Dealing with dud beneficiaries

Karl du Fresne blogs about David Shearer’s rooftop dole bludger:

Labour leader David Shearer was pilloried in the left-wing blogosphere for making a speech in which he made it clear he disapproved of people claiming a benefit when they were fit to work.

Yet his attitude is entirely in line with the views of the Labour politicians who created the social welfare system in the 1930s. They were harshly intolerant of welfare “loafers”. The colourful public works minister Bob Semple, a former union leader, is said to have once thundered in biblical tones: “He who shall not work, neither shall he eat.”

That Mr Shearer was condemned within his own party shows how the entitlement mindset has distorted attitudes to the point where dependency on the taxpayer is viewed as a valid lifestyle choice.

Dim-Post discusses this and disagrees with the government approach to reduce job avoidance in The Big Lie:

National doesn’t want to intervene in the economy and create jobs – for a variety of reasons, some ideological, some related to their own hubris: they’ve been convinced for four years now that the economy is about to experience ‘robust growth’, due to the sheer awesomeness of John Key being in power.

Bennett’s welfare reform is an interim response; a very successful propaganda campaign designed to distract the public from National’s jaw-dropping policy failures by pretending that the people most affected by the economic downturn are actually its causes.

Which brings us back to David Shearer and his roof-painting sickness beneficiary: it would be nice if the leader of the opposition didn’t help the government out when they’re waging a dishonest scaremongering campaign to try and conceal their own impotence.

If National – or Labour, or whoever – can get unemployment back down to 3% then they can crack down on benefit fraud and drug test beneficiaries and suspend payments to dole-bludgers with outstanding arrest warrants as much as they like  (although they probably won’t bother because all those measures will cost far more money than they ever save.)

Until then, the only welfare reform I want to hear about is job creation.

I agree that job creation is important – but not so much Government creating jobs, I agree with Natikonal’s theory of creating good economic conditions that enable businesses to create jobs.

But this ‘don’t worry about “dole-bludgers” and druggies until the unemployment rate comes down is nonsense. Danyl seems to be saying that job avoidance at 6% unemployment is ok but at 3% it isn’t is odd. What about 5%? 4%?

What if unemployment fluctuates above and below 3%? Can beneficiaries keep switching between work readiness and avoidance?

When the world economy finally regains strength the out of work force needs to be ready to step into newly created jobs.Trying to get  beneficiaries to suddenly acquire a work ethic and work readiness is stupid. Preparing them now makes far more sense.

Even if unemployment deteriorates those on the dole should be ready and willing to work. Just because the economy is in an extended slump doesn’t justify active avoidance of work.

I know for a fact that even now there would be more people employed if there was more willingness to work. And if they had realistic expectations about what sort of work they are suitable for.

Leave a comment


  1. Again more benefit bashing. I know there are dodgers- but to moan on about them puts everyone else who is genuine and in need of support in a real bad light. I am on an Invalids Benefit suffering Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and would like to work. But I have my age and a huge competition from younger ones for the most mundane jobs I have not been able to get- does it take a Rocket Scientist to make sandwiches?

    I am quite annoyed by political maneuvering over this issue. Here\’s two questions answer them if you can:
    1. Are there enough skills for new 21st century jobs?
    2. Does New Zealand have enough jobs for ALL Beneficiaries?

  2. Felicia

     /  19th March 2013

    I don’t understand how you can say that there is active avoidance of work. There are systems in place where you are put on a course every so often and if you don’t do the course then you get your benefit cut. There are plenty of beneficiaries with a good work ethic. It doesn’t help when the government intervenes and allows people to lose their jobs to prisoners. It also doesn’t help that the government will create plenty of short term roading jobs but no long term permanent jobs. The methods they use to create the conditions to create employment are not working as the unemployment rate is increasing and some of these methods are contrary, such as cutting jobs and giving them to prisoners. The first thing that a government should do in the middle of a global economic crisis, where their country is in a prolonged recession and the unemployment has risen for a lot of consecutive periods, when they (the government) are still able to borrow billions of dollars, is create long term permanent employment. They can sell these companies to private firms once the economy takes off again. Statistics have shown that there are more part time jobs out there and less full time permanent positions, yet there is a drive on at work and income to get all people looking for fulltime work, regardless of what benefit they are on. There is also no added assistance there. Clients are being told that they need to use their benefit money (which equals a surplus of $30 per week after living expenses are paid) to get their next licence and to buy a vehicle by the middle of the year, or their benefit could be cut. They are being told that their income is to pay for driving lessons and a vehicle, although it is not. Those two things have never been components of a person’s benefit income; a person’s income while on a benefit is so low, because it is only enough to pay for basic living expenses, such as food, rent or board, bank fees, electricity, phone bill, etc.


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