A welcome welfare package – same needed for existing beneficaries and migrants

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The government’s new Covid Income Relief payment is a welcome step forward. The payments are for 12 weeks from June 8 when the current wage subsidy stops for most employees.

A $490 tax-free payment for those working 30 hours or more a week and $250 for those working 15-29 hours a week.

The plusses are that:
  • It is accessible for anyone who loses tier job between March 1 and 30 October because of Covid-19 impact.
  • The amount paid is considerably more generous than the current maximum single employment benefit of $250 net a week for those 25 and older who qualify whatever type of job you lost.
  • It is accessible even if your partner has a job and earns up to $2000 a week.
  • It is accessible to students who have lost jobs without impacting other student support payments.
The disappointments are:
  • It is not accessible to people on an unemployment benefit if they lost their job before March 1.This maintains the deplorable “deserving” and “undeserving” poor categories that seem to exist in the welfare system. Around 145,000 were receiving a benefit before March 20. 43,500 have applied since then. Most of the second group can apply for the income relief payment but not the pre-existing group. We are being less generous than Australia which double payments for all beneficiaries.

    These beneficiaries, half of whom have existing ongoing health issues, have any income above $80 a week taken off them at the rate of 70 cents in the dollar. The denial of benefits to those who have partners earning a modest income also abates at a rate of 70 cents in the dollar over $80 a week. These policies are simply punitive and encourage the break up of partnerships, and discourage the desire to work.

    This is the time to eliminate this punitive system.

  • An important group to have missed out on support are the migrant workers who have proved themselves so essential to the functioning of New Zealand society. Many are now in a desperate position because they have lost jobs and can’t get home. They also need access to a benefit for at least 12 weeks.
    A significant number of these are “defacto” New Zealanders because they have been working here for a decade or more and have raised a family entirely in New Zealand. They should have a speeded-up process of residency granted to allow them to stay permanently.
We should take the 12-week breather to redesign our welfare system to make it much more universal and generous. We need to support people through difficult periods without punitive restrictions on working extra hours or living with a partner.
A tax-free payment like that being implement could be made permanent and open to everyone who is in a difficult circumstance. I discuss one such system in a previous blog.
But systems like that need tax systems that tax all income including wealth. That needs to be the next stage of the recovery plan for New Zealand.

18 COMMENTS

  1. I am a union member – I pay my subs – migrant workers have been used to force down pay and conditions – they (migrant workers) have done this knowingly in order to try and get residence – they should be offered a flight back to their country of origin – cheaper in the long run for NZ – a hotel at Mt Cook is laying off NZ workers in favour of migrants – is this fair to the country? – the unions are here to advocate for union members not people who do not pay any subs – you are doing the movement a disservice by continually advocating for people that bring down pay and conditions in NZ

  2. Most of the migrants are much richer than the locals and paid $50k+ to get visas etc, they are not poor and if they are, it is because they paid for a job, faked the paperwork of being able to support themselves, bought the family over and somehow didn’t read their visa conditions which are clear it is temporary!

    NZ is a very tiny economy, which works because we have a small population but now doesn’t work very well, because somebody had the idea to support the world’s income less and unskilled here and so the floodgates opened with immigration phones ringing off the hook, and so did our local homelessness and poverty, congestion, pollution and low productivity.

    If we start paying more welfare to those that are not even citizens and don’t quality for it, what is next, unite union place adds in China and India and the Philippines and wherever else, to just pay their nationals working fast food money not to work? It’s crazy.

    Especially with so many Kiwi’s out of work and so many migrants who were gifted citizenship but never lived here, and can just come back into NZ and scam the place and with ease of travel it’s becoming more common https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/121302846/colour-drained-from-real-estate-agents-face-as-he-realised-hed-been-defrauded-of-120k-in-sim-hijacking-scam and operate socially poor businesses with illegal work practises. https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/121359471/coronavirus-wealthy-liqour-store-barons-claim-550k-covid19-wage-subsidy

    We already subsidise the businesses of superpowers with Silver Fern Farms owned 50% by China, receiving $42.5m in wage subsidies and most of the large sums of money for wages seems suspiciously made to overseas based companies. Overseas nationals and corporations seem to be the first in for corporate welfare.

    Now unions on top of bringing in hundreds of thousands of temporary workers, that NZ should never have let in in the first place, get more welfare too. Oh and health care, super, free citizenship. No wonder everybody with low skills, low paid jobs, are so keen to get to NZ.

    (Sadly the reverse is also true, the brain drain of capable, high skills, high paid people leaving NZ forced by our lowered wages https://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatnews/7973220/New-Zealand-brain-drain-worst-in-world.html, BTW even the skilled migrants leave too once they have permanent residency and can leave the income less family in NZ to get their benefits after they are ‘abandoned’….. )

    Mike Treen is beginning to sound like a broken record on this issue. NZ migrants are now less skilled than they used to be coming to NZ, and it is on the back of unions like unite that are no longer acting in the interests of local workers but in the interests of making money off more ponzi migrants schemes and encouraging them to come to NZ and get welfare here https://croakingcassandra.com/2018/08/30/work-visas-for-shop-managers/.

    Funny enough you don’t see high paid jobs in the NZ skilled migrant categories because the unions like unite are the ones helping drive the problem… and any some of the skills are more like ponzi’s aka aged care workers needed because NZ has 100,000 Asian migrant pensioners now that came to NZ to be supported… and expected to be 171,000 in a few years.. There are expected to be more asian pensioners than Maori and Pacific Island pensioners combined…

    Lets look at why the majority of cases of essential work are laughable jobs like retail, fast food and supermarket workers that funny enough unions like unite get memberships from no longer need to speak English past Hello, no longer need to be numerate or literate because computers do all the work on the till these days. It is also only a matter of time that the low skills and jobs would be made redundant by self service tills, etc.

    Sadly on the back of the above job, people can then start brining in spouses, aged parents and kids… so for every low waged migrant there could be many more to support and why wouldn’t you when the money is free, free, free and every day your personal lobby groups are in the media asking for more money for you…

    In addition the burgeoning of these jobs contribute to socially poor outcomes for everyone else. Fast food contributes to obesity and diabetes… making a massive public health disaster even removed from the harm of continually importing in circa 30% of a third world, work force that need welfare.

    ‘New Zealand has the third highest adult obesity rate in the OECD, and our rates continue to increase. One in three adult New Zealanders (over 15 years) is classified as obese, and one in ten children.”

    “In New Zealand, it is estimated that the number of people diagnosed with diabetes exceeds 200,000 people (predominantly type 2 diabetes). Within the New Zealand population, the prevalence of diabetes in Māori and Pacific populations is around three times higher than among other New Zealanders. Prevalence is also high among South Asian populations.”

    Seriously the unions have a lot of answer for if they continue to support a parasitic industry bringing the zero skills into NZ of which the standards seem to drop year after year, put more people into obesity and diabetes from poor food from supermarkets, liquor stores and fast food and now when the ponzi is revealed their ‘fix’ is to put hundreds of thousands of other countries nationals, on NZ welfare?????

    • Always a pleasure to read these sorts of comments, they are a bulwark against those would sell us out to the lowest bidder!- and its time all this ‘importing cheap labour to keep wages down’ STOPPED !!!

  3. Mike, if you were in this position in any overseas country you would not get a benefit. Why should we do the same here? Migrant workers came here under those very same expectations. What’s not fair is to bankrupt our welfare system for the hundreds of thousands of migrants who are not NZ’ers, who have been used to force down wages, and who have caused such huge infrastructure shortages. In this post Covid world I just don’t think we need all these migrants – best they go home.

  4. We need a universal basic income of untaxed $22,000 a year for everyone over 18 to replace almost all benefits other than accommodation allowances, and a youth benefit of half that amount. These would need a flat tax rate approaching 50 per cent to pay for them, effectively transferring money from the wealthier members of society to those who need it.

  5. Covid is actually helping local workers find work and giving people the chance to get into work with a view to better opportunities later on.

    In addition tourists coming to NZ should be seeing local people working in hospitality because the culture of a county should be part of it’s charm, not shipping the cheapest person from the other side of the globe who knows nothing about NZ to be the new brand for a non NZ experience. NZ has created a very short sighted approach to tourism as well as most industry sectors. Unions would be helping local workers FIRST!

    Nearly 5000 find jobs via Work and Income in lockdown while 40,000 applied for benefit

    “I’m really happy to be in work, I like to work, I don’t like having to wait for the benefit and things like that – it’s certainly not something that I’m used to,” he said.

    “I’ve been at work for 40 years now so unemployment’s not something that’s been an issue for me this whole time.”

    But that contract ended, just as Covid-19 hit.

    Allen called Work and Income to sign up for the benefit. Within two days, his case manager had tracked down four employers who were looking for forklift drivers.

    Allen is now working for Seeka Orchards, still driving a forklift, packing kiwifruit in cool stores near Te Puke.

    It was a different situation for 20-year-old Bree, who had been on the benefit since finishing school and was finding it tough to get a job.

    “I want to save up for a house,” Bree said.

    She was getting her applications knocked back, because she did not have the right qualifications.

    “How can I get qualifications if you don’t give me a chance?”

    During lockdown, Bree got a text from Work and Income asking her if she was interested in security work.

    She now has a job with First Security, and hopes to be able to build up her skills and eventually go into the police or Customs.”

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/416994/nearly-5000-find-jobs-via-work-and-income-in-lockdown-while-40-000-applied-for-benefit

  6. So disappointing to see ill-educated xenophobic mean-spirited Kiwis bashing tax-paying migrants who are backbone to the country, especially in agriculture and construction. “We are one”, “Be kind”, “Team of five millions”, “This is not who we are”… turned out the slogans are all bullshit. lol
    We aren’t one, we aren’t kind, we aren’t a team of five millions, that was who we are

  7. A new term for ‘Bribe’. Income support. You can consider yourself not to be a beneficiary even though you are.

  8. THE ARTICLE BELOW FROM MY FACE BOOK GROUP ADDS TO THE PROBLEM Created by an inadequate welfare system CREATED BY THE MIGRANT INFLUX>

    UPDATED _______Questions ________to be asked while unemployed Re funding of medicines and healthcare add them here to add them to a possible survey.

    Take NOTE the questions have been rephrased.

    This is why I say only targeting medicines funding is only HALF OF THE MEDICINES FUNDING PROBLEM.
    This is why I say we need a MULTI TARGETED APPROACH.

    I would not be surprised one bit, if half the unemployed are people in a relationship, WHO ARE REFUSED A BENEFIT of any sort including the supported living payment.

    Due to the restrictions in place which allows you to have or not have the slp or Jobseekers.

    How many of them are unable to buy all their meds every week or even the doctor or xray or whatever, that had to be paid for that you would get paid for, if you were under ACC care or benefit because of not enough money.

    This discrimination due to relationship status has to be brought to an end.

    In my opinion it is a breach of Article 25 of the Un Human Rights Act .

    Denial of healthcare and welfare due to economic status.

    We hear of chemists saying all the time of people not being able to afford even funded meds let alone unfunded meds.

    Then we have the waiting lists to get into the hospitals etc.

    I my opinion we need to start the discussion to turn ACC into a full blown MEDICARE AGENCY that covers ALL LONG TERM ILLNESSES no matter how they are occured.

    I suggest we get a survey done and measure the following.

    UPDATED QUESTIONS WE NEED ANSWERS TOO:

    1 what % of the population is in a relationship with a long term illness .

    2 what % of the population that is in a relationship is having trouble funding funded meds ( Not all towns have a countdown or Bargain Chemist with free prescriptions).

    3 what % of the population that is in a relationship is having trouble funding unfunded meds.

    4 what % of the population that is in a relationship has applied for a Pharmac statutory authority and been refused funding.

    5 of that % of the population (Q4) that have applied for a statutory application. How many applications in total has their doctor applied for and been refused.

    6 How many people with long term illness have been refused the supported living payment benefit.
    6a- What was the reason for Refusal

    7 How many people with long term illness after being refused a supported living payment have been refused the Jobseekers benefit due to being above the relationship income limit.

    8 How many people with a long term illness that’s not recognised as a “long term illness” have been refused an SLP
    8a What was the illness you have they refused the application for slp.
    8b How many people with a long term illness that’s not recognised as a “long term illness” have been refused the Jobseekers benefit due to the relationships rule limits.

    9 How many peoples medicines costs are above the disability allowances maximum Level.

    10 Due to the new Responsible lending laws, how many people with funded or unfunded medicines, are not going to be able to access the number of loans they could previous to June 1st 2020 , to pay for their medicines after the new law comes into effect on June 1st 2020.

    Lets face it all winz benefits for anyone with a long term illness are inadequate anyway.

    They are nowhere near enough to pay for your medicines as they only pay a %.

    The disability allowance was originally intend only to pay for travel to your doctors and doctors fee’s it was never intended to pay for Medicines.

    Even if you make a statutory application to Pharmac to get a medicine funded, there is absolutely no guarantee you will be funded, no matter how many applications your Doctor or specialist makes.

    So what does everyone think.

    LETS CHANGE THE NARRATIVE !!!!!!!

    Any other questions you can think of we should ask ?

    THIS IS ANOTHER PRONG TO BE USED IN THE TOTAL ABANDONMENT OF THE RELATIONSHIPS RULE and to get long term illnesses and medicines funded.

    IT IS TIME TO STOP BEING NICE.

    AT NO TIME DO WE HEAR OR SEE ANYONE DISCUSSING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INADEQUATE MEDS FUNDING AND INADEQUATE FUNDING OF PEOPLE IN A RELATIONSHIP relating to long term welfare funding on the SLP or rejection of the SLP Benefit or a rejection of an Illness as even being an illness. Then after being rejected for an slp then being rejected for a job seekers benefit .

    THE MIGRANTS CAN GO HOME as many have said it is a ponzi scam to get NZ residency.

  9. Migration and the ‘Rock-Star Economy’.

    “…. receiving countries concerned with deregulating the labor market and making it more flexible have made it easier for cost-conscious and competition-minded employers to exploit migrant workers — at the expense of formal employment and human rights protections. This is especially true as the informal sector or “underground economy” has expanded in wealthy countries, providing increased risks and rewards for immigrants.

    In this economic climate, therefore, protecting all workers and particularly migrant workers, both those lawfully resident and those in an irregular situation, is becoming paramount.”
    (https://www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/migration-information-source/special-issue-migration-and-human-rights)

    Global Migration – some facts
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=952A6ZNtRrs

    UN Global Migration Group – human rights
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGkicy8ITfQ

    A crisis is, by definition, the worsening of a problem. But migration itself is not a problem: it’s a human right and a socio-economic and natural phenomenon associated to human species — an episode, a moment, a situation.

    Migration is a result of a problem. The problem is war, the problem is violence, the problem is inequality, the problem is poverty, the problem is homophobia. Those are some of the problems. Migration is a possible solution to those problems.

    PS
    …there is a only a short distance from crusading to chauvinism.

  10. Labour party got the thumbs up from Roger Douglas a few weeks ago. They’re just completing his circle.
    Labour Douglas party 2.0

  11. Agree – the 12 week increased rate of payment should be permanent.

    AND ALSO

    1. 12 month standard rate dole for non working partners on losing their job.
    2. 12 month UI for those 18-24 not in FT or in FT study. The gig economy, as well as casual and part-time work is in ruins. This enables people to offer themselves to internships or an income base while they rebuild their work access (and no abatement regime to worry about).

    Worker migrants come in two main categories.

    There are those who will return to jobs as their business operates again (including some in tourism for whom this will take months). They will be OK while the wage subsidy continues. But will be vulnerable when that goes – its likely flights will be available by then.

    Those already laid off and not allowed to look for other work and unable to go home yet. These are dependent on savings, it being 2 months unpaid rent before eviction and food banks (which do not pay the power/internet bills).

    The most logical approach is to make hardship grants available temporarily. These being repaid out of work income. But for some, it will have to be only available until the flight home.

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