Cutting Beneficiaries off welfare isn’t any cause for cheering



Beneficiary numbers fall again: Government
The Government claims a drop in benefit numbers is proof its policies are working, but Labour is questioning if the fall really means more are in paid work.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said today the 309,145 people on benefit at the end of the December 2014 quarter was 12,700 fewer than last year.

“This is the lowest December quarter since 2008 and the third consecutive quarter with such record lows,” Tolley says.

Numbers on the Jobseeker Support benefit had fallen by more than 5500 since last year and had declined consistently since 2010, even as the overall working age population increased.

New Zealanders love to bash beneficiaries, it’s a cultural tradition as dear to our hearts as Rugby, alcoholism and domestic violence. 30 years of neoliberalism has generated a middle class who think that their success is their own to feel smug by while others failure is their own responsibility and a working poor who are paid such a pittance that they eye the benefit with envy.

This means the middle classes get to snarl at bludgers while the working poor resent them. It’s a perfect storm of divide and rule politics that is endorsed by National and Labour.

The current back slapping over reduced benefits is as deluded as our inequality denial and climate change denial. National have done all they can to enforce new rules that are complex and generated with only one purpose, to disqualify as many people as possible from gaining any welfare. That we are celebrating this as some kind of achievement is about as ugly as a crowd cheering book burning.

The focus should be on peoples actual welfare, not the Governments ability to disqualify beneficiaries from getting a benefit.


  1. By now if anyone believes that the reduced beneficiary numbers are because they are all in gainful well paid employment, then you will probably also believe in the tooth fairy. It’s yet another statistical shell game by our shape shifting government.

    But like anything the pendulum has now swung too far one way. In the other extreme I can clearly recall when going on the dole was a lifestyle choice if you couldn’t be arsed working, it was that easy and even easier to abuse and it was plain wrong. That is long ago and the opposite of what we have today but those experiences from an earlier time continue to fuel the myth of “bludgers”.

  2. NZ is becoming a Country lacking in compassion.

    Far from the 1960’s egalitarian society that gave hope and meaningful proper jobs for all whom wanted them back then.

    I recall leaving my trade to work on a less stressful job for a while and found one so esily and a 40hr job as well.

    Now we need Andrew Little to put some Labour strategist on this issue and he/she should look up those jobs that Tolley boasts most received in the last year.

    I will wager they were either part time jobs or no contract hour jobs, as I have heard that some large companies are laying off full time employee staff and rehiring them no no hourly contracts and some are only getting two hours a day now.

    Tolley can cover this by saying more are employed but she isn’t telling the real facts that many will be receiving subsistence wages only now.

    Shameful Government this is, akin to the ruling classes in the 1700s that abused European workers this way with lack of rights to a fair wage and job.

    • All the “statistics” the Government boasts about are meaningless. The only statistics that really matter are the total number of hours worked annually by the total NZ work force. I wouldn’t mind guessing that the annual figures from StatisticsNZ wouldn’t be anything to boast about.

  3. So there were 12,700 fewer beneficiary recipients at the end of 2014, than there was the previous year.

    At the same time, nothing mentioned about an increase in employment either.

    So where are these people going?
    No income!
    No job!
    Where are they?
    What’s become of them?
    What’s to become of them?
    NZ’s vulnerable lost souls!

    I sincerely hope there is an agency out there investigating this issue on behalf of those affected by the cuts!

    Seems benefit reduction is responsible for one of this government’s fastest growing industries, impoverishment!

    All looks good on paper to Tolley and her slimy Natsy cohorts, without any thought going to the outcome of these policies and the harsh impact on the lives of so many vulnerable Kiwis!

    But hey what do they care? The figures make them look good, so what else matters! Filthy, pilfering Natsy mother f***ers all, the whole damn lot of them!

  4. I would be more enlightening if the number of people coming off benefit payments and moving on to superannuation and non qualifying spouse payments were including in the Stuff article.

  5. The Minister’s recent comments

    Ignoring the ridiculous statement about the “pretty good lifestyle”
    Here are a couple of highlights
    “I knew you were going to ask me that but I don’t have that figure right off the top of my head”
    “don’t quote me on that because I’m still on holiday”

    ??? didn’t they just release the figures and is she not the Minister?

  6. And then there is this :

    I thought I heard dear Anne very briefly on RNZ news a few days ago. This hasn’t been picked up by any other media as far as I can see but feel free to correct me.
    While I most definitely agree with a lot of what is said there (especially about employers not wanting to employ us), I’m cynical enough to realise this is the start of mass work testing for ALL, a la what’s happened in the UK. Can you really see Anne and Co. ever acknowledging there will always be people on SLP who, no matter how much they want to work, simply will not be able to due to the nature/severity of their disability? Yeah right. She obviously doesn’t like the fact that SLP numbers have gone up, therefore they must be reduced. Simple really.

    I wish I could be had up for exaggerating and scaremongering. But those of us who have been following what’s going on in the UK with their welfare “reforms”, to the point that even their govt has had to acknowledge their actions have been directly responsible for the death of many disabled, and knowing that our pollies love their pollies and want to copy them, well I for one am terrified. We all must be.

  7. The benefit is like a DRUG, so goes Principal Health Advisor Dr David Bratt, hired under the last Labour government in 2007, and still in the job, while “thriving” with his ideologically tinted “messages” under this Nat government, that he sends out to GPs and other medical professionals, also his herd of “Regional Health Advisors” and “Regional Disability Advisors” in every Regional Office of WINZ.,d.dGc

    It is the RHAs and RDAs, trained by Bratt, who “recommend” to case managers how to decide whether sick and disabled should get whatever benefit. They rather pay them less, so more and more are considered “fit for work”, as that is supposed to be “therapeutic”, to compete and work on the open job market.

    And the Deputy PM Bill English thinks the same, he claimed before Christmas, that the benefit is just like “crack cocaine”:

    Now I note, the MSM have hardly reported on this, and seems to simply accept this as totally “normal”, and probably being based on “true science”. That is how far they have pushed it, and it is just the beginning, believe you me!

    But what really causes ill health may not be so much the “benefit”, it may be precarious, insecure, low paid and bad work, that is a worry, yet that seems to not fit their agenda:

  8. “This is the lowest December quarter since 2008 and the third consecutive quarter with such record lows,” Tolley says –

    Even if the figures actually meant that some people were actually better off because they found good jobs all the figures show is a return to where they were in 2008- hardly something for the Nats to be proud of.

    We have no data on anything that matters. Why is there no 2013 statistical report from MSD? Last one is 2012.

  9. what peope that bash beneficiaries need is education. If they understood genes then maybe, just maybe, their opinions would change. This excerpt from a speech made by that great comedian Tim Minchin sums it up.

    Remember, It’s All Luck
    You are lucky to be here. You were incalculably lucky to be born, and incredibly lucky to be brought up by a nice family that helped you get educated and encouraged you to go to Uni. Or if you were born into a horrible family, that’s unlucky and you have my sympathy… but you were still lucky: lucky that you happened to be made of the sort of DNA that made the sort of brain which – when placed in a horrible childhood environment – would make decisions that meant you ended up, eventually, graduating Uni. Well done you, for dragging yourself up by the shoelaces, but you were lucky. You didn’t create the bit of you that dragged you up. They’re not even your shoelaces.

    I suppose I worked hard to achieve whatever dubious achievements I’ve achieved … but I didn’t make the bit of me that works hard, any more than I made the bit of me that ate too many burgers instead of going to lectures while I was here at UWA.

    Understanding that you can’t truly take credit for your successes, nor truly blame others for their failures will humble you and make you more compassionate.

    Empathy is intuitive, but is also something you can work on, intellectually.

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