“Beneficiary Bashing”

Stuff report:

Leah and Sarah Gilbert are on the domestic purposes benefit and want to stand against what they see as unfairness surrounding benefits and “beneficiary bashing”.

The Hamilton sisters have got behind Friday’s National Day of Action against welfare reforms and, have organised an event for people to have their say.

“Beneficiaries are being stereotyped as bludgers, parasites, lazy, selfish, that we all neglect our kids and would rather spend money on drugs and alcohol. I don’t fit into that. My kids are healthy and happy and go to school every day with full lunch boxes. That’s not me, and that’s not okay,’’ Sarah said.

And that’s great. And I don’t know anyone who thinks everyone on a benefit is a parasite, a bludger, lazy or selfish. I certainly don’t. I think there are some people on benefits who are using it as a lifestyle choice – but they are certainly not the majority.

But it is not acceptable to ignore the problems caused by the minority, just because some people think it is a slight on them.

Take for example rape and domestic violence. We have far far too much domestic violence in NZ, and it sickens me the number of men who bash women.

But when we talk about domestic violence in NZ, I as a man don’t feel I am being labelled a criminal, a thug, a violent person. I am confident enough to know it is a reference to the minority who are the problem.

Frankly labeling as beneficiary bashing is just an attempt to avoid the actual issues.

I note in the comments to the article, that the Gilberts have an interesting political agenda. Extracts:

Welfare money all ends up in the hands of private businesses – I am merely a conduit for it to end up in the hands of my landlord, the supermarket, the child’s school, etc.

Goodness. First I didn’t know her school was a private business. But secondly, so what? We all spend all our money eventually. That doesn’t mean it grows on trees.

Employers are the ultimate gatekeepers of employment – I look for work, but my health and the job climate puts me at the bottom of the lists with my history DESPITE MY EFFORTS.

And if you are studying to gain qualifications and/or applying for jobs – then that’s great. From everything in the article, they’re doing what you should do on welfare – managing costs, studying, applying for jobs. That’s all the Govt is requiring – there is no requirement to get a job or lose your benefit – just to be available for work. I don’t regard that as beneficiary bashing.

If full-time salaries were split into part-time jobs, the government would recieve more tax revenue and opportunities for employment would be increased.

No they wouldn’t. I hope the degree is not in accounting or economics. Two people earning $20,000 pay much less tax than one person earning $40,000.

People are envious because the minimum wage does not provide a livable wage.

You’re having trouble getting a job, and you want to make it even harder to get one by putting up the minimum wage?


I never said I don’t like the amount I get, in fact I redistribute excess to a children’s charity and invest in a scholarship fund to improve my son’s opportunities.

And that’s great. Good to have an example of a beneficiary making ends meet, and a bit leftover. But why does the article also say you have sometimes gone hungry to feed your kids?

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