Welfare reforms working

June 28th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett admits the Government “took a punt” on sweeping welfare reforms targeting youth, relying on little more than common sense.

But a new report appears to have validated that gamble, showing significant inroads have been made toward breaking the cycle of welfare dependency.

Ministry of Social Development figures released yesterday showed 16 and 17-year-olds on a benefit accounted for 70 per cent of the ministry’s future welfare liability.

By June 30 last year, that welfare liability was $76.5 billion, $7.4b lower than forecast, with $4.4b of the savings directly related to the reforms.

Hopefully that is just the start. The benefits from having a young person spend most of their life in work, rather than on welfare, is immense.

Just 18 months in, the Youth Services Programme has already seen a reduced risk of long-term benefit dependency among participants.

Most youth in the programme were also achieving at least NCEA Level 2 and had “improved social outcomes” for them and their children.

Ministry figures show that of those receiving the Youth Payment, 38 per cent were victims of domestic violence, 76 per cent had suffered emotional neglect and 5 per cent were either homeless or victims of sexual abuse.

“These are in general difficult and challenging young people,” Bennett said.

“You do not go and seek state support financially at 16 and 17 if you have had a blessed life in a warm loving environment, that’s been nurturing and had education as one of the foremost things of importance.”

And this has not been about just work testing people. It has been about investing money to help them get skills, get training, and have a pathway into work. It’s about spending money in the short-term to save in the long-term.

 

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40 Responses to “Welfare reforms working”

  1. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    “…….Ministry of Social Development figures released yesterday showed 16 and 17-year-olds on a benefit accounted for 70 per cent of the ministry’s future welfare liability…..”

    “..future welfare liability…” ?

    Seriously? Putting people into training is taking care of welfare dependancy in the future?

    So why doesn’t Bennett just say “….10’s of thousands of jobs are coming after the election….” ?

    Show us the money honey.

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  2. Redbaiter (8,309 comments) says:

    “by June 30 last year, that welfare liability was $76.5 billion, $7.4b lower than forecast, with $4.4b of the savings directly related to the reforms.”

    WTF? I see the idiot Fairfax reporter has not reported correctly.

    What Bennet actually said was this-

    As at 30 June 2013, the lifetime cost of the current beneficiary population has been put at $76.5 billion, which is $7.4 billion less than it was expected to be at this stage. Of this, the actuary finds that $4.4 billion is directly related to the welfare reforms and the Ministry of Social Development’s performance,” says Mrs Bennett.

    However even with the correction, it still sounds like smoke and mirrors to me.

    “Ministry figures show that of those receiving the Youth Payment, 38 per cent were victims of domestic violence, 76 per cent had suffered emotional neglect and 5 per cent were either homeless or victims of sexual abuse.”

    Our progressive society is going like a house on fire.

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  3. PaulL (6,029 comments) says:

    Seems logical that if we can get young beneficiaries into jobs then we save a lifetime of benefit dependence. Sure, you should only count that percentage that wouldn’t have otherwise found jobs, but in short if govt policies are moving more young people into jobs than we used to, that’s good news. You can blither all you like Red, but thems the facts.

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  4. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    However even with the correction, it still sounds like smoke and mirrors to me.

    And that is exactly what it is – smoke and mirrors. There is absolutely no way of predicting what the future will be regarding welfare dependency, as long as we have a system of providing welfare. Just because a young person may be found a temporary 3 month job, does not mean that they will not revert to what they have learned from their family environment in the future.

    Most long term welfare dependent families can provide examples of when some of them have been in work. The fact is, something Ms Bennett seems to not comprehend, is that welfare dependency is an attitude – a learned behaviour.

    The odd job here and there, or even a years steady work may not have broken that dependency, something that the people concerned will default to, should the going get tough. And why not, when right from conception we provide the impression that the government is there to supplement any life choice we make, even deciding to have a baby, we know we don’t need to provide 100% for it. Until we give the impression that we alone are financially responsible for our lives, welfare dependency will exist in one form or another.

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  5. burt (8,190 comments) says:

    Welfare reforms working … Well we better reverse them or there won’t be any Laboyr voters in 10 years time !

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  6. PaulL (6,029 comments) says:

    @Judith: you have to work with what you have. If we have a bunch of welfare dependent teenagers and we find some of them jobs, then that’s a lot better than not finding a lot of them jobs. Sure, some of them will come back onto a benefit. But your argument seems to be one of “I’d rather we didn’t start from here.” We are starting from here, you NZers all voted for a Helen Clark govt (at least in aggregate) and your predecessor NZers all voted for a welfare system. That’s where we are. It’s good to see the current govt making some inroads into fixing it, and it’s way better than having a Cunliffe led govt not fixing it (or making it worse).

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  7. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    “…..even deciding to have a baby, we know we don’t need to provide 100% for it. Until we give the impression that we alone are financially responsible for our lives, welfare dependency will exist in one form or another….”

    Judith as DPF’s post pinted out the other day – WFF is a tax break – as there are very very few people who are not at least tax neutral. Tax breaks are not tax benefits. People simply don’t pay tax. They keep the money THEY earnt.

    It has been said “Why are single people paying more in tax, as having kids is a lifestyle choice?” – In part I agree – but you would have to ask National!

    Anyway what is obvious: Children come before tax as that is the natural order of things – as the parents role is to provide for THEIR children BEFORE others.

    It is immoral for a government to obstruct the natural order of things – by taxing people to take care of the natural order responsabilities of others – in short – welfare – instead of their own natural order responsabilities. It goes against nature.

    And that IS the biggest cost to NZ tax payers – direct welfare, then education, and then health.

    Vote for the conservatives Judith. The poor at least get their dignity.

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  8. greenjacket (452 comments) says:

    “a new report appears to have validated that gamble, showing significant inroads have been made toward breaking the cycle of welfare dependency.”

    Let’s not forget that Greens-Labour strongly opposed these reforms and have pledged to reverse them if they ever get into government.

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  9. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    @ PaulL (5,812 comments) says:
    June 28th, 2014 at 9:28 am

    But the government isn’t making any inroads in fixing it. You think because they say they are, that is how it is. They may be finding some jobs, that is fine, but tell it like it is. Keep it real. But to claim they are getting rid of welfare dependency is a crock of shit. Welfare dependency is a ‘state of mind’, just as it says, its a dependency, it is passed down from generation to generation, and getting one of two a job is not going to get rid of the mindset that the government will provide, if I don’t provide for myself. To claim that they are making a difference by getting young people jobs, is a lie.

    Can you please tell me where you bought your crystal ball from that allows you to know exactly what the future would or could be? Your last statement is as bad as Bennett’s statement – it has no factual base.

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  10. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    greenjacket (395 comments) says:
    June 28th, 2014 at 9:41 am

    The report has not shown anything of the sort – welfare dependency has not been measured, and therefore can not be claimed to have been affected. All that has been measured is people getting jobs, and as I have said, even the most welfare dependent families in the community have examples where they have worked at various times.

    The only way you can measure any change in welfare dependency (that is the default to claiming welfare when work is too hard, pays too little, or doesn’t fit with other lifestyle choices) is to monitor those people over their entire life span.

    This current government has made welfare dependency worse, by giving people the impression that life choices will be covered by the government. When we pay people to stay home and have babies, we give the impression right from conception that we do not have to be 100% responsible for our choices and that the government will assist. If a young couple cannot afford to have a baby without assistance, then they shouldn’t have one, because once the maternity leave is over, and the next big financial cost of schooling or whatever arises, who is going to help them then? Yep, they can apply for welfare – and on it goes.

    Supplementing incomes through tax breaks or whatever, is just another form of welfare. Our tax bill will be a hell of a lot less and people would get more in hand to manage their own lives, if the government would just stop wiping their needy butts. Welfare should only ever be an emergency measure for extreme cases – not an entitlement because someone makes it a life choice. This government has made it worse, not better.

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  11. UpandComer (528 comments) says:

    Judith your ideology seems to change every day. Harriet, yes. Judith welfare dependency is a behaviour not a mindset. If you’re not on welfare, you aren’t dependent. Harriet/Judith when will you give the govt credit for. a) quantifying our welfare liability and community for the first time in our history b) subjecting this data to actuarial analysis that is actually quite precise; the kind used in the insurance industry c) using the results of this analysis to reach out to formerly invisible individuals in a personalised manner d) resulting in huge measurable savings for you as a taxpayer, and better lives for fellow New Zealanders? No govt has done this before. We’ve only just started and already it’s yielding huge benefits. It’s smart, sophisticated, rigorous, and very cost effective. Not like a Labour cash bonanza for their pet agencies to perpetuate the dependency. It’s the furtherest thing from smoke and mirrors and actually quite revolutionary. Look forward to it improving even more going forward.
    It is actually such a good idea that the service providers who are historically very Labour are admitting national has it right.

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  12. ShawnLH (4,481 comments) says:

    “Judith your ideology seems to change every day.”

    That’s because her only ideology is an irrational hatred of Key. The actual content of an issue is not relevant to her. Any positive news concerning National must be opposed, not because of anything to do with the policy, but because she hates JK.

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  13. ShawnLH (4,481 comments) says:

    There is no doubt that National’s welfare reforms are working. It is one of the areas where National has been fairly bold, within the confines of what is politically possible, and we are seeing the results here and with the welcome news that welfare spending has dropped by 1 billion.

    This is why National needs a third and fourth term, to make sure the results of these policies are undeniable, and therefore difficult to overturn, and to prove that welfare reform, far from being a war against the poor, is a war for the poor.

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  14. wiseowl (860 comments) says:

    Do away with the minimum wage and see the youth employment figures rise.That’s the type of reform that WILL work but no-one has the intestinal fortitude to implement.

    Stevie boy and M&M would be outraged.

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  15. Northland Wahine (660 comments) says:

    When you have 18 and 19 yr olds on job seeker benefit coming in for advances of $1000 plus to pay rent for $250 plus, because they are eligible for assistance, I often wonder why these kids aren’t living at home. Parents should be responsible for their welfare, not the state. If you can’t get a job, so why are we paying your rent? And if a student loan has to be paid back, maybe we should consider paying back a portion of job seekers benefit as well, either thru parents income or benefit. Or instead of increasing job seeker benefits at certain ages, maybe we could consider keeping them at the same level if they have been on benefit for more than 5 years…

    I know, I know, I’m dreaming.

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

    “Do away with the minimum wage and see the youth employment figures rise.”

    No one will want to work .

    That’s just a fascist strategy to keep Kiwi’s out of work and import labour

    Right from the National Socialist manifesto

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  17. duggledog (1,498 comments) says:

    Signal the phasing out of all welfare payments to start in five years, now, excepting the obvious cases where people genuinely cannot work, and then give those poor f***ers a pay rise.

    Signal the ending of all DPB payments in two years, again excepting the cases where the father or mother has either died or become incapacitated. I have never understood why I should have to pay for other people’s kids.

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  18. Rex Widerstrom (5,346 comments) says:

    I’m all for getting young people into work, not just to lessen the financial burden on taxpayers but because, as others have said, there are a raft of social and individual benefits which accrue.

    But how are we supposed to do that when ANZ Job Ads figures show total job advertising fell 5.2% in May, the largest monthly fall since late 2010; nationwide internet job advertising fell 5.6%, wiping out the increases of the preceding two months; and the number of newspaper job ads fell 2% (all seasonally adjusted)?

    Doing away with the minimum wage is the wet dream greedy big business… in Australia, Gina Reinhart – the country’s richest person and well on the way to becoming the world’s, who earns approximately a million dollars a minute – wants to do just that. But she also wants to import Indonesian workers to fill the bottom-end jobs because she doesn’t just want to make savings in wages but also in conditions (including OSH) on her mines.

    Those who would promote it fall back on frankly ludicrous arguments, such as that it has “humanitarian benefits” because:

    It’s hard to find employers more vilified in the annals of American history than Andrew Carnegie and Henry Frick. These gentlemen hired the Pinkerton men who shot at the workers during the steel strike over, yes, wages at Homestead, Pa., in 1892… [but] Carnegie endowed more than 1,500 public libraries up and down the Atlantic seaboard and out west, and many more around the world.

    Oh, well that’s all right then. Kill some, hand others a library card. It all evens out in the end.

    No, there is no escaping the fact that welfare reform must be matched by policies which foster the creation of jobs while protecting minimum employment standards. National is focused on only half the equation, which means that the gains it is lauding are likely temporary: some of the people failing to meet the new, tougher, criteria are falling off of benefits but not into work – into dependency on others and/or crime. And when the pendulum swings the other way, and when we again have a government which sees political benefit in having a large swathe of the population dependent upon it for survival (and thus docile), they will line up to get back on welfare.

    I wouldn’t expect Paula Bennett to know how to foster employment. But there are smarter minds than hers in Cabinet. Where is the second pillar of welfare reform – the expansion of the number of jobs?

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  19. PaulL (6,029 comments) says:

    It really isn’t within the govts capability to create jobs. The best they can do is to not get in the way of those who do create jobs. I think it’s important to be clear about the language, or else people get confused and think the Greens (as an example) can promise to create jobs.

    The problem is that a large portion of the things that stop people creating jobs are labour market regulations – I wouldn’t personally want to have employees because it’s just too hard (although in my career working for others I’ve had employees – but that’s with a large HR department to keep all the rules in order).

    Another problem is whether those who need a job are “work ready”. That is somewhere the govt can also help – with treatment for mental illness, with training and education, with dependence abuse programs (my view is that mental illness and substance abuse are behind a substantial proportion of unemployment).

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  20. big bruv (13,698 comments) says:

    Take every yoof (under 23) who has been unemployed for six months or more and put them on a bus/train/plane to Christchurch. When they disembark from their mode of transport they will be greeted by seven queue’s . Each of those seven queue’s will be labelled as follows;

    1. Plumbers.
    2. Builders.
    3. Electricians.
    4. Carpet/Vinyl Layers.
    5. Brickies.
    6. Landscapers.
    7. Strippers/Pole Dancers/Hookers (Dime to be the tutor for this course)

    Any yoof who has not voluntarily joined a queue within five minutes of disembarking will be allocated one of the queue’s.
    Any yoof who leaves his/her new trade before qualifying will not be paid any benefit at all until he/she attains the age of 26.

    Problem solved.

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  21. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    “…..Take every yoof (under 23) who has been unemployed for six months or more and put them on a bus/train/plane to Christchurch…..”

    If there were that many jobs down there Bigot – then the money would be doing the talking instead of people like you.

    Since when was National in the ‘labour for hire’ business anyway?

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  22. big bruv (13,698 comments) says:

    Harriet

    There are jobs down there, even the most deranged Cantabs managed to find work in the demolition area. The place is now full of bloody paddy’s, we can send them home for a start (many would be Catholics anyway)

    I don’t care if the Nat’s are not traditionally in the labour for hire business, they are not traditionally in the hand outs for bludgers business either but that seems to be a newly embraced party mantra.

    We needs tradies in Chch, we also need entertainment for those tradies of an evening. As I said, my plan is brilliant and it solves all our problems.

    Think I might run for PM.

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  23. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    Christchurch should just be permanently closed. Why should any of the rest of us waste our dosh helping rebuild the dreadful shithole?

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  24. big bruv (13,698 comments) says:

    Johnboy

    While I do not disagree with you re Christchurch you have to think what they would do with the inhabitants of the place. Do you really want them and their uncontrollable tempers moving to Wainui?

    Wainui might have its problems but as far as I know it is not yet compulsory to marry your sister as it is in Christchurch.

    Not all of the Cantabs are bad though, I happen to know of one cabbie who is worth saving, apart from that though it might be best to suck it up, pay for the rebuild and ensure they remain where they are.

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  25. Gulag1917 (851 comments) says:

    What are the statists going to do when the state runs out of money. A few bleeding hearts/do gooders are going to get burnt.

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  26. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    Couldn’t all you dreadful chaps that live in north Christchurch just spread yourselves out towards Kaikoura and the rest of you that live in south Christchurch spread yourselves out down towards Dunedin?

    Heaven forbid that any of you one-eyed bastards should cross the ditch and contaminate the North Island! :)

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  27. Gulag1917 (851 comments) says:

    The painting quality of houses in Christchurch is so bad, 70% of all painting jobs have to be redone.

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  28. publicwatchdog (2,516 comments) says:

    Where is Nationals review of corporate welfare? Penny Bright

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  29. Gulag1917 (851 comments) says:

    Johnboy
    just watch it South Islanders might pull the plug on the power cable.

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  30. Nostradamus (3,293 comments) says:

    Penny Not-So:

    I’m sure National will start an inquiry as soon as they’ve completed their current inquiry into bludgers and rates defaulters.

    When are you going to look into Labour’s donations scandal?

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  31. big bruv (13,698 comments) says:

    “The painting quality of houses in Christchurch is so bad, 70% of all painting jobs have to be redone.”

    See!…its those bloody Irish Catholics.

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  32. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    Thank goodness milkeys semi Catholic team has replaced them all with Island chaps then bb! :)

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  33. Gulag1917 (851 comments) says:

    big bruv
    Good scapegoat but unproven, suspect a lot of the painters were locals.

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  34. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    The painters are from places like the UK, Portugal, Argentina, Slatvia, Poland…..family I have back there said they arn’t any good in the difficult places such as kitchens and bathrooms. Appears they are better with rollers than brushes.

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  35. big bruv (13,698 comments) says:

    “UK, Portugal, Argentina, Slatvia, Poland”

    See!!!…most of them are bloody Catholics.

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  36. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    Probably play for HOBM! :)

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  37. HC (153 comments) says:

    This spin about the supposed “success” of welfare changes is suspicious, especially a few months out from a general election. I know that WINZ and MSD have so far not applied the full powers they have under the changed Social Security Act 1964, but these powers are indeed there, and can be used in a rather draconian way.

    This is only about youth, what is being covered here, and yes, it may be easy to get them into some training and offer them some support to get employed, rather than stay on benefits. But that is just a small part of the whole agenda, and the true scope of the “welfare reforms” from last year reaches well into highly questionable measures and territory.

    Work Ability Assessments are now being outsourced, to private, contracted providers, who are paid by MSD and WINZ to deliver TARGETED results, while being paid handsome fees. They are following the UK approach now, and it is very questionable and disputed, what the new measures are based on. The experiments in the UK led to countless cases of especially mentally ill beneficiaries committing self harm or even suicide. This is stuff that cannot be measured in numbers, I am afraid, and any calculations about hypothetical future welfare dependency can be contested, as being nothing but hypothetical, based on selected historic data, same as one supposed “expert” from the UK has used selectively picked statistics in his presentations to “prove” the “health benefits of work”.

    Sadly one former ATOS employee, by the name of Dr David Beaumont, managed to maneuvre himself into a position as President Elect of the AFOEM (Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine), part of the RACP (Royal Australasian College of Physicians). HE invited one Professor Mansel Aylward, a highly controversial “researcher” and “expert” from the UK to deliver the same “findings” here, that were relied on in the UK, to pressure sick and disabled into open employment, with some disastrous consequences.

    Paula Bennett did as Minister for Social Security meet that man and without checking much research herself, relied on Aylward’s “findings”, and with governments and publicly funded medical professionals involved, they basically allowed the AFOEM to be seized by the ideologically driven “research” by Aylward and some colleagues. WINZ even have a Principal Health Advisor by the name of Dr Bratt, who was actually already employed in a newly created role under the last Labour led government, to bring in similar changes, who likens benefit dependency to “drug dependency”.

    Now, I feel, this is dangerous territory, where doctors are now told by the government, and the AFOEM, and Royal NZ College of GPs, to simply accept and follow named “research”, which is controversial and not sufficiently proved. Then the doctors and WINZ’s own, trained and paid “designated doctors” also deliver “recommendations”, that are often biased, as paid for, and expected by MSD.

    Where does all this end, I ask? Here we have data and declines in welfare numbers celebrated, I ask, for what price? The same happened at ACC over years, people being “culled” off claims entitlements, now WINZ do the same with their “clients”. See details found via the following links, to get the full picture, which of course the government and Paula Bennett do NOT tell us:

    http://www.racp.org.nz/page/racp-faculties/australasian-faculty-of-occupational-and-environmental-medicine/realising-the-health-benefits-of-work/may-2010-video-presentation-professor-sir-mansel-aylward/

    http://www.afteratos.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Malingering_and_Illness_Deception.pdf

    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/

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

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/16092-work-ability-assessments-done-for-work-and-income-%E2%80%93-partly-following-acc%E2%80%99s-approach-a-revealing-fact-study/

    Strange really, that the mainstream media never research this, challenge MSD and report on details behind all these “reforms”.

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  38. HC (153 comments) says:

    @ Rex Widerstrom at 05.56 pm – Thanks for your comment above. What really concerns me is, that we get a lot of talk of “extra” spending on “helping” people into work, but that “extra” seems to almost exclusively be going into paying for extra WINZ case managers to provide “wrap around” “intensive” case management. With the many mentally and physically ill, formerly sickness beneficiaries, now all included in the “jobseeker” category, there is little evidence, that extra money has gone into health services, to provide treatments, where they may be needed, and may make a difference to support people into regaining ability to work.

    Presenting some figures on extra courses for writing CVs, for basic skill provision, to younger “clients”, that is only a drop onto into a bucket, I would think. I cannot find any extra spending for mental health sufferers, I even hear of many services having their service budgets by the Ministry of Health capped or cut, so they cannot provide extra treatment.

    I fear we are getting a propaganda message, which distracts from what really goes on, and from what I see, there has been too little change in “assisting” sick and disabled into suitable, and lasting jobs. They are still left pretty much out there on their own, and only some pressure by WINZ case managers may get the odd one into jobs, that may actually not last, and will also be low paid, and not that fulfilling, for persons needing support.

    Paula Bennett is good on boasting herself with her hand picked figures and much loud talk, she is poor and lacking on detail, as usual.

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  39. Rex Widerstrom (5,346 comments) says:

    @HC

    I hadn’t realised that all that you detailed in your 8.55pm posting had occurred. If NZ is to follow the UK practice of outsourcing work readiness assessments to the private sector, with financial incentives for the number of people they disqualify, that’s worrying indeed.

    There have been horrific tales of people with, for instance, considerable physical disability being assessed as “work ready” and then penalised for not finding a job.

    As you say, the MSM is almost silent on this. I’m glad you’re publicising it, but I fear most people will remain unaware until it’s too late.

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  40. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    “…..If NZ is to follow the UK practice of outsourcing work readiness assessments to the private sector, with financial incentives for the number of people they disqualify, that’s worrying indeed…..”

    Kevin Rudd’s wife signed a contract with the Cameron govt as a provider of ‘employment services’.

    She signs up everybody in the UK on the dole to her ‘service’….and when the job market picks up they naturaly then get a job – and she gets a payment!
    Everything else that is provided in between times is simply ‘the cost of doing bussiness’ – some ‘clients’ get intensive advice, while the majority just wait out their time following rules around ‘looking for work’. It is modelled on her Aussie one that she sold for 10’s millions.

    Most staff I suspect would be women with arts degrees – human resources and social work ect.

    In Australia this is how these services run:

    Most ‘clients’ of these government funded services are just people who have been laid off in a recession and who go about looking for a job weekly. When they find one, they are signed off from the service and the payment is made to the provider. If they participate in ‘courses’ provided by the service a payment for that is also made to the provider. Everyone of course gets to go on the likes of ‘basic computer use’ courses – as it is a ‘requirement’ and ‘if you don’t we will notify Centerlink/WINZ’.

    As Bob Jones once said about people in the government coming up with ideas and the involvement of others in it “It takes on a life of it’s own.”

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