Home > Social Issues, The Body Politic > National ramps up attack on unemployed and solo-mums

National ramps up attack on unemployed and solo-mums

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There’s not a job for everyone that would want one right now, or else we wouldn’t have the unemployment figures that we do.” – Paula Bennett, 29 April 2012

See:  TVNZ  Q+A: Transcript of Paula Bennett interview

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As National’s policies fail to generate jobs or economic growth, they are ramping up their attacks on the unemployed and solo-mums (but never solo-dads), demanding that,

“… education be compulsory from the age of 3 for children of welfare beneficiaries.

The decision, announced by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett yesterday, will apply from July to 31,500 children, aged 3 and 4, whose parents are either on sole parent or couple benefits.

Parents will have their benefits halved if they fail to take “all reasonable steps” to keep their children in licensed or certificated early education for at least 15 hours a week from the time they turn 3 until they go to school. “

See: Fear over beneficiary child changes

This is part of National’s ongoing diversion from their own failed policies to generate jobs and grow the economy.

This far, National has attempted to smear the unemployed – victims of the Global Finacial Crisis – as,

  • lazy
  • incompetant at budgetting (because benefits are so low)
  • drug addicts
  • irresponsible “breeders”
  • criminals
  • kidnappers

The next on their list is painting welfare recipients as “irresponsible parents”.

Make no mistake, this is a carefully planned, strategised attack on the victims of the Global Financial Crisis. It is an attempt to divert National’s inability to create jobs, and escape taking responsibility for meeting their own promises to create jobs,

New Zealand can’t keep borrowing money at $380 million a week. We can’t have New Zealanders exposed to high interested rates, New Zealanders need a plan for jobs.

“This is a budget that actually delivers that.”

“Treasury say in the Budget, as a result of this platform on what we’ve delivered, 170,000 jobs created and 4% wage growth over the next three to four years.” – John Key

See:  Budget 2011: Govt predicts 170,000 new jobs

With this failure in mind National Party strategists – fronted by ex-beneficiary Paula Bennett, and ex-state house boy, John Key – have created a climate of vilification against the unemployed, solo-mums (but never solo-dads), widowers, invalids, etc.

This is like the bad old days where rape victims were blamed for being sexually attacked because of the clothing they wore.

Some facts;

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Source

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Source

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The data above clearly shows one thing; welfare recipients were dropping until 2008. When the Global Financial Crisis hit the world, unemployment rose as companies collapsed or cut staffing numbers.

So why is Paula Bennett, John Key, et al, targetting the unemployed simply because they have lost their jobs? Why is National targetting the poor and unemployed through media releases that generate vile headlines like this,

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Beneficiaries cost $130,000 over lifetime

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Cost of beneficiaries $78b – report

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Will Bennett and Key be extending their welfare “reforms” to the redundant workers of these companies,

Some other facts,

  • There are an estrimated 600,000 superannuitants in New Zealand (Source)
  • There are an estimated 400,000 families receiving ‘Working for Families’  tax-credits (Source)

Other questions this blogger has for Paula Bennett,

  1. Will recipients of Working for Families – which some call a “welfare benefit” – also be expected to compulsorily enroll their children in Early Childhood Education and doctors?? If not, why not?
  2. Will superannuitants who are caring for children also be expected to compulsorily enroll their children in Early Childhood Education and doctors?? If not, why not?
  3. Will children of all families, regardless of financial and/or employment circumstance also be expected to compulsorily enroll their children in Early Childhood Education and doctors?? If not, why not?

If  compulsory early childhood education and doctor’s visits for children of unemployed, solo-mums, and other welfare recipients is such a good idea that National is willing to enact legislation, and financially penalise parents for failing to carry out this policy – why are other parents also not being compelled to enroll their children in Early Childhood Education and medical clinics?

Is there a basis upon which only the unemployed who have been made redundant from companies, government departments, and SOEs, are being targetted? What is that basis?

If unemployed or low-income families are financially unable to enroll their children in Early Childhood Education, what steps will National take to offer additional financial assistance?

Welfare Minister Paula Bennett is a coward.

Not only is she maintaining an ongoing hate-campaign against the unemployed – but she refused to front on Radio New Zealand’s “Morning Report” on 12 September. She was bold enough to issue more of her hate-campaign – but too gutless to front and defend her programme,

The Social Development Minister, Paula Bennett, did not want to be interviewed by Morning Report anytime today or last night, saying she was too busy.”

Listen: Govt welfare plan won’t help children says Labour

Instead, one of her right-wing lackeys – self-appointed “expert” on welfare, Lindsay Mitchell – stood in for Bennett and made all manner of  pious statements about the children of the poor.

Listen: Nanny-state accusations levelled at the government

Mitchell is a member of the neo-conservative think tank, the “Institute for Liberal Values”; a right wing blogger; and has probably never known a hungry or desperate day in her life. People like her are usually the first to lecture the poor how to live.

(Note: The so-called “Institute for Liberal Values does not seem to exist except as an empty blogsite that contains no information.  Quite simply, this organisation that Mitchell claims to represent, does not exist. See: http://liberalvalues.org.nz/ )

If the Minister (Bennett – not Mitchell) hasn’t the courage to explain and defend her policies, then that suggests her policies are indefensible. If  a journalist asked any of the questions posited here, Bennett would be unable to answer, clear and simple.

There is no defensible argument that Bennett or Key could possibly provide. Everything that National has done thus far has been an attack on the unemployed – the victims of a global financial crisis none of us had a hand in making.

National doesn’t create jobs. National blames those who have lost their jobs.

National doesn’t address poverty. National blames people for being in poverty.

If, by now, you feel that National is waging war on the poor; the unemployed; solo-mums (but never solo-dads); then you’re not mistaken.

We are at war with our own government.

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Email sent to Paul Bennett

Date:   Wednesday, 12 September 2012 2:23 PM
From: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
Reply-To: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
Subject: Recent “welfare reforms” – Some questions for you.
To: “Paula.bennett@parliament.govt.nz” <Paula.bennett@parliament.govt.nz>
Cc: Chris Laidlaw RNZ <sunday@radionz.co.nz>,
    “campbelllive@tv3.co.nz” <campbelllive@tv3.co.nz>,
    Dominion Post <editor@dompost.co.nz>,
    Daily News <editor@dailynews.co.nz>, Daily Post <editor@dailypost.co.nz>,
    Hutt News <editor@huttnews.co.nz>, Jim Mora <afternoons@radionz.co.nz>,
    “Joanna Norris ( DPT)” <joanna.norris@dompost.co.nz>,
    Kim Hill <saturday@radionz.co.nz>,
    “kate.chapman@fairfaxmedia.co.nz” <kate.chapman@fairfaxmedia.co.nz>,
    John Key <john.key@parliament.govt.nz>, Listener <editor@listener.co.nz>,
    Morning Report <morningreport@radionz.co.nz>,
    NZ Herald <editor@herald.co.nz>,
    Nine To Noon RNZ <ninetonoon@radionz.co.nz>,
    “news@dompost.co.nz” <news@dompost.co.nz>,
    “news@radionz.co.nz” <news@radionz.co.nz>,
    Otago Daily Times <odt.editor@alliedpress.co.nz>,
    “primenews@skytv.co.nz” <primenews@skytv.co.nz>, Q+A <Q+A@tvnz.co.nz>,
    Southland Times <editor@stl.co.nz>, TVNZ News <news@tvnz.co.nz>,
    The Press <letters@press.co.nz>,
    The Wellingtonian <editor@thewellingtonian.co.nz>,
    “tariana.turia@parliament.govt.nz” <tariana.turia@parliament.govt.nz>,
    Waikato Times <editor@waikatotimes.co.nz>,
    Wairarapa Times-Age <editor@age.co.nz>
Kia ora Ms Bennett,
 
Regarding your proposals to compel the unemployed, solo-mothers, etc, to undertake various obligations, or face having their welfare payments cut, I have some questions to put to you;
  1. Will recipients of Working for Families – which some call a “welfare benefit – also be expected to compulsorily enroll their children in Early Childhood Education and doctors? If not, why not?
  2. Will superannuitants who are caring for children also be expected to compulsorily enroll their children in Early Childhood Education and doctors? If not, why not?
  3. Will children of all families, regardless of financial and/or employment circumstance also be expected to compulsorily enroll their children in Early Childhood Education and doctors? If not, why not?
If  compulsory early childhood education and doctor’s visits for children of unemployed, solo-mums, and other welfare recipients is such a good idea that National is willing to enact legislation, and financially penalise parents for failing to carry out this policy – why are other parents also not being compelled to enroll their children in Early Childhood Education and medical clinics?
 
Is there a basis upon which only the unemployed who have been made redundant from companies, government departments, and SOEs, are being targetted? What is that basis?
 
If unemployed or low-income families are financially unable to enroll their children in Early Childhood Education, doctors, etc, what steps will National take to offer additional financial assistance?
 
Do you still stand by your comment that you made on TVNZ’s Q+A on 29 April 2012, that, “there’s not a job for everyone that would want one right now, or else we wouldn’t have the unemployment figures that we do”.
 
And lastly; is this propopsal – plus your other so-called “welfare reforms” – simply not an attack on the unemployed and solo-mothers to deflect attention away from your government’s inability to generate the 170,000 new jobs that Prime Minister John Key promised us at the last election?
 
I await any possible answer you might be able to provide to these questions.
 
Regards,
-Frank Macskasy
Blogger
 

PS: This correspondence is not to be regarded as permission, whether actual or implied, to release any personal details about me that the State might hold about me.

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Other blogs

Beneficiaries cost us $78 Billion and other ghost stories

Additional

Radio NZ Morning Report (audio): Latest welfare reforms dismissed by critics

Radio NZ Morning Report (audio): Bennett warned welfare crackdown could hurt not help kids

Poverty our biggest growth industry – academic

NZ inequality at highest level

Fed-up Kiwis head to Oz en masse

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= fs =

  1. stonerwgtnpalmy
    12 September 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Awesome Frank.. I can imagine the response will be shit & spin as normal

    • 12 September 2012 at 3:36 pm

      Only if she has a conscience kris it might hit home, but then her duty to national plus her big pay packet she gets will overide commonsense! it happens to those chasing money n big dreams!!

  2. 12 September 2012 at 2:47 pm

    How is this WAR on the POOR – lawful?

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1993/0082/latest/DLM304475.html

    21Prohibited grounds of discrimination
    (1)For the purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are—

    (k)employment status, which means—

    (i)being unemployed; or
    (ii)being a recipient of a benefit under the Social Security Act 1964 or an entitlement under the Accident Compensation Act 2001:

    (l)family status, which means—

    (i)having the responsibility for part-time care or full-time care of children or other dependants; or
    (ii)having no responsibility for the care of children or other dependants; or
    (iii)being married to, or being in a civil union or de facto relationship with, a particular person; or
    (iv)being a relative of a particular person:

    (2)Each of the grounds specified in subsection (1) is a prohibited ground of discrimination, for the purposes of this Act, if—
    (a)it pertains to a person or to a relative or associate of a person; and
    (b)it either—
    (i)currently exists or has in the past existed; or
    (ii)is suspected or assumed or believed to exist or to have existed by the person alleged to have discriminated.
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’

    http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com/

  3. 12 September 2012 at 2:55 pm

    This is getting beyond outrageous – beneficiary families do not even get WFF credits – who will cover the cost of the early childhood and doctor costs (costs money just to get to these things) – not enough places in early childhood centres anyway – doctors saying they are full –
    Bennett and co need to get real, and get out into the communities and talk to those that are actually doing it…Labour to to come out fighting – this is all about social justice – first principles – aah….hard to contain rage over this one!!!!

    • 12 September 2012 at 3:30 pm

      Rage indeed, Sue… righteous rage that was the first thing I felt this morning when I heard that Bennett was not fronting on Radio NZ, and instead her little right-wing flunkey, Lindsey Mitchell was “interviewed” instead.

      Mitchell should never have been allowed to voice her nasty selfish views. She is not an elected representative (despite having stood as an ACT candidate). If Bennett hasn’t the intestinal fortitude to defend her policies – then that speaks volumes about the value of said policies.

  4. 12 September 2012 at 4:34 pm

    In theory the idea of getting people on the Domestic Purposes, Sickness and Invalids Benefits into work is a great idea but the reality is that many of these people have been out of work for so long their skills and work experiences will be hopelessly outdated so the sort of work they’ll end up applying for will be minimum wage jobs that school leavers, graduates and the unemployed are also trying to get. A lot of those jobs are after hours and weekend work when child care facilities aren’t available. Even if the jobs were available most employers won’t hire the unemployed because they are seen as lazy and stupid and most other beneficiaries are perceived as too much hassle to deal with. But ultimately getting a job is a numbers game: if a local supermarket has 150 jobs and 2000 people apply for the jobs then 1850 will still miss out no matter how great the job seekers are.

  5. Frankie
    12 September 2012 at 5:26 pm

    So my ex husband took me through family court so he could choose what kindy my son went to. I was living in the city 3 suburbs away from the kindy he wanted (and got) I was pregnant and due to complications supposed to be on bed rest. I would get up at 6am, bus down the hill, bus to kindy and bus home. Then bus back down the hill , bus to kindy and bus my son back home with me, 20-40 min waits for buses. Costing me $94 a week….maybe cutting my bene by %50 would be better….

  6. Dwayne Young
    12 September 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Nice work,Frank.

  7. 12 September 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I was just watching that Jackie Brown programme on her motherhood experiences, where she described the morning to night role that mums play in looking after baby and the household. It’s a helluva job.

  8. Jasper
    13 September 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Frank, can I offer you some advice? Don’t hold your breath …. in getting an answer or response! Haha! If you want I can print off a copy and deliver it personally to her office in West Auckland if you think it’s worth it? I’ll be there next week.

    • 13 September 2012 at 1:43 pm

      Ha ha ha ha… hold my breath?! Nah, that’s the last thing I’ll be doing. In fact, I’d fall of my chair if I get any sort of meaningful reply from her.

      I’ve emailed several National Ministers on various issues and my correspondence is either ignored or acknowledged briefly – and then ignored.

      Communicating with the public does not seem to be a high priority for National.

      I would dearly love it if you do print of a copy and deliver it to her. In fact, I’d welcome something from you that I could useas a blogpost. I’d be fascinated to see what she sez.

      Go hard, Jasper!

  9. Alison W
    13 September 2012 at 9:33 pm

    It’s great to collect your articles so I can plaster the links all over poverty-bashing, mainstream media articles. ;-)

    • 13 September 2012 at 11:37 pm

      Thanks, Dwayne, Alison.

      By the way, Alison, that’s a good point. If everyone in these Groups shared Bomber’s orNeil Watts’ or my blogposts on at least one page of our middle class friends, that would help get the message out to mainstream New Zealand.

      Spreading the word and expanding peoples’ consciousness is one of our best weapons.

      To illustrate the effectiveness of this, I tried posting two links on tha NATIONAL PARTY website – they were deleted within minutes. (http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/national-the-party-of-free-speech-yeah-right/)

      The Nats are afraid of criticism as they were in the late 1990s, under the Shipley regime.

  10. 13 September 2012 at 9:39 pm

    If Jasper doesnt succeed, happy to try too.delivering some Switch off Mercury Energy posters in Waitakere next week .
    I cannot believe the viciousness this government is unleashing on the increasing amount of umemployed & sick..
    Imagine how many more it will be adding to them with the closures & amalgamations announced today for Christchurch schools. I assume they will be told to move as if it isnt hard enough unless of course they look to the Charter schools which I assume is the idea?
    .
    I can’t remember the last time I heard of any other real jobs actually being created can you?
    Thankyou for for all the detail it makes sickening reading but doesnt cover all the small shops and small businesses I have watched close in Auckland or Waiheke just this year..

    • 13 September 2012 at 11:38 pm

      Jacquelyne, if small businesses are going under (and I’ve no doubt they are), babkruptcies and liquidations are covered by Stats NZ (if I recall correctly). It’ll be interesting to see if numbers have gone up in the last year or two?

  1. 13 September 2012 at 1:25 pm
  2. 13 September 2012 at 10:08 pm
  3. 18 September 2012 at 1:05 am
  4. 7 October 2012 at 4:36 pm

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