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.


The baby bribe goes mainly to the rich and beneficiaries

January 31st, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

As we all know now Labour lied when they said 60,000 families a year will get Labour’s promised $3000 baby bribe or “Best Start Payment”.  We now know that the 25,000 families who get paid parental leave will not get it for a year, just six months. So they’ll get $1,500 only – not $3.000

But the fine print also reveals that the 15,000 families who get the Parental Tax Credit of $1,200 will lose that, so their net gain will be a mere $1,800.

The PTC goes to families who do not get paid parental leave, are not on a benefit and earn under $80,000 to $110,000 (depending on number of children).

So that means only around 20,000 families will get the full $3,000 that Labour claimed 60,000 families will get.

So who are those 20,000 families. They are either beneficiaries or those earning around $100,000 to $150,000. They are the only ones who get the full $3,000.

Not exactly well targeted support. And very different to what Labour’s speech and advertisement said.

If Labour hadn’t wanted to deceive, they would have done tables showing how different families would be impacted – what they gain and what they lose. But instead they did tables just showing what they gain.

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Baby bribe details not made clear

January 29th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

3 News reports:

Labour sold the baby bonus as $60 per week “for a baby’s first year”. But the truth was buried in the fine print. For most parents it only starts after an expanded 26 weeks of paid parental leave.

Labour’s own publicity showed the $60 payment applying from birth to age one. It actually starts after six months.

“If the parents are getting paid parental leave, they don’t get this concurrently,” says Mr Cunliffe.

“When I read the speech and looked at it, I thought absolutely you got it for the entire year your child was under one year of age,” says Prime Minister John Key. “I think David Cunliffe is being very tricky. I think he’s actually trying to mislead the New Zealand public.”

And further it seems you may be earning hundreds of thousands you until having the baby, and still get the baby bribe:

If Labour wins power, all families who earn less than $150,000 will get the bonus. Mr Cunliffe says that limit would be judged when they had the baby and were down to one income.

“It applies to income at the time they are applying for the $60-a-week benefit,” says Mr Cunliffe.

That means a couple earning a total of up to $300,000 would get the bonus if one took leave to be with the baby and they fall under the $150,000 mark. But before this could be properly clarified, Mr Cunliffe walked off.

It’s even worse than that. If Theresa Gattung was still CEO of Telecom and took a year off from being CEO to have a baby, then she’d get the baby bonus (if her partner earns less than $150,000) even though she was returning to a job that paid over a million dollars a year.

Matthew Hooton also looks at the policy. He notes:

  • A family on $49,000 with a three year old will be taxed to pay an upper-middle-class welfare to families on $149,000 with a three month old.
  • As a parent he knows the first year of a baby’s life is the cheapest as they eat so little. Costs rise as they get older.
  • Will increase child poverty as the experience in Australia is that a baby bribe bonus increases the birth rate, leading to larger families in communities that can least afford it

Matthew also picks up on the point I highlighted a few days ago. David Cunliffe claimed that one in five Kiwi kids can’t afford a second pair of shoes, when in fact the real number is one in 20. He generously suggests Labour mixed up 20% and one in twenty!

UPDATE: Patrick Gower blogs on Labour’s misleading policy:

The Labour Party has been putting voters wrong about its baby bonus.

Labour has been deliberately misleading, and in my view dishonest by omission.

On Monday night I told 3 News viewers that under Labour’s $60 a week baby bonus policy, families would get $3120 a year for their baby’s first year.

A simple calculation you might think, of $60 mutiplied by 52 weeks, given David Cunliffe announced in his State of the Nation speech: “That’s why today, I am announcing that for 59,000 families with new-born babies, they will all receive a Best Start payment of $60 per week, for the first year of their child’s life.”

Now most normal people would think that means “all” those parents will get the payment “for the first year of their child’s life”.

But it wasn’t true – not that you would know that from Cunliffe’s speech, media stand-up, the MPs who were there to “help” and all the glossy material handed out to us.

Because buried in the material was a website link that takes you to a more detailed explanation policy.

And on page six of that policy document, in paragraph 3, it revealed the payment would commence at the “end of the household’s time of using Paid Parental Leave, ie. after 26 weeks in most cases.”

So translated, in most cases, the $60 a week payment is not for the first year, but for the second six months.

Most journalists, like our office, only had time to find this overnight on Monday.

Here’s a question. When all the media reported the policy as applying for a full year, instead of six months, did anyone in Labour contact them and tell them they were wrong? Or were they happy for the media (like everyone else) to report it the way they did, and hoped they wouldn’t notice the fine print?

Now Cunliffe and Labour knew this $3120 for one year figure was wrong, but nobody rang to correct it.

Usually political parties and the taxpayer-funded spin doctors are screaming down the phone if there is an error (and rightfully so, I might add), but in this case Labour was dead quiet.

Question answered.

And I believe that’s because Labour wanted the punters to think it was $60 for a year.

They were desperate to get cut-through and were happy to omit key information and let the wrong message get out there.

And I think that is deliberately misleading and dishonest from Labour.

At some point, I’m sure senior Labour people made a decision to omit key details on the day to maximise publicity – it was no mistake.

But not the way to win friends and influence people.

And it goes on: Labour’s Sue Moroney has just explained to me that there are 60,000 births in New Zealand each year, 59,000 of those families earn under $150,000, 26,000 are eligible for paid parental leave, meaning 23,000 will get the $60 for the full twelve months.

That means Cunliffe should have said 23,000 people will get the baby bonus for a year, which is not “most” of the 60,000 familes that have babies each year – it’s actually under half.

Interestingly it means the baby bonus will mainly go to those who were not working when they got pregnant!

Cunliffe also struggled to explain yesterday whether families would be judged on their pre-baby double income (ie. two earners of $140,000 each, getting $280,000) or after-baby income $140,000.

This seems a pretty straightforward aspect to me, and I wonder if it was policy-on-the-hoof. He either didn’t know the policy properly or was trying to avoid showing how generous the policy is.

For the record, it’s judged on the after-baby, one income and Cunliffe says he misunderstood the questions from myself and Brent Edwards.

So as I said above, the CEO of Telecom could get the baby bonus if she takes a year off. This isn’t middle class welfare, but universal welfare – which we pay for!

The bonus kicking in after six months is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a generous policy and has set the political agenda this week.

Labour didn’t have to be dishonest – it could have just told voters the truth.

Media will be very very careful with the next announcement to ignore the speech and press release and look for the fine print.

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What the DPB will pay under Labour

January 28th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Labour’s baby bribe doesn’t just apply to those working and earning $148,000 a year, but also to those not in work.

One thing that interested me is how much money would someone on the DPB Sole Earner Benefit receive under Labour with their new policy. This excludes childcare subsidies or the like, and is just direct welfare payments. For someone in Auckland and with 1 or 2 children it would be:

  • DPB $295
  • Accom Supplement $160 (1) or $225 (2)
  • Family Tax Credit $98 (1) or $166 (2)
  • Baby Bribe $60

That is a total of $613 a week in the hand if they have one child aged under 3 and $746 in the hand for two children under three.

If you gross that up to an equivalent pre-tax wage, that is around $37,500 if you have one child and $45,700 if you have two children on the DPB.

The Greens would go further. They want the IETC for working parents paid to those on the DPB also. That would increase the equivalent gross salary to $41,000 for being on the DPB and having one child, if you are receiving the maximum accommodation supplement in Auckland.

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MPs eligible for the baby bonus

January 28th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Labour have said if you earn under $150,000 a year you need welfare payments from the Government if you have a baby. The following MPs have a salary below $150,000 so if their partner is not working and they (or their partner) has a baby, taxpayers will have to fork out a baby bonus to them under Labour.

  • Grant Robertson, Labour
  • Shane Jones, Labour
  • Jacinda Ardern, Labour
  • Chris Hipkins, Labour
  • Nanaia Mahuta, Labour
  • Phil Twyford, Labour
  • David Shearer, Labour
  • Su’a William Sio, Labour
  • Phil Goff, Labour
  • Louisa Wall, Labour
  • Andrew Little, Labour
  • Moana Mackey, Labour
  • David Clark, Labour
  • Kris Faafoi, Labour
  • Carol Beaumont, Labour
  • Megan Woods, Labour
  • Darien Fenton, Labour
  • Trevor Mallard, Labour
  • Poto Williams, Labour
  • Clare Curran, Labour
  • Rajen Prasad, Labour
  • Raymond Huo, Labour
  • Rino Tirikatene, Labour
  • Meka Whaitiiri, Labour
  • David Clendon, Greens
  • Denise Roche, Greens
  • Gareth Hughes, Greens
  • Holly Walker, Greens
  • Jan Logie, Greens
  • Julie Anne Genter, Greens
  • Kevin Hague, Greens
  • Mojo Mathers, Greens
  • Andrew Williams, NZ First
  • Richard Prosser, NZ First
  • Brendan Horan, Independent
  • Phil Heatley, National
  • Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, National
  • Ian McKelvie, National
  • Simon O’Connor, National
  • Paul Foster-Bell, National
  • Claudette Hauiti, National

So the question I would ask each of those MPs is if they agree it is a good use of taxpayer money to give them a welfare payment of $3,000 a year if they or their partner chose to have a baby? Do they think that on their salary of $147,800 that taxpayers should be giving them welfare payments if they or their partner have a baby?

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No support for those who already have kids

January 28th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Here’s an interesting aspect of Labour’s announcement yesterday.

If a low to middle income family already has kids at school, they get nothing at all. Say you have three kids at primary school and your family income is $60,000. You get not one cent as far as I can tell.

But if you are a backbench MP who gets pregnant, or whose partner gets pregnant, in the near future, then Labour will give you $60 a week for a year.

This is why National should offer tax cuts, because all working families benefit from tax cuts, including those who have already had their babies.

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Labour announces welfare for almost everyone!

January 27th, 2014 at 1:27 pm by David Farrar

NewstalkZB reports:

Labour’s launched its election year lolly scramble with child payments of $60 a week to all families with newborns, who earn a total annual income of up to $150,000.

My God. We’re turning families on $140,000 into beneficiaries.

Welfare should be targeted at those most in need. A family on $140,000 with one child do not need our taxes.

At the other end of the scale, this is a huge incentive to have more children if you are already on welfare.

Labour says 59,000 families – or 95 percent – would receive the payments until their child’s first birthday, and payments of up to $60 a week will continue for “modest and middle-income” families until their child turns three.

I presume this is on top of Working for Families, so in fact every extra child you have on welfare will get you an extra $120 a week.

UPDATE: Was pointed out on Twitter that backbench MPs will be eligible for this new welfare payment. Yep, if a backbench MP gets pregnant (or their wife gets pregnant), then taxpayers will be paying them $60 a week welfare because they’re in such dire need. Sickening.

UPDATE2: According to this fact sheet, a sole parent beneficiary will now get $128 a week more if they have a second child while on welfare.

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Supporting carers

December 15th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The SST reports:

Extended members who care for children who are not their own will get an extra $35 million in benefits, the Government will announce today.

More than 12,400 kids in New Zealand are cared for by relatives, often grandparents, when their parents are either incapable or unwilling to raise them, often due to drug use, violence, neglect and mental health issues.

Around 8500 foster parents already receive an unsupported child benefit, with the Government paying out about $111.5m between July 2011 and July 2012. But many say the money is not enough.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said today’s funding package would include a one-off establishment grant of $350 when a carer takes a child into their home. It would also include a “start-of-year payment” that will range between $400 for kids under five and $550 for children over 14 to relieve caregivers having to buy school uniforms and pay fees.

The ministry will also set up a discretionary extraordinary care fund of up to $2000 a year for children with significant difficulties, or who show promise. This fund will become available in July 2014.

I have huge respect for those people who care for children who are no theirs.


The value of work

October 26th, 2013 at 1:44 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A 9-year-old’s comment about how “cool” it was to be on a benefit has changed a Huntly woman’s life.

Until six months ago, Judy Wilson was one of about 80,000 sole parents in New Zealand receiving a benefit.

She was devoted to raising her six children but, in her own words, she was also drinking, smoking, and not doing “anything”.

And she had been for close to 20 years.

“It was my nine-year-old that said, ‘It’s cool being on the benefit because you’ve been on it for so long, eh, mum. I’m going to go on the benefit too’.”

Wilson, 43, said she was “shocked” to think her circumstances would have such influence on her daughter, and the comments jolted her into action.

She started a six-week course at WINZ in order to pick up new skills and followed it up with another, more specific course, in caregiver training for about eight weeks.

Since July, she’s been working at Kimihia Home and Hospital in Huntly.

That’s a good outcome. I think we can not under-estimate the impact family has on a child’s expectations. If a child grows up in a household where no adult has ever worked, then they could well decide that work is an option, not a necessity.


Some facts from Rodney

September 8th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in the HoS:

Let’s start with the numbers. They aren’t mine. They come from a recently published Ministry of Social Development “factsheet”.

A total of 76,000 New Zealanders were born in 1993. About 6000 were subsequently abused or neglected; 3000 became known to the Youth Justice system by the age of 17; and 41,000 – more than half – spent time in a household dependent on a main benefit such as the dole or DPB.

The benefit-supported children were six times more likely to be abused than those who were not benefit-supported. And they were 14 times more likely to be known to Youth Justice.

Those in households benefit-dependent for nine or more years were 13 times more likely to be abused and 29 times more likely to be known to Youth Justice.


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10,000 fewer on benefits

July 17th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Michael Fox at Stuff reports:

At least 10,000 fewer people are now on a benefit compared with last year, new quarterly figures show.

The figures were released as the third and largest wave of welfare reforms were rolled out by the Government yesterday, although the reduction is being credited to the previous changes.

Yep that drop is pre the major reforms.

“That’s a reduction of more than 10,000 on welfare over the past 12 months and I am particularly pleased that 5600 of them are sole parents,” she said.

If they have gone from welfare into work, that will benefit their family not just financially.


Net tax in NZ

July 10th, 2013 at 12:30 pm by David Farrar

net tax small


This is a fascinating table from a speech by bill English today showing how highly re-distributive the NZ tax and welfare system is. Basically what this shows is that the top 5% of households pay 47% of net tax in New Zealand. Households up to $60,000 income receive more in welfare on average than they pay in tax, Yes, they are effectively paying no tax.

Now I’m not complaining about this too much. I’m happy to some extent to help working lower income families when they have kids to look after. But when political parties complain that we need to hike taxes on rich pricks, then bear in mind that our tax and welfare system is already highly highly re-distributive. The debate should be on how we allow Kiwis to keep more of their income, not how to take more off them.

Bill English noted:

Estimates of net income tax paid by household income, before and after Budget 2010, indicate the system has become more progressive over this period, Mr English says.

Households earning less than $60,000 are generally expected to pay less, in percentage terms, towards net tax in 2013/14 than they were paying in 2008/09. 

Conversely, households earning more than $150,000 are generally paying more of the net tax than they were in 2008/09.   

“It’s appropriate to maintain a tax and income support system that helps low and middle income households when they most need it.

“But people who call for even greater transfers to low income families, or who call for the top tax rate to be raised, need to be aware of how redistributive the tax and income support system really is,” Mr English says.

Income tax rates should be lowered, not increased.

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The cost of breakfast

June 1st, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports;

It can cost parents less than 50 cents a day to give their child breakfast, but principals say most families who send their children to school hungry cannot afford to feed them.

Really. I’d welcome one solid example of a family who can’t afford 40c a day for breakfast. By a solid example I mean full details of their income and expenditure.

But Hamilton beneficiary and mother-of-two, Ali, says she battles every week to put potatoes, rice and Weet-Bix on the table and petrol in the car with the $38 she has left after rent, bills and loan repayments.

The Waikato Times has found that a basic breakfast of Weet-Bix and milk, peanut butter on toast, or porridge costs between 20 and 39 cents a day per child – between $1.43 and $2.73 a week.

And the DPB pays $295 a week in the hand plus $157 family tax credit is $452 a week. Breakfast for two kids is $3 to $6 a week from that or around 1%.


$293 from Winz, plus $120 rent assistance.


$285 rent. $30 electricity. $60 loan repayments to the bank and people to whom she owes money.

$38 left for petrol, food and unplanned expenses.

They appear to have left out the $157 family tax credit. Did the reporter not ask, or does Ali not mention it, or has she failed to register for it?


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Eight adults, none working

April 27th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A state house with 19 people living in it has been identified as one of the homes receiving more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded benefits each year.

The Housing New Zealand property in Manukau houses 11 children and eight adults, according to a spreadsheet of the top 50 households which receive the most social welfare payments.

The weekly rent is $87 and collectively the household is getting $2499 in benefits each week – or $132 for each individual – adding up to nearly $130,000 each year.

$2,500 a week in the hand is equal to almost $3,500 gross or $180,000 annualised.

No wonder none of the eight adults have decided to get a job. With an unemployment rate of under 7%, the chances all eight are unable to find a job is miniscule - 0.00000006%.


US Disability Benefits

April 8th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

In case you needed convincing about the need for welfare reform, this story from the United States should help convince you.

It was an exclusive story for Planet Money on National Public Radio. It has had great resonance in the US, as it has exposed how great the growth in numbers on disability welfare has been.

Some key findings:

  • 14 million people a month now get a disability check from the Government.
  • In one county in Alabama, 25% of working adults are on a disability benefit.
  • That the proportion of those claiming a disability benefit with a difficult to test problem (back pain, mental illness) has increased from 18% in 1961 to 53% in 2011.
  • That some states have as many as 9% of their adults on a disability benefit.
  • Fewer than 1 percent of those who were on the federal program for disabled workers at the beginning of 2011 have returned to the workforce since then.
  • The disability benefit pays $13,000, just $2,000 less than the minimum wage, plus Medicare so some are better off financially not working.
  • The number of children on a disability benefit has increased seven fold since 1974 to over 1.2 million.
  • If these children with learning or other disabilities get a job, their parents lose the $700 a month disability check.
  • Disability welfare now costs $260 billion a year, and will run out of reserve duns by 2016.

People should remember this story, when Labour and Greens constantly say there is no need for welfare reform in New Zealand. Note that the numbers receiving the Invalids Benefit in NZ has increased eight fold since 1976 from 10,000 to 84,000. Now by no means should anyone conclude this means everyone on that benefit shouldn’t be there. To the contrary I know some people on that benefit who would love to be able to work, or work longer hours than they can. So we need to be careful not to stigmatize those who are in genuine need.

However as the US story shows, the growth in the level of such benefits has been massive, and I encourage people to read the full story about what happens when the incentives to be on welfare are greater than to be in work.

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Why not inform people of whom is right?

March 4th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

It’s another case of she said, she said. Labour MP Jacinda Ardern was yesterday bemoaning record benefit numbers during National’s reign.

DPB, sickness and invalid beneficiary numbers were at the highest since records began in 1940, she said.

It didn’t take long for Social Development Minister Paula Bennett to respond with her own gloating statement.

The number of people on the DPB, unemployment and invalids benefits all decreased last year, she said. It seems statistics are everyone’s friend.

Rather than just report that both MPs are claiming different things, it would be nice if the media actually provided the full data and allowed people to decide for themselves.

I blogged yesterday that the numbers cited by the HoS and Ardern were over a year out of date. That’s not opinion – it is fact.

The excellent Stats Chat site also gives people the full data, in graph form. Sadly the number of people who read that site is far far less than those who read newspapers.

Lindsay Mitchell also has some useful fisking of Ardern’s claims.

Ironically Anthony Robins at The Standard is also unhappy with the article. Not for the misleading claims, but because a Labour MP is suggesting that it would be a good thing to have fewer people on welfare!

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Maybe it is the dads that should be sterilised!

February 17th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Joanne Carroll at NZ Herald reports:

One rogue 19-year-old is a liable father to 13 kids to different mums.

A source has confirmed the man is named on the birth certificates of 13 children, and is liable to pay child support for them.

Figures released by the Inland Revenue Department show 943 teenage fathers were liable to pay child support at the end of last year. Some were just 15 years old, and already liable for two children.

A study for Inland Revenue estimates the “average” cost of raising a child to the age of 18 as $250,000. It does not count stay-at-home parents’ loss of incomes or childcare costs. The weekly cost for a low-income parent raising a child is $150 – or $140,000 by the time the child reaches 18.

Sadly he knows that he won’t have to pay for any of them, as I predict he is almost inevitably not working himself. Even if he is, you pay the same for 13 kids as you do for one kid, in terms of child support.

What would be karma is forcing him to live in a home with all the mothers and kids and spend 40+ hours a day changing nappies, feeding etc.


Free contraception uptake

January 31st, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald reports:

Low uptake negates fears beneficiaries and daughters being pushed into free scheme, says minister’s office.

Only 35 women took up the Government’s offer of free long-term contraception for beneficiaries in the first five months – far short of the number expected.

Last July, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett announced the Government would pay for female beneficiaries and their daughters aged 16-19 to get long-term contraception such as an implant, intra-uterine device or the Depo Provera injection.

She set aside $1 million over four years for the policy – enough to fund thousands of grants covering doctors’ fees and contraceptive costs each year.

This is the policy that saw the disgusting cartoon that compared Paula Bennett to Josef Mengele. Shameful.

However, in its first five months from the end of July to the end of December only 35 women took it up.

Ms Bennett said she was not troubled by the low uptake.

“It’s going as I’d expected. We’re not promoting it so there hasn’t been significant uptake, but we’re looking at advertising it more so people are aware it’s available.”

It would be good for more people to be ware of it, so there are fewer unwanted pregnancies.

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Christchurch jobs

January 8th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

There’s been a lot of stories about firms in Christchurch having problems finding employees. One in The Press today is:

Christchurch baker Diane McPherson has had an “absolute nightmare” trying to find staff for the past four months.

One applicant turned up for an interview in pyjama pants, another was texting during the interview and another flicked her tongue piercing in and out of her mouth and indicated she was not prepared to remove it during work hours.

McPherson, who owns the Brumby’s Bakery and Wendy’s Supa Sundaes stores at the Hub in Hornby, said many others did not return messages inviting them for an interview, or, having been offered a job, failed to turn up for work.

How many people in Christchurch are on the unemployment benefit or another work tested benefit?

One applicant for a job at Wendy’s Supa Sundaes decided he did not want the job because he did not want to mop the floors, and another did not want to have to wash dishes. A 22-year-old applicant for a job at Brumby’s Bakery arrived wearing a T-shirt, flannelette pyjama pants and socks, but no shoes.

Obviously trying hard to get a job.

McPherson approached the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology to see whether any recent graduates were interested, but “not one of them put their hand up”.

The jobs McPherson is advertising all pay $14 an hour or more, with the bakery job starting at $20 an hour.

“I’ve had a couple of guys tell me, ‘Oh, it’s easier on the dole but we’ve got to be seen to be applying for work’,” she said.

And remember some parties want to increase the level of benefits, reducing the incentive to work even more.

McPherson has placed advertisements saying applicants could say when they wanted to work, but has still not found staff.

“There’s a whole different attitude to working. It’s all about themselves and if it doesn’t fit in with what they want to do, they don’t want to do it,” she said.

McPherson is now looking to advertise overseas.

If anyone is on a work-tested benefit in Christchurch for more than say a few months, then there is something wrong.

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They want welfare for millionaires!

December 11th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Ben Heather  at Stuff reports:

A $2 billion Government overhaul, including more state homes and universal child support, is needed to fight child poverty, a report from the children’s commissioner says. …

They include scrapping many benefits for parents and replacing them with a universal payment for every child under 5.

Never ever ever. It is morally and economically wrong to tax people more so you can turn every family in New Zealand into welfare recipients. They want to turn the clock back to the 1970s.

The welfare state should be targeted at families in need. Handing out cash to every family with children is nuts and comes from people who have no appreciation of the fact all those welfare handouts need to be paid for by.

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$60 a week more to be on a benefit

November 9th, 2012 at 6:38 am by David Farrar

Parliament Today reports:

The Income Tax (Universalisation of In-work Tax Credit) Amendment Bill was defeated at its first reading by 61 to 60 with National, ACT and United Future opposed.

This bill sought to make the “In Work’’ tax credit payable to those on benefits.

The Green Party, which sponsored the bill, put pressure on United Future MP Peter Dunne to back the bill to select committee. However Dunne said during the week the bill would remove a financial incentive for beneficiaries to work.

Labour. Greens. Mana and NZ First all voted for DPB beneficiaries to get an extra $60 a week for not working.

As Peter Dunne pointed out, it disincentivises beneficiaries to seek employment. The in work tax credit is designed to recognise that you have extra costs when working such as transport to work, clothing etc.



Labour MPs showing beneficiaries how to budget

September 27th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

I think it is superb that a group of Labour MPs are living on $2.25 of food a day, for a week, to demonstrate how you can eat cheaply.

Their potato and spinach curry recipe should be displayed in all WINZ offices.

I am a bit confused that they are so eager to demonstrate you can feed yourself on just under $16 a week, that they demand increased welfare payments for beneficiary parents. Currently a low income parent gets $88 a week welfare for their first child, and $61 a week for additional children (on top of core benefit, accom supplement etc). Of course you have non food expenses also, but thanks to Grant, Jacinda, Phil, Annette and David they are showing you can have $72 to $45 a week for those other expenses.

I look forward to their other recipes on how to cook for $2.25 a day. Maybe they could publish a book with Muriel Newman on it?

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Again – not given full details

August 31st, 2012 at 10:36 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Auckland schoolboy Peniata Junior Endermann is just 16 years old but already works 25 hours a week to help keep his siblings in school and provide the basic necessities for his family.

The Edgewater College student works from 5pm until 10pm Monday to Friday as a cleaner earning $13.85 per hour.

Between school, his job and homework Endermann puts in 16-hour days.

What great dedication to his family. That is a lot of responsibility for a 16 year old, and ideally no 16 year old should *have* to work 25 hours a week.

And the story states that he does *have* to work 25 hours a week so his family can make ends meet, but gives absolutely no details on which people can judge if that is the case.

The forum heard that one-parent working families were now experiencing severe financial hardship, young people were being forced into work through poverty and employment opportunities for school leavers were declining.

Endermann said he helped his mother, who also worked as a cleaner, to provide for his family and three siblings aged 15, 13 and nine.

“It is very hard to survive on my wage as it is not enough,” he said.

What we are not told, is how much income the family gets from:

  • The mother’s job as a cleaner (I’d assume $27,000 a year if FT)
  • Working for Families (I estimate $388 a week or close to $20,000 a year net)
  • Accommodation Supplement
  • Income from the Father
  • What their outgoings are

Now I’m not saying that if we knew all this, that the story would be wrong. It may be that the family really has no choice but to have their 16 year old son work 25 hours a week. My point is we are not given any information on which to make any sort of independent judgement – which makes the story more propaganda than information.


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Trans-Tasman on Key and income inequality

August 30th, 2012 at 1:16 pm by David Farrar

Trans-tasman reports:

 John Key showed his mastery of the political process when, with one verbal swipe in Parliament, he demolished what appeared to be a promising line of attack by Opposition parties on his coalition’s social policies. Armed with a report on child poverty, Green co-leader Metiria Turei was demanding Key acknowledge inequality in NZ has increased to the highest it has ever been, and institute a universal child payment. Key’s response “let us run through the logic of what the member has said. She says we are an unequal society, because the rich are getting richer, and now she’s on her feet telling me to give the rich families even more for their kids. What a dopey idea that is!” Turei was left complaining “I am not thinking straight.”

This is the great mystery. The left call for less income inequality yet fight for universal rather than targeted government support.

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Drug testing for job seekers

August 28th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Paula Bennett has announced:

Beneficiaries with work expectations will face sanctions if they refuse to apply for drug-tested jobs, says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett. 

“Welfare reforms are resetting expectations and obligations and recreational drug use is simply not an acceptable excuse for avoiding available work.”

Under the current welfare system an unemployment beneficiary can decline to apply for an available drug-tested job, because they won’t pass the test, without consequence.

This seem reasonable and over-due. It is not random drug testing of all beneficiaries. It is merely saying you can’t refuse to apply for a job which requires drug testing.

“People will be given a warning and reasonable period of time to stop using drugs before having to take another drug test. But further failures will result in benefit reduction and possible cancellation,” says Mrs Bennett.

Where people fail a drug test or refuse to apply for a drug tested job, they must agree to stop using drugs or their benefit will be cut by 50 percent. They will be given 30 days to allow any drugs they have taken to leave their system.

Where they fail a test or refuse a second time, they will have their benefit suspended until they agree that they will provide a ‘clean’ drug test within 30 days. If they do not do this their benefit will be cancelled.

People with addiction will be supported to get help with their dependency while those on some prescribed medications will be exempt.

Some will argue against this, but I ask what their alternate policy is? That someone can remain indefinitely on the benefit refusing to apply for jobs that they could do if they were drug free?

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