An example of how it will be better to remain on the benefit under Labour

August 19th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald looks at parties’ social policies and gives an example:

Solo mother Mia Silverman works 20 hours a week in a professional job – but she is virtually no better off than she would be on a benefit.

A media production assistant at Auckland University, volunteer yoga instructor and established singer-songwriter, Ms Silverman is multi-talented.

Mia Silverman with Monty, 4, and Frankie,2. Photo / Dean Purcell

But when she tried working fulltime when her second son Frankie was still under 2, soon after her marriage broke up, it was too much.

“After working two weeks fulltime, I did a breakdown of my budget,” she says.

“What is better – being really, really stressed and working is great, but the stress of running around was too much.”

She received $680-$690 a week on a benefit. Current rates are $299.45 for a sole-parent benefit, $157.17 in family tax credits for two children, and Ms Silverman got about $205 a week in accommodation supplement for rent.

Now her 20-hour university job pays $430 a week after tax, her tax credits and accommodation supplement are reduced, but she also gets the $60-a-week in-work tax credit, taking her total net income to about $850 a week after tax.

Out of that she pays a net $100 a week for Frankie’s childcare after allowing for a government subsidy, a $16 top-up for her older son Monty’s kindergarten because he needs to be there slightly more than the 20 free hours a week, plus $35 for parking at university and $100 a week for petrol.

“I enjoy being back at work, but I’m not really that much better off.”

Ms Silverman is right. The gap between being on  and work is sometimes not great. It would be good to have policies that mean there is a greater gap.

But see that $60 a week in-work tax credit. Labour and Greens want to give that to people not working. What will that mean? It means the already small gap between the income on welfare and work may disappear entirely for people like Ms Silverman.

I think it is vital the in-work tax credit remains for low income people in work, and is not extended to people not in work. It may mean people will earn less if they move into work, and hence they won’t.

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59 Responses to “An example of how it will be better to remain on the benefit under Labour”

  1. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    More people living on other peoples money – more people voting for other peoples money – I just can’t think why Labour would want this for NZ. Easy to understand why they want it for themselves though. SELF SERVING SOCIALISTS.

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  2. publicwatchdog (2,806 comments) says:

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

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  3. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    publicwatchdog

    You better hope they don’t stop paying their tax and join the largess on the public teat. The whole system falls apart when the rich you love to hate stop paying for your unpaid rates.

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  4. Martin Gibson (247 comments) says:

    Incentives not to work, incentives not to stay married, incentives to create non-productive make-work jobs . . . Good old feminist socialism

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  5. CryHavoc (46 comments) says:

    I don’t mean to criticise Mia Silverman – it must be bloody hard to raise two kids on your own and good luck to her. Especially since she is going out and working and ferrying kids around – difficult at the best of times.

    So looking at the incentives… $690 a week in benefit payments is equivalent to about a $42,000 full time salary. Considering she should get some child support as well – surely? and if not, why not? – she’d be getting more than that. And she can get that without working, have full time for the kids etc. It’s a credit to her that she’s out there working when, in cash-in-hand terms she probably ends up worse off! I hope for her sake she is able to get ahead.

    Anyway, to the point: it’s amazing that people can look at evidence such as that presented in the article and conclude that benefits should be higher.

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  6. rouppe (980 comments) says:

    If you were comparing different paid jobs, and came to that conclusion, then it would be a valid decision not to move from her existing paid employment.

    But she is comparing taxpayer income versus earned income. In that case much more weight should be given to the fact that society – not just her – is better off when fewer people are draining government (taxpayer) resources. The difference in her case sounds like about $400 a week (that’s a guess because the shift in entitlements isn’t specified) less taxpayer money being used.

    That’s $20,800 a year. If 1000 people did the same thing that is $20,800,000 in taxes able to be spent on hospital operations, doctors visits and the like.

    The reason we CAN’T do that is because people like Mia Silverman are thinking “It’s not worth if FOR ME”.

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  7. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    And what…She’s not better to be on a benefit under National ?

    but isn’t she saying she kind of is already otherwise she’d be working fulltime?

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  8. RRM (10,008 comments) says:

    How about the undeserving rich on ‘corporate welfare’?

    How about those who are undeservedly $2,000 – $3,000 richer than they should be, because they default on their rates payments?

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  9. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    rouppe

    You nailed it.

    The problem is though – Labour depend on people voting entirely in their own short term best interest rather than what is good longer term for them and the country.

    The fact every single Labour government for the last 50 years has ended in recession and that every Labour government for the last 50 years has increased welfare is no coincidence. The problem is it works to get labour elected and that seems to be all they care about. Encouraging short term thinking because they require it to be elected.

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  10. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    Black with a Vengeance

    That’s the others do it too.

    Now for the ‘It’s different when Labour do it’ and the ‘move on’ …. We’re waiting.

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  11. Berend de Boer (1,715 comments) says:

    What I don’t get is her statement: I’m not really that much better off.

    I think she is worse off isn’t she? On benefit she gets $680 a week.

    When working she gets $850 a week with $251 cost, so she receives only $599 a week. So not only less money, she also has to put her children in day care.

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  12. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    …and there’s that irrational fear of Labour again Burt.

    The simple fact is, shes better to be on a benefit no matter whos in gov’t. Same as the corporate welfare bludgers.

    Sometimes there really is no difference when Labour do it. You never hear politicians of any leaning turning down a salary increase or free perk.

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  13. Kelly (29 comments) says:

    I notice that she hasn’t declared Child Support? That should be an extra top up however she would not get paid this if she was on a benefit or their are other reasons why she isn’t get paid this.

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  14. Tarquin North (354 comments) says:

    If the left leaning nutters get in we’ll all be on a benefit. Wonder where the money will come from? Hey Clint!

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  15. flash2846 (289 comments) says:

    If Mia Silverman was as selfish as others she could in fact milk WINZ for somewhat more. Good on her for trying and stuff Greens/Labour for their part in devaluing working peoples time.

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  16. PTM (47 comments) says:

    You folks seem to have missed a critical point. The differential will disappear with the introduction of the “living wage” that is so dear the the hearts of the Green Party. And supported in principle by Labour.

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  17. Nigel Kearney (1,047 comments) says:

    She’s worse off under both National and Labour, even more so if you attach a non-zero value to having an extra 20+ hours every week to spend with kids or do other things.

    How about this: able bodied adults of working age don’t get handouts, ever, no matter how many kids they produce.

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  18. dime (10,100 comments) says:

    but but we are talking about “FAMILIES”, “MUMS” with “CHILDREN”

    urgh

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  19. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    It depresses me that the obvious questions raised by articles like this, viz:

    1. How much value do we put on someone earning their own living rather than drawing a dole?
    2. Were these virgin births, or what? Where’s the father?

    are considered right-wing ones.

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  20. prosper (172 comments) says:

    I am sorry she or her husband made the decision to split why are we paying her bills?

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  21. Viking2 (11,561 comments) says:

    And of course some poor sod doing 40 hours for $15.00 an hour (and there are plenty), is much better off.

    That person still has to pay rent, run his car and all the stuff this women does but is not as well paid as she is on the benefit.

    Something badly wrong here.

    (good on her for working but it ain’t our fault she couldn’t stay married, is it?

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  22. RightNow (6,995 comments) says:

    publicwatchdog (2,188 comments) says:
    August 19th, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    How about the undeserving rich on ‘corporate welfare’?

    ‘Socialism’ for consultants and contractors?

    Whatever will become of them?

    They’ll be praying for a Labour-led government, that’s when the corporate welfare tap gets turned on full.

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  23. NK (1,256 comments) says:

    The Government believes that ultimately work is the best way out of poverty, and provides the best social and economic outcomes for families in the long run. Making work pay through the In-Work Payment component of the Working for Families package improves people’s opportunities to make a better life for themselves and their families.

    Michael Cullen, 2006 Budget.

    Hacked/stolen from Lindsay Mitchell’s blog.

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  24. Padriv Ustoev (85 comments) says:

    New Zealand is sucha funny country. My cousin Rafik is married, happily with 5 children. Wife does not work. He pretends that he does not speak english and on purpose bombs every WINZ interview. Sure he has to do a WINZ course every now and again, but on the side he is buying and selling cars for cash. He will be buying his 2nd house next year. If we had Sharia welfare system instead of this laughable western mess, Rafik would have to get a job. One day we will vote in a government that can fix all this. Insha’Allah!

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  25. dime (10,100 comments) says:

    Padriv Ustoev – that is some outstanding trolling!

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  26. Tauhei Notts (1,746 comments) says:

    Can somebody tell me why she gets $205 per week in Accommodation Supplement.
    I know a solo mother who works 20 hours a week for just $285 gross, and her Accommodation Supplement is just $75 per week, for a $260 per week rented home.

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  27. Padriv Ustoev (85 comments) says:

    Trolling is a small village near Amsterdam where Rafik moved from , but I don’t understand what that has to do with my comment.

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  28. moocow (5 comments) says:

    interesting that the people who aren’t working are labelled as beneficiaries, but the people who have been ‘employed’ by MSD and IR for the last 5-6 years earning $150/hour+ adding no value are called ‘workers’.

    sadly there is no easy solution. abandon all benefits and we end up like america, more people living on the streets, more beggars, and dare I say more crime.

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  29. Spam (588 comments) says:

    She is MUCH “better off” working:
    * She gets to be a great role-model for her children.
    * She gets more and different social contact.
    * She gets the pride and enhanced self-esteem that comes from supporting herself and her family.

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  30. Berend de Boer (1,715 comments) says:

    Spam, I don’t think you read the article: she reduced her hours, as working full-time wasn’t worth it, so now she works half, and relies on the taxpayer to finance the difference.

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  31. polemic (460 comments) says:

    A vote for Labour/Greens is a vote against the battler .

    National continues to offer more choice for the battlers to get ahead.

    Go figure, even Obama recently quoted and gave a famous speech saying how important it is to work here

    “Everything you do that’s worthwhile requires work.”

    If you work you will both set a good example and get ahead.

    Rather than the tired old socialist/communist who takes and takes

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  32. IGM (522 comments) says:

    As I have previously stated, doctrine of lazy left is to bring everyone down to the level of leeches that wholeheartedly support them, not get off their arses, work, succeed, and be independent . . . just lie in bed and breed feral scrotes, that is the Labour way to power.

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  33. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    Padriv Ustoev – that is some outstanding trolling!

    I concur !

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  34. scrubone (3,104 comments) says:

    Can somebody tell me why she gets $205 per week in Accommodation Supplement.

    The formula has some quirks. Have a look at the online calculator.

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  35. jcuk (713 comments) says:

    People are so afraid that somebody is getting something more than they are that they introduced abatement policies which have for decades been counter-productive. Why would anybody make an effort if the result of that effort means they are no better or worse off. Really people are just so stupid and petty ….. thinking only of themselves rather than truely thinking of what they would do in benefit shoes if they were unfortunate enough to loose their job.

    People are basically right wingers with the selfish nature of ‘whats in it for me’ irrespective of their place in society and their politics … and behave in the same manner …. yet those in work have this foolish superiority complex about the unfortunate beneficiary ground down by the system, living hand to mouth, and going hungry quite a bit of the time.

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  36. big bruv (14,137 comments) says:

    I am not going to praise this women for working to feed her kids, that is her job. Nor am I going to offer any sympathy at her plight, I simply don’t give a fuck. She got herself into the mess she is in, she can get herself out of it.

    What pisses me off is that I live in a country where a person like this has a choice between working and being on a benefit. I totally disagree with DPF here, Mrs Silverman is not right at all. She should have no fucking option between working or being on a benefit.

    If people like Mrs Silverman can make that choice and be no worse off financially then the cure is a bloody easy one. Simply slash, or totally remove the benefit as an option.

    Problem solved.

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  37. ChardonnayGuy (1,213 comments) says:

    You do realise that any centre-left coalition would remove National’s ninety day fire at will provisional employment legislation and roll back anti-union obstacles in the workplace, so collective union bargaining will be stronger and union membership will probably expand, therefore there will still be a gap between beneficiary incomes and those in the workforce.

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  38. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    plus $35 for parking at university and $100 a week for petrol

    So if we wanted to help people making the transition from a benefit to work (and good on her for doing so) and those working as opposed to being on benefits, a smart government would:

    a. tell universities to cut the fat out out of their top-heavy administrations and all the other nonsense they get up to outside of teaching and research, and instruct them to stop profiteering on parking (provided the parker is a student or staff member) as any easy cash cow in the same way Councils do; and

    b. wean themselves off that part of the petrol excise that doesn’t get spent on roading improvements (e.g. most of it) and stop wasting it on their election bribes and baubles. And, while they were at it, legislate to force at least some degree of real competition between the fuel retailers, as Australia and other countries manage to do.

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  39. jackinabox (776 comments) says:

    “I enjoy being back at work, but I’m not really that much better off.”

    Enough to keep the wolf from the door is plenty. Stop complaining and be thankful ISIS isn’t trying to cut your head off.

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  40. dime (10,100 comments) says:

    “I am not going to praise this women for working to feed her kids, that is her job.”

    heh reminds me of that chris rock bit. about black parents who are proud of shit they shouldnt be

    “i never been to jail” – youre not meant to go to jail you low aspiration having mofo!

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  41. Warren Murray (313 comments) says:

    She is doing quite well considering she is only working 20 hours a week. I hope she sticks at it, it looks like if she is able to work more hours, her financial position will far surpass the benefit. While she works, she is increasing her skills and improves her prospects long term.

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  42. marleybob (13 comments) says:

    RRM (9,576 comments) says:
    August 19th, 2014 at 2:22 pm
    How about the undeserving rich on ‘corporate welfare’?

    How about those who are undeservedly $2,000 – $3,000 richer than they should be, because they default on their rates payments?

    It will all catch up Ms Bright when she sells or Dies.
    I actually agree with her in some ways. She is making a stand on how and where her rates(when she was paying) goes. The council will not give this to her. Now if we all had the balls like Ms Bright then maybe councils could be held to account.

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  43. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    tell universities to cut the fat out out of their top-heavy administrations and all the other nonsense they get up to outside of teaching and research, and instruct them to stop profiteering on parking…

    If you elect a government with tertiary ed policies that require universities to compete with each other, you can’t then complain when those universities put shitloads of cash into branding, marketing, advertising, customer relationship management, ‘visionary CEOs’ and the like. Re the parking, it’s not a cash cow, it’s an attempt to discourage the lazy shites constituting the modern student body from all bringing their student-debt-funded vehicles to the university every morning and driving round trying to find a car park. Believe it or not, universities don’t have parking for ten thousand people on-site.

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  44. SPC (5,772 comments) says:

    The reason is the difficulty of a person working full-time while in care of two children under 5.

    It is the reason why those with children under 5 are not required to look for work.

    It is not a valid example of an actual comparison which should be between work tested benefits and working.

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  45. SPC (5,772 comments) says:

    Those with children between 5 and 12 are required to work only part-time (school hours).

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  46. ross411 (870 comments) says:

    Black with a Vengeance (1,602 comments) says:
    August 19th, 2014 at 2:32 pm
    …and there’s that irrational fear of Labour again Burt.

    I think you confuse irrational fear, and fear of the irrational. You, are irrational. As is Labour and the Greens, and the damage you will do, because of your entitlement politics, is scary. Very scary. But it’s okay, you benefit in some way out of it, so it makes sense to you.

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  47. ross411 (870 comments) says:

    prosper (137 comments) says:
    August 19th, 2014 at 3:24 pm
    I am sorry she or her husband made the decision to split why are we paying her bills?

    Because you forced her to have children. Oh, and you’re scared of Labour. You have an irrational fear of Labour, like the rest of us here, and you do not.. I don’t know how the rest of it goes, Black with a Veagenace, care to fill in the gaps? I obviously am to scared, irrationally, to comprehend how this all works.

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  48. IC5000 (121 comments) says:

    “burt (7,943 comments) says:
    August 19th, 2014 at 2:23 pm
    rouppe

    You nailed it.

    The problem is though – Labour depend on people voting entirely in their own short term best interest rather than what is good longer term for them and the country.”

    There is a political economic system where people as individuals pursue their own rational self-interest above all others. It’s called it capitalism.

    The other alternative where individuals sacrifice themselves or others for the sake of the greater good or community can be called socialism or the thing in drag, national socialism.

    You seem to be somewhat confused.

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  49. jonar (21 comments) says:

    “The problem is though – Labour depend on people voting entirely in their own short term best interest rather than what is good longer term for them and the country.”

    This accusation could equally be applied to any right wing party. See for example the tax cuts from National that we’re financing by borrowing millions of dollars.

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  50. Bogusnews (477 comments) says:

    My son had a long debate with his school friends over facebook last night. He kept asking me for my input.

    An interesting point came when they kept demanding of him “why doesn’t the govt do more to end poverty”. To which we replied, why should it? Why shouldn’t people do it themselves? There is nothing you can’t do in this country if you have a mind to.

    It concerns me that it has become so accepted that people should be able to help themselves to other peoples (not the govt’s) money. Not only is it morally wrong, but you will never get rich depending on the government. How have we gotten like this?

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  51. Paulus (2,659 comments) says:

    Remember Labour cannot do anything it wants unless the Green Taliban agree – there are no options –

    Power at all costs is the objective of both Labour and the Greens and offering “free” anything is the method.

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  52. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    but you will never get rich depending on the government.

    Oh but many a worthless nobody has by being in government.

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  53. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    She’s better off with her kids in daycare, not financially, but in the extra social development they get from that is massive, compared to sitting at home while mum is on her tax payer funded facebook session.

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  54. Duxton (657 comments) says:

    Jonar: “This accusation could equally be applied to any right wing party. See for example the tax cuts from National that we’re financing by borrowing millions of dollars.”

    Sorry, but you are wrong. We are borrowing millions of dollars to finance WFF and interest-free student loans.

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  55. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    and the damage you will do, because of your entitlement politics, is scary. Very scary.

    …see theres that irrational fear again. Just what pray tell, damage do you fear Labour will do ?

    Look around champ, most of the damage has been done and it’s been done by like minded individuals from both sides of the political spectrum. Though i would say more from the extreme fringes of the right.

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  56. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    @jonar – it must be very uncomfortable for you when someone points out that the total government tax revenue has increased since 2009 then mustn’t it? If people are spending more of their own money, the economy benefits by around twice the amount from when the government spends that money.

    How does that work if the tax cuts had to be borrowed for?

    Maybe you should stop repeating catchphrases and slogans and try reading a bit about what you’re talking about first.

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  57. Grant500 (23 comments) says:

    At least it seems she is still working. The gap is too close on this though. We also have those who see it as an absolute right to have someone else pay for them, comes under the heading of “caring community” or some other guilt trip, and if the gap is too close will take the dole every time. It is also ironic that the so called “workers party” continually taxes the workers higher to pay for those who don’t work. To me it is an ethical and moral decision – that even if you only get $50 more working – it is better to work for your own good long term.

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  58. jonar (21 comments) says:

    “it must be very uncomfortable for you when someone points out that the total government tax revenue has increased since 2009 then mustn’t it?”

    Is there any proof that this is directly attributable to tax cuts?

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  59. Steve Wrathall (284 comments) says:

    “…but she is virtually no better off than she would be on a benefit.” Ah yes, but taxpayers are better off. And Ms Silverman wants to help other people……doesn’t she?

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