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

 

Benefit Changes Don't Go Far Enough

Media Release
Benefit Changes Don't Go Far Enough

Monday, November 2, 2009

The government's plans to tighten up on benefit eligibility do not go far enough, according to welfare commentator, Lindsay Mitchell.

"Work-testing parents on the DPB when their youngest child turns 6 will encourage those who want to avoid work to simply expand their families. Currently around 5,000 babies are added to an existing benefit each year. One solution to this might be making additional children ineligible for family tax credits although this will increase hardship."

"What the government needs to be doing is sending a very clear message that, in future, welfare for parents with dependent children can only be provided for a limited time. The shorter that time, the greater the likelihood prospective recipients will be deterred and the tendency to lose touch with the workplace will be reduced."

"Any proposed work-testing on the sickness and invalid benefits could be equally ineffective because it requires a GP to assess the beneficiaries ability to work 15 hours. A recent Auditor General's report highlighted the poor standard of communication between GPs and Work and Income; the lack of information GPs were supplying on certifying certificates and their difficulties in trying to talk directly to case managers. Australia implemented this policy in 2006 but the numbers on their disability pension have continued to rise. "

"The fastest growth area for sickness and invalid benefits is psychological and psychiatric problems. These include drug and alcohol abuse. Stricter measures that the government could consider are 1/ appointing agents for those beneficiaries who have drug and alcohol abuse problems and 2/ requiring those beneficiaries to participate in rehabilitation programmes."

"In the past Work and Income (then the Social Welfare department) imposed tougher eligibility conditions based an whether an applicant was considered to have caused their incapacity to work. As with ACC, it now seems that there is little choice but to tighten up on eligibility. That will require a very strong, mutually supportive working relationship between Work and Income and GPs. The risk of intimidation needs to be acknowledged and actively resisted. If receipt of one of these benefits was widely seen to be much harder to qualify for, some people might think twice about indulging habits that seriously impair their physical and mental health."

"National could also consider 'grand parenting' as Australia has done with their Parenting Payment. That involves changing the rules for new beneficiaries but applying existing rules or less stringent rule changes to those already in the system ."

"Above all what National has to do is change expectations about what any of these benefits - DPB, Invalid or Sickness - is for. They are for emergencies, not lifestyles. Their voters elected them on a promise to tighten welfare and they need to do it in an effective, sustainable way."

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Sending An Orion P-3 To Tonga


Because the undersea volcanic eruption in Tonga cut communications with the more remote parts of the country, it wasn’t at all surprising that as a good Pacific neighbour, New Zealand sent a reconnaissance aircraft up there to gather information about the extent and location of the damage. The more interesting thing was which plane we sent. It was an old P-3K Orion. It wasn’t one of the four fancy P-8 Poseidons that the New Zealand taxpayer spent north of $3 billion to purchase and to equip, only a few years ago...
More>>



 
 



Government: New Zealand Prepared To Send Support To Tonga

New Zealand is ready to assist Tonga in its recovery from Saturday night’s undersea eruption and tsunami, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today... More>>


Ministry of Health: COVID-19 Immunisation Starts For 5 To 11-year-old Tāmariki

More than 120,000 doses of the child (paediatric) Pfizer vaccine have been delivered to over 500 vaccination sites around New Zealand as health providers prepare to start immunising 5 to 11-year-olds tamariki from today, 17 January... More>>


Crown: Duke Of York’s NZ Military Patronage Appointment Ends
Buckingham Palace has recently announced that, with the Queen's approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to the Queen... More>>


CTU: Too Many Kiwi Workers Financially Vulnerable As Omicron Looms
With New Zealand on the precipice of an Omicron outbreak and the economic upheaval that comes with it, the CTU’s annual Mood of the Workforce Survey shows the vast majority of kiwi workers do not have the financial resources to survive a period of unemployment... More>>


Financial Advice NZ: Law Changes Locking Out Home Seekers, Urgent Meeting Sought With Government

Recent changes in consumer finance law on top of Government policy changes are locking many home seekers out of finance options they would have qualified for just six weeks ago, says Financial Advice New Zealand... More>>

Energy: Powering NZ’s Future With Biofuels
The Government will introduce a Sustainable Biofuels Mandate to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said today... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels