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Topic # 191129 25-Jan-2016 10:44
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I saw this article;

 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/76103313/blenheim-motherofthree-struggling-to-survive-since-coming-off-the-benefit

 

I don't want this to become a beneficiary bashing topic, however, I think more effort needs to go into helping people understand that working is more than just income. 

 

I have a few friends who were made redundant or left jobs for various reasons, who over time, due to being unable to find replacement work, became incredibly anti-social, focused on negative things and generally in not a good state. It got worse and worse.

 

One guy I knew nearly lost his wife and kids, until she basically said, go and find "any" work or I'm outta here. He got work paying minimum wage, and within 7 days the change in his entire outlook had changed. He is now back in high paid work which took just a matter of weeks.

 

Also, obviously benefits are not supposed to be a long-term solution for the non-ill, and getting back to work and not continuing to take from the state should be the ultimate goal. 

 

I wonder how we get the message across in a non punative manner.

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1478121 25-Jan-2016 11:18
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Not completely relevant but I remember having a discussion with an acquaintance (single working mum with 1 full time child), for her viewpoint she would rather earn say 30k PA in a menial job and receive roughly the equivalent again in govt subsidy than earn 60k PA and "lose" the govt support. Based on her being a fairly smart and usually logical individual this surprised me as without though I would rather the satisfaction of earning 60k by myself, her logic was simply, if she lost her job she would still retain half her income

 

I'm not suggesting she is right or wrong, but it is interesting how different people perceive situations

 

I not in the article you linked a chunk of money goes on her mortgage, I struggle with the fact that people with no desire to work or to generate their own income stream can have mortgages which are effectively funded by taxpayers. We pay for mortgage, they see the capital gain, sell down eventually and "retire" comfortably while 'Generation Renter' work to cover both rental costs and save for retirement


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  Reply # 1478122 25-Jan-2016 11:19
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Last line in the article:

 

"I love my job. It makes me feel rewarded."

 

Very complicated situation with no simple, easy fixes. But working where she is for a year or more will give her experience on a CV which is valuable from a learning perspective plus looks a whole lot better than "unemployed" on your CV.

 

Lots of issues there - low pay for early childhood - student debt - geographic economic conditions.

 

I question the purpose of this article - some facts/tidbits guaranteed to generate a reaction (from both sides of the spectrum), with no comment from anyone else (perhaps an agency that deals with this, government or otherwise), some analysis or counter opinions? Let's throw in a rich gets richer quote in there too to really rile them up.

 

I have never been in that position - I can't comment. I don't know how to fix it. Good on this lady for not being on the dole.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1478123 25-Jan-2016 11:24
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I don't think we can. Such people are a lost cause. Just let them have the (minimum survival) benefit and forget about it. I think you can encourage people who want to improve their situation and teach them better ways of going about things, but people who have no motivation to change, or who just don't get it, cannot be helped in any meaningful way. The place where you have to start is in early childhood, when values and character are formed. You have to give children a purpose in life, and show them why it is worth pursuing. You have to make them understand that other people's property is not theirs for the taking, just because it happens to lie unguarded. These are the kinds of things you can't teach an adult if they don't already understand them.

 

Reactionary right-wing knee jerkers will no doubt object to people being given an income, even a minimal one, for nothing, but standing on principle when there is no practical alternative has little purpose. Yes, you can chuck all the bludgers into jail at enormous expense, like they did in the 19th century, or you can make them go through the motions of working for the dole on meaningless projects, or just cut them loose and watch the crime statistics shoot up, but I think these are all self-defeating measures. Far better to cut your losses, give them enough to survive on, and move on to the next generation. Not that this government will make more than useless token gestures in that direction.

 

For those like the one you describe, who have the desire but become demotivated by lack of opportunity, this again is entirely due to successive governments not being prepared to do what is actually necessary to change things in any meaningful way. Full kudos to your friend who was able (with some well-placed nudging from his wife) to pull himself back up by starting at the bottom, but not everyone has the strength of character to do that. This government, some government, needs to ensure real employment opportunities, not just minimum-wage crap work, where anyone with the motivation can get a job that has real value and offers genuine opportunity for moving up. It has to be work that offers more than just survival. People need to be able to think they can save up for a TV or a car or a house so they can build a life. That is what gives people a sense of purpose and meaning. If it can't be done any other way, then do it with New Deal-style public works projects like Roosevelt did. 

 

 

 

 





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  Reply # 1478150 25-Jan-2016 12:06
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Have to agree with the OP.  I've seen someone go from helpless unemployed batchellor with mental health issues to job, wife and kids and absolutely looks and talks like a different person.  Even his skin tone change from pasty nerd to buff guy


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  Reply # 1478152 25-Jan-2016 12:07
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I didn't think it was a well written article. There were too many claims thrown in that hadn't been checked, and "dog whistle" quotes that seemed more designed to provoke a reaction than inform. Plus, a few of the claims didn't seem accurate. For instance, the article claims that "She missed qualifying for a working for family support benefit by one working hour" which I don't think is true. My understanding is that family support reduces as your income goes up, by so many cents in the dollar, not that it is tied to hours worked.

 

And then there are some strange references such as comparing benefit income to employment income "after her student fees were taken out", later followed by a reference to a student loan. This seems a bit strange. Firstly, apples need to be compared to apples, and fees aren't paid for beneficiaries, so the proper comparison should have been before or after fees in both instances. Secondly, I thought fees were paid annually, so how are they coming out of a weekly pay packet. Thirdly, if she has a $24,000 student loan then my assumption would have been that that was what was being used to pay for fees, as fees can go on the student loan interest free,

 

Given the seriousness of the issues, A proper article should, for instance have included proper fact checking by the writer, and getting a response from MSD. Personally, I think the person who looks bad here is the journalist, for a sloppy and inconsistent article with no fact checking, that seems more intended to stir up controversy than convey information.


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  Reply # 1478157 25-Jan-2016 12:11
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 ^ working for families requires you to work 30 hours, she worked 29.


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  Reply # 1478159 25-Jan-2016 12:13
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JimmyH:

 

I didn't think it was a well written article. There were too many claims thrown in that hadn't been checked, and "dog whistle" quotes that seemed more designed to provoke a reaction than inform.

 

...

 

I think the person who looks bad here is the journalist, for a sloppy and inconsistent article with no fact checking, that seems more intended to stir up controversy than convey information.

 

 

Unfortunately that is now the definition of "news" journalism.


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  Reply # 1478164 25-Jan-2016 12:32
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While I was thinking about responding I noticed that others also saw that the article is not cogent. On rereading it, I did get the impression that the question "When you weigh it up, is it worth going to work?" seemed to be at the heart of the article.

 

It is a problem that the marginal incentive to work is small or, for some, people non-existent. Where I live, the cost of public transport is often enough to eat up the entire increase in income from moving off a benefit into paid employment. There is at least one article a month in the local newspapers on the issue of welfare traps. Again, as others have noted, there doesn't seem to be an easy way around this. If you increase the incentive at one point on the scale then you reduce the incentive further up the scale.

 

I'd like to focus on the positives in the article. The big one is that the woman does appear to be doing the right thing for her family. She gets $34 more income each week which is not much for the effort but it will be very significant. Even better she is gaining an educational qualification which will further increase her earning power. This is also significant because the current government is using educational qualification of mothers as one of the four factors to identify which children are most likely to live a live of poverty and deprivation. Paula Bennett mentioned these in a recent talk to the Hutt Chamber of Commerce. It interested me that they only had three when Bill English did a similar talk earlier a few months earlier:

 

  • CYF notification
  • parent has experienced a custodial sentence
  • parent had been on welfare for three quarters of their life
  • mother with no educational achievements

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  Reply # 1478190 25-Jan-2016 12:59
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JimmyH: <snip> ... Personally, I think the person who looks bad here is the journalist, for a sloppy and inconsistent article with no fact checking, that seems more intended to stir up controversy than convey information.

 

It's Stuff - what else would you expect?





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  Reply # 1478224 25-Jan-2016 13:19
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where's the child support in the weekly living costs break down even if the fathers on a benefit he'll still have to pay and she's entitled to it because all of the kids are under 18,  she's also a single mom so she most definitely qualifies for this "IRD website = "In-work tax credit Paid to families with dependent children18 or younger who work the required hours each week"" "To get this payment, couples must work at least 30 hours a week between them, and single parents must work at least 20 hours a week." - by working 29 hours she qualifies. I believe a call to IRD should be in order"


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  Reply # 1478656 25-Jan-2016 22:55
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networkn:

 

I saw this article;

 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/76103313/blenheim-motherofthree-struggling-to-survive-since-coming-off-the-benefit

 

I don't want this to become a beneficiary bashing topic, however, I think more effort needs to go into helping people understand that working is more than just income. 

 

I have a few friends who were made redundant or left jobs for various reasons, who over time, due to being unable to find replacement work, became incredibly anti-social, focused on negative things and generally in not a good state. It got worse and worse.

 

One guy I knew nearly lost his wife and kids, until she basically said, go and find "any" work or I'm outta here. He got work paying minimum wage, and within 7 days the change in his entire outlook had changed. He is now back in high paid work which took just a matter of weeks.

 

Also, obviously benefits are not supposed to be a long-term solution for the non-ill, and getting back to work and not continuing to take from the state should be the ultimate goal. 

 

I wonder how we get the message across in a non punative manner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'll bet anyone would find work PDQ if it was that or starve.

 

One thing I think they could do is actually have the modern equivalent of the Victorian Poor House, where those requiring benefit are 'employed' to do, make, fix or whatever in government controlled facilities. If society is going to pay people instead of them earning, it seems logical to me that there is plenty of useful work that could be done in return.

 

For example, many elderly people perhaps cannot clean their own windows due to reduced mobility or perhaps cannot afford a window cleaner. Some unemployed people could be put together for a few hours of training, transported by minibus and go and clean said windows for a few hours per day. It would also help maintain a 'working frame of mind'.

 

Obviously they can't all clean windows but there are plenty of other bits of useful work that they could be doing.






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  Reply # 1478671 25-Jan-2016 23:25
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networkn:

No incentive to work

I saw this article;


http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/76103313/blenheim-motherofthree-struggling-to-survive-since-coming-off-the-benefit


I don't want this to become a beneficiary bashing topic, however, I think more effort needs to go into helping people understand that working is more than just income. 


I have a few friends who were made redundant or left jobs for various reasons, who over time, due to being unable to find replacement work, became incredibly anti-social, focused on negative things and generally in not a good state. It got worse and worse.


One guy I knew nearly lost his wife and kids, until she basically said, go and find "any" work or I'm outta here. He got work paying minimum wage, and within 7 days the change in his entire outlook had changed. He is now back in high paid work which took just a matter of weeks.


Also, obviously benefits are not supposed to be a long-term solution for the non-ill, and getting back to work and not continuing to take from the state should be the ultimate goal. 


I wonder how we get the message across in a non punative manner.


Last line of the article:

"She would not give up her job to go back on the benefit. "I love my job. It makes me feel rewarded.""

The lady seems to have figured it out all by herself.

gzt

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  Reply # 1478674 25-Jan-2016 23:43
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Wade:

Not completely relevant but I remember having a discussion with an acquaintance (single working mum with 1 full time child), for her viewpoint she would rather earn say 30k PA in a menial job and receive roughly the equivalent again in govt subsidy than earn 60k PA and "lose" the govt support. Based on her being a fairly smart and usually logical individual this surprised me as without though I would rather the satisfaction of earning 60k


That's an interesting one. I wonder if the 30k job had other advantages for her and her child that were not purely monetary.

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  Reply # 1478679 26-Jan-2016 01:41
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Geektastic:

 

networkn:

 

I saw this article;

 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/76103313/blenheim-motherofthree-struggling-to-survive-since-coming-off-the-benefit

 

I don't want this to become a beneficiary bashing topic, however, I think more effort needs to go into helping people understand that working is more than just income. 

 

I have a few friends who were made redundant or left jobs for various reasons, who over time, due to being unable to find replacement work, became incredibly anti-social, focused on negative things and generally in not a good state. It got worse and worse.

 

One guy I knew nearly lost his wife and kids, until she basically said, go and find "any" work or I'm outta here. He got work paying minimum wage, and within 7 days the change in his entire outlook had changed. He is now back in high paid work which took just a matter of weeks.

 

Also, obviously benefits are not supposed to be a long-term solution for the non-ill, and getting back to work and not continuing to take from the state should be the ultimate goal. 

 

I wonder how we get the message across in a non punative manner.

 

I'll bet anyone would find work PDQ if it was that or starve.

 

One thing I think they could do is actually have the modern equivalent of the Victorian Poor House, where those requiring benefit are 'employed' to do, make, fix or whatever in government controlled facilities. If society is going to pay people instead of them earning, it seems logical to me that there is plenty of useful work that could be done in return.

 

For example, many elderly people perhaps cannot clean their own windows due to reduced mobility or perhaps cannot afford a window cleaner. Some unemployed people could be put together for a few hours of training, transported by minibus and go and clean said windows for a few hours per day. It would also help maintain a 'working frame of mind'.

 

Obviously they can't all clean windows but there are plenty of other bits of useful work that they could be doing.

 

I wish that were the case but here I am unemployed for almost 4 weeks and almost all the jobs I've applied for haven't started making their decision until February so even if one is looking for a job you are at the mercy of employers. Heck, I've just tried to go for a job at Spotless than the guy I was talking to who was all hung-ho about getting me to start has suddenly become uncontactable. I sure as heck don't want to be on the unemployment benefit but when the employment process goes about as fast as my nana with her zimmer frame then there really isn't much you can do other than keep putting out more applications and waiting.





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  Reply # 1478682 26-Jan-2016 02:43
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Those on a benefit are the first one's to say it's not enough to survive on.

Yet, the same one's say paying for yourself while helping society and earning okay, only $34 more or whatever it was... don't point out that on the other side of the coin cutting benefits back would certainly make fending for yourself much more attractive. Hell would freeze over if that was the answer given of course because those that fall through the cracks would be the hardest done by (those that the benefit targets the most).

Perhaps something like a tax break for 6 months or something (not just working for families) to help with costs of changing jobs or getting in to work should be looked at. With the idea... (only in a perfect world would it probably work) that there should be less need for tax in the country if more people are working.

Although I suddenly hear a record skipping over and over.... this will be a time old debate and discussion because the system isn't perfect. Unemployment will always exist... therefore a certain level of crime associated with it will always exist (which ironically costs more per year than the minimum wage per person in prison). There will always be the need though for tax so long as the world is still very focused on the way the current monetary system works. It's designed so that those without money can't survive. So it has to be socially responsible when money isn't as free flowing as it would be in a perfect system (which again will never happen).

But that's life. Sometimes it's tough, sometimes it's easy. For others the scale tips to one side more than the other.

 

It's when welfare spin starts to sound like propaganda like it always does if it comes from politicians that annoys me. Welfare will always exist in a capitalist monetary system regardless.

 

It's how they manage those numbers (targets) that's of any relevance that's beneficial to people being in work. For the most part... the real fat to chew on is never really talked about by anyone in government and never will be unless it's a good way to show up the opposition. This is where the crux of the story should have dived in deeper, and started head hunting politicians and holding them accountable for making measurable progress each year on year that would speak volumes on the situation.

 

But it's the same ol'. Rob Peter to pay Paul. Dencrease numbers here, but keep it on the low when you increase the numbers there.... all the while just switching focus on different policy backwards and forwards. It only has to make an impression every 3 years.

 

 

 

edit: Just an after thought on those last two paragraphs. Quite clearly the last 3 years hasn't meant much for the woman in question. I think she has the right underlying attitude like most stuck in a rut on some form of benefit or allowance. Very few people actually want to be unemployed. But on the other side of the coin, very few people are dead set ready to make policy changes they help them with real measurable results. This is where policy is not working full stop and is evident in her case.


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