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Right now, benefit statistics are worse than at the time of last year's election. There are 380,169 main beneficiaries - a rise of 5 percent. The number on a Jobseeker benefit is up 7.5 percent.

Yes, the unemployment rate is rising but there is much to do in the infrastructure realm. The Nats talk constantly of growing the economy's engine. That takes manpower. And 4.3% isn't a high number historically. Former WINZ boss Christine Rankin told Mike Hosking last Tuesday that most of the jobs MSD deals with will be entry-level and in that respect, "wherever you go there is a huge need."

She described a benefit as "a privilege, not a right" and added "it's your responsibility to get a job that pays more than a benefit and that is still not a hard thing to do." For a single person without dependants she is right. But if the beneficiary has children, less so. At April 2023 a sole parent on a benefit with two or more children had a net average weekly income of $1,057. I will return to that.

In their six years in government Labour did two crucial things with welfare. They diverted case managers away from work-brokering to ensuring all beneficiaries' entitlements are met. The number of clients under active case management dropped dramatically.

Simultaneously benefit incomes were pumped up to reverse the 1990s cuts and out-pace inflation. According to last year's Benefit Incomes report:

"Total incomes, after housing costs, have increased at a faster rate than inflation since 2017. Total incomes are 48 percent higher than at the end of 2017, after adjusting for inflation."

For single beneficiaries, coming off a low base, 48% was far less significant than for families coming off a high base. So when single parents (which the vast majority of benefit-dependent parents are) start to weigh up the costs of childcare, transport, etc the benefit is the better option.

Yes, a moral obligation to support oneself can be argued but as Rankin put it, the last "confused" government actually believed a benefit is a right and not a privilege. Nobody should have to work if they don't want to.

But it is long-term single parent dependence which drives inter-generational malaise - the most serious social problem the country faces. Inter-generational dependence drives under-achievement, domestic dysfunction, ill-health and crime.

So what is National doing?

The same thing it does every time it returns to power.  It gets a bit tougher about oversight of beneficiaries, although waiting six months before requiring Jobseekers to 'check in' seems counter-intuitive. Six months on a benefit can do a lot of damage to morale and confidence.

They set some soft targets like having "50,000 fewer people on Jobseeker Support benefits by 2030"  but make no mention of sole parents (who are also not required to 'check-in').

The last big National welfare reforms (2013) comprised ... changing benefit names.

The Sickness Benefit was abolished only to be replaced with the Jobseeker Health Condition/Disability. In the last month that it was known as the Sickness benefit there were 59,127 recipients. Now there are 82,482.

The DPB (always a political problem) was replaced with the innocuous-sounding Sole Parent Support. Recipients would be transferred to Jobseeker when their youngest turned 14 but come on. After 14 or more years on a benefit, the chance of joining the workforce is not great.

And the Invalid benefit (83,778 in June 2013) became the Supported Living Payment (now 103,089).

The percentage of working-age people dependent on welfare is higher now than then. 

There is an inertia about the numbers which is going to take some radical actions to disrupt them. But National lacks the necessary reforming zeal.

National will persist with the tinkering that deflects attention and mollifies their voters while the country's historic heavy and unhealthy over-reliance on the welfare system continues.


Lindsay Mitchell blogs here

3,207 views135 comments

135 comentários

Aaron Shanahan
Aaron Shanahan
01 de jul.

I've made myself suffer from a debate between Biden and trump.

This is beyond laughable now. In fact, it's sad. I can't post it but il try. In a particular point in that ( debate). Snort,

Some reporter from CNN said Donald Trump looked confused

In his response.

No fucking wonder.

How can you mount a response to a drivelling fool that shouldn't even be running again? Running?.Jesus fucking christ the man falls up stairs as well as down them.

I actually find it quite cruel and inhumane that the democrats keep on wheeling this fella out.

And his missus??? Patting him on the head like some retarded fucked in the head train wreck and saying well done???????

It's all…

Aaron Shanahan
Aaron Shanahan
03 de jul.
Respondendo a

You made one mistake my friend.

Even the jacinda is more understandable than the biden.

And that's saying something.

Have a lovely evening man


Andy pandy
Andy pandy
01 de jul.

OK guys! Try this for its my own personal experience here talking!

Fitter Turner by trade been in the work force for 47 years. Woke up one morning 2am with a fever...thought I had the flu a month and a half later no diagnosis and was 10mm away from dying so was decide to profom emergency surgery..

Recovered was long and hard due to complications the surgeon had made a mess inside of me. Put a claim into ACC 5 year now with a NO claim after they excepted it was a case of medical injury 4 years on a job seeker benifit of 287 per week now 342.00..

Paid acc leves all my working life.

Now physically debilitated due…

Aaron Shanahan
Aaron Shanahan
01 de jul.
Respondendo a

Got it mate. Didn't think of that.

Cheers Aaron 👌


An aside.

Posts here occasionally express concern about no real progress in rolling back the tsunami of pidgin English etc which the woke bureaucracy, public and private, insists upon. Openly or covertly, until now. Some of us had thought things would change for the better after Labour and its little helpers were given the Order of The Boot last election.

After all, the National/NZ First coalition agreement requires government departments and Crown entities to communicate primarily in English unless the departments are specifically related to Māori.

The Minister of Finance has  “…said it will not cost much for Waka Kotahi to start calling itself by its English name first. Transport Minister Simeon Brown has instructed the agency to refer to…

Respondendo a

The primarily word has only one exclusion. The inference I have drawn is the Coalition partners expect the instruction to be near total..You may be right, but we are playing word games.


Six months on a benefit can do a lot of damage to morale and confidence.”

Not to mention: develop hard to shift habits and expectations, increased risk of exposure to criminal influences, and poor role-modeling for their children.

Agreed that six months is too late. But as always, it needs money to fix.


Aaron Shanahan
Aaron Shanahan
30 de jun.

I have wanted to write this for so long.

Yes, we may well write new Zealand off,and proclaim it a dead dog eaten alive by radical haters of independent thought.


Never lose hope.

I took both my kids to lake Coleridge today, we had a picnic, talked to other families present there and we all marveled at the power generation system.

We saw families, just like us, fishing, having fun, drove up to the top and witnessed other people with their families on their boats just having a bloody ball..and just to see people from all walks of life simply enjoying themselves and not worrying about anything apart from having their own around them gave me hope.

When I…

Respondendo a

You also need to learn to pick your battles.

Individual happiness is not a measure of national happiness. Do you really want your children and grandchildren to be regarded as second class citizens if they aren't brown enough? Do you really want their access to higher education limited because they aren't brown enough? Do you really want their career paths stifled because they don't have a mountain they relate too and do not speak enough maori?

Imagine a country where one race of tradesmen pay lower tax and have guaranteed access to government and large corporate contracts because they identify and are measured by the powers that be as maori. That my friend is happening now with maori corporations payin…

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