Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Misadventure and Muppetry

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  • Rickai,

    Sickness beneficiaries up 26,000 in the ten years to Dec 09. Invalids up 33,000. Unemployment down 95,000. Sickness benficiaries increased 20% in 09 during the recession.

    http://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/statistics/benefit/2009-national-benefit-factsheets.html

    There's definitely a story there. I do sometime feel that there are a lot of sick people who need to harden up a bit.

    Since Jan 2007 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    "I do sometime feel that there are a lot of sick people who need to harden up a bit."
    Thankyou Dr Rickai. You analysis of those terrible bludging sick people and those malingering invalids is so helpful. Your next step will be to tip them out on the street and we the people can hurry them along with the toe of the boot.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Is it possible that formerly the criteria for sickness and invalid benefits were too stringent, and that we have finally arrived at a more humane level? I mean, feeling that rising numbers are a bad thing rests on the assumption that the previous level was the correct one. Perhaps we ought to be celebrating our success in looking after people properly.

    I agree there's a story here, but we need to step back and look around before it gets told.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2918 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    There's definitely a story there.

    But it might be one of an ageing population and the de-institutionalisation of the most needy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2918 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The 2025 taskforce report blithely assumes it's all bludgers. Because they believe in serious and thoughtful research.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I do sometime feel that there are a lot of sick people who need to harden up a bit.

    That's brilliant! So insightful! Wait here while I get John Kirwan!

    To stay on the Invalid's Benefit when you're not sick requires the connivance of two doctors, one of whom is employed by WINZ. But we'll defer to your medical expertise, shall we?

    What I'd like to see is some kind of agreement that, if there is a box on the form for a doctor to tick if the patient is not expected to survive for the term of the benefit renewal, you leave those people the hell alone.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4328 posts Report Reply

  • Rickai,

    Apologies - Physically, obviously.

    Since Jan 2007 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Daniel Wilton,

    Maybe it is a simple case of don't look behind the curtain.

    Demonise the beneficiaries, make a case for them being the bludgers and then every person who has effectively got poorer since the last election will look to blame the helpless instead of those who going to get rich off of the current government policy changes.

    Employment insurance? I guess if they can't just privatise ACC they can have a crack at it from the fringes.

    as for

    There's definitely a story there. I do sometime feel that there are a lot of sick people who need to harden up a bit.

    What about all those people who are being denied claims at ACC because of change in policy who can not work now because they can't get their operations?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2009 • 40 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    I don't suppose there might be contributing
    factors in modern society, that might be
    making people sicker...
    Stress, disconnection, alienation, depression, fear...

    Society tends to treat the symptoms not the causes, and then shoots the messenger as well...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Last year, New Zealand's population grew by 55,00 -- only slightly less than the entire growth of the sickness and invalids' benefits rolls in the past decade. And the working-age population is getting older on average every year as the baby boomers move through.

    There is an obvious challenge here, but not, I think, one that can simply be put down to malingering.

    National Population Estimates: December 2009 quarter - Media Release

    The estimated resident population of New Zealand was 4,346,700 at 31 December 2009, an annual increase of 1.3 percent (55,100), Statistics New Zealand said today. "This is the highest population growth since September 2004, when the population increased 1.4 percent, or 56,000 people," Population Statistics manager Denise McGregor said. The population growth in the December 2009 year is an increase from the previous year when New Zealand's population grew by 0.9 percent (39,000).

    Although the main contributor to population growth during the December 2009 year was natural increase (excess of births over deaths), the higher growth compared with previous years was due to fewer permanent and long-term departures resulting in increased net migration.

    Natural increase contributed 33,900, down 1,300 on the previous December year. Permanent and long-term arrivals exceeded departures by 21,300 in the latest year, up from a net migration gain of 3,800 in the December 2008 year.

    In the December 2009 year there have been increases in the population in all broad age groups, with the largest percentage increase among those aged 65 years and over (2.8 percent). The 40–64 age group is also growing faster than the total population, with an increase of 1.7 percent in the year ended 31 December 2009. "The increases in the older age groups reflect New Zealand's ageing society, which is due to a shift to sustained low fertility and low mortality," Mrs McGregor said.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    One day we will realise that that those with the real expertise and wisdom are the consumers and those who live with the consequences of poor policy every day.
    Who knows more about how the welfare system doesn't work, and therefore could be improved, than those who daily face the humiliation, the patronising attitudes, the conflicting information, the poverty, and lack of awareness of their disability or child care needs?

    In the meantime we continue to believe there is a problem located in the individual which could be fixed by punishment, incentives or some kind of rehabilitation.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2008 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Announcing the release of Forbes-Coates v2.0 - now there's no guilt in lifting sugar bags as long as they're biodegradable!

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4060 posts Report Reply

  • Robbie Siataga,

    One day we will realise that that those with the real expertise and wisdom are the consumers and those who live with the consequences of poor policy every day.

    I once had a boss who reckoned we should build more malls so poor people have more places to go and stay warm during winter...I LOLD.

    Since Feb 2010 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • uroskin,

    Regards unemployment insurance, it's not jujst Canada that should be considered. Most Western European countries have "social insurance" schemes with contributions from your wage, your employer and the state (a bit like KiwiSaver if it was an insurance scheme). Your national insurance contributions are basically a tax outside your income tax (hence the sometimes large "tax burden" figures in Europe - here everything comes out of the general tax take - direct and indirect - except ACC).
    The European schemes are more or less comprehensive (and vary in pay outs and duration of benefits too) but require substantial separate bureaucracies to administer. I remember having to contribute to separate health, unemployment and pension schemes, all with different offices, rules and even providers.
    The advantage would be that they are somewhat personalised (i.e. the longer you have contributed to your schemes, the longer your dole lasts, plus the dole and your pension is a percentage of your last wage, not a flat pay out as in NZ).
    Fairer, perhaps. Expensive, certainly.

    Waiheke Island • Since Feb 2007 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Regards unemployment insurance, it's not jujst Canada that should be considered.

    Yes, Charles Waldegrave made the same point this morning.

    Fairer, perhaps. Expensive, certainly.

    Interesting.

    That was a dirty little secret of US welfare reform. In most of the places regarded as success stories, the government was paying for childcare so mothers could be forced to leave behind young children to travel to jobs.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    the longer you have contributed to your schemes, the longer your dole lasts, plus the dole and your pension is a percentage of your last wage, not a flat pay out as in NZ

    What happens when your dole runs out?

    It sounds like a scheme that is pretty harsh on those people who are marginal employed, on seasonal work, or who struggle to hold down a job for very long, but which is great for people who earn more in more secure employment.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6148 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    Being Canadian, and having spent time there working, I contributed to EI, but woe betide anyone claiming; I daren't risk the bureaucracy, or the thought that all one would get would be a pittance - and it was a pittance. Luckily I survived by wits.

    I echo Uroskin - EI is really a tax, and can mask a very large administrative bureaucracy.

    EI sounds fine in theory, but I would a) want it tied to me personally, b) subsidised by employers/govt to ensure a minimum payout of living costs (say 40K) for all employees, and the subsidy maxes out at say 60K. That way lower income people are covered, without offensively subsidising the wealthy.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 639 posts Report Reply

  • Duncan McKenzie,

    Can someone help me here? We have a securities commission, a commerce commission, a serious fraud office, all of which have interlocking responsibilities and none of which have up until now have distinguished themselves with much action against the finance rogues. Two of them are or have been headed up by women, (and wasn't one of them not reappointed?). Is this new commission the consolation prize - benefit cheats being so much easier game than finance company cheats?

    And then there are the trustees who supposedly oversaw the finance companies on behalf of investors. Perhaps they are being lined up for new jobs investigating something else - after all, they don't seem to have stretched themselves at their old jobs.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    What happens when your dole runs out?

    Then you get starve, as befits the undeserving poor.

    next up from Frau Paula: Investigating moving our undeserving poor to Scott Base, where winter will impartially deal with them as God intended.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Robbie Siataga,

    What happens when your dole runs out?

    ...you turn to crime cos prison is not a deterrent compared to living rough on the streets.

    Since Feb 2010 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Christopher -- I tried to email you, but perhaps had the wrong address. When and where is the NW motorway cycleway opening tomorrow? I'd like to get along!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    What bothers me about these EI schemes is they essentially seem to be like most insurance schemes - sunny day umbrellas for the anxious middle class.

    What ever happened to social security?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    What ever happened to social security?

    The government wants to wash its hands of it.

    This isn't just a cost-saving effort, or another play to give windfall tax cuts to the rich by fucking over the poor. This is an attempt by the government to abdicate responsibility for a core function - social welfare - to the free market. It is a radical amputation of state functions, and we shouldn't have a bar of it.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    When and where is the NW motorway cycleway opening tomorrow? I'd like to get along!

    10:30am, at Nixon Park in Kingsland.

    (I have the morning off work - see you there?)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1549 posts Report Reply

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