welfare

Chester Borrows calls out lazy media

Chester Borrows, who is one of the wets in National writes a brilliant opinion piece at Fairfax:

In my book kids come first. No matter how frustrating the parents’ situation may be. Situations of their own volition, stupidity, criminality, or just bad luck, if there are kids involved, it pushes all my buttons. I will fall over myself helping and always have. I’m big enough to admit that I probably made decisions last week that I wouldn’t make a second time. We have all made mistakes and I own mine but don’t want them thrown in my face every time I am in need of being cut a little slack. So the starting point is that if there are kids involved, they didn’t have any choice because some adult made a decision for them on their behalf. So let’s think of the kids first.

The whole premise behind providing welfare…it’s for the kids.

Now, about those families who are living in every garage in South Auckland that Andrew Little has told us about but can’t find.  Those ones we can see same time; same channel every night – are there a few questions we’d like to ask them? Hell yes.   Read more »

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“…all we have created is a culture of dependence, entitlement, helplessness and irresponsibility”

Martin van Beynen hits the nail on the head:

The current weeping, wailing and gross over-simplification of the problems at the root of violence and dysfunction will not achieve anything.

Partly this is due to a couple of vital components missing from the discussion which mean most people switched off long ago.

The media cannot be knocked for highlighting societal problems and marchers might also help focus the minds of people in power.

But for things to change you need middle-class outrage and ordinary punters are no longer engaged.

They have heard it all before. “What do you want us to do?” is a common reaction.

We have tried everything and all we have created is a culture of dependence, entitlement, helplessness and irresponsibility.

Of course most of us know condemnation does not work but that initial reaction needs to be acknowledged.

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Simon Collins’ wet dream: a budget that doesn’t fix child poverty

Simon Collins has had his wet dreams realised. A budget that doesn’t fix child poverty.

Especially since child poverty is defined as a percentage of the median wage, it is practically unsolvable….which allows him to pimp some more poor whinging bludgers.

Child poverty advocates say the Budget provides no relief for families struggling to cope with high rents and low incomes.

Interesting term…’child poverty advocates’…are they really in favour of child poverty?

Child Poverty Action Group economist Dr Susan St John said she was hoping for improvements in housing subsidies and family tax credits, but the Budget provided neither of them.

Instead, the Government is quietly implementing changes announced in 2011 to lower the income limit for the maximum family tax credits from $36,827 to $35,000 a year, and to raise the rate at which the credits are reduced from 20c to 25c for every extra dollar earned above the limit.   Read more »

Simon Collins now pimping the ‘terrified’

How can anyone be terrified by a budget that delivers millions more to bludgers, keeps entitlements as they are and delivers $640 million more for social investment including $200 million for replacing CYF and $200 million more for housing for 750 more places for those with most pressing housing needs, $42m for 3,000 emergency housing places, a new emergency housing grant and $36 million to continue home insulation. Also $100m to free up land in Auckland for housing?

Well the NZ Herald must have them on speed dial because Simon Collins managed to find a bloke, if you can call him that, who is “terrified” of the budget.

A man who spent 18 years in state care says he is “terrified” by the Budget changes to Child, Youth and Family.

Daryl Brougham, who wrote a book last year about his experiences, said the extra $95 million a year for the new “super-CYF” children’s ministry would go mostly to private contractors through competitive tenders.

Some of the worst experiences in his life in care were when children’s homes closed down because contractors lost their contracts.    Read more »

Larry Williams on housing

Larry Williams makes some sensible prognostications on housing and politicians.

Nobody can surely claim that our welfare system is unfair. To the contrary, we have a world class welfare system with accommodation supplements, Working for Families and other welfare payments. Compared to other countries, our welfare system is generous.

I suspect that is part of the problem. This country’s intergenerational welfare is integral to many of the social problems we have today. Labour have been leaders in this.

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The PM is right, there is help out there

The PM has told those people whinging to the Media party about their housing predicament to go see aid agencies, like WINZ.

Prime Minister John Key has advised those who are homeless or living in garages to go and see Work and Income.

His comments come after social housing groups and community workers have called on the government to increase their supply of affordable housing.

There have been reports families in Auckland have been forced to rent garages and shipping containers, with the Salvation Army estimating one in ten Auckland garages is rented out to a family.

Social agencies say the number of families living out of their cars has grown.

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What TV3 calls “hard line” beneficiary reforms, we call “long overdue”

Newshub are all aghast at the beneficiary reforms, which most hard working Kiwi taxpayers will be cheering for.

Newshub can reveal the full extent of the Government’s crackdown on beneficiaries.

Since hard-line welfare reforms in 2013, 165,177 sanctions have been placed on beneficiary payments.

The majority were for failing to attend an appointment, but also included failing a drugs test and refusing a job.

The penalties range from a 25 percent reduction in benefit to a full cancellation for 13 weeks.

Today there was a steady stream of foot traffic into Newtown’s WINZ office in Wellington, hoping to avoid penalties for breaking the benefit rules.    Read more »

Where are all the benefit babies born?

Lindsay Mitchell has been doing some research on where all the benefit babies are being born.

Unsurprisingly bludgers beget bludgers…and it’s growing.

Every year I track how many benefit babies there are relative to the total births. Being a ‘benefit baby’ means relying on a parent or caregiver’s benefit  by the the end of their birth year. Most will become reliant nearer to their birth date rather than first birthday. Many will go on to experience long-term deprivation.

This year I asked for a  breakdown by Work and Income Service Centre. That was provided. Then I asked the Ministry of Health for District Health Board birth data for 2015. They very quickly obliged without an OIA. Credit to them.

It was then straight forward to place each service centre in a DHB  and calculate the percentage of babies in each district that would be benefit-dependent before their first birthday.

Where the benefit babies are born

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Massive changes to child protection and care

It has been obvious for years that Child Youth and Family was broken. Today the government announced massive changes including the a replacement agency for CYF.

Anne Tolley made the announcement:

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says Cabinet has agreed to major state care reforms and a complete overhaul of Child, Youth and Family to improve the long-term life outcomes for New Zealand’s most vulnerable population.

“The whole system needs to be transformed if we are to give these young people the protection and life opportunities they deserve,” says Mrs Tolley.

“After making a very clear case for change in its interim report, the expert panel advising me on the radical overhaul of CYF has delivered a final report with a bold set of recommendations for a new child-centred system which the government is taking action on. I want to thank Dame Paula Rebstock, the panel and its support team, and my youth advisory panel for their hard work and dedication.

“A new system will be in place by the end of March 2017 which will have high aspirations for all children and address their short and long-term wellbeing and support their transition into adulthood.

“It will focus on five core services – prevention, intensive intervention, care support services, transition support and a youth justice service aimed at preventing offending and reoffending.”    Read more »

New laws kick in today – this is what you need to know

Fairfax lists the new laws kicking in today and how you may, or may not, be affected:

Zero hour contracts, which meant no guaranteed hours for some workers, will become illegal.

The biggie is the Health and Safety at Work Act, which takes effect on Monday.

Health and safety you say? That’s my favourite subject!

Really? Wow. In that case, you will be interested to know Worksafe is more likely to prosecute employers as a result of the law. Workers will also have obligations though so everyone will need to be on top of what’s expected.

The new law requires employers to take “reasonably practicable” steps to manage health and safety risks at work. It also means company directors need to be more hands-on about health and safety and all businesses need make sure staff are well-involved in such things.

What about all this talk about schools having to ban kids from climbing trees because of the changes? 

It depends who you’re talking to.

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse says not only is it possible for kids to continue climbing tees but he “actively encourages” it. Both Worksafe and the Ministry of Education have provided advice to schools on what “reasonably practicable” steps means for them.

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