Home > Dollars & Sense, Social Issues, The Body Politic > How Paula Bennett and National are wasting our taxdollars

How Paula Bennett and National are wasting our taxdollars


Frank Macskasy - Frankly Speaking - Blog - Welfare - unemployment - reforms



National today announced that “there will be an upfront investment in welfare reform of $520 million over four years to support more beneficiaries into work“.

What, precisely, does that mean; “to support more beneficiaries into work“?!

A NZ Herald report attempted to provide some answers,

The funding package includes $80 million for early childhood education and childcare assistance payments, $55.1 million for 155 Work and Income staff who will be dedicated to support people back into work, and $148.8 million for youth services.

Ms Bennett said the $287.5 million included $81.5 million of additional funding, but the remainder would come from “reprioritised” funding from within Social Development.” – Source

Bennett added,

The Government’s welfare changes require significant up-front financial support. We’ve made a commitment to provide that investment to ensure fewer people are on welfare long term.” – Ibid

Extra funding for childcare  is always a good thing (though with National, expect the obligatory ‘fish hooks’ – National gives nothing away without a hidden barb somewhere in the deal), and this Blogger congratulates such a move.

But where this Blogger has serious concerns is the euphemism employed by  Bennett, Key, and other well-paid right wing politicians,  when they claim that ‘reforms’  “will be to support people back into work “.

National’s idea of what constitutes “support” is often at stark variance with how others might define support.

The all important issue is; are there enough jobs in the country for beneficiaries to go into?  This is no empty question, as Paula Bennett herself admitted last Sunday (29 April), on TVNZ’s Q+A,

Can I ask you about work, though? Do you think that there is a job out there for all these young people who really really want a job? Is there a job out there for young people who really want a job?

No. 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.


If, as Bennett admits, there there’s not a job for everyone that would want one right now, then what is the purpose of spending over  half a billion dollars of taxpayers’ money on “welfare reforms”?

Next question: why not invest that $520 million in job creation progammes? We have a critical housing shortage; growing poverty;  and unemployment is rising again – why not invest in job creation?

Why invest in welfare “reforms” – when welfare ain’t broke? Welfare is working precisely as intended and is keeping people alive, fed, and housed at a time of economic recession/stagnation.

As Bennett admitted on Q+A, it is the employment market that is broken and there are not enough jobs for those who want one. It’s as simple as that: not enough jobs.

Which means that John Key and Paula Bennett are wasting $520 million of our taxes on a pointless, futile exercise.

How many new jobs will  welfare “reforms” create? Not a single one.

This may give ‘jollies’ to National Party groupies; assorted right wing zealots; anti-beneficiary bigots; and low-information voters – but in the end this waste of resources and obvious exercise in beneficiary victimisation will be  as useful as seeking a meaningful relationship by scouring internet porn-sites.

I don’t mind if right wingers indulge in a mindless,  political, circle-jerk. But not when we, the taxpayer, have to pay for it.



Our Dear Leader, the Prime Minister of New Zealand enjoyed the benefits of a modern welfare society that protects those in need;

  • 1967: Key’s mother would have had access to the widow’s benefit when her husband passed away,
  • The Key family lived in a low-rent,  State House, in Christchurch
  • 1979-81: Key received a free tertiary education at Canterbury University (BCom in accounting)
  • Key would most likely have received a student allowance during his tertiary studies
  • Key received an extra $5,096 p/a from the April 2009 taxcuts
  • Key recieved an extra $7,100 p/a from the October 2010 taxcuts


Paula Bennett, Minister of Welfare,

  • Paula Bennet was a solo-mother, at age 17
  • Just two years later, she used a Housing Corporation loan to buy a $56,000 house in Taupo.
  • All of this while on the domestic purposes benefit.
  • Paula Bennet was a recipient of the Training Incentive Allowance (a WINZ benefit)
  • Paula Bennet obtained her degree at Massey University, through the TIA – a taxpayer-funded benefit






NZ Herald: Budget: Welfare plans revealed

NZ Herald: Unemployment rate lifts to 6.7pc



= fs =

  1. Deborah Kean
    8 May 2012 at 4:30 pm

    ‘Support into work’, yeah right!
    I’ve heard some things on Radio NZ about the contraception part of it. I can imagine the conversation I’d have had in 1989, if they’d done that back then:
    WINZ :”We want you as a DPB recipient, to take up our “offer” of free contraception”.
    Me: “No, thanks. I am not in a relationship, and have no intention of being in one for the foreseeable future”.
    WINZ: “Do you really think we’re going to take your word for it? If you want the benefit, take contraception”.
    Me: “No, thanks, Depo Provera and most formulations of oral contraceptives are hazardous to health”.
    WINZ: “Your health or your benefit, you choose!”
    I can imagine many women having that conversation now… and worse, their teenage daughters are going to have to fend off the same ‘offer’.
    All because of a false belief, that women on DPB keep churning out babies, whereas it’s actually very rare for women on any kind of a benefit to have subsequent babies – in all my years on benefit, I knew of exactly one (of hundreds). Then, within a few years, she finished her studies, and has been working for more than 10 years…

  1. 8 May 2012 at 4:26 pm
  2. 9 January 2013 at 5:33 pm
  3. 17 June 2016 at 8:01 am

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