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Dr Muriel Newman

Welfare in Need of Change

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welfaretoworkThere is an on-going debate in New Zealand as to why immigrants are required for low-skill work that unemployed New Zealanders could do. Some say our immigration policy is at fault. Others point the finger at our welfare system which seems to allow beneficiaries the choice of whether they work or not.

Statistics show that in the last twelve months 6,500 migrant labourers were given work visas, despite there being 15,600 unemployed labourers in New Zealand. In addition, 2,700 work visas were issued to migrant sales workers, while 23,000 Kiwi sales workers are listed as being unemployed.

The Government argues that the problem largely boils down to ‘job-matching’ – the unemployed do not live in areas where the jobs are, and in spite of some generous incentive schemes being put in place, it appears most choose  to not move.

Meanwhile employers claim business growth is being seriously constrained by a shortage of willing workers. They say the main reason that many businesses are not keen on hiring unemployed New Zealanders is because of their ‘attitude’ – they say that many simply do not want to work.

A survey published late last year by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment found that almost two-thirds of 1,500 employers from across the country had listed job vacancies over the previous 12 months. Of those, one in four had employed migrant workers. The most common reason they gave for hiring migrants was that they had the best qualifications and experience for the job. They also explained that they were attracted by their strong work ethic, since many had found that low-skilled New Zealanders were not really willing to do the work they needed.

The Prime Minister has also waded into this debate, admitting last month that many unemployed New Zealanders have a poor work ethic.

“We bring in people to pick fruit under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme, and they come from the islands, and they do a fabulous job. And the government has been saying ‘well, OK, there are some unemployed people who live in the Hawke’s Bay, and so why can’t we get them to pick fruit’, and we have been trialling a domestic RSE scheme.

“But go and ask the employers, and they will say some of these people won’t pass a drug test, some of these people won’t turn up for work, some of these people will claim they have health issues later on. So it’s not to say there aren’t great people who transition from Work and Income to work, they do, but it’s equally true that they’re also living in the wrong place, or they just can’t muster what is required to actually work.”

So what is causing this problem?

Firstly, in response to growing public concerns that immigration levels are too high, the Government announced last week that it was going to adjust policy settings – despite the number of permanent resident approvals of 52,052 in 2016 being below the peak of 55,900 approvals in 1995.

Changes have now been made to the Residence Programme, which covers three main categories: a ‘humanitarian’ category for refugees and the Pacific Island quota, a ‘family’ reunification category to allow New Zealand citizens and residents to bring in other family members, and a ‘skills’ category covering skilled workers, investors, entrepreneurs, and their families.

The changes will lower the number of residency approvals from a maximum of up to 50,000 a year to 47,500 a year, the number of points required for residency under the skilled migrant category will be raised from 140 to 160 points, and the number of places for the family reunification will be reduced from 5,500 a year to 2,000, with a temporary halt put in place for all parent approvals.

This last change follows revelations that while some new citizens and residents get approval for their parents to come to live New Zealand on a promise that they will provide for them, many fail to do so. That means that after 10 years, they are eligible for national super – fully supported by tax-payers.

While these adjustments will go some way towards addressing current immigration concerns, the Government clearly does not want to severely cut skilled migration numbers. With New Zealand’s economy growing at 3.6 percent a year and with the dairy sector now showing solid signs of recovery, the demand for good workers is likely to increase.

So while immigration is undoubtedly creating competition for unemployed job seekers, increasing reports of beneficiaries having a poor work ethic points to growing problems within the welfare system itself.

Essentially, many of those receiving welfare believe they will not be better off in work. Not only will they lose their free time, but they may end up with less money – especially if they happen to be doing cash jobs on the side.

As Bryan Perry, the Ministry of Social Development’s principal adviser on social sector strategy,  explained in his report, The material wellbeing of NZ households, “While there are households in each income decile that report expenditure more than three times their income (around 2-3% of all households), around 80 percent of these are found in the bottom income decile.”

In other words, the fact that the income of many beneficiary families is much higher than their benefit income alone, shows that a significant number are deriving undisclosed income – which no doubt creates a strong disincentive to employment.

While beneficiaries are permitted to earn additional income without it affecting their benefit, the value is quite modest – $80 for the unemployed and $100 for sole parents. But when added to the basic unemployment benefit of $234 a week ($195 for young people) and $372 for single parents, the differential between the benefit and the adult minimum wage of $610 a week, ($488 for a young person starting out) is not that great – especially when supplementary benefit payments, including allowances for children, are added in.

In fact, in 2012, the Herald ran a story about how some large families were receiving over $2,000 a week in benefits, which, since wages do not rise according to the number of children in a family, clearly makes it financially impossible for such families to leave the welfare system – unless they are forced to do so.

And that’s the nub of the problem. New Zealand’s welfare system is unlimited. While there are expectations that someone on welfare will look for work and take on a job they are capable of doing, there is no real imperative to do so. While there are a range of measures in place to encourage such outcomes, in reality, in New Zealand, if a beneficiary really wants to avoid work, they can.

Other countries are not so generous. In a recent Breaking Views blog, Cato Institute economist Daniel Mitchell outlines what happened when Germany reformed welfare a decade ago, by ‘significantly’ reducing benefits for the long-term unemployed and tightening up on job search obligations.

The changes were a huge success – unemployment declined from almost 11 percent in 2005 to 5 percent by 2014, the lowest level since reunification. In contrast, other advanced economies experienced a persistent increase in unemployment. The strong labour market helped Germany consolidate its public finances, as lower outlays on unemployment benefits resulted in lower spending, while stronger taxes and social security contributions pushed up revenues.

Daniel concludes, “Gee, what a shocker. When the government stopped being as generous to people for being unemployed, fewer people chose to be unemployed. Which is exactly what happened in the United States when Congress finally stopped extending unemployment benefits.”

As he says, while politicians undoubtedly have noble motives when they put in place legislation to protect people from the consequences of unemployment, there is nothing noble about laws and regulations that either discourage employers from hiring people or discourage people from finding jobs.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, Robert Rector, a Senior Research Fellow at the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, describes the success of welfare reform in the US:

“Two decades ago, on August 22, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, popularly known as welfare reform, into law. At the time, liberals proclaimed that the bill would slash the incomes of one in five families with children and push 2.6 million people into poverty.

“In fact, reform cut welfare caseloads by over 50 percent, employment of the least-skilled single mothers surged, and the poverty rates of black children and single-parent families dropped rapidly to historic lows. Doomsday prophets were utterly discredited. Reform was very popular with the public.”

Robert goes on to explain how opponents of welfare reform have now revived those doomsday predictions in the US, claiming that millions of children are now living in extreme poverty. But as he says, their claims use radically defective data and do not stack up.

The US welfare reforms were based on programmes developed by the former Governor of the US State of Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson. In his article Welfare Reform, the Governor explained that by giving out money without expectations, and by failing to send an unequivocal message about the centrality of work, the old welfare system created a cycle of dependency that left many families mired in poverty and abuse, unable to take control of their own lives.

As a result, it was replaced with a programme based on the expectation of work and personal responsibility: “We invested in childcare, transportation, and job skills training to make it not only easier for mothers to go to work, but to keep that employment. The message we sent was clear: ‘Government is not here to take over your lives, it is here to help you so that you take over your own life and become whatever you want to become’.

The Governor explained that while opponents claimed it would be a disaster, welfare caseloads in Wisconsin dropped from 96,000 to 4,000. Some counties had no welfare cases and all.

The key to the success of the programme was two-fold – firstly, it put work and self-sufficiency at the core of public assistance, and secondly, it introduced time limits for assistance – two years of continuous receipt and five years in total – to send a message that welfare is only temporary and that becoming self-sufficient through work is a requirement.

In practical terms, the programme recognised that many beneficiaries found it difficult to transition into the working world. Some would take on jobs but end up leaving because of unrealistic expectations. Or problems would arise – substance abuse, physical limitations, unhealthy relationships, would all take their toll.

This led to the concept of full-time support: to help beneficiaries organise their lives so they could succeed in a job, they were required to turn up each working day at a job centre. Assistance was provided for child care, transport, and even re-location, if they lived in an area with no jobs. Once at the job centre, they engaged in a full-time programme of job search and other activities designed to give them the skills and habits of the workplace. That meant the step up to a real job was no longer insurmountable. With additional support such as drug and alcohol counselling, even those who had been entrenched in dependency for years, were able to successfully move into employment.

The remarkable success of the programme hinged around requiring the unemployed to turn up each day at the job centre. When the alternatives were full-time work or full time attendance at a job centre, then work was seen as the best option.

This is particularly relevant when considering the reported bad attitude of some Kiwi beneficiaries. If indeed they would prefer to stay on income support rather than take a job, then this indicates that the system itself is fundamentally failing to transition them from welfare to work. And that’s National’s challenge. They need to change their welfare system to ensure that all able-bodied beneficiaries are motivated to finding work, independence and a better future.


Do you think the welfare system does enough to encourage able bodied beneficiaries into work?


*Poll comments are posted below.


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


Click to view x 120


Our welfare system is full of racially prejudiced people who have no intention of forcing their “whanau” to work when they consider they have a divine right that us pakeha support them by paying exorbitant taxes. Neville
We need to end government welfare. It ruins incentives, and it’s down right immoral to steal from some to give to others. Welfare can be provided through charity and unemployment insurance. We need to stop using the coercive force of government to solve problems that can be solved through voluntary means. From a utilitarian point of view, the free market provides more efficient solutions at lower costs. From a moral point of view, we don’t have to STEAL to help people. Dave
Some are expert bludgers who defraud our trusting system with inadequate penalties to encourage them to work not budge. Ray
The problem has been apparent for years but the bleeding heart brigade carry too much weight. John
No one should be paid to do nothing. Give them a slasher & send them out to clear road sides. They will soon tire and look for a real better paid job. Eric
While the welfare system was originally introduced to act as a “safety net”, it has sadly become a foundation to build on. Most certainly reforms are needed in such a way that work is a better option than being on the benefit. It is not unheard of either, to “cap’ the number of children that a benefit can be received for! Ted
Definately not. Winz is seen as a soft touch. Pay some people not to work and they won’t. Ronmac
The welfare system would appear to do very little to pressure people to move from welfare dependency into the workplace. What will help is to have people working with the unemployed persons on a one-to one basis helping them train for work and then move into a job. Some years back I did this. I would find what kind of work a person wanted to do. I would then visit employers to find a vacancy. Employers used to tell me that if I could find them a worker with the right attitude, they would provide the training. I believe this still prevails in the work place to this day. We must give people suitable help as we push them into the workplace. Ernest
Should they refuse work which they are capable of undertaking, then welfare payments should stop until the person indicates willingness to work. Work undertaken should be within their capability, and fully comply with work ethics. Allan
From experience, I report that some New Zealand born workers do not display an attitude sufficiently positive to give me confidence to make a job offer. Some 5 years ago I contacted an employment agency and outlined a temporary role which would very likely become a permanent role within a few weeks. Various prospects were interviewed on my behalf and I agreed that the most appropriate candidate could start at an agreed date. The person never arrived and when I queried the agency I was told that the person had other things to do that day. Instead, I accepted a recent migrant who was here on a visitor permit. That person stayed for 5 years and grew into a more senior and better paid role. I assisted with work and permanent visa applications. This is of course an anecdote though previous experience suggests that it is far from an isolated case. Peter
If you are registered on the unemployment roll and you turn down employment then you lose the unemployment benefit. Sickness benefits must under go a full physical examination and even if they can do part time employment they must take employment as it comes up or lose the benefit also. It is time to get tough on most of this dole bludgeing community who have now made the welfare state their main source of income and us poor old pensioners who have paid taxes all our lives basically get nothing for our sixty odd years working. Wayne
One way to limit the number of babies being born into long-term welfare families would be a sliding-scale for DPB. For example, the first child qualifies for full benefit, but 2nd and 3rd qualify for a much smaller – and decreasing – allowance, and any subsequent off-spring qualify for zero benefit. Previous govt ruling that mother should get a job once child is 7 years old simply prompts her to get pregnant again when that child is 6 years old – compounding the problem. Perhaps the policy should be even more strict – only one child qualifies the mother for DPB – after that, zero. This change would take a generation to have a decent effect, but is better than the present system. Nola
It is all about incentive with no penalty if they simply do not want to work. Time to get tough. Robbie
Why on earth would someone getting money from the government for doing nothing, while still able to earn a little extra cash on the side want to work at a full time job and no necessarily better off? Our welfare system takes all motivation to work away from the less than motivated job seeker. Brent
Independent Youth Benefit was another of Labour govt.’s misguided welfare entitlements which broke up families for no reason. As this affected our family, it ensures I will never vote Labour in my lifetime. Monica
Welfare Reform is desperately needed in NZ!! Tina
I sympathise with the ‘genuine’ unemployed through ‘genuine’ health/disability issues, but believe ALL unemployed need to live where work is available, be encouraged to do so through mobility programmes & to place the single unemployed where the work is available . Solo parents on Benefits should be penalised by way of direct fiscal supervision if becoming pregnant again, and all parents to share responsibility for these children. If father is not identified NO further increase of benefit, or adoption out threatened. Unfortunately, this is draconian, but needs as needs be. Responsibility for ones own circumstances is the key to a healthy economy, but not excluding charity to those deemed deserving. BillyO
I have met some who have no intention of ever working — simply rely on the dumb taxpayer !!!!!! Alan
Welfare is too accessible resulting in bad attitude, laziness, more time for drugs and crime. Barbara
The majority expect the state to look after them from cradle to grave and they look upon the dole as an income to also rise with inflation Mike
The statistics indicate not. Elaine
And with extra hand-outs for more children, who needs to work? Ross
Few Changes in the Social Welfare system are Required ! ! Simply implement the system as it was designed and built to function and operate effectively . . . . The Ministry of Social Development and its Work and Income offices have all tools (policies and regulations) required and necessary to make the system work. A major problem currently exists (and has for years) that there is simply is not enough “front line” staff available in Work and Income offices to implement and effectively enforce the policies, (work obligations) of beneficiaries enrolled in the system. Add to this the terrible incident in the Ashburton W & I office in September 2014, further places pressures on “front line staff” NOT to use the tools to ensure beneficiary “work obligations” with respect to their weekly benefit responsibilities. Unfortunately it is true. alarming very true, that both small and large business owners and managers need to recruit and rely on an overseas work force holding valid NZ Work Visas in order to manage and operate their businesses. Why ? ? ? Because both small and large business are actually in direct completion with the largest employer in New Zealand for recruiting and fulfilling its own staff requirements and job vacancies to maintain and grow their business. Who is the largest employer in New Zealand with the largest work force in the country ? ? ? Unfortunately it is none other than Work and Income itself ! By not implementing nor enforcing its own beneficiary “work obligations” obligations, Work and Income have made it “too easy” for its beneficiaries NOT to be able to meet the very basic minimum standards for employment – that being, ATTITIDE, dependability, reliability and some sort of work ethic responsibility. Why waste more millions of working tax payer dollars to change the failed system ?? Simply implement and use the tools MSD already has in place but NOT used ? Don’t waste money changing the system, spend the money to train real “professional” staff (if anyone remembers what that term means ) and manage the social welfare system as it has been designed. Cal
Time to cut out the work visas before it is too late and “foreign” workers gradually take more control of our government structures. Tom
Given all the examples in this report, no there needs to be radical changes because it certainly encourages ongoing generations to have the same work ethics as the previous generations. No good at all. Audrey
If they are offered work and refuse, no welfare payment. Murray
In order to fundamentally change the current state of affairs we have to look at the big picture . This country’s welfare system has bred several generations of full time welfare recipients. A great percentage of these are by now unemployable due to a total lack of a understanding of what personal responsibility , sense of duty, and reliability means. In contrast they have a well developed sense of that everybody else owes them and that they have a right to be given money to support them. To break this vicious cycle ,rather radical measures have to be taken ( which– by the way –will make the PC brigade and all the other permanent residents of LALA Land cringe and we all will be called’, racists,’for that) That would include compulsory work schemes based on one simple rule: If you do not show up you do not eat!!!! This is the only way to make clear that it is NOT ok to live off society without contributing to the society by working.And other measures have to include the abolition of payments to future solo mums. This would give a clear signal to all these young women to think twice before starting to bring children into this world without being able to provide for them personally and /or with the help of their families. This simple action will stop creating a new generation of welfare dependants straight away. Michael
I understand the workings of the welfare system quite well. Much of its thinking is very short term. The figures on next week’s report kind of stuff. Because of this of nothing of critical medium term is valued. There are plenty of “long-term” wish-lists but nothing coherent to join it with the efforts of today. Thus, the activity is ill-conceived band aid stuff doomed to fall apart (like putting an elastoplast sticker on a wound submerged in water). It is all tactic-based and completely lacks any mid-term strategy of benefit to the individual beneficiary. It bullies whomever it can into whatever work it can (and much of it is badly-matched and extremely low value employment which, often, is not viable – though it does provide a valuable opportunity for someone to prove their employ-ability which is gold if it can often put the health and safety of the individual/family at risk) and leaves the rest to remain on benefit where at least they can dog paddle through life. The reason the “incentives” to move to other areas for work failed is because there is no support to find the work. Someone thought throwing a financial incentive at the problem would get people employed in other regions but noting was done to support that particular employment process. Your article is well written. There is little to no money in getting the unemployed employed. Importing a work force that comes with financial assets to invest is a far more attractive option which this Government is exploiting as much as it can and, if we are not careful, NZrs will become tenants in their own home one day very soon – not that anyone seems to care (least of all the Government).. Anon
I know several young beneficiaries who have refused work because they’re receiving a benefit which covers their needs. Cecelia
Yes why spend taxpayer money getting donkeys to water when they dont want to drink, let them and theirmany offsprings starve and good riddints to them and all the other bludgers within. No work no pay end of story. James
Make them turn up every day for at least 4 hours, & have random drug tests. no turn up, no pay for that day, more than 2 days no show, reduce other days payments. Stan
If you pay people to sit on their butts they will sit on their butts,— surprise surprise. Ray
Individual Welfare receipts should not exceed say 66% of the minimum wage after allowances for family, health etc Stewart
But then the left get votes by promising the unemployed a handout of some description such as working for family’s. They’d get reelected by robbing peter to pay paul, so they can count on the vote of Paul. Sam
I like Gareth Morgan’s idea of making everyone a beneficiary with a UBI. Ken
If the U.S. system works, copy it. Alan
re in N.Z. is a laugh compared to other countries & govt. NEEDS to look hard at around the world what others have done SUCCESSFULLY. Cindy
Tough love has been proven to work. Doug
Too many abled and disabled healthy persons are allowed to vegetate into lifetime beneficiaries. Richard and Lynne
In the past before Robby Muldoon came on the scene and we had full employment we had little need for extra welfare and every one was happy even the Maori people.Mudoon said he wanted 5% unemployment and started all the troubles, Crime etc.etc.wehave now, so who is going to get us out of this MESS? and how? More stable employment must be the answer! Theodorus
There are two kinds of welfare recipients, those that have automatic eligibility, namely because they are incapable of meeting their own needs, The defence force invalided, the defence force veterans, the aged,, those with permanent disabilities from blind to handicapped and i would include all widows and divorced women over 50 years. The other group are those temporarily out of work and a growing group who place themselves out of work by pregnacy, sports injury and plain lazyness. Helen Clarks Labour merged the two groups to give the latter group some lefty status and influence votes What is required is to separate the two groups into different offices of the same Govt welfare agency, so that honest pensioners, the permanently handicapped etc, dont have to compete with the time schedules of the unemployed and DPB. We need to put time constraints on unemployment 12 weeks) and DPB (12 months). Whilst making all new job opportunities mandatory to be advised to welfare is impractical but certainly assistance eligibility with new employment under the 90 day trial scheme could be by mandatory to be advised through Welfare with the employer having the only choice of candidate. we need answers and the best answer is to reduce second group welfare eligibility so that they are encouraged to seek work. In the same time we need to take a strong line on begging and standover intimidation also a hardline short sharp approach to theft and burglary. to ensure crime is not an alternative to honest work. We also need to taper welfare to gross earnings tax paid and academic results so that genuine workers are not disadvantaged and lazy unskilled not advantaged by welfare that is greater than the work opportunity commensurate with skills. The only way to get new jobs into the hands of welfare is to offer Tax incentives to the employers. Ie a tax cut for new jobs. Richard
Not only encourage them to work, there needs to be assistance to prepare for work and disincentives to staying on welfare longer than necessary. It is actually very hard to get off welfare as I can attest from personal experience. But now that I am on superannuation I am working harder than ever, at 75, helping my daughter on a life-style block we bought together. The mortgage is less than rent in the city. Paul
NO, another example of Government Mismanagement. What about the ongoing scandal of “Solo Mothers” with children by multiple men! The Government is too weak in controlling all aspects of social welfare spending!! They need to remember it is taxpayers money. David
It is nice to hear someone talking sense on this issue. We see immigrants working in shops. They are happy to be able to work. We see Kiwis at WINZ offices expecting more and more. They are unhappy. They make society unhappy because they expect support for their lethargy until they retire and get more government support. We now have generations of families with this attitude. It is time for the government to stop the handouts and respect the meaning of the welfare state. Peter
The present system is not working. John
Having to turn up to the job centre each day should be a must. Miss a day and lose a day’s benefit. Dennis
While we allow able bodied New Zealanders to collect Welfare and accept it as their right we will stay as we are, there is NO incentive to get out of bed and do an honest days work for an honest days pay and this should also happen for those on Welfare hatd working people have paid taxes for this to be readily available yet they seem to think it is their tight. Those females that make a hobby of getting ptregnant to sty on welfare should also have to work, the 1st child can be an accident aftert that any child born to an unmarried mum should be taken for adoption or she should be given the method of NO MORE and NO excuses when that one child from an unmarried mother gets to 3 years she needs to go and get a paying job and pay back what she haas cost the Country for said child. There is no disgrace any more for unwed mothers Those that have gone through all Schooling should of taken courses tofit jobs and get work experience whilst at school so as they are prepared for work If there are no jobs suitable where they reside then they mpve to where they arfe. The Government should also stop closing our bread and butter jobs, e.g Railway Workshops, for example we buy in Trains from Overseas and they are trash, all this over done road necessities, cone, signs etc, and after the job is finished we are still left with signs that are no longer neceessary, cones that litter the roads and take ages to uplift as there is far too many RULES If we cannot have N Z as it was 40 odd years ago then lets try to show we can do and honest days work for an honest days pay. MARYLIN
Clearly this is where our welfare system is failing both itself and the unemployed; not to mention the taxpayers supporting both welfare workers and unemployed. Rob
There is NO incentive for beneticaries to come off welfare and actually work for a living. Don
The system in its present form is wide open to people who have no desire to work for a living and be an asset to the country. Recently I was in the public hospital alongside a new immigrant in the next bed. He was a young able bodied man and was trying to feign illness to gain an invalid pension. Fortunately the hospital consultants did not agree with his pleas and discharged him twice after two attempts at deception. However this experience enlightened me to the possibility that there are probably many who succeed with this kind of deception. Peter
We have at least two generations of dedicated, entitlement-driven bludgers who’re professionally exploiting the loopholes and opportunities established in the main by Labour administrations which National has consequently failed to tighten up. Jim
The welfare system is not solely to blame. Personal responsibility has been quietly nudged out of the way, as governments have slowly but surely made us more dependent on them. With no personal responsibility taught, we now have four generations or more in some families, that have never had a job in their lives, & why should they when they are paid to breed. The other problem is that margins are too slim in much of the productive sector, to pay employees an above benefit wage. Training in industries that need labour should be available, with those who refuse to attend, not eligible for unemployment benefit.. A.G.R.
There are too many able bodied beneficiaries who refuse genuine well paid work offers So what do WINZ do ? Nothing. Continue paying the benefit.. If people refuse two good job offers WINZ should switch the benefit off immediately. Rog
Encouraging beneficiaries to take responsibility for their own lives is essential. Expecting them to work is also essential. Beverly
The welfare system has a difficult task of finding meaningful and real jobs particularly when 10’s of thousands of young students are entering the workforce on work visas as a corrupt incentive to come to NZ and study. New Zealanders cannot even get the mundane jobs anymore to assist them with fees and charges for uni. What moron set up the immigration policy? Frederick
Naive, stupid NZ. We’re being bled dry by useless, lazy, drug ridden beneficiaries. Eg. Migrants are prepared to move to find work, but the govt accepts the excuse of work not being available for locals in their own area. CRAZY!!!! Geoff
In Switzerland welfare payment are very generous BUT they have to be repaid when the person is back in employment. Also if a person has a job there and a Swiss person need that job the outer person is out Arthur
Benefits need to be progressively cut to “encourage” the beneficiaries to start to fend for themselves. Neil
Looks like we need to follow Germany over this issue. Barbara
The system needs a major overgaul to get people to take responsibility for themselves rather than being spoon fed. Bruce
Just another case of socialism destroying peoples lives and the country. Mike
There must be more follow-up on people getting benefits as so many people choose that as their primary income, without actually working for it. We all know someone who does that. The basic benefit is probably too high. If there is real hardship, there are supplementary benefits which should not be given too freely. Sheila
It is WORK and income after all. Edward
It is just too easy for beneficiaries to stay home and collect the benefit. Also they can do jobs for cash and still collect. Bryan
Bludgers alley, same as ouur migrant policy. Ian
My guess only Warren
It certainly has got better in recent years but still needs additional improvement. Keith
It’s amazing what an empty stomach will do in pursuit of a good meal! The alternative is to stay at ‘home’ and receive our ‘entitled’ benefit. This is our government’s reward for many who ‘work the system’ – if I continue to ‘work the system’ well enough I’ll be rewarded again – and again to the stage it often becomes our entitlement – our inherent right. The natural progression derived from receiving something for nothing (our entitlement!) over time creates so much negativity in attitude and outlook. When something is received for nothing (no mental or physical cost) it has NO value. It is well recognised “idle hands are the devil’s playground.” Stuart
Try to change the Welfare system to a personal responsibiltiy thing and we’ll probably end up with another big treaty claim… Warwick
Beneficiaries should be made to report regularly at the employment office or have their benefit stopped. Bill
Caregiver in rest homes would be ideal for young school leavers after suitable training. There are bright youngsters that just don’t make it in the education system but can we taught the value of paid employment. Get the boys off the skateboards and into the vineyards and orchards wouldn’t be a bad move either. Bruce
Why not go on the benefit because it is easier than taking on a full time job. Perhaps do a few hours to make up the difference between what they would earn doing 40 hours and receiving the benefit. The answer might be to reduce the benefit by 50% after being on it for say three months and that might get them motivated to look for work. Frank
No common sense as usual just no thinking or cowardice. Lance
I am a small employer and find it a pain to get reliable staff, yet so many unemployed or is it unemployable? Michael
A lot easier to sign up for the dole!! Don
Maggie Barrys super news letter needs to list opportunities for able & alert beneficiaries. John
We need to have stricter criteria for refusing to work – not just “I can’t/don’t want to/its not convenient etc”. John
The job centre idea is great. Steve
It really annoys me that beneficiaries get paid more than I do and I work long hard hours. The DPB needs to be scrapped. It is a joke that woman get paid on the amount of kids they have. What other job works like that? And people wonder why we have such a high rate of child abuse – they are not wanted, they are just a source of income. Agree with what the US has done and have been saying the same for years, that beneficiaries need to report in somewhere at 7.30am each day and stay there for 8 hours minimum to either learn skills or whatever and if they don’t turn up, like work you don’t get paid! Trish
Many that come out of school cannot read or write so who would silly enough to hire them. Many of them are so disillusioned with life they turn to crime, prostitution or in the case of foolish young women lie on their back < get pregnant and think children are nothing more than meal ticket. The next boy friend does not like the baby so treats the child badly and sometimes they even bash and kill them. Morality has gone out the window and this is the price we are now paying. Colin
The welfare system is to soft. It is far to easy to get extra benefits. Extra should mean only in extreme emergencies, not at the drop of a hat as it is now. I used as a volunteer to travel extensive through Northland talking to people, hearing all the sob stories, and told how to get around the welfare system to get more and more. And it is not only in Northland. There should be a time limit for unemployed benefit. A time limit sicknes benefit. No benefit to purchase a new car for the family. No help to go to the TAB or Lotto. Yes I know what it is to be unemployed, been there but we did it without any extras and a change of occupation. Johan
The approach to unemployment used overseas should be introduced inti New Zealand yesterday! Maurice
Accomodation is supplied for seasonal workers. So it should be used to send unemployed kiwis to do the seasonal work. Andrew
Most of them are just too tired to get out of bed they would not pass a drug test anyway How do they get the money for the drugs and pokies well starve the kids that’s why there is so much so called poverty GET A JOB. Peter
The Welfare system is just a big Rip-off. More should be done for Senior Citizens who worked all their lives to make NZ a better place. Ian
They should be made to turn up each morning to a centre, where they then could go, out clean the beaches, with a bag in hand & pick up rubbish, or clean the parks, streets, leaves, then they are paid their unemployment. Geoff
Beneficiaries need to turn up somewhere on a regular basis to condition them for work opportunities. Graham
Time for change! Jim
People obviously need and incentive to work and this isn’t the way. Chris
Definitely not!!!! In fact it seems to encourage the opposite! Bruce
Fifteen year olds should not be allowed to leave college until they had found a full-time job. When my own children were teenagers, I wouldn’t let them leave college until they had a job to go to. All four of them managed to find a good job. Diana
Too many don’t want to work, while the workers taxes keep them with large amounts of money coming into their homes that they dont need to lift a finger to support. Nan
We pay NZers to sit on their ass’s and import foreign workers in their place. Get real NZ! Willy
Said this for a long time. It’s a nettle most governments don’t have the guts to grasp. Maybe a UBI would be a partial solution. Then if all NZers are receiving a basic income we won’t resent so much the layabouts who won’t carry their own weight. Colin
Obviously there is international evidence that there are solutions which put matters to right – as far as New Zealand leadership is concerned the ostrich head in the sand of the Toohard Beach comes to mind. Barry
I have often heard beneficories say “I couldn’t get a job, I’d lose my benefit”. Joan
Some just don’t want to work – or are incapable of working. Andrew
It remains an age old multi intergeneration problem. Hylton
Able bodied unemployment beneficiaries should be required to do something for their benefit even if it is part time work for their local council, cleaning, graffiti removal etc. Frank
We should be tougher on single mothers on benefits having more children. Kay
DPB needs to be limited to one child and only for 5 years. Unemployment beneficiaries should have to turn up every workday 8 to 5 at a centre in their area and then retrained or sent out to help the older community I.e. Window cleaning etc, nobody except our sick and elderly should get money for doing nothing. No elderly immigrants should be entitled to any welfare including free hospitals, transport etc their families must be made to pay for them. Annette
Abolish minimum wage laws. Accordingly, reduce taxation feeding welfare and watch this economy take off ! Yes, it will frighten the horses but sometimes in a nation’s need for improvement the horses must be frightened. Immigration should remain strictly conditional and governed by the requirements of the private sector. After all, it is only the private sector that creates all the wealth in the first instance. Don
Most wouldn’t get out of the rain!!! Jon
Why do beneficiaries go to Welfare for a work?? To be told we don’t have anything suitable or because this is any easy track to remaining on welfare. Elizabeth
There definitely needs to be a time limit for welfare. There is no pride in receiving it. It encourages dependency long term which is why we have so many generations of some families on welfare. They know no other way! Liz
We have around 75000 Young people (17 to 25) out of work, there should be no free lunches as the saying goes. Les
Beneficiaries a lot of them don’t want to work. They get easy money on welfare and just want to sit around doing what they want to do at their time. Some young New Zealanders have a poor out look to work. A lot of New Zealanders should be locked in to work in their last days at school. meaning get them to look at a job they want to do then lock them to be trained for that job. Welfare dose need to be look at and how some young girls having babies so they don’t have to work. Years ago New Zealanders want to work, have we become this lazy now. Robert
Our welfare payments are far too generous. Laurie
We should adopt the Singapore method of welfare and limit the length of time that it’s paid. Rayward
It currently allows and therefore encourages them to rip NZ tax payers off with all the associated extra benefits available, an unlimited timeframe for receiving benefits and no incentive to get off their lazy bludging butts and work. Jonathan
No Work – No Pay…just like in real life, whether you’re on welfare or not. Tony
The more you give the more they want. Colin
Whatever happened to the drug test? i;e if you fail a pre- employment drug test,you forfeit your benefit?–not happening! John
It is obvious that there must be a financial incentive to work rather than collect welfare and hence unemployment benefits and supplements must be cut. Stuart
Definitely not, the system is far to soft on these people, to many bleeding heart people around. Beryl
I cannot believe a “work for the dole” scheme is not long underway. It is talked about – why do we not have the balls to implement it? Free money versus having to work for it. Very tempting and habit-forming. Mark
No not enough is being done at all. There are far too many people who could and should be working bludging on the taxpayer. Andrew
I think requiring the unemployed to turn up at a job centre each day for the day for training and job search is an excellent idea. It would provide the incentive that many people need to get a job and hold onto it. Ernest
It’s time for time limits on welfare. Too many people are abusing the system. Harry
No-one can say there aren’t enough jobs. Welfare numbers should be rock bottom by now and we shouldn’t be needing so many immigrants – if the welfare system was working properly. Carl
I know people who are receiving welfare who should have been working years ago. But they get into bad habits. The full time job centre requirement would help them get ready for work and turn their lives around. It’s a great idea. Raewyn