Paula Bennett must be congratulated for a groundbreaking, earth-shattering development in the treatment of beneficiaries:
More than 700 beneficiaries have sought out and landed jobs despite having no requirement to work since the new Work Bonus became available.
Operational since July 15, the latest welfare reforms include the new Work Bonus, which allows the benefit to be phased out incrementally so people keep a proportion of it as they transition to a wage.
“Even just six weeks into the policy, 706 people had gone off benefit into work and were getting the Work Bonus,” says Mrs Bennett.
It’s almost like before, when people tried to move from a benefit into work but were literally financially punished for it, it was really hard for them to move into work. And now that they can move into work without having their income reduced to $1 an hour, they’re doing it!
MIND. FUCKING. BLOWN.
Maybe next Paula can figure out that people who have babies while they’re on a benefit are just as worthy of social support as anyone else! Or, shockingly, that it might make sense for benefits to actually cover the costs of existing!
… then again, given that her media release was entitled “Beneficiaries seek out emerging jobs” – which misses the point about as far as it’s possible to while still using the words “beneficiaries” and “jobs” – I suspect not.
This post was originally posted at The Daily Blog on 30 March 2013.
The Child Poverty Action Group has released a new background paper outlining the myths and the facts around solo parents and the Domestic Purposes Benefit.
You may recall Gordon Campbell on much the same topic back in February 2011.
Both pieces of work should be considered required reading among people interested in social justice, and/because they send a good, clear message: beneficiaries aren’t inherently bludging scum stealing your taxpayer dollars; and the welfare system is doing God’s work.
But there’s another message I think needs to be said loud and clear – and it can’t be said by groups like CPAG, who fairly enough want to build relationships with senior politicians and influence policy
The message is this: these aren’t myths. They’re lies.
Paula Bennett has an entire Ministry full of policy analysts who could tell her that no one’s “dream” is to live on the DPB forever. The Prime Minister, as Leader of the Opposition, had every option to OIA the Ministry now headed by Bennett to establish if teenagers are “breeding for a business”. And Lindsay Mitchell is paid to write columns on the welfare system despite plenty of evidence which refutes every hateful, judgey thing she says.
These people are not stupid, and they are not ignorant. They are wilfully spinning a narrative about DPB recipients which suits their purposes. They want to force people into such dire circumstances that they’ll take any job going, even if it means leaving their children alone or with strangers.
That means employers can pay less, demand more, get away with shirking their ethical and legal duties. It doesn’t really do anything to help the wider economy – most National Party policy doesn’t – but it does mean business owners making a buck.
Bennett and Key and Mitchell also want you to hate people who get the DPB. They don’t want the voters to think “wow, you must have fallen on hard times” because then they’d start thinking about all the other ways a society should support people, through accessible healthcare and education and childcare. And then they’d stop voting for a party like National which exists to cut everything down to the bone so their mates can make a buck.
Your only alternative is that we have a Prime Minister and a Minister of Social Development and any number of “experts” like Lindsay Mitchell who are literally incapable of seeing the facts before them.
I’m not saying it’s completely implausible, but …
I have not been a beneficiary in my adult life.
But when I was a child, my mum was on the DPB. It was no fucking life of luxury – and believe me, I went to a decile 10 primary school, I fucking lived that – but we got by. And through the Training Incentive Allowance – which Paula Bennett scrapped – my mum was able to get through university and build a decent life for us. And god only knows how much tax she’s paid back since then – never mind the whole “raising a child who’s also a Productive Member Of Society (TM)” thing, which isn’t a figure on a ledger so isn’t real, as far as the National Party’s concerned.
If I were in the same situation today, we’d be pretty fucked. Like Aaron Hawkins at TDB, I’m seriously pissed off about that.
No, it’s doing all that and then trying to tell people “we’re doing this for your own good!” Because starvation builds character.
The Little Pakeha links the welfare reforms to Wellington City Council’s fucking shameful “alternative giving” campaign, aka “ignore the problem right in front of you ’cause it makes you feel icky”. Giovanni Tiso has blogged on this too, and they’re both must-reads.
Beyond what TLP and Gio have said, I can only add that this shit was clearly thought up by the same drug-addled agency which produced Drive Social. It’s certainly going to be another roaring success of a campaign, based on serious research and an incisive insight into how people really really don’t actually behave ever. And I’m sure that the money being spent by Wellington City Council and the NZ Police could not possibly have been used more effectively.
(No, I’m being sincere there: if their social welfare project teams are being run by people who’ve bought into this bullshit, imagine all the ideas they rejected!)
It all comes down to a simple truth: people deserve to live with dignity. And when there simply are not support systems, are not the jobs, then the state absolutely has an obligation to help them. Not turn them into scapegoats to keep the middle classes distracted.
If you’re such a callous, self-centred douchebag that you literally refuse to understand that, try this: a social welfare system which keeps people basically fed and cared for and allows them a bare minimum of self-esteem is something societies need to provide. If only so the poor don’t become so desperate and alienated that they chop your head off and burn down your fucking house.
For a lighter, but snarky, take on the issue I recommend The Civilian’s post, Welfare policy changes encourage beneficiaries to seek work or the lost city of Atlantis.
Oh, and pay your fucking taxes, scumbags.
Instead of individuals controlling their own fertility, this is an attempt to impose state control, on the basis of socioeconomic status
And that’s why the Welfare Wrecking Group’s recommendations are fucking wrong. When someone advocates a theoretically-good policy but only for a select demographic? It’s not the same good policy any more, it’s fucking suspicious.
Well, WordPress just ate a post, so fuckit. I am tired.
Long story short: Paula Bennett, Minister for Social Development and Employment, gets pissy that two solo mothers are making noise about training allowance cuts.
Paula Bennett responds by releasing confidential information about these women’s incomes.
Ooh, sick burn, Paula. You sure triumphed over the forces of raising-children-on-your-own-while-studying.
Too bad the Cabinet Manual doesn’t seem to concur, and citing the Privacy Commission’s website as a backup? Not the best idea you ever had because if there’s one thing bloggers love, it’s being able to just check things online.
End result? You want to have a petty little flamewar, Paula, get a fucking blog and don’t use your position as a fucking Minister of the Crown to bully people into silence.