The Dom Post reported:
An umemployed serial litigant will not get his dole back while he continues to shun paid work, despite challenging the decision in the High Court.
Benjamin Easton, 53, was stripped of his three-and-a-half-year unemployment benefit in February 2010 after telling The Dominion Post he was voluntarily on the dole and wasn’t looking for work.
He had “sacrificed” his career to take up “social issues”, he said at the time.
Mr Easton’s campaigns have included fathers’ rights, the Manners Mall bus route, and the Occupy Wellington demonstration.
After his comments were published, Mr Easton was stripped of his benefit payments, but challenged the decision in the High Court, with his case heard on June 24.
On Thursday, Justice Jill Mallon released her decision, denying a reinstatement of the dole.
“The ministry’s decision to cancel Mr Easton’s unemployment benefit on 25 February was lawful. Voluntary activities undertaken for the benefit of the community do not qualify as fulltime employment,” the decision said.
“Mr Easton has a long involvement in court proceedings and other activities, motivated by his beliefs about certain social issues.
“Mr Easton believes he is uniquely placed to bring to the court’s attention significant improprieties and corruption . . . Mr Easton contends he has always worked.
“[But] the legislation does not provide an unemployment benefit for people who are engaged in these activities. That is so no matter how sincere and committed a person is to the causes they pursue and how diligently and relentlessly that person pursues them.”
But Mr Easton contends his litigation and activism are in the public interest – and insists he should be paid for his services. “The public owe me. I work for the public. The public interest is that I’m remunerated for that work. That’s logical,” he said yesterday.
No it isn’t. If Mr Easton wants to be paid for his advocacy then he should stand for Parliament or the Council and get elected. But he can’t declare himself a public representative and demand we fund him. Also thousands of us manage to hold down paid employment and do advocacy and community activities.
Easton is also in the news again today:
Activist Benjamin Easton reached the end of the line over his sledgehammer protest in the Wellington CBD when he was jailed for not doing the original sentence.
Wellington District Court judge Bill Hastings warned Easton at the start of the hearing yesterday that it was the day he would be sentenced. Easton has had multiple remands for a number of reason, including an unsuccessful appeal to the Supreme Court.
In 2011, Easton, 53, was given 80 hours community work by Judge Bruce Davidson after being found guilty on two charges of endangering public safety and disorderly behaviour.
Easton did only five hours. Community Probation applied to have him resentenced.
Judge Hastings said Easton did not accept his guilt and was unlikely to comply with any community sentence.
”Which leaves me with little option,’ he told Easton yesterday.
He jailed him for two months.
Easton had wanted either a conviction and discharge or to be found not guilty.
And I want to live in a castle. You don’t always get what you want. Easton seems to think not only should the public be forced to fund him, but also he is above the law. He isn’t.