Kerre on Work for the Dole

October 19th, 2008 at 2:02 pm by David Farrar

Kerre Woodham supports Tariana Turia on abolishing the dole.

It’s an idea that could have only come from the . If Act or National had suggested this, we’d have all been leaping up and down and accusing them of heartlessness.

But the idea of working for the dole has some merit.

I would hate to see us operate as some other countries do, where people either work or die. But when you’re working every hour God sends, it’s galling to think of healthy, able-bodied people collecting money from the taxpayer for doing nothing.

All the people I’ve spoken to on the radio who’ve been unemployed for any length of time say it’s soul-destroying. Their confidence diminishes by the day, they become lethargic and unmotivated and a sense of worthlessness pervades.

There’s never enough money – rather than being grateful for the money they get from the state, they feel aggrieved that it’s not more and they become alienated from the community.

On the other hand, work is good for the soul. I’m not sure about the make-work schemes – they’re extremely expensive and if the workers feel they’re just marking time, doing something pointless, they don’t even get the satisfaction of a job well done.

Making it easier for employers to give somebody a chance might be the way to go. Given how difficult it is to fire someone who doesn’t work out, and given the speed with which employees contact lawyers when they’re shown the door, many small business owners are justifiably wary of taking a chance on someone whose CV might be a little patchy.

So Kerre supports and grievance free trial periods. Her conversion from a latte liberal to a member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy continues.

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23 Responses to “Kerre on Work for the Dole”

  1. Christopher (425 comments) says:

    Good on her, a step in the right direction.

    I think that this bit, however, says a lot about the state of NZ politics:

    It’s an idea that could have only come from the Maori Party. If Act or National had suggested this, we’d have all been leaping up and down and accusing them of heartlessness.

    Many people seem to feel that any ideas which come from the Right aren’t worthy of serious thought until they’re taken up by one of the ‘oppressed’ groups (women, ethnic minorities, children, animals, kitchen appliances etc.).

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  2. Lee (610 comments) says:

    This was one of the policies that JK said he would be happy to talk about with the MP in a post-election coalition deal. Which means there is a good chance it will become policy, especially with ACT presumably supporting it as well.

    That means that philu will have to get a job :)

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  3. James (1,338 comments) says:

    That means that philu will have to get a job :)

    :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)……ad infinitum

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  4. coolas (115 comments) says:

    Unemployed are over represented by Maori, young and male.
    Tariana is looking for ways to provide better lives for Maori.
    Return of land & resources has a gone a long way in building enterprise & business.
    100 Maori PhD’s are meeting this w/end.
    The dumb lazy Maori stereotype is fading fast.
    But a whole lot of people have been left behind.
    Many are illiterit & unmotivated.
    I’m hoping Tariana is thinking meaningful work provided by Maori NGO’s and Iwi’s in partnership with the Crown.
    Maori have forestry, farming, fishing resources. We are growing businesses privately and collectively everywhere.
    From wine production to paua soup in cans and international touring art & culture
    I’d like to see Maori businesses targeting our own for apprenticeships and jobs.
    What Tariana’s proposing isnt right wing. It’s common sense.

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  5. Sector 7g (240 comments) says:

    Coolas:

    Right Wing=Common Sense

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  6. mara (784 comments) says:

    coolas … paua soup in cans. Jeez, that takes me back to the olden days when Kiwis could afford paua; not to mention crayfish, bluff oysters and whitebait. So where are these cans of blackgold/ paua ending up? No points for guessing eh.
    Also you say you’d like to see Maori businesses targeting Maori for apprentices and jobs. So what has been stopping them from doing this? Its just ‘common sense’ after all, isn’t it?

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  7. goodgod (1,348 comments) says:

    Not possible to have more satisfying jobs without economic growth.

    So don’t vote greens – for the love of god!

    Vote ACT to get rid of the ETS by Christmas.

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  8. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    I bet the socialists have a dim view of the Maori Party’s idea. Forcing unemployed from the states tit by making them work, well it’s just not cricket. Nanny state needs a people that needs them just like a dealer needs a junkie. Even if there was no unemployment new polices would be implemented to once again rein in anyone thinking of straying from the bossom of nanny state, etc. maybe an increase of WFF to bribe more of unthinking with their own money.

    As for Kerre Woodham awakening to the side of the light, yeah right and I’m the queen mother.

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  9. Chris S (111 comments) says:

    ssb, they will still be on “the states tit”.

    The difference will be that the state will be creating work for unemployed (like they used to do in NZRs infamous days). Not only that but the state will have a giant army of ridiculously cheap labour at it’s command which will drive down wages in the private sector.

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  10. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    Chris S – Agreed. How different is work-for-the-dole from a bloated public service?

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  11. mavxp (483 comments) says:

    It depends how smart they are in implementing it.

    It could be dealt with in conjunction with the infrastructure spending they are doing and propose to do in the future, whilst using PPP’s. The government could provide some guarantee/ lessen the risk to the employer in taking on the unemployed.

    It could also help fund the training courses required to get them straight up to speed, tailored by the employer for the job required (e.g. truck driving, digger operators, carpenters, welders, surveyors, CAD technicians, etc.). I think companies like Fletcher Construction already provide support for staff to get their literacy and numeracy levels up should they choose to. I think this could only work by bringing on-board companies who believe strongly in what the government is trying to achieve, and these companies probably already have schemes in place on a smaller scale.

    The trick is to get something in place ASAP that works, as the economy slows and the ranks of the unemployed increase – we need to intercept these recently laid off and get them straight back into work or retraining to prevent what Kerre describes – soul destruction.

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  12. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    This must be hard for the lefties, they have always veiwed Maori as the exclusive property of the left and in a some what oppressive manor.
    Really impressed with the Maori party, they are showing they can think outside the box and not buying into the political correctness of the left.

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  13. Tauhei Notts (1,710 comments) says:

    coolas summed it all up beautifully;
    Many Maori are illiterit.
    I believe that it is their literacy skills that restrict their choices in the way of jobs.
    And, as a director of a company that is situated more than fifty kilometres from the nearest city, I believe that I know more about Maori employment problems than “coolas” does about spelling. Our company’s employees are predominantly Maori and their numbers exceed seventy. Under Occupational Safety & Health regulations our employees must have a very basic rudimentary knowledge of English. It is saddening how many fail the simplistic employment questionnaire.

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  14. georgebolwing (844 comments) says:

    This is another example of “Beachboys Economics”, as in “wouldn’t it be nice”.

    Yes, it would be wonderful if we could take all the people who are employed and give them satisfying, uplifting jobs with good pay and conditions. And while we are at it, let’s have world peace, the end of suffering and cure all diseases.

    It is also an example of the Sarah Palin approach to public policy: let’s just apply the “common sense” ideas for ordinary folks to intractable policy problems. You don’t need experts, you just poll the ordinary folk and they will come up with ideas that are sure to work because…. [I am still waiting for the answer to this].

    Economists and social policy advisers all over the world have look at the problem of employment. State-funded “make work” schemes aren’t the answer.

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  15. Christopher (425 comments) says:

    Economists and social policy advisers all over the world have look at the problem of employment. State-funded “make work” schemes aren’t the answer.

    1. Nobody is suggesting that a “work for the dole” scheme is better than a “work and no dole” scheme

    2. You really think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that we could implement a “work and no dole” scheme?

    3. Given that the answer to (2) is likely to be “No”, I’d say that a “work for the dole” scheme is better than them sitting on their lazy arses all day doing nothing but sucking up our taxes

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  16. Joe Dzug (15 comments) says:

    Hate to rain on the parade of ideas, but work for the dole has been tried before in NZ and subsequently scrapped after wasting millions. Anyone remember PEP schemes? Not to mention its close relatives TEP, WSDP, VOTP and TAP? All responses to unemployment in the early to mid 1980’s, and all paid some sort of government wage or benefit to unemployed people working on them. PEP was the mainstay of many community projects and the cause of many famously inefficient developments – and a good few cases of very dodgy practices. An army of bureaucrats was needed to pressgang workers and to arrange, pay and audit the schemes. They weren’t even effective at preparing people for real jobs – there was published research on this exact topic. All the schemes were terminated in the late 1980s as they just didn’t deliver and cost a fortune. But perhaps the Maori Party has a brave new scheme that will miraculously overcome all the pitfalls of the many past schemes…

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  17. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Before anyone gets too excited she is not including the DPB which she wants left untouched.

    And the proportion of Maori in that scheme is…?

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  18. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    About time. State Dependency has robbed Maori of several generations.

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  19. Scott (1,792 comments) says:

    I actually thought the PEP schemes were quite good. I was unemployed for a while back in the 80s and the nice man from the Labour Department got me into a scheme and it was a good transition for me back into the workforce. So I think such schemes can work well, as a way of investing in people and giving them a hand up and not a hand out.

    Totally agree with Kerri Woodham, we must stop this culture of structural unemployment and benefit paying. The unemployment benefit should be for a maximum term, say of a year.

    It isn’t kind to leave people on the dole. They become lazy and unmotivated. We do people no good by paying them benefits endlessly.

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  20. DamnedAngry (231 comments) says:

    But if we take them off the dole, who’s going to take care of their crops?

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  21. Joe Dzug (15 comments) says:

    Unfortunately good social policy requires a little more analysis and development than generalisation from one person’s experience. Amongst the many problems with past schemes, and one that will adversely affect any new schemes, is that there just wasn’t enough private sector work for the numbers of people on benefits, and private sector employers would not take on large numbers of unemployed people, even if paid by the state. PEP work was organised by local government and community groups and much of it was either in effect a subsidy to local government or ‘make work’ of doubtful value. There were some projects that were successful in some terms, and some people were undoubtedly helped by them but as a whole the schemes were not effective at preparing people for ‘real’ jobs and were vastly expensive – much more so than simply paying benefits. So anyone advocating their return should at least make an attempt to cost their proposals. However, there is one positive – in view of bloggers’ enthusiasm for scandal-mongering, work schemes would be rich source of material as they were and always will be plagued by petty scams and rorts. The infamous Nga Hau E Wha National Marae development in Christchurch was the showpiece….

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  22. Lindsay (148 comments) says:

    The Maori Party wants to dump the dole. While this policy has brought commendation from many quarters, including Kerre Woodham little analysis has been done on what it would actually achieve.

    In June 1999 there were 42, 074 Maori receiving an unemployment benefit. By June 2008 that number had plummeted to 6,588. Over the same period Maori receipt of the domestic purposes benefit has risen from 35,615 to 40,119.

    While co-leader Tariana Turia is happy to talk about Maori men and their damaging reliance on welfare, she told election commentator, Gordon Campbell , just months ago, that reform did not apply to Maori women. This means it doesn’t apply to Maori children either.

    Right now the DPB is a much bigger problem for Maori than the dole. That is because it encourages very young women to have babies they cannot financially or emotionally support; it keeps thousands of Maori children relatively poor; it deprives Maori men of their defining role as provider; it makes women vulnerable to free-loaders who do not want to support a family, preferring to spend the money they earn on themselves; it causes intergenerational welfare dependence, with female children more likely to depend on the DPB in turn and it increases the likelihood that children will suffer neglect and abuse.

    Only 8 percent of the 81,369 working-age Maori on welfare are on the dole. As it stands the Maori Party needs to focus on how to wean their people off those benefits where the numbers are still heading in the wrong direction.

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  23. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Lindsay has summed it up nicely for you.

    The Maori party want all you wite folks out there working to keep Maori on special schemes whereby they get money for being Maori.

    Works good for people like me, sucks to be you pale face as Tonto said.

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