Thieves, cheats, and crooks – and that’s just the government – Time to go!

By   /   March 3, 2017  /   21 Comments

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By reducing the real value of Working for families payments since 2010 the National government has taken a cumulative $2 billion out of the homes of working class families.

By reducing the real value of Working for families payments since 2010 the National government has taken a cumulative $2 billion out of the homes of working class families.

They did this by freezing the threshold for abatement at $36,827 in 2010, then in 2011 adopted a policy to progressively increase the rate of abatement from 20% to 25% and lower threshold to 35,000.

To restore spending to the 2010 level would have required an additional $700 million dollars in 2016. If the threshold had been adjusted for inflation it would be $44,500 or $51,982 if adjusted for wages.

A family on $35,000 in 2007 who was entitled to the full WFF package had received the average wage increase until 2016 would be on $51,982. That family’s entitlement has been reduced by $3,517 using the current threshold of $36,350.

The government has also removed at least a billion dollars a year in welfare payments by reducing the proportion of unemployed people receiving a benefit through draconian screening and deliberate denial by the government ministry responsible.

The biggest problem associated with the Working for Families package is the use of an In Work Tax Credit as part of the package. There is a Family Tax Credit available to all families (including beneficiaries) but to access the IWTC you have to work a combined 30 hours for a couple and at least 20 hours for a single parent.

The creation of a category of more deserving poor because they are in work is simply the imposition of a ruling class bigotry on social policy.

In an age of zero hour contracts and variable work weeks, that means a complex nightmare for many workers who have to check in with the MSD everytime their hours drop below the threshold. Some families can go in and out of eligibility almost weekly.

The tax credits and welfare payments (other than national superannuation) are only indexed to prices rather than wages and that means a steady decline relatively speaking.

The Consumer Price Index has almost no meaning to a family facing escalating rent, power, transport and food bills.

In addition, the government has decided to only change the tax credits available once there has been a cumulative increase in prices of 5 percent. There has been no increase since 2011 as a consequence.

Student support, the accommodation supplement, access to legal aid have also been allowed to steadily decline in real value.

We need to get back to a system of universal entitlements for children, students, and others. That way they are harder to take away. That has been true for National Superannuation. Every familiy should get at least a $100 per child as of right. This could be paid for with a modest surcharge on high incomes. We used to have such a benefit. When it was introduced in 1946 it was worth $40 a week in today’s dollars with average families being twice as large as today and a baby boom coming. A world way had just finished. Since then, production per person has probably increased three times. We can afford it today.

(Information used in this article is largely thanks to a recent report of the marvellous Child Poverty Action Group)


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About the author

Mike Treen

National Director of Unite Union


  1. countryboy says:

    I just heard the Big Head man-person for the new car sales industry getting all-a-dither on RNZ because new car sales are pretty good at the moment. He says that people are putting vehicle purchases on to mortgages is why. Because, you know? Interest rates? Low. Never mind, that the real commodity being sold to those idiots here is debt $-secured by the roof over their heads.
    So, I see.
    He says that the reason for that is that people are, amongst many other things I could name, feeling pretty confident about the political system at the moment.
    I see.
    So…Big Head New Car Sales man-person thinks Kiwis getting further in debt to buy a new narcissism enhancer and depreciating liability is a great idea and good on our politicians for enabling that.
    I see.
    A New Car Sales Man-Person Big Head is endorsing the National Government.
    What more needs to be said?
    The glitch in the Matrix just got more glitchy.

    The New Yorker. “ Are we living in a computer simulation” .
    Yep. Yep, we are.

    I see Ms Whopper Knickers, the Double Dipping Dipton Dribbler, Jabba The Gerry, and a cadre of other meat packs hiding in suits lest we spot their gills and who are slobbering over their ( Our) annual $-six figures plus PLUS entitlements while we struggle and fret and get set up by cheap crooks who think ” Great! ” .

    I see.

    • bert says:

      And yet Countryboy the best investigative Herald journalistic story is this…

      Can anyone tell me why this person is still relevant?

      • countryboy says:

        Oh well, he’s just a kid. To be a fully fledged arsehole he needs another twenty years on his back.
        The NZ Herald is like a lazy tick. It just rolls around looking for easy blood. If the Herald did kick up a fuss it’d be where John Campbell is right now. In obscurity. No one should ever expect anything other than tits, arse and bloodstains from the old Rag.
        But how about fighting fire with fire and ask Lorde to ask her followers to lay siege to parliament?
        Anything… in fact, no parliament would be better than Nationals thieves and liars. Lets just get rid of them.

        But how? That’s the million dollar question. There’s nothing and no one stopping the bastards when one takes a cold hard look at them. They can, and do, just keep making life more difficult for all of us.
        Being debt free is the only solution I can think of on a personal note. On a broader field we must trash the banking system in NZ. The Banks fuel the very crisis outlined above. The banks are the ones making the real money off the collective nightmare that no one can wake up from. All those public funds are flowing back and forth through Westpac. That $-volatility is making them ever richer daily. On that note, has anyone ever wondered why our government doesn’t use a NZ Bank?
        But if you rich think you’ll escape what’s to come, think again by the way. When the BMW has 100 k on the clock and it’s worth 75% less than when you bought it a year ago and bank interest rates are 20%, like they were thirty years ago after 5% rates for sometime, what then?
        I think they, certain politicians and Big Business, know what’s coming and they’re just grabbing what they can while the going’s good.
        They need to be stopped or we’re fucked.

        • Jono says:

          Yep Countryboy totally agree with ya. The rich are scrambling for what they can get. They know the party is going to be over soon and will exit NZ stage left with the profits they have collected off the poor and middle class. These people are pricks they have no loyalty to NZ they just take and disappear.
          I hear they are talking about a predicted major financial crash in the wings by 2018. Major Dow Jones crash. That must be what the rich are worried about. Hence the take take take…

        • bert says:


        • OncewasTim says:

          and when it all goes tits up (or balls up – just in case), we’ll all be expected to feel sorry for them

  2. OncewasTim says:

    “Thieves, cheats, and crooks – and that’s just the government – Time to go!”

    ….. and that’s just the government …. except that its not just the government though is it!.
    It’s also a corrupted senior management within the public service.
    Doesn’t matter whether its a Corrections CEO trying to justify a complete fuckup that goes against the determination of Judicial authrity, or a spin meister from MSD trying to justify funding to NGOs in exchange for personal information.
    If I were in government, I’d be worried about what all that ‘big data’ Bling is so fond of could reveal – right down to PABX call detail recorders, Cell phone provider records and card access door records.

    The ‘big data’ they seem so willing to use both for and against the public they profess to represent can just as easily be used to ensure, challenge and hold to account those ‘in charge’

    I’m not sure even ‘golden handshakes’ and wildy greedy bonuses and severances are supreme law – but then there’s always arrogance and spin and a fucked media to rely on in the interim

    It really is time for a rethink because nothing’s permanent

    • Andrea says:

      “It really is time for a rethink because nothing’s permanent”

      But WHO?

      Most of them don’t think. That’s what they’re paid for. Don’t think. And do it for an exorbitant fee (four figures a day plus transport, meals and accommodation) in like-minded company to produce A Report. Which advocates in the strongest terms for – the status quo.

      As you say, in other words, – everything was forever, until it was no more…

      • OncewasTim says:

        When I wrote that, I was thinking that at some time in the future, if we ever want to rid ourselves of these masters of the universe, there’ll have to be a review of state/public services. There isn’t accountability, there is political influence, and there isn’t the fishinsy and fektivniss that was promised.
        Just as a couple of examples – there’s a Corrections head who doesn’t seem to have the balls to stand up to a Minister, and not so long ago, a MSD Head who didn’t seem to have the competence to speak out about a Pulla Bent’s use of private information.
        Then we have the same Munstry proposing NGOs provide personal information in order to “wrap services” around us.
        IS it any wonder Corrections is a fuckup?
        Is it any wonder CYFS is a fuckup?
        Is it any wonder NZTA is a fuckup?
        Is it any wonder MoBIE is a fuckup?
        (I can think of many more)
        It’s not the frontline public servants either. It’s a corporatised culture working for self-preservation and political expediency – certainly NOT for a public.
        And there are solutions – even if simply that appointments are subject to parliament rather than Minister-alone, or veto. And that those in senior positions are properly sanctioned without ‘golden handshakes’

  3. Mike the Lefty says:

    You understand that National has always despised WFF, but they were cunning enough not to openly abolish it. Instead they do what National does best, furtively undermining it by making little changes here and there and watering it down (ditto Kiwisaver).
    But that is what National is all about, they never had an original idea in their entire existence, they can only wreck what has been put in place before. No innovation, just reaction.
    National. Who needs ’em?

  4. Robert Atack says:

    Unfortunately it doesn’t matter which bunch of clowns we have running this shit show
    Even if we had CB and Afew running the world, they couldn’t do a thing. What is already in motion is unstoppable, plus Fukushima
    All we are doing is kicking cans around getting no where fast, sorry we are getting some where – a place no one wants to be, of corse most people think they are there already, but alas these really are the good old days, and ‘that’ was the best it could ever be.

    • Robert Atack says:

      Hence my jumping on a R1150RT and riding it home from Huntly tomorrow. .. living the dream 1 tank full at a time

    • Afewknowthetruth says:

      About 7 billion too many people on the planet. (About 1 billion humans on this planet might be sustainable.)

      Imminent decline of the global oil supply (almost certainly over 2018 to 2020), and no preparations whatsoever in place. In fact, a society geared to using more and more oil.

      Atmosphere CO2 well over 400 ppm and no strategies in place to prevent it passing 450 ppm.

      Ice at both ends of the world melting like never before (well not any time humans have existed) and massive (multi-metre) sea level rise locked in.

      A political system run by international banks and corporations, for the short-term benefit of international banks and corporation.

      A dumbed-down general populace with an outlandish sense of entitlement and no knowledge of history (or science).

      A mainstream media dedicated to preserving current dysfunctional arrangements and dedicated to making our collective predicament worse..

      Yep, it could be hard nut to crack.

  5. CLEANGREEN says:

    Well said mike and crew.

    We are right behind getting rid of this evil jaunta.

  6. Tamati Tautuhi says:

    National and Labour are both cut from the same cloth, one is red, one is blue they have both followed the same flawed methodology over the past 30-40 years, stripping the States Asset to fund Government spending.

    We have not improved the country over the past 30-40 years, we have just passed ownership of State Assets to the private sector and offshore corporates and institutions.

    Flawed neoliberal economic theory?

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      TO; Tamati Tautuhi

      Remember Labour bought back rail just before 2008 election, and since then Nactioal has destroyed most of it by selling off almost all the working assets and closed most of the regional services and are setting the rest up for resale so see the pattern again going forward time and time again now if you vote for this evil Nactional jaunta..

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Labour bought rail back and now National is setting the remains they (didnt destroy/turn into cycleways) is being readied for resale so see that pattern continue under this evil junta.

  7. This is how National achieved their so-called “budget surplus”.

    Tax cuts for the rich in 2009 and 2010 – slashed services and WFF for low-mid income New Zealanders.

    “Obscene” doesn’t begin to cover it.

    • OncewasTim says:

      That’s certainly where it all started @Frank.
      And since then, gradual but sustained chip chip chipping away at all the elements that make up the once so-called egalitarian sussoighty of Nu Zull.
      They seem to want small gummint and various breaks for mates, and ‘wrap around’ Paula Bent security blankets (dressed up as leopard skin gummint services) for the rest of us. Check out the spirited discussion with Ryan on NinetoNoon last Friday. And I’ll bet that guy she interviewed actually believes his bullshit

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Your dead right Frank , but here’s a song to relax and have a wee smile by…

      Brand New Key, pair of roller skates – YouTube


  8. john L says:

    WFTC;WFF, are jut a subsidy from the NZ taxpayer to hide the fact NZ businesses do not pay a living wage.. the cost of this ridiculous balancing match is far more than it’s worth.