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.   

The Government’s sanctions regime is based on a series of ‘strikes’ for offending beneficiaries.

Strike one earns a decrease of 25 or 50 percent in their benefit. Since 2013, a little more than 106,000 such penalties have been dished out.

Strike two in the same year would see a benefit suspended and 41,500 of these penalties have been issued.

Strike three means the benefit is cancelled all together — 17,000 of these sanctions have been imposed in three years.

There’s also a ‘grade four’ offence — refusal to take a job, which carries an automatic penalty of the benefit being suspended for 13 weeks, a penalty 229 people have faced.

Minister of Social Development Anne Tolley says the rules are made to be followed.

The figures also show that in 2014 and 2015 the number of sanctions issued are virtually the same — about 70,000.

Which begs the question — are any lessons being learned?


How stupid are Newshub? Where is the evidence that the same people are being sanctioned over and over again.

This is long overdue and needs to get stronger.



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  • Totara

    Stunning hypocrisy from the same ‘news’ organisation that decries child poverty in New Zealand. If we are going to eradicate poverty as a nation, then people on welfare will need to get their lives together, get off the drugs, and lose their employment resistant personality profile.

  • Rightsideofthebed

    I think they’ll find that some of those benefit suspensions will also be beneficiaries who have earned a warrant to arrest from the Court for not turning up at their criminal hearing.
    Poor wee lambs – not that they need a benefit as usually earning more from their crime.

    • Totara

      That’s the thing about welfare without obligation to check in every morning. It provides the perfect ‘working hours’ for those select group of people, so inclined, to go out and commit burglaries.

  • cows4me

    Perhaps the real fear is the blood letting isn’t over and television stars should not be caught dead digging ditches.

    • Dave

      No doubt C4M, the blood letting had not even began, at best they had a few nudges but didn’t take the hint. I’m hoping the fire hoses are put through the organisation, it needs a good rinsing.

  • edenman

    when they get cancelled on more than one occasion it shows what slow learners they are. Perhaps they should have been more involved in getting educated when at school. they might have a good job by now and not be relying on a benefit.

  • Cadwallader

    Isn’t this the perfect example why the term “Media Party” was invented?

  • Dave

    Fantastic news, and well done WINZ, National and Anne Tolley. If only it was different, I still believe we have the horse before the cart.

    When someone needs a hand up, we should do that, assist them, then wean them off so they can help themselves. something like this.

    When someone becomes unemployed, or needs a hand.

    Month one. Full benefit, COMPULSORY 24 hours a week WORK preparing resume, getting assistance from dedicated officers, and pre-employment courses in the basis, dress / clothing assistance.

    Months two and three 90% of the benefit, and more courses, complete re-training if needed, all the basics funded. If a WINZ client wants to retrain in another area, part funded.

    Months 4 to 6 75% of benefit Same as above

    Month 7 – 9 40% of benefit

    Thereafter – NOTHING

    The idea is a huge hand up, re-training, coaching, and not letting people sit round idle, keep them going, and then slowly turn down the benefit to keep them hungry for work.

    • Huia

      Especially since we have to import workers because our own lazy beggars wont work.
      Would rather sit at home and get paid.
      Was in Kaitaia last week and there is a huge employment gap there, have a friend in business who was saying they have to employ new people to Kaitaia because the locals wont work.
      You cannot keep taking from one sector of society and giving it to the other sector, its a financial burden on the working sector and you simply cannot sustain that non working culture.

    • KatB

      You’re right. We’re actually not helping people to have a full and rewarding life. These people need to realise there’s a big world out there waiting for them. Even charity or volunteer work can lead on to paid employment. These people need to realise the more visible they are, working jobs they don’t necessarily want, the more chance of ending up with a job they actually want. But there certainly needs to be a feel of urgency to get off the benefit and your idea would move them along nicely.

      • Ruby in the Dust

        Yes, the rest of us don’t wait for the one perfect job to land in our laps. We take other jobs to build our skillset and keep our CV current (not to mention paying the bills) with the understanding that it all adds to our employability.

  • KGB

    It is disgraceful that anyone who fails a drug test, misses appointments, turns down a job etc has ever been able to still collect a benefit.
    If the Mediaparty want to blame the Government for anything, it should be why have they allowed it for so long? Sell a lot more advertising space.

  • Left Right Out

    Perhaps some at Newshub are worried they themselves will end up on a benefit soon

  • Oh Please

    This was the best news I read all week. Proves what I’ve always thought that there is a significant proportion of beneficiaries who are lazy and should receive nothing.

  • johnandali

    I was very pleased to see a recent decision to stop benefits being paid to people who have arrest warrants issued for them. Boy. I bet that was a difficult recommendation to make to the Minister by our PC public servants. I’m astounded that for all these years, people on the run have been paid their benefits. If I could suggest the next thing to do, based on my experience that many of our prison inmates have up to 10 aliases, that all beneficiaries be subjected to photographic identification processes. And my next suggestion would be that all beneficiaries (both male and female) to compulsorily be required to take contraception. Or are both those suggestions going too far? And by the way, is there an automatic process that ceases welfare payments of benefits to people who are in jail or home detention or community service?

    • kereru

      ‘And my next suggestion would be that all beneficiaries (both male and female) to compulsorily be required to take contraception.’

      The problem with that would be enforcement. The only way it could be made compulsory would be to tie tubes and perform vasectomies. I can’t see that getting public approval, however valuable it might be to the community at large. I personally think that would be a good step for those who have been found guilty of bashing their children (or those under their ‘care’) to death. It might deter others from acting likewise.

      • Dave

        Excellent idea, if the beneficiaries don’t like the concept of birth control, they have the option of getting a job and telling WINZ to shove it.

      • johnandali

        I was under the impression that chemical contraception has been developed. If that’s correct, and if it lasts a month, each beneficiary would have to turn up at their Winz office once every month, be identified electronically (same as in airports), and take their medication under strict supervision. The system would cost a bit. The medication would cost a bit. The extra staff members would cost a bit. The short and long-term savings to the public purse would be astronomical.

        • kereru

          Hmmm, not sure how effective that would be knowing how futile it is to expect them to turn up for hospital appointments, or to organise themselves sufficiently. These folk seem to just live a day at a time with no forward planning whatsoever. There’s also the lure of going ‘up north’ to visit rellies when their appointment is due. Are you thinking that before they collect their benefit they would have to take their contraceptives – if not, no benefit? What of those who have lived off the cuzzies elsewhere for a month or three and have got pregnant, or have sowed their wild oats, in the meantime?

    • Miss McGerkinshaw

      Photo ID would be a good start.
      Agree with the idea of contraception but think it would be too hard to monitor. Better perhaps NOT to increase the benefit with each child, i.e if you are already on the benefit when you get pregnant you are not paid extra for that child or any subsequent child whilst on the benefit.

  • R&BAvenger

    Agreed, long overdue. About time people on taxpayer’s coin fronted up and met all of their responsibilities are required. It’s not optional extra, if you believe it is then it’ll be optional to pay you a benefit if you are not meeting your obligations.

  • taxpayer

    Well here is one hardworking Kiwi taxpayer who is cheering.
    The lifestyle benny collectors have had it too soft for too long.
    I have meet plenty of them in my time.
    They see nothing wrong with living from the sweat of my brow and consider that everything a working person has gone out and earned should be their’s by right as well. And in most cases they have it, the flat screen, the iphone, even the overseas holiday for god’s sake.
    In my grandparents day it was considered a matter of total shame to have to live on handouts, and they would travel the country on foot to look for work rather than bludge.

    • kereru

      That was when people had that most valuable quality – self-respect. Today everyone knows their ‘rights’, and demands them, but it is unacceptable to point out that with rights come responsibilities. We live in a society reaping the inevitable results of the misguided idea that someone else is to blame, someone else will pick up the tab. Without wise parents to disabuse their little darlings about the real world it’s no wonder that our kids are growing up with a sense of self entitlement – and that goes across the spectrum of society.

  • Hesaidwhat?

    I would argue we still arnt tough enough on beneficiaries. I watched Police 10-7 last night where a female parasite who was apprehended for burglary, let forth an expletive laden rant about how it was the governments fault for not giving her enough money in her benefit to support ‘her babies’. The sense of entitlement was astounding as was her obvious hatred of the Police, the government, and no doubt anyone who works for a living. That my hard earned taxpayer dollars are used to fund the breeding program of these losers just grinds my gears. No doubt ‘her babies’ will make a valuable contribution to the betterment of NZ in years to come … (insert tui slogan here)

    • Skydog

      That’s if her babies live long enough and don’t annoy her dope smoking, playstation addict of a boyfriend.