Big Changes in Welfare

John Key and Paula Bennett have announced big changes in Welfare this morning at the National party conference.

Key Points:

  • Changes to Privacy Act and Education Act  to ensure that:
    • Schools are required to inform the Government when 16-17 year olds leave during the year and
    • The Ministries of Education and Social Development will be able to share information they have on those young people

Additionally National will introduce:

  • Changes to benefit system to stop handing over cash:
    • Essential costs such as rent and power will be paid directly
    • Money for basic living costs such as food and groceries will be pre-loaded onto a payment card that can only be used to buy certain types of goods and cannot be used to buy things like alcohol and cigarettes
    • Small amount allowable for discretionary spending only
  • Young people in receipt of those payments will have to be in education, training or work-based learning
  • Government will fund support providers such as NGOs to assist in intensive case management and mentoring

The changes will be introduced to parliament to take effect in early 2012.

I think that this policy is going to go down very will indeed with middle New Zealand, very well indeed. It certainly shows that they are now prepared to grasp the welfare nettle.

Middle New Zealand will understand this policy far more easily than Labour’ bombed capital gains tax policy. Middle New Zealand understands that welfare hasn’t been working and that changes are needed. National is clearly grabbing and locking in that middle ground for this election.


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  • Mully

    So will Bradford or Bradbury be the first lunatic off the rank to condemn this “attack”?

    • Bradford, via Twitter:

      Sue Bradford
      @suebr Sue Bradford
      Key welfare speech – most sinister aspects = income management (state takes control of benefit); privatisation – paying providers fr results

      Has she forgotten where the money came from in the first place? The state, via the taxpayer. This is an excellent initiative, and as WO notes above, middle New Zealand, including many who vote Labour will be strongly supportive. After all, it’s THEIR money.

  • Mully

    So will Bradford or Bradbury be first lunatic off the rank to condemn this “rick prick” attack on the poor downtrodden underclass?

  • notavictim

    It always takes a term to push back the gross social wastage brought about by a labour government, the second term is hopefully where some progress may be made, there is certainly enough political capital for some real changes to be made. Just waiting for the hand wringers to start baulking at this, nothing brings a smile to my face like a squirming leftard.

  • MikeMan

    Best news I have heard in a long time. Hopefully it is a success and will spread to all beneficiaries.

    I am sick and tired of seeing tax dollars spent on illegal drugs and alcohol while kids are underfed and under clothed.

  • thor42

    A very good move by the Nats! This is very much focused on the **responsibilities** of the young.
    It is saying that “if you want help from the state, you need to be helping yourself at the same time.”
    Very much a common-sense approach. I **really like** the idea of essential costs (like rent and power) being paid directly.
    Really, up to now, ***nothing had changed*** in the welfare area. Money is doled out now just as it has been for decades.
    It is time to break the cycle, once and for all, of teens having babies and thinking that it’s a great lifestyle choice to go on the DPB or the dole.
    I will be really interested to see the first polls come out after this announcement. Hopefully they will show a bump up in support for the Nats.

    • Jacob77712


      • Bafacu

        Welcome Jacon77712 – looks like you only have another 8 months of posts to get through to be up to date if you are responding to this thread – happy reading!

  • peterwn

    Several years ago a teenage part time supermarket worker was villified by the media and welfare advocacy groups for refusing to sell a person confectionary on a welfare voucher. Aspersions were cast on her alledegly middle class upbringing and lack of sensitivity for the poor. The supermakket franchisee/ manager probably condoned ignoring such legal requirements despite what was i the training manual.

    Labour’s Minister of Welfare f course said nothing, whereas Paula Bennet if Minister at the time would have undoubtedly stuck up for that teenager.

    I can see retailers failing to uphold the new policy unless threatened with ‘stings’.

    • Hollyfield

      Yesterday I bought beer at the supermarket. The till (if they still call it that) would not complete my purchase until a superviser had verified my age and swiped the authorisation tag.

      Presumably a similar system could be set up for payment cards. This would require supermarket admin to set all barcodes of cigarettes, alcohol etc as not being allowed to be purchased on the payment cards, and then the till would not complete the purchase if one of those barcodes had been scanned. It would not be possible for the checkout operator to over-ride this, so no discretion and no dispute at the time of purchase.

      Similarly, I have seen signs in supermarkets saying that the purchase of gift vouchers and cigarettes does not count towards points for promotions. I presume the till is programmed to exclude those barcodes, so it should be possible to do this for payment cards.

      I realise smaller retailers may find it more difficult to be firm. (I have personally seen the abuse a “customer” gave to a young person at the layby counter in a department store. Not sure of the exact details, but it seemed the “customer” had a WINZ voucher for school clothes, wanted the store to give her the cash instead of the clothes for the quoted amount and the store to then claim the refund from WINZ. The “customer” insisted that this was done all the time, but the worker stood firm.)

    • Hollyfield

      Yesterday I bought beer at the supermarket. The till (if that’s what they are still called) would not complete my purchase until a supervisor had verified my age and swiped an authorisation tag.

      I have seen signs saying that the purchase of gift cards and cigarettes are excluded when calculating rewards points. Presumably the barcodes of those items are programmed to be automatically excluded.

      I therefore suggest it should be possible for supermarket admin to programme all alcohol, cigarette etc barcodes as not being able to be purchased when a payment card is used. This would be done “behind the scenes” so there would be no discretion on the part of the checkout operator, and therefore no grounds for dispute.

      I realise it would not be so easy for small retailers. (I have seen a “customer” abuse a young worker at a layby counter in a department store. The “customer” had a WINZ voucher for children’s school clothes and was insistent that the store give her cash instead of the clothes, and the store to then claim the refund for the clothes from WINZ.)

      • Jacob77712


  • Old logger

    I posted over on Red Alert ages days ago, suggesting the cashless, vouchers system as a way of dealing to those truss to get off their arses, and was castigated soundly by one and all.
    let’s hope the 16 and 17 yr olds are just the sharp end of the wedge.
    Off to Red Alert for a little gloating!

    • Jacob77712


  • keer

    Great stuff!
    Focussed assistance for those who need it, exactly hit’s needed.
    And not where it’s not.
    “A hand up, not a hand out” as the saying goes.
    And, it will be directed at the essential items to keep people, and especially children, out of so-called poverty.

  • About time- I have been saying that the cashless system needed implementing for years!

    Now ratchet the dole down 10% per annum.

  • gazzaw

    I can hear those tossers now at the PPTA decrying the need to report on 16-17 year olds leaving school and the leftard bureaucrats in Education & Social Welfare blocking the sharing of information at every turn. Civil Liberties & the Greens wil no doubt attack the loss of privacy. None of them give a flying f**k about the kids in question.

  • joes

    Great news. Thgis is why the Nats are better than that bunch of read crazies.

  • This is the kind of policy I would expect to come from Act. It gives me hope that perhaps National is no longer going to be Labour Lite. Unless Act sorts it’s shit out asap National will get my vote now this election.

  • Adolf Fiinkensein

    All that is needed to complete the trifecta is removal the youth minimum wage.

    You’ll be amazed at how fast thousands of kids find jobs at $10 per hour, forty hours per week.

  • whafe

    Yeah ha….. This is all music to my ears, sensational news….

    The Pinko’s will be pissing & moaning, can hear it now…..

  • mort

    this policy has had big wins for the Indigenous fellas in Australia (or at least their children have been having regular wins since Howard introduced it)

    they should strengthen the youth employment scenario by bringing back youth rates.

  • Cactus Kate

    As usual SB the Nats will need a push in the right direction.

    Its fine picking on 16+17 yo’s but what about other age groups? Forget a time wasting trial and move on to the main event asap.

    • Yep, you are right Cathy but Key likes the softly softly approach and no doubt wants to avoid mass protests by easing into it.

  • thor42

    The other thing (of course) is to make sure that the young people actually **make an effort** on the courses that they’re on.
    I can imagine Trev Bludger taking a “course” in something meaningless like (say) iridology – **just to get one of these cards**.
    They will need to restrict payments to only those on “approved and useful” courses, and Trev Bludger should need to pass the course in order for payments to continue. That was the case when I was at uni, with the “student grants”. You had to pass half or more of your “credits” for the loans to continue into next year.

  • gold_zebra

    I’m not what you’d call a ‘National Party supporter’ and I have absolutely no problem with the idea that benefits can’t be spent on cigarettes or alcohol.

    However, as a ‘young person’ (I’m still at school, but can’t even imagine applying for a benefit unless I was really desperate and couldn’t find work anywhere), it bothers me that young people seem to be ‘targeted’- why not make it for everyone. If you are in a position that you need the taxpayers support for yourself and your family, I resent paying for alcohol or cigarettes for you.
    It’s like the zero-limit for drink-driving for young people- a good move- it makes sense that if you drink, don’t drive. Make it for everyone, though, don’t target young people.

    And this is coming from someone who would identify them self as ‘leaning to the left’.

    • I agree G-Z. Apply these rules to everyone.

      • thor42

        Same here…. agreed.
        I’m sure SB is right, though, in saying that the Nat’s are just “easing this policy into place”.
        They’ll bring this in, and after a year or so, I’m sure it’ll be applied to everyone. There is **no reason at all** for it not to be.
        As a previous poster said – welfare will now be “a hand up, not a handout”. That’s exactly as it should be.

    • tristanb

      Good on you gold_zebra. There are some adults that don’t support specifically limiting the rights of the young, so don’t despair completely.

      By the way, many of us thought we were left-wing in our youth. It’s the old “if you’re not a socialist at age 20, you have no heart; if you’re not a capitalist by age 40, you have no brain”.

      But as you get older you realise that all those taxes you earn are spent on things that you don’t really agree with. We accept a little of this – after all, we live in a community and there’s always going to be other taxpayers who want different things to you.

      With most “right-wing” people, it’s not actually losing the tax that matters. I think most of us approve of tax being used to make the country better. But when you see money spent on making the country worse it can be disheartening. “Making worse” means restricting our own freedoms (such as how Labour wanted to ban incandescent lightbulbs) and stopping people from reaching their potential.

      When you give someone something for nothing, and they’re capable of working and leading a fulfilling life, you basically cripple them. You give them money for alcohol and cigarettes – addictions which stop them working. When you penalise and demonise things that we should all be aiming for, such as making enough money for ourselves and our family to live a comfortable life, it stops people from having ambition to improve their quality of life.

      None of us are actually too different from a two-year old child. We all want things to come easy and get what we want – it’s just human nature. But if you just give-in to a kid, they turn into a spoilt brat and things just get worse. If my boss gave me $5000/hour because I stamped my feet and lay around at work doing nothing, next week I’d stamp my feet again and demand $10000/hour (and my boss would quickly go bankrupt). If we give beneficiaries money for nothing, it becomes expected and it becomes an entitlement. They feel they deserve all the things that others work hard to get, but want and demand to get it without lifting a finger.

      My post is getting too long, and what I’m trying to say has been said better many times, but here’s one last thing:

      It’s perfectly fine that you identify as “left leaning”, but remember that the “right-wing” (I hate those terms) is not selfish and probably wants the same outcome as you – we just have different approach to getting there. I think ours best takes into account human nature, and rewards things that improve the country and discourages things that ruin it.

  • Hard1

    Wilton Slackbottom* , at his yearly interview last week , was asked if he could use a computer . He answered , untruthfully , no . End of Work and Income interview shortly thereafter , income supplement for herbalist on tap for another year .
    Clever Man* in Westport primed his interviews by chewing loads of raw garlic . This man in his prime was on the dole for 10 years . 10 fruitpicking , roofing ,chimney sweeping hard working years .
    It’s a game , a great big rorty game . From the poverty of the working poor in George Orwell’s ‘Down and out in Paris and London’ , to New Zealand’s empowered and entitled unemployed in 2011 , we have reached the end of the road .
    The Red Badges will be up all night suffering cold sweats and withdrawal cramps . Maybe they will all join the Mana Muru party Party .
    *names altered FPR

  • thor42

    I popped over to Red Alert (to enjoy the angst over there) and posted a comment along the lines of “the young who haven’t got jobs or aren’t in uni or training are a bunch of slackarses.”
    Seems like the comment hasn’t made it past the mod (not surprisingly….. ) ;)

  • Richard McGrath

    What a pissweak cynical election year bit of short term headline-grabbing.

    My suggestion: No benefits for anyone under age 20. Stop paying teenagers to breed kids they regard as meal tickets. Three year limit on DPB. Privatise welfare. Raise age of pension eligibiity by three months every year immediately. Advise all people under age 40 that they will need to make their own pension arrangements.

    Bill English is apparently borrowing $380m a week, giving every household in this country an extra $100k of debt every six years.

    “Personal responsibility”, “limited government”, “competitive enterprise”… all from the National Party’s vision and values. I think they forgot to add “painfully slowly” and “it mustn’t damage our ratings in the polls”.

    Talking of Bill English – in 2002 as National leader his party got 21% of the vote on a 77% turnout – making him Mr 16%. What a guy.

  • About time

    All benefit payments should exclude alcohol and cigarettes expenditure. Children will have a far greater chance of getting breakfast at home, and adults might be more encouraged to “get off their butts”. I’ve seen experienced beneficiaries (40+ year olds), with no money for petrol, no money for milk, but two packets of tobacco (his’n’hers) .

    • Jacob77712


  • Jacob77712


  • Jacob77712

    HI LIFE STYLE 129.00 dollars a week for rent food and clothes how far removed are you red necks from the real world.

    • Ronnie Chow

       You earned your pathetic life . You are incapable of Making money . Why?

  • Gazzaw

    Hullo Jacob – this post is 8 months old. It’s time for you to join the real world in 2012.

    I see you have at least found the ‘Caps Lock’ key.

    • Mickrodge

       Methinks Jacob is drunk in charge of a keyboard.

      What are the odds on him finding today’s posts?

    • Richard B.

      I’m glad the medication he is taking has kicked in and he has calmed down.
      I can’t stand it when people are shouting when they type.