Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: What about that Welfare Working Group, then?

178 Responses

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  • giovanni tiso,

    Isn't Andrew trying to constructively tease out a counter argument?

    No, he's concern trolling. Next!

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    +1

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Petra, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    When he types this: "I mentioned previously I think the issue of bludging is trivial and thus not worth worrying about..." after bellyaching about 3 friends with 3 doctors, my bullshit detector went up. But I figured it was still worth answering him, just for any lurkers that may be more genuine. :)

    But yeah, the word "disingenuous" popped into my head more than once reading his posts.

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Petra,

    On the subject of doctors’ opinions and their reliability, I remember in the mid-1990s there was a WINZ initiative to send all sickness beneficiaries to see a second, “designated”, doctor in order to get their benefits renewed. The numbers on the SB at that time were in the high tens-of-thousands (80,000? Something like that.) Imagine the cost for WINZ paying for that many extra doctors’ visits, plus their own administration costs, plus the stress to all those vulnerable sick people. And the net result was that SB numbers went down by about 300, which was probably a random fluctuation in any case. Result: project was abandoned as costly and pointless.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew C,

    I mentioned the docs because I found it interesting and thought other people might too. I seem to have found an outlier, but never said it wasnt


    I do believe the issue of bludging is trivial, and even if I hadn't before (which is not the case) the volume of facts presented in this thread would have forced me to accept it.

    What I was interested in is whether anyone had ideas on how to get rid of the (few) bad apples in a way which didn't screw over the vast majority. Removing them and leaving the genuine cases would be win win and I was interested to know if anyone had ideas on just how this could be done.

    At the time of posting all I had heard was "its not a big problem so forget about it". Was curious to know if that was case closed, too hard, or whether someone out there could come up with something which would make everyone better off.

    Im not sure it exists. I would say it would take a full time position to force someone like this into a full time position. So I certainly cannot think of anything, but then that's why I asked...

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew C, in reply to Petra,

    But anyway, unless these guys are double dipping or dealing drugs or whathaveyou, they are actually setting themselves up for a very hard row to hoe later in life. They might not realise that now, but they will eventually. It’s all fun and games when you’re young…

    There's annecdotal evidence/rumours/suspicion that ACC have a collection of "friendly" doctors, so the spectrum certainly exists. Not quite the same of course, ACC docs get a steady stream of income from ACC, but you get my point

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Concern trolling indeed. There are 1700 people with this problem. The WWG and the large nasty&stupid section of the population want to put the boot into all to reflect their ignorant prejudices.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    I propose putting these bludgers to work on Working Groups.

    A couple of days a month at $1000 or so a pop? Don't tell me they wouldn't want a piece of that!

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    I can't think of any ideas what would be a) workable, b) not penalising the many to punish the few, and c) be cost effective. (See Sacha's post re medical second opinions and sickness beneficiaries).

    Sorry, Andrew. If you come up with something let me know. The best solution lies with job creation and skills training. If that can be done now-ish, then we will be well ahead of the game when the recession corrects itself and we move back into a period of abundance. Assuming that the future is a predicable as past experience informs us, that is. *shrug*

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    tmi

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Andrew C,

    The whole way you describe it is objectionable, but I'll put that to one side for the moment.
    So "bad apples" and "get rid off" lovely.
    Seeing as you seem to be acquainted with them and privy to their motivations and actions, you could always inform the proper authority.
    Or they could get a job consulting for the WWG, which I think is an brilliant suggestion.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I don’t even know what the point would be of removing those people from a benefit anyway. Imagine you could do it, miraculously, accurately, cheaply. Then what do you do with them? They don’t want a job; employers don’t want employees who don’t want jobs (I mean, you practically have to promise some of these people your first-born child to get a job at all, the number of hoops you have to jump through for some bullshit CSR position, please sir, please sir), so then what? It’s either put them back on the dole or send them off to sleep on the street. The former is obviously preferable for society *and* for them. So why are we worrying about this, again?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    What I was interested in is whether anyone had ideas on how to get rid of the (few) bad apples in a way which didn't screw over the vast majority.

    That's a bit like saying: okay, you've convinced me that not all Jews are profiteering loan sharks, but I was interested whether anyone had ideas on how to get rid of the few that are.

    There is an entire group of people that is being unfairly and dishonestly demonised here for political gain. It is not a new thing in history. It is appalling. It needs to be roundly condemned and vehemently resisted. By saying 'okay, but how do we go after the buldgers' you're doing the exact opposite, and buying into the narrative. For isn't it like saying "this group of people, these victims of how society works - shouldn't they really be perfect?" No group of people is. Catching benefit bludgers is no different from catching tax cheaters or dishonest accountants or scamming bankers, all of whom cost society. But no policy is made regarding those other groups starting from the assumption that they are in fact all fraudsters, which is what the WWG is proposing we do with welfare recipients.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew C,

    All good points Danielle. That's what I was thinking when I figured its a full time job to keep people who dont want to work in a full time job...

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • vangam, in reply to Petra,

    ...The best solution lies with job creation and skills training...

    This is what Rebstock & Co. should've been studying in the first place, not welfare reform!

    Rangiora • Since Jun 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    There is an entire group of people that is being unfairly and dishonestly demonised here for political gain. It is not a new thing in history. It is appalling. It needs to be roundly condemned and vehemently resisted. By saying ‘okay, but how do we go after the bludgers’ you’re doing the exact opposite, and buying into the narrative. For isn’t it like saying “this group of people, these victims of how society works – shouldn’t they really be perfect?” No group of people is. Catching benefit bludgers is no different from catching tax cheaters or dishonest accountants or scamming bankers, all of whom cost society. But no policy is made regarding those other groups starting from the assumption that they are in fact all fraudsters, which is what the WWG is proposing we do with welfare recipients.

    +1

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew C,

    There is an entire group of people that is being unfairly and dishonestly demonised here for political gain. It is not a new thing in history. It is appalling. It needs to be roundly condemned and vehemently resisted. By saying ‘okay, but how do we go after the buldgers’ you’re doing the exact opposite, and buying into the narrative. For isn’t it like saying “this group of people, these victims of how society works – shouldn’t they really be perfect?” No group of people is. Catching benefit bludgers is no different from catching tax cheaters or dishonest accountants or scamming bankers, all of whom cost society. But no policy is made regarding those other groups starting from the assumption that they are in fact all fraudsters, which is what the WWG is proposing we do with welfare recipients.

    the short version being - there isn't a way to do it that doesnt fuck it up for everyone else.

    Which is what I thought too.

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Andrew C,

    the short version being – there isn’t a way to do it that doesnt fuck it up for everyone else

    No, the short version is that by even thinking of it in these terms, the terrorists win.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    Has anyone read the Listener's cover story about "welfare handouts"? Looks like WWG chair Paula Rebstock gets free reign courtesy of Joanne Black to spout their shared ideology. There goes the Listener again, speaking truth to power.

    I'd read it but I refuse to buy that publication anymore.

    Since Jul 2008 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    Isn't it possible that Andrew's friend is actually a National MP putting on a funny voice?

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • Petra, in reply to st ephen,

    A part of me hopes so, st ephen. Because if he is, then I sincerely hope that we have been heard, and that it leads to a Road to Damacus moment a la Bernard Hickey.

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Andrew:There seem to be several people appearing on blogs who seem to be sort of sympathetic but have you thought of just shifting your thinking towards....... Mmmm?
    As a matter of history years ago I knew a bloke in his 50s who had many kids in his family. He was drawing the child support (Allowance) and this was significant money. He was a capable mechanic. But when employment was found for him he would soon sabotage his own work and get fired. My argument to the local irate residents was that he was one of a very small minority so ignore him. He was known as Shorty Benefit. It was better to have him out of the workforce. Meanwhile lets help the 99% who do deserve help.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    Meanwhile lets help the 99% who do deserve help.

    …and who want to work. I spent a bit of time on the dole, at my great age, when I just couldn’t find any work. Applied for jobs I was qualified for, but never even got an interview. It was soul destroying. Numbing. And the amount I got from Winz was so pathetic, it didn’t go anywhere near what a reasonable person needs in order to live. It was probably the most demeaning, humiliating time I’ve ever had in my (previously) productive working life.

    If someone doesn’t want to work, and is content to live on the pittance Winz gives them, good luck to them! Just leave the poor buggers who can’t find jobs, or have kids at home, or are ill, alone.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    Oooh, reading back, I must apologise to Lilith, who is the source of information regarding doctors and WINZ, not Sacha. I beg your pardon, Lilith! Too much hurry makes sloppy!

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Petra, in reply to vangam,

    Yes, vangam. Job creation and skills training is the national conversation and action we should be having, not petty endless beneficiary bashing, which gets us nowhere at all.

    Also, Damascus, not Damacus. Damacus is, as we all know, merely a nose flute played by libertarians on their way to libations and lying lover lies. Tch!

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

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