bludgers

National supports dead beat dads, gives left wing media commentators a budget bonus

Who would ever have thought that National would be seen to be supporting dead beat dads?

It seems incongruous but that is what John Key, Bill English and Steve Joyce have done with their bludgers budget: they have given dead beat dads a write off of their penalty payments.

At least two left wing media commentators will be ecstatic about those changes in the budget.

Prime Minister John Key says he hopes that plans to write off $1.7 billion in penalty payments on parents who missed child support payments will encourage those who have moved overseas to start paying child support again.

Revenue Minister Todd McClay said the overly punitive system had resulted in “paralysing” debts for some parents which meant they had given up trying to pay and thousands had gone overseas.

About 120,000 people had child support debt which totalled $3.2 billion – about half of which was owed by people now living overseas. Only $700 million of the total was in child support while the rest was interest and penalty fees for late payments.

Mr Key said it was the responsibility of liable parents to make child support payments. “They have a legal obligation to pay for their kids and they have a moral obligation to pay for their kids, and they should be doing it.”

However, the Government had to take a pragmatic approach and recognise that many were simply failing or could not afford to meet those obligations.

“We need to breathe the hope into those 120,000 families and individuals who see a hopeless position.

“What we are saying to those people is to come back, start making the principal payments to those low-income families that you owe it to, and we will forgive the interest and we will forgive the penalties.”

Read more »

John, Bill and Steve deliver the “bludgers budget”

John Key, Bill English and Steve Joyce have delivered up a “bludger budget”, delivering more money to non-contributing members of society.

Even David Farrar is having to choke back his disgust.

While I expected the Government to spend a small amount of money on helping low income families, never did I think they would be announcing the first real increase in benefit rates in 43 years as part of an almost $800 million child poverty package.

It will be almost impossible for Labour and Greens to credibly attack this Budget, because it looks a lot like the sort of Budget they would deliver.  I’m impressed with the politics of it, but not impressed with the economics.

The main initiative is the child poverty package. The details are:

  • $25 a week net benefit increase for families with children – 1st increase since 1972. An 8.3% increase in the base benefit rate for most on welfare.
  • To counter against any incentive to remain on welfare due to higher benefit levels, work testing for sole parents to start when youngest child is three, down from five
  • Work testing obligation increases from 15 to 20 hours a week
  • 110,000 beneficiary families with 190,000 children get a net extra $23 a week
  • WFF increases for working families earning under $36,350 a year by $12.50 a week, up to $24.50 a week for very low income
  • Families on WFF who earn over $88,000 a year get a bit less from WFF as abatement rate increases from 21.25c to 22.5c
  • WFF changes benefit 200,000 families and 380,000 children
  • 4,000 very low income working families get a net extra $24.50 a week
  • 50,000 low income working families get a net extra $21.50 a week
  • 150,000 other families get up to $21.50 a week
  • Childcare subsidies for low income families up from $4 to $5 an hour. Families eligible for up to 50 hours a week so worth up to $50 a week.
  • Cost of package $790 million over four years and then $240 million a year

Read more »

Farrar finally recognises the intellectual paucity at the NZ Herald

Arts, fitness, and travel blogger David Farrar gives the anonymous editorial writer at the Herald a good kick in the balls after their stupid editorial had this to say:

It has long been an anomaly that benefits for the young are raised annually by the rate of inflation while superannuitants have their pensions pegged to increases in wages, or inflation if it is greater.

Wages in recent years have increased at a rate above low inflation, causing benefits to lag the general rise in living standards enjoyed by wage earners and the retired. The cost of indexing working age benefits to wages might be considerable but it seems only fair that it should be done. If fiscally possible, it should be accompanied by a catch-up adjustment to benefit rates over the next few years.

Farrar responds:

This may be the stupidest and most financially illiterate editorial of the year.   Read more »

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Time to stop the corporate welfare

The Government says it doesn’t know if the millions it pours into corporate welfare via the Callaghan Innovation fund is helping or benefitting New Zealand.

Sounds like a bloody good reason to end it.

The benefit from millions of dollars of taxpayer-funded research subsidies may be heading straight offshore.

A boat building firm owned by Team Oracle’s founder, American billionaire Larry Ellison, drug giant Bayer, Nasdaq-listed Fiserv and global software firm SAP are all recent recipients of research and development grants from Callaghan Innovation, the government agency charged with administering the money.

But the Government says it has no idea whether any of its investment is actually benefiting New Zealand.  Read more »

Wellington white water white elephant proposed

Another bludging white water event centre is being mooted – this time in Wellington.

Nobody needs these stupid centres and internationally nobody uses them. Former white water facilities that were built for Olympic events are basically overgrown with weeds and unused.

Stands at Kayaking venue at the Helliniko Olympic Complex, Athens, the water course is drained and abandoned

Stands at Kayaking venue at the Helliniko Olympic Complex, Athens, the water course is drained and abandoned

A $7 million whitewater park could be in the pipeline for Wellington, with a proposal that could turn the capital into a mecca for river sports enthusiasts.

The multipurpose Wellington Rapid River park is the brainchild of kayaker and inventor Timon Maxey, who will pitch it to Wellington City Council next week.    Read more »

Yep, we called it first, highway robbers illegal and they are bludgers too

The other day we called the chuggers from Coromandel highway robbers and it turns out we were right…and the media has picked up on our call.

A small-town group’s roadside fundraising methods have been labelled “aggressive” by authorities, with commentators even calling the stint highway robbery.

Coromandel group Koputauaki Combined Community Centre carried out illegal fundraising after they stopped cars on an open road and asked for gold coin donations.

People from the centre set up traffic cones on a 100km/h stretch of Colville Rd, north of Coromandel town, over the weekend and reportedly asked motorists to donate a gold coin before they were allowed through to continue their journey.

Fundraising Institute New Zealand chief executive James Austin described the methods “aggressive”.

Thames Coromandel District Council said the activities breached a council bylaw, and that council had spoken to its lawyers about the breach.

Council’s Thames area manager, Greg Hampton, said the centre did not apply for a permit for the fundraising, so had breached a bylaw. A permit is required under the Public Places Bylaw, and the group also should have submitted a traffic management plan, Hampton said.

Hampton could not confirm whether council was considering legal action.

“We haven’t really discussed that yet, and we haven’t had an official complaint.”

Controversial blogger Cameron Slater weighed in on the debate, stating on his Whale Oil blog that the activities were “highway robbery”.

“Imagine this sort of carry-on popping up all over the place? This needs to be stamped out, and stamped out hard.”

Read more »

Someone needs to tell Dalton he’s dreamin’

Grant Dalton really needs to watch ‘The Castle’ and listen to Daryl Kerrigan.

Team New Zealand will fight for an America’s Cup pre-regatta in Auckland, despite the event’s organisers announcing all races will be in Bermuda in 2017.

Prime Minister John Key said it was “extremely unlikely” the team would get government funding following the announcement on the Cup’s official website yesterday.

Team NZ board chairman Keith Turner told the Herald it “was not the end of the road” for an Auckland qualifying race and the America’s Cup Event Authority’s (ACEA) statement was not legal. The decision was subject to a legal process after the ACEA backtracked on its decision to hold an Auckland event, he said.

Read more »

Pimping the Not So Poor; who just want more

Simon Collins is at it again this morning in the NZ Herald, Pimping the Poor, except this case it is the not so poor.

His story is about a woman moaning because her husband and sperm donor to 2 plus another on the way is having to up his payments to pay for a kid from a previous relationship. Simon Collins rolls out all the usual pimping the poor lines…but this is the new woman moaning about paying for her sperm donor’s other kid, so perhaps not the best example.

The husband doesn’t front, just the new missus with two kids and another on the way moaning about how terrible it is that her sperm donor should pay for the other kid he fathered.

A pregnant mother of two has been left with less than $300 a week to feed and clothe her family after a $50-a-week jump in the child support that her husband pays for another child.

The West Auckland family is one of many affected by a new formula for child support payments which came into force on April 1. Almost 33,000 liable parents will pay more under the new formula, 46,000 will pay less, and 58,000 are unaffected.

Sunnyvale mother Vanessa Runagall said her family’s budget was so tight that they simply couldn’t pay an increase in her husband Ross’ child support from $305 a month to $503.

“We were just managing,” she said. “We changed our bank earlier in the year to get a good interest rate [on the mortgage], and they told us that with what my husband earned, that we couldn’t live on that.

“We had to prove that we could live meanly … We don’t actually go anywhere, we don’t actually do any entertaining.”

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UK Cutting Benefits to Bludgers who won’t work

Welfare is a safety net, not a lifestyle choice. Ninety years of welfare has created intergenerational welfare dependency, and instead of accepting this, the Pommy Tory Party have been aggressively chasing people off welfare. They started by limiting the benefits any family can receive to twenty six thousand quid, which drove people to work. Previous some families were receiving double this, maying work very unattractive.

Now Iain Duncan Smith has started nailing bludgers who aren’t looking for work.

More than 466,000 people have their benefits suspended including 2,000 who are barred from claiming for three years

Nearly half a million people have had their benefits suspended over the past year after they failed to do enough to find work, turned down job offers or missed Jobcentre appointments, according to new figures.

A total of 466,000 people were hit by sanctions which saw them barred from claiming Job Seekers Allowance for an average of between four weeks and three months.

However, 2,000 repeat offenders were hit by significantly harder sanctions and had their benefits stopped for the next three years, including 49 single parents and 978 people under the age of 24.

Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, hailed the figures as evidence that the sanctions system is deterring people from offending after the proportion of people sanctioned fell by 18 per cent.

He said that “there should be consequences” when people “don’t play by the rules”: “The vast majority of people on benefits want to work – and take up all the support on offer to move into a job. We can see this from the record numbers of people in work and falling unemployment.   Read more »

A liar and a bludger

Some people really take diabolical liberties.

This liar and bludgers really takes the cake.

An “injured” worker who took more than a year off work was snapped by a private investigator in a fit condition, and has been ordered to pay her employer $1500.

Barbara Twentyman, who worked as a night fill worker in the clothing department at The Warehouse in Taupo, lost her case at the Employment Relations Authority against The Warehouse for its alleged failure to provide a safe and healthy work environment.

Twentyman injured her left shoulder while lifting products in February 2012. That same month she claimed that she sustained ongoing issues which felt like a “heart attack” as a result of concrete dust at work.

The former employee did not seek medical attention for her injury to her shoulder until a month later, with her “heart attack” symptoms being brought to her doctor’s attention two months afterwards.

The company used  photographic evidence from a private investigator it hired with the approval of ACC to document Twentyman performing tasks which should not have been possible with her injury, to prove Twentyman was fit for work.     Read more »