Thursday, September 28, 2023

Tim Dower: National's beneficiary sanctions are unlikely to work

I guess it had to come at some point in the campaign... National's traditional swipe at the beneficiaries.

I really don't know why they do this, sanctions of one kind or another have been tried and tried again, but the fact is they really don't work.

This time the formula includes mandatory community work experience, and of course benefit cuts or suspensions.

None of its new. We've seen variations of this kind of thing for decades and little ever seems to change.

Fact of the matter is we are carrying a cohort of people who are satisfied enough with a life on the bludge.

They could work, but that's a mug's game to them when your beer money comes automatically every fortnight on the benefit.

You and I know it's their loss. Standing on your own two feet is good for the soul, work is good for the mind and body.

But when you lash at them you also hurt a lot of genuine cases, kicking people when they're down basically, and I'm not up for that.

Bashing beneficiaries is lowest common denominator stuff. It plays to a certain crowd. It pleases those of us who resent feeding people who could legitimately feed themselves.

This time National wants jobseekers to reapply for the benefit every six months, and provide proof they've been out looking for work, to keep getting a benefit.

There's no arguing with the numbers: benefit dependency has surged, there's 60 thousand more people on Jobseeker than when Labour took office.

And in the latest figures from MSD, everything's gone through the roof. Not just base benefits but things like accommodation supplement, special needs grants, 650 thousand hardship payments in the March quarter alone.

Now for sure, the numbers move around a bit, but the fact is we will never change the mindset of those people who just don't want to work.

And that element will always be there, they won't change until there's some kind of epiphany, or they just grow out of it.

So what do we do? Do we bang about tough new regimes and clampdowns that achieve next to nothing, or do we get on with stuff we can actually change?

I say go for the stuff we can change: the economy, law and order, the health system, productivity.

And oh, fix the bloody roads will you?

Tim Dower is a New Zealand journalist who works for Newstalk ZB as a newsreader and substitutes talkback announcer. This article was first published HERE


DeeM said...

Tim, your blog is a masterclass in contradiction.

So you advise - Let's not try to rein in benefit dependency because we might hurt some genuine cases, BUT...
...let's continue to blindly fund people who are able to work but can't be bothered.

And you propose what exactly....DO NOTHING!
Thank God you're not running for parliament, mate.

It's all too hard. Let's just hand over our hard earned taxpayers money to people who don't actually need it.
Terrible advice, Tim. And a major reason why NZ has declined over the past 6 years.

Anonymous said...

So you're happy with 60,000 more bludgers settling in for a life on the taxpayer?
When would it ever stop if nothing is done? It's Socialism at it's worst.
Forgive my hard-nosed attitude but listen up. I started work at 16 because my father said, "Don't think you're going to University because we can't afford it."
As I left for my job at the hospital around the corner there were 9 siblings living in our State house. I had a blue patent leather bag with tatty handles that I screwed up in my hand so they were hidden. I worked most years apart from when I had young children. I did three jobs some weeks, shift work including nights and my husband worked long hours on roading for minimum wages. When the kids were teenagers I decided to upskill so I didn't have to work shifts for the rest of my life. I moved into an office environment and worked past retirement age to finish paying off my house.
My ex-husband broke his body with hard work and has needed surgery before retirement. He has recovered but there is little suitable work for him and he remains on jobseeker. Some of the jobs offered while he was waiting for knee surgery were completely unsuitable such as standing all day directing trucks to a dump site. No toilet within a 500 metre walk either.
So good luck with the sanctions, I thought we paid social workers good money to manage beneficiaries but that would be a pipe dream certainly beyond any minister of the outgoing current useless cabal of grifters.
I agree of course with Dee M.

Anonymous said...

The do-gooders who complain about "beneficiary bashing" if you want to call it that never offer solutions. So, as you ask Tim, what do we do? Somehow we need to get inside their heads and the only way to do that is on a one to one basis. So having to reapply every 6 months at least keeps them on the radar and having to re-state their case for a benefit. Maybe the message will eventually get through.

Gaynor said...

Well here I am again in my personal campaign to highlight the damage a destroyed education system does to all of society.

Maybe your kids have done well in the present education system; cease being smug because very many thousands haven't, since NZ is now rock bottom in literacy, numeracy and written work Statistics say two -thirds of those who fail to achieve competency in reading will end up on welfare or in prison. They also feature highly in health and disability statistics.. These victims of our system are a burden to all of us. These students are Known to be psychologically damaged by illiteracy as well as academically, through Years of being in class unable to do much.

Agitate for a return to education as we used to have when we were very top of the international literacy tests -first in reading comprehension in 1970. The methods of teaching then are those now proven by cognitive science. Shout abuse at those responsible for this infernal system we have now as well as the genuine bludgers. Castigate people, who like the writer of this article, fail to mention education wrst this topic of welfare.

Anonymous said...

Tim, which day each week are you going to nominate as the day that you are working to help pay these lazy beneficiaries ?
It can't be Monday as that is already allocated to paying Maori welfare.