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Dr Muriel Newman

Soft on Welfare

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There’s been a lot of debate over recent weeks about the fact that the number of people receiving welfare is rising at a time when there’s a chronic shortage of workers in many industries. It raises questions about whether a serious mis-match now exists between the Government’s welfare policy and the expectations of society.

While New Zealanders generally support the concept of a safety net for those in genuine need, most believe that for the able bodied, assistance should be temporary. In other words, anyone who can work, should work. 

Renowned US economist Thomas Sowell warns that socialist governments all too often use welfare to incentivise failure: “What the welfare system and other kinds of governmental programs are doing is paying people to fail. In so far as they fail, they receive the money; in so far as they succeed, even to a moderate extent, the money is taken away.”

He believes welfare is a core part of the left’s narrative. It’s used to promote envy and a sense of grievance that leads to demands for higher taxes so benefits can be raised. But increasing welfare payments creates a poverty trap that locks beneficiaries into a dangerous dependency culture.

The point is that benefit increases can never alleviate poverty nor the difficult circumstances that many on welfare find themselves in. The left’s agenda nevertheless gives politicians power and control over the lives of beneficiaries. While the consequences for those entrenched in long term benefit dependency can be dire – especially for children – politicians are able to loftily claim they are ‘helping the poor’.

As George Orwell so aptly put it, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”

The truth is that more generous welfare is socially counterproductive. The perverse incentives that operate discourage many of those receiving welfare assistance from even trying to find employment and independence from the State.

Under Jacinda Ardern’s Government, the problem is getting worse, as benefit incomes have risen substantially. This means that for many beneficiaries, entering the workforce will result in a significant loss of income.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, welfare analyst Lindsay Mitchell, has quantified the support that someone on welfare can receive, in her article countering the recommendations of the Child Poverty Action Group for greater wealth redistribution:

“Sole Parent Support basic weekly rate is $340 net. The rate is the same for a sole parent on Jobseeker support. A couple on Jobseeker support with children receive $195.50 each.”

Lindsay then explains that it is impossible to consider basic rates without taking into account supplementary supports. These include accommodation subsidies, which provide up to $305 a week for a family with two or more children in a high rent area.

There are also tax credits for the children of beneficiaries of over $150 a week, according to the age of the child.

All of this means that a sole parent with two children, living in a high cost housing area, could be receiving over $900 a week on welfare.

Compared to the minimum wage, which pays $708 gross a week, it is little wonder that many people on welfare do not want to leave a system that rewards them so well.

The Ministry of Social Development’s Annual Report, which was released last week, shows that the number of working age people receiving a benefit as at 30 June 2019 was 292,000 – an increase of 5.2 percent over last year.

At a time when the country desperately needs workers the number of people receiving Job Seeker Support has risen to 136,233, almost 14,000 more than last year, and 22,000 more than when National was in office.

Sole parent support has risen too, by over 700 to 59,000. That reverses, for the first time, the steady downwards trend since National’s welfare reforms were introduced in 2012.

With fewer sanctions being issued for non-compliance with benefit rules and a dramatic increase in the number of grants and special needs assistance being issued, the emerging picture is one of a government that’s gone soft on welfare

The Annual Report confirms this.

A great deal of MSD’s time and effort is now focussed on making the agency more user friendly: “The front-of-house area of a service centre is often where clients form their first impressions of MSD. The full front-of-house package includes soft seating and rearrangement of waiting areas, community art, introduction of colour, planters, children’s areas, signage and water coolers.”

They outline new priorities to improve clients’ experience and access to support: “The Government is committed to overhauling the welfare system in order to make it fairer and more inclusive, and to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity. This is also a priority for us at MSD…

“In November and December 2018 we contacted more than 2,900 people who were not receiving, but seemed likely to be eligible for, Temporary Additional Support (TAS). The campaign increased uptake of TAS by around 10 percent. From July 2019 we will be getting in touch with around 3,000 people each month to encourage them to see whether they qualify…

“We have improved how we communicate… A welcome message appears in 11 languages on digital signage screens in all service centres… Our Better Letters project won two awards at the 2018 Plain English Awards: Best Plain English Sentence Transformation, and the overall award – Best Plain English Champion.”

The fact that MSD includes such information in their Annual Report shows how important it is for them to be seen to be responding to the Minister’s demands for improved client experiences. But this “experience” comes at a cost.

MSD explains, “The increase in demand for financial assistance this year has impacted on the time our case managers can spend with clients on proactive employment-focused case management: only 20 percent of engagements with clients in June 2019 had an employment focus, the lowest proportion since 2014.”

This explains why benefit numbers are rising. The agency in charge of helping beneficiaries move from welfare to work is so busy carrying out the administrative demands of the Government that they have little time left for their core task of ensuring that able-bodied beneficiaries transition into work.

This is an indictment of Labour’s welfare system. The fact that there is no pro-active work expectation for almost 80 percent of welfare recipients means that instead of incentivising able-bodied beneficiaries to get jobs, taxpayers are paying them to do nothing.

Not only that, but since long term benefit dependency has been identified as one of the most serious risk factors for children, MSD’s inaction is endangering children.

As Lindsay Mitchell explains, “MSD research from 2017 showed that children who had spent 80 percent or more of their first two years on a benefit were 38 times more likely than a child with no benefit history to have a finding of abuse.”

When it comes to finding jobs, beneficiaries who are reasonably motivated will need little assistance from the MSD. But that’s not the case for those who have been on a benefit in the long term, particularly those involved in criminal gangs.

Research published by MSD in 2016, found that between 1993 and 2014 over 90 percent of all known gang members had been on a benefit. The average length of time they spent on a main benefit – mostly the dole – was 9 years, but almost 20 percent had received a benefit for over 15 years.

It was estimated that the total cost to taxpayers of supporting criminal gangs on welfare over that period was more than $500 million – over $130,000 per gang member.

Gangs, it now appears, are in effect state sponsored organisations. We are paying gang members to commit crimes.

While that is bad enough, the damage to children is tragic. Of the 6,000 children, who lived in gang families on welfare, 60 percent had been abused or neglected. By the age of 10, nearly a quarter of these children had already had youth justice involvement – the cycle of dysfunction was set to continue into the next generation.

While gang members will no doubt be difficult clients for MSD, that doesn’t mean they should be free to treat welfare as another income stream to supplement their revenue from crime.

Nor should MSD wash their hands of the plight of their children.

Difficulties in transitioning those on welfare into work are not unique to New Zealand. Some jurisdictions have implemented interventions that have been proven to be successful for even the most intransigent beneficiaries.

Intensive case management, with consequences for those who choose to “game” the system, can be highly effective. Assistance to help the beneficiary overcome their barriers to work might include childcare, budgeting advice, addiction services, mental health support, CV preparation, transportation, and so on.

The key is to require them to ‘turn up’ each working day to a job centre in order to undertake a full-time tailored programme of work preparation, training, and job search. Designed to instil the disciplines and habits of the 40-hour working week, if they are late or don’t turn up, their benefit is docked. 

The reality is that if someone is required to turn up for a structured eight hours working day as a condition of receiving their benefit, it won’t take them long to realise that they may as well be in work – doing something that’s more rewarding.

Another effective intervention is income management. It not only ensures that benefit money is used to pay the bills and buy nutritious food – rather than being spent on such things as alcohol and drugs – but it has also been attributed as one of the key reasons for a sharp decline in the number of teenage parents.

In those cases, specialist youth providers set up automatic payments for teenage beneficiaries for rent, power and so on, with grocery money going onto a payment card that couldn’t be used for cigarettes, alcohol, or gambling. That left $50 or so a week for discretionary spending.

However, it appears that for many, having control of their income was far more important than staying on a benefit.

A similar concept underpins the Cashless Debit Card that’s being trialled in Australia. Like a regular bank card, it can be used to pay rent, the mortgage, and other bills, to buy groceries and clothes, but it can’t be used for gambling, alcohol or drugs. Beneficiaries have 80 percent of their welfare payment credited to the debit card, with 20 percent going into their usual bank account for discretionary spending.

An evaluation of the use of the card found that children were better looked after, and social harm was reduced, with less drinking, drug use and gambling. This led to a reduction in violence and crime.

Another key intervention used in the US is time limits on welfare – a two year limit on continuously receiving a benefit, and a five year lifetime limit. A safety net of housing subsidies and food stamps ensures that even if welfare stops, people will not become homeless, nor starve. 

There are many interventions that successfully help beneficiaries transition into work. But if Jacinda Ardern is serious about improving the lives of children, she would ask MSD to prioritise the reduction of long term benefit dependency for families with children – including gang families – ensuring they are work tested and assisted into jobs.

Finally, MSD’s annual report had a section on ‘Championing equal employment opportunities’. They say, “We are committed to the principle of equal employment opportunities (EEO)… Our EEO policy promotes equality…”

They give the impression that they are doing well with regards to gender equality amongst staff.

But the figures tell a different story: 70.4 percent of their workforce is female, 29.5 percent is male, with 0.1 percent undeclared.

Shouldn’t ‘equal employment’ mean equal numbers of men and women?

Doesn’t their result mean than MSD is doing very badly indeed and needs to urgently hire more men?

Or am I missing something!


*Do you believe Jacinda Ardern’s Government is soft on welfare?


*Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.


Click to view x 120


Why don’t we all go on welfare and then live the lazy, smoky, couch potato life whence everything you have I want now – and I want it for free. Stuart
All left governments are and this one is really bad. Fraser
Labour, including J.Ardern, governments always have to have an underclass so they can rule as the overclass (elites) so of course they are soft on welfare. If you pay somebody to be married to the govt. to have children, of course you will have poverty of all sorts of things. There has been an increase of 11,000 Maori on the ‘dole’ in the 2 years this govt has been in charge – shame on them. Monica
People can remain as long term unemployed for as many years as they wish. There appears to be no wish by the Government to force job seekers to seek work. This from personal observations. It is dead easy to become a career beneficiary with all the available add ons. Colin
and ignorant of the correlation between, artificially driving up the minimum wage, unemployment, and increasing costs. Lionel
She has a heart and is compassionate . It’s a good quality to lead with Amanda
demonstrably incompetent on every front. My MPs challenges to govt are qualified observations; failure on all fronts….but great on taxing on basis of pseudoscience. Zoran
Welfare should never be a lifestyle option. Pavel
absolutely Prue
Labour are very well meaning. Barbara
Absolutely. Welfare should not be seen as a career option for school leavers – it’s a necessary backstop for people who fall on hard times for one reason or another. I like the sound of the cashless debit card being trialled in Aus. Dave
Most definitely. There is no incentive for people to work and ‘earn’ the respect of those who actually pay for the benefit – the full time taxpayer. David
Labour governments have always been soft on welfare fraud and it is a tragedy for the children – kids deserve better! Janet
The problem is that should this excessive payment system continue, then there will not be enough tax collected to pay the bill. then what? John
But one needs to consider the following questions: 1. How many Immigrants are in jobs that could be filled by residents and citizens? 2. How any “real” jobs are there? 3. Is there any transport and accommodations assistance for away from base seasonal jobs? 4. How many factories are left in NZ after most of them have been shifted to the totalitarian dictatorship of China? 5. How many jobs would be in the manufacturing industry – if a manufacturing industry existed? Frederick
No longer a hand up or a safety net but an Ardern sponsored way of life Jeff
Any way you look at the figures it proves it Bryan
If a family on welfare can get up to $900 per week, at this rate there will soon be no workers at all. Then who would pay them? Migrant workers are the only ones willing to work for lower pay – shame on lazy New Zealanders, but at that rate I can see why they turn their noses up at low pay rates. Welfare is far too generous – counterproductive. Sheila
Yes; but this is traditional Labour Party strategy to secure the loyalty of their voter base. The long term “Welfare” of NZ and its inhabitants is sacrificed for short term gain. But that is politics. Gary
This is just getting silly. Why keep paying these lazy, criminal twats. Vaughan
lazy people collect unemployment benefit. Jacinda and co collect votes to enable them to sit on a chair in the Beehive and likewise be lazy Johan
Particularly regarding “Gangs” and those who are resisting finding work. Yes it is hard but so is life for those i n the work force as well but the benefits are far reaching being in the work force. Laurel
We need to recognize that Veterans, Age, superannuates, Widows, Permanently Disabled, Are all properly ” entitled, as of right” welfare recipients and unemployed, DPB, Preventable accident, preventable mentally impaired, are in effect discretionary privilege recipients. Clark merged these groups entirely for political reasons. They need to be decoupled and separately administered. The first Group by a Welfare Admin Office and the second group by a dedicated Employment Office. We should also take heed of the fact that whilst 14000 joined unemployment in part that was because the schools continue to provide education in subjects for which there are no jobs and no careers and the punitive effects of socialist policies on both small business and agricultural business cause the prudent employer to avoid the obligations that come with job creation. Our Government should be incentivizing those that leave the welfare system by self employment or by apprenticed employment. This is a crisis entirely of the socialists making to suit the socialists marxist agenda and it will worsen as their idiot policies cut even deeper into commercial stability. Richard
Little or no accountability required from any welfare recipient to accept any responsibility for receiving taxpayer -funded benefits. Mary
Benefit numbers should not be rising Gregory
And her government is not alone with that. Over the years there is history of that from all governments of various “hues.” The gangs continue to bludge and also waste the countries resources. Bruce
There is something seriously wrong when there are 3rd generation families relying on welfare. Surely the work preschool teachers and primary school teachers have to do which is teaching morals, providing food and also acting as guardians to a certain extent shows that something in our culture is missing. Denis 
Inaction by both governments to fix the criminal gang problem has got far beyond the point where their presence is a drain on the taxpayer. The criminal gangs, Black Power, the Mongrel Mob and the Triads are responsible for 84% of crime in NZ 90% of which is unresolved. To highlight costs is long overdue. Notice how the Labor and National parties persecute gun owners but won’t persecute criminal gangs. This situation gets worse every year and won’t go away by ignoring it. Rex
not only too soft but simply stupid! Gerard
Soft on everything except those who do well for themselves. Colleen
There is a diminishing expectation of organising your life by planning, not instantly having everything you “WANT” [not need] so provided by the Govt. We waited, saved and made sensible compromises. Now showing little sign of self sufficiency – which has always been the basic premise for the establishment and maintenance of families – seems to have been replaced by -“NO WORRIES” whinge a lot and the Govt will provide – and this Govt certainly has! Norman
Typical lefties, and having the Greens involved only makes this worse ! Laurie
Did anyone expect it was going to be harder to become welfare dependant when: (1) the Greens campaigned on: (a) removing all penalties such as failing to keep themselves work ready (Drug Free), and (b) supporting a Co-Leader who was clearly a Welfare Cheat. (2) NZ First agreed with Labour in their condemnation of Capitalism as “Greed without a human face”; and (3) Labour campaigned on removing all promises for tax cuts that would have given taxpayers more control of their earnings in favour of increasing Family Income Support, a handout that increases state control rather than reducing it. Further, what socialist government has ever tried to reduce dependency on state welfare, for if they did it would reduce their ability to control “loyalty”. Miss Ardern and her government are not only “soft” on welfare – they encourage it – their arms are truly long and are truly adept in reaching into earner’s pockets. Since when does 9-15 years on welfare equate to a hand-up and not a hand-out? Michael
The trouble with socialism is that we run out of other people’s money. Charlie
Liberal handouts destroy the incentive to work! Kris
No you are not entitled is much harder to enforce than simply agreeing they can have the money. I know of people who have been in care for years and have accumulated a fair amount but still have huge payments of ACC or clothing and furniture grants. Ido
National really needs to step up and make some promises we all know are crucial to the future of our country. Robert
As George Orwell so aptly put it, ‘A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.’ How else are they going to get re-elected???? Maurice
A bit more tough love required there instead of giving our money away to win votes. Robbie
Of Course they are./ They want as many people on Welfare so the will remain Loyal Labour voters as they are better off on Welfare than if they were working. As Lindsey Mitchell article states the numbers on Welfare have gone up due the Present government softer attitude to welfare payments. The stuffing of the traditional 2 parent married couple (a Male and a Female ) has caused many of our social problems and they more we help these people the worse it will get until finally the whole place collapses in a bureaucratic nightmare. Colin
What do you expect The left is always soft on welfare They are supporting their voters Welfare must be an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff not a fence at the top. In addition I would make the rebate regime quite friendly to those who choose to work and the penalty regime hard on those who choose NOT to work There needs to be real encouragement to getting into paid employment. In addition all benefits need to paid into a debit card account that can only be accessed for approved expenditure so eliminating drugs alcohol smoking etc other than a small amount set aside for personal choice. I am not holding my breath waiting for either of the main parties to do this Robin
This is a Social Welfare Government no doubt about it. Capture the poor and have most others relying on the Govt and you get their vote. But not mine. Their policies are ruining the country. Graeme
For young people and single adults After six months on benefit and not employed benefit should be halved, and then further reduced by set amount for subsequent months Cyril
all leftist govts are barry
Reducing it would reduce their “god’s work” ranking and essential “overstressed” work predicament. Just have a child, get given a house and you might get on TV. Alister
Yes it’s the never ending story. Unfortunately the pattern forces the cost of employment up to where it’s unsustainable. This is particularly apparent in the retail sector Mark
Your article highlights the problems of the welfare system. The cards and the welfare in kind systems overseas are much better at preventing welfare abuse and misuse. The big problem is ensuring that areas with huge welfare beneficiaries do not control voting. Peter
Absolutely, no able bodied person should be paid tax payers money each week for doing nothing. Eric
Absolutely Jude
Absobloodylutely! Martin
There is no way a person on a benefit should be receiving more than a person who is gainfully employed. Jacqui
Yes, and in the long term widespread welfare is detrimental to recipients. It’s akin to buying votes – or more directly some claim it is simply buying votes. Stuart
I observe that the J government is failing in all areas. When J opens her mouth, there is never anything meaningful that comes out. Neil
The numbers don’t lie! Jonathan
there should nothing fro nothing richard
Love the idea of those on a benefit who are capable of working for their money having to turn up to a job centre every day or have their benefit docked. Something drastic has to be done. Too many children are growing up (if they live that long) believing that living on the welfare is the way to go. Juliet
No doubt about that, but it is another avenue for vote catching. Why else would we see the Labour and Greens promoting the vote for prison inmates while once again we see NZ First sitting on the top rail of the fence. Barry
And nothing will change until the Govt. IS CHANGED. Bill
Soft on welfare hard on pensioners. The reason is clear. They are bribing their support base to get re elected Tony
The sooner they go the better Pat
Extremely soft. Lois
Should be just a “safety net” June
Soft is an understatement! This is unfortunately typical of a Labour government as history reveals, The entire country needs to stand up and literally force Ardern to implement change, taking note of what other countries have done/are doing successfully. Particularly the USA. What is happening here is both sickening and disheartening for those of us who work for a living and thus contribute.. David
Absolutely – There must be a time limit on able bodied beneficiaries, If there is not then there must be an investigation as to how genuine are the reasons as to why they do not get a job. There appears to be a number who are taking advantage of the system. These are the ones who must be investigated. Brian
Welfare Payments in many areas are based on votes returns Jim
It is not about soft or hard – it is about accountability and responsibility – NOT one of Jacinda’s wisdom sets. She would not grasp want to understand the future benefits to those effected. families. Maurie
Socialist Labour is the Party for ‘free riders’, The more free-riders they can encourage, the stronger their support base becomes.. One of the few things National was getting right, was the attempt to discourage free-riders. Currently the ‘Gangs’ have never had it so good. With welfare income, & then being the only group in society able to retain ALL manor of firearms., their ability to dominate the rest of the population is rapidly gaining momentum. A.G.R.
Definitely Malcolm
They are soft on everything. They are looking after their voter base and couldn’t care less about doing the right thing for the country, not to mention the ones with their up-turned palms. They need to be much firmer and would actually be doing the lazy ones a favour by them actually having a proper purpose in life. Helen
No more pay without work Mike
All those on unemployment benefits should be made to work such as fruit picking etc, instead of bringing islanders in to do the job. Andrew
Jacinda is naive and dangerous paying out tax money for votes. there is nothing kind about that. NZ First will crow about getting people off benefits at election time but they cannot be trusted to work for NZ. National’s SB is in the same boat as JA, a wet bus ticket that cannot be trusted. Sam
Welfare has become institutionalised to such an extent that lasting solutions are increasingly hard to find and Labours’ “soft” approach is only making it worse. The gangs are a prime example. How is it that we tolerate their presence in our society (let alone pay them welfare allowances) in this day and age? Is there some sort of symbiotic relationship between them and the Government going on here? The COL will no doubt be assured of their votes in the next election – anyone else who chooses to do so is certifiably insane, in my opinion. Scott
Grand son is one who is on long term welfare after destroying his business when he became addicted to P John
I have panic attacks when going to an appointment at WINZ, after years of having Invalids Benefit stopped for NO reason, so many lies told to my face, Landlord dental applications “disappear” 3x , before they get thru. refused 3x for state house list, they know I live in my car, at 62. PLEASE don’t say they make it easy. Ive been that close to jumping off a cliff over WINZ treatment. George
This is just a huge drain on society, we should support and help people financially if they can not work, but not if they just don’t want to work – there is a difference! Roy
What about retired people trying to survive on less than the beneficiaries get per week. Retired people have worked diligently and paid taxes for most of their working lives and are now supporting lazy good for nothing layabouts. Rod
Absolutely David
Undoubtedly Peter
The more Labour can edge people into welfare the more Labour increases its vote count. Yeehaw, go for it and make the working suckers pay!!!!! George
By paying people a benefit and them not requiring to give time back to society is soul destroying and a high cost to hard working Kiwis .This government under Ardern is promoting this activity so come election time she is hoping to get their vote however a lot of those people want even go to a polling booth because they are to cosy playing video games on their mobiles New Zealand is being destroyed by this current coalition government. Ken
along with all their other misguided concepts Bruce
Every government we have had are too weak to do anything about it — we are becoming a nation of welfare receivers at the expense of the taxpayers. Alan
While Labour often have good ideas & policies too, I feel that all Labour governments are too soft on welfare spending thereby trying to control the population & shape it to their beliefs. Nick
Just pouring Money into the same ole avenues and expecting change is surely the definition of insanity. At least try the approach listed in the previous Article. Geoff
The ideas expressed in Dr. Newman’s article are outstanding! The increase in MSD employment is bureaucracy gone mad as they cope with making beneficiaries comfortable and welcome whilst they spend little time in moving them off a benefit. The increase in benefits and supplementary payments to a level far above the minimum wage is lunacy especially when combined with the removal of all sanctions. Just another Ardern step to borrow and spend more. Yes the unemployment/job search benefit should be for a limited time only for able bodied young people. We should be following the example of countries like Australia and the US and there are probably others, which make positive steps to limit the time benefits are payable available. What a great idea also to issue electronic debit cards so benefits can only be spent on essentials. Why can’t NZ use these methods instead of handing out increasing amounts of cash to spend on drugs and alcohol? Chris.
There are plenty of jobs for the unemployed, they just don’t want to work and the benefits are equal in income to the basic lowest wage bracket, so why bother to be employed? IAN
Welfare should help beneficiaries to get into work. Solo mothers should not be pressured into work, their most important work is raising the next generation.. Ken
Creating more Leftie voters at the expense of taxpayers. Bill
This is the Labour way. After all, more on welfare means more votes for them next election. They don’t really care about the masses as long as it doesn’t effect them. This is the Socialist way. Graeme
No work = no pay. Graham
Ardern and her loser colleagues suck big time. Richard
A thorough overhaul of benefit schemes need to be undertaken. It is time the government looked at other countries that run successful schemes and take a leaf from their books. Paying people to do nothing really grates with me. Dennis
Yes because they think that people who are dependent on the state will automatically vote Labour. Cyril
because they are already looking for votes next election. God help us that have worked hard for our living if they win next time around John
A hand down instead of a hand-up Liam
When is this pathetic Government going to start in looking after the Senior population in this Country. Graham
There are too many able bodied young people lying around doing nothing except collect a benefit. If there is no work in the area where they live (a common excuse) then they should be made to move to any area where workers are needed. Perhaps workers’ camps could be set up or even caravan parks. If the beneficiary does not want to do this then they should be sent to the army for at least six months where they would be made to learn some self discipline eg get up early each day, make their beds, keep themselves clean and tidy etc etc and the military certainly know how to do this. If the beneficiary does not wish to comply with these rules then all payments should stop until they do comply. In today’s world there is no room for bludgers but this government seems hell bent on making it so. Mary
There are too many able bodied young people lying around doing nothing except collect a benefit. If there is no work in the area where they live (a common excuse) then they should be made to move to any area where workers are needed. Perhaps workers’ camps could be set up or even caravan parks. If the beneficiary does not want to do this then they should be sent to the army for at least six months where they would be made to learn some self discipline eg get up early each day, make their beds, keep themselves clean and tidy etc etc and the military certainly know how to do this. If the beneficiary does not wish to comply with these rules then all payments should stop until they do comply. In today’s world there is no room for bludgers but this government seems hell bent on making it so. Mary
low employment pays should equal low rents & cost of living. Democracies can not bring prosperity back it only attacks the vulnerable stj
True communists don’t have welfare. She has lost her way Roger
Instead of ever increasing taxes, the government should be looking at ways to reduce taxes. Work to a budget like any responsible household would do, it is simple enough i.e. money in money out. Unfortunately the current administration just lands society with new taxes. There is a limit? Chris
EVERYONE NEEDS to email MP,s about OPUR TAXES being spent on GANGS,PEOPLE who are NOT CONTRIBUTING IN ANY WAY & JUST STAY IN BED & to FOLLOW AUSTRALIAN & ONLY give them spending money in their accounts,RENT,POWER,GROCERIES are put on a CASHLESS CARD that can ONLY BE SPENT on what its put their for & like America they can ONLY STAY on a benefit for 2 years & THEY NEED to fill the jobs N.Z. NEEDS FILLING NO MATTER THEIR EXCUSES. And I,d send a copy of this newsletter to ALL NATIONAL M.P,S & NZ First MP,s as they are supposed to be against gangs & crime,lazy people who don’t contribute ETC. Cindy
Of course it is, where do her votes come from? A large chunk of the welfare community, that’s where. She’s not exactly the thinking voter’s pin up, is she? MAYBELLE
Of cause. They need to entrench their vote for ever. Wayne
The red hens story applies here. Nil input No share of produce results. effort in being rewarded. Mike
It is hopeless. If they force their ‘clients’ into a job, that will drop their numbers and be seen as a ‘failure’ It is stinking thinking. I have a family member who knows how to beat the system. Dick
welfare is totally out of control. Norman
Obviously, otherwise the numbers on unemployment benefits should be decreasing not increasing. Financial assistance should always be available for genuine cases. However It appears that most on an unemployment benefit see it as a career choice and view their benefit as a salary. Peter
Yes anything to get the vote and look at me, I am popular Tom
Do bears sh*t in the woods? Maddi
socialist/marxist government wanting to increase nanny state and dependance to garner more votes. All about power and control. Disgusting anti people government. Max
Not only this Govt but I have always believed Welfare is far too generous in this country, if they get money for doing nothing why would they want to work. It is a no brainer for any sane person to see. Barbara Goldstone
The objective of the system is to Buy votes for Labour, using Tax Payers money, for the benefit of Politicians. Children – In other countries the responsibility for caring for Children rests with the Parents – but there is also a reciprocal obligation on Children to care for their elderly parents. Why not this law in New Zealand ?? Pierre
Yes. Socialist governments always like to increase the welfare state. It takes more taxes that would otherwise have gone into private production and earned value while relinquishing personal responsibility in favour of state dependency. This is exactly what the socialist rulers want – more government jobs. If wealth-producing capitalism did not exist, neither would socialism. Think about it. Don
If you promise to pay money to people to stay home and not work, you will always find plenty of people to oblige you, take your offer and vote for you next time round. This is now, and always has been the sole justification for voting socialist, and it will never change. The socialist creed states … “From each according to his means; to each according to his needs.” Lofty ideals and admirable sentiments, but the socialists never use their own resources to achieve this, they use YOURS, whether you like it or not! What is worse is that it is self-perpetuating. once a level of dependency is reached it is unstoppable at the polls (if they are allowed to continue to exist). Please wake up New Zealand. TOBY
Why does it take us so long to understand the policies adopted by other countries should be the case here. Joe
try working John
What beneficiary would vote for any other party when Labour and the Greens mane it so easy for them to abuse tax payer money Trevor
” The easiest way out is through the door.Why do so few of us use this method?.” Confucius….. a Universal Basic Income (UBI) is the way to go. Shouldn’t everyone receive a stake in society’s wealth….?? CHowes
Most governments are soft on welfare but labour is extreme Gareth & Pauline
I agree with managing the situation to get people back into work, but the current system for a beneficiary as a part-time worker is actually about face. If they earn over a certain amount, their benefit is reduced. Why not reduce the benefit a little, and pay $1 for $1 for tax paid wages earned? – with a cap, naturally. There is then some reward for work rather than having the feeling of being “docked” for working! Ted
Far too lenient. Desperately needs tightening up. Taxpayers are being fleeced bi-time.Govt just wants votes to stay in power. Pete
Like the controlled welfare payout by using specific debit cards and/or paying the rent and other bills automatically leaving a residue for own spending. Heather
Obvious – & increasingly so Bob
“Tragic” is the one word I would use to describe the vast amounts of money being poured into Welfare. Jim
It’s a disgrace, you mention gangs and child abuse, why aren’t the police given the power to enter gang premises and clean up the gang problems which are obviously growing. Alan
I believe in “working for the dole”- as was the case during the depression days .. Donald
It is too easy for people to receive welfare without good reason. It’s supposed to be for those who, for some reason, are unable to work. Maurice
I had occasion on returning to Auckland from an island in the gulf to set about applying for employment. @ 56 this was challenging and was taking some time. With no income for a period I found myself at MSD looking at the work opportunities board. Many and varied, all minimum wage but you have to take what you can get. I secured a position as a general labourer on visit 1. I did not seek a benefit. I stayed working in that oft times boring and unpleasant role until I successfully secured work of a more satisfying and lucrative nature. It is too easy for the unemployed to sit around and stagnate. The benefit should be reduced and have a fixed term of provision. I know of a solo mother with 5 children under 13 to the same unemployed bum, how much are they taking in. He has not worked in his whole adult life, he’s probably 32. Anon
Welfare takes away dreams and ambition, it takes away dignity and pride. It removes what it means to be human; the desire to be part of an ongoing progressive community. Ardern is a walking crime against the people. Jenny
All part of her State control plan. Jon
Labour is committed to their Social Engineering programs. Buying votes by using taxpayers to provide more money for benefits to the people who aren’t interested in working. Darryl
Jacinda isn’t soft on welfare. Her policy is of increasing welfare recipients is intentional. Like all socialist’s she wants to control people’s lives, and there is no better way than making people dependent on you for their financial wellbeing. For one thing it forces people to vote for you. It’s all about power and Ardern without political power would be just another nobody. Mervyn
NZ welfare system requires a total reset. No need to reinvent the wheel. Just look at other countries that have been successful moving people off welfare and into work and adopt those policies. Not rocket science. Chris
VERY! Wally
And that is the way these stupid people want it! bill
They are locking on their voter base. No one who works for a living would vote for this government if they were thinking. Mike
Can’t argue with the figures. human nature is to react to economic signals. Welfare is just another economic signal. Geoff
Don’t go to jail, don’t identify the father of your illegitimate children… Bruce C
The unemployed should if jobs are available regardless of what sort of work there is should work or if they can not do that they should do at least 20 hr vol work. there ar lots of places that would love to have them Cherryl
This and other socialist jurisdictions main aim is to redistribute wealth. They do not seem to have any idea of hard work and thrift. Willy
Tuff Luv works. Pay a living wage. Cap benefits to no more than 75% of living wage.Reduce company tax to support an increase to a living wage. Doug
They are hoping the majority of voters will NOT notice the increase in Welfare spending. Typical Labour SMOKE and MIRRORS Carl
Yes they are far to soft every unemployed person should have to turn up at a work centre every day at 7.30am if they don’t the benefit is stopped for that day also a system where the rent power etc is paid before they collect the benefit and groceries only food real food no booze cigs soft drinks or junk food Peter
This concept that if they are given the money will steal it is BS Arthur
You would have to be some special kind of ‘stupid’ to think otherwise! Carl
N.Z.Super is drastically inadequate. David
It’s far too easy to do nothing on my tax dollars. Mark
more votes ? Murray
I thought welfare was a major plank in the policy layout of all socialist govt’s. Why should Ardern’s gov’t be any different?. Bart
As long as they can milk the taxpayer there will be money in the kitty to throw down into this bottomless pit called MSD. Social development has become a totally distorted misnomer for a system which obviously does everything to support and extend an army of close to 200 000 recipients of hand outs, and of these the majority has never worked properly in their lives. That this MSD is actively supporting this cancer in our society called the gangs I would call the final irony. This massive sum of about 500 million bucks spent to actively supporting crime would be better spent to protect us from this scum, but it is just one more piece of evidence how generations of spineless appeasers to political correctness ( some call that lot politicians)have betrayed every single honest and hard working man and woman in this land . I wonder what will happen when we hit more difficult economic times and we run out of money to support this dodgy regime. Then we will have an army of entitled disgruntled rent seekers which will become aggressive very quickly. National’s call to get on top of this bloated problem is just another feeble attempt in time before the elections to stir a bit of dust —– that is all. Nobody really wants to change the status quo because they all know that they will break open an hornet’s nest if they would attempt any more drastic measures to drain this swamp. It will go on until the shit really hits the fan and then it is too late. Michael
There is no incentive to work Liz
Yes, too much welfare. Kate
As each year and time go by the welfare system gets more abused but nobody takes a stand when we import workers what is going on with all these lazy loughts lying in bed getting well paid Russell
Vote gathering Colin
Labor has always been soft on welfare and will continue to encourage the lazy David
Of course they will be! This is a pool of voters which they need to have supporting them! No interest in the economic cost to the country. Or social damage being caused. Meantime, senior citizens slip back and back, struggle to meet the rapidly rising costs of living! Hugh
The woman is as demented as Greta Spencer
Ardern is an admitted and proud Socialist and the rabble around her are no more than pathetic misfits. Don
It’s vote buying Graeme
I have employed a person on WINZ, who received a $3,000 relocation grant amongst other grants. Then after 3 months tried to corner me into an employment dispute. Normally if the typical “Wrongfull Dismissal” is in favour of the employee they can get up to $20,000. If they are even more cunning they can go for a “Breach of Human Rights” and can receive up to $50,000. These people aren’t stupid and know exactly what they are doing and will tend to pick on older people who still do deals with a handshake. Alot of people these days are lazy and the dole plus employment law are their meal tickets because the law allows it. Even if 4% of people are on the dole, 8% are unemployable anyway. Mark
Jacinda is vote buying Gem
They have set NZ back 20 years. Chris
Soft on welfare is understating the case. Ardern and her communist committee is promoting welfare as an alternative lifestyle, because as Thomas Sowell states, socialism wants power over the people and they will take every opportunity to capture the souls of everyone whose freedom is for sale. That is the souls of the weak, stupid and/or dishonorable. Sadly, in New Zealand, that is quite a large slice of the population and unhappily we have groups in our population who think this behavior is perfectly OK. In other words, thieves and bludgers by nature who need zero encouragement to engage in victimhood. Dianna
Time for them to go. Don
Where there is work and no reason not to work then no welfare Kelvin
Large families are not discouraged either. We also find it hard to find employees in Rural areas – left for urban areas. Diane
People want a hand up not a hand out. Yes welfare support should be temporary, but Govt’s seem to have lost their way on how to create a healthy Economy, more content in being disruptive and transitioning the Country’s Economy at the expense of the average Citizen. The MMP make up of Parliament shows that most Politicians are there for their own benefit and the people will just have to change regardless of the cost. Frank
Absolutely! Labour hasn’t a clue about how to run a government , much less how to help people out of welfare. They just want to look good on the International Stage. Joyce
Labour governments lean towards creating more dependants but what we’re seeing now is a strong push for this. Keeping that voter base strong is one reason. Nothing to do with helping people out of poverty. It just makes the matter worse. It’s all about control. UN policy is slowly by stealth creeping into our society. Vivienne
They are soft on all the wrong things. Pandering to any minority and forgetting about the hard working tax paying majority! Kristene
Labour. What more needs to be said? John
The Labour Government was always Known as the no hope Government because those with no hope voted for them, !!!! Ross
MSD, CYFS , Orangatangs – CORRUPT management, same as politicians. Coral
Just like the Democrats in the US, if you keep giving them hand-outs they’ll keep voting for you. alan
When I lived in SE Asia everyone worked because if you didn’t you starved. Simple really … DJ
Labour Governments are always soft on welfare. Gordon
Jacinda Ardern and the Greens just want to create dependency so they can gain more votes at election time. They don’t care about the human cost.  Sylvia
It is sickening that we are paying gang members to commit crime. MSD needs to sort it out.  Murray
What’s happened to NZ First – they used to be really tough on welfare. Even Shane Jones started off that way saying they had to get youngsters off the couch, but they have gone quiet.. Phillip
Everyone who is able-bodied should be in work. There are no excuses. It is an indictment of Labour that benefit numbers are rising.  Stewart