Is welfare part of the problem?

March 21, 2014

Is poverty driving family break-ups?

Surprise Census figures suggest that poverty may be breaking up the nuclear family. . .

Wellington analyst Paul Callister and Statistics NZ demographer Robert Didham said in Auckland poverty was increasingly concentrated because of housing costs.

“What you are seeing in Auckland is a real sorting effect in the housing market, it’s pushing the sole parents into certain areas,” Dr Callister said.

He said the welfare system meant many couples were better off by separating. Welfare entitlements are based on family income, so if one person loses a job they can’t get a benefit if their partner is working. . .

Lindsay Mitchell points out that this isn’t a chicken or egg scenario:

For a nuclear family to “break-up” it has to exist first. In 2012 the proportion of unmarried births was 48 percent. In the same year, 21 percent of babies born were dependent on welfare – usually the DPB – by Christmas. Around half of these children will spend 7 or more years in the benefit system.

It isn’t poverty driving family disintegration. It’s the availability and heavy use of welfare. This is particularly prevalent amongst Maori because welfare incomes are close to incomes from low paid, unskilled jobs.

As the article notes, “Education is also a powerful factor.” Exactly. In time females with qualifications and aspirations may choose not to embark on a career of poverty-stricken single parenthood. Then again, as long as it’s a seemingly ‘easy’ option the pattern of single mothering and subsequent hardship will continue.

If welfare is regarded as a preferred option for people it is part of the poverty problem, not the solution.

Welfare has a place for those unable to look after themselves, some of those will require long-term, possibly permanent assistance.

But for most recipients it should be a temporary safety net not a long-term hammock.

This is why this government’s policies which are addressing long-term benefit dependency are helping those who can help themselves to do so.


The heart of the issue

February 13, 2014

Answer of the day:

Hon PAULA BENNETT: For me this gets to the heart of the actual issue. So the member thinks that it is only the Government’s throwing money around and getting into every household and giving them 60 bucks a week for a newborn baby that is going to make the difference. I actually think it is not about just the Government; it is about the Government, community, and parents themselves actually putting their children first in many instances. It is about what is happening in the streets. It is about what organisations like the Salvation Army do. So I do not think it is a D for the Government. In fact, what the Salvation Army did say was that “as a national community,”— and I quote—“we have made credible and worthwhile social progress. It is important to acknowledge and celebrate this because, for the most part, it is intentional and hard won. The Government should be applauded for its contribution to this progress.” Paula Bennett

She was responding to a question on child poverty and she’s right.

Children are living in poverty for several reasons and there is no single or simple solution.

The government is helping with no assistance from the opposition who have resisted every measure to reform welfare which is one of the most effective ways to lift families from poverty.

However, government can’t replace parents who don’t put children first.

But it can make matters worse as Lindsay Mitchell observes on similarities between Maori and African American families on welfare:

. . . Both ethnicities had large families. So payments per child could mount up. The sums may have seemed relatively small to middle class families, but for people coming from a paltry income base – Maori from subsistence and African Americans from the abiding legacy of slavery – the sums were meaningful.

From there it is all too easy to understand how the male of these two cultures became increasingly dispensable. The state would provide a steady and guaranteed income if he disappeared. His absence might sometimes be  ‘manufactured’  but in the final analysis, his financial utility was deeply degraded. He had a heavy weight competitor in the government.

(And still some politicians want to continue and even increase these types of ‘needy’ children policies ignoring the damage that visits on the family structure which best supports those kids financially and emotionally.)

One of the reasons for children in poverty is the breakdown of families and the replacement of a wage earner by a benefit.

The solution to that isn’t more welfare.


Greens are dangerous

January 26, 2014

Quote of the day:

Greens are la-la dreamers. I wasn’t going to make comment but then thought better. Their idealism is naive but it’s not harmless. It’s dangerous. So this year it needs to be exposed as regularly as it appears. Lindsay Mitchell

Labour has been trying to out-red the Greens in order to shore up their left flank.

That will be difficult.

The Green Party trades on its association with the environment.

But that’s just a cover for its foundation of radical socialist economic and social policies which are anything but sustainable – economically, environmentally or socially.


Case for optimism

January 9, 2014

At this time of year when people are making predictions on what the next 12 months will bring, it’s instructive to look back at what people were predicting a few decades ago.

In The Case for Optimism, entrepreneur Fabrice Grinda writes:

Let me take you back in time to the late 1970s for they seemed to mark the beginning of the end of Western Civilization. OECD countries were suffering from stagflation with inflation and unemployment above 10%. We had suffered from 2 oil shocks. The US had lost Vietnam. The Shah had fallen in Iran. The Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan. Dictatorships were the norm in Eastern Europe, South East Asia, Latin America and even Southern Europe. The Club of Rome had made dire predictions that the world would run out of oil, coal and many natural resources within 40 years.

No one predicted that over the next 40 years there would be democracies across Latin America, Eastern Europe and Southern Europe; that inflation and unemployment would fall dramatically; that we would see the greatest creation of wealth in the history of humanity as 1 billion people came out of poverty. 650 million came out of poverty in China alone, completely changing urban landscapes across the country as a whole. Despite 40 years of record consumption of oil and natural gas we now have more reserves than we did then. The way we work and live has been profoundly transformed by computers, the Internet and mobile phones.

If we take a further step back, we can see that over the last 100 years economic downturns, be they recessions that occur every few years or bigger crisis such as the great depression, as painful as they are while we live them, barely register in a background of unabated economic growth. In fact over the last 100 years human lifespans have doubled from 40 to 80, average per capita income has tripled and childhood mortality has divided by 10. The cost of food, electricity, transportation and communications have dropped 10 to a 1,000 fold. Global literacy has gone from 25% to over 80% in the last 130 years.

We have redefined what poverty means. Today 99% of Americans in poverty have electricity, water, toilet and refrigerator. 95% have a television. 88% have a mobile phone. 70% have a car and air conditioning. The richest people 100 years ago could only dream of such luxuries.

We are also living in the most peaceful time in human history; not just of recent history, but in the history of humanity. We are truly living in extraordinary times. . .

He goes on to look at improvements in technology, health, public service, education , transportation, communication and energy and concludes:

. . .  Think about it. Computing power was so expensive we had to limit access to it. Now it’s so ubiquitous we use it to play Angry Birds or check Facebook. Its very cheapness has unleashed an extraordinary wave of innovation.

The same will happen with energy. Once it’s cheap many of our other problems go away. The idea that we will face a fresh water shortage is also ludicrous. The earth is 70% covered by water. The issue is once again accessibility as only 1.3% of it is surface fresh water. However in a world of unlimited energy it’s easy to desalinate salt water. In fact we may not even need to wait that long as new innovative devices like the Slingshot are coming on stream that can generate 1,000 liters of pure water per day from any water source, even saline or polluted.

Once fresh water is abundant food also becomes abundant as you can grow crops in the dessert – and that’s not taking into consideration an agriculture productivity revolution that could come from urban vertical farms.

As people we are truly blessed to be living in this amazing time. As entrepreneurs and investors we have the privilege of helping create this better world of tomorrow, a world of equality of opportunity and of plenty.

Closer to home, Lindsay Mitchell notes 10 positive trends in New Zealand: Assaults in police, incidents of sudden infant death, recorded crime,  smoking, abortion, teenage pregnancies, road deaths, child mortality, Maori suicide and rheumatic fever have all declined.

Of course there are still major problems at home and abroad but both writers provide strong cases for optimism.

 


Welfare needs health warning

September 22, 2013

Quote of the week:

Welfare benefits should carry a warning label: “Danger: Taking a benefit may endanger your children.”

That’s because benefit-supported children are six times more likely to be abused or neglected. They are 14 times more likely to be known to Youth Justice. And the longer the time on a benefit, the worse it gets.

Children in households benefit-dependent for nine or more years are 13 times more likely to be abused. And 29 times more likely to be known to Youth Justice.

These are government statistics. They are derived from the Ministry of Social Development’s cohort study titled Children’s Contact with MSD Services. Rodney Hide.

Lindsay Mitchell has also written of the problem:

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has released statistical information that details the overlap between children’s contact with the benefit system, and care and protection or youth justice services.

Welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell is welcoming this overdue research. “The last time MSD conducted a similar exercise was 1996 so an update was well overdue. This time the Ministry has followed the 1993 birth cohort to age 17 to explore levels of contact.

Unfortunately, the data is presented in a way that downplays the risks. The benefit cohort is only ever compared to the overall cohort as opposed to the non-benefit  cohort. This produces a finding  that the benefit cohort had a likelihood of contact with CYF that was,  ’1.5 times that for the overall cohort.’  However, if the non-benefit cohort was the comparison group, the likelihood would rise to 3.4 times.

When MSD examines children on a benefit for 9 or more years who have experienced a substantiated finding of abuse or neglect, they describe the risk as only three times greater than the total population cohort. Again, if this benefit cohort was compared to the non benefit group the increased likelihood rises to nearly 13 times greater.” . . .

Benefits have their place as a safety net for people in temporary need and the few who will never be able to look after themselves.

But welfare can become a trap for people who could, with help, be independent and it’s not just them but their children who are worse off because of that.

A compassionate government isn’t one which fosters dependence, it’s one which helps people from welfare to work, for their sakes and their children’s sakes.


Poverty doesn’t cause abuse

August 15, 2013

The first topic of discussion on Afternoon’s Panel on Tuesday was Paula Bennett’s proposals for countering the scourge of child abuse.

One of the panelists, Gary McCormick, asserted that the root cause of the problem was poverty (starting at about 9:01).

Host Jim Mora said there was disagreement about the extent to which poverty is related to child abuse.

McCormick disagreed.

Guest Anthea Simcock from Child Matters then came on (about 12 minutes) and said while poverty was related to the issues it was not the primary cause and child abuse wouldn’t be fixed by fixing poverty alone.

McCormick came back in (13:56) and told her she was wrong and poverty was the cause of the problems.

She countered that by saying it was a co-existing factor but not a causal one.

He came back and eventually said he refused to believe what she was saying.

This is a prime example of someone not letting the facts getting in the way of their convictions and he’s not the only one.

Lindsay Mitchell blogs:

John Minto says that Labour needs “a kick up the backside” for not pushing the message that poverty is the “key factor” behind child abuse.

He says there are NEVER any excuses for child abuse but there are REASONS behind it.

Unfortunately reasons becomes excuses very easily.

Can I take you back to just a couple of things that people like John Minto ignore.

Child abuse rates are not high amongst all groups with high poverty rates. In fact they are lower amongst poor Asians.

Household incomes of Maori and Pacific families are growing faster than the median, yet the rate of Maori child abuse is not declining. . .

Poverty is a problem but a lot of very poor people love and care for their children and some who aren’t poor abuse them.

The problems of poverty and child abuse both need to be addressed but it is wrong to assert that solving the former will solve the latter.


Unequally rich or equally poor?

June 23, 2013

The problem of inequality might have some traction if you go for emotion rather than facts, but people tend to be better off when inequality is greater and less well off when incomes are more equal:

Earlier this year, the Work Foundation published a study of inequality in Britain that threw up some uncomfortable findings for those who believe that income differentials are the root of all evil. The hypothesis put forward in The Spirit Level is that greater income equality fosters health and happiness while inequality is a direct cause of misery and unrest. ‘If you want to live the American dream,’ says Spirit Level co-author Richard Wilkinson, ‘you should move to Finland or Denmark’. But why travel so far? Inequality varies greatly within countries and so, since wealth disparities are most visible at the local level, moving to a more equal city should yield benefits.

The Work Foundation shows us exactly where these pockets of egalitarianism are. The most equal city in Britain turns out to be Sunderland, followed by such places as Bradford, Peterborough and Burnley. The least equal city is London, followed by the likes of Reading, Guildford and Milton Keynes. For the most part, inequality is concentrated in the wealthy south east of England and, as the study notes, ‘cities with high median wages almost always tend to have high inequality.’ The more equal cities, on the other hand, ‘tend not to be very affluent’. This trade-off between wealth and equality will come as no surprise to economists, but it is reassuring to know that the wealth in the less equal places trickles down. As the study notes, ‘more affluent cities are more unequal, but affluence – on average – leads to wage gains for those with low skill levels’. Furthermore, whilst unemployment is higher in more equal cities, people with low skills find it easier to find work in less equal cities. In short, inequality is associated with people across the income spectrum being better off, while equality is associated with people being equally poor.

Being unequally wealthy is better than being equally poor and better is not just about income:

. . . In the mid-1990s, the US government gave thousands of people living on welfare the opportunity to move from poor neighbourhoods to more affluent areas. Their names were picked by lottery, thereby creating a randomised experiment. The Science study measured the subjective well-being of those who moved and those who stayed after a period of 10 to 15 years. Those who moved were significantly happier. Other studies of the same people have found that those who moved were also significantly healthier, had better mental health and were less likely to be obese.

It is important to note that those who moved did not become wealthier than those who stayed. Still living in social housing, they went from having an income that was average by the standards of their community to having an income that was low in absolute and relative terms. They found themselves at the sharp end of inequality and yet they were healthier and happier than those they left behind. 

Only a certain sort of social scientist could find it remotely surprising that people prefer living in a nice neighbourhood. It is true that people compare their living standards with those of their friends and neighbours, but there is little evidence that such comparisons dictate their well-being. People who leave the ‘more equal’ towns and cities of Britain to seek a better life are unlikely to regret it.

The focus on inequality tends to lead to redistributive policies which are generally counter-productive to economic growth and low growth hits the poorest hardest.
Rather than worrying about how much people have in relation to others, policy makers should focus on providing the environment and opportunities which help people help themselves.

Hat tip: Lindsay Mitchell

 


Dodgy numbers

March 4, 2013

Last week Social Development Minister Paula Bennett issued media releases which said the future focus was helping to reduce the number of people on benefits and benefit figures were under forecast.

Yesterday the Herald on Sunday featured Labour’s Jacinda Ardern saying more people were on benefits.

So who’s right?

Kiwiblog has the figures:

Let’s look at the actual data, in terms of increase or decrease each year. For DPB they are

  • 2008 +2,128
  • 2009 +9,007
  • 2010 +3,576
  • 2011 +1,365
  • 2012 -5,112

I think we now understand why Jacinda left the 2012 figures off. What I don’t know if why the Herald on Sunday did.

Let’s do the same with Invalid’s Benefit numbers.

  • 2008 +3,419
  • 2009 +1,537
  • 2010 +67
  • 2011 -1,062
  • 2012 -472

And for those interested in the Unemployment Benefit.

  • 2008 +7,760
  • 2009 +35,820
  • 2010 +756
  • 2011 -7,120
  • 2012 -6,217

They all show the same thing. The increase in benefit numbers started in 2008 (under Labour) and worsened in 2009 as the Global Financial Crisis struck.  Despite patchy economic growth since 2009, benefit numbers in all three categories have fallen in the last two years.

And Lindsay Mitchell provides more analysis which shows Ardern is wrong.

Opposition MPs are supposed to show up government failings but it’s not at all clever to use dodgy stats to do it.

Reporters are supposed to check facts and provide balance, the one who wrote this story failed on both counts.


The Auckland conundrum

November 9, 2012

If house prices are high in Auckland because more people want to live there.

And more people want to live there because that’s where the jobs are.

How do you explain the latest Household Labour Force Survey which shows higher unemployment there?

Matt Nolan says other factors are also involved in house prices.

And Lindsay Mitchell thinks that the unexpected rise in the number of job seekers could be not so much about people losing jobs but more about people becoming available for and seeking work.

If that’s the case it would show that expecting people on benefits who could work to do so is already having an impact.

However, the real measure of success will be when they find and keep the jobs.

If some of those jobs weren’t in Auckland then that might take some of the pressure of house prices too.


Address cause or treat symptoms

September 17, 2012

That there is a problem of children growing up in poverty is unquestioned.

But most of those who are calling for action on it are directing their pleas at the government to address the symptoms.

Lindsay Mitchell points out that most fail to acknowledge the cause:

. . .  “Wilson and Stoughton (2009) report that about 18 percent of New Zealand children are born to a parent on a main benefit (about 13 percent are born to a parent on the DPB). . . .”

Most people are on a benefit temporarily and will join or return to the workforce as soon as they can.

Some people will never be able to support themselves.

The problem is people who could work who don’t, not because they can’t but because they won’t.

The government’s welfare reforms are aimed at these people for their own sakes and that of the society and the economy. Yet among the strongest opponents of the reforms are the people who want action on poverty.

They are short-changing the people on whose behalf they’re purporting to advocate if they want relief of the symptoms without accepting the need to address the causes.


More than 1/5 babies born dependent on caregiver on welfare by year’s end

May 29, 2012

Lindsay Mitchell has a very sobering statistic: 22.2 percent of babies born in 2011 were dependent on a caregiver receiving a benefit by the end of the same year.

“Over one in five babies reliant on welfare by year-end is a sobering statistic. Almost half of the caregivers were Maori and half were aged 24 or younger.”

“There is an established pattern of childbearing followed by reasonably rapid, if not immediate, recourse to welfare in New Zealand. This occurs during good and bad economic periods.”

“The implications for this high percentage lie in the likelihood of these children remaining on a benefit for many years. . . “

This is the main cause of too many children growing up in poverty and shows why Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is determined to address the causes of benefit dependency.


Hand-up not hand-outs

May 28, 2012

Quote of the day:

New Zealanders want a welfare system we can be proud of. The system must support people who genuinely can’t support themselves, but those who can work should be available for work and actively looking. Better resources and support to help more people off welfare dependency and into work is a clear priority. The system has failed too many New Zealanders by creating dependence and the Ministry of Social Development is moving towards a more active approach that will see greater support in helping more people off welfare and into work.

Young people are a clear priority within welfare reform. We know that those who go on welfare young tend to stay longer than others and have poorer opportunities as a result. Of real concern are the 16 and 17 year olds who become disengaged from education, employment and training and who are on a collision course with the adult welfare system. . .  Paula Bennett

This comes from the Minister’s forward to the Minsiter of Social Development’s Statement of Intent.

The rest of it is worth reading, signalling that this Minister wants real change which results in big improvements in the long-term outlook for young people who might otherwise be left to languish on benefits destined to a life of poverty.

It won’t be easy, nor will it be cheap, but it giving those who need it a hand up  is morally and financially better than giving them hand outs without any expectation that they will become independent.

Hat tip: Lindsay Mitchell


Did you see the one about . . .

May 2, 2012

Herd thinking meet herd immunity- Aimee Whitcroft at Misc-ience has a great cartoon which illustrates the benefits of herd immunity and dangers of herd thinking.

A daughter’s wedding – Look Up At The Sky shares the joy and love.

Eighties reforms recalled - Lindsay Mitchell shows that many of the “failed” polices of the 80s not only succeeded but are still serving us well.

Random numbers - Keeping Stock counting what counts.

Ode to property law – Skeptic Lawyer proves property is power.


Is cost of children public responsibility?

April 11, 2012

My mother was a tutor sister.*

She loved her job and was very good at it but when she married she gave it up while my father worked full-time as a carpenter and built their house in his spare time.

Looking back years later, she said it was ridiculous that she didn’t carry on working but that was something very few married women contemplated in the 1950s.

When we married nearly three decades later almost all women continued to work after marriage, though most gave up when they had children, at least until the youngest was at pre-school.

That has gradually changed and now it is not uncommon for women to return to work much sooner after having children.

Some do it by choice, some to keep up professional qualifications, some because they need/want the money.

There are both costs and benefits to taking time off to have children and continuing working.

The benefits of uninterrupted time for bonding and breast-feeding aren’t disputed.

Juggling the care of a baby and the tiredness that goes with it with paid work is demanding.

Women brought up to believe they can do anything can find full-time parenting very challenging.

The loss of a full or part-time income can strain family budgets.

But is it the public’s responsibility to compensate for that?

Proponents of paid parental leave think so and are delighted that Labour’s Members’ Bill to extend PPL to six months has been drawn from the ballot.

There’s been a range of views on whether or not it is affordable given high government debt and the need to return to surplus as soon as possible without threatening essential services.

I’ve yet to read or hear anyone questioning the need for PPL at all and whether the cost of children should be a public responsibility.

PPL is a benefit, paid for from taxes. Like ACC it gives more to those who earn more – at least up to $458.82 per week or the equivalent of $23,858 –   but unlike ACC the beneficiaries have not been levied for it.

Unlike any other non-contributory benefit, except superannuation, it isn’t means tested. A woman, or her partner, earning thousands of dollars a week has the same entitlement to PPL as someone on the minimum wage.

Is that right or fair?

I’m not convinced it is on principle and absolutely sure it isn’t in the current economic environment.

I might accept a case if it was means tested. But paying the equivalent of pocket money to high earners when the country is seriously indebted and the only increased spending in this year’s Budget will be for health and education – paid for by savings elsewhere – is a luxury not a necessity.

Lindsay Mitchell argues the economic case against the extension here.

Cactus Kate writes on parental pay madness.

Lucia Maria thinks PPL just grows the state.

* Tutor sister doesn’t exist anymore – that was a senior nurse who taught the junior ones in training hospitals.


The root of the problem

March 12, 2012

Lindsay Mitchell gets to the root of the problem of child abuse:

the incidence of Harm Standard physical abuse was  significantly lower for children living with two married biological  parents compared to children living in all other conditions. An  estimated 1.9 per 1,000 children living with two married biological  parents suffered Harm Standard physical abuse, compared to 5.9 or more  per 1,000 children in other circumstances. In addition, children whose  single parent had an unmarried, live–in partner were at significantly higher risk of Harm Standard physical abuse (19.5 children per 1,000)…

This is not an indictment on everyone whose marriage fails.

Some children will have safer more stable homes with one parent than they had with both.

But that doesn’t change the statistics which show that children with one parent are more likely to be abused and those whose parent has a live-in partner are in even greater danger.

 


You show me yours . . .

December 1, 2011

Keeping Stock has shown us his stats for a record month and Lindsay Mitchell also recorded an increase in visitors.

There’s no doubt the election was good for readership.

I can’t compete with the popularity of  Kiwiblog and Whaleoil whose stats here and here show almost as many readers a week as I got in the month. But the number of visitors to this blog in November was the highest yet:

This Year's Visits and Page Views by Month

UPDATE: Open Parachute has the sitemeter blog rankings here.


Twelve little lies plus one

November 24, 2011

National’s campaign manager Steven Joyce has a little list.

It has 12 lies Phil Goff has told during the campaign:

  • 12.      Labour left the economy in good shape. WRONG - The economy had been in recession all year in 2008, floating mortgage rates were at 10.9 per cent, government spending was up 50 per cent in five years, and Treasury      was forecasting debt to rise out of control forever.
  • 11.      National has cut hundreds of millions from early childhood  education.  WRONG – ECE funding has risen 40 per cent over the past three years.
  • 10.      ‘We will get back into surplus the same time as National.’  WRONG –      Under any straightforward scrutiny of Labour’s revenue and expenditure  numbers over the next four years.
  • 9.      ‘We will only borrow $2.6 billion more than National over the next three  years.’  WRONG – Latest calculation is $15.6 billion extra over four  years (excluding the Greens).
  • 8.      ‘Labour would forgo power company dividends and reduce prices.’       WRONG – Labour now says it will keep dividend income in government  accounts.
  • 7.      ‘National will sell Kiwibank’ – WRONG
  • 6.      ‘Borrowing money to buy assets in the Super Fund is not borrowing.’       YEAH RIGHT
  • 5.      Fruit and vegetable prices ‘continue to spiral upward’.  WRONG –      currently same price as November 2008.
  • 4.      Prices have risen four times faster than wages in past three years.      WRONG – After tax wages up 18 per cent in last three years, prices up 8      per cent.
  • 3. Mixed ownership means forgoing dividends of $6-700 million per year.  WRONG      – Actually, around $220 million per year, and save that amount at least in reduced interest.
  • 2. The  income gap withAustralia has widened.  WRONG – After tax incomes here have risen faster thanAustralia over the past three years.
  • 1. Police recruitment being cancelled for all of next year.  WRONG – One intake only postponed      two months because of increased staff retention.

“Labour said they would campaign on the issues, but in fact they’ve gone back to the old Labour way of making things up, and hoping if they make a false allegation often enough people would start to believe it.”

Lindsay Mitchell has another lie: “New Zealand has the highest youth unemployment rate in the developed world.” . . . .

The rate for 15-24 year-olds is currently 17.3%

This is lower than the US, the UK, France, Finland, Sweden, Chile, the Czech Republic, Italy, Belgium and a few others.

Kiwiblog has a link to Sean Plunket’s interview with Goff  this morning in which the latter refuses to admit he’s wrong about police recruitment.

And Whaleoil has the tweet of the day:

Did Phil Goff really not know his police numbers claims were a sack of excrement? Or was it a lie to scare people into voting Labour?

about 5 hours ago via HootSuiteReplyRetweetFavorite
@seanplunketzb

SeanPlunketMornings

Welfare Reform on web

November 6, 2011

Lindsay Mitchell has established a Welfare Reform website.

Her aim is to provide a resource for anyone interested in welfare reform.

Like Lindsay’s blog, the website has a wealth of information including most of the information she has obtained from the Ministry of Social
Development under the Official Information Act since 2001.

It has links to overseas sites, recommended books, press releases and interviews and compares the welfare policies of political parties.

When I clicked on the link for National’s I got a page-not-found message. I presume that is a sign of a website under development still because the information is here.


Let’s all say something

October 18, 2011

Lindsay Mitchell posts on Mana’s welfare policy which includes:

Provide a one off hardship grant of $1,000 for everyone aged 18 and over who is on an income of $30,000 or less, whether on a benefit or in paid work, to be paid by Christmas 2011.

Lift benefits to at least pre-1991 equivalent levels, ensuring people have enough to live on without constantly going into
debt.

Extend the In Work Tax Credit to the children of beneficiary parents.

The economic, financial and social cost of this would be eye-watering.

Lindsay also points to the Electoral Commission’s website which says:

Any attempts at bribery and corruption have two participants – those who offer the bribe and those who accept it. Anyone who knows about the bribe but says nothing is also implicated.

Lindsay has said something, let’s all say something.

 


Benefits not best for kids

October 5, 2011

Children do better in families which aren’t dependent on benefits.

This is the view of  Peter Hughes, outgoing chief executive of the Ministry of Social Development, who said::

“We know that for the same level of income, kids do better where that income’s derived from paid work.”

Commenting on this Lindsay Mitchell says:

It is a great shame that the outgoing CE has waited until now to make these observations. And that senior public servants seem unable to draw public attention to matters of considerable national importance to the country within the boundaries of an apolitical civil service.

Quite.

There is a place for benefits for those cannot work, most of whom require only temporary assistance.

But  paying benefits to people who don’t need them and long term benefit dependency by people who could work aren’t good for the recipients, their families or society.

This reinforces the wisdom of initiatives introduced by the government to work-test beneficiaries and help them become work-ready.


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