Shearer on welfare

August 8th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

in a speech to Grey Power said:

Last year before the election, I was chatting to a guy in my electorate who had just got home from work. In the middle of the conversation, he stopped and pointed across the road to his neighbour.

He said: “see that guy over there, he’s on a sickness benefit, yet he’s up there painting the roof of his house. That’s not bloody fair. Do you guys support him?”

From what he told me, he was right, it wasn’t bloody fair, and I said so. I have little tolerance for people who don’t pull their weight.

Almost sounds like a speech from a National MP. How often do Labour MPs talk about ?

The irony is that Labour has opposed almost all the changes by the Government to tighten up on benefit fraud, such as more stringent work testing!

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38 Responses to “Shearer on welfare”

  1. Brian Smaller (4,012 comments) says:

    That is because Shearer is a politician and they will, with a very few exceptions, say something different to every audience.

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  2. Positan (385 comments) says:

    Labour never fails to demonstrate consistency in two particular fields.

    1. Its complete inconsistency as regards policy, words, actions and deeds.
    2. Its overpoweringly rabid desire to hold office whatever the cost – though completely unqualified to do so.

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  3. Mobile Michael (445 comments) says:

    Did he point out the kid at school who couldn’t be bothered, dropped out and got his girlfriend pregnant? How they’re both on benefits that allow them only to subsist and because he can barely read and write he can’t get a job interview as the application forms he completes are illegible?

    First politician to propose how to get these people off benefits gets my vote – and just throwing money at the problem doesn’t count.

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  4. Pete George (23,474 comments) says:

    More from his speech – David Shearer: the social contract

    We have a social contract in New Zealand. It works like this: if you need help because of something unexpected: an accident, a loss, or if misfortune befalls you, you will be supported.

    But once you’re back on your own feet, we expect you to pull your weight once again and contribute back to society.

    This sets Labour (leadership) apart from a fringe in the party and from the Greens “everyone deserves the same regardless of their circumstance and effort”.

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  5. jaba (2,136 comments) says:

    the statement will upset many in his party and will be another reason he needs to go

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  6. Komata (1,175 comments) says:

    RE: ‘We have a social contract in New Zealand. It works like this: if you need help because of something unexpected: an accident, a loss, or if misfortune befalls you, you will be supported.

    But once you’re back on your own feet, we expect you to pull your weight once again and contribute back to society.’

    The ‘Social Contract’ that is mentioned is a great idea, and very much in the early labour John A Lee / Michael Joseph Savage mode of thinking, BUT Labour haven’t mentioned this particular little wrinkle for years, and Rogernomics certainly put the lie to the words. Rather the mantra has become political power at any cost, the public be damned, unless political expediency require us to go through the motions.

    My understanding of ‘Social contract’ (precised) is that it means ‘the greatest good for the greatest number’. IF (and only if) that is the case, then how DOES modern Labour explain its implacable opposition to anything which will allow this to happen? Mining, Oil drilling and similar extractive industries which would provide the resources to allow this idea to be achieved come to mind, along with Cullen’s derisive ‘cupboard is bare, ha, ha, ‘ comment after the 2008 general election.

    Perhaps one of the party’s adherents that frequent this site can explain?

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  7. Manolo (13,571 comments) says:

    The dull and boring Shearer will tailor his speech to whateever the audience wants to hear.
    As any good socialist, he has no principles at all other than attaining power with lies and flase promises.

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  8. kowtow (8,315 comments) says:

    It’s not just the guy on the benefit. How can a fit person be certified sick?

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  9. KiwiGreg (3,244 comments) says:

    @ kowtow mental illness seems to be a favoured path.

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  10. rouppe (967 comments) says:

    And why did Shearer not then cross the road to that neighbour, and sit down and have a chat with him, and ask him how it was that he was fit enough to paint the roof of his house, yet he was on a sickness benefit?

    Labour are good at pointing and expressing “outrage”, but useless at effecting positive change for society.

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  11. onthenumber8 (20 comments) says:

    Shearer has used the “social contract” line for almost the entire time he’s been leader. This speech is consistent for him, just stepped up a notch in tone.

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  12. peterwn (3,242 comments) says:

    Labour needs to give lip service to workers in this regard, but does not want to do too much about it as beneficiaries and their advocates are an important part of Labour support. They might go and vote Green which cares less about the worker than Labour.

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  13. greenjacket (459 comments) says:

    Komata wrote: “Perhaps one of the party’s adherents that frequent this site can explain?”

    The Labour Party tools don’t start work before 9am, so you’ll have to wait.

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  14. Komata (1,175 comments) says:

    rouppe: The pity of it is that at one time that is exactly what Labour used to do – they were the ‘social conscience’ in a society which didn’t pay much attention to this aspect, and really didn’t care about the poor huddled masses.

    Curiously, I believe that the change can be pinpointed with a high degree of accuracy – the rise to the top of the party (and into positions of power) of a group of party activists educated at Uni of Auckland, individuals – Clark, Cullen etc. These were the ‘new breed’ of uni-educated ones (their predecessors had actually worked (gasp) and knew the realities of ‘class struggle’ by experience, not by reading about it). who were determined to change the world and modernise the party – to overhaul it and introduce all that they believed it SHOULD stand for. They had experienced the anti-war movement (in reality, an anti USA movement) and thought they knew enough to be able to create a new society that would solve all the ills that were currently around them The old guard of the NZ labour party were fossils and should be disposed of- they were out of touch with what was perceived as being the ‘modern’ world and modern socialism. Moscow and Beijing were, of course, quite happy to encourage this naive viewpoint – from a distance.

    How successful they were can be debated, but as you can see, the current party is not exactly like its predecessor.

    Gj: Of course, of course – milkenmild hasn’t ‘clocked-in’ here yet. I’d forgotten.

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  15. wreck1080 (3,881 comments) says:

    I wonder if Shearer laid a complaint against the ‘sickness beneficiary’ neighbour?

    If not, he’s as bad as the rest of those turning a blind eye.

    Why didn’t the neighbour take a photo and make a complaint?

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  16. dime (9,849 comments) says:

    has shearer suggested any way to fix the problem? or is he just doing what labour have done for the last 4 years – point shit out and oppose everything they dont think of first (or cant steal from the nut job greens)

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  17. hj (6,915 comments) says:

    I think that Labour has a problem in that today’s workers see themselves as at odds with a social welfare gentry. After all we have been through times of full employment at the same time as we have story after story about children of beneficiaries behaving badly, the Kahuis, and Ms Fraser receiving $700/week or so on the DPB etc.
    Having said that suppose the person on the sickness benefit had an ulcerated intestine, periodic blockages and felt o.k some days and not others and do we send a redundant 45 year old woman to Central Otago to pick fruit and share sleeping quarters with a meat head?
    I agree with Bernard Hickey that we need to “train, train , train” New Zealanders. Our government is thoroughly dominated by property interests and prefers immigration.

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  18. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    He may be able to spend a few hours painting his roof but is he able to hold down a job?
    I have a nephew that has Schizophrenia yet fit and strong, however he can’t hold onto a job for more than 3 days.
    Sickness is an odd sort of thing, just ask the Whale.
    In saying all that, go bash Labour, I like that.

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  19. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    The guy Shearer was talking about isn’t necessarily a bludger or malingerer. Someone who is on a sickness benefit because of a mental illness can be fully capable of painting their own roof but completely incapable of undertaking employment because he or she is unable to cope with the human interactions that requires. There will even be people on a sickness benefit as a result of a physical impairment who can paint their own roof but couldn’t hold down a painting job because their impairment prevents them from working at the speed that would be required by any employer.

    It’s really easy to jumpt to wrong conclusions if you don’t have all the facts.

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  20. rouppe (967 comments) says:

    toad: Fair enough point…

    Perhaps the neighbour who pointed it out would have been better inclined if he had seen this person doing jobs like that in the community as well. Paint a school roof, or community hall.

    That he was unhappy with the situation suggests he had more background information than we know as well… Perhaps…

    Trouble is, there are so many people who are prepared to give the benefit of the doubt, that “the benefit” is given without any control

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  21. dime (9,849 comments) says:

    toad – do you believe any benefit fraud exists on a large scale?

    maybe im weird but ive known a shit load of bludgers who can work but choose not to

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  22. kowtow (8,315 comments) says:

    I now fully expect the great social campaigner John Campbell to get his short arse in gear and do a story on the bludger……..

    If mental illness is soaking up huge amounts of taxpayer monies then a couple of well sited and very uncomfortable asylums are needed.
    If you’re too nuts to work and earn a living then you need locking up,that’ll get ‘em off the “benefit”.

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  23. freemark (569 comments) says:

    Hey, Toad, there you are..
    On another Blog recently after you slandered the PM over parliamentary funding I asked for evidence of that.. but you ran away?
    I guess you’ve been busy finding that evidence, or buying signatures, so come on, let’s have it…

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  24. Griff (7,515 comments) says:

    Did you ever think that wages are so shit why would you bother
    150 dollars net for 40 hours yeah they line up for that
    Much better to go on the benie and find a couple of hours of cashies a week or sell a few tinnies

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  25. freemark (569 comments) says:

    What a load of shit Griff.. is that how long it is since you had a job..
    Troll

    Toad.. Toad.. where’s my answer..

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  26. seanmaitland (500 comments) says:

    @DPF – Its not ironic at all – its blatant hypocrisy. Two faced, double standards, liars etc – calling it ironic is being way toooooo nice.

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  27. Griff (7,515 comments) says:

    freemark
    wage 12.50 per hour 500 per week less tax
    dole 200 plus accommodation supplement
    cost of working transport food clothing etc
    seems like a good estimate to me

    Self employed worked yesterday 150 bucks couple of hours
    been absent from here for a while had a good little contract grands in the bank so can kick back relax and wind up tossers

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  28. kowtow (8,315 comments) says:

    Yes Aotearoa is a low wage economy.

    That’s why “we” need to get mining,drilling, digging,fishing,milking,ploughing etc Tons of spin offs too.

    Education,trades ,apprenticeships……work. Personal pride ,achievement,independance,house ,garden veges,a bit like “we” used to be. What’s happened to us?

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  29. seanmaitland (500 comments) says:

    @Griff – so are you saying if they stay at home on the dole they don’t need food and clothing? $400 after tax (ish) is still twice as good as $200 unless they don’t wear clothes and don’t eat.

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  30. Komata (1,175 comments) says:

    Griff

    You have highlighted the major difficulty that arises concerning the benefit system as it currently exists in this country: one actually earns more on the benefit than off it, and that there are no ‘real’ jobs to be had, ‘real’ in this case being defined as jobs that make the individual feel as if they are actually contributing something to society and making a difference; and no, ‘flipping burgers’ or forecourt attendant positions don’t constitute ‘real’ work in this regard. Jenny Shipley made this mistake during her term, sending a lot of people off the dole, yet not providing work for them; the populace reacted by getting rid of National at the next election. There were still no ‘real’ jobs, but Labour promised that ‘all’ would be provided for and that solved the problem – at least in respect of ‘Joe Average’.

    Sadly, and even under Labour, nothing has subsequently changed, despite the rhetoric abounding, and until the extractive industries and the idea of ‘value added’ for employment returns, (including ‘Youth rates’ nothing will. The Gweens don’t help, and if anything contribute to the problem; lots of anti noise from them, but nothing that will actually grow our nation upwards. Perhaps Toad might provide a solution or two? If he does I wonder what they would be?

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  31. seanmaitland (500 comments) says:

    @Komata – while I was at university I flipped burgers and packed supermarket shelves for a living. I find it highly arrogant of you to suggest its not a real job. Working jobs like that gave me important social skills and funded my education as well as giving me the experience that drove me to wanting to better myself.

    On top of that the fact that you that think it was Jenny Shipley’s job to create jobs astounds me. Where in the definition of government does it say that they should be creating jobs for people?

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  32. Cactus Kate (551 comments) says:

    Shearer has been giving this speech since he became Leader?
    Sorry we did not notice before.
    Invisible men tend not to be.

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  33. wreck1080 (3,881 comments) says:

    If he can paint his own house, I’m sure he could be capable of other work even if it is only for short durations.

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  34. Tauhei Notts (1,692 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller at 7.04.
    “Politicians will say something different to every audience”
    Several years ago (when Richard Prebble led the Act Party) I went to hear Helen Clark speak in a country town.
    My wife kicked me in the shins when I commented, part way through Clark’s speech;
    “This woman is more right wing than Prebble!”
    She used to have one speech for the Princes Street branch, and another for the provincial areas.
    I think it is called two faced.

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  35. UpandComer (528 comments) says:

    How can David Shearer talk this game, when his party have opposed every single possible change to welfare put forward, and want to increase the benefit??!?!!!!!

    The hypocrisy and cynicism of Labour never ceases to amaze me. This is just balls out dissonance on a monumental scale.

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  36. Komata (1,175 comments) says:

    SeanM

    1. Re: @Komata – ‘while I was at university I flipped burgers and packed supermarket shelves for a living. I find it highly arrogant of you to suggest its not a real job. Working jobs like that gave me important social skills and funded my education as well as giving me the experience that drove me to wanting to better myself. Where in the definition of government does it say that they should be creating jobs for people?’

    I’ll answer this in two parts:

    1. ‘…While I was at university I flipped burgers and packed supermarket shelves for a living. I find it highly arrogant of you to suggest its not a real job. Working jobs like that gave me important social skills and funded my education as well as giving me the experience that drove me to wanting to better myself

    1. (Answer) You have (perhaps intentionally) missed the point that I was trying to make, namely that within New Zealand society, ‘burger flipping’ and the like are not exactly likely to advance ones career prospects. No doubt you did the work as a ‘means to an end’, and, with your Degree, are now earning large amounts of money . Is B/F’ng a ‘real’ job? the sort of ‘trade’ you could make a career out of and stay in for the next forty years and earn enough to support a family? I doubt it, and the fact that you use the past tense in your comment indicates that for you it too was something that you did while ‘passing -through’ towards something better. ‘Arrogant’ ‘fraid not, but if you want to take it that way, be my guest.

    2.’On top of that the fact that you that think it was Jenny Shipley’s job to create jobs astounds me. Where in the definition of government does it say that they should be creating jobs for people?’

    2. (Answer) Successive New Zealand governments, in case you haven’t noticed, have tended to try to provide for their citizens through various means. It’s called ‘Social responsibility’ and in this country dates back, at its most basic, to the introduction of the Old Age Pension under Dick Seddon (a world-leading action, you might recall) In the 1930’s this ‘social responsibility’ took the form of work schemes for the unemployed, and later, after the advent of the 1935 Labour Government, via the dole. The ‘responsibility’ still continues via the current U/B and other similar schemes. My point about the Shipley Government’s actions was that although her government attempted to ‘clear the decks’ and get rid of the very high numbers of unemployed, there was actually no work to be had, a situation caused by a combination of the 1987 ‘mini recession’ and the arrival of computers within the country. Mrs Shipley held to the view (publicly stated) that ‘the unemployed were to be punished because of their laziness’, wilfully ignoring the fact that in fact it wasn’t that people didn’t WANT to work, rather it was because no-one was hiring. Computers ‘the big thing’ at the time, and were proving to be able to do the work of several people at once and more efficiently, and those who were not computer-savvy’ were rapidly becoming unemployable. As a result there were very large numbers of people who were in desperate need of work, who COULD work, who WANTED to work, but could FIND no work, because the work that they had previously done didn’t exist any more. The Shipley Government then cut the unemployment even further to force these (supposedly-lazy) ‘malcontent’s’ into work (even though there was no work for reasons just outlined), which compounded the problem, and proved to many that it (and the National Party, had abandoned the previously long-held concept of ‘social responsibility’.

    Labour wan’t slow to capitalise of this and, by declaring that THEY were the party showing ‘social responsibility’ were elected on a landslide in 1999.

    But, of course, judging from your reply, you know all this., so two questions from me:

    ‘Were you a ‘family man’ during the ‘Rogernomics’ (lLbour) and Shipley (National) era?

    ‘ Where in the definition of government does it say that they should NOT be creating jobs for people?’

    I look forward to your reply.

    BTW: A small point you may care to consider: your replies to these questions will be read with interest by others.

    Over to you.

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  37. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Rouppe: Trouble is, there are so many people who are prepared to give the benefit of the doubt, that “the benefit” is given without any control.

    Great line! Stealing.

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  38. freemark (569 comments) says:

    @Komata
    As I recall the recently appointed CEO (or whatever his title is) of McDonalds has worked there for life, and started out.. wait for it, flipping burgers.
    My first job (while at school) was pushing heavy milk trolleys around the hills of Otumoetai, rain or shine, for about $2 per hour as I recall. I know that work is no longer available but there are others. Picking kiwifruit in the hols, pruning, orchard work, delivering papers.. whatever, you just did it.
    Point is, there is so much more to be gained from work than the monetary side, and no one on the left seems to get that.

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