Covid excuse used to raise benefits but ACT reduction policy is nuts

Newshub: ACT’s Brooke van Velden calls for beneficiaries, public service workers to take pay cut

The ACT Party’s deputy leader is calling for public sector workers and beneficiaries to take a pay cut in order to help lower debt levels.

Brooke van Velden was laying out the party’s ‘Alternative Budget’ in an appearance on Newshub Nation on Saturday, and says ACT’s approach will help New Zealand recover from the economic fallout of COVID-19.

The party’s policy includes abolishing the winter energy payment, scrapping KiwiSaver subsidies and putting interest back on all student loans.

Van Velden says lowering New Zealand’s debt post-COVID-19 is important because it’s unknown when another event will happen that requires a large sum of money.

“There are two ways we can go about this recovery: we can have a debt recovery or we can have a growth recovery.”

ACT proposes public service employees should have their “over-inflated wages” cut by 20 percent, and benefits would be lowered back to pre-COVID levels.

Van Velden and Seymour may well be right. The Government has implemented a number of policies by stealth under cover of $50 billion Covid financial package.

The Government has previously defended it’s COVID-19 spending, with Finance Minister Grant Robertson saying it’s “fiscally and socially responsible” to have money set aside in the event of a second wave.

“We are sticking to our word on this. We are investing money where it is needed to respond to COVID-19, and we are setting aside a significant sum of money to be used as needed in the future,” he said in July.

There is no doubt majoe financial support was needed to try to minimise the adverse financial effects of Covid, but I think there are valid questions about a lot of the spending. Some of the spending announcements seem to have been opportunist policy financing of things that weren’t being addressed by the Government before the pandemic.

But Bagrie is probably also correct. Many beneficiaries have struggled for a long time on subsistence incomes. This has had significant adverse effects on the welbeing of families and children, and also on health, crime and education.

And substantially reducing benefits and wages now would be a huge risk given our precarious economic situation. I think that would be nuts.

It’s going to be a huge challenge for the next term Government to deal with the big increase in spending and debt, but slashing benefits and wages would be nuts in my opinion.

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  1. artcroft

     /  11th August 2020

    My (anecdotal) experience with beneficiaries is that many of them work the system just fine. Recently one guy was telling me that he was on the benefit while working under the table as a wet plasterer. He didn’t like the work, although it paid well, cos you came home wet and dirty. So he stopped working. He was quite open about it.

    • Corky

       /  11th August 2020

      Arty, I have tried and failed to explain to this blog the bs about only a minority of beanies rort the system. In my experience it’s close to 70%. Hell, the Greens even had one.

  2. John J Harrison

     /  11th August 2020

    ACT is dead right.
    The socialist government did indeed substantially raise benefits across the board under the cloak of Covid.
    At least we have a party prepared to call “ a spade a spade “ instead of all the woolly “ hugs and feels.”
    There is no doubt the country is rapidly heading for a depression due to this incompetent government’s proliferate spending.
    It has reached the point where beneficiaries are far better off laying on the couch than getting up and getting a job so they can become a contributor to our society.
    When the government pays you to lay around, breed indiscriminately from multiple fathers and enjoy the largess of being a WINZ client to the detriment of the gainfully employed then it is time to review this form of socialism.
    It should never be the case that someone who gets out of bed and is gainfully employed is paid less than a beneficiary- many of whom regard their taxpayer funded lifestyle as a hammock instead of a hand – out.
    Continually rorting the system is now an art form for many.

    • “Continually rorting the system is now an art form for many.”

      Do you have any evidence of this happening to a significant extent?

      • Corky

         /  11th August 2020

        ”The party’s policy includes abolishing the winter energy payment, scrapping KiwiSaver subsidies and putting interest back on all student loans.”

        Great counter intuitive strategy. ACT is reaffirming they are hard right ( within the socialist spectrum). That stops anyone saying they are a clone of National…or the middleway.

        It also picks up more votes. Many people have had it with beanies. They want a hardline. ACT will give them that.

        It won’t turn many admirers of Jacinda into ACT supporters. That will come in three years time when voters will have a chance to compare what ACT has proposed ,with what they are experiencing under Labour. The comparison will be quite favourable towards ACT.

        • Corky

           /  11th August 2020

          Sorry. That was meant to be a stand alone comment.

        • Blazer

           /  11th August 2020

          With policies like that ACT qualifies as a fringe lunatic party.

          If ACT fans on this blog are any indicator they have no grasp of economics and exist only to enrich a handful of vexatious, venal ,mean spirited entitled malcontents.

    • Blazer

       /  11th August 2020

      Bene bashing is easy…would you trade places with one?…(assuming you are not one yourself).

      Look at the rorts at the top.

      • John J Harrison

         /  11th August 2020

        Blazer, if you choose to believe that sanctions that were in place under National are still current then more fool you.
        No, I would not trade places with one.
        I got out of bed every day at 5 AM went to a very successful business that I created, employed literally 100’s over the years both in New Zealand and Australia.
        I was one of many ( thank gid ) who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps.
        Never bludged a cent from the taxpayers until my well deserved superannuation kicked in.
        Paid $ millions in taxes over the years so the socialists could wantonly throw it around – particularly to their supporters.

        • Blazer

           /  11th August 2020

          So many cliches and myths there John.

          Usually a large number of ‘self-made’ successful businessmen omit pertinent details about capital,luck and Govt subsidies or old boy leg ups.

          My guess would be you came from a secure middle class background at least.

          The unfortunates in society are usually victims of circumstance .

          NZ is a wealthy country .
          We can afford to look after all our people and should not begrudge them…mere existence.

          • John J Harrison

             /  11th August 2020

            Blazer, again – wrong.
            Zero hand out from my hard working parents.
            Got wiped out in the 86 share market crash.
            Could have lived as a beneficiary on the taxpayers dime.
            But lifted myself up by my bootstraps- as anyone can if they have the work ethic.
            Sadly, that is a dying attribute today.
            An increasing number find it easier to bludge full time.

            • Blazer

               /  11th August 2020

              The crash was actually in 1987.

              How did you fund your business,given you were wiped out’?

              34 years ago…now on Super.

              Super is a Muldoon bribe that is paid for by hardworking kiwis.

              Responsible people plan for their future as recognised by Labour with Kiwi Saver and the Cullen Fund.

              Spending ‘other peoples money’ is a hallmark of…National.

              They privatise assets that belong to all NZ’ers….despicable.

          • Many people started again after the 87 crash; I know several. No, I am not going to name names. Not that that will stop Blazer sneering about name-dropping as he has done before.

            The idea that anyone who succeeds in life has been financed into it is ludicrous and doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

            A local builder began as a tradie, had the idea of using precut panels to make prefab houses and is now employing who knows how many builders and has expanded his premises. No one gave him a hand out, He’s not the only one doing this in the Waikato. The houses are well designed, very affordable and why KiwiBuild doesn’t use them is a mystery.

            • Blazer

               /  11th August 2020

              What a surprise another meaningless anecdote….business requires Capital…period.

  3. John J Harrison

     /  11th August 2020

    Pete, what is significant?
    I read as much as anyone and benefit fraud is rampant.
    It is against Labour’s socialist principles to sanction blatant rorting by unwed mothers advising the names of the fathers to their children.
    So the taxpayer pays 100% with zero contribution from the sperm donor.
    Not advising of employment ( as per Artcroft’s example ) , claiming to be single when not etc, etc.

    • “I read as much as anyone and benefit fraud is rampant.”

      Reading about it does not mean it is anything like rampant. It depends on what you read and where you read it. Comments at places like Kiwiblog and BFD give a very questionable picture.

      Are you reading opinions or facts? If facts, where are they?

      • John J Harrison

         /  11th August 2020

        Pete, as you are well aware the Minister responsible for WINZ has ceased all forms of sanctions to appease Labour’s voting base.
        Therefore it is extremely difficult to source facts from WINZ when all the rules and sanctions have been tossed away and Ignored.

        Instead of kicking out unruly state housing tenants, they take the more expensive option and shift the law abiding neighbors , mothers no longer have to advise who the father of their children is — no sanctions for deliberately flouting our very generous beneficiary payments.
        Although I am guilty of reading Kiwiblog and occasionally BFD I also read two metropolitan papers and the local rag every day.
        Having been an active member of our local Community Patrol I have seen first hand the social cost of this government blatantly allowing WINZ rules and social norms being ignored by our burgeoning number of well supported beneficiaries.

        • duperez

           /  11th August 2020

          When it’s extremely difficult to source facts they can be made up up and there are enough urban myths to build on.

          • John J Harrison

             /  11th August 2020

            Duperez, very difficult to quote finite numbers when Carmel Sepuloni stated in the house that her department was no longer sanctioning mothers who refuse to provide details as to their child’s ( children ) parenthood. Nor sanction beneficiaries who use state houses to manufacture drugs, vandalize on a regular basis etc.
            Or are you confirming that sanctions still apply as they did under National?
            As you are aware with no sanctions there are no factual numbers to supply.
            It is clear that under Sepuloni’s leadership beneficiaries enjoy carte Blanche from the taxpayers with no recourse or sanction.

            • “Nor sanction beneficiaries who use state houses to manufacture drugs, vandalize on a regular basis etc.”

              I’d be very surprised if anything like this is the case.

              This suggests otherwise:

              Tenant Responsibilities
              By signing the tenancy agreement, you agree that you will:
              – pay your rent on time
              – keep your home and garden tidy and not damage the property – if friends, family or visitors damage the property, you need to pay for the repairs
              – call us when repairs are needed
              – pay your phone and power bills, and for light bulbs
              – insure your furniture or belongings against damage, fire or theft
              – let us know immediately if your income, your partner’s income or the number of people living in your home or flat changes – if you’re paying income-related rent
              – leave the property clean and tidy, remove all your possessions, and return all sets of keys when you move out
              – consider your neighbours
              – not let anyone else rent your home or let anyone other than you and your family live there without our permission
              – not use the property for an unlawful purpose or let anyone else use it for unlawful purposes
              – not change the locks on your home or flat without our agreement

              You need to keep your home in good condition and call us as soon as you can about any damage. You also need to pay for any damage caused, such as:
              – burns, stains, marks and scratches
              – accidents, such as broken windows
              – damage from building or repair work you have done
              – forced entry or damage that you may have caused.

              If you lose your keys or lock yourself out you can either arrange a locksmith yourself or call us and we’ll arrange a new key for you. There will be a charge for replacement keys.

              The Tenancy Tribunal
              The Tenancy Tribunal is a court set up to deal with unresolved problems between tenants and landlords. We may apply for a Tenancy Tribunal Order if you:
              – owe more than 21 days’ rent
              – have caused or threatened to cause substantial damage to your home or garden
              – have assaulted or threatened to assault a Kāinga Ora staff member or neighbour
              – have had 14 days’ notice to do something under the tenancy agreement but haven’t done it
              – have broken one or more of the terms of your tenancy agreement with us and the problem cannot be resolved
              – have used or allowed your home or flat to be used for illegal activities.


            • duperez

               /  11th August 2020

              Good that you got out of bed every day at 5 AM, went to a very successful business that you created, employed literally 100’s over the years both in New Zealand and Australia, pulled yourself up by your bootstraps and never bludged a cent from the taxpayers.

              Those thoughts are unlikely to keep you warm in your dotage as you try to figure out how many the government is paying out to lay around, breeding indiscriminately from multiple fathers. Write to Sepuloni and suggest she collects figure of those who deliberately set out to have babies so they can claim some sort of benefit.

              Getting well on in a contributing life and being bitter and twisted is pause for reflection. What could you have done different over years to not allow what you see as a lamentable situation arise?

  4. “as you are well aware the Minister responsible for WINZ has ceased all forms of sanctions to appease Labour’s voting base.”

    I’m not aware of anything like WINZ ceased all forms of sanctions. Please provide evidence of it.

    (I’m aware Greens have something like a no sanctions policy, but almost all recommendations of the Welfare Advisory Group haven’t been adopted by the Government).

    See Government ignores most of welfare report recommendations

    • They have removed the sanctions on women not naming the fathers of their children. Before this, women whose children were the result of rape or incest or who had escaped violent partners were not penalised for keeping the names confidential.

      Now the fathers have been let off any obligation to pay anything to keep their children,


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