Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: "Because we can"

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  • Ben McNicoll, in reply to Sacha,

    Taylor Fry uses a sum of all beneficiaries within a benefit quarter instead of the numbers at a point time within the quarter

    Thus artifically inflating the numbers as there will be some who were on and off within that time.

    Grey Lynn • Since May 2007 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson,

    This looks to me like classic smoke and mirrors. Much the same thing can be achieved via public service restructuring. Obfuscation of the figures and a new set of quarterly numbers only for comparisons vs monthly now. Is this correct?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson, in reply to Ben McNicoll,

    If Bennett is using Taylor Fry numbers calculated in this manner then the word continuous is being interpreted in a peculiar fashion.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Alec Morgan,

    We even paid for her to tot off to the US. to learn how to do this. Taxpayer funded (beneficiaries included because they also pay tax) to learn how to screw up vulnerable people and if anyone has wandered around streets in the States (pick any town, they all participate), you'll see kids begging, parents with babies begging, and cardboard box communities due in large to the abysmal welfare system there.
    I went to town in Seattle one day.Thought I'd do a bit of shopping in the Market. I noticed a group of kids sitting on the pavement when I dismounted from the bus. The words on one of the wee signs in front of them said "I'm dreaming, of a Macdonalds burger". What I saw was so many people striding past these kids (about 10 years old) and noone noticed them at all. My shopping spree consisted of donating to their dream and walking around the library. I caught the bus back to where I was staying, got lost and didn't even notice because I was completely disturbed in how society can let children suffer so much. I ended up in a suburb considered on the lower side of town but I found the people there cared and were helpful to get me back to where I needed to get. They cared more than those kids had seen. And we paid Bennett to go learn how to create this pile of shit.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Sacha,

    it's all relative

    Ok good spotting Sacha .. well whanau is whanau but we have very tight boundaries around work and politics. Whanau is way more important than politics which is why we have such good boundaries.

    So I am on my own with getting information here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye, in reply to Psycho Milt,

    Even taking that into account, it strains credibility that 43% of beneficiaries have been on one for 10 years continuously - that's got to be an error, surely.

    I've been doing a bit of my own research on this recently. The grant and cancellation figures on the MSD website suggest the mean (continuous) duration for DPB recipients is about 5 years - I thought that was surprisingly low. I'm still waiting for an OIA request to confirm that. It might be longer - the issue is that cancellations for reasons other than getting into paid work are all lumped together, and include "administrative cancellations" which are used mainly for reassessment or adjustment.

    However, just having a quickie look on the MSD site now - in 2011 only about 25,000 of DPB recipients were looking after children older than 10 - presuming the worst-case scenario is that all of them have been on the benefit continuously for 10 years (extremely unlikely), that's still not a particularly heavy dent in PFB's figure.

    DISCLAIMER: currently not much more than napkin calculations.

    Morningside • Since Nov 2006 • 532 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    And in Canada, there's another Bennett that became infamous during the Great Depression.

    That's it. She is the Highlander.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    If you want some distraction, Mitt Romney's views on beneficiaries (that is: all Democrats) are helping making sure he loses the election.
    A minor gaffe? That's not how it's playing out- already on the front page of the NYT.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    A minor gaffe? That’s not how it’s playing out-

    He's fucked.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Certainly hope so...what is it with these billionaire creatures and their total disconnect with the rest of humanity? Money turns your brain into a sleazy self-reguarding wax?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Found this from Bennett in June:

    In July 2013 about 130,000 people will move on to the new Jobseeker Support, of which 78,000 will have been on working-age benefits for more than 12 months.

    Wasn't sure how much of the system that captured, but based on the public service goals:

    reduce the number of people receiving the working-age benefits that will become the new Job Seeker Support (JSS), continuously for more than 12 months by 30 per cent, from 78,000 to 55,000 by June 2017...

    Under Welfare Reform changes, from July 2013 JSS will include all those on Unemployment Related Benefits, Sickness Benefit, Domestic Purpose Benefit (DPB) Sole Parents whose youngest children are over 14, Widows with youngest children over 14 or no children and DPB Women Alone.

    I know 'continuously' isn't identical to 'during the last ten years', but 12 months is also smaller than a decade.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    The words on one of the wee signs in front of them said “I’m dreaming, of a Macdonalds burger”. What I saw was so many people striding past these kids (about 10 years old) and noone noticed them at all. My shopping spree consisted of donating to their dream and walking around the library

    Bless Sof!
    I dont believe in deities but I do believe in humane humans...

    I could never get over people walking over derelict human beings lying on gratings in NYC...it was like they didnt even *see* them-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Taxpayer funded (beneficiaries included because they also pay tax) to learn how to screw up vulnerable people

    It's just to get the knee jerkers to vote for all the "good" stuff national are doing to the country. As long as you punish the people nobody wants to be you will get the vote of the people who want to be like you, comfortable.
    The facts of the situation, however, are quite surprising.
    Our tax system punishes the poor too
    You really need to be quite careless to vote National or any of their ilk over there on the "Right" side of life.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Islander,

    Bless Sof!I dont believe in deities but I do believe in humane humans…

    Hey, you should see the library. I kept thinking , those kids should sleep in here. It is a remarkable building. ;)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to David Cormack,

    Hound dogging them around...

    Isn't this a job for Keith Ng?

    Hmmm, intriguingly, Keith Ng
    is an anagram of The King!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    I think it does become that safety net and I think over time what it instead has become is a bit of a trap for quite a few people when we've seen 161,000 people have been on for at least five of the last 10 (and) 139,000 for at least 10 years.

    Notes to the math-impaired among us. That says over the last ten years, 161k people have been on a benefit for 5 years or more. Naturally around half of those people will be on a benefit now, so that's ~80k of the current crop.

    The bit where you've implied "(and)" isn't an "and". It says, quite separately, that 139k people have spent 10+ years on a benefit during their entire lives. Most of that will naturally be older people and those with long-term disabilities both physical and mental, perhaps 40k right now.

    So there's ~320k on a benefit now, about one quarter of them have spent half the last ten years on a benefit, and maybe one eighth of them (overlapping) have spent a total of ten years or more on a benefit over their lives thus far (including people who cannot work because they have a broken neck, a child-like mind, a host of degenerative diseases, and so on).

    The minister uses the bigger overall numbers after discussing single mums to give people a false impression quite deliberately, that being the whole point of the policy, but it's not all that confusing to unbundle.

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And with that, Keith appeared. he says:

    At Jun-12, 64,648 people on a main benefit have been on a benefit for >10 years. 69,449 for >4-10 years. Figures include people who have changed benefits over this time.

    So, roughly speaking, the minister doubled the numbers. And no one called her on it.

    Here’s the Google Doc.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    “I’m dreaming, of a Macdonalds burger”

    That reminds of when I was 12, collecting baggage carts around LA airport (paying a quarter each). Lingering around the check-in counter in a scraggy T and jeans when one kind soul, looking me up and down, took pity and gave me a dollar.

    "Buy yourself some new clothes".

    I bought some lollies for the flight.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And with that, Keith appeared. he says:

    At Jun-12, 64,648 people on a main benefit have been on a benefit for >10 years. 69,449 for >4-10 years. Figures include people who have changed benefits over this time.

    So, roughly speaking, the minister doubled the numbers. And no one called her on it.

    Either Bennett has a qualifier in her statement that we are not noticing or she’s just making stuff up. It is quite frightening because she’ll get plenty of airtime, and no matter what the facts are, “everybody will know” about the “139,000 people who are stuffing up our economy”. Policy made with populist economics (should we even call it “economics”?) accompanied by carefully crafted mis-statements that appeal to the biases of a particular set of aspiring millionaires and donors. It’s hard to imagine a more damaging approach to political survival.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I've just found a fascinating 2003 paper from the Ministry of Social Development titled Barriers to Employment Among Long-Term Beneficiaries: A Review of Recent International Evidence.

    A popular image of a long-term unemployed person might be a fit young dude who'd rather spend his days smoking weed with his bros than working, and could easily join a road works gang tomorrow. But the report reveals it's more likely to be someone like a 45-year-old women who suffers from depression and stress (both of which are made worse by being on a benefit) and has an elderly parent to look after (or any selection of the many other barriers). And as much as she'd really like to have a job, there are so many things in her life making that really hard for her.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Just to be correct she didn't say (as Keith says in the spreadsheet) there were 161,000 beneficiaries who'd been on a benefit for 5 out of the 10 years, she said "people". In theory they could all be working now but had been on benefits for 5 of the last 10 years.

    The figures she quoted seem to be similar to these quoted in 2010 so presumably there is some substance to them.

    http://igps.victoria.ac.nz/WelfareWorkingGroup/Downloads/Options%20Paper/Welfare-Working-Group-Reducing-Long-Term-Benefit-Dependency-The-Options-Executive-Summary.pdf

    I think the point that is that they're interested in the long term profile, not the point in time.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 501 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    A popular image of a long-term unemployed person might be a fit young dude who’d rather spend his days smoking weed with his bros than working, and could easily join a road works gang tomorrow. But the report reveals it’s more likely to be someone like a 45-year-old women who suffers from depression and stress (both of which are made worse by being on a benefit) and has an elderly parent to look after (or any selection of the many other barriers). And as much as she’d really like to have a job, there are so many things in her life making that really hard for her.

    Robyn that rings so true. Thanks for the post.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    it’s more likely to be someone like a 45-year-old women who suffers from depression and stress

    True. It's also worth factoring in unemployment hotspots. Without significant incentives, key employers have defected to greener pastures, gutting regions.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Aotearoan,

    I have had to admit to a giggle as 2 Nat Rad announcers recently, whilst reporting on the MSD changes, referred to "Paula Benefit".

    To me, she has a touch of the Christine Rankin's - been there, got into a position of power, now feel free to demonise those rely on state assistance...whilst enjoying all the vast privilages of the jobs they now have.

    In all this debate, what has happened to the "social" in social welfare? A society that cared for vulnerable souls and didn't work to slur them as "the other".

    Northland • Since Jan 2011 • 14 posts Report Reply

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