National’s Upston criticised for ‘soft on benefit sanctions’ claim

Kay Brereton from the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation has hit back against National’s Social Development spokesperson  saying “the Government going soft on benefit sanctions, saying it was sad when parties seek to punish people with ‘inadequate incomes’.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni: ““MSD has made significant shifts in its service delivery over the last year to improve its service culture and ensure that people are getting the support they are entitled to and that they are not unfairly sanctioned”

Louise Upston (National): “The number of people claiming the job seeker benefit has increased by 11,000 because the Government is going soft on benefit sanctions and those who don’t want to work”.

Ensuring people get benefits and assistance they are entitled to has been an issue for some time. There has also been obvious philosophical differences between National and other parties over whether benefits shouldn’t be difficult to get, that they should be more of a choice for those who feel they need assistance. National opposes benefits being a sort of lifestyle choice.

Carmel Sepuloni:  Benefit rates remain low

The total proportion of working age people on a main benefit is 9.9% compared to 9.8% in the December quarter last year.

Rates on main benefit are different from the official unemployment rate, which was last recorded at 3.9 percent, down from 4.7 percent at the same time the previous year.

“The latest benefit figures show that more people who are applying for hardship assistance are getting it. The need has been there for years but under this Government people know where to go when they need support.

“This has seen a rise in the level of hardship assistance being given, particularly food grants and emergency housing grants.

“MSD has made significant shifts in its service delivery over the last year to improve its service culture and ensure that people are getting the support they are entitled to and that they are not unfairly sanctioned, driving them and their families into further poverty.”

Louise Upston (National MP):  Benefits up as Govt makes it easier to do nothing

The number of people claiming the job seeker benefit has increased by 11,000 because the Government is going soft on benefit sanctions and those who don’t want to work, National’s Social Development spokesperson Louise Upston says.

“Over the past year there has been a 42 per cent decline in the number of people who have been sanctioned for failing to meet the basic criteria which goes with receiving taxpayer’s money. That includes simply turning up to appointments.

“Given that unemployment has decreased, it’s inexplicable that the number of people on a jobseeker benefit would increase so rapidly and that the Government would make it easier for people to avoid work.

“The Minister needs to explain why so many more people are lining up for benefit, while at the same time there aren’t enough people to plant Shane Jones’ ‘billion’ trees or to pick fruit from our orchards.

“For the past ten years the total number of people on benefit has been decreasing because the National Government was focused on creating jobs and getting people into work, and making sure people met their obligations.

“Now for the first time in a decade with unemployment at record lows the number of people on benefits has increased rapidly – by more than 9000.

“It’s especially disappointing to see that the number of 18-24 year-olds receiving a benefit has increased by 10 per cent. It’s this age group which needs the most encouraging to get into work to avoid a lifetime of benefit dependency.

“National is aspirational for all New Zealanders. We believe that people deserve a fair go, but not a free ride. Employment is the best way to lift families out of poverty.”

National have a hard line ‘tough but fair’ approach that is quite different to the softer ‘more compassionate’ approach of the current Government.

About 134,000 people are receiving jobseeker support, an 8.3 percent jump from last year.

About 8500 sanctions were applied in the December 2018 quarter, a decrease of more than 6000 compared to the previous year.

1 News: Advocate hits back over National’s call for more benefit sanctions

Kay Brereton from the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation says it is sad when political parties seek to punish a certain percentage of people with inadequate income.

the easing of disciplinary action is being applauded by Kay Brereton from the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation.

Ms Brereton said she knew of people who had been docked for not attending an appointment, because they were at their part-time job.

The increase in people on the jobseeker benefit might be because more people were now being deemed eligible, she said.

She said it was sad political parties thought a certain percentage of those with inadequate income should be punished.

Some see limits to what assistance can be obtained, and inadequate assistance (not enough money), as punishment. Greens have gone as far as advocated for a virtual no questions asked approach to giving out benefits and grants.

National’s ‘firm, fair’ approach is seen by some as unfair and even draconian, but al they can do from Opposition is complain about the easing up on sanctions against people who appear (to some) to choose a benefit over work.

There has to be a balance between providing state care, assistance and money but encouraging people to be responsible for their own financial situations and earning money for themselves. There continues to be a significant difference between National’s tougher approach and the current Government’s more lenient leanings.

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59 Comments

  1. This morning on The AM Show – Poll: Should we put a time limit on receiving the unemployment benefit?

    This sort of poll is very unscientific, and could be seen to be playing to a certain crowd.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  21st January 2019

      It’s impossible to answer, anyway. So much depends on the circs.

      Reply
  2. Strong For Life

     /  21st January 2019

    If reports are true and many employers cannot get staff… tree planting, apple picking, vineyard work etc, why has the number on Jobseeker Support soared? The figures don’t make sense. Surely, many on the Jobseeker benefit should be able to easily gain employment if they want it? Obviously, there are those who cannot do physical jobs because of age (ageism rife in NZ), health problems, addictions etc. It will be interesting to see if the number on this benefit drop or continue to soar.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  21st January 2019

      I know of people who apply for jobs like these and dont get a call back.

      Not everyone is in the ‘right area’ for casual seasonal jobs like orchards and tree planting. Employers realise they need to sing a tale of woe so that unskilled migrants can be taken on , further wrecking our labour market.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  21st January 2019

        Old excuses, Dooker. While that may apply to some, it doesn’t to most. Hell, Winz will pay for transport in many cases.. they even buy bikes for clients.

        “The Minister needs to explain why so many more people are lining up for benefit, while at the same time there aren’t enough people to plant Shane Jones’ ‘billion’ trees or to pick fruit from our orchards.”

        Why indeed. Especially up North?

        The facts are simple. Labour is looking after its voter base. And that voter base can expect a benefit rate increase before the next election. They have already had a partial one disguised as an ” energy payment.”

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  21st January 2019

          Hell, Winz will pay for transport in many cases.. they even buy bikes for clients
          There’s a strategy problem right there, Corks. 😐

          Not going to be a drawcard for today’s yoof. Need to think smarter:

          👍🏼

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  21st January 2019

            😄

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  21st January 2019

              Excuses excuses ?
              The $400 per day is fake news

              “”To make the $400 a day you’d have to plant 83 trees an hour over an eight-our work day, without taking a break, to make this kind of cash. I’ve spoken with seasoned tree-planters who say this would be nearly impossible as the work is back-breaking, especially in rugged terrain and varying temperatures and weather conditions.”

              Oh yeah planting trees is just like planting strawberries

            • Corky

               /  21st January 2019

              Then don’t plant 83 trees a day..plant what you can..you can always get a Winz top up…even while still on a benefit.

              Your attitude shows the demarcation line between successful people who have a ”can do” attitude, and those who have a litany of excuses of ”why they can’t”

              Lucky you are in NZ, eh, Dooker? Other people worldwide don’t have the luxury of that attitude…as they spend another day at the dump..foraging for food.

            • Corky

               /  21st January 2019

              Re thinking the scooter thing. Every beanie should get a free electric scooter if they stay at a job for one month. That would be a motivation because they could sell it down the track when they need money.

              The government could get a bulk deal on these scooters. Say hundred thousand for the first order.

              Lol..no?

  3. David

     /  21st January 2019

    Its more heartless to shovel out money to someone to waste their life not doing productive work. There is not a single metric of well being where the unemployed out do someone working (except workplace injuries). Some people on welfare need a gentle boot in the arse as they lose self motivation or tire from rejections and a compassionate government would provide this.
    “poverty is man made” sexist …. there are more welfare dependent women, its a women made problem own it. Perhaps this daft woman could look in the mirror at her expensive clothes and hugely privileged lifestyle and reflect back on the hard work it took to get herself there and have some aspiration for others rather than having the state condemn the too a life of dependency.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  21st January 2019

      yes picking apples for a living would be so fulfilling…and really make people think they had a stake in life or…an apple pie.

      Reply
      • I’ve done quite a bit of apple picking (and other fruit picking). It’s been a good job to do when starting or transitioning in the workforce.

        Fruit picking has been a very useful first job for all of my kids.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  21st January 2019

          That was years gone by pete. Now locals dont get a look in for these jobs , as migrants/ work visas are lined up by agents who get the lions share of the money.

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  21st January 2019

            That brings up an other point…why do many employers want to bypass locals in favour of immigrants and people on work visas?

            I know..and you don’t have to listen to talkback to hear employers recount their tales of woe about the worthless abilities of locals to work and hold a job.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  21st January 2019

              Transport might be the issue for the local yoofs.

            • Duker

               /  21st January 2019

              ” listen to talkback” Theres your problem.
              What these employers wont tell you is they are calling social welfare for staff because
              1) They dont have to pay for the service of an HR company to advertise and winnow through applicants
              2) WINZ will subsidise people , so that its even cheaper
              3) The employers is paying minimum wage and just above and wants top class employees …… WTF.

              That coupled to WINZ staff getting the KPIs by getting the most hopeless into jobs, they just send along unmotivated people for dead end jobs with no security- not going to work out.

            • Gezza

               /  21st January 2019

              they just send along unmotivated people for dead end jobs with no security- not going to work out

              It’s better than just motivating some of them who could do the work to just sit on their arse & do nothing, or get into mischief, surely?

            • Duker

               /  21st January 2019

              Even when people are employed in good jobs, motivating them is still a major effort.
              Its a fact of life, maybe half do good job, 30% are very good and 20% are slackers.
              Why do people on the benefit have to be in the ‘top 30% ‘ to even get a job?

            • The seasonal migrant workforce is very motivated by the wages they receive from their seasonal work stint in NZ. They go home rich because the wages they get in their own countries for similar work is only a fraction of what they get paid in NZ. As a yachtie sailing the Pacific for many years I have regularly been thanked for NZ giving their people the opportunity to come and work in NZ.
              What they don,t realise – and I don,t like to tell them- is that our own people do not end up with anything at the end of the season because the money paid for this work is so low, and that it is a very demotivating situation for our people. We really should be making sure our own are all in properly paid work before offering jobs to offshore people.
              NZ is not alone in this one, it is happening everywhere. eg in Malaysia much of the “security ” jobs are undertaken by Nepalese and the Indonesians do a lot of the cleaning and laboring jobs, The Malays go to Singapore …and so on it goes! Slowly driving down the wages of poor people right around the world. For happy families and happy people this sacrifice must stop.

      • Trevors_Elbow

         /  21st January 2019

        Jeez this is a pretty big sneer at people who choose to work hard by picking apples. “yes picking apples for a living would be so fulfilling…and really make people think they had a stake in life ”

        Some people pick apples etc because they are students looking for income while studying, they are topping up family incomes by taking GOOD, HONEST work on a seasonal basis, or it suits their lifestyle as they move around the country enjoying life and picking up work as they go…

        But no Blazer says its not ‘fulfilling’.

        You are a complete, classic, snide Leftie of the elitist class… Good Honest work and the ‘fair days pay, for a fair days work’ means nothing to you – everyone should get CEO salaries to stay at home.

        Go back to your chardonnay and turn off the computer you elitist SNOB!

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  21st January 2019

          I think you might’ve forgotten to add (no offence), Trev?
          Stands me in good stead with Sir Alan.

          Reply
          • Trevors_elbow

             /  21st January 2019

            Why would I say ‘no offence’ to the resident Maoist fool? Seems silly when offending the fool is my intent….

            Death to all Pukeko’s!!! (Just kidding about the ‘Keko’s…no offence)

            Reply
        • Blazer

           /  21st January 2019

          ‘ everyone should get CEO salaries to stay at home.’-like they…do!

          Reply
  4. Blazer

     /  21st January 2019

    if getting money for doing nothing was a crime…half the M.P’s in Parliament would be in…trouble.

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  21st January 2019

      No real argument to make, some out comes Blazer’s bag of squirrels.

      Reply
  5. artcroft

     /  21st January 2019

    I did apple picking, hard work but you can make good money if you are keen to do so. It wasn’t for me long term but taught me better work habits.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  21st January 2019

      pity it didn’t teach you to compare apples…with…apples.

      Reply
    • PDB

       /  21st January 2019

      That’s the key – picking apples or whatever for a season to pay your own way (rather than claim a benefit) doesn’t mean you’ll have to pick apples on those rates of pay for the rest of your life.

      Reply
  6. Gezza

     /  21st January 2019

    Re Golriz : If

    Poverty is man made (sexist cow) and we must dismantle the system that perpetuates it

    how come she used the system to become an overpaid elitist lawyer & now a self-aggrandising, overpaid, bleating, twit on an MP’s lucrative salary & expenses?

    How about dismantling her own jobs, to kick things off?

    Reply
    • Trevors_elbow

       /  21st January 2019

      Oooooh…. burn! But she is so lovely…. how can you be so crueeeeellll…

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  21st January 2019

        Been studying you & Blazer & figured I had the essentials worked out now, might as well have a bash. How’d I do? 😳

        Reply
        • Trevors_elbow

           /  21st January 2019

          Piss poor lad. Lift.your.game.

          Entry to club… DENIED. You are the weakest link. Goodbye!

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  21st January 2019

            It’s too much like hard work to me, Trev. And it’s Wellington Anniversary Weekend, so I’m having it off today. 😐

            Reply
    • Duker

       /  21st January 2019

      Upston?
      “New Zealand politician of the … nee McGill dropped out of law school and instead founded a management consultancy firm…..
      hahahaha. at 19 after dropping out of law school ( failed her papers like Joyce) she ‘becomes’ a self described management consultant with her own agency.

      Sounds like daddy has come to the rescue and she bought some management self help books.

      Reply
  7. PartisanZ

     /  21st January 2019

    Sanctions should be mandatory for anyone who doesn’t perform in their ‘job’ …

    Reply
    • PartisanZ

       /  21st January 2019

      But … What exactly is a job?

      “Your job is to pick these apples as fast as you possibly can for $X per bin of apples”

      “Your job is to run this corporate company, including minimizing the workforce and maximizing the profit for ‘shareholders’ …

      “And your job is to get out and get a bloody job!”

      Reply
      • PartisanZ

         /  22nd January 2019

        You have a calling … not your work life but your life’s work … a creative part to play in the greater scheme of things …

        You will restock the shelves of this supermarket from Midnight – 6am each day.

        Reply
        • PartisanZ

           /  22nd January 2019

          “Look, that supermarket restocking job really suits my imaginative, inventive lifestyle. I’d like to do that job 4 mornings a week and earn a decent, living wage from it”

          [Barely suppressed hilarity] “What’s your name again? Did we get the correct genetic material from you with your job application?

          Someone much less … “ingenious” … has provided the sample, haven’t they? Do you know what the punishments are for forging your DNA test?”

          Reply
          • PartisanZ

             /  22nd January 2019

            You can’t hide anything from us you know. We’ve got your genetic material taken at birth … and at regular intervals since … Oh, you’d be surprized …

            At each vaccination, every doctors and dentists visit, every sports or work drug test … most of the haircuts you’ve ever had …

            Reply
            • PartisanZ

               /  22nd January 2019

              You forged your own DNA test!

              You’re branded for life now … and not in a good way either … not like Fonterra …

              You’ll have to go ……………. underground.

            • PartisanZ

               /  22nd January 2019

              One thought leads to another … You know?

              Like …….. Sel8 … Selfinity.

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