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

 

“Welfare Mess” Needs Review

Media release
22 April 2009


“Welfare Mess” Needs Review

Increased child poverty, more complexity and a dwindling ability to cope with the labour market’s recessionary influences is New Zealand’s future if a comprehensive review of New Zealand’s “welfare mess” is not started now, a leading Auckland economic academic warns.

Dr Susan St John — an Associate Professor of Economics at The University of Auckland’s Business School — says a comprehensive welfare review to take into account 21st century social and economic conditions is well overdue.

Immediate and necessary changes to the welfare system are the only way of better balancing a model that serves New Zealand extremely poorly, she says.

She is co-author of a study urging the Government to look urgently at laws such as the use of joint income testing for couples, hours-worked criteria, thresholds for abatements, overlapping incomes tests and the zealous use of targeting.

“The National Government’s recent changes include tax cuts, a transitional redundancy package called Restart, and a new ‘Independent Earner’ tax credit,” Dr St John says. “These compound rather than alleviate the welfare mess. Now they are reneging on the small adjustment they had signalled for the weekly allowable earnings for be΅eficiaries.

“There is no clear way out of this welfare debacle signalled in the foreseeable future — only more complexity, less adequacy, increased child poverty, and less ability to cope with recessionary influences in the labour market.”

In a study of substantial changes to welfare policy between 1999 and 2009 — co-authored by Unitec Department of Accounting and Finance lecturer Keith Rankin — Dr St John says the current tightly means-tested and conditional “work-first” approach to core welfare is incompatible with the concept of welfare, promoted by the 1972 McCarthy Commission, that offers all New Zealanders a chance to belong to and ῰articipate in society.

Effective marginal tax rates are too high for many people, creating a dis-incentive to work more hours, and the outdated concept of the Guaranteed Minimum Family Income has been extended and renamed.

“The Working for Families scheme reduced child poverty among many of the employed poor, but entrenched the position of beneficiary families and introduced more complexity and discrimination into family assistance,” Dr St John says.

“A comprehensive review of the welfare state in New Zealand for the 21st century social and economic conditions is well overdue. Longer term reform may also involve the use of basic income ideas such as provided by refundable tax credits,” the authors say.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Big Spenders Are Not Our Tourism Salvation


Covid and climate change have been changing the face of tourism. That’s why it seemed oddly premature last week for Tourism Minister Stuart to announce that New Zealand isn’t interested in mass tourism any more, or in attracting the sort of budget visitors who “travel around our country on $10 a day eating two-minute noodles.” Instead, New Zealand aims to focus its marketing efforts on attracting wealthy, big spending tourists. “In terms of targeting our marketing spin,” Nash said, “it is unashamedly going to be at … High-quality tourists.” Really? The comments have raised a few eyebrows overseas, and a few hackles here at home. Nash’s comments have also been something of a gift to an Opposition adept at portraying the Ardern government as a bunch of liberal elitists out of touch with ordinary people...
More>>




 
 

National: The Heat Is On Tinetti As Strike Action Begins
The heat is on Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti to front up and speak to firefighters as they prepare to take strike action today, National’s Fire and Emergency spokesperson Todd Muller says... More>>


National: Surgical Wait List Hits New Record
A new record has been set for New Zealanders waiting more than four months for surgery, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says... More>>


School Strike 4 Climate: Intergenerational Climate Strike On September 23rd
Once again School Strike for climate Ōtautahi (Christchurch) is asking all students to unite in a call to all council candidates to #voteclimate. Happening on Friday 23rd of September... More>>


Serious Fraud Office: Leave Sought To Appeal NZ First Foundation Decision
Leave has been sought to appeal the decision in the Serious Fraud Office’s NZ First Foundation prosecution... More>>

Government: Wage Growth Best On Record
Workers’ have experienced their biggest pay hike on record, outstripping inflation. Stats NZ figures show median weekly earnings from wages and salaries jumped by 8.8 percent in the June year... More>>

Human Rights Commission: Urgent Government Action Needed To Support Renters’ Human Rights
An immediate freeze on rent increases could give renters some reprieve during the cost-of-living crisis says Te Kahui Tika Tangata, the Human Rights Commission... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels