Sepuloni interview another ‘wait and see’

Both Newshub Nation and Q&A have had trouble this year with interviews of ministers who can’t say much of substance due to pending reviews and committees. This happened yesterday with an interview of Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

Lisa Owen: So we’ve seen ads for an expert advisory group for jobs. How many people on this group? And what’s your time frame?

Carmel Sepuloni: We’ll announce that in the next few weeks, Lisa, so today on the programme, I can give some kind of general details, but I can’t pre-empt the announcement.

So why is Sepuloni being interviewed? Is there no Minister actually implementing things now?

Lisa Owen: What can you tell us?

Carmel Sepuloni: Well, I can basically tell you what’s out there in the public arena that some people may not have seen, like I’ve been asked what will be taken into consideration. Our public agreement with the Greens states very carefully, very clearly that we will be considering excessive sanctions, that we will be looking at the interaction between the welfare system and Working for Families, that income adequacy is a consideration for us as well.

Lisa Owen: So level of benefit.

Carmel Sepuloni: Income adequacy is a consideration for us as well, so we need to be looking at all of those things. So I can tell you that those things will be part of it. But can I just say? There’s been lots of discussions in recent weeks about service delivery and the culture through MSD, and of course that has to be part of it too. Of course we need to be looking to make sure that people are getting access to what they’re entitled to, that their rights and dignity are upheld and they’re not being treated disrespectfully in any way.

Lisa Owen: Okay, there’s a lot in there, so we’re going to unpack some of it, but first, what is your time frame to make actual change – not just talk about it; to make change.

Carmel Sepuloni: So change has already started happening; can I just say that?

Lisa Owen: But it’s another committee, Minister, and you know what people are going to say. The National Party put out a press release saying you got 75 committees, and this is another expert panel/committee.

Carmel Sepuloni: National did have an expert panel on this as well. We now have to undo some of the damage that was inflicted on us over the last nine years.

Lisa Owen: So time frame for actual change.

Carmel Sepuloni: So time frame in terms of announcing the actual scope of work that will be undertaken and the advisory group – well, you can expect that to happen in the next few weeks, and then from there–

And it went on, with Sepuloni resorting to a common tactic, repeating National blah blah last nine years blah blah in lieu of having anything of substance to say, apart from repeating election commitments but with no clear timeframe for implementation.

Lisa Owen: You’ve said that you’re going to ditch the sanction against solo parents who won’t name the other parents. You’ve said that will happen at the earliest opportunity. When will that happen?

Carmel Sepuloni: Everything that we put in our policy and that we’ve announced has to happen in the next three years, and so that’s all I can say to you at this stage. It has to happen.

Lisa Owen: So you’re telling people that they potentially have to wait three years for you to ditch a sanction that you knew all through the campaign and before that you were going to get rid of.

Carmel Sepuloni: I’m absolutely committed to ditching that sanction, but it would be done within the next three years.

Lisa Owen: Not within six months?

Carmel Sepuloni: I can’t tell you that that’s the case. It’ll be done– The commitment is making sure that anything that we had in our policy is going to happen before the next election.

Lisa Owen: Can you imagine how unsatisfactory that is for people listening to this interview? 17,000 kids are missing out on that money.

Carmel Sepuloni:  Oh, look, and I absolutely agree that that sanction needs to be dumped, and so the commitment coming into the election – we never it would be done in the first six months. Everything in that policy was that it would be done within the next three years.

Lisa Owen: So why is it so hard to do it sooner?

Carmel Sepuloni: I think, you know, Lisa, I’m not saying that it’s not being done sooner; I’m just telling you that it’s being done within the next three years.

There was a lot more vague non-committal to and fro. A bit of a waste of time until the committee does it’s review, and the budget reveals how much additional money will be available to address pressing issues.

Welfare overhaul to get underway ‘in next three years’ – Carmel Sepuloni

Full interview: Carmel Sepuloni


  1. Gezza

     /  April 29, 2018

    • Gezza

       /  April 29, 2018

      Well, that’s the lot who’re running the country. No point downticking it. Just how it is.

      • Pickled Possum

         /  April 29, 2018

        Yep bro, I AM WOMAN hear me Roar!! … said the poster of Ardern an cohorts.

        Sepuloni sounds like a Paula clone.
        All talk and No Action!
        But to be fair they are world class obfuscation competitors.
        A couple of White Pointer sharks let loose in a sea of mullet.
        I could go on about how they trying to gloss over the state of our country,
        But I’m sure they won’t/can’t/could be as bad as the last lot!

        • Gezza

           /  April 29, 2018

          But I’m sure they won’t/can’t/could be as bad as the last lot!

          Don’t underestimate them, sis. They don’t seem to have much idea what to do outside of NZF & Green policy ideas & it looks like they’re running out of money already, hence:

          Levy here, levy there
          Levy, excise everywhere
          Tax? Oh no – we said ‘no fear’
          (We gots 3 years so we don’t care) 😀

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  April 29, 2018

        I downticked it because I couldn’t bring myself to uptick that lot. They look like the Monty Python gumbies. minus the knotted hankies. Have you ever seen such a lot of drongoes in one place before ?

        • Gezza

           /  April 29, 2018

          That’s actually the photo they put on their website. Christ. In some other countries whoever put THAT one up there would be taken out the back & shot.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  April 29, 2018

            They’d deserve to be. What on EARTH were the ones they DIDN’T use like ?

            They look like the village idiots convention. I don’t know what whoever chose this photo was thinking.

  2. Callum

     /  April 29, 2018

    The problem Labour has is they target their help based on individual cases, National takes a greater good approach. You can always find cases where someone would be better off with just a bit more help, but overall that approach damages society as a whole by discouraging helping yourself and growing the group of people that rely on that help while allowing just as many people to fall through the cracks.
    No sanctions means no named father, means more absent parents and more badly raised kids. With the approach National took best illustrated in the under 20 solo parents area with the voucher scheme trialled for a full roll out (something that floated under the radar). Anyone else notice the teen pregnancy rate then halving in 8 years? How many children did that save from a bad start in life? Other factors contributed to that as well but the less 16 years olds seeing the dpb as an option the better off we all are.

    • Blazer

       /  April 29, 2018

      ‘National takes a greater good approach’….oh really!….I doubt governing for the few at the expense of the…many endorses that viewpoint.

      • “I doubt governing for the few at the expense of the…many endorses that viewpoint”

        I doubt that many people share a belief that glib statements like that mean anything. Overused and overabused.

        National raised social assistance last term for the many in real hardship. Sure they can be criticised on how and how much but they have retained and improved help for a lot of people – and unlike Labour proposed tax relief for many rather than for a select fewer.

        • Blazer

           /  April 29, 2018

          glib statements-brighter future
          -cusp of something special
          -rock star economy
          -safe pair of hands
          -sound economic managers
          -spending other peoples money
          -hardworking NZ’ers
          as for National helping the downtrodden=piecemeal tokenism while they presided over rampant inflation which put people on the streets and at foodbanks.Disgraceful…legacy.

          • Zedd

             /  April 29, 2018

            tautoko Blazer !!
            Natl only ‘governed’ for the 50.1% who voted them in

            I think Lab/NZF/Grns have a BROADER view & approach.. ‘lets actually look after ALL NZers.. not just say it, then ignore the bottom 49.9

            • Blazer

               /  April 29, 2018

              @PG–forget the worse % under Lab theme.We know the causes and Nat ignored them.The Kiwi dream of home ownership has vanished .

            • For many people in some parts of New Zealand, yes. But growth in the big cities at the expense of regions is always going to cause problems with housing.

            • Blazer

               /  April 29, 2018

              NZ has a population of around 5 million and a land area similar to the U.K , which houses over 60 million people.NZ has plenty of land.
              That land needs to be freed up.Landbankers need to be taxed for leaving it vacant.Vacant houses need incentives for them to be occupied.
              A study in Vancouver found that absentee ,foreign owners contributed less tax than refugees.
              It costs twice as much p.sq metre to build in NZ compared to Oz=criminal.

            • I have some vacant land that is taxed via rates. I’d be annoyed at being taxed further given it can’t be built on because it is deemed to be farmland, despite being marginal and only 1.6 hectares adjoining a residential area.

              Zoning and the RMA are two of the biggest problems for housing.

            • Blazer

               /  April 29, 2018

              thats the ‘feelgood’ inflation figure….property prices and RENTS!Work those out as a % of ‘hardworking’ NZ’ers pay….appalling inaction.

            • Property price inflation has been a problem all century, worse under Labour than under National.

              But record low interest rates over the last decade should be balanced against that to an extent.

              Recently, tax cuts for ‘hard working NZ’ers’ were scrapped by the incoming Government, preferring to provide more for some at the expense of many others.

      • Callum

         /  April 29, 2018

        I doubt you will bother, but I suggest you look at the social investment approach and some of the impacts it was having under the previous government. I worked with a charity operating in this area, providing wraparound services where issues where identified. So a kid has rheumatic fever, the whole family gets checked, ensured they were all enrolled with a doctor, house assessed for insulation and dampness issues, family linked up with assistance where they were not getting entitlements. This addresses issues for the long term, rather than just a short term approach of treating an individual. Over time it also costs society as a whole less and works better than just giving people more money

        • Blazer

           /  April 29, 2018

          any step in the right direction is welcome.
          If you looked at where the average beneficiary’s money went,you would be amazed to see the credit committments at 30-35% on their bank statements.
          Absolute ripoffs by lenders of last resort and unscrupulous dealers in household goods and cars.

          • PartisanZ

             /  April 29, 2018

            “And the good news is that growing evidence around the world suggests there’s a simple design for a safety-net system that may not create dependency—and may help lift people up and out of poverty: Give poor people cash without conditions attached, and it turns out they use it to buy goods and services that improve their lives and increase their future earnings potential.”


            ” … the key unifying feature [of Social Investment] is managing and incentivising the welfare system in terms of reducing the future fiscal liability – that is, fiscal spending on people on the government books today and into the future – within tightening rules of entitlement and surveillance.”


            “We should also care because social investment which only values fiscal wins can go badly wrong – for others and for ourselves. The system creates a bunch of perverse incentives which can negatively impact on people’s lives. Over our lifetime, nearly half of us will be on a working age benefit. So how effectively social investment works, even just in the welfare system, is not about a small minority of Kiwis.”

            This is a relatively mild critique of National’s Social Investment Policy …

            • If people’s lives can be improved isn’t it a good thing to shrink the need for state assistance? Those who don’t need it any more are better off, and those who still need it can be more easily and better provided.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  April 29, 2018

              One reason for the extra cost here, according to builders, is that in NZ people tend to change the basichouse plans, which naturally makes the building cost more, whereas in Oz they are far more likely to leave it as it is.

            • PartisanZ

               /  April 29, 2018

              @PG – “If people’s lives can be improved isn’t it a good thing to shrink the need for state assistance?

              Larger government does not curtail either freedom or prosperity, I established that with an article full of ‘facts’ I posted yesterday or the day before so, no, it’s not necessarily better to reduce the size of government or state assistance.

              Social Investment’s hidden agenda ‘message’ is that MetaData can better identify clients’ needs than a Caseworker … and save money at the same time.

              Digital surveillance and profiling is better than personal, social contact … The government, reduced or not, becomes as PDB mockingly said the other day a kind of ATM … a digital money, referral and services payment machine …

              … Remove the ‘Social’ from Social Welfare … Close offices, shed staff … Skype or phone interviews and contacts … if you’re lucky … If not … that digital-machine woman’s voice on the phone …

              “Improving people’s lives” lies in the opposite direction IMHO, towards a Universal Basic Income or Citizen’s Dividend …

  3. David

     /  April 29, 2018

    I think having the Ministers mother convicted of benefit fraud strikingly odd, I know it shouldnt matter but there will always be an eye on the PR when making policy decisions.

  4. Gezza

     /  April 29, 2018

    Jus as an aside – skimmed something last night (Herald I think) noting thar The Hon Shane Geoffery Jones PrCn, FCOTP, appears to be getting in early, setting the “bureaucrats” up to be the scapegoats for his failures.

  5. PartisanZ

     /  April 29, 2018

    Not to say Labour-led have done nothing in 6 months … far from it …

    But on a raft of major policy announcements and implementation, 3 years is a long ‘settling in’ period …

  1. Sepuloni interview another ‘wait and see’ — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition