The solution to the Government’s refusal to lift benefits 



Substantial benefit hikes appear off the Government’s agenda

Substantial benefit increases appear off the Government’s welfare agenda as it chooses to grapple with housing and mental health.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni strongly signalled her plans for welfare reform at the Child Action Poverty Group conference on Monday, asking welfare advocates to “trust in the coalition Government”.

Advocates speaking on Monday criticised the Government’s “puzzling and disturbing” failure to act on its promises to the poor, and insisted the $7.5 billion Budget surplus be spent on boosting the income of beneficiaries.

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Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft said that the Government must undo the damage of the benefit slashes of the 1991 “Mother of all Budgets”.

There are 3 great touchstones of NZ culture; Alcoholism, garden variety racism and bashing the dirty filthy beneficiary.

Kiwis love to bash the dirty filthy bennie with as much joy as we love to see the All Blacks bash rugby teams on the field. Because NZers lost union muscle under neoliberalism, they look at the pittance they are paid weekly and compare it with the welfare payment with envy and get rage filled towards beneficiaries.

National play to this dark side of our nature by promoting draconian punishment towards beneficiaries every chance they get and it’s the reason Labour are too gutless to lift benefit payments as a way to combat inequality and poverty.

So how does Labour trick the bigoted sleepy hobbits of Muddle Nu Zilind into agreeing to a lift in welfare payments without the bigoted sleepy hobbits of Muddle Nu Zilind losing their shit?

Easy. Make the first $20 000 anyone earns tax free.

The bigoted sleepy hobbits of Muddle Nu Zilind will think they are getting a tax cut without realising that it also impacts people on welfare.

Labour may be too cowardly to lift benefits directly for fear of enraging the bigoted sleepy hobbits of Muddle Nu Zilind, but that doesn’t mean they can’t trick the bigoted sleepy hobbits of Muddle Nu Zilind into acquiescing to one by blinding them with the naked self interest of a tax cut.


  1. The welfare in NZ is being deliberately blown up… and isn’t it odd that NZ allows people who are not citizens but just to live here on temporary visas the right to vote within a year of living here…

    Similarities between a resident and a permanent resident visa[edit]
    The holder of any resident class visa is entitled:[1]

    to stay in New Zealand indefinitely
    to work in New Zealand or in the exclusive economic zone of New Zealand
    to study in New Zealand
    to receive free or subsidised health care at publicly funded health services.[2]
    to free education at state-run primary and secondary schools, and subsidised fees for domestic students at private schools and tertiary institutions.[3]
    to enrol and vote in elections (after one year of residence).[4][5]
    to receive a social security benefit (after two years’ residence for Jobseeker Support, Sole Parent Support and Supported Living Payment; after ten years’ residence for New Zealand Superannuation; varies for other benefits).
    to sponsor a partner, parents or dependent children during their visa application[6]
    Differences between a resident and a permanent resident visa[edit]
    A permanent resident visa holder is entitled to be granted entry permission at the border at any time, while the resident visa holder is only entitled to apply for entry permission (whether before or after travelling to New Zealand). All other rights become only effective, if entry is granted to the resident visa holder.[7]

    Generally, a resident visa is issued with travel conditions, which allow the holder to re-enter the country multiple times until these conditions expire. After that the holder may remain in the country legally but must not leave it or lose its resident status.

      • When every person who was born here has housing, employment, safety and good mental health, I’ll worry about the imports. Until then, the fucked ‘let ’em all in’ policy of Natscum for 9yrs was a tap of fucktards and losers entering NZ en masse. Fuck that.

  2. What too many Nzers forget is who else is getting government money/handouts and not being held to the same level of accountability one group that comes to mind is the farmers but there are many others who feed from the same trough but don’t get treated like shit. Why? we have double standards in our country.

    • People often think that ageism only apply to the elderly. It also applies to children. A society that denies the suffering of children is also ageist.

    • and the landlords and the casino owners

      they all feed from the trough .

      pretending that its us to blame and taking what is ours .

    • Michelle: “….one group that comes to mind is the farmers….”

      I’m from a farming family. All the subsidies and the like which were available pre-1984 were turned off like a tap, once bloody Roger Douglas got his hands on the economy. Nowadays, my immediate family is no longer in that sector. So what are farmers getting now?

      • Farming has a long list of subsidies.
        Way too long for here.
        Tax free capital gains on retirement, after avoiding taxes on profits, is just one example.

        • KJT: “Farming has a long list of subsidies.”

          Anyone who owns shares gets tax-free capital gain. If they sell at a profit….

          Anyone selling land or property which is freehold and doesn’t have encumbrances or a mortgage on it, will get a tax-free capital gain, provided they’re clear of the bright line test.

          All businesses can lawfully claim expenses which are offset against tax to be paid.

          All of these would apply to farmers. What else is there?

  3. In 2014 I registered for the job seeker benefit, weekly job search activity enter weekly to MSD database. Other half of beneficiaries at the Naenae office allowed to languish in lala land and maybe get a phonecall once every 6 weeks and or three months and asked by the Job Work Broker ” hows it going. Told me by other recipients of the local weekly foodbank. Given late 50’s now mid 60,s employers were kind enough to feedback “a younger work force I would not fit in, On my feet all day and given age the job not suitable for me etc etc. I do not look my age and in reasonably good health. Given Jacinda is determined to allow more indian migrants to drive metlink buses, stock shelves in supermarkets etc, is like adding insult to an open wound. First MSD need to have experienced work brokers actively assisting all registered unemployed to work. We do not need more Indians that increase demand on housing, hence the housing boom. Is Jacinda so scared of the employers federation that she must bring in low skilled indian migrants. Is she so scared of property owners that she made a public announcement that we need migrants to fill jobs. How about Jacinda you place registered unemployed into jobs instead of using MSD incompetence to cover her incompetence arse. How about addressing housing shortage caused by housing boom caused by migrants.
    Lorraine Sami

    • We don’t have a housing shortage – there are plenty of vacant properties (and some really greedy landlords exploiting the market), in fact the number is in the 10’s of thousands nationwide and growing.

      We have a debt bubble similar to Ireland in 2007 and when the tide of easy money flows away again we will look around at the half done buildings in dismay. Check out what Irish Immigrants say about what they saw in Ireland just before the crash, and what they see in Aussie (NZ is the same).

  4. Something the government can do immediately, but won’t because they farmed out any possible thinking about tax reform to a bunch of dried up accountants and misanthropes, is to drop the rate of GST. When I was in Switzerland in 1970s their GST was 15%. I think one of the fantasy dreams of the Nats, Key and the Right generally was that NZ was going to leverage itself up to Switzerland’s level.

    So one of the first steps was to put the GST at 15% before we actually brought this amazing financial uplift to the country. Didn’t happen, now slow old NZ dodders its way to realistic change and may be at the tipping point to bring GST down. – to say 10% which is simple, and doesn’t change the money flow too much. Then, return half of that to poorer areas to aid efforts to learn new skills, retrain themselves, get reasonable infrastructure to work in, run courses doing practical things with certificates for good outcomes, start micro businesses, enable people who haven’t lost their go to get on with something, and bring lots of positives into people’s lives without demanding that they are perfect before they get any opportunity. And who is likely to be perfect when you come from Struggle Street.

    Now those measures would have good results, and please everybody, even those who are so warped that they love to croak on about ……….. (put your own most-heard or voiced put-down.) Let’s climb our own Everests instead of sitting on the sidelines praising NZs who have put themselves out to do things not half as important.

  5. “Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft said that the Government must undo the damage of the benefit slashes of the 1991 “Mother of all Budgets”.”

    Hear hear! It’s the right thing to do, but it appears that the government hasn’t the courage to do it.

    And this is why, despite my being an old-style leftie, and being a Labour voter for almost all of my adult life, I won’t be voting for this lot at the next election. Possibly never again. This government has been a crushing disappointment.

    “Kiwis love to bash the dirty filthy bennie….”

    In my recollection, criticism of beneficiaries wasn’t really an issue (partly because there weren’t many of them) before about 1973, when the DPB was introduced. And even then, the critique I heard was of women: how dare they, living on the benefit without a man in their household! (thereby avoiding the bash from said man; but that’s another story)

    As I remember things, critique of beneficiaries really ramped up after Richardson’s Mother of all Budgets and Shipley’s swingeing benefit cuts. Counter-intuitive, I know, but there it is.

    So: the poorer beneficiaries have become, and the more hardscrabble their existence, the worse the criticism.

    “…NZers lost union muscle under neoliberalism…”

    Yup. Neoliberalism has a lot to answer for, not least because under its tenets, our society has become dog-eat-dog. The powerless can’t afford magnanimity: they kick the lowest people on the totem pole, the beneficiaries. Unfortunately, that’s part of the human condition.

    When this government came to power, I was cautiously optimistic. No more. It’d be a cold day in hell before I’d vote Green; and Labour has lost me as a voter, possibly permanently.

    What do folk such as me do next election? Buggered if I know: maybe ACT. At least they’ll look to preserve our freedom of speech, I guess.

    • What is wrong with the Greens. List your dislikes. I would be interested. They have been good to preserve a different line from the main two parties all these years. Just to show people that there is more than one way and more than their own concerns to concentrate on. But you have been thinking – what things made you give them the thumbs down D’Esterre?

      • Greywarbler: “What is wrong with the Greens. List your dislikes.”

        How do I loathe thee; let me count the ways…. (apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

        My beefs with them go back a ways.

        1. The way they behaved over that bloody flag campaign: after that, I wrote to Gareth Hughes and said, it’ll be a cold day in hell before I vote for you lot.

        2. Metiria Turei: it wasn’t so much the benefit thing – though that was more systematic and deliberate than she let on to initially – but her finagling over the electoral roll that finished her for me.

        3. Golriz Gharahman: for this:

        We are supposed still to have free speech in this country. One doesn’t have to like, or to agree with, the National Front, to accept that they were completely within their rights to march on Parliament (the centre of our democracy, please note). They weren’t planning on any violence, and they weren’t; in fact, it was the other side, whatever they called themselves, who behaved like a mob. The press photographers captured some unlovely images of them.

        Also for that vigil in Auckland after the March shootings, the anti-pakeha stuff she and Davidson came out with: deeply inappropriate in the circumstances.

        She comes across as a woman who – as the saying goes – has come to believe her own publicity, and is far too fond of the sound of her own voice.

        4. Marama Davidson: for what she said at that vigil, as above. And for pretty much everything else she says, to be honest: it seems as if she can’t open her mouth without sticking her foot in it.

        5. James Shaw. Urgh!

        6. Julie Anne Genter: would she please just keep her woke left nose OUT of the Wellington transport and roading infrastructure issues?

        7. The woke leftery: they’re a bunch of middle class zealots, who have absolutely no idea how the rest of us must make shift to survive in this benighted little country.

        8. The identity politics. Christ!

        There are other reasons, but I don’t now recall them. So sue me: I’m old and my brain is full.

        • D’Esterre – “Also for that vigil in Auckland after the March shootings, the anti-pakeha stuff she and Davidson came out with: deeply inappropriate in the circumstances.” Why are you being so polite about this, D’Esterre ?

          It was shockingly destructive, and it was self-serving downright lies.

          It showed two Greens and a couple of other young Maori women brimming with hatred towards Pakeha NZ. Even worse, it pulled the rug out from beneath the Muslim community already reeling with shock after the savage ChCh massacre. It would have worried some of them, and just because some here are terribly and ignorantly anti-Indian, is not good enough reason to go around frightening them. It’s called, bullying.

          They blamed white NZ’ers for the Muslim massacres, and one deranged featherless fledgling stood there and told the world’s cameras, “White people hate us.”

          I love flax flowers. I had a beautiful flax flower arrangement. Following the
          Auckland vigil’s declaration of hatred towards me, I took carried my flowers from my house, and down to the Sallies.

          Chloe Swarbrick’s offensive comments at Victoria University last week that, “Life experience doesn’t count,” showed an abyssmal ignorance of reality, and Maramar Davidson is no better – and I’ll leave that there. Word association.

          I am not surprised that Gareth Hughes is getting out and I’m surprised that he has stayed as sane as he has. Waste of a good true environmentalist.

          • Snow White: “Why are you being so polite about this, D’Esterre ?”

            Buggered if I know, but you’re dead right. I was being far too polite; my sole excuse is that it was fairly late at night and I was doing about 3 things at the same time.

            I have been considerably more forthright about them in previous comment threads. I wasn’t at that vigil: I heard about it at second hand, read an extensive account of it online somewhere. I think that it was a journalist’s piece.

            You’ve described it exactly.

            “They blamed white NZ’ers for the Muslim massacres, and one deranged featherless fledgling stood there and told the world’s cameras, “White people hate us.””

            I do like your turn of phrase! This was just dreadful; every pakeha there would have been justified in getting up and walking out en masse, but of course they didn’t. And I assume that nobody made a complaint to the Race Relations Commissioner, either.

            That’s pakeha for you: so propagandised by Maori activists, that they’ll just take crap like that, because they’re scared to complain. They’ve been told that brown people can’t be racist! Bollocks to that: brown and black people are as capable of extreme prejudice and offensive bigotry as anybody else. As those of us who’ve worked with them know full well…

            “Chloe Swarbrick’s offensive comments at Victoria University last week that, “Life experience doesn’t count,” showed an abyssmal ignorance of reality, and Maramar Davidson is no better”

            Oh yes, the Swarbrick woman! I forgot to put her on my list. Well of course she’s going to discount what she don’t got: life experience. The arrogance of the young, huh? What she’s got to be arrogant about, I’m damned if I know. I’m reminded of a rhyme my late mother was fond of reciting; “Proud Miss Piddiwit, there she goes. What’s she proud of? Nobody knows.”

            And as for Marama Davidson: shedding votes every time she opens her mouth. Dumb, dumb, dumb….

            And yes, I’d meant to say that if they’d stuck to their environmental knitting, they might have my vote, along with the votes of many others who’ve just had a gutsful of them.

            No wonder Gareth Hughes is leaving. I said somewhere else that I suspected he’s spent most of this term in a cubicle in the parliamentary john (the one exclusively for men), with his head in his hands over the antics of his female colleagues. That’ll be why we’ve not seen much of him.

            I do most earnestly hope that they’re tipped out of Parliament at the next election. They richly deserve it.

            • D’Esterre – Some people were reported getting up and walking away from the racist Muslim vigil in Auckland; I saw the news clip online with the girl proclaiming, “White people hate us.” I was deeply shocked – and I’m older than you – and I would like to have lead a more sheltered life – and I was very angry.

              And don’t tell me that no-one from the Human Rights Commission or Race Relations quango wouldn’t have seen it, or been aware of it. But they’re public servants, and public servants are gutless wonders – aka extremely circumspect – about raising issues themselves. Do it too often and you’re likely to lose your job anyway – there are 1001 ways of making a workplace intolerable for misfits.

              I would not vote Green now with a gun pointed at my head. I donated to them. I want my money back.

              Davidson’s “cunt” exhortation was student party stuff, but telling white men to delete themselves isn’t good enough for a so-called politician, pissed or not. Her, I mean, not the men. The bad thing is that some pale male NZ’ers are perfectly ok. I can think of five off the top of my head –
              Gareth Hughes, John Campbell, Andrew Geddes, Lloyd Geering, and Andrew Mehrtens when he was kicking goals and I don’t even like rugby. And a guy from Split Enz= 6.

              Six good men out of a population of nearly 5 million is not too bad a number considering that some will be women, others other, plus some will belong to one of those alphabetical groups who discount all the rest of us anyway.

              Hate is a terrible word – I used to tell my children that it was a “dirty” word, and it should be used with great care, if at all. There’re a few Green women – just a few – for whom the party may be a vehicle for self-promotion, that’s how I’m feeling, but the Auckland vigil performance was the limit.

              Should I see Gareth Hughes in the supermarket again, I’ll tell him that he’s OK. He carries a kid or two shopping, you know, normal people sort of stuff. Sort of bloke who’d be good in politics.

      • The Chairman: I remember Social Credit from the FPP days. I always liked its philosophies; still do. If there’s a good candidate standing in our electorate, I might just vote SoCred.

        I’m still thinking of ACT; maybe TOP, if it can get its act together.

        However. On another thread, Applewood suggests voting for the Natz, so as to punish the Coalition. I must admit that I’m coming round to this way of thinking as well. And a vote for ACT or TOP (or one candidate, the other party) might well bring about that result, without my actually having to hold my nose and vote Natz.

        Not sure what a SoCred vote would bring, though.

      • Thats a very interesting set of policies they are proposing Chairman. Debt free money created by the Reserve Bank would be a game changer that would strangle neoliberalism dead. Suddenly everything becomes affordable over a period of time. Fom a quick look the only thing I couldnt agree with was recreating a combat air wing or whatever they call it. But the money thing is such a game changer I could definitely go for them. Seem to be pretty good on the environment and taking active measures to close the inequality gap. Whats not to like?

  6. Perhaps if the government started to publicise the fact that the Mother of all Budgets put benefits at a level that was so low that there wasn’t enough money to provide adequate nutrition for your family. Lots of stories of misery in the media and people’s attitudes will shift. After all it took a massive campaign in the media to destroy the reputation of unions so surely it can go the other way.

    OK, the government would have to take over the media – but that’s actually a possibility right now

  7. Marama Davidson said the other day in interview (paraphrasing) “more Green MPs need to be voted into parliament to enable welfare reform”. Yeah right, like we need more overpayed people in government unable to overcome their own inertia to actually get anything transformational achieved. Who is behind the unwillingness to increase benefits, Sepuloni? Robertson? Treasury? Someone in the Labour apparatchik or beyond? Aaron above raises a salient and disturbing point; the benefit is not enough to live on regardless of how people come to depend on welfare, and this then becomes a question of food first and foremost. By not doing anything this government is actually causing physical harm via malnutrition. I like Bomber’s tax idea. My ideas include either using the default payments or fines from tax evaders (which some estimates say are at least 30 times that for benefit fraud i.e. billions), or getting the bludgers from South Canterbury Finance to chip in a couple of billion to finance it, they are flush.

  8. The paradox of our wee place, our sympathy for others is only matched by our suspicion of others.

    You got the black nature of us right, Martyn. And a good possibility for the cowards/ pragmatists who think their present power matters half a shit. Grant thinks he’s the best thing since candy cane!

  9. Zero-taxing the first $20,000 of income is a pleasant aspiration, and would bring New Zealand in line with Australia and Britain, which both do that, and of course have a 45% top tax rate to recover the cost. But I don’t see how it helps beneficiaries who aren’t earning the $20,000.
    The real answer will always be to restore benefits to levels that rescue beneficiaries from poverty, and to get rid of spineless MPs who stand in the way.

      • Martyn – Your idea is a good one – simple solutions often are. Jody points out that a benefit is not enough to live on, and any govt deliberately perpetuating this, is itself sick.

      • And abolish secondary income tax as well, and raise the limit that people can earn before their benefit gets reduced. A living wage is where the cut off point should start.

        • It’s really starting to rub when people say they want to drag labour left or more Labour and Greens to cut out NZFirst will some how delivery merciless, is simply the opposite of stability. A good chunk of NZFirst voters want NZFirst to go with National and your great plan is to make that easier. Further more a $20k tax threshold says that the poorest people will not pay for the 2008 financial meltdown and speculation gone wrong.

  10. A Universal Basic Income for every adult is the only solution.

    Tax rates will be raised, yes, but if you’re receiving $300-or-so a week then you’re still far better off than what you were before, if you’re in the low income bracket. It would be like a weekly tax refund.

    Only the wealthy will experience a net loss, with average earners being more or less unaffected by the change.

    This eliminates the tyranny of WINZ, the welfare trap and the Us vs. Them mentality. In the USA you have Andrew Yang campaigning for UBI with decent support among both liberals and conservatives. In the UK their Green Party is already on board with UBI as well.

  11. We’re all talking about what will pass through the thorax of a focus group. The prick-ess, child poverty minister, opening the parliamentary children’s playground yesterday, having instituted 3 of the 100 odd recommendations of the child poverty advisory group. We all know Andrew Little would have done better.

    I really wish there was a great talker for the right here like Bernie Sanders. Is he the only one in the developed world?

  12. Most Kiwis do not mind supporting beneficiaries, as long as they are humble and come crawling and begging in gratitude for the bits they are given.

  13. I think Martin’s idea has practical utility and most importantly is highly palatable for the public.

    It has the added benefit of removing the confusion and stress for those transitioning to work because it would be tax free, and instantly removing that stupid “paper boy” tax. Only Q is why isn’t it being done?

  14. Bernard Mc .. ( not fluent in Irish Macs) made the case on RNZ National today for Labour making the case for the poorest. Jacinda even attempting that wouldn’t ‘impress me much’. Let alone Grant. So glad I voted for Andrew Little; never, I’m proud to say, having voted for Labour. They are foul now. And have been longtime. Nil integrity.

    All of the last of us who grew up in the Welfare State who know are fighting for those values. After us, Amerika. Jacinda has to genuflect before Roger Douglas.

  15. ‘Hickey’. No Mc about it. It’s always first about Irish and Scots with me. Keeps me going along.

    Who in Labour could make a case for the least without me frowning? Who are these people?! How can Ardern call herself child poverty minister and not enact the recommendations of the poverty group yet feel good about herself? I don’t give a flying about her personal happiness, her balance in life — I prefer those ogres who put ‘t’Cause’ before everything. Unbalance every time for me.

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