Overseas travel on the benefit

April 4th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

3 News reports:

More than 21,000 people have had their benefits cut since rules around overseas travel were tightened, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says.

More than $10.5 million has been saved since July last year by suspending the benefits of those who chose to travel, Ms Bennett says.

The largest group of suspensions applied to nearly 11,200 people on job seeker benefits, followed by more than 4800 sole parents.

More than 1750 people had their benefit suspended for multiple overseas trips.

The figures don’t include people receiving superannuation.

Hard to be looking for a job when you’re overseas!

Almost 5000 people have had their benefits cancelled because they failed to reconnect with Work and Income eight weeks after their departure from New Zealand.

Ms Bennett said although the rules are tighter, they still allow for overseas travel on compassionate or health grounds in certain cases for job seekers.

People without work obligations may in most cases travel overseas for up to 28 days.

Sounds reasonable.

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90 Responses to “Overseas travel on the benefit”

  1. Linda Reid (407 comments) says:

    Maybe some of them were looking for a job while they were overseas.

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  2. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  3. burt (7,948 comments) says:

    I heard some pinko welfare advocate on the radio saying that these people may have been given money by family to travel… Right … so it’s OK for the tax payer to feed and house them while family pay for their holidays …. sick sense of entitlement… family should feed first – holiday second. Give the fucking tax payers a break !

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  4. burt (7,948 comments) says:

    ross69

    Only a socialist would think tax payer funded holidays are a god given right !

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  5. ShawnLH (4,330 comments) says:

    ” What it says is that beneficiaries aren’t entitled to holidays”

    Rubbish. It says they are not entitled to use other people’s money for expensive overseas holidays.

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  6. Zebulon (78 comments) says:

    I have never known a beneficiary to struggle to pay for Sky TV, cigarettes, alcohol or tattoos. We need a real shake up in this area so that benefits are only paid for those in genuine need and for essential costs.

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  7. mikenmild (11,231 comments) says:

    Admittedly this is just tinkering, but is a sensible restriction. I see there are exceptions for travel for compassionate reasons, etc.

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  8. Chris2 (765 comments) says:

    Didn’t the Rev Waldegrave in his made-up poverty report say not to being able to have overseas holidays was one of his determing criteria for estimating child poverty?

    With all these overseas trips by welfare beneficiaries he will now have to lower his “figures” on how many people are supposedly in poverty.

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  9. Andrei (2,529 comments) says:

    Raw meat, constructed out of cherry picked statistics, thrown to the party faithful, to build on the we getting tough on beneficiaries meme

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  10. EAD (776 comments) says:

    When the hell will people wake the hell up to what is going on?

    I’m going to play devils advocate and say that Nationals trumpeting of this supposed “success” is just another piece of smoke and mirrors propaganda to make the gullible public believe they’re being “tough on welfare”. I call b/s.

    The reality is despite an artificial credit boom, we’re still clocking up billions of dollars of debt to pay for the exponentially growing welfare bill. We save $10.5m in 10 months yet on average have borrowed more than that PER DAY for every single day of the “fiscally disciplined” National Party.

    Distract us from the real issue with a piece of read meat to feed the peons and make us focus our anger on these beneficiaries when it is the Politicians of both stripes that create the incentives for people to live these lifestyles.

    One day this will stop however because when the Atlases shrug from the burden of inflation and tax, it’s game over.

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  11. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    We are never short of bludgers and, even worse, of left-wingers and do-gooders prepared to defend the parasitical loafers.

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  12. Cassius Dundee (4 comments) says:

    “What it says is that beneficiaries aren’t entitled to holidays..Paula Bennett should state what beneficiaries are allowed to do.”
    Damn right.
    I can’t afford to go on my own fucking holiday, so tell me, why the fuck should I pay for someone else’s?

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  13. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  14. duggledog (1,415 comments) says:

    EAD you’re right on the money. I believe it’s all tied to NZ being No. 1 for social progress in the world. Says everything

    Kiwis have no f***ing idea how deep the rot goes. The benefit, whether it’s DPB or just the UB, is often used as just the basic income.

    What you do, is you go out and do some cashies, grow some weed, whatever and you top it up with that. I have known so, so many people in my lifetime who look at the system, see how to play it to get the maximum ker-ching out of the government and then top it up.

    It’s been going on for generations now; thousands and thousands of people still do it. That’s why they can afford to fly to Australia to visit the whanau.

    And it’s not beneficiary bashing, it is pretty much a way of life in the Far North and the East Cape not to mention Central etc.
    I’m happy to see these people stripped of assistance for good; but I’d also like to see the top end of town shafted too.

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  15. Alan (1,073 comments) says:

    Not every trip is a “holiday”

    I agree that people need to tell WINZ if they aren’t available for work and have benefits suspended for that period of time.

    I don’t have a problem with people travelling anywhere they want, only the truly dumb would assume that people on benefits are funding school holiday trips to the gold coast from their benefits.

    People, esp in the pacific communities may be travelling for important family events, as long as they aren’t fraudulently claiming benefits then I don’t see it’s any business of the states what they do.

    I’ve paid for overseas trips for family members a few times recently (no benefits claims involved). It probably happens more than you’d think.

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  16. Rich Prick (1,604 comments) says:

    Well, let’s face it, a life consisting of getting up at the crack of noon and spending the sober hours trying to work your way through the myriad of WINZ special grants application forms before cracking a Woody would be stressful for anyone. The poor buggers deserve a relaxing break away from all of that. And why not, if a “living wage” is predicated on MySky subscriptions and overseas holidays, why ought not the same apply to beneficiaries? Welfare is not a safety net, it has morphed into a viable lifestyle choice with all of the modern trappings.

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  17. OTGO (521 comments) says:

    Beneficiaries can still take overseas “holidays”. They just have to tell WINZ otherwise they’ll be data matched at the border and have their payments stopped. Seems fair.
    How you can have a holiday when you aren’t in work puzzles me though!

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  18. ShawnLH (4,330 comments) says:

    Back when I was living in Auckland I was invited to a few parties that were in South Auckland. At one of these I listened to several people complaining that they could not get by on the benefit, and they blamed the evil benefit bashing Nats for this (apparently ignorant of the fact that the Nat’s have not cut benefits).

    What was telling about this is that this conversation took place while these same people were going through box after box of beer and a pack or two of ciggies in one night.

    It’s called entitlement syndrome.

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  19. WineOh (575 comments) says:

    I would bet the majority of these trips are for family reasons- Weddings and Funerals… especially for Pacifica communities. These are not seen as optional extras, they are considered essential attendance.

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  20. Crusader (292 comments) says:

    Ross. Those of us who actually pay tax should have some right of reply when we see it wasted. That is not “bashing” anyone (what a stupid expression to use). The social security payments are supposed to be a safety net to prevent dire poverty while people search for a job or improve their lot in life, and as such it represents a social contract between the Government and the people with at least some obligation upon those signing up to receive it. It is not a universal human right, it is not a lifestyle, and it is not a way to fund holidays overseas. By the very act of going overseas one is interrupting one’s efforts to find work, and thus it is not unreasonable to cease paying the benefit. The government is extremely generous in allowing up to 4 weeks overseas while still paying the benefit.

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  21. iMP (2,312 comments) says:

    “Dear NZ Politicial Parties.

    “Can we have some leadership on rampant inter-generational welfarism and joblessness, please. Not to punish people, but to FORCE them into avenues of dignity, self-help, and productive lives…”

    If you can pay for an overseas trip, you don’t need welfare from me. If someone else pays for you, fine. Supposed to be a safety net only, not a lifestyle top-up.

    Electricity vouchers, food stamps, kids shoes vouchers, not cash please, Paula Bennet.

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  22. Colville (2,150 comments) says:

    Would have been much more sensible to let them travel overseas, cancel passport while they are away and not let them back in!

    Twenty one fucking thousand of them!

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  23. EAD (776 comments) says:

    Thanks Duggledog,

    Your last comment is particular pertinent – the real beneficiaries of Big Goverment despite what Paula Bennet would have you believe, are not the those on welfare but those connected closely to the biggest source of money in an economy by a factor of 1000′s of percent.

    Just like George Orwell warned in Animal Farm – the ill-educated farm animals think they’re getting a good deal from big government but the truth is bigger government (Auckland Super City?) only perpetuates the power of a corrupt elite at the expense of ordinary people. It may start off small – a fiddled expense claim there, a tax payer fact funded fact finding mission there, a job for the boys there, an inflated contract (KiwiRail?) awarded there, and eventually you get to a state whereby the people who produce NOTHING, take everything.

    “When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – You may know that your society is doomed.”

    Yes those ripping off the system are morally bankrupt, but they’re only responding to the incentives placed in front of them. Focus on the real enemy – Big Government.

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  24. OneTrack (2,754 comments) says:

    Crusader – “… It is not a universal human right, it is not a lifestyle, and it is not a way to fund holidays overseas. ..”

    I beg to differ. It seems that for, at least, 21000 people in the last 9 months, it IS a lifestyle and it IS a way to fund holidays overseas. Furthermore, these are just the ones that didn’t inform WINZ. How many did?

    And 1750 had multiple overseas trips over the same period. FFS.

    The New Zealand taxpayer is being rorted. And the hard-left parties, Labour and Greens, think that is the way it should be and they think we should take more money from the productive sector, and give it to people who want more overseas holidays.

    And tomorrow we will have a story about “poverty” and kids going to school without shoes. Maybe they lost their shoes on the flight home?

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  25. mandk (859 comments) says:

    @ ross69
    How about dipping your hand into your pocket to help pay for my next holiday overseas?

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  26. OneTrack (2,754 comments) says:

    “How you can have a holiday when you aren’t in work puzzles me though!”

    One possible answer to that, is that the benefit is set too high.

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  27. mandk (859 comments) says:

    @ OneTrack

    This is even more shocking: “Almost 5000 people have had their benefits cancelled because they failed to reconnect with Work and Income eight weeks after their departure from New Zealand”

    The question in my mind is why it takes eight weeks before WINZ does anything. OK, you might need to go overseas because your granny has died, but why should it need more than two weeks at most?

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  28. OneTrack (2,754 comments) says:

    Ross69 – “.. Besides, I didn’t realise the unemployment benefit was so lucrative that beneficiaries were able to save enough to take a 6 week holiday to the French Riviera.”

    But it looks they are lucrative enough for a month on the Gold Coast.

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  29. dirty harry (444 comments) says:

    Benefit parasites taking overseas holidays…FFS what a joke. You lazy bastards , most do nothing all day on the tax payers tit. Get a job you bums..go stack shelves at Countdown and pay some paye. I run 2 jobs..work 60 plus hours a week..there is work out there..just too lazy , rather stick their greasy hands in my pocket. How offensive travelling overseas..get real man.

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  30. Rich Prick (1,604 comments) says:

    OneTrack, I’m sure there is a WINZ special grant application form with a code ending in “GC”.

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  31. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    ross69: You left-wing rainbows sure grease to, and are, the pits of society. Take your socialist views to the reaming room, they may listen, being leeches and deviants, but this most on this site do not find them constructive. I don’t want my taxes paying some breeder of unwanted, taxpayer-fed, housed, educated, clothed, babysat, etc., to take overseas trips, when those that are working and paying, can’t afford to.

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  32. Barnsley Bill (982 comments) says:

    Newstalk ZB this morning. Leighton is taking calls aplenty from the zombie army.
    One particular call struck me.
    Pensioner (on national super), takes a 30 day holiday to OZ to stay with relatives.
    Winz shortpaid his “benefit” by 2 dollars.
    But super is not a benefit is it?
    No, but he gets 25 dollars a fortnight to pay to have his lawn cut.
    So WINZ shortpaid his lawnmowing benefit by 2 dollars.
    He was indignant.
    So am I.
    For a number of reasons.
    1. He owns his own home and freely admits he paid for the airfare himself. Why are we paying to mow his lawns?
    2. 2 dollars? Seriously, how much did that cost winz to actually do?
    The whole system is still rotten despite Minister Bennet and her teams efforts to remove the lurks and perks.
    I am still to see any starving children and I work in the absolute worst areas of the north every day of the week.
    I see a lot of fat kids with pies and big bottles of fizzy in the mornings and afternoons and I deal with people all day that scream and shout because WINZ have fucked them and stopped the benefit. You drill down a little bit and the benefits are stopped temporarily after the recipient has FAILED NUMEROUS TIMES to complete a form or attend a meeting.
    The days of attending an annual meeting are gone. You must attend meetings, you must do as requested. And when you don’t they give you three or four chances to not be a fuck up before they stop spraying money at you.
    Anybody who is on the unemployment benefit and takes any sort of fucking holiday should have their benefit stopped until such time as they are available to work again.
    The whole point of the unemployment benefit is to provide you with a basic level of sustenance whilst you ACTIVELY seek work. Being on holiday is not being available.

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  33. Lance (2,540 comments) says:

    @dirty harry
    Didn’t you know the basic’s are food, shelter, clothing, Xbox, Sky TV, international holidays, lotto, booze, ciggies and a BIG arse TV.

    Anything less is failing to provide the necessities of life

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  34. burt (7,948 comments) says:

    Barnsley Bill

    It’s perfectly acceptable to give people tax payers money so they can use their own money to spend on fun things – this is how socialism stays popular enough to win votes !

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  35. wreck1080 (3,787 comments) says:

    “People, esp in the pacific communities may be travelling for important family events, as long as they aren’t fraudulently claiming benefits then I don’t see it’s any business of the states what they do.”

    Because it is not their money!!! They will then complain about not having enough food to eat, or insufficient funds to pay the power bill and then uncle diabetes dies because his machine power gets cut off.

    If they have enough money to travel on a benefit then their benefit is too high.

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  36. Rick Rowling (823 comments) says:

    ross69: What it says is that beneficiaries aren’t entitled to holidays

    Read it again ross:

    …failed to reconnect with Work and Income eight weeks after their departure from New Zealand.

    Getting back in touch within 8 weeks of the overseas holidays isn’t exactly an onerous obligation.

    What is says it that beneficiaries aren’t entitled to remain New Zealand beneficiaries if they’ve moved permanently to the GC.

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  37. dirty harry (444 comments) says:

    dead right Lance..don’t forget the monthly KFC account..there’s something drastically wrong with the system when people on the benefit ( super excluded ) can dilly dally off around the world. Times up bums..the world don’t owe you a thing.

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  38. flash2846 (201 comments) says:

    Fifteen years ago what we now know as WINZ had some major security issues at the branches including assaults of staff. As a result many more men were hired as front line staff and many of these men were avid sports followers.

    WINZ staff began recognising their clients at off shore sports events; in particular Warriors games and rugby world cup matches. Whole families of beneficiaries were ‘caught on camera’ and WINZ staff were frustrated by the fact they could do nothing about the obvious benefit fraud which was financing such travels.

    It took twelve years and a National government to address this.
    WINZ are anticipating a large number of tungi’s will be held in London next year.

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  39. peterwn (3,192 comments) says:

    This seems to be a beat-up because MSD is actually enforcing the law via data matching. The Labour Party had better remember the Fitzgerald v Muldoon case. In late 1975 Rob Muldoon decreed that no more Kirk Government superannuation deductions/ payments need be made pending legislation to wrap the Kirk scheme in favour of the present superannuation scheme. This upset Labour and the unions who challenged Rob’s decree in the High Court using a 1688 British law:
    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/imperial/1688/0002/latest/DLM11115.html

    “That the pretended power of suspending of laws, or the execution of laws, by regal authority, without consent of Parliament, is illegal:”

    So Labour, after criticising Rob Muldoon for breaching this law, is now calling on Paula Bennett to breach this law by ordering MSD not to enforce the law regarding beneficiaries traveling overseas. And this particular law existed when Labour was in power.

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  40. edhunter (510 comments) says:

    I personally know one of these bludgers who while on “sickness” benefit (p addict fucking joke) hooked up with a bird from Oz & took of there for 3 months while all the time drawing his benefit. He’s now back & off the SB (after 3 years another fucking joke) & now on the UB while working under the table. It would appear this is not an isolated incident.
    But this is all window dressing while we continue to ignore the biggest elephant in the welfare room which is Super. Nationals & John Keys refusal to even acknowledge it while the shit caused by it rapidly rises from ankle to knee depth & beyond is almost bordering on the criminal.

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  41. RightNow (6,794 comments) says:

    ” What it says is that beneficiaries aren’t entitled to holidays.”

    What, they go on leave from the benefit and get a job for 4 weeks?

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  42. RightNow (6,794 comments) says:

    rossie, poor wee luvvie

    “Hard to be looking for a job when you’re overseas!

    What a silly statement.Most jobs are advertised online. Obviously you’ve never applied for a job online!”

    Obviously you’ve never made it through to an interview.

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  43. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (828 comments) says:

    Norman, the finance minister and Deputy PM will offer business class tickets to beneficiaries for holidays. I welcome that.

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  44. Judith (8,241 comments) says:

    I don’t know why we are concentrating on overseas travel. The fact is, as I pointed out in GD, a person can have a ‘holiday’ and never leave their home. They can also fulfill the job application requirements, and never leave their bed.

    As expensive it might be, one of the most efficient ways of checking on slackers, is to have them report weekly to pick up their ‘cheque’ – no show, no money (unless of course they are on sickness or invalid and there are mobility issues).

    A part from the fact that it gets them off their butt and out of bed, physical reporting has other benefits. It allows the system to see that they are actually ‘work ready’ as the rules require. A dirty smelly unwashed, scruffily dressed stoned off their face person, can not be considered ‘work ready’. “Sorry Sir, go home, shower, put on clean clothes, sober up – and then you can have your cheque’.

    It is also extremely hard to be working under the table and keep turning up for appointments, that are ‘scattered’.

    Paying the benefit into bank accounts directly is one of the worst things we have done. It may be convenient, and it may cut costs, but it removes the benefit of observation, and it removes the emphasis of ‘accountability’. Being made to physically front up on a weekly basis, provides the example that nothing comes free – in order to receive you must give at least some of your time. For every action, there is a reaction, no action, no payment.

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  45. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “What you do, is you go out and do some cashies, grow some weed,…”

    Utter crap.

    Synthetic cannabis is doing drug sellers and gangs huge losses. This product is a huge boon to society inkeeping gangs and sellers impoverished and may well be a tool in deconstructing gangs. They hate it and I was told this by a gang member.

    Most of you people on here are still living in the 20th century. Vote for irrelevant politicians who still live in the 20th century with no computer skills.

    And worst is you never give any one credit for achieving. and have most of you done anyway. No one knows who you are.

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  46. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “Paying the benefit into bank accounts directly is one of the worst things we have done.”

    since you have no idea, Bank accounts are about surveilling and policing personal funds.

    That is why we went from pay packets to direct credit.

    Now Google is coming up with it’s own alternative currency to match Bitcoin.

    Most of the dinosaurs on here would believe that to be a conspiracy theory because they haven’t reached the 21st century yet. They still babbling 20th century social commentary.

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  47. OTGO (521 comments) says:

    Wiki – As a net taxpayer for 30 years and never once had a benefit of any kind I think I deserve recognition.

    Give me a fucking tax cut.

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  48. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “If they have enough money to travel on a benefit then their benefit is too high.”

    Wreck

    You know its all propaganda but you want to perpetuate the lie for the National Socialist Party.

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  49. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “Wiki – As a net taxpayer for 30 years and never once had a benefit of any kind I think I deserve recognition.

    Give me a fucking tax cut.”

    Vote third party against the estblishment is all I can advise

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  50. mandk (859 comments) says:

    edhunter: “He’s now back & off the SB (after 3 years another fucking joke) & now on the UB while working under the table”

    I trust you did your duty as citizen and reported your concerns to WINZ.

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  51. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “But this is all window dressing while we continue to ignore the biggest elephant in the welfare room which is Super.”

    Edhunter is so wealhy he doesn’t need super and doesn’t believe tax payers deserve it either

    Another of the National Socialist ilk.

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  52. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    The biggest troughers are politicians themselves.

    Cutting spending to spy technology would be a great initiative to start with

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  53. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    ANZ bank manager arrested

    A former ANZ Queenstown bank manager has been arrested in relation to an alleged $400,000 theft spanning three years.

    Queenstown police have arrested and charged a 29-year-old Queenstown woman, a former bank employee at 5pm on Thursday in relation to alleged fraud between 2010 and last year.

    The charges relate to the woman allegedly using a computer system for a dishonest purpose and five charges of theft by person in a special relationship.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/9904712/ANZ-bank-manager-arrested

    Why isn’t anyone complaining about this bum. you Kiwibloggers are so hypocritically selective.

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  54. Viking2 (11,220 comments) says:

    My first thought was, how many are PI’s etc going home for a visit?
    The second one was how much of it was paid by “cashies” you know the underground economy that you get by taking cash for work whilst being on the benefit?

    No wonder NZ has to borrow at record levels. France two coming up.

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  55. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    How I survived a 33-hour flight from hell

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/travel-troubles/9904607/How-I-survived-a-33-hour-flight-from-hell

    Read this gem and you can all sigh a breath of relief at what beneficiaries have to endure on their overseas flights.

    Aren’t I good to you.

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  56. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “No wonder NZ has to borrow at record levels. ”

    Pffffffff

    If we had continued letting Nuclear ships in port and spending by service crews to the tune of trillions by now we wouldn’t be fleeced so much on the roads by the National Socialist state.

    And what about all this income the National Socialists are spouting from FTA’s not to mention future TPP projections!!!

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  57. RRM (9,605 comments) says:

    Travel the world on the bene? Sounds like a nice life…

    RRM earns above the average wage.

    RRM, Mrs RRM and the three little RRMs are going to Chch for a weekend, later on in the year for RRM’s brother’s wedding. That’s our first overseas holiday for a long while. Buying a house and working hard and supporting yourself sucks… ;-)

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  58. nickb (3,673 comments) says:

    Shocking story, but how is this different from Tau Henare’s last few months?

    Getting an OE on the taxpayer before retiring to a cushy quango appointment?

    (N.B. – I am sure Labour MPs would be doing the same if any of them ever retired)

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  59. Elaycee (4,322 comments) says:

    Wikiwhizz: Clearly you don’t fly a lot. Because if you did, you would know the writer of that article you linked to (Luke Hopewell) is a total moron.

    Shit happens when you travel – airports are sometimes closed due to weather / crew can exceed their hours / diversions can happen / schedules can get disrupted / luggage can get waylaid / flights can be turbulent / children get upset and can disrupt your sleep (yes, even on the upper deck) – it happens. And there are two ways to handle it:

    1. You take it in your stride / shrug it off / use earplugs / read a book / catch a later flight / take a nap / reschedule your meetings / get over it / whatever.

    Or…

    2. You bleat and whinge / think the airline owes you the world because the arrival of a storm at your destination meant the airport was closed / whinge further because you missed a connection / bleat more because the flight was turbulent / whinge because you forgot to carry medication in your carry on luggage / bleat further because you can’t eat peanuts / bleat because the Customs at the alternate airport wouldn’t allow disembarking / complain because you’re tired / then post your ‘travails’ somewhere – thinking this is somehow relevant or important. Wah wah wah….. All this moron has done is confirm they’re a complete sook who should never be allowed to travel beyond Waiheke Island.

    So, what was the point you were trying to make? Something about beneficiaries taking trips courtesy of the taxpayer?

    Pffttt….

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  60. RRM (9,605 comments) says:

    ross69 (3,635 comments) says:
    April 4th, 2014 at 10:05 am

    But this is classic benefit bashing by National. What it says is that beneficiaries aren’t entitled to holidays..

    TOO FUCKING RIGHT THEY’RE NOT “ENTITLED” TO HOLIDAYS. :evil:

    No-one’s “entitled” to a holiday.

    I’m not “entitled” to a holiday. If I want one, I have to arrange time off work, and save up my pennies that I EARNED.

    If worthless bludging beneficiaries can afford overseas holidays, then they are receiving far too much of my tax money for sitting on their useless arses.

    Fucking parasites.

    Worthless passengers on the coattails of others.

    This makes me FUCKING ANGRY. I work every hour the judeo-christian god sends, and I can’t make enough money to give my own children a nice trip away, because I’m trying to do the important responsible things instead. Like feeding and housing them.

    But worthless scum who don’t work a day in their lives are spending free money taxed off me to take overseas trips? It should be a criminal offense. It should be jailable. They should be carrying rocks at Transmission Gully in their bare hands. EARNING their income. Shoot the ones that try to escape. Fucking parasites.

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  61. Zapper (949 comments) says:

    RRM, your transformation over the years at this blog has been something to behold. I salute you.

    I’m assuming now that you refer to yourself in the third person, the transformation is complete.

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  62. Cassius Dundee (4 comments) says:

    “I would bet the majority of these trips are for family reasons- Weddings and Funerals… especially for Pacifica communities. These are not seen as optional extras, they are considered essential attendance.”

    Their problem. Not the taxpayer’s.”

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  63. Cassius Dundee (4 comments) says:

    “I would bet the majority of these trips are for family reasons- Weddings and Funerals… especially for Pacifica communities. These are not seen as optional extras, they are considered essential attendance.”

    Not my problem.
    #justsayno

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  64. Rex Widerstrom (5,307 comments) says:

    Amazed no one has thought to complain about the bludger who used taxpayer’s money to travel all the way to Chile just to shake hands with the President-elect. In a simpering piece of hero-worship, she justified this extravagance by saying “I’m excited to meet with and congratulate this amazing woman”. Really? If it’s so exciting, pay for it yourself.

    Reportedly this same bludger lived on a benefit while also educating herself at the taxpayers’ expense.

    If we’re going to crack down on people who’re living off the hard work of taxpayers swanning off overseas on the slightest of pretexts, shouldn’t we be cracking down on all of them?

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  65. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,814 comments) says:

    wikithing

    So you won’t mind if the your 21,000 rorting prick mates are arrested and slung onto some mosquito infested tropical island for an enforced holiday?

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  66. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “So you won’t mind if the your 21,000 rorting prick mates are arrested and slung onto some mosquito infested tropical island for an enforced holiday?”

    Not while wealthy NZers owe $6 billion to IRD in tax avoidance.

    Adolf National Socialist

    There’s a very balanced picture in this country while you National Socialists pick on the poor

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  67. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “But worthless scum who don’t work a day in their lives are spending free money taxed off me to take overseas trips? It should be a criminal offense. It should be jailable. They should be carrying rocks at Transmission Gully in their bare hands. EARNING their income. Shoot the ones that try to escape. Fucking parasites.”

    Pffff

    6 trillion in tax avoidance owd to IRD by wealthy crims

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  68. Elaycee (4,322 comments) says:

    Wikiwhizz: 6 trillion in tax avoidance….

    6 trillion????

    Who are these ‘wealthy crims’ who owe 6 trillion to the IRD?

    Names please…. :D

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  69. prosper (137 comments) says:

    Ross 69
    As you write quite well I assume you have had some sort of education and probably are quite intelligent therefore you cannot possibly believe what you say. Thank you for playing the Devils advocate. Keep up the good work it obviously stimulates quite a few of us. Well done.

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  70. edhunter (510 comments) says:

    Wiki no I’m not super wealthy but if I’m still able & happy to work past the age of 65 why should I also be entitled to a universal benefit?
    Why should over 10% of MPs also be entitled to to universal super on top of a min $145k + perks salary & once they retire also have access to their govt pension as well?
    Why don’t we means test?
    Why when in 2011 the average life expectancy of a New Zealander was 80.9yrs should we be paying on average 16yrs of welfare at a min of $340.00pw ($282000 over 16yrs).
    A very basic example the average wage in NZ is $44,000 the tax on that is $6720. At that rate it would take 42yrs of working & earning the average wage just to pay for your 16yrs of super. So at most you’re contributing 8 years of tax (or $53760) to pay for everything else the government has provided you over the course of your live.
    As I said very basic example & in reality on the average wage you’ll have earned much less & therefore contributed a lot less by the time it comes to receive your super based as a percentage of the average income of the time.

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  71. aquataur (53 comments) says:

    Just to put another perspective on this.

    My daughter is a beneficiary – on a benefit because she has a illness with a 50% survival rate. Treatment options in NZ are limited and not well funded compared to other OECD countries for this condition.

    She was advised with 48 hours notice of a place in an Australian clinic for treatment (6 weeks at a cost of $60k which we her parents have paid) and left immediately. She did not think or have time to tell WINZ and of course her benefit was docked. She still had costs being incurred in nZ while she was away – eg rent.

    As a taxpayer paying a 6 figure tax bill each year plus the cost of treatment because our health system is so miserly in dealing with certain types of illnesses, I think it is important for people to know there are valid reasons for beneficiaries to travel and it is not a holiday.

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  72. ShawnLH (4,330 comments) says:

    “6 trillion in tax avoidance owd to IRD by wealthy crims”

    That surely can’t be right.

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  73. ShawnLH (4,330 comments) says:

    aquataur,

    In your daughter’s case I agree that was completely justifiable. The question would be in how many other cases was it a serious issue like that or just having a lark at the taxpayers expense.

    Perhaps more work needs to be done to deduce that, and some way for people in similar circumstances to be allowed to leave for such purposes.

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  74. Albert_Ross (266 comments) says:

    Edhunter, you are presumably aware that you’re not obliged to claim Super if you don’t feel you need it.

    Yes, there is certainly a case for raising the age at which you’re entitled to claim it. It does indeed look like a no-brainer that the age of eligibility should go up as life expectancy goes up.

    The case for means testing however is much less clear. Means testing creates perverse incentives by rewarding people who’ve not bothered to save and punishing people who’ve saved for their retirement and/or continued to work, why would you want to punish them for doing that? It also creates administrative costs and complexity as bureaucrats have to spend time and resource checking who’s entitled to what and trying to keep up with the ever more sophisticated wheezes that accountants come up with to try to beat the means test. It may well be that once you take into account the cost of all that, you’ve not actually delivered an overall benefit at all by introducing means testing.

    Anyway, what is this ankle-deep (and rising) sh*t that NZS is causing? Compared to most other OECD countries’ pension systems it’s pretty cheap, and projected to remain so, and it’s extremely effective at poverty prevention among the elderly.

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  75. HC (152 comments) says:

    Well, who really knows what is behind those numbers. Firstly, there have always been some beneficiaries traveling to visit family or friends overseas, and it is very common for those with relatives on the Pacific islands. Others have family and friends in Australia, and there are also solo mums, who may have someone chip in to help them go overseas with their child or children, on discounted airfares during school holidays. Some will perhaps have been able to “save” a bit for cheap airfares, by sharing overcrowded accommodation for months. I have seen this happen with younger people.

    What is really not making sense is this claim that benefits were “suspended”, and one must ask, were they suspended due to the beneficiaries notifying WiNZ beforehand, or were they suspended after some data matching with Customs or Immigration? The stuff article I read on this did not clarify this. The 10.5 million savings would average at about between $ 480 and $ 500 per beneficiary affected. Also unclear is, were those nearly 5,000 that were not accounted for after 8 weeks such persons, who chose to leave the country to work in Australia, and who failed to tell WINZ they were going to do that?

    The claim that about over 11,000 on jobseeker beneficiaries were affected is really bizarre. It is practice for a long time now, that those expected to be ready for work must meet high work testing obligations, like presenting documented proof of making about 4 to 5 applications or efforts to find work per working day! Most have to hand in reports to case managers each week or per fortnight. So if such persons would leave, how would WINZ not pick up there is something wrong, when no reports are presented? Since about 57,000 formerly on sickness benefit were put onto the new jobseeker benefit (alongside the usual unemployed), maybe a lot of the official jobseekers were such sick and disabled, who are deferred from work expectations anyway?

    I suspect many of those that left for Australia to stay there, or to try their luck and find work there, and who returned if they did not succeed, they are included in this. And they would have gone to Australia after having become unemployed here. Many may simply have thought they do not notify WINZ right away, as they were unsure whether there would be a job for them in Australia.

    Also do WINZ often get communications crossed and data put in wrongly, and hence it would be important to get more information on all this. As the figures have been presented they raise more questions than they give any answers.

    So all those jumping up and down should do some thinking, perhaps. The system is so tight and controlled now, if any work tested person, and even those not work tested, is away for more than a few weeks, or in the extreme a few moths, this gets picked up, and payments will be stopped, some likely be reclaimed.

    I do not blame people leaving this place, as for many the jobs available here pay much less than in Australia, and if any person is lucky enough to get a better job with better prospects there, go for it.

    Maybe it was the draconian benefit reforms they brought in last year, that also contributed to this “flight” of many younger ones to head to Australia? Figures may be much lower in future.

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  76. edhunter (510 comments) says:

    Aquataur no disrespect to your daughter’s illness but if you’re paying a 6 figure tax bill each year what the fuck are you doing letting your daughter rely on a fucking benefit to pay her rent etc. I understand & respect that you’re paying more than your fair share of tax but I fail to see the rationale that lets you accept that as being ok.
    A millionaires daughter on a benefit just another reason the welfare system is so fucked up.

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  77. aquataur (53 comments) says:

    edhunter – first of all, my daughter is as entitled as anyone else for a benefit regardless of what I earn. Secondly, if I wasn’t one of the 1% of taxpayers paying for the other 99%, then I might take a different view – happy to pay for me and my kin if everyone else does the same. But that is not how it works – if it did, I would be paying a fraction of the tax that I do

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  78. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    Good work Paula Bennett.

    We need more fine tuning and targeting of the methods we use for handing out taxpayer funded remittance.

    Many beneficiaries would travel overseas for their kids either to visit with the former partner, or to visit kids with a former partner.

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  79. edhunter (510 comments) says:

    Albert I’m not saying means testing is the answer but when health & welfare account for over 1/2 of all government expenditure & super accounts for over half the welfare cost & probably half the health costs the government needs to get it’s head out of the sand actually acknowledge there is a problem that is not sustainable in it’s current form.
    This info is 10yrs old but it was the most concise I could find that put most of the info in one place.
    http://www.parliament.nz/resource/0000000395

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  80. Judith (8,241 comments) says:

    @ aquataur (38 comments) says:
    April 4th, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    You would have your daughter, who is extremely unwell, have to struggle living on a benefit – to prove a point?

    I suggest you go and check her birth certificate. I think you will find that you are still on it as her parent, and that there is no end date for that role.

    The amount you pay in tax that goes towards welfare for others is only a small percentage of your overall tax bill. I presume you are happy to use the roads etc. Do you also expect a bigger percentage of the road, because you pay so much tax?

    I understand your point about paying so much tax, but I do not understand your point that you would let your own child suffer stress she doesn’t need, when you clearly have the money to ease at least one part of her life.

    I pay a lot of tax. I’d like to pay less, but I am happy to contribute some of that to those in genuine need.

    I figure you never know when bad luck could put you in the same boat, I’m not arrogant enough to say ‘never me’ – I complain about those that are using the welfare system but I also accept that as a member of society and a voter for over 30 years, that I have contributed to the problem of welfare dependency, and so are happy to keep paying, providing people keep making an effort to fix the system. Something that cannot be done overnight, without making innocent people (mostly children) suffer.

    I’m sorry, but I am proud to say, I simply don’t understand any parent that can afford to make their child’s suffering less, and doesn’t.

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  81. mandk (859 comments) says:

    @ HC

    Yes of course there are likely to be exceptions (such as aquataur’s daughter), but we are talking about fairly widespread abuse.

    1,750 people making multiple trips. That’s a lot of exceptions.

    And 5,000 people failing to reconnect with WINZ eight weeks after their departure from NZ. How could that be justified? There needs to be a two-week cut-off.

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  82. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Labour/Greens will remove travel from the conditions so as to attract their main abusers, PIs, back to the fold.

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  83. mandk (859 comments) says:

    griffith: “Many beneficiaries would travel overseas for their kids either to visit with the former partner, or to visit kids with a former partner”

    Given that the Family Court would only permit an international change of residence in extremely rare cases, the former partner is unlikely to have been granted permission to leave NZ with the kids. If the former partner left the kids behind in NZ, then he/she should come back here at their own expense. If the traveller in question left behind a family overseas, there is no reason why the taxpayer should be expected to pay for him/her to reconnect.

    Hypothetically, would you be happy for the taxpayer to pay for me to travel to the UK to visit kids my former partner took away from me. Or would you be happy for the taxpayer to pay for me to travel to the UK to visit kids I’d left behind?

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  84. Albert_Ross (266 comments) says:

    Edhunter, there is much more recent data about the present and future costs of NZS here http://www.treasury.govt.nz/government/longterm/fiscalposition/2013, or here http://www.cflri.org.nz/sites/default/files/docs/RI-Review-Report-to-Govt-Dec-2013.pdf if you don’t trust the Treasury. The cost of NZS is expected to peak at about 8% of GDP, of which some will already have been provided for through the NZ Super Fund. That’s less than some other OECD countries are paying now, let alone what they will be paying in future as their population ages; and for that we’re achieving one of the lowest rates of elderly poverty in the world. There is a challenge, but it’s not as desperate or as hopeless as you seem to think.

    I would be a supporter of increasing the age at which people can collect it in line with life expectancy, and of increasing the amount of pre-funding through the Superfund.

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  85. Rowan (1,946 comments) says:

    Its not that hard for a beneficiary to let WINZ know that they are travelling overseas for a certain period, WINZ can then continue/suspend/cancel the benefit based on the individuals circumstance and travel arrangements.

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  86. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    No I don’t support continuation of benefit payments pass the airport terminal.
    When I was responsable for transporting a benefit receiver over the border I insisted on written conformation he had cleared his departure by winz Before signing him out of nz with customs.
    Do you support payments for tvs washing machines cars fridges and many of the other thing winz pays out emergency needs grants for?

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  87. burt (7,948 comments) says:

    aquataur

    I can see the quandary you have, paying hundreds of thousands in tax as you say you do.

    I’ve long banged on that welfare is the root of all evil where family is concerned and you seem to illustrate my point quite clearly. That being that families who are fully capable of looking after their own are inclined to let the state do it’s bit first then follow up second. Which, with all due respect to yourself, is actually completely wrong.

    I had a similar situation with my brother and his family a few years back, (I also pay substantial tax) they had just finished telling me how WFF was giving them a few hundred a week then they were wanting to borrow a few hundred off me for a crisis they had. I refused them the money and told them that with all the WFF they should be able to sort it out themselves. Now this situation was nothing as pressing or “major” as your story but my attitude was the same as yours – that since I pay a truck load of tax and my ‘family’ have access to benefits that I’m paying for – why should I also support them – I felt this way particularly since they were hard core Labour voters.

    But… The reality is – the state should be the safety net and the family the prime provider rather than the way our welfare state encourages us to take what we can (because we already pay or it) then dip into our own pockets second.

    In reality this disparity of being the 1% but being denied access to the benefits you provide for others would be easily solved by allowing things like medical costs not covered by the “glorious state health system” to be deducted against our own income tax. That $60K you paid would have netted you a $20K tax reduction. Fair and reasonable in my opinion, but the problem is we have far too many sitting on the teat because it’s easy and is sufficient to exist.

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  88. aquataur (53 comments) says:

    Judith

    You are making a whole lot of assumptions about something you nothing about

    Of course I support my daughter – she is not struggling financially, just health-wise. We are fortunate we are able to support her.

    Your reference to roads highlights your lack of understanding. None of my income tax goes towards roads – that is paid via petrol and road user taxes, which I also pay, plus ACC levies, GST, etc

    I don’t allow my daughter to suffer stress to make a point – what an arrogant bitch you seem to be. Whoa are you to tell me off when you know nothing of our situation !

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  89. burt (7,948 comments) says:

    aquataur

    first of all, my daughter is as entitled as anyone else for a benefit regardless of what I earn.

    Of course I support my daughter – she is not struggling financially, just health-wise. We are fortunate we are able to support her.

    And yet you complained that her benefit had been cut and it interfered with her paying her rent etc. OK, so you’re winding us up, chucking in a curve ball because you’re pissed that a bit of slop from the trough of the ‘safety net’ was denied to your daughter ?

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  90. HC (152 comments) says:

    Maybe I am too much of a cynic, but the timing of the release of this information appears to be somewhat “interesting”, as there have in more discretion been some other major developments within the MSD and WINZ, which includes above all the introduction of outsourced, private medical and work ability assessments for sick and disabled clients.

    The ODT had a report on this on 12 March 2014, and other media seem to have not reported on it yet:
    “Regime still untried“
    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/294767/regime-still-untried

    “A new work testing regime has started for ill and disabled people, but no-one has been referred in its first couple of weeks. Under the new system, Work and Income can refer clients with a health condition or disability for a work ability assessment with one of 16 newly contracted providers.

    Yesterday, CCS Disability Action chief executive David Matthews said the organisation remained concerned about the regime. It had had reassurances, but wanted to see how it would work in practice. Mr Matthews, of Wellington, was disappointed by the medical background of the providers, because the organisation preferred assessors with a disability background. The focus should be on supporting the disabled into employment, rather than an ”impersonal medical-based assessment around capability. You can assess people in terms of their capability for work, but we also need to have jobs that people can move into. A hugely controversial testing regime in the United Kingdom caused ”chaos and churn” for the disabled, and Mr Matthews did not want to see anything similar in New Zealand.”

    On 02 April ‘NZ Doctor’ magazine reported more details on this (try Google or similar search with key words, if link does not work):
    http://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/news/2014/april-2014/02/msd-explains-criteria-for-work-ability-assessors.aspx

    “MSD explains criteria for work ability assessors”
    (Cliff Taylor ctaylor@nzdoctor.co.nz Wednesday 02 April 2014, 2:56PM)

    “Assessors judging benefit claimants’ ability to work should have professional health or disability qualifications, says the Ministry of Social Development’s welfare reform director Sandra Kirikiri. Work Ability Assessment (WAA) is the latest scheme introduced by Work and Income as part of the ministry’s sweeping changes to the benefits system.

    But the NZMA has raised major concerns about aspects of the assessment process, particularly the medical qualifications of “vocational practitioners” being contracted to carry out the assessments (>>nzdoctor.co.nz, ‘News’, 31 March). NZMA chair Mark Peterson said in a submission on a draft of the proposal last year, there were “significant risks” in using non-healthcare workers to review medical information and discuss recommendations on condition management or treatment.

    “We submit that the role and importance of front-line general practitioners appears to have been underplayed in this proposed list of assessment providers,” Dr Peterson says.”

    The NZMA was also concerned about MSD paying for the assessments, which are meant to be “independent”. And it raises questions, why do MSD not trust patient’s own doctors, or other GPs to offer second opinions, to do the assessments?

    Despite assurances by MSD that suitably qualified health professionals would be doing these assessments, there is no talk about them having to be registered. Amongst the contracted providers is ‘Linkage’, like ‘Workwise’ a member of the Wise Group, and details on ‘Linkage’ can be found here:
    http://www.linkage.co.nz/

    Here is a downloadable position description for the assessor staff they were looking for:
    http://www.wisegroup.co.nz/file/position_descriptions/position-description-rhp-work-ability-assessment_feb-14.pdf

    These outsourced providers mean another step into the direction to follow the welfare reforms that were over years introduced in the UK, and which had some rather poor to disastrous results for especially beneficiaries with disabilities and long term sickness:

    http://disability-studies.leeds.ac.uk/files/library/THE-HIDDEN-AGENDA-a-research-summary-March-2013.pdf
    http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2012/09/15/british-government-uses-might-of-u-s-insurance-giant-unum-to-destroy-u-k-safety-net-report-by-mo-stewart-wraf-rtd-14912/

    There are already (since late last year) trials running to get mentally ill into open employment, and Workwise was a provider winning contracts for that. Persons working with disabled and advocates have expressed great concerns about all these experiments, given the high risks for those affected.

    The ‘Strategic Policy Advisor’ for Workwise and the Wise Group, Helen Lockett, was herself sitting on the ‘Health and Disability Panel’ advising MSD and Paula Bennett on welfare reforms until early last year, and it is astonishing that she managed to get some major contracts for her employer through doing this, while having a conflict of interest.

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/15264-welfare-reform-the-health-and-disability-panel-msd-the-truth-behind-the-agenda/

    MSD and the Minister are rather discrete and quiet on all this going on in the meantime, and it appears they do not want too much publicity, perhaps for the reason that it may be bad news if something goes wrong with mentally ill not coping, or persons now being wrongly assessed, as it happened so often under ATOS in the UK.

    So with these figures on beneficiaries going on travel out of the country in such apparently high numbers, this kind of media story does conveniently distract from the other major, potentially risk prone projects being followed by WINZ.

    Knowing a fair few disabled with very “delicate” mental health conditions, I am concerned about what is going on.

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