Paula Bennett

Cold hard reality sinks in for Colin Craig

via NZ Herald

via NZ Herald

Colin Craig has a bad habit of spending millions coming third

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says he does not intend to ask National to gift him an electorate and is instead aiming to get into Parliament by getting more than 5 per cent of the party vote, saying he did not want to “repeat the adventures” of parties such as Act.

There has been speculation about whether National will do an Epsom-style deal with Mr Craig to increase his chances of getting Conservative MPs into Parliament, but Mr Craig said no such talks have been held. However, he said if National approached the Conservative Party to offer a seat, he would have to take it to the board to consider and it was likely they would accept. Read more »

Welfare changes slowly taking effect

Simon Collins has taken a break from pimping the poor to write about the mindset changes occurring in welfare as a result of the changes made by Paula Bennett.

A single parents’ group says “a complete change of mindset” has helped reduce the number of people on the sole parent benefit to the lowest level in more than 20 years.

Numbers on sole parent support have plunged by 8600, or 10 per cent, in the year to March.

It is the biggest drop in a single year since the benefit – previously known as the domestic purposes benefit, or DPB – was created in 1974.

Sole parent support is now being paid to 75,844 sole parents, fewer than in any year in the DPB’s history since 1988.

About 22,000 people with no children under 14 were moved to other benefits when the DPB was abolished last July, but even if they were added back in, the total number of sole parents on any kind of benefit is the lowest since 1993.

Auckland Single Parents Trust founder Julie Whitehouse said tighter rules, which require sole parents to look for part-time work when their youngest child turns 5 and fulltime work when that child turns 14, had completely changed attitudes.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “It’s so good that I can’t even get them to volunteer time. The whole mindset has changed.”

Asked how many of her 580 members now had jobs, she said: “The shift is incredible, I’m almost tempted to say 100 per cent – it really is big. All the attitudes changed. Everybody knew that when your child is 5 you have to go to work.”

Read more »

More good news, less people on benefits and more jobs available

You could say the good news just keeps on truckin’ on:

The labour market is taking off, with more jobs advertised in March, continuing a run of rises for three months in a row, a bank survey shows.

A strong economy is now being accompanied by rising employment, that will provide a backbone to household income growth over the months ahead.

The latest ANZ job ads survey points to unemployment falling from 6 per cent at the end of last year to 5.7 per cent at the end of March and dropping even more in coming months.

The number of job advertisements lifted 1.1 per cent in March, seasonally adjusted.

“This bodes well for an ongoing downward trend in the unemployment rate.” ANZ said.

Job advertising on the internet in March rose 2 per cent but fell 4.6 per cent in newspapers.

In the three months to March the level of internet job advertising lifted 6.4 per cent compared with the previous the three months, to be 15.3 per cent higher than a year ago.  Read more »

Cunliffe goes over the top and signals Labour will continue to provide for bludgers

Aside from not wanting to let the facts get in the way yet again David Cunliffe is starting to adopt the verbal approach of his chief of staff, we had the Garner interview that was mate this and mate that which from a toff in a Herne Bay mansion is ridiculous.

We now have the totally over the top reaction to what is some pretty minor changes to state house tenancies, reviewing a tenancy in a HNZ house to someone whose luck has improved to free up a house for someone more deserving is now “disgusting”.

Clearly there is some media training going on but with the same results that Phil Goff and David Shearer had…you can’t completely re invent someone.

And what of the policy?

Sounds like pretty sensible stuff to me and no doubt any other working person out there paying private rent.

The changes, coming into effect tomorrow, give community housing providers greater access to money to subsidise people in desperate need of a home.

It means non-government groups can offer income-related rents for tenants for the first time.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said it would allow more diverse housing options for people on the waiting list, and make houses more affordable.

“It means significant savings for those renting the houses, with the state picking up a bigger part of the bill for them,” she said.

The government has set a target for 20 per cent of the country’s social housing to be provided by non-government organisations by 2017. Currently there are about 1200, but Minister for Housing Nick Smith said he wants that number to rise to 12,000.

Many of those new projects will be in West Auckland – where about 1200 of the 5500 people on the national state house waiting list live.  Read more »

Herald briefly stops Pimping the Poor

via The Guardian

via The Guardian

You have to wonder about the NZ Herald sometimes.  There is a definite anti-government, pro-left flavour to the body of articles.  But occasionally one of the senior people jump in with an editorial and shock us with some common sense.

The news that at least 21,000 beneficiaries have travelled overseas in the past nine months had a predictable response. The airwaves went hot with taxpayers’ anger and disgust at the supposed “rip-off” of the welfare system. Welfare defenders bristled with equal indignation, accusing minister Paula Bennett of “beneficiary bashing”. They seemed to consider overseas travel to be part of today’s average living standard that beneficiaries ought to be able to share.

Labour spokeswoman Sue Moroney said it was wrong to imagine a benefit alone allowed anyone to travel overseas. Often the cost was met by family members or was a gift. She is right, but she and others who talk about poverty in this country ought to remind themselves of this more often.

The Children’s Commissioner, who annually reports on the numbers in poverty as defined by household income and surveys of material possessions, ought to take note of the travel figures. On the income definition all beneficiaries and their children are below the poverty line.

Indeed.  Like Pavlov’s dogs we all were.  Including the cries for beneficiaries to be hung, drawn and quartered by Whaleoil.  Non-beneficiaries work hard for their money.  They pay their taxes, often a little begrudgingly.   To find that 21,000 beneficiaries enjoyed overseas travel, some multiple times, when you haven’t had a holiday for a few years is quite likely to get steam up.   Read more »

Minister does job. Gets told off for doing it too well

beach-holidays

They like to call it beneficiary bashing.  What do you call it when a Minister gets criticised for making sure the rules are implemented properly?  Minister bashing?

Sue Moroney has a go at Paula Bennett for returning $1M of tax payers money to those who can’t afford overseas holidays

Labour’s social development spokeswoman, Sue Moroney, said there had always been penalties for travelling without valid reason, but Ms Bennett was wrong to claim beneficiaries could clearly afford to travel. Often the money was scraped together by other family members or was a gift.

“I think Paula Bennett’s attempts to paint this picture of beneficiaries off living the high life at Club Med is not accurate. If Paula Bennett thinks it’s easy to live on a benefit and somehow have money left over to go travelling, she needs to have a go at living on a benefit for a while and see how she gets on. Might have been the case in her day, but it’s not the case now.”

Come on now.  One moment Labour are trying to convince everyone that a quarter of New Zealanders live in deep poverty, and the  next minute you are trying to defend them going on overseas holidays?   Read more »

Having a lend, thousands of bludgers blagging holidays on the taxpayer

The constant refrain from the opposition is that it is tough on a benefit and that it is barely enough to live on.

The facts however are far different, with beneficiaries finding that not only is the benefit easy to live on, but that literally thousands of them are able to afford overseas holidays as well.

More than 21,000 beneficiaries have had their income support cut for travelling overseas since last July, the Government says.

But opponents have raised concerns about the number of people affected, dubbing it the latest round of “beneficiary bashing”.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said she was surprised by the “staggering number” of beneficiaries, excluding superannuitants, who were travelling overseas.

“These figures are the number of people who chose to travel knowing their benefit would be suspended.

”Every day we hear stories of how people cannot live on the benefit. Today you’re hearing that literally thousands can not only live on it but can afford to travel overseas as well.

Bennett said more than 1750 people have had their benefit suspended for multiple overseas trips since July.  Read more »

Mana nervous of Kim Dotcom, while Hone tells us all lies

The wheels seem to be falling off the Dotcom trolley as it heads faster and faster down Extradition Street.

Last week the Supreme Court told the dodgy German that he can’t see all the evidence the FBI has amassed against him, that the Extradition Act applies and his date in court will be the extradition hearing.

With him living in the leakiest house north of the bridge it come as no surprise to him that his plans to rort the electoral system and fund or accommodate Hone Harawira’s Mana party have been leaked in full detail.

Mana activists aren’t happy. Vernon Small reports:

The Mana Party is taking a rain check on linking up with Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party until it sees its candidates, its policy planks and gets an assurance it is committed to a change of government.

The Megaupload founder is expected to launch his party on Thursday, and will need to secure 500 members to register it with the Electoral Commission.

He has floated the idea of a deal with the Hone Harawira-led Mana Party to help both of them secure more MPs after the September 20 election, but Mana remains wary.  Read more »

Sheesh, it’s not like I’m laundering donations for politicians

I see the media are on a witch-hunt to find out who talks to me or sends me information.

Cabinet Minister Paula Bennett is denying she’s passed information to political bloggers, but won’t release communication records from her office.

Newstalk ZB sought the records after the Prime Minister admitted last month he’d had contact with bloggers including, Whaleoil’s Cameron Slater.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is adamant she’s not passed on any information.

However she’s turned down an Official Information Act request covering such communications not because the information doesn’t exist, but because checking the records would involve too much work.

Ms Bennett says she hasn’t passed on any information, but isn’t making the same assurance about her staff.

“Well I’m confident that I haven’t but I’m not sure what every staff member does every day.

“It’s just so irrelevant to be honest.”  Read more »

Amy Adams deals to a mad, mad council

While I’ve had my doubts about Amy Adams, there’s no doubting she’s willing to show up ratbag councils.  I can’t wait for Paula Bennett to get stuck into her Local Govt portfolio but this tale is why the Green Taliban should be shown the arse card when it comes to being anywhere near power.

“Many RMA rules around the country have slipped into nonsense territory,” Adams said after The Dominion Post reported on environmentalists Peter Standen, 77, and wife Diana, 74, of Otaki, being taken to court by Kapiti Coast District Council for felling and trimming seven trees they believed were rotten and dangerous.”

Good to see fitness guru, arts and travel blogger, David Farrar, pick up on a pearl of a story that ought to worry everyone.  The Green Taliban running the Kapiti Coast District Council have decided to prosecute a couple of Otaki pensioners for getting an arborist in to clear “a mass of tangled and broken branches, dead, diseased and dangerous trees” on their own land.

Instead of the council giving them a pat of the back for improving nature, instead, they’re being prosecuted for “modifying naturally occurring indigenous vegetation“.  Given these, mad, mad rules abound in many councils, including Len‘s socialist paradise of Auckland, it’s a real worry:

“This couple has spent a lot of time caring for their environment and gone to the effort of getting an arborist,” Adams said.

Oddly, I’ve been told Wellington City views your land as, well, your land.  While I can’t stand the place, it seems to be full of people planting natives, perhaps because you’re allowed to manage them than apply for Resource Consent to trim a branch. That mad Kapiti Council is telling people to rip out natives before its too late.  Great message that for as Adams explains:

“We are not talking about some yob with a chainsaw with a tree he did not like. They got a specialist saying they were dangerous… it appears so eminently sensible… the outcome seems ridiculous.   Read more »