CPAG Livestream Beyond Social Investment 2017


‘Social Investment’ is a buzzword that is guiding the current National Government’s social policy decisions. What does it mean? What are the implications of increased ‘target efficiency’?
Speakers at the 2017 summit Beyond Social Investment will examine and critique this view of welfare provision, and discuss what a social welfare system that genuinely put “the well-being of children at the centre” would look like.
What changes to policies and budgets would make the difference required for all children to thrive?
  • Professor Peter Whiteford, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Canberra, and Associate Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research, University of New South Wales
  • Dr Simon Chapple, Director of the Institute of Governance and Policy Studies in Victoria University’s School of Government
  • Peter Alsop, Director of the Insights and Investment Group at the Ministry of Social Development
  • David Kenkel, Lecturer in Social Practice at Unitec
  • Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw, Head of Research at the Morgan Foundation Public Policy Think Tank
  • Honorary Associate Professor Susan St John, QSO, Economics Department, and Director of the Retirement Policy and Research Centre, University of Auckland
  • Dr Bill Rosenberg, Economist and Director of Policy, Council of Trade Unions
  • Alan Johnson, Social Policy Analyst for The Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit
  • Len Cook, Families Commissioner, Chair of the board of Superu, and a member of the Remuneration Authority
  • Associate Professor Mike O’Brien, School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work at the University of Auckland


  1. “Social investment’ is a term stolen from 1970s Marxist work on the welfare state.
    I that context it means state spending on welfare consumption, along with ‘social capital’ which is investment in the state machinery of delivering welfare.
    But the corrollary was that taxation to pay for social investment was a redistribution of income resulting from the production of value by the working class.
    The NACTs have used it as a cover for privatisation of welfare to the deserving poor by scapegoating the underclass of bludgers.
    The ‘social’ is redefined after Thatcher to mean the aggregate of individuals who fit the definition of deserving welfare.
    Its all about the gutting of the welfare state to cut taxes on profits which since the 1970s have been trending down.
    The reason for this is that social spending began as a safety net in the early days of capitalism but then in the C20th became a subsidy to employers paid for out of general taxation.
    The problem was that progressive taxes cut into profits so the bosses spend the last 4 decades in restructuring taxes so that taxes on profits were cut and taxes on wages increased.
    But even as social spending was little more than a recycling of taxes from some workers to others in the interests of cutting taxes on profits. this was not enough to restore falling profits.
    Wages needs to be driven down both on the job and also for the unemployed and beneficiaries who compete for jobs.
    The neo-liberal prescription borrowed from the Hayek et al was to force people to work to be free, so that benefits had to be much less than the minimum wage.
    Fiddling with this term ‘social investment’ as if it can be made progressive is the a delusion of sociopaths.
    ‘Social investment’ will not deserve support until it is incorporated into a planned economy for working people and run by working people, and the capitalist parasites and their tools are all in bootcamps.

  2. It’s easy to use the word, or term, fascist in a flippant, off hand way to describe the activities of, say, authority figures. Like parking wardens, the police, IRD etc but if we still ourselves and think of the word ‘fascism’ and ponder the ramifications of the word and of its historical connotations, what then do we see?
    We might think of Mussolini, Stalin and of course Hitler. What might one then think of roger douglas? Or of rob muldoon,Jenny shipley, jim bolger, john key or bill english? What about donald trump? That guy has the world in his dainty little hands, as does kim jung-un.
    Does the word ‘ Fascism’ belong to the ‘ Them’s’, as opposed to the ‘ Us’s’ ?
    I’d say definitely!
    Does the word ‘ fascism’ describe the weird, seemingly nonsensical paradox that exists between the Right Wing and the Left Wing in our relatively polite Kiwi-as politics?
    I’ve been interested in the anomaly that exists within what I perceive as human kind, and non human kind, both of which seem to co-exist in human form, for quite some time.
    I see the evidence of such an anomaly everywhere. And humans are losing. I see ‘ it’ in our art, or lack thereof, in our public works, our food, our transport, our health systems, the way we interact with each other, our home life and the very structures we’ve become convinced is the only way to build a dwelling. The very word’ dwelling’ is dubious actually. What happened to house or home?
    Fascism is on the rise. Again. You can see it in people’s eyes. You can hear it on the radio, on TV, in news print, on the internet.
    While I’m no God botherer, it seems that fascism, or non human forces, are on the loose on Earth yet again. Make of it what you will, but there’s definitely something going on upstairs.

    This from the Guardian this morning.

    John Le Carre`
    ‘Something seriously bad is happening’

    If a politician/s puts numbers before humans? That’s a claxon sounding a warning to us all.

  3. Here is my verse containing my views and sentiments of Bill English’s Social Investment approach that I formed yesterday, based on the States treatment of myself and others who seem to fall through the gaps of Bill’s Social Investment (Read “Cost Savings Techniques”)….

    I stand within a crowd,
    of unknown numbers,
    Big Data, has not seen me,
    Big Data has not heard my story.

    within the newly created,
    “social Investment state”
    here unknown numbers,
    get manipulated to control our fate.

    I am but one of many,
    whom have fallen through the cracks,
    of a government who refuses to measure,
    the social cost,
    of punitive policy that gives them pleasure.

    The binary configuration,
    feeds his Big Data needs,
    of reducing financial liability,
    for which he has chosen to overlook,
    the real term costs to humanity,
    with negligible accountability.

    The Mockingjay is in the air,
    having risen to address fairness and inequality,
    The Mockingjay has seen us,
    The Mockinjay has heard us,
    not long before,
    together we set ourselves free.

    For now we have seen you Mockingbird,
    and we have heard the meaning,
    within your actions and words,
    which has gained our trust,
    and provided our nation with a fairer vision,
    where our individuality,
    need not be restricted to a,
    series of unknown numbers.

    My spirit stands along side you,
    And while my heart knows,
    that I am but only one,
    your call our Mockingjay,
    has resonated within the souls of many,
    and together we will now answer,
    your call,
    with our pledge of allegiance.

    Lets look past the grumpy,
    old white men,
    whose sense of entitlement,
    and desire to retain power,
    in our ever changing world,
    through exclusivity,
    no longer serves us all,
    in our modern world.

    While Katniss brought change with arrows,
    your positive words and realistic vision,
    so eloquently delivered with passion and strength,
    has proven no less accurate,
    in disrupting for the benefit of all,
    the status quo that would have seen,
    the continued entrenchment,
    and widening chasm of inequality.

    You have seen me Mockingjay,
    You have seen us Mokingjay,
    You have heard me Mockingjay,
    You have heard us Mokingjay,
    and as diverse individuals,
    we now walk together with conviction,
    in the direction that your inspiring,
    and shared vision is heading.

    We have heard you Jacinda,
    You have awoken us,
    and the time is now right,
    for a more just and fair,
    readjustment of the founding tenents,
    of what we value as a Nation.

    Lets leave behind,
    in yesterday’s shadow,
    the grumpy old white men,
    desperately attempting to cling to power,
    and awaken on the 24th September 2017
    enthusiastic and ready to create,
    our better, fairer and more equitable
    future for our Nation.

    I would also like to know if this social investment approach through MSD, ACC, Police, Ministry of Justice… etc within NZ has begun to use information accessed directly and or indirectly through any Palintar systems, associated with Peter Thiel.

    Also really interested to have full transparency shone upon all privacy commission sanctioned data sharing agreements between Govt entities, themselves and any third party private entities, along with establishing whether the Govt entities share information outside of sanctioned privacy commission agreed data sharing agreements.

  4. I’m not able to access the stream, but the very concept of “targetted assistance” is a misnomer – it is neoliberal political spin for the tactic of increasing filtering mechanisms, which is done through legal fine print. Think: The only possible outcome of increased filtering mechanisms is fewer people successfully passing through those mechanisms! It’s very purpose is to make accessing assistance so extremely difficult and fraught with landmines that those who truly need help won’t be able to access it or will simply give up. This further benefits the rich and powerful neoliberal establishment, which can then claim “Look, under our government, welfare numbers are down!”. And then gradually, they’re able to reduce funding to those support mechanisms, and then abolish them completely – resulting in a deeply binary society, with massively impoverished individuals on the one hand, and ultra-rich 1%ers on the other.
    We only have to look at the layers upon layers of legal fine print in a current benefit application to see how National works. The laid-back “casual bro”-style of speaking, is all part of an attempt to appeal to the greed, ignorance and intellectual laziness of the public. Worse, it gives tacit permission for other members of the public to act out in extremely ugly-minded ways. As part of a larger process this gradually rots out the social fabric – the genuine together-ness nature – of our society. The only possible result of a National government is increased crime – from the massively struggling left-behinders, and the rich and powerful pinching anything they can get their hands on!

  5. Ah… ? I just heard re RNZ that allan gibb FOUNDER OF ACT ! and the mainfreight crook who made $-billions from the deliberate destruction of NZ’s rail infrastructure were major contributors to the TOP party!
    And there’s gareth morgan above. Wearing a door mat on his TOP lip!
    gareth morgan. Economist. I.E. Otherwise unemployable.
    @ I think it was $150 k a piece? That’s chump change for the boys who put poverty into the streets of a rich country with a tiny population.
    So, it begs the question. What are those dodgy scum bags up to?
    I say…
    Fuck. Him.!
    Fuck. Them.!
    Fuck. That.!

  6. Further to the above – must read:

    “Blaming the victim, all over again: Waddell and Aylward’s biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability”

    Refuting so called ‘evidence’ that MSD – same as DWP in the UK – used for justifying putting higher work ability expectations onto sick and disabled, and to move them off higher paid invalid’s benefits onto ‘jobseeker’ benefits.

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