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 »

The Living wage and Benefits in the real world

Dilligaf2013, a reader and commenter emails:

Hi Cam, after reading the latest installment of left wing horse dung and blatant vote buying (the living wage), I am exercised enough to write about the real world and what’s really happening.

As you will be aware, I have been through a tough journey battling prostate cancer.

This journey was made doubly worse once I exhausted my financial reserves and I was forced to ask WINZ for help.

Not only was this experience one filled with regular humiliation and embarrassment, but it was also filled with ongoing frustration.

This frustration was fuelled by the constant mixed messages WINZ were sending me – including the requirement to get doctors certificates proving I was undergoing cancer treatments every few weeks.

Every time I had to attend a WINZ office, I was confronted by people dressed in the latest Nike’s and other fashionable clothing, as well as the vehicles they were driving were quite often sporting various luxury add on’s like mag wheels, modified exhausts, body kits and being lowered etc etc.

My mistake was clearly my honesty, as I could get no assistance for having my children in my care every second weekend and half the school holidays.

WINZ sent me to IRD and IRD sent me back to WINZ – neither organisation would help.  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 »

Another Cunliffe balls up

David Cunliffe has developed a truthiness problem.

He told Gordon Campbell in an interview:

We’ve got ten minutes. I haven’t asked about your welfare policy, so I’ll make it specific. We all oppose fraud. Does Labour oppose the government’s new welfare fraud policy whereby the partners of welfare fraudsters will be criminally liable for the fraud, and for the repayment of the entire amount – and not simply for the amount from which they might have indirectly benefitted. If re-elected will Labour retain this provision or scrap it ?

Scrap it.

Later in the day Labour voted to support the legislation. Chester Borrows has issued a press release that says:

Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows says Labour needs to be clear on where they stand on welfare fraud.  Read more »

“Forget reforming the welfare state. We must blow it to smithereens!”

Countries with comprehensive welfare systems teh world over are seeing an explosion of entitlements as bureaucrats and political parties use welfare to continually bribe voters.

If welfare worked and money was the answer then after literally billions of dollars each year in this this country you’d think we would have solved the issue. We haven;t and neither has anyone else.

Time for radical change…Martin Durkin explains.

IF TV’S Benefits Street raised a fuss, James Bartholomew’s The Welfare State We’re In should cause an earthquake. Never mind a few scrounging scallywags, Bartholomew’s book (just republished) gives us the total historical horror of the welfare state in living Technicolor.

Bartholomew is a Redbull double-espresso to Iain Duncan Smith’s limp chamomile tea. Forget reforming the welfare state. We must blow it to smithereens! Bartholomew is clearly a monster. Why else would he attack the welfare state with such ferocity? It is, after all, a modest attempt to help the vulnerable in difficult times. If it has grown enormously, it merely reflects the increasing cruelty of capitalism.

Ha! Bartholomew grabs the welfare state by the throat, and exposes something ugly, frightening and dehumanising. This isn’t a dry book about public policy. It’s an explosive blockbuster, guaranteed to boil your blood, beautifully written, sweeping in its scope.

It is about the transformation of a once independent, prosperous people into a demoralised, dispirited, lumpen mass. It explains why we marry less and divorce more (and the terrible human cost). It tells us why we are so stupid and unhealthy, why our state health system is so inadequate and cruel. It tells us why we don’t save any more, why we are no longer so charitable or polite. It tells us why popular entertainment has descended into pornographic imbecility, why human progress in the past century has fallen so far short of expectations.

The cost is huge in money terms. “Benefits” alone account for about ÂŁ200bn a year – more than the combined GDP of 30 African countries. But the result of this Niagara of handouts is not contentment. As Bartholomew shows with heartbreaking clarity, the real victims are those whom welfare is supposed to help. It has created legions of single mothers, fatherless children, and jobless boys and men. For them, the welfare state hasn’t given, it has taken. It has taken their savings, dignity, independence, initiative, pride, it has denied them full lives as productive economic agents. Walk through a council estate, as Bartholomew has many times, and witness what he calls the tragic “concentration of despair”.  Read more »

Why David Shearer had to be replaced as Labour leader

Last year David Shearer surprised everyone by jacking it in and quitting as Labour leader.

He faced an unruly and disloyal caucus, along with an activist membership who were implacably opposed to his way of thinking. They were more inclined to go for a charlatan from the top end of town spouting socialist mantra than follow a leader who actually is smart and proves it.

His column yesterday in the Herald shows why Labour had to replace him as leader…he is focused on solutions not providing systems that encourage and develop locked in entitlement mentalities.

Since my Food in Schools Bill – to provide food to lower-decile schools – was drawn out of the Parliamentary ballot in October, I’ve been rethinking this course of action.

My meetings with principals, doctors, charities and communities have convinced me that some important adjustments should be made to the bill.

My research took me to a wonderful school, Owairaka District School, where 8-year-old students served me a lunch of vegetarian pizza from their own pizza oven, salad from their garden, and muffins made with eggs from their chickens and honey from their hives.

Owairaka is a decile 2 school but the children are kept nourished and learning through this innovative garden-to-table programme.

But more critically, they are picking up the lifetime skills of gardening and food preparation – and they are doing it alongside family and community volunteers who also benefit.

It’s win, win, win – so much better than a hand-out for the kids – and it raised a question I have grappled with since my bill was drawn.

Is it right to impose a one-size-fits-all solution on to every low-decile school in the form of a food hand-out?  Read more »

Labour gets tough on bludgers

Oh wait…it’s not Labour in New Zealand it is Labour in the United Kingdom that is getting tough on bludgers.

Well-paid workers who lose their jobs could be paid claim more in benefits under Labour plans to reward work.

More experienced people who have paid more in tax would receive a ÂŁ120 bonus when they are first made unemployed.

The controversial policy would be paid for by extending the amount of time someone must have been in work before they can claim jobless benefits.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves said the change was needed to help those people who suddenly found themselves looking for work after a long time in employment.

People who have paid National Insurance contributions for four or five years would receive more Jobseeker’s Allowance than others.

She suggested it could be worth an extra ÂŁ20-a-week for six weeks, worth an extra 28 per cent more than the ÂŁ71.70 weekly rate for over-25s.

The move is part of a Labour drive to restore the contributory principle to the welfare state, where people can only claim if they have first paid in.  Read more »

Bugger off bludging foreign ratbags

Iain Duncan Smith the UK work and pensions minister has some stern words for bludging Johnny Foreigner.

The work and pensions secretary vows to protect Britain from ‘exploitation’ by benefit tourists and put those who work hard and pay their taxes first. …

Employment here is growing at the same rate as in Germany, and faster than the EU as a whole. Meanwhile, as unemployment rises in France and Spain, in the UK it has fallen by nearly 100,000 people in the past three months alone — the biggest drop in over a decade.

For those who are out of work, our dynamic labour market offers a real opportunity. Yet too often in the past, I believe we faced a challenge with our workforce at home. Under the last Labour government, more than half of all new jobs were taken by foreign nationals. Meanwhile, even during the years of growth, we had well over four million people sitting on out-of-work benefits — too many of them unwilling or unable to take advantage of the job opportunities that were being created.

There is no kindness in a welfare system that traps the individuals and families it is meant to help, nor anything moral in a fundamentally divided nation, one in which one section of society has been left behind. Yet that is the challenge I was confronted with on entering office, after Labour tried to cover up the problem. They left far too many British people on the sidelines, while companies imported labour from abroad. It is one reason why this Government is taking decisive action to reform the welfare state, a process that is now well under way.

We’re already fixing the broken system we inherited from Labour by placing a cap on the amount people can receive in benefits, reforming sickness benefits and increasing the expectations on some people to move into work while restoring the incentive to do so.

We are seeing excellent results. Already, half a million fewer people are on out-of-work benefits since the election. And notably, the latest data shows that of the rise in employment over the past year, over 90 per cent went to UK nationals.   Read more »

Pimping the Poor in Christchurch, something fishy about this

I see Fairfax has taken to pimping the poor in Christchurch.

Welfare groups are helping a Christchurch mother and her three children move into a tent in a public park because they cannot find the family a home.

From today, Maori wardens will stand guard 24 hours a day to provide Nellie Hunt and her children some security at their tent in Waltham Park.

The family was served with a 90-day eviction notice in September when their landlord decided to sell their Waltham rental home.

Today is day 90.

Over the past three months the agencies set up to protect people in difficult situations have exhausted all options and say Hunt has “fallen through the gaps”.

Hunt said: “In all my days I did not think it would come to this. I don’t know what we are going to do.

“I just want a home for me and my three babies and I feel like I have failed them badly. It is the worst feeling in the world.”  Read more »