Long term benefit dependency not good for individuals or society

Does anyone really believe that long term benefit dependency is good for either the people receiving them or society?

Judging from the howls of anguish which have met the release of the Welfare Working Group’s summary paper some people do otherwise they wouldn’t be so upset at the prospect of addressing the problem.

Nobody is suggesting that benefits shouldn’t be available to offer short term assistance for people in temporary need. Nor is anyone suggesting people who are unable to work because of health issues or other circumstances beyond their control should not get long term assistance.

The problem is people who could work to support themselves and don’t.

They’re the ones, which Garrick Tremain portrayed so well, taking welfare not as a safety net but a hammock.

I can remember reporting on second generation beneficiaries nearly 30 years ago, by now some families must have the third or even fourth generation on benefits.

One of the reasons people choose state asistance rather than work is, as Lindsay Mitchell points out, they get more money than thy could earn in wages.

It must be galling for people on in low-paid work to know that some of the tax which comes out of their pay contributes to keeping people who get more in welfare than they earn.

There are no quick and easy solutions to the problem, but economic growth will help. More better paid jobs would ensure those in work are better off than they’d be on benefits.

3 Responses to Long term benefit dependency not good for individuals or society

  1. Gravedodger says:

    As long as welfare creates a serf mentality that results in support for a potential government, I see no reason to expect significant change until looming financial collapse triggers a response. That happened when Sir Rodger Douglas was confronted with the detritus of Muldoons total control philosophy of a “managed economy”, leaving him still a target of hate and/or derision for all those who depend on gaining from the redistribution of compulsorily gathered tax funds, their sycophantic media and politicians in general.
    Note the result of any government participant, elected or appointed promulgating a stance based on self reliance, personal pride or financial independence. ie the 90 day employment law quickly labeled by the dumb socialists and echoed by the media as the “fire at will” law, sheesh.
    What were savings levels when the taxpayer could gain tax relief from saving money compared to now when we flail about moaning of the total lack of investment money available in our internal economy. Building socities, friendly societies, lodges, money clubs, savings banks and the life insurance companies. Sure some money went off shore but even the very low paid had a savings attitude to self help that has been drowned in the welfare swamp that is embedded in the psyche of so many.
    Some would say I am smug and lucky but you know what, I seamed to enjoy much better luck when I took risks and worked harder and smarter, something I do not see in the approach to life of so many of those nurtured under the umbrella of the modern welfare state.


  2. Deborah says:

    Through Working for Families, virtually all low wage families in work will be better off than virtually all low wage families on benefits. There may be a few families around the margins who are worse off working, but W4F is very carefully designed so that this shouldn’t happen. Most low wage families should in effect pay no tax at all through the operation of W4F, so it is not correct to say that they are supporting people on benefits.

    I’m not keen on the structure of Working for Families – I don’t like the idea of families being dependent on the state for income, because it gives the state too much power over them. However, that’s a different argument from the one about whether low wage families are support families on benefits.


  3. Gravedodger says:

    A big weakness with welfare in general and W4F is the, IMO, perpetration of the “Gummint owes me”, one size fits all, dont let the idle suffer, why bother to find and keep a job mentality among so many of our people. All the while trying to find ways to get essential work, yes often seasonal, by bringing foriegn labour in on temporary visas. If a Tuvaluan, Fijian or other soul can leave their family, travel to NZ, live in a converted motel or motorcamp to pick fruit, prune grapevines or any other seasonal job why for gods sake cant a person sitting on their bum, on welfare, be forced by economic reasons to do the same.
    Poor little Niha Glassey who died in the “care” of whanau in Rotorua while her mother was working in a kiwifruit packhouse in,I think Te Puke, and the welfare system was at the base cause of this ghastley incident. How did the useless young warriors manage to be sitting around drinking etc during the day, answer “welfare”, it is a blight but evidently not one to be controlled. Like all other blights I have encountered will destroy the host. Dame Margaret Thatcher said “socialism (welfare) is a great idea until you run out of other peoples money”. That will be far too late.


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