Dom Post on Welfare

February 29th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

Those pioneers of the welfare state would never have envisaged the benefit system New Zealand has today.

They would have been appalled by the thought of thousands of perfectly healthy adults spending more than a decade on the dole and thousands more 16- and 17-year-olds being paid to sit around and do nothing.

To them, figures showing one out of every seven people of working age is on a benefit, with 220,000 children living in welfare-dependent homes, would not have been a sign of the success of the system they championed, but of its abject failure.

National’s welfare reforms, due from the middle of this year, aim to address this sorry state of affairs by placing new requirements on all beneficiaries who are fit to work. The requirement on them to make honest efforts to find work is a welcome move to restore the balance in the social contract that underpins the welfare state. 

Yet sadly Labour are opposing the reforms.

Critics who have branded the reforms “nasty” or claimed they spell the end of the welfare state as we know it have either not studied the detail or are deliberately misrepresenting the facts. The reality is that the Government is not threatening to cut or stop payments for beneficiaries who fail to get work, but simply requiring them to make honest attempts to look for jobs and accept reasonable offers that come their way.

Exactly.

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77 Responses to “Dom Post on Welfare”

  1. Mark (496 comments) says:

    It time to end the welfare state, why transfer over 8 Billion a year from the productive to the unproductive.

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  2. awb (304 comments) says:

    I call bullshit on Bennett’s assertion that fast food and cleaning jobs are noble. I’ve done both, and neither comes with any sense of aspiration. If Bennett really cared about people being able to advance their careers beyond low skill jobs she wouldn’t have cut the training allowance.
    http://afinetale.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/soon-nobility-will-be-revolting.html

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  3. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,070 comments) says:

    Those pioneers of the welfare state would never have envisaged the benefit system New Zealand has today.

    They would have been appalled by the thought of thousands of perfectly healthy adults spending more than a decade on the dole and thousands more 16- and 17-year-olds being paid to sit around and do nothing.

    To them, figures showing one out of every seven people of working age is on a benefit, with 220,000 children living in welfare-dependent homes, would not have been a sign of the success of the system they championed, but of its abject failure.

    That’s true, and it’s because the pioneers of the welfare state were socialists who believed in extensive government intervention in the economy to ensure that there was always full employment, with a minimal amount of unemployed while people transitioned between jobs.

    We don’t have that kind of state intervention anymore, which means that we get surges of unemployment during economic downturns, which means welfare costs go up over those periods. I’m pretty sure the pioneers of the welfare state would solve this by addressing unemployment, not by demonising the people affected by it.

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  4. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    @awb – while at varsity I worked at Burger King and after a year there they tried to offer me a career as a store manager, with the goal of running my own restaurant. That is noble enough and paid pretty decently – I chose to stay at varsity and complete my comp sci degree though.

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  5. Northland Wahine (667 comments) says:

    Awb… So those who flip burgers and scrub out toilets are beneath you? Next time you grab a MacD or pass the office cleaner, feel free to share your view with them.

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  6. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @Danyl Mclauchlan 10:14 am

    Exactly! You beat me to it, Danyl. It is neo-liberal economic management that it the cause of the problem, not the welfare system.

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  7. Pete George (23,594 comments) says:

    I’m pretty sure the pioneers of the welfare state would solve this by addressing unemployment…

    If we still had the NZPO and Railways and MOW of the seventies what would the Government books look like now?

    not by demonising the people affected by it.

    National are not demonising, they are trying to provide incentives and improve the work attitude of people currently choosing non-working lifestyles.

    We know most people prefer to work, and some can’t find jobs.

    We also know there is a significant minority who choose staying at home with families (even when the kids are at school).

    And we know there is a significant minority who choose not to work because:
    – they don’t need to and prefer not to
    – they won’t accept a job that may not be ideal for them

    I think greater New Zealand is aware that there has to be a perceptible shift in aims and attitudes.

    It’s only those who don’t want change (except to give more money to those not working and in low paid work) that try to play the demon cards.

    Or those who know that something must be done but feel an obligation to oppose because it’s the other lot doing it.

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  8. Ryan Sproull (7,205 comments) says:

    Awb… So those who flip burgers and scrub out toilets are beneath you? Next time you grab a MacD or pass the office cleaner, feel free to share your view with them.

    Yes, that’s exactly what Awb said.

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  9. Manolo (13,837 comments) says:

    Time for the idlers, bludgers, Phil Ures and parasites of this world to earn their keep.

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  10. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,070 comments) says:

    If we still had the NZPO and Railways and MOW of the seventies what would the Government books look like now?

    They’d probably look pretty much the same as they do now, only the money paid to unproductive beneficiaries as welfare would be paid to government workers as salaries, and while they might not be as productive as the private sector (at least they’re weren’t in the 1970s – the modern New Zealand public service is now far more productive than our private sector) they’d be more productive than they are on benefits.

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  11. Griff (7,808 comments) says:

    The differential between that available from benefits and the minimum wage destroys the incentive to work
    The only sane way to address this is by either
    1 make receiving a benefit an onerous task or
    2 limit total benefit to a more realistic ratio
    No one should ever be better of on a benefit and this includes a fair value for time they sell in order to earn.

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  12. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    I’m pretty sure the pioneers of the welfare state would solve this by addressing unemployment

    I’m pretty sure the pioneers of the welfare state would be wondering why the failed experiment (called socialism) failed again when they were so sure they could make it work – just once…..

    Pity the voters so easily suckered in by the promise of a free ride don’t seem to notice that there is no such thing as a free lunch… pity the dishonest and stupid politicians still lever off the voter ignorance to get elected ….

    Popularity at any price – that’s what socialist politicians live by. Don’t care the ideology has never ever worked long term – it sells well and gets you the front benches…

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  13. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    LMAO i was about to say “the pathetic lefts angle is to attack over the changes to the training allowance”.

    second comment in and there it is lol

    why on earth should solo mothers get a free university education? we have interest free student loans FFS!

    “sorry Ma’am, you didnt get pregnant to some shit head at age 16 so you have to pay for your own education.”

    “sorry Dime, you are going to pay for your degree and when you graduate and get a high paying job, you are going to keep paying!! you shoulda been smarter and been a bum at school and refused to work. then we would defend you to the death and give you free money”

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  14. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    the modern New Zealand public service is now far more productive than our private sector) they’d be more productive than they are on benefits.

    Thanks to slashing the deadwood (and Labour party popularist bloat) on a regular basis…. Something socialist ideology needs but can’t admit to needing.

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  15. Nick R (507 comments) says:

    Newsflash: Opposition opposes Government policy. Why exactly is this sad? Isn’t that kind of their job?

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  16. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,070 comments) says:

    I’m pretty sure the pioneers of the welfare state would be wondering why the failed experiment (called socialism) failed again when they were so sure they could make it work – just once…..

    It was pretty successful in New Zealand. Top of the OECD, best standards of living in the world, ect.

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  17. Pete George (23,594 comments) says:

    Danyl, I worked for the public service in the seventies. It was demeaning dead brain stuff – the biggest challenge was avoiding the attention of the supervisor on his one or twice daily rounds. I have stood in the clock group watching it tick towards knock-off – in those days being radical was going out the door at 4:29:30.

    It was proven that routime maintenance work caused more problems than it prevented.

    Sure, a lot of work was done, but there was a widespread culture of wasted time and money. You got to know everyone’s regular toilet times, just about better stocked than the library.

    I’d grown up with a work ethic so resigned after a year.

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  18. Pete George (23,594 comments) says:

    best standards of living in the world,

    When? And how did it compare to now (relative to then, not the OECD)?

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  19. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Danyl

    It was pretty successful in New Zealand

    For a while, then it all turned to custard… Gee – socialism has never followed that pattern before…. Come on Danyl… any new CEO can create a tempory gold mine…. Long term…. show me an example of socialism that has created a strong long term economic platform – just one ….

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  20. trout (939 comments) says:

    Following on From Danyl’s proposition that the Government intervene to smooth out the labour demands of the economy, 4 of the 6 countries that have managed to engineer the greatest reduction in inequality of incomes are Ireland, Portugal, Greece, and Spain. The idea that Governments can squander vast amounts of (borrowed) money on artificially manipulating labour markets or supporting (unearned) lifestyles is just so yesterday.

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  21. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,070 comments) says:

    For a while, then it all turned to custard

    Sounds like another economic system I could name . . .

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  22. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Danyl

    Yeah sure, but you won’t find me claiming it’s a roaring success becasue it fits my world view… I won’t be trying to convince you to give it one more shot full steam ahead without constraints because I think the next 10 years will be fine and that’s enough glory years for me to pretend it’s a success….

    Which is what the dreamers in Labour are doing… it worked once in the 50’s – well – gee, lets pretend it can work again and get elected just long enough to retire – leaving another mid 80’s style shit storm to prove National are nasty….

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  23. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,070 comments) says:

    Following on From Danyl’s proposition that the Government intervene to smooth out the labour demands of the economy, 4 of the 6 countries that have managed to engineer the greatest reduction in inequality of incomes are Ireland, Portugal, Greece, and Spain. The idea that Governments can squander vast amounts of (borrowed) money on artificially manipulating labour markets or supporting (unearned) lifestyles is just so yesterday.

    According to the OECD you are . . . mostly wrong. Greece decreased in inequality, but Spain, Portugal and Ireland are all increasingly unequal societies.

    http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/32/20/47723414.pdf

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  24. immigant (950 comments) says:

    I think a lot of the commeneters a missing the ACTUAL problem with modern NZ.

    Socialism is a great thing when the prevelent attitude in the country is – “Work is a duty of every citizen”
    This was the case in NZ decades ago, this attitude made NZ strong. Now we have generations of NZers who think that they have an option about weathe rthey work or not. These reforms, they awya that I see it anyway are about bringing back the correct attitude. “Work is your duty as a citizen, if you don’t work or try to contribute to society, society will not help you.”

    If labour cared about the people in this country, they would support the changes, because these changes are backed up by a positive attitude to personal responsibilty, hard work and contribution to society, something that Labour pretends to support, but has not done for decades.

    Why do immigrants come from poor countries and they are okay with the jobs that locals will just not do? Is teh problem in the jobs or in teh locals?

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  25. Mark (496 comments) says:

    Danyl

    Greece decreased in inequality because everyone in Greece is becoming poorer. This is where all welfare states end up if run by the left.

    Citizens of Greece refuse to pay tax because they see no value in paying other people thier wealth to sit on thier arse and contribute nothing to society.

    It time to end the welfare state and stop transfering money from the productive to the unproductive.

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  26. immigant (950 comments) says:

    Why is my comment still awaiting moderation? It wasn’t even offensive or anything?

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  27. david (2,557 comments) says:

    oh Danyl I also remember it well. Those times when the economy improved but the soakpits created for eliminating unemployment never coughed up any of the extra jobs that were “created” so we had a ratchet operating which ground effective service into the ground. Those days of closed shops protecting artificially high manning levels on just about every field of endeavour. Those days where firms had to invoice half a year’s value of product or service to a Government Department without delivering the product (think power cables, tarseal, computers, heavy machinery, roadworks) because they were in danger of underspending their budget. Aaah – the good old days of bureaucratic mismanagement, no accountability, and “Gliding On”.

    FFS Danyl what planet are you posting from?

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  28. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,070 comments) says:

    Greece decreased in inequality because everyone in Greece is becoming poorer. This is where all welfare states end up if run by the left.

    Sweden’s GDP growth was 5.6% over the last year.

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  29. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,070 comments) says:

    Those days of closed shops protecting artificially high manning levels on just about every field of endeavour. Those days where firms had to invoice half a year’s value of product or service to a Government Department without delivering the product (think power cables, tarseal, computers, heavy machinery, roadworks) because they were in danger of underspending their budget. Aaah – the good old days of bureaucratic mismanagement, no accountability, and “Gliding On”.

    Some private sector companies – even entire sectors (the finance industry) – also have poor processes and inefficiencies. Is that a reason to abandon private ownership and the market economy, or a reason for those sectors to improve their standards?

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  30. Griff (7,808 comments) says:

    “New Zealand. Top of the OECD, best standards of living in the world”
    It depends on how you define Living standard?
    Its not all about the “almighty” dollar that some worship.
    http://oecdbetterlifeindex.org
    Its the number of those breeding on welfare that is pushing us down.

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  31. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    @Danyl Mclauchlan: “Sweden’s GDP growth was 5.6% over the last year.”

    Is it $20 billion of public assets Sweden have sold off in recent years, or more than that?

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  32. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @Mark,

    The claim “Greeks didn’t pay their taxes because they disapproved of social welfare” is a somewhat novel one, which flies in the face of the claims of people who’ve actually looked at Greece. See here: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2011/07/11/110711ta_talk_surowiecki

    @david,

    Yes … life then was shit. Just as life now is shit (hence the frantic attempts to find ways to make hundreds-of-thousands of beneficiaries no longer exist). Of course, we could do that by getting rid of benefits. But then again, life in the Victorian era of unregulated capitalism was … pretty shit.

    So the choice isn’t between shit and golden paradise. It’s between one shitty setup and another. And for most people (not, admittedly, the Randian overlords), life was less shitty pre-massive re-ordering of the economy than it is now.

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  33. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,070 comments) says:

    Is it $20 billion of public assets Sweden have sold off in recent years, or more than that?

    Funny, they just canceled their asset sales program, on the grounds that its insane to sell off valuable equity in an economic downturn.

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  34. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    the modern New Zealand public service is now far more productive than our private sector

    This guy is hilarious

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  35. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @seanmaitland,

    Well – seeing as we’re looking to Sweden as a model for good practice …

    “Sweden is shelving plans to sell state assets indefinitely as equity-market declines prove too deep to risk divestments, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said.
    “With the downturn of the stock market we’re not as eager as we maybe used to be,” Reinfeldt, 46, said in an interview in Stockholm. “I could bring this up again in 2014 with the electorate” at which point the issue “might return,” he said.”
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-10/sweden-shelves-asset-sales-indefinitely.html

    Who’s going to tell John and Bill, I wonder?

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  36. tom hunter (4,894 comments) says:

    … or a reason for those sectors to improve their standards?

    You’ve often made this comparison between the public and private sphere, yet have never recognised that the thing that fixes crappy private sector processes and inefficiencies is competition – if it’s allowed.

    I’ve seen and worked with any number of large, private-sector corporations that had elements of the public sector about them; useless managers happily hidebound with rulebooks, poor processes that never changed – bureaucracies in a word. Anybody who worked for private sector companies in NZ in the 1980’s or earlier saw that as well. How different was Fletcher Challenge from the MOW?

    But in the private sector that crap catches up with you sooner or later – IBM being the classic example in my particular area – because of competition. In the public sector it never does, and that theoretical application of a lack of competition is backed up by the real-world example of what happened in godforsaken places like the MOW, Ministry of Railways and the rest, as testified to by the many people who worked for them. Are you a Prime Minister with an unemployment problem? Just call on your good mate running Railways and tell him he needs to hire another few thousand people, and tell him not to worry when he responds that he has nothing for them to do.

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  37. Bob R (1,377 comments) says:

    ***Those pioneers of the welfare state would never have envisaged the benefit system New Zealand has today.***

    The pioneers in the UK (Beveridge, Keynes etc) certainly understood the risk of Idiocracy, hence their support for contraception for welfare.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiocracy

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  38. Pete George (23,594 comments) says:

    Danyl, it’s good to see you can come and comment and debate here freely without a barrage of personal attacks in the so-called ‘sewer’, isn’t it.

    You’re obviously not a fan of casualisation in the workplace. What do you think about casualisation of blogs – moving further towards a casualised, low skilled, temporary comment-force? I know you’re an owner with the right to fire at will, but other than that it’s a bit hard to know what you really stand for. Is it only the satire?

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  39. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > National are not demonising…

    Pete, you’re living in fantasy-land if you believe that. Releasing personing information about beneficiaries’ incomes is pretty despicable. Let’s face it, National is not pro-worker. They never have been in my lifetime. Bill English has said he’s quite happy with low wages here because it gives NZ a competitive advantage! Stop deluding yourself that National cares about beneficiaries and workers.

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  40. tom hunter (4,894 comments) says:

    … life was less shitty pre-massive re-ordering of the economy than it is now.

    How wonderfully conservative, and it looks like Mr Geddis is in good company:

    Back in 2006, when he was writing The Conscience of a Liberal, Krugman found himself searching for a way to describe his own political Eden, his vision of America before the Fall. He knew the moment that he wanted to describe: the fifties and early sixties, when prosperity was not only broad but broadly shared. Wells, looking over a draft, thought his account was too numerical, too cold. She suggested that he describe his own childhood, in the ­middle-class suburb of Merrick, Long Island. And so Krugman began writing with an almost choking nostalgia, the sort of feeling that he usually despises: “The political and economic environment of my youth stands revealed as a paradise lost, an exceptional moment in our nation’s history …”

    Krugman remembers Merrick in these terms, as a place that provoked in him “amazingly little alienation.” “All the mothers waiting to pick up the fathers at the train station in the evening,” he says, remembering. “You were in an area where there were a lot of quiet streets, and it was possible to take bike rides all over Long Island. We used to ride up to Sagamore Hill, the old Teddy Roosevelt estate.” The Krugmans lived in a less lush part of Merrick, full of small ranch ­houses each containing the promise of social ascent. “I remember there was often a typical conversational thing about how well the plumbers—basically the unionized blue-collar occupations—were doing, as opposed to white-collar middle managers like my father.”

    Awwwwwww.

    Between Krugman, Chris Laidlaw maundering about returning to the glory days of amateur rugby, and now Mr Geddis and Danyl pining for the good old MOW and its ilk, it would seem that a new political movement is on the rise.

    The Nostalgic Progressives.

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  41. awb (304 comments) says:

    Northland Wahine – Sorry, late response to you. Those who flip “burgers and scrub toilets” aren’t beneath me. That is currently one of my jobs.

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  42. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    “Releasing personing information about beneficiaries’ incomes is pretty despicable. ”

    yeah the weekly releases are too much lol

    i banged this trashy 20 yr old last week. she left school at 17. has never worked. has no intention of working for a long time. on a benefit. thought about studying once but it just all seemed too hard. but she, she shouldnt be “demonised” by these evil new rules! shes a saint! its hard out there! she would have to get out of bed at 7am, catch a bus. brutal!

    and yes im ashamed of myself lol kinda

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  43. Pete George (23,594 comments) says:

    “Releasing personing information about beneficiaries’ incomes is pretty despicable. ”

    That’s one debated example from when?

    What is trying to convince beneficiaries that they are being demonised and shouldn’t have to bother looking for work if they don’t want to?

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  44. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    the modern New Zealand public service is now far more productive than our private sector

    Hilarious. If we keep up this style of productivity improvement we’ll make the Soviet-era look like a success story.

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  45. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Pete,

    Have a read of this. http://werewolf.co.nz/2011/02/ten-myths-about-welfare/

    I doubt it will change your views or those of Mr Farrar. After all, it says that more than two-thirds of those on the DPB stay on there for less than 4 years. That of course contrasts with the mantra that most of those on the DPB are on the benefit for life, and it is a lifestyle choice. That’s bullshit but some bloggers are averse to the truth. I hope you’re smarter than that.

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  46. Northland Wahine (667 comments) says:

    Awb… I’ve done both…

    I took that to mean past tense. Both these jobs are not what I would want to do for the rest of my life either, and I’ve done commercial cleaning to help ends meet in the past myself.

    Bottom line is, if these jobs help pay the bills, feed and clothe a single parents child/ren and keep them from being a reciprient of welfare payments, well done I say.

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  47. Grendel (1,002 comments) says:

    Ross you do know that if you are on the benefit, drop off for 3 months then go back on again they count it as a brand new benefit and start it again.

    funny how benefit advocates dont release total time on benefits numbers, as you would find the average numbers a lot higher as people bounce on and off over the years.

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  48. Grendel (1,002 comments) says:

    Danyl, with your obvious wealth of business knowledge, please explain how the entire finance industry is inefficient.

    Oh and you are not allowed to try and claim its unregulated, because you know thats bullshit. just because its not as regulated/state controlled as you might like does not make it unregulated.

    i have no doubt there are inefficient operators in the industry on both an individual and company scale (i can name some i hate dealing with), but the industry is actually overall remarkably efficient becuase wasted time costs money, so the profit motive drives efficiency. but thats never enough for people pining for socialism.

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  49. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    Couple of thoughts from me. FWIW :)

    Ive worked in both public and private sector, often as a consultant bought in to drive IT based change. Ive given away consulting now, and have a public sector management role. My work experience of nearly 30 years tells me that the differences between public and private sector productivity vary quite a bit, are organisational dependent, based on long term culture, and take ages to shift. Where I am now, my team (30+) work really hard – significantly harder and smarter than my last 2 corporate consulting client staff, go figure :)

    And as for releasing information about beneficiaries. How is it that my salary and personal details are discoverable by LGOIMA request, but a beneficiary should not face the same level of scrutiny? I work hard for my pay – and after earning $400K PA as a consultant, Im now on $130K in the public sector – and Im more than happy to justify what I do – why should beneficiaries not face the same level of scrutiny as me, please someone tell me?

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  50. Northland Wahine (667 comments) says:

    Hmm… Exactly.

    If you are receiving money from the taxpayer, consider yourself accountable to the taxpayer. Easy solution not to be accountable is to find yourself employment out of the public sector.

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  51. Rick Rowling (813 comments) says:

    It was pretty successful in New Zealand. Top of the OECD, best standards of living in the world, ect.

    That was because of the cosy NZ-Mother England sheep meat trade, not because of the welfare/public service arrangements.

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  52. Rick Rowling (813 comments) says:

    Releasing personal welfare recipient details when that welfare recipient has already put herself in the public arena about her welfare receipts isn’t demonising, it’s using the facts required to adequately answer a public criticism.

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  53. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Rick Rowling

    That was because of the cosy NZ-Mother England sheep meat trade, not because of the welfare/public service arrangements.

    No, not at all. I was becasue nobody had too much and nobody had too little… socialism is what makes people happy and prosporous… The Labour party adds told me that just before the election….

    Remember the play book: Here we have Labour being good and people have everything the need … nek minnit … Nasty National have taken it all away and slashed the spending….

    Just don’t ask what happened between the great socialist “good” and National ( bad ) being elected…. don’t think it was becasue the socialist economy ate it’s own head off – sure that’s what it does but don’t tell people – they won’t vote for it again if they remember how it always fails.

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  54. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    Northland Wahine, absolutely – Im paid by taxpayers, Im accountable to them. Will also happily submit to a drug test in the office. Will that come next for our beneficiaries?

    I also worked my way through University by cleaning at nights, from 10PM until 2AM. Didnt kill me :)

    One of the charities I work with tells some scary stories, about cross generational welfare dependency. Like the small boy, third generation welfare dependent, when asked where new fridges come from – ‘the social’ was his response. Not one single member of this poor little sods family has worked in a job since the late 60’s. No hope, no future.

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  55. Pete George (23,594 comments) says:

    ross69 – more than two-thirds of those on the DPB stay on there for less than 4 years

    I’ve seen that. That’s why I always refer to it as a minority problem – but how significant it’s hard to know.

    Only 14.3 % are on benefits for more than ten years

    – and since those figures include people with chronic physical and mental disabilities, the ratio of those staying on benefits because it is a “lifetime, lifestyle choice’ is lower again.

    Even 6-10 years is a long time to be on a benefit.

    I don’t know if there is any further breakdown available.

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  56. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    @Danyl – good one – you were quoting 5.6% growth over the last year, when their public asset sales program was still underway.

    Obfuscating is not an effective argument.

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  57. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Curates Egg. And they should have gone with introducing a few policies at a time instead of sweeping reforms. It’s right back to 1991. No jobs created and honest women stigmatized.

    http://nowoccupy.blogspot.com/2012/02/john-key-takes-it-to-poor-women.html

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  58. Paulus (2,632 comments) says:

    When younger I have worked shifts in Kiwifruit packhouse to supplement my income.
    Today they are screaming for workers as the season begins and cannot get enough workers. The Asian students are the best workers. The average younger New Zealanders sent by WINZ are useless at the job, quite deliberately, so that after 2/3 days they get fired, so back to WINZ which gives them the dole again.
    Often by after lunch they are stoned anyway and no good to anybody.

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  59. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    there was a classic comment on the Herald comments section: Ursula in Healthcare tells it like it is:
    I work in Healthcare and am frequently stunned at the reasons people are on ‘sickness’ benefits. Being overweight, smoking related illnesses, drug and alcohol dependence, painful periods, depression. To name a few

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  60. Pete George (23,594 comments) says:

    Here’s an interesting claim.

    My mother, a teacher, understands that teacher pay is going to be linked to post-education job outcomes of students.

    Obviously different teachers will have different degrees of responsibility. To make it fair it will be approximate age apportioned:

    Seventh form teachers – 18% of their pay will be outcome assessed.
    Sixth form teachers – 17% of their pay will be outcome assessed.
    J1 teachers – 5% of their pay will be outcome assessed.
    1st year kindy teachers – 3% of their pay will be outcome assessed.
    Pre-one year old child carers – exempt as they are deemed to have had insufficient influence.

    Becasue tertiary education can take quite a while teacher pays will be withheld for ten years until all the data is in.

    The linked quote is real.

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  61. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,070 comments) says:

    Right. I’m back for more. This time I’d like to drag the conversation back to the original topic – benefits and beneficiaries.

    The kiwiblog theory of welfare is that the people who receive it are lazy bludgers – and if that’s correct then we should definitely reform the welfare system.

    But for that to be true you have to explain why benefit levels are so tightly coupled to the economic cycle. Why aren’t people lazy bludgers during periods of economic growth? Why do they suddenly, coincidentally become lazy just at the same time as the economy crashes and businesses start laying off their employees?

    [DPF: The majority of those on welfare are not lazy bludgers. However a not insignificant minority are. Welfare reforms are targetted at that minority]

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  62. KevinH (1,229 comments) says:

    Pete George has a point in his 10.29 post in that New Zealand today does not resemble NZ of the 50 & 60’s where the State was a large scale employer providing employment for a large part of the population in the Public Sector. The Douglas reforms of the mid 80’s essentially killed that off but failed to create an adequate alternative. The Private sector was unwilling or unable to adapt and pick up the thousands of ex state sector employee’s available and that situation still exists today.
    Governments post the Douglas era have poured squillions of dollars into retraining the workforce, equipping them with in demand work skills yet the market has not grown sufficiently to take up the slack. There are only so many cleaning and fast food restaurant jobs available, not enough to cover the thousands still unemployed.
    There is no argument that Welfare Reform was overdue but this in effect is only part of the solution, to completely tackle the issue requires stimulating the market to grow and that is not happening.

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  63. Pete George (23,594 comments) says:

    The kiwiblog theory of welfare is that the people who receive it are lazy bludgers

    Sweeping. That’s like saying that Dim-Posters are all abusive. There’s a lot more than one person with theories here – some of us even have practical experience.

    The lazy bludgers (and we all know there’s a few, but no one is game to work out just how many) manage to surivive in their lifestyle through good economic times and bad, and they don’t lose their jobs like some of us.

    The fluctuations are not the bludgers, they’re the temporary unlucky.

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  64. Android (7 comments) says:

    I found the welfare reform article written by Gordy Campbell in scoop interesting. Political turpitude really. My thoughts are that it’s far better to have subsidized employment, just paying out the dole is a road to nowhere for everyone.

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  65. Pete George (23,594 comments) says:

    KevinH – coinciding with the Douglas reforms is the major shift of women into the workforce, and a transformation from the one income family model. If all good women remained in the kitchen with kids running around their ankles then us blokes would have more jobs and far less unemployment.

    I’m not suggesting we should go back to that, we can’t, but it’s a major factor in current employment statistics.

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  66. Northland Wahine (667 comments) says:

    Pete… How does that quote go?

    Most women are a man away from welfare…

    In the late 80’s early 90’s when I returned to the workforce, my ex husband and I could afford the mortgage, but forget about a fence or a garage. Many women I knew worked to help relieve the financial strain from our husbands.

    Now most young couples are lucky to have a mortgage.

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  67. Rick Rowling (813 comments) says:

    Some private sector companies – even entire sectors (the finance industry) – also have poor processes and inefficiencies

    Yes, but with private companies the problem is self-fixing – the inefficient ones fail & efficient ones take their place.

    With state-run organisations, they just keep on going and sucking up more taxpayer money.

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  68. willtruth (243 comments) says:

    I thought that beneficiaries were already required to make honest attempts to look for jobs and accept reasonable offers that come their way. Isn’t that a condition of getting the unemployment benefit? Can someone clarify?

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  69. Viking2 (11,488 comments) says:

    Governments post the Douglas era have poured squillions of dollars into retraining the workforce, equipping them with in demand work skills yet the market has not grown sufficiently to take up the slack.

    and therein lies the issue.

    Govt. has essentially wasted capital doing the wrong thing.
    That money would have bought results had it been invested in growing our external trade exports.
    Instead of pandering to beuracrats in high plaves they should have spent the money supporting companies to grow their exports. They should have been opening more doors and helping with things like patents and many more other things.
    Govt. is focussed on the wrong part of the problem

    Anyone who can remember the succes of export incentives back in the seventies will now it can be done albeit not in that way but we are a country full of indolent lawyers who are without doubt extremely creative when it comes to finding ways to make stuff work.
    Shame is the in Govt. it extends only to taxation and Maori this and that.

    We will never solve this problem by attacking the affected (the weak and the meak). That’s not leadership.

    We have to create work solutions. End of story. Because when we do everyone benefits.

    I should also say this. There are a lot of people which many employers would simply not employ. Simply never going to be suitable. Often not their fault as much as their lot in life. God forbid we ever get forced into a situation by Govt. that we have to have quota’s about something like that. Cause I can see it coming from all these dopey bloody socilsits.

    If you don’t think so, schools already are saddled with it.

    Accept that there is always going to be between 5 and 10 % of the great unwashed that are never going to be workers.

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  70. Manolo (13,837 comments) says:

    With the amount of tax paid some of the people commenting here must be carrying several parasites on their backs.

    Time to reform welfare and remove bludgers such as Phil Ure and his despicable ilk.

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  71. Northland Wahine (667 comments) says:

    Willtruth, you are correct.

    Just as single parents and the partners of those in receipt of sickness or unemployment whose youngest child is 6 and over, should be looking for part time work as well as when the youngest is over 14, full time work.

    This reforms are not sweeping. It may feel sweeping to those on the receiving end who have failed to make the effort to look for work or up skill while receiving a benefit.

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  72. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Its government trying to do everything and “create jobs” that cause the very problems they were supposed to solve. NZ has never allowed a free market to exist and operate and we are sinking as a result. The welfare state was ever needed in NZ…people would have helped those who were in real need…but no… politicians had to butt in and make themselves feel useful and necessary and look at the mess that’s resulted.

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  73. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    The pioneers of the welfare state would **definitely** have been appalled.
    The editorial is correct.

    Those pioneers would walk up to the beneficiaries of today, grab them by the collar and drag them off out into the countryside to plant forests.

    The reforms are very fair. Childcare payments so beneficiaries can go to uni or polytech. That’s *great*, so no more excuses from the Sue Bradfords of this world. Bennies can go to uni and hopefully break the welfare cycle once and for all.

    Why should hardworking taxpayers continue to fund beneficiaries to breed?
    I’m sure that’s what Labour and the Greens would like.

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  74. MikeS (22 comments) says:

    “National’s welfare reforms, due from the middle of this year, aim to address this sorry state of affairs by placing new requirements on all beneficiaries who are fit to work. The requirement on them to make honest efforts to find work is a welcome move to restore the balance in the social contract that underpins the welfare state. ”

    Shouldn’t be an issue, this is already a requirement on the unemployment benefit. But this will do nothing to reduce the numbers of people on benefits. If this is already a requirement on the unemployment benefit, and the unemployment figures aren’t getting any better then you would assume that the people affected by these new requirements will simply be trying to find the same non-existent jobs all of the current unemployment benefit recipients are trying to find?

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  75. Bogusnews (474 comments) says:

    It is extraordinary that people like Danyl are still around. When you think of economic competence and innovation, the first thing that comes to mind ISN’T usually a government. Why in the world we think they would be able to “grow”an economy is completely beyond me.

    We have tried state intervention in the economy twice in recent memory, first was with Muldoon which resulted in NZ being almost bankrupted in 1984, second was with the Labour party during the 00’s. The result of that was we slipped two further places down the OECD ladder, our personal productivity fell to the lowest on record (0.7 as opposed to 2.2 during the 90’s), the export sector fell into recession in 2004 (4 years before the rest of the world), we went into severe recession almost a year before the rest of the world and we ended up with additional government spending of 16bil a year with nothing to show for it.

    Do we really want more of that?

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  76. free-thinker (3 comments) says:

    Manolo (6,289) Says:
    February 29th, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    With the amount of tax paid some of the people commenting here must be carrying several parasites on their backs.

    Time to reform welfare and remove bludgers such as Phil Ure and his despicable ilk.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————-
    I hope that smug Manolo will become redundant and end up as a beneficiary. Then this person will become a “bludger” and be despised by society. People like this need to experience the real world. I also suggest that Paula Bennet implement labour camps for all beneficiaries and force them to work. Or otherwise exterminate them by implementing the Final Solution. After all Arbeit Macht Frei (Work sets you free). With the level of hatred incited against beneficiaries by previous governments, society may now consider this an acceptable solution to the beneficiary question.

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  77. free-thinker (3 comments) says:

    thor42 (72) Says:
    February 29th, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Why should hardworking taxpayers continue to fund beneficiaries to breed?
    I’m sure that’s what Labour and the Greens would like.
    ——————————————————————————————————–
    Thor, I hope you are one of those public service employees who will soon be losing your job. Or perhaps you are so smug; that you believe your job is very secure. Watch your back pal – you may soon be one of those beneficiaries who are ‘breeding’ and adding to the statistics of the unemployed too.

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