, childcare subsidy and accommodation supplement are added in. Tania has to live on $36,300 net according to the figures supplied.

    And this research shows that single parents who receive the TIA spend on average 6 months less on the DPB than those who do not.

    Given that the maximum Training Incentive Allowance is $4085.60 per year, it would be cost effective to pay it for 2 year degree courses such as the one Tania is enrolled in, because the savings arising from the likelihood of beneficiaries moving off benefit six months earlier more than offsets the cost.

  47. It’s of course untrue that anyone working gets less.

    The minimum wage is $520 a week before income tax. She is getting only $288.

    All the tops up she gets are available to those working, if in the same situation. Children – family tax credits (+ WFF tax credits as well if working), accomodation allowance and child care subsidy.

  48. For Jan to say that $43000 is below some (ficticious) poverty line shows just how absurd her position is.

    $43000 is not much short of $1000 a week (gross), and you want to give her even more of my taxes?!?!?!

  49. Poor lady…have you bothered to look at what the average full time student has to live off…bet their standard of living is actually much lower than hers…poor students…but they dont get a look in when a mum of 2 is threatning to skank around to make money!!

    If its not fair for her, its not fair for thousands of other students too!!

  50. Kerry said, “The usually untold corollary to the cost of DPB is that child support payments by the liable (non-custodial) parent off-set the cost of DPB to the state.”

    By very little.

    The latest figure I have (courtesy of an OIA request to the IRD) is $135.5 million in 2008. That’s how much was transferred to the Crown from Child Support payments. That year the DPB cost around $1.475 billion, and that’s just the basic benefit excluding accommodation supplement, child tax credits,etc. Add those in and the cost is in excess of $2 billion.

  51. I dont buy it. I studied while on dpb and didnt get Tia for my last 2 years. ive now been off the benefit for 4 years and find it way tougher financially. I was better of on the benefit plus had extra help with doctors,.bonds etc that im no longer entitled to. My teeth need work but i cant afford it. i can barely afford groceriess most weeks let alone insurance or i mean WTF. Get rid of those extras for a start. and why have train and petrol and costs? People recieving money on a benefit shouldnt winge about how much they get when there are those of us who work our butts off to earn less than dpb yet its our taxs that pay for it.

  52. This government certainly DOES support social mobility.

    If you are rich they will help you get richer.

    If you are poor you always count on them to make you poorer.

    They are also QUITE happy to support you completely after moving you
    from a state housing to the big house.

  53. I could tell you what could be cut. She could probably get away with $120.00 a week by shopping on specials. We do – and we have two adults and two kids. Of course the TIA would help and should be reinstated.

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