Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Welfare: Back to the Future?

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  • Russell Brown,

    John Key sorta rules out the weird and disturbing "14 weeks old" suggestion:

    It was also expected to recommend that women who had more children when they were already on a benefit be required to go back to work when the baby was 14 weeks old.

    "Personally I feel a bit queasy about that, I think that's a step too far, I think most New Zealanders would think that's a little on the extreme side."

    Working part-time once your youngest child was three was reasonable, he said.

    So he's appointed a working group whose recommendations are "extreme" and make him "queasy". Righto.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    We should remember the nature of this government (and most, to be honest). The report WILL be severe, so as to make the final recommendations "not so bad". Bait and switch, my friends, bait and switch. Try not to get too incandescent too soon.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2198 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    We should remember the nature of this government (and most, to be honest). The report WILL be severe, so as to make the final recommendations "not so bad". Bait and switch, my friends, bait and switch. Try not to get too incandescent too soon.

    I think the 14 weeks policy is so clearly insane it will have the opposite effect, and discredit the entire WWG project. If it's an attempt to shift the middle ground then it's doomed to failure.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    So he’s appointed a working group whose recommendations are “extreme” and make him “queasy”. Righto.

    is it cynical to think 14 weeks is in there there so the government can seem benevolent when they set it at 3 years?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 495 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I think the 14 weeks policy is so clearly insane it will have the opposite effect, and discredit the entire WWG project. If it’s an attempt to shift the middle ground then it’s doomed to failure.

    With you on that. I considered the bait-and-switch angle, but I think it’s really more about Rebstock and her pals being moral sadists. A competent Labour response would absolutely hammer that suggestion and the people who have made it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    It was also expected to recommend that women who had more children when they were already on a benefit be required to go back to work when the baby was 14 weeks old.

    I want to know where the recommendations for making contraceptives cheaper and abortion more accessible are. Otherwise, the 14 wk thing is basically saying “no sex while on a benefit.”

    Someone has heard the gag about "so this is what the working class call fucking? It's too good for them" and not realised it was a joke.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2972 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    So he’s appointed a working group whose recommendations are “extreme” and make him “queasy”. Righto.

    Well, to be fair Russell, I don’t think Helen Clark was given to rubber stamping every politically untenable recommendation that crossed her desk. And despite what some folks will assert, I don’t think you could fairly say the Fifth Labour Government appointed nothing more than cronies and sycophantic arse-lickers who were handed a script and told any ideological deviationism would be looked upon most unkindly.

    A competent Labour response would absolutely hammer that suggestion and the people who have made it.

    After a slightly bewildering performance from Goff on Morning Report, I'd like to know where Labour's magical job creating policies are beyond... um, tinkering with monetary policy. Or something we will told about in the fullness of time.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12052 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Well, to be fair Russell, I don't think Helen Clark . . .

    Enter the Craigbot.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    A competent Labour response would absolutely hammer that suggestion and the people who have made it.

    .. and the people who selected the group's members

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Bait and switch, my friends, bait and switch. Try not to get too incandescent too soon.

    Well, that's what we assumed about mining in national parks, right? That some of the ideas were so insane that they were a blind for 'something else'? And instead they turned out to be genuine intentions.

    Now, maybe they've learned from the embarassing backdown over that. So yeah, maybe 14 weeks is a blind for six months. But... I'm no longer sure anyone is that well organised. (Where is my diabolically competant evil, etc.)

    Also, the DPB. That's the only benefit that's a payment for doing actual work, right? It's not the unemployment benefit, because the people on it are working as care-givers.

    And yes... if I were still in Sue's position, on an Invalids' Benefit and trying to shape work around my abilities while WINZ actually got in the way of doing that, right now I'd be terrified about what was going to happen to my family.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4371 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to nzlemming,

    Try not to get too incandescent too soon.

    please. wait until this arvo :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Whatevers, Danyl. {Lengthy rant redacted} ETA: I’m starting early on giving up troll-bait for Lent.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12052 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Bait and switch, my friends, bait and switch. Try not to get too incandescent too soon.

    Hahahaha jk?

    We're not joking
    Just joking
    We are joking
    Just joking
    We're not joking

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    [self-redacted. adds nothing to the conversation]

    Craig, snap.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    A comment on WINZ and childcare: I'm on the board of my local not-for-profit, community run childcare centre. A regular feature of our monthly meetings is the centre manager wearily explaining particular columns on the fees outstanding spreadsheet as "there's a problem with the payments from WINZ". She regularly has to spend considerable amounts of time chasing up WINZ case managers to find out why payments haven't come in. It's a huge stuff-around.

    I would not expect this system to become markedly more seamless and efficient if it's overloaded with a lot of single mothers being forced out to work.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    You know how dissapointed Craig must be in this government when he is saying

    "It was good enough for Helen Clark so it must be good enough for Key"

    I'm pretty sure Craig would have wanted better than that from Key

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I'm pretty sure Craig would have wanted better than that from Key

    So this a thread for trolling Craig? He can speak for himself, you know? As you well would know if you've been here longer than five minutes.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Can we have a thread about the issue, please

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sue,

    Also hands up anyone at winz longer than 2 years who had the same case manager

    Anecdotal accounts I've heard, I think from a newspaper article, are that case managers are now required to have no humanising touches to their offices (no toys, no photos, no keepsakes) and it's expected that beneficiaries will have no assigned case manager. So every time you return to WINZ, you'll probably see a new person who doesn't know anything about you (or, at best, will have seen you several visits previously), will waste half of your allotted time (or more) just reading your case notes, and then prescribe a "solution" that you know won't work because it hasn't worked before. This is, of course, deliberate - the more inhuman and uncomfortable your WINZ experience is, the greater your desire and drive will be to get away from having to rely on WINZ.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3925 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    If, as 3 News claimed last night, the Welfare Working Group's report will recommend work-testing -- on pain of loss of benefit -- for DPB parents when their second child turns 14 weeks old, then the group has lost touch not only with logic, but with simple human decency.

    Call it heat, if you will, but the group - which includes at least one fairly unreconstructed fascist in Professor Peter Saunders - was selected to ensure that it would put forward recommendations that would make whatever Bennett and Key come up with look moderate in comparison. It's a classic bad cop, worse cop routine, like the 2025 taskforce. Kind of funny, if it wasn't so very tragic.

    (Also: what Danielle said.)

    ETA: a bit redundant by now, sorry, I missed a whole page of comments before posting somehow.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7404 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to George Darroch,

    As you well would know if you've been here longer than five minutes.

    Since Nov 2006. 89 posts

    That doesn't look like someone who came down in the last shower.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3925 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Ignore it my darling. Ignore it. Remember that you had Ollie at your beck and call within 10 mins, and know that, if you so chose, Danyl could also be your bitch.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan, in reply to George Darroch,

    Ahem. What Mathew said ive been here for quite some time. I was merly pointing out that it's intresting that someone who has been quite critical of the previous Prime Minster's conduct is now using her conduct to defend the current one. I think that needed to be pointed out. /end rant

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to JackElder,

    She regularly has to spend considerable amounts of time chasing up WINZ case managers to find out why payments haven't come in. It's a huge stuff-around.

    I would not expect this system to become markedly more seamless and efficient if it's overloaded with a lot of single mothers being forced out to work.

    Agreed. The chances of a complex and controversial new regime being competently introduced -- especially with respect to work-testing recipients of the sickness and invalid's benefits -- are vanishingly small.

    Apart from anything else, there aren't nearly enough tame GPs currently on the books. And anyone who knows their rights will seek appeal. It's the people who can't stand up for themselves -- including people on the autism spectrum -- that worry me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Tristan,

    I’m pretty sure Craig would have wanted better than that from Key

    I want better from this government on all kinds of scores, and I don’t think I’ve been a shrinking violet about saying so here or anywhere else. But on the specific matter this thread is about, I might get my rage on when I’ve read and properly digested the actual report.

    Oh, but having tried (and failed) to repress my memories of being on wefare under the previous two governments take it as read that I’m seriously underwhelmed that beneficiaries are still being dicked around, often (as Russell points out) in breech of the law and WINZ’s own rules.

    Being on a benefit is never going to be anything less than humiliating and painful for most people. I’ve been there, darling, and you’ve got nothing to tell me about how degrading it is being asked intrusive questions about your mental health just to pay the rent. Or being an alcoholic hanging on to your sobriety by your finger nails and trying to get through to your case worker that going to a job interview in a liquor store sounds like a really bad idea. How soul-destroying it is feeling like shit on the bottom of someone’s shoe as you put another fuck-off letter in the file.

    But putting the goalposts on rollerblades just makes it worse. And it doesn’t have to be that way if Bennett (and her .Labour shadow) would put some practical measures and accountabilities in place. Finally.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12052 posts Report Reply

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