Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Maharey Says Benefit Levels Too Low

Maharey Says Benefit Levels Too Low

Steve Maharey, Minister of Social Development, said on National Radio today that he wants to increase benefit levels.

Commenting on an interview conducted by Linda Clark, DPB critic, Lindsay Mitchell said, "This is going to be impossible to reconcile with his other stated aim of 'making work pay' - that is to ensure that the gap between pay rates and benefit rates is sufficiently attractive to make taking a job worthwhile. He cannot do both. Higher benefit rates mean more tax. More tax means lower wages."

"Apparently there isn't a problem with welfare dependency in New Zealand, according to the Minister. Well, perhaps 5 percent of people on benefits are 'welfare dependent' he conceded. He must mean by this that only five percent of people on benefits stay on them long term. The average total time people stay on the DPB is at least 6.5 years. I wonder what Mr Maharey's definition of long term is?"

"Responding to questioning from Linda Clark about the desirability, or otherwise, of expecting people to engage in a work activity as a requirement of getting a benefit he firmly resisted any form of compulsion (conveniently forgetting that the taxpayer is under a compulsion to go to work to support the beneficiary.) Conversely, he went on to say that sanctions ensured that people do have to comply with job-seeking requirements. In fact, sanctions are rarely imposed, as he knows, because the sheer practicality of taking money off people who consider it to be their's by right, is too difficult for WINZ staff."

"He's big on training but again it has to be voluntary because you can't force-feed learning. Hang on, don't we compel children to attend school?"

"Mr Maharey has turned at least one corner. He now accepts that just handing money out to people doesn't help them. He talked about intensified case management. Linda Clark mentioned people she knew of who had been on a benefit for years and had only been checked on a couple of times. Mr Maharey insisted that has now changed. Has it? Since February 1999 people on the DPB who were not worktested had to attend a yearly interview to discuss future employment prospects. Now he is claiming this is a brand new requirement."

"On the subject of foodbanks he described how WINZ staff are interviewing people at foodbanks to find out why they aren't managing on their benefit and if possible, they are being given a special benefit to help. He was very proud that under Labour access to the special benefit has increased more than fourfold. This isn't viewed as a possible problem in that it might just make staying on a benefit more comfortable because Mr Maharey is convinced, bless his cotton socks, that almost everybody on a benefit really wants to work."

"As long as we have a Minister of Social Development who refuses to take off his rose-coloured glasses, whose policy solutions conflict to the the degree they cannot be simultaneously implemented, the welfare state will continue to run amok."

Lindsay Mitchell

Petitioner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB

e-mail dandl.mitchell@clear.net.nz


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Yesterday’s Big Parliamentary Air Kiss To China

In order to obtain support from the two major parties, Act Party deputy leader Brooke Van Velden twice had to soften the language of her parliamentary motion yesterday condemning China’s persecution of the Uighurs. The key word “genocide” was deleted. Evidently, the kind of resolution passed by a conservative government in the UK proved to be far too tough for a centre-left Labour government and a centre-right National opposition to countenance. Yesterday, the two major parties were united in their fear of retribution from China... More>>

 

Government: Fair Pay Agreements To Improve Pay And Conditions For Essential Workers

The Government is delivering on its pre-election commitment to implement Fair Pay Agreements which will improve wages and conditions, as well as help support our economic recovery, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. More>>

ALSO:

Public Services: Government Sets Pay And Workforce Expectations For The Public Sector

The Government’s Workforce Policy Statement issued today sets out its expectations for pay and employment relations in the Public Sector, the Minister of Finance and Minister for the Public Service say. “New Zealand has had an exceptionally successful ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: Budget 2021 Reprioritises Nearly $1 Billion

Hon Grant Robertson Deputy Prime Minister Minister of Finance The Government’s strong pandemic response and the better than expected economic recovery means not all the money allocated in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund has been spent, ... More>>

ALSO:


PM: Statement On The Speaker And Annual Review Debate

“The serious issue of alleged sexual assault and harassment at Parliament was poorly managed and inappropriately politicised last night. The tone of the debate did not reflect well on Parliament as a whole,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. ... More>>

Parliament: Mallard Fails To Give Taxpayers A Straight Answer

Trevor Mallard has confirmed he is unfit to be Parliament’s Speaker by failing to answer several important questions relating to the false rape accusation saga that cost taxpayers more than $330,000, Shadow Leader of the House Chris Bishop says. ... More>>

Local Government: Independent Review To Explore Future

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says an independent review of local government will explore how councils can maintain and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders in the communities they serve long into the future. More>>

ALSO:

PM Ardern And PM Morrison: Commencement Of Two-Way Quarantine-Free Travel Between Australia And New Zealand

Joint Statement by Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern Commencement of two-way quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand Today, Australia and New Zealand have fulfilled their commitment to establish two-way quarantine free ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels