Poverty group: work not a solution, wants ‘unconditional welfare’

In response to the proposal by Shane Jones to get ‘the ne-er do well nephs’ off the couch and into work, Auckland Action Against Poverty says that it will fail to address unemployment.

They suggest that “we need to start thinking towards unconditional welfare and less about work as the solution to unemployment”.

Work-for-the-Dole Will Fail to Address Unemployment

Work-for-the-dole schemes will not lead to training and upskilling of youth, they will instead instill in our young people the idea that low wages and exploitation is all they are worth.

“Work-for-the-dole fails to address the root causes of unemployment and instead allow businesses to profit from poverty,” says Vanessa Cole, Co-ordinator of Auckland Action Against Poverty.

“Work-for-the-dole schemes allow employers to exploit beneficiaries and drive down the conditions of employment more generally.

“These schemes benefit employers, not workers. They allow businesses to have free labour and be subsidised by the government which undermines full-time employment and decent wages.

This is way off on a tangent. Jones was suggesting Government work like planting trees.

“The work-focussed policies of both Labour and National over the past 40 years have led to increased levels of poverty, and have resulted in businesses massively increasing private wealth.

“Work-for-the-dole allows for businesses to continue to make massive amounts of profit while driving down the conditions of employment.

“The nature of work is precarious and insecure. Beneficiaries are being placed in a poverty trap between low benefit payment and low wages frequently moving between the two.

“Work & Income already use work-focussed policy to coerce people into low-waged work which is often temporary and does not increase the wellbeing of the beneficiary.

Low waged work can also be a stepping stone to higher paid work. It’s quite common for young people to start at the bottom and for many of them to work their way up. At least it was.

“Work-for-the-dole schemes internationally have failed to address unemployment and in Australia have actually led to increased joblessness and benefit dependency.

“This is because the job market people are being placed into is inherently insecure and does not offer decent work.

“Both unemployed and employed workers need to have a liveable income. This will actually challenge employers to increase pay and conditions because it removed the coercive incentive to work.

“With the future of work moving more towards precarity, we need to start thinking towards unconditional welfare and less about work as the solution to unemployment.”

So Vanessa Cole is suggesting that unemployed should have “a liveable income” as well as “unconditional welfare”.

She says the work-for-the-dole schemes “internationally have failed to address unemployment” – I’d be interested to hear if unconditional welfare has worked anywhere in the world – but suggests that we should think less about “work as the solution to unemployment”.

Her solution seems to be lots of money with work optional.

69 Comments

  1. Tipene

     /  December 5, 2017

    AAAP abuses the vulnerability of the needy for its own ends.

    They are a political activist group, and manufacture compassion for the purpose of securing media attention.

    They have often staged protests outside WINZ offices, and can often be seen accompanying beneficiaries into WINZ appointments as “advocates”, pushing “consent” forms into the hands of those who are barely literate to give written consent, and who wouldn’t understand the rights they were giving up in the process, including the right to tell the “advocate” to fuck off at any stage of the process (the WINZ clients are never informed of this right, however).

    • phantom snowflake

       /  December 5, 2017

      A cheap, despicable slur against a group who work passionately and tirelessly to improve the life of those abandoned on the margins. So much BS in one comment that I can’t be arsed addressing most of it. I’m guessing that your issue is that AAAP are lefty types, and you just can’t conceive that anything good could come from that end of the political spectrum. “political activist“… well so are you! But it’s ok when The Right do it lol. I’m going easy on you here because I’m aware of some of the great work you, yourself do in the “real world.”

  2. This sounds a bit out in lala land, but I don’t think it’s far from what at least some Greens want.

    Income Support Policy

    Everyone deserves decent work, a living wage, and to be treated with respect.
    Work includes paid work, but also the vital, unpaid work of caring for children and family members, and volunteering in our communities.

    Everyone should have enough income to fully participate in their community, and to live safe, healthy lives.

    We support welfare policies that are sufficient to ensure this, simple to understand and access, and universal in their application.

    We are committed to moving New Zealand back to a state of full employment – in which there is enough work for everyone who needs it. We support welfare policies that help to achieve this.

    Key Principles
    – Everyone has a standard of living that enables them to participate in their community.
    – People have sufficient income for their personal and whanau/family’s well-being.

    Specific Policy Points
    – Set benefit amounts at a level sufficient for all basic needs of the individual/family.
    – Replace the current Social Security Act 1964 with a simple two-tier benefit system consisting of a universal base rate that is enough to live on, with add-ons for specific circumstances, such as dependants, disability or chronic illness.
    – Abolish stand-down periods, treat people aged 18 and over as adults for benefit purposes; no forced work for the dole.
    – DPB to be protected; no compulsory work-testing.
    – Support an allowance to beneficiaries who carry out a minimum number of hours of voluntary work per week.

    (Some principles and points not included).

    https://www.greens.org.nz/page/income-support-policy

    • PDB

       /  December 5, 2017

      At the same time NZ had pretty much ‘full employment’ we had basically very little to no welfare benefits. The Greens are trying to argue that more/larger benefits = full employment when the direct opposite appears to be true.

      • Mefrostate

         /  December 5, 2017

        At the same time NZ had pretty much ‘full employment’ we had basically very little to no welfare benefits

        When was that?

        • PDB

           /  December 5, 2017

          • Mefrostate

             /  December 5, 2017

            Right, so your argument is that NZ had pretty much full employment from 1960 to 1974, and that was the same period when we had very little welfare benefits?

            • PDB

               /  December 5, 2017

              Big jumps occurred due to 1976 recession, 1987 crash and 2008 GFC but outside those periods we have never been close to zero employment and the actual jobless figure has been manipulated by both sides of the political spectrum in a variety of ways including moving the unemployed to other benefit types.

              The lie, presented by some people on here, is that Rogernomics was the catalyst for a change between ‘full employment’ and ‘unemployment’.

              The DPB in the early 1970s is the specific welfare policy that led us on a slippery slope of welfare dependency – though when it was introduced it was for noble reasons and was relatively small in $ value.

              The unemployment benefit was around before that time but very few people registered for it.

            • Mefrostate

               /  December 5, 2017

              The lie, presented by some people on here, is that Rogernomics was the catalyst for a change between ‘full employment’ and ‘unemployment’.

              You actually alleged that the Green party themselves propagate that lie.

              Regardless of the source, that lie may well be a lie. But that would not justify you also making unsupported claims. It does not appear to be historically accurate that NZ had full employment simultaneously with little welfare benefits:

              My perception is that unemployment did indeed spike first in the late 70s. I don’t believe that the DPB nor any other changes to the welfare state are credible causes of this. Instead, I read the proximate causes as being the UK joining the EEC and oil price shocks.

              Due to structural issues in the economy, NZ undertook drastic reforms under Roger & Ruth, followed by a second spike in unemployment during the late-80s & early-90s. While I do think these reforms were what caused unemployment to rise again, I view these as being the necessary teething pains as the economy adjusted. Again, I do not believe that any component of the welfare state can credibly be blamed for this second unemployment spike.

              The unemployment benefit was around before that time but very few people registered for it.

              It is a truism that the number of people claiming the unemployment benefit will be smaller when there is less unemployment. That in no way supports a claim that unemployment benefits created unemployment in New Zealand.

            • Conspiratoor

               /  December 5, 2017

              Would you agree the domestic purposes benefit incentivised young single women to breed

            • PDB

               /  December 5, 2017

              The second spike was down to the 1987 share-market crash – Rogernomics, including implementing GST in 1986, began in 1984 and actually had no real effect on the unemployment rate before the crash occurred.

              “You actually alleged that the Green party themselves propagate that lie.”

              What I actually said is that the Greens believe more/larger benefits will somehow eventually drop the unemployment rate though evidence suggests otherwise.

            • PDB

               /  December 5, 2017

              “That in no way supports a claim that unemployment benefits created unemployment in New Zealand.”

              Benefits, especially more generous ones/ no obligation ones promoted by this govt, will always mean that ‘full employment” is impossible.

            • Mefrostate

               /  December 5, 2017

              @Conspiratoor Would you agree the domestic purposes benefit incentivised young single women to breed

              Yes, the evidence shows this. For example Straya’s Baby Bonus increased fertility intentions & the birth rate.

              @PDB The second spike was down to the 1987 share-market crash – Rogernomics, including implementing GST in 1986, began in 1984 and actually had no real effect on the unemployment rate before the crash occurred.

              “No real effect” is far too strong language, and is counter to Treasury’s take (e.g. p10 here http://www.treasury.govt.nz/government/longterm/externalpanel/pdfs/ltfep-s1-04.pdf)

              What I actually said is that the Greens believe more/larger benefits will somehow eventually drop the unemployment rate though evidence suggests otherwise.

              Show me where the Greens argue that.

              Benefits, especially more generous ones/ no obligation ones promoted by this govt, will always mean that ‘full employment” is impossible.

              Evidence from UBIs shows a moderate reduction in work done by mothers and young men, but with commensurate increases in childcare & education.

            • PDB

               /  December 5, 2017

              “I read the proximate causes as being the UK joining the EEC and oil price shocks.” –

              Those were big issues for sure – the other big myth from some of our friends on the left is that NZ should have just remained economically as it was in the 1960’s.

              Problem of course with that is the world changed, the tit we had been living on & sucking for all it was worth was taken away from us and as a country we had to change as well. Muldoon failed to make those changes and if anything tried to dig in and made things worse by delaying the change that was required.

              By 1984 NZ was so far behind economically the Labour govt had no option but to make major changes over a very short period of time. That was going well until the 1987 share-market crash occurred part-way through those changes.

            • PDB

               /  December 5, 2017

              “No real effect” is far too strong language.

              The graph above clearly shows otherwise – bubbling around 4%.

              “Show me where the Greens argue that.”

              The Greens “are committed to full employment with dignity and a living income.” (Green party website) and also support raising benefits and removing obligations. I believe these are incompatible aims, obviously the Greens think otherwise.

              “Evidence from UBIs shows a moderate reduction in work done by mothers and young men, but with commensurate increases in childcare & education.”

              Show me evidence of a fully implemented UBI producing major benefits to any country. Hasn’t happened because it can’t. All previous UBI experiments rely heavily on people in the same country not being part of the experiment.

  3. Gerrit

     /  December 5, 2017

    Problem is that ALL of us (well maybe not ALL but a large percentage) would be more than happy to leave work, go on unconditional benefits and fish everyday on the tax payers largess.

    That is until we have 90% out fishing (and decimating the fish stocks) and 10% paying the taxes that keep the 90% in the manner they no doubt feel is deserved.

    it is the old story, sooner or later you will run out of money.

    Not just that, business wont have the staff to service or manufacture for the markets they operate in, and have the turnover to pay taxes either.

    Vanessa Cole, is just no worldly wise. Unless she thinks like the Greens that the money tree grows in the beehive basement.

    Mind you that money that she wants to “unconditionally” hand out wont have any value as there wont be many employers and workers, to create goods and service, to spend it on.

  4. Trevors_elbow

     /  December 5, 2017

    Yip. Bloody Tories wanting to bring back work houses…

    Up here in Kaitaia we dont need stinking Tory Jones organising work for our youngsters to instill a work ethic and the principle of pay for work done! Whos going to look after the magic puha!

    Brought to you by a Concermed Socialist….

  5. Alloytoo

     /  December 5, 2017

    We are currently a full employment economy, there is work for anyone willing and sober enough to do it.

  6. NOEL

     /  December 5, 2017

    “The nature of work is precarious and insecure.”
    Aw wake up every young employed person has to face the new world of short term contracts.
    My generation was the lucky one who could secure employment for life with very few mean employers to deal with.

  7. artcroft

     /  December 5, 2017

    Jones knows there is a gap in the voting demograph where Colin Craig’s conservatives used to be (he did get 4% one time). Jones is running to fill Winston’s shoes and take NZ first into that space.

    • Gezza

       /  December 5, 2017

      Beg to differ. My reckon is that The Joneser is just saying the first idiotic thing that comes into his head. That’s as deep as he gets.

      • Conspiratoor

         /  December 5, 2017

        You need to get to know someone away from media sound bites before you render them an idiot.

        Have you met him?

        • Gezza

           /  December 5, 2017

          No. I avoid idiots. I had to work with so flamin many of them for 34 years that now I don’t have to I won’t go near any of the beggars.

    • PartisanZ

       /  December 5, 2017

      For once I agree with you Arty … Only trouble is, Winston and other factions of the party are clearly running in the opposite direction … towards a more liberal, progressive stance … where the younger voters are …

      Why would Jon Johannson be appointed Chief-of-Staff otherwise?

      Either that or they’re all pure idiots? [This remains a possibility]

    • Corky

       /  December 5, 2017

      A Colt is always conservative, Arty. However, Jonesy is what he is depending on what side of the bed he gets out of. I like plummy pom Jonesy. I can’t stand pigeon Maori Jonesy. He sounds too much like PP.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  December 5, 2017

        I think that you must mean pidgin Maori, not pigeon.

      • Pickled Possum

         /  December 5, 2017

        #Hahacorkey If that PP is me then I speak kereru korero and proud of it.
        Don’t you listen to patupaiarehe, bro when he says, It’s Good to Korero!.
        Just talking to my good mate from the east coast who said “WAAAAT!! the hector heathcote!
        she understands me better now than when she first meet me.
        I swing in and out of both languages and my non-maori speaking friends now understand what I mean when I say whangai whanau or pokokohua. They say they don’t speak maori, but they have understanding now. When I talk of the Korotaki health Dept they laugh cos they know I’m saying Useless!! Opens up dialogue and maybe friendhip.
        Some words in Maori I cannot find a english word that fits what I want to convey-say.
        But each word is keeping my language Alive! for me and my mokpuna.

        As for Shane Jones! I first meet him at a Kokori opening up Awanui way years ago; when he was slim and curly blonde hair. He was sitting on the paepae, we asked the local girls, who were tittering, “whoz that pakeha on the paepae?”
        “Shane Jones”! They said, all douy eyed. Shezzzzzz!
        We had travelled up to tautoko our rangatahi, and knew little of Nga Puhi kawa or people. So we got the biggest shock when he got up.
        What a orator he is. His accent is so perfect, we were stunned I tell ya, like the mullet of te awa after some silly bugga threw a stick in there.

        He has a beautiful whaikorero and can charm the Turkey outta the tree. But he got the disease and now it’s all for the Love of Money.
        So I would just like to conclude in saying thank you for putting me in his class of speaker, I take that as a complement.
        ps.I have no love for moni until I need it.

        • Corky

           /  December 5, 2017

          ”I think that you must mean pidgin Maori, not pigeon.”

          Yes, but it’s a most fitting word given the love of birds everyone on this site has apart from me

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  December 5, 2017

            It’s not fitting in this context, it’s meaningless.

            Look up ‘pidgin’ and you will see why.

  8. PartisanZ

     /  December 5, 2017

    What a pity for AAAP – an organisation as deserving of their Charitocracy status as any Right-wing ‘Think Tank’ or *Generosity NZ* – to add to the premeditated confusion, released like poisonous gas into the ‘underground’ of this subject – by continuing with the ‘Work-for-the-Dole’ name fallacy.

    The media love it, including this very site. A new scented plastic bone for the Rightie dog pack to run with …

    It isn’t gonna be Work-for-the-Dole, its gonna be work paying “at least the minimum wage” organised by government on behalf of private businesses and NGOs …

    There’s the problem, although I provisionally support unconditional, living welfare or “Well Fair”, a UBI.

    Community money should be used for community good. Here’s an example. How many people suffer from hayfever and what’s the cost to society in quality of life, healthcare and lost productivity?

    Set the NEETs onto eradicating exotic noxious plants like privet, tobacco, lantana and maybe even carrot weed, and others, and establish some businesses along the way, eg privet is excellent firewood. It could even be selectively copised in some areas?

    Regrettably we can’t remove arguably the worst exotic respiratory-system predator, pinus radiata.

    Noel, likewise, my generation was the lucky one who had full employment, then took it away from our own children and grandchildren …

    • wackAmole

       /  December 5, 2017

      How did you steal full employment from the mouths of your starving grandchildren exactly?

      • Blazer

         /  December 5, 2017

        could teach them how to mine bitcoin,while lying on the…sofa.

      • PartisanZ

         /  December 5, 2017

        Damn! Made that mistake of putting two points in one comment again. It’s like ‘feed the Righties’ and wackAmole latches on to the last floating bit of throw away ….

        Rogerednomics pulled up the ladder behind us on things like full employment and free education wackAmole.

        Let me ask a question plainly wackA: What do you think of the proposition: Community money should be used for community good?

        • wackAmole

           /  December 5, 2017

          Taxpayer money for public services you mean? Sure, isn’t that idea now? Utilities, Law Enforcement, Military…

          • PartisanZ

             /  December 5, 2017

            Well, no, it isn’t the idea of ‘Ready for Work’ …

            We appear to have collectively agreed as a nation to provide an unemployment benefit to tide people over between jobs. Is this a public service?

            Next we’re into the minarchist argument and what are ‘core services’? What are basic human rights?

            I have this peculiar belief that as we ‘advance’ into what might be called ‘tertiary civilization’ – the age of information, communication and automation – we might provide what I call ‘tertiary human rights’ to match?

            I might be speaking a foreign language to you …?

        • PDB

           /  December 5, 2017

          As I posted yesterday in five years between 1976-1981 unemployment in this country went up well over 800% – well before Rogernomics. So again (as always) your theories lack facts to back them up.

          • PartisanZ

             /  December 5, 2017

            Facts PDB? You haven’t backed up your 800% figure with any? Got a link for that?

            According to Te Ara unemployment went from 2% to 4.5% from 1976 – 81, so it more than doubled, an increase of 125% – [an 800% increase would have arrived at 18%] – and from 4.5% – 7.5% 1981 – 86 (about 66% increase) and again from 7.5% to nearly 12% (60%) between 1986 – 91, when it peaked.

            So it peaked virtually at the baton-passing, the meating-place of Rogerednomics and Ruthanasia … and the suicide rate peaked about 6 years later.

            https://teara.govt.nz/en/graph/24362/unemployment-1896-2006

            The impact of unemployment is not well measured by percentage increase though, is it? The measures we use are percentage unemployed of the total workforce and real numbers of real people.

            For those reasons, the last of these rises, to 12%, is manifestly worse than the first, from 2% – 4.5%, despite being a lesser percentage increase.

            Something can increase 1000% from 0.01% to 0.11% but have little consequence …

            Who’s theorizing …?

            • PDB

               /  December 5, 2017

              “In the 1970s unemployment began to climb – from 5,000 in 1976 to 48,000 in 1981, particularly affecting workers in construction, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trades.”

              https://teara.govt.nz/en/nga-uniana-maori-and-the-union-movement/page-4

              See my graph above – the ‘fact’ is that ‘Rogernomics’ didn’t cause NZ to go from ‘full employment’ to ‘unemployment’ as you have always stated – unemployment rose considerable well before that occurred & the big jumps occurred due to the 1976 recession, 1987 crash and 2008 GFC.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  December 5, 2017

              Roger Douglas rid the Railways and other places of a lot of dead wood.

            • PartisanZ

               /  December 5, 2017

              Yes, I concede, the oil shock and several other shocks of the mid-late 1970s, most notably Maori radicalism, cracked open the door of White privilege and paved the way for Friedmanesque neoliberalism – a kind of ideological stockade of individualism when no actual ‘fort’ existed any longer to retreat to under threat of ‘collective’ action.

              In other words, Rogerednomics had its prelude, precursor and ‘primed & prepped’ phase into which anti-colonial movements may have been unwittingly co-opted?

              Anyhow, what you concede is that 2 out of 3 big jumps in unemployment occurred during Rogerednomics and his successor managers of the FIIRE economy.

              Plus, your actual numbers do not change the unemployment rate figures. The unemployment rate still peaked in 1991-92 at the exact juncture of our Ruthanasia.

              When we ethically lay down and died …

  9. Richard

     /  December 5, 2017

    I heard Vanessa being interviewed by Kim Hill yesterday. It was hilarious – Kim being so left wing, struggling to comprehend the even more left views of Vanessa, but trying to be so supportive while clearly thinking ‘wtf…….’

  10. PDB

     /  December 5, 2017

    So work is “not the solution to unemployment” -brilliant!

    ‘unconditional welfare’ paid at the so-called ‘livable wage’ – that’ll encourage people off the sofa!

    • High Flying Duck

       /  December 5, 2017

      I think her point is that there is nothing wrong with the sofa. In fact the sofa is all the reason you need to get out of bed in the morning.
      Having to work just complicates things.

      • PDB

         /  December 5, 2017

        To be fair standing at an open fridge does take some effort.

        • Blazer

           /  December 5, 2017

          speaking from experience…I take it.

          • PDB

             /  December 5, 2017

            Have on occasion stood at an open fridge Blazer, unlike you however I don’t do so most of the working day.

  11. Blazer

     /  December 5, 2017

    I think the money should be put into training schemes.Teach the unemployed how to sail yachts for instance…then they could lie on the sofa in between gigs.

  12. Corky

     /  December 5, 2017

    These beanies need understanding, a car and taxpayer funded motel rooms to save on living costs. The motel thing sounds familiar…I think they do that in China.

  13. PartisanZ

     /  December 5, 2017

    I’ve even heard a few Righties say that so many people are on a benefit of one kind or another now, the best thing to do would be just pay everyone an equal amount – effectively a UBI – and have done with it. Many who worked for higher pay on top of that would simply pay it back as tax, a bit like the old Super surcharge …

    I’m sure, as always, that hordes of people are keenly awaiting the introduction of a subsistence UBI so they can give up their lucrative careers and hit the couch …

    • David

       /  December 5, 2017

      That’s the system in Cuba, $20/month regardless of your job. A very basic income indeed….

      • PartisanZ

         /  December 5, 2017

        What’s the per capita GDP of Cuba David? And how is their UBI calculated?

        And Aotearoa New Zealand’s GDP?

        NZ is # 35 on the CIA list @ $37,100. Cuba is # 100 @ $11,900 [Not bad considering all the bad publicity?]

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita

        We should qualify for around $60/month, Right?

        Venezuela, incidentally, since its about to get cited by someone, is # 86 @ $15,100.

  1. Poverty group: work not a solution, wants ‘unconditional welfare’ — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition