When in trouble – blame the “filthy benes”!

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I love a good switch hunt - beneficiary bashing

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A recent Roy Morgan poll had some very disturbing news for National and it’s shrinking support-base;

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TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

 

National down as NZ First gains

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The poll results;

Right Bloc

National: 43% (down 2.5%)

Maori Party: 1.5% (down 0.5%)

ACT NZ: (0.5%, unchanged)

United Future: 0.5% (unchanged)

Conservative Party of NZ:  2.5% (up 1%)

Left Bloc

Labour Party: 32% (up 0.5%)

Greens: 13% (down 1%)

Mana Party: 0.5% (up 0.5%)

Internet Party: (0.5%, up 0.5%)

Wild Card

New Zealand First: 5.5% (up 2%)

The polling – which includes phoning respondents on cellphones – shows party/bloc support much more evenly divided than other polls. Any election night result is simply too close to call, and will depend on “wild cards” such as NZ First; how many Maori electorate seats will be won by Mana, at the expense of the Maori Party; and will the Nats cede an electorate seat to the CCCP (Colin Craig’s Conservative Party).

(Despite the closeness of the Left/Right bloc, this blogger still maintains that we will see a change in government post 20 September.)

No doubt all this information was already available to National’s own party strategists, and, rather predictably, they were prepared to distract public attention with Default Strategy #2;

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Travelling beneficiaries' payments cut

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Note the dates on the two stories above; 3 April. Coincidence? Not very likely. All political parties are aware of when Roy Morgan polling results are made public and this particular result would have come as no surprise to  National’s back room strategists and spin doctors.

National and Labour both conduct their own internal polling and are acutely aware that public opinion of decided voters is evenly balanced between the Left and Right blocs.

To rebuild flagging public support, the Nats are focused on reclaiming “soft”, low-information,  swing voters – especially those susceptible to dog-whistle politics. And you can’t get more “dog whistle” than beating up on welfare beneficiaries, as Bennett did;

“The new rules recognise beneficiaries should be ready and available for work – not prioritising travel.  Every day we hear stories of how people cannot live on the benefit. Today you’re hearing that literally thousands can not only live on it but can afford to travel overseas as well.”

This is precisely the despicable tactic used by ex-National leader, Don Brash, during his infamous Orewa Rotary Club Speech in 2004, when he railed against a  “government-funded culture of welfare dependency“, “racial separatism in New Zealand“, and the  “development of the now entrenched Treaty grievance industry“.

Considering that the Maori Party is one of National’s few remaining coalition partners, and rely on their support for Supply and Confidence, slagging of at Maori and the “entrenched Treaty grievance industry” is a no-go area.

Which leave… beneficiaries. They are the “New Jews” of 21st Century New Zealand – blamed for an alleged “poor work-ethic”;  “wasting tax-dollars”; and living the “high life” whilst the rest of us have to work for a crust.

It is noteworthy that, in the main, the mainstream media published Bennett’s media release without question. There was no in-depth analysis by journos wanting to know who these “21,000 beneficiaries” were, or their circumstances. No questions were asked. No delving behind the reported statistics was carried out.

In fact, not one single journalist, newspaper, TV current affairs programme, etc, actually even bothered to report what the unemployment benefit was ($210 per week, net).

Instead, the Herald – which seemed to be the main media outlet for this “story” –  published an editorial five days later, supporting and endorsing the official Party Line.

Never since the days of the Soviet state-organs, Pravda, Izveztia, etc, have news media been so utterly and completely compliant as mouth-pieces for government policies, statements, and naked propaganda.

If this is what the msm such as the NZ Herald call “freedom of the press“, then I suggest to them that their much-vaunted independence is a fiction. When government ministers’ media releases are reported almost verbatim, then  any pretence of media independence , press freedom, and investigative journalism flies out the window.

Interestingly, when James Coleman on RadioLive interviewed Labour’s Sue Moroney on this issue, he started of by asking;

“Well I wonder how you can afford to travel overseas while on a benefit?”

Unfortunately, except for Julie Moffett on NewstalkZB, who made some effort to present an alternative to the official “Party line”,  that line of questioning was not followed through.

Ms Moroney did, however, make this interesting point;

“I think that people will have questions about why there so many people travelling overseas. And I think it tells us a story about how bad the job market is in New Zealand. I think that quite a number of these people, and many of them are travelling to Australia in desperation, because they’ve run out of the opportunity in New Zealand to get a job. They’re sick of sitting on the scrap heap here, and getting rejection letter after rejection letter after rejection letter and are going to Australia and are trying their luck over there instead.”

Ms Moroney’s assertion would seem to be confirmed by Paula Bennett, when she stated,

“Since the changes 4,880 peoples’ benefits were cancelled because they failed to reconnect with Work and Income eight weeks after their departure from New Zealand.”

If someone on an unemployment benefit (now referred to as “Jobseeker”) has left New Zealand for longer than  eight weeks, that implies they have left this country for reasons other than a so-called “holiday” or family bereavement. As Sue Moroney suggested, they have left this country for good.

So why not phone WINZ’s 0800 number to inform them that they are travelling overseas?

Anyone who has recently had cause to phone WINZ (0800 559 009) will have their question provided. Waiting to speak to an operator on that line can take anywhere from ten to twenty minutes. Sometimes longer. And there is no guarantee that the information provided by a welfare recipient will be accurately recorded or passed on to the relevant WINZ Branch, or acted on.

This blogger is aware of at least one beneficiary who followed proper procedures to  advise WINZ of a change in his/her circumstances – only to have that information disregarded and their benefit cut. Only when WINZ was contacted on subsequent occassions and questions asked why that information (earning an income through a casual job) was not accepted, was the recipient’s benefit eventually reinstated. S/he had done everything right; carried out their obligations; made full disclosures – and was still penalised.

How often is this happening to others?

And if a beneficiary is leaving New Zealand (often paid by loans, friends, or family) to seek work in Australia – why should someone utterly frustrated with the system bother to contact WINZ, which is time-consuming, stressful, and when that information is not always passed on?

Who would bother?

I submit to the reader that most would simply give the one or two  fingered salute to this country as they departed.

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evansknowlegewave

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However, such questionable “statistics” serve this government’s interests very well. They have a ready-made scape-goat to point the finger at – meanwhile distracting the public from the very obvious fact that there are simply not enough jobs to go around for everyone. Certainly not the 170,000 new jobs promised by National in 2011;

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Budget 2011 - Govt predicts 170,000 new jobs

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In turn, the media has ready-made, simplistic, tabloid-style headlines provided to it on a plate, to sell their advertising.

Whilst the majority (hopefully) of New Zealanders understand that this is red-neck, dog-whistle politicking in action, National need only  appeal to one or two percentage points of voters who unquestioningly digest this kind of prejudice –  and John Key is assured of a third term in office.

Unemployment is working – for National’s re-election.

Postscript

A bit of background into Paula Bennett’s life before she came to Parliament…

  • Paula Bennet was a solo-mother, at age 17
  • Just two years later, she got a Housing Corporation loan to buy a $56,000 house in Taupo.
  • All of this while on the domestic purposes benefit.
  • Paula Bennet was a recipient of the WINZ Training Incentive Allowance, which she scrapped in 2009
  • Paula Bennet obtained her degree at Massey University, through the TIA – a taxpayer-funded benefit

More

Postscript #2

Perhaps I spoke too soon. There appears one journalist willing to buck the National Party Line, it seems. Colin Espiner stands out from the maddened crowd of media sycophants…


 

References

NZ Herald: Travelling beneficiaries’ payments cut

Roy Morgan: 3 April 2014 Poll

NZ Herald: National down as NZ First gains

Scoop media: “Nationhood – Don Brash Speech Orewa Rotary Club”

NZ Herald: Editorial – Travel is not a right for those taking welfare

National Party: Benefits cut for 21,000 overseas travellers

RadioLive: Sue Moroney: Beneficiaries and overseas travel

NewstalkZB: Whip-rounds and debt paying for beneficiaries’ trips

TVNZ: Budget 2011: Govt predicts 170,000 new jobs

NZ Herald: Fran O’Sullivan – Bennett knows about life on Struggle St

Fairfax media: Beneficiary bashing just too easy

Previous related blogposts

Letter to the Editor: Is National in trouble in the polls?

National under attack – defaults to Deflection #2

Once upon a time there was a solo-mum

Hypocrisy – thy name be National

Benefit fraud? Is Chester Borrows being totally upfront with us?!

Other blogs/blogposts

Against The Current: Mike Hosking says Bash A Beneficiary Day!

The Daily Blog: Paula Bennett’s racist beneficiary flying hatefest

The Little Pakeha: Wrestling with the narrative

The Standard: Poverty denial – NZ Herald editorial

 

 


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Paula Bennet

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= fs =

45 COMMENTS

  1. I think it’s generally accepted as fact these days that Bennett is an odious turncoat who’d step on the face of a crippled toddler if she thought it’d help her climb the political ladder. (Then she’d pull that ladder up after her too, of course.)

  2. Taking one isolated poll and projecting such information based on one poll is silly at best,

    In these polls it’s trends that matter. The trend at the moment is that support is steady across the board. The right bloc as you so put it is generally 1-3% above the left bloc and both may need Winston. Yes this election will be close, as has almost every MMP election.

    Your article then declines into a breathless rant about so called Beneficiary bashing. The Beneficiary travel statistics were shocking. These individuals are living on the goodwill of the taxpayer. Whilst taxpayers slave away day after day Beneficiaries should not be indulging in the luxury of overseas travel. If a friend or family member is paying for the trip why can’t that family member make a contribution to the Beneficiary to save the taxpayer some coin??

    Why should a Beneficiary bother informing WINZ? Because it’s taxpayer money. Boo Hoo if WINZ get the odd case wrong, so does every other government organisation and private business. WINZ staff are only human after all.

    • It’s not only the odd cases they get wrong, Real Matthew: it’s the absolutely normal ones they faff about with, too.

      I dunno. I’m a tax payer. (No choice, acshully.) I totally support the Awful Notion that work seekers/job seekers should be able to take a break of, say, a week after they’ve been hunting for six months and a further week after being rejected for a year. If they need compassionate ‘leave’ – that’s separate.

      I also totally support the Awful Notion that job seekers can travel the length and breadth of this country on their search. All they have to do is sign in to some faceless terminal and indicate where they are, once a fortnight (if they can get in to town). Or send a text if they can afford the phone. (You ever been employed out in the sticks, Matthew? Trips to town can be quite rare.)

      I am absolutely and utterly against the evil of ‘stand down’ periods and enforced impoverishment before the benign and loving state hands out its highly conditional pittance. To please the curtain twitchers, of course.

      If there are people gaming it? So what? Where’s the line between the smooth-talkers and reckless gamesters at Bridgecorp et al who smashed nest eggs like a demented Easter bunny and a dope-grower who also collects a handout. There’s a shimmer, Matthew, yet the line’s not clear at all. Because those lovely suited people took others from independence and plenty to penury and the misery of barely enough, despite their lifelong prudence. Nice folk, eh? Perhaps not.

      I can think of lots of employed, virtuous ‘hard working’ etc people who bleat and criticise and point fingers – and they would rank amongst some of the laziest spiteful deadbeat wastes of air and space on the planet. Tax payers. As we all are. Please to remember that. It is no indication of either kindness or practicality.

    • The Real Matthew –

      If a friend or family member is paying for the trip why can’t that family member make a contribution to the Beneficiary to save the taxpayer some coin??

      Does the same user-pays/familial charity principle apply also to;

      >> paying for all education for your children?

      >> paying for hospital visits?

      >> paying the superannuation of your grandparents?

      Or are you applying this ACT policy only to those unfortunate enough to have lost their jobs;

      2013

      January

      Summit Wool Spinners: 192 redundancies
      Event Cinemas Highland Park theatre: 12 (or more?) redundancies
      Kiwi Pallets: 5 redundancies

      February

      NZ Post/Datamail: 100 redundancies
      Mainzeal: 200 redundancies (+ flow-on effects)
      Contact Energy: 100+ redundancies
      Christchurch school closures: 50+ redundancies
      ANZ: 23 redundancies
      Transpacific: up to 200 redundancies in NZ and Australia
      Suzanne Grae: 100 redundancies
      Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment: 135 redundancies
      Gen-i: unknown number redundancies
      Solid Energy: 450 redundancies (1,200 more under review)
      Wairarapa and Hutt Valley DHBs: 41 redundancies

      March

      Southern Institute of Technology: 6/7 redundancies
      Geon Group: 185 redundancies
      Ellerslie TAB: 54 redundancies (net, 30 redundancies?)
      Department of Conservation: 140 redundancies
      Telecom: 1,230 redundancies
      Park Road Post: 12 redundancies

      April

      Starplus Homes: 10 redundancies
      Fonterra: 300 redundancies
      Fisher Funds: 13 redundancies
      Ministry of Justice: 38 redundancies
      Presbyterian Support Otago: 460 redundancies

      May

      Solid Energy: 105 redundancies
      Tait Communications: 70 redundancies
      Starfish Clothing retailer: 9 redundancies
      Wellington libraries: 8+ redundancies

      June

      Safe Air/Air New Zealand: 80 redundancies
      Delta Utility Services: 40 redundancies
      Yellow Pages: 35 redundancies
      Cavalier Carpets: 17 redundancies (est)
      NZ Post: 80-100 redundancies
      NZ Post: 120 redundancies

      July

      Delta Utility Services: 77 redundancies
      Fonterra: 250 redundancies
      Canterbury Spinners: 50 redundancies
      WINZ: 35 redundancies
      Solid Energy Stockton Mine: 15 redundancies

      August

      Holcim Cement: 120 redundancies
      Oringi Freezing Works: 50 redundancies
      Tiwai Aluminium Smelter: 30 redundancies
      Solid Energy Huntly Mine: 93 redundancies
      Sitel Call Centre: 100 redundancies
      Air New Zealand: 180 redundancies
      Ballance Agri-Nutrients: 25 redundancies
      Wickliffe Printing: 19 redundancies

      September

      Learning Media: 100 redundancies
      “Night’n Day” Convenience Chain: 9 redundancies
      BIC Oceania: 21 redundancies
      Fletcher Challenge: 62 redundancies

      October

      Independent Fisheries: 200 redundancies
      Various DHBs: 13 redundancies
      Tachikawa Forest Products: 130 redundancies
      Silver Fern Farms: 90 redundancies
      NZ Post: 1,000 (est.) redundancies

      November

      Unitec: 50 (33 net) redundancies

      December

      Unilever: 58 redundancies
      Bauer media (30 redundancies)

      2014

      January

      OceanaGold/Macraes Mine: 146 redundancies
      Fitzroy Yachts: 100 redundancies
      OceanaGold: 76 redundancies
      Tenix: 15 redundancies

      February

      Goodman Fielder: 125 redundancies
      Pacific Steel Group: 70-90 redundancies
      Bathurst Resorces: 29 redundancies
      NZ Post: 44 redundancies
      NZ Post: 70 redundancies

      March

      Cerebos Gregg: 125 redundancies
      Kiwibank: 100 (?) redundancies
      Lincoln University: 65 (?) redundancies

      April

      Christchurch Yarns: 85 (?) redundancies

      Tell me, Real Matthew – whose responsibility is it when the capitalist system f***s up and workers lose their jobs?

      Or, in the case of widows – it’s deuce inconvenient to have a partner die, huh?

      And what about solo-mums whose hubby has skipped off with an office co-worker? Or has escaped an abusive relation?

      Or the poor bugger born with a IQ of 60, caused by Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, and will spend his/her entire life on an Invalids Benefit?

      No doubt you considered all these factors before spouting your neo-liberal, self-indulgent, masterbatory bullshit?

      The irony here, Real Matthew, is that unemployment doubled post-2008 because your precious capitalist system “caught a cold” and sneezed out about 95,000 workers onto the unemployment queues.

      As for the rest of your rubbish, you really haven’t taken anything onboard that I wrote, have you?

      You right wingers… not very bright.

      • Why do you think it is indicative of capitalism’s failure when people lose their jobs? To me this highlights it’s great strength over other systems. What is more important is the net gain or loss in employment. Posting about job losses is irrelevant unless you compare against job gains. What do the stats suggest is happening on that front Frank?

        • Socialism purports to provide jobs for everyone for life, but that can only happen if the Govt or firms are required to employ the mediocre and indolent. Capitalism, on the other hand, rewards hard work and enterprise. Socialism has failed, while capitalism, in it’s various forms lives on and will continue to provide the vast majority of people with employment.

          Frank’s list above is nothing more than an emotive response from someone who simply doesn’t understand the way a modern economy works.

          • And Gosman, here’s the answer to your question about net employment, an indication of the strength of the NZ economy currently.

            “New Zealand Unemployment Rate Falls in Q4 2013
            In the fourth quarter of 2013, New Zealand jobless rate decreased to 6 percent from 6.2 percent in the previous quarter. There were 24,000 more people employed, following an additional 28,000 in the September quarter.”

            http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/gdp-growth

            • “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”, as Mark Twain liked to say.
              When someone in an hour a week of volunteer work can be considered employed I tend to loss faith in your figures, IV.

              • The definition of employed is pretty standard across the western world. The question you should be asking is if NZ has proportionally more underemployed people than other countries. I would argue that the data on that would suggest not. Of course you can blame it all on capitalism I suppose. I hear there is very little unemployment in North Korea or Cuba for example.

              • The data has been prepared on a consistent basis over many years. There is no conspiracy, no cover up, just facts.

            • Intrinsicvalue,

              You linked to GDP, yet the same site has a chart for unemployed persons which shows there are 60, 000 more people unemployed since Labour left the government.

              http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/unemployed-persons.

              I can see why you emphasised GDP and not the actual numbers of people seeking work.

              If you understand what a good thing it is for people to have livelihoods – it is clearly better to vote for a leftwing government.

              • Except for something you clearly have never heard of…the GFC, a crisis that decimated employment rates across the world.

                You also have to take into account that National inherited an economy that had begun to decline from early 2006, well before the GFC impact.

                NZ’s unemployment rate did not reach the heights of some other nations, thankfully, and is now heading down faster than most.

                • A simplistic, but basically sound, reason for the GFC was greedy capitalist ideals which lead to a socialist bail out by taxpayers.

                  • More like big Government rather than Socialist bail out. A Socialist bail out would have included the nationalisation of assets rather than just liabilities. Most of the bail out was in the form of cheap loans anyway which have been largely paid back by the major banks.

                    As for the cause. I think Government played a bigger role than you think.

                • IV,

                  No need for sarcasm . I was merely pointing out that there has been a net job loss in NZ while National has been at the helm in response to your comment to Gosman where you appeared to be attempting to posit that the balance was otherwise.

                  If you and this government wish to put forward that the economy is bouncing back from the GFC – then the job gains should be greater than the job losses – and I suggest that you wait until that is the case before you attempt to posit such.

                  Conversely if you and this government want to continue to make excuses about suffering from the GFC then stop telling us that we are recovering because in the employment area – a large number of people continue to be without jobs and haven’t recovered at all.

                  I suggest that you desist in attempting to posit that we are both bouncing back from the GFC due to this contemptuous government’s ‘brilliant policies’ and yet in response to anything unfortunate going on putting that down to outside causes – such as the GFC or the last Labour govts policies. This government is either responding well to the challenges and improvement will be reflected in the stats or their policies are making very little difference in relation to our challenges – you can’t have it both ways.

                  Additionally, anyway you look at it it is a reflection on this government’s policies – not the last Labour government It is 2014 – not 2008 – perhaps it is time for you to buy a new calendar and stop living in the past.

                  • The stats do suggest there are more people employed now than in 2008. So therefore there has been a net gain in jobs under National.

                    • Noone is arguing that unemployment is lower than in 2008. You are constructing a strawman argument. Congrats on that.

            • IV – as usual, you present only half the facts – those that happen to suit you.

              See my post to Gosman below, at April 15, 2014 at 10:17 pm;

              “Over the year, the total number of under-employed people increased by 27,200 to 122,600. As a result, the under-employment rate increased 1.0 percentage points to 5.3 percent. “

              Source: http://www.stats.govt.nz/~/media/Statistics/Browse%20for%20stats/HouseholdLabourForceSurvey/HOTPDec13qtr/HouseholdLabourForceSurveyDec13qtrHOTP.pdf

              When being “employed” is defined as working for one hour (or more) without pay, those aren’t statistics – they’re wishful thinking.

              Of course, if you disagree, I can point to unemployment being 3.5% in January 2008.

              http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/unemployment-rate

              But that was under a Labour Government, so no doubt you’ll dispute those figures with some dubious bullshit…

              You and Gosman – two of a kind.

              • Noone is disputing unemployment was lower in 2008 than now Frank. You’ve created a strawman argument. Congrats.

                What is at dispute, and what you are avoiding once again, is the silly posting of recent job losses without taking in to account job gains. The stats suggest far more jobs are being created in the past 18 months than have been lost so why do you show only job losses?

                • Gosman says:
                  April 15, 2014 at 10:43 pm

                  […]

                  The stats suggest far more jobs are being created in the past 18 months than have been lost so why do you show only job losses?

                  The “stats” show no such thing.

                  As I pointed out – and which you’ve pointedly ignored (too inconvenient?), under-employment has risen;

                  “Over the year, the total number of under-employed people increased by 27,200 to 122,600. As a result, the under-employment rate increased 1.0 percentage points to 5.3 percent. “

                  Source: http://www.stats.govt.nz/~/media/Statistics/Browse%20for%20stats/HouseholdLabourForceSurvey/HOTPDec13qtr/HouseholdLabourForceSurveyDec13qtrHOTP.pdf

                  I know you are blind to anything that doesn’t ‘square’ with your neo-liberal worldview, Gosman, but those are the facts; under-employment has risen as unemployment has supposedly “fallen”.

                  Tell me, my little blinkered-friend, what possible conclusion can you draw from that; under-employment has risen as unemployment has supposedly “fallen”.

                  Take all the time you need.

                  • Who is cheery picking data now Frank. Where in that document does it mention the main contributing factor in the fall in unemployment is the increase in underemployment? It rose for sure but so what? To identify if it is an issue we would have to know what the long term trends and averages were and that document doesn’t show that. That document hardly mentions underemployment yet you think that is the main piece of information to be gleaned from it. Truly bizarre.

                    • Gosman says:
                      April 16, 2014 at 3:20 am

                      Who is cheery picking data now Frank. Where in that document does it mention the main contributing factor in the fall in unemployment is the increase in underemployment? It rose for sure but so what?

                      “So what”?!

                      Is that your response to data that questions the accuracy of statistics?

                      Gosman, your penchant for wilfull blindness is indicative of a stubborness to admit you might just be wrong.

                      How far are you prepared to ignore inconvenient facts in your quasi-religious adherence to neo-liberalism?

                      Yes, truly bizarre.

                    • Are you seriously telling me that the main piece of information in that document was in relation to the rise in underemployment? It is only mentioned in a single paragraph around a quarter of the way down. It is not mentioned in the key facts section or the commentary. In short it is an interesting aside NOT the main factor in any fall in unemployment.

                    • Congratulation to IV and Gosman, who while at pains to point to a ‘net increase’ in job creation have supplied stats that show that
                      – any ‘net gain’ in jobs this incompetent government have ‘managed’ by bumbling along has not kept up with an increase in the population and that unemployment is worse than when Labour was in government.

                      Well done yous.

                      Frank, you raise a good point re casualization of jobs and leads to the question of wondering what are the calibre of jobs that have been lost compared to those that have been ‘created’.

                      If my district is anything to go by people are picking up jobs cleaning wealthy peoples’ holiday homes for a few hours per week. Whilst it is great that people are picking up work in a climate where welfare has checked out- one would hope that ‘net job gains’ were being made with reference to improving jobs and conditions replacing poor jobs and conditions- as opposed to a case of losing good jobs and having them replaced by crappy and insecure jobs – which after this conversation is what I suspect is likely to be occurring under this government.

                    • Ahhh… once again No.

                      The vast majority of the increase in unemployment since the mid 2008 happened as a result of the effects of the GFC in 2009. National had little to do with this. Since then Unemployment has not continued to climb, as you suggest, but has fallen. That is what the stats show.

                    • Aah… no, Gos, you got that wrong – the unemployment is due to lazy slovenly bad people not going out and getting all those myriad jobs that are being created all over the place, well that is according to National’s line, remember?

                      Thanks for pointing out stats that show Labour are much better at creating an environment for jobs than National. That was good of you.

                      Conclusion: if people wish for less unemployment and the costs that creates for society, they should stop listening to National’s lies and vote Labour.

        • @ Gosman,

          According to the Ministry of Social Development’s latest ‘fact sheet’ dated Jun 2013 there are 51, 465 more people on welfare than in June 2008.

          Therefore there have been greater job losses than gains since National have been in power.

          https://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/statistics/benefit/2013-national-benefit-factsheets.html

          This is not surprising because National don’t care about ensuring livelihoods for all – as long as a few people are making huge profits their aims are achieved.

          • Not necessarily. The population is higher than when National took office so there could have been (and most likely has been) more job creation than job losses in this period. The majority of the job losses during National’s term also took place shortly after they gained power and were driven by the effects of the GFC. If you wish to blame National for this it seems a little foolish.

            • I was merely responding to: ‘ Posting about job losses is irrelevant unless you compare against job gains. What do the stats suggest is happening on that front Frank?

              The stats suggest there have been a net loss in jobs – now you are whining on about why that may be so – you idiots are so good at whining on with your endless excuses – yet this makes no difference to those who still don’t have jobs – and meanwhile this government prefers to distract the public by bene bashing, namely because such jobless people prove that their useless approach to governing fails a whole lot of people and causes additional expense for the rest. If New Zealanders weren’t so trusting of liars the polls would be telling a whole different story.

              • No. The stats don’t show that. The stats show that there is more people unemployed than in 2008. That is not the same as stating there has been a net loss in jobs. It is probable there has been a net increase in jobs but there are now more people looking for work due to the increase in the workforce. Indeed the stats do suggest there are more people employed now than in 2008 (http://nzdotstat.stats.govt.nz/wbos/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=TABLECODE7080)

                Regardless of this Frank posted a whole list of job losses from 2013 when there was most definitely a net increase in jobs. All he is really showing is that a capitalist economy is shedding workers. I would not want to live in an economy that never laid off workers. It would become economically stale pretty quickly just as the Soviet Union did.

            • Gosman says:
              April 15, 2014 at 2:19 pm

              Not necessarily. The population is higher than when National took office so there could have been (and most likely has been) more job creation than job losses in this period.

              But more people also left New Zealand for work in Australia, Gosman – http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/johnnys-report-card-national-standards-assessment-ye-2012-migration/

              The majority of the job losses during National’s term also took place shortly after they gained power and were driven by the effects of the GFC. If you wish to blame National for this it seems a little foolish.

              Oh? But it’s ok to blame Labour for a supposed “decade of deficits” (attributed to Treasury, but never substantiated), Gosman, instead of attributing it to the GFC, as you generously do for National?!

              Is that how it works?

              Hypocrite.

              • No. You basically agreed that Treasury did predict those. All you are reduced to now is a pedantic argument over whether I stated that Treasury explicitly called them structural or not. It is rather pathetic to see this from you but at least you do now acknowledge the predicted deficits are there in the 2008 PREFU.

                We are discussing net gains in employment. It is indisputable there has been since 2008. Even you can’t argue with that.

                • Wilfully and repeatedly mis-quoting/mis-representing a Treasury report would inevitably be found out, Gosman.

                  The 2008 PREFU report written by Treasury did not state that Labour had left a “structural decade of deficits”. You invented that. And you spread it throughout this blog at every opportunity, hoping that no one would notice it was a fabrication.

                  In other words, you bullshitted.

                  And you got caught out.

                  Next, time, don’t make shit up.

                  And don’t dig the hole deeper by trying to justify or deflect.

                  When you deliberately distort what someone has said, and you get called on it, that is not “pedantry” – that is being caught out.

                  Only you could possible confuse accuracy with “pedantry”.

                  • No BS at all frank. Nowhere did I state that Treasury explicitly called the decade of deficits structural. I did call them structural because that is what they are. However you at least acknowledge that there was a prediction of a decade of deficits in the 2008 PREFU so that at least is progress on your part.

    • Matthew reckons “The Beneficiary travel statistics were shocking.”
      Had he read the linked Colin Espiner exemplary article he may have found these quoted figures on tax evasion more shocking…
      “It’s estimated welfare fraud costs the country between $20 million and $40m a year. Tax evasion, about which the Government has much less to say, has been estimated to cost the country anywhere from $1 billion to $6b a year.
      Why the double standard? Could it be that beneficiaries are an easy target?”

  3. That Colin Espiner article is a real breath of fresh air, never thought I’d see something like that on the Stuff website but life is full of surprises.

  4. “Never since the days of the Soviet state-organs, Pravda, Izveztia, etc, have news media been so utterly and completely compliant as mouth-pieces for government policies, statements, and naked propaganda.”

    Yes indeed, it is appalling what the mainstream NZ media gets away with, and also lets the government get away with!

    On 02 April at least the NZ Doctor magazine (informing medical professionals on developments in health and medicine) did report on the newly appointed “work ability assessment” providers that MSD and WiNZ have contracted. The names of the 15 private, supposedly “independent” providers were published:
    • APM Workcare – National
    • Catapult Employment Services Trust – Canterbury
    • Company Medic – Northland
    • ECS Connections Ltd – Taranaki, Central
    • Enableworks Ltd – Canterbury
    • Linkage Limited (Wise Group) – Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, Central, Wellington, Canterbury
    • Mana Recovery Trust – Wellington
    • OTRS Group Ltd – Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty
    • PhysioACTION Ltd – Auckland
    • ProActive Rehab – Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, East Coast Taranaki, Central, Wellington
    • Southern Rehab (plus ProActive Rehab) – Nelson, Canterbury, Southern
    • Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority – Taranaki
    • WALSH Trust – Auckland
    • Wayne Hudson Physiotherapy Ltd – East Coast
    • WorkRehab Ltd – Nelson, Canterbury, Southern.

    Nowhere else was anything about this written in any media, but at least the Otago Daily Times had a report on the new scheme on 12 March this year:
    “Regime still untried”
    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/294767/regime-still-untried

    Also did stuff.co have an article on this on 03 Nov. last year:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9356043/Contractors-to-assess-sick-and-disabled-for-work

    An email from a mate has sent me links to the websites and other relevant sources of the contractors involved, and it is highly interesting and revealing, what these providers are all about:

    http://www.wisegroup.co.nz/page/104-Linkage-Trust-joins-Wise-Group-
    http://www.linkage.co.nz/webhealth
    http://www.apm-nz.co.nz/vocational-rehabilitation-services/
    http://www.catapult.org.nz/ and http://www.catapult.org.nz/about
    http://www.companymedic.co.nz/
    http://nz.linkedin.com/pub/grant-langley/20/9b0/537 and http://www.finda.co.nz/business/listing/3ff7/ecs-connections-limited/ (so far only has a P.O. Box address!)
    http://www.enableworks.co.nz/
    http://www.manarecovery.org.nz/
    http://www.otrs.co.nz/index.php
    http://www.physioaction.co.nz/
    http://www.proactiverehab.co.nz/
    http://southernrehab.co.nz/
    http://www.teoranganui.co.nz/
    http://walsh.org.nz/
    http://nz-companies.com/wayne-hudson-physiotherapy-limited.307761.review and http://www.workrecovery.co.nz/consultants.html (little info available on this company)
    http://www.workrehab.net.nz/

    These are mostly rehabilitation service providers, who have so far only done assessments for their own internal purposes, to assist clients for rehab purposes, or they did so for employers. As they are also mostly involved in job placement services, one can see clearly that they will all have a vested interest in finding WiNZ referred clients as being “fit” for work, so they can then offer them some rehabilitation and also try and refer them into jobs with employers they serve. The fees paid by WINZ will offer them extra new business to make profits with sick and disabled pressured into looking for work.

    That alone does not really make them “independent” assessors, and they are hardly pure medical experts like doctors practices or psychologist clinics. Indeed there seems to be little focus on mental health conditions, so how can these be “experts” to use for supposedly “independent” assessments on WINZ clients with chronic illness and disabilities?

    The media are not even reporting on any of this, and the timing of the publishing by MSD of the travel statistics for certain beneficiaries seems to have been too bloody “convenient” to be coincidental, as that kind of news distracts from other controversial parts of the welfare reforms, such as work ability assessments. The New Zealand Medical Association was rather concerned about all this.
    http://www.nzma.org.nz/sites/all/files/sub-WorkAbilityAssessments-Providers.pdf

    More revealing info is found by following the following links, not one leading to MSM sources:
    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/15188-medical-and-work-capability-assessments-based-on-the-bps-model-aimed-at-disentiteling-affected-from-welfare-benefits-and-acc-compo/

  5. All very interesting but since statistics were invented they can be twisted and turned to suit anyone’s point of view. I am bemused that you seem fixated on this and not discussing the more important policy announcement from the Labour Party today that all trucks must not use the right hand lane on motorways – a vote catcher if ever I heard one. I always thought truckies were part of Labour’s constituency. Care needs to be taken that they’re not driven into the right hand lane politically.

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