welfare = well fair?

Today the anticipated/dreaded welfare reforms of the Nats were announced at their conference. A key focus was addressing the high numbers of youths on benefits and not in any form of training. In typical National style, they are taking a sledgehammer to a walnut but….(at this risk of sounding like a raving tory) I tend to agree with some aspects.

There are certainly some down sides to this approach – ageist and the like are terms likely to whizz around with reckless abandon. On the other hand, they get free money when in many cases they have an alternative but they just don’t want it. Certainly there are those that for reasons of fate or circumstance need a benefit. And that’s fine…of concern to me are those that do not need one, but take one because it’s just that much easier than working. They piss me off, fair to say. I know a few and they are generally unapologetic about drawing a benefit instead of working.

To take a long term perspective, I draw on the basis of the green way…which is to build a resilient and healthy future. I would attest that you don’t build a strong and sustainable economy, society and nation on the back of welfare misappropriation any more than on the back of right wing baby-boomer politics. If we want to have the resources to protect the vulnerable, some of the strong gotta get off their butts. Welfare ought to be a safety net, not a career choice…so I am not in total disagreement with National’s changes…but hardly an advocate on all fronts.

12 thoughts on “welfare = well fair?

  1. Marie, isn’t this a just a rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic. No amount of tinkering with the welfare system and “incentives” for people to get off their butts are going to do any good when the underlying problem is that there are not enough jobs to go around. I see National’s welfare proposals as little more than a smokescreen to distract public attention from their failure to do anything about moving economic policy settings in favour of job creation.

    People will move off benefits if there are real jobs at a living wage for them to go to – it’s as simple as that imo.

  2. Agree…fundamentally we have to build a country people want to be a part of as well….it’s not clear cut or simple. I was only drawing attention to the group (which is hopefully small!) that chooses to be on a benefit because they don’t want to work. I know they exist….
    Albert Einstein said you cannot solve problems at the same level of awareness that created them, so National is unlikely to ever engender a solution to much at all, they will forever treat the symptoms if anything at all.
    I liked Paul Callaghans video description of NZ’s niche being the knowledge economy and niche innovation over farming etc. The chances of that concept gaining traction under blue is limited to non-existent.

  3. Marie’s comments on liking Callaghans video ideas (where he startes off parroting the myth of ‘poverty’ in NZ, while accoprding to UN metrics we have no ‘poverty’ in NZ, but that is a side issue) while Marie criticises a “blue” solution ignores that Callaghan is scathing through-out his video of stastist, centrist, interfering, manipulating ‘Red’ governments as well. This was debated at leanth (by myself and others) over in nz.general awhile ago when another lefty-bot fawned over Callaghan’s observations (obviously without actually listening to what the man had to say).

  4. Wouldn’t call myself much more of a fan of the red persuasion than the blue but OK. Lefty-bot is a cool term (although i realise you mean it in a derogatory sense) but I digress….I listened very carefully to Callaghans video (StrategyNZ one) as a matter of fact and note he made some very good comments including (but not limited to the following)
    – he noted we had built our prosperity on the back of unsustainable environmental exploitation and all that that implies
    – we have an unproductive economy despite working extremely long hours which has implications for the buy-in of all New Zealanders in our economic development
    – he is scathing of our socio-economic statistics and rightly so because they reflect the (apparently non-existent) poverty
    – in fact he speaks a lot about creating a society people want to be a part of by acknowledging the mythologies he attempts to dispel so I don’t think we’re that far apart.
    But anyway, Go Green

  5. Marie, that is a very urban and middle-class view of the poverty that exists in NZ.

    If you had any idea *why* 16-17 year-olds (all 1400 of them, not a huge percentage of the current unemployment figures, it has to be said!) are on unsupported child benefits, you would not be writing them off as ‘kids who don’t need benefits’.

    Key is playing on the ignorance of urban dwellers to the very real poverty that exists in our small towns, where industry and farming have both shed workers over the past decades. There’s not as much small manufacturing out there as there used to be, there’s no incentives for tradesmen and women to take on apprentices (cut by the N/ACT Government), and there are a lot of kids who have grown up poor, being told by WINZ that they can only get a benefit if they move to the city and join the ranks of unemployed queueing up in their hundreds each time a supermarket advertises one 20-hour-a-week night-fill shelf-packing job.

    There are also less funded places in Tertiary education now than there were three years ago – all very well to say unemployed teens are being paid to do nothing, but if funding is removed for courses that are entry-level tertiary (both at universities and polytechnics) then what else are they going to do, with youth unemployment at around 25-27% depending on which province you’re looking at?

    And there’s the very real, and sad, fact that every year, some of those teenagers coming to the city to look for work, on the benefit, are victims of incest, or other underage sexual abuse, and they’ve been moved from their home-town on the advice of social workers, psychiatric unit staff, or their local GP. The statistics for sexual abuse amongst our young people are some of the highest in the OECD, and until funding was removed from ACC, we had pathways to provide treatment and resettlement for abused young people that were working.
    Oh, did I mention our youth suicide rates? Re-read the paragraph above if you missed the implications.

    This Government is stripping the supports away from our young people at every level – ECE, primary, secondary and tertiary – in both core health and core education services. They have a blody gall to then try to cast unemployed teenagers as ‘bludgers’, while the true heavy cost in our MSD budget is actually Superannuation, due to the Cullen Super Fund having contributions frozen asap when the N/ACT Government came in to being 3 years ago. Expect that if they come back after this election, the pensioners will be the next to receive a cut to their incomes, because that’s about the only other budget item they haven’t touched.

    All of that welfare cutting, health cutting and education cutting has also been concurrently *increasing* unemployment, as they reduce jobs in the public sector. None of the actions taken by the N/ACT Government, right up to and including the conference addresses last weekend, have provided any increase in employment, any true incentives to employers to take on new staff, or any boost whatsoever to our economy; just a bunch of handouts to the rich, in the same way that their forefathers did in the 30’s in response to the Great Depression. That got the electorate out and voting, and brought in Mickey Savage’s first Labour Government – what’s the outcome going to be this time?

    Our ethical policies for a compassionate economy are being laid out on the Greens website – so far, with essays in support by former Green MP’s Sue Bradford and Jeanette Fitzsimons – which are a stark contrast to the National Party Conference papers.

  6. It does not represent my total view…my background is neither urban nor middle-class. I left home at 14 and worked like a slave to get by. I was merely drawing attention to the sliver of positivity in what I agree is a miserable policy….a good response Kerry thanks.

  7. Woops, just realised that in my hurry to post that earlier today, I elided two sentences together – I meant that National’s view, as expressed in the policy announcement, was very urban & middle-class, not yours.
    Decaffeinated grammar fail… was in a hurry to get through the miserable rain here to the meeting at Uni that I posted straight after reading your post.
    The fun of living in Wellington, where there’s never just one policy issue about to go belly up!

  8. No worries…caffiene makes me smarter….this PhD wont be done without it haha. On the subkect of the Natty-Nats, I do find it rather odd (note sarcastic understatement) that a party that ranted ad nauseum about Labour’s nanny state is so hell-bent on fiddling with any and all aspects of (poor) people’s lives…..that they can have such a strong line on the importance of self-determination but subjugate people in their efforts to rise above circumstance….and that people so attached to money could cut the legs off the economy through gross incompetence with such formidable efficiency….it’s bloody incredible 🙂

  9. Pingback: Doing Away with Welfare Rodents – perspective « VARIEGATED VISION

  10. Pingback: “The end of Welfare as we know it” The politicians stab the vulnerable in the back and fill their own pockets at the same time… « ATOS REGISTER OF SHAME

  11. Wonder how a 16 or 17 year old is going to find a decent adult to look after all of their money for them…wonder what controls will be in place over that….?

  12. I am curious to find out what blog platform you happen to be using?
    I’m having some small security problems with my latest blog and I would like to find something more safe. Do you have any suggestions?

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