Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Welfare: Back to the Future?

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  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Clearly their calculation is 20 hours a week at $15/hour, which is just not going to happen.

    I think they are using the next Governments Minimum wage figures. ;-)

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4633 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    @Danyl Mclauchlan

    thank you!
    you made it simple, have been trying to explain my 'new future' situation to people and not being able to do it well. now I'm just using your description of my new life as an empowered no longer referred to as an invalid.

    many invalids are like me we get reviewed medically every 2 years, in the hope that some miracle cure or recovery has occurred, becuase trust me, if i could get cured and off this thing i would be there in a flash. CURE ME!!!!!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 469 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I think they are using the next Governments Minimum wage figures.

    Addendum..
    On the other hand maybe they've let the cat out of the bag that they intend to usurp Labours campaign promise to raise the m/w to $15. It is the sort of disingenuous underhand skulduggery we expect from this mob.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4633 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    The benefit clawback rate would be cut from 70c for every dollar earned above $80 a week to 55c for every dollar above $20.

    personally i see that as an encouragement not to even attempt working or to try and work more hours. On occasion i get above $80 a week and I'm fine with the current clawback after $80.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 469 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    have been trying to explain my 'new future' situation to people and not being able to do it well. now I'm just using your description of my new life as an empowered no longer referred to as an invalid.

    My relative in his early 60s with a chronic heart condition would be excited to learn that he, too, is no longer an invalid who can barely walk - but a 'Jobseeker' who needs to be actively managed back into the workforce and transferred to a state work scheme if he fails to do so within six months.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 899 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    "State work scheme" that must be one of the new sayings to mean "intensive" Like "Empowered" is the new "vulnerable"

    I do get somewhat concerned about lay people (Winz case managers) taking on the task of mental illness management. There are people where being susceptible to hyping up for work, is not what the doctor orders. Winz staff might not understand how hypo-manic behavior in some individuals can spiral out of control (nobody fault, just a fact of life.) Well meaning Winz staff and work scheme staff are not mental health professionals, so maybe its a really dumb idea to loose the destination between Unemployed people looking for work, and people who have been assessed by medical actual professionals, as being unwell.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    My younger brother (not the one with the toddler), who's sufficiently visually-impaired that he's a member of RNZFB, will also be thrilled to hear that there are employers falling over themselves to employ an invalid. It'll make a change for him from the history of rejections stemming from the need to accommodate someone who's able to see but just not terribly well. He could legally drive, but is smart enough to know that it's probably not a good idea to try.

    Our society is incredibly discriminatory. His work history has been largely volunteer, and one very fortunate stint with a tertiary provider; the kind of place that takes EEO seriously. No other employer wants to know, but it seems that the WWG members are aware of things that people who've been exposed to disability employment just don't see. If you'll pardon the pun.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Well meaning Winz staff and work scheme staff are not mental health professionals, so maybe its a really dumb idea to loose the destination between Unemployed people looking for work, and people who have been assessed by medical actual professionals, as being unwell.

    I know someone with severe schizophrenia (invalids benefit) who volunteers as a receptionist at a Christian community centre. She has never had a paid job in her adult life and is basically unemployable, but I suspect a Winz staffer would look at her volunteer work and try and 'manage' her into the workforce, which would go pretty badly for everyone.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 899 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to steven crawford,

    Like "Empowered" is the new "vulnerable"

    Doubleplusgood

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16418 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I had a dyslexic moment back there. I meant to write "incentive" is the new department of corrections, which leads me to wondering if there are plans a-foot, to start applying for resource consents to build "State work scheme" facilities, secure enough, and freaky enough, to "incentivise" unwell people to work.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    My younger brother (not the one with the toddler), who’s sufficiently visually-impaired that he’s a member of RNZFB, will also be thrilled to hear that there are employers falling over themselves to employ an invalid.

    I heard Matthew Hooton say something on RNZ the other day about employers deciding over two candidates and taking the one that’s been on the dole for longer.

    I’m wondering if the “investment” into getting people back into work bypasses direct support of beneficiaries in favour of providing subsidies or tax incentives to companies that hire long-term unemployed.

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    ALSO, Labour's "where are the jobs" line is satisfyingly succinct, but I'd quite like 'em to also thrash together a line on "this is going to drive wages down, so while you may already have a job, don't think for a second that these changes won't affect you."

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Heather Gaye,

    To expand on that bent slightly Welfare Reforms will be coupled with Labour Market Reforms.

    Early in this Nat govt's second term the restructure of WINZ and a reduced cost of welfare will be coupled with the reform of the employment legislation - an outcome of which will be a reduced cost of labour.

    This makes an interesting read:
    http://www.nzbr.org.nz/site/nzbr/files/NZBR%20Sub%20%20WWG%20Paper%20Reducing%20Long%20Term%20Benefit%20Dep%20The%20Options.pdf

    Neither of these measure will solve the problem with the economy - it will only make matters appear better for some and a lot worse for others.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1182 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I hope the Welfare Working Group report is now quietly tossed aside as it becomes obvious that people are no more to blame for finding themselves requiring welfare support than they are for living in an earthquake zone. When there is need the country should respond, and for most only short term assistance is required.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to DexterX,

    an outcome of which will be a reduced cost of labour.

    Which is precisely the last thing we want. If we're supposed to be chasing Australian income and productivity levels, cheapening labour is completely counter-productive. Making it more expensive, along with a discouragement from dumping money into capital purchases that are not means of production (such as, say, accommodation), is where we need to be headed. We don't need to be trying to reverse labour protections so that wage levels drop.
    Not that the BRT gives a shit about increasing wage levels, of course, so long as its members can afford to refresh the Bentley bi-annually and drink their weight of Dom or Veuve every festive season.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Another really shitty idea from the UK, coming to NZ soon?

    Re-categorise everyone as seeking work, get a computer to test their ability to work, et voila!

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2343 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Re-categorise everyone as seeking work, get a computer to test their ability to work, et voila!

    Actually, under the WWG it's a lot worse than getting a computer to test your ability to work. They get a private contractor who gets paid on their number of work placements to test your ability to work.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 899 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    cheapening labour is completely counter-productive.

    indeed. rising employment during the noughties brought national productivity down, due to all the low-skilled people entering workplaces.

    goes to show that productivity-measured-as-money-per-hour is a bit broken.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Che Tibby,

    productivity-measured-as-money-per-hour is a bit broken.

    Depends how you measure the money. If it's output value, then not broken at all. If it's input cost, however...

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    As usual, Gordon Campbell delivers an excellent analysis of the report.

    Given the likely economic impact of the earthquake (especially to the local economy), and presuming the Key government continues it's hands-in-the-pockets-and-shrug approach to implementing policies that might improve economic growth, I foresee any attempt to follow the WWG recommendations as a mechanism to immediately revictimise the working-age residents of Christchurch. Hopefully, this means it is doomed.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 453 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I hope the Welfare Working Group report is now quietly tossed aside as it becomes obvious that people are no more to blame for finding themselves requiring welfare support than they are for living in an earthquake zone.

    Good analogy but you'd need to argue it more forcefully and widely before anything resembling common sense is applied by the current lot. Could argue that EQC shouldn't be incentivising heaps of folk to move to quake zones because their payouts are so generous; that sort of line.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16418 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Rich, that's a great report from the Guardian. ATOS and its insensitive and inaccurate methods have been enraging the UK disability sector for months. I wondered when I read the WWG report and the language used whether ATOS has quietly been lobbying them for work in this part of the world.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    I foresee any attempt to follow the WWG recommendations as a mechanism to immediately revictimise the working-age residents of Christchurch. Hopefully, this means it is doomed.

    It will be sold as an efficiency measure to cut state sector costs - to fix our private sector debt/productivity problems, you understand. Oh and to subsidise the insurance industry, naturally.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16418 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Che Tibby,

    rising employment during the noughties brought national productivity down, due to all the low-skilled people entering workplaces.

    And the reverse dynamic has increased the "average" wage over the last year (as the media breathlessly echoed Key recently) - but by removing a heap of the lower paid from employment altogether, not because things are rosy in everyone else's pay packets. Statistics, lies, etc.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16418 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    Some on asked what about the children.

    Making reference to Gordon Campbell’s Scoop article, which mentions the Tavita case where the Court of Appeal found that when considering a deportation the Immigration Department needed to consider the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to which the NZ Govt had adopted.

    There are grounds the under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to challenge the more extreme Welfare Reforms suggested under the WWG final report – three strikes and there is no benefit/job seekers subsidy.

    This link takes you to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the relevant articles of which are 19, 20, and especially articles 26 & 27.

    http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/44/a44r025.htm

    I don’t see NZ as having a Welfare problem, and the extreme measure proposed by the WWG reforms mostly disgust me. Have figures on long-term lifestyle welfare dependency been published anywhere and the basis for 100,000 is?

    The problem isn’t the unemployed or the under employed the problem is the problem, which is the management and performance of the economy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1182 posts Report Reply

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