Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Dazed and confused – National on welfare

Dazed and confused – National on welfare

Bill English’s speech last night on National’s approach to welfare confirms the party is totally confused on welfare and has reverted to bumper sticker policies it knows do not work, says Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

Four National MPs are now promoting alternative and unworkable welfare policies, ranging from Don Brash’s turn-up-at-post-offices-in-the-morning work scheme to Katherine Rich’s compulsory immunisation for children of beneficiaries scheme.

Steve Maharey said there are real questions about just who is in charge of the party’s welfare thinking.

“Bill English’s speech last night is the latest in a whole series of muddled and uncoordinated thinking we have seen from the National party.

“National’s supposed welfare spokesperson Katherine Rich hasn’t released a single policy yet, but that hasn’t stopped ever more extreme ideas pouring out of Don Brash, Maurice Williamson and now, Bill English.

“The party’s ‘ideas’ are unworkable and many of them have been tried before and they failed dismally.

“National keep talking about putting the entire 345,000 working age beneficiaries back to work. Are they serious? For example are the going to force the 2,500 on the sickness and invalids benefit with cancer back to work?

“National keeps characterising DPB recipients as teen mothers. In fact only 3 percent are under 20. The typical DPB recipient is a woman in her thirties, with one or two children, who has come out of a relationship breakdown.

“They make stories up. For example, Bill English says that beneficiaries are buying expensive shoes with welfare chits. In truth they can only buy shoes or other clothes with Work Start grants if they are employment related. Otherwise clothing grants have to be paid back.

. . / 2 “National calls income related rents stupid because people don’t move. Newsflash! That’s the point. People get a state house because they are in serious need. Income related rents stops people needing to shift their kids between schools all the time and stops overcrowding.

“National says it wants to contract out employment services. Work and Income already contracts with a large number of community organisations providing employment placement services. However Australian experience tells us wholesale privatisation of employment services doesn’t work.

“Bill English suggests benefit cuts are back on National’s agenda. In 1991 Jenny Shipley cut benefits and unemployment reached 10.9 percent and a 1500 percent increase in the foodbank industry.

“Work-for-the-dole is also being promoted. The evidence shows that a beneficiary on work-for-the-dole was less likely to find a job than those not on the programme.

“The list goes on and it just shows that National is confused and it has nothing of value to say,” Steve Maharey said.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them.

Finally, yesterday’s announcement by the Ardern government that a new state agency will be set up to assess and plan the manned re-entry to the mine (on a set timetable) goes a long way to meeting the families’ remaining request: that they be enabled, if at all possible, to bury their loved ones. More>>


Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>


Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>


Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>


Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election