Home > Social Issues, The Body Politic > Paula Bennett: one strike and she’s out.

Paula Bennett: one strike and she’s out.



National’s diversionary strategem of inferring that our high rate of unemployment is a deliberate life-style choice, and the fault of the unemployed, continues unabated. In large part, with few exceptions, this strategem of Divert & Deflect, is aided and abetted by a compliant media.

People like  Fairfax’s Tracey Watkins,  and NZ Herald’s John Armstrong and Fran O’Sullivan, have been unquestioning in their slavish “reporting” of  National’s assault against the unemployed.

The latest from  National Politburo member, Comrade Bennett, is a new  diktat  imposed upon the unemployed that  ” cancels payments for those who refuse [an]  offer of ‘suitable’ job “,


Full tragic story


To repeat and quote Bennett, when she stated on TVNZ’s Q+A on 29 April,

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. “

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


#1 – Where are the jobs?


Where are the jobs – especially the 170,000 that Dear Leader Key promised us last november?

This is not just a rhetorical question – National was re-elected upon their (undeserved) reputation as “prudent stewards of the economy”. And a pledge to create 170,000 new jobs.

That they have failed to produce these new jobs, is an understatement. Unemployment continues to rise.

See: Unemployment rate lifts to 6.7pc (May 2012)

See: Unemployment rises: 6.8pc (August 2012

And redundancies continue on an almost daily/weekly basis,

So, where are the jobs,  Comrade Bennett?

Never mind turning down one job – with 162,000 unemployed all competing for a small, limited number of jobs – most jobless people will not even have the luxury of one job offer.

This blogger has a sneaking suspicion that Comrade Bennett is referring to pseudo-“jobs”,

  • telemarketing (best done at dinner time)
  • door-to-door salesperson (households love to greet strangers on their doorstep, flogging vacuum cleaners)
  • prostitute (highly skilled/motivated to satisfy clients’ needs;   someone with passionate  people-skills)
  • chimney cleaner (for small-builds, to facilitate easier access up chimneys)
  • rent-a-womb (for rich, childless couples – males beneficiaries may be excused from this, at WINZ discretion)
  • fruit picker (traditionally seasonal work – but still doable in winter time, lack of fruit is NO excuse!)

All growth industries, no doubt.


#2 – An alternative to the ‘One Strike’ policy?


The WINZ Charter, as follows,

What you can expect from us

We will:

  • give you prompt and efficient service
  • let you know about our services and how we can help
  • give you information that is correct and easy to understand
  • give you the assistance you are entitled to
  • explain your rights and obligations
  • explain why we ask you to do certain things
  • listen carefully so we understand what you are telling us
  • be understanding and caring about your needs
  • be respectful, friendly and professional in the way we serve you
  • tell you who may be able to help if we can’t.

You have the right to:

  • be treated with courtesy and respect
  • cultural sensitivity
  • use any of our services
  • be given information about the services we offer
  • be given correct information and entitlements
  • be listened to
  • be given fair, non-judgemental service
  • have your information kept private and confidential
  • have any decisions we make explained to you
  • have a support person there whenever you deal with us
  • make a complaint or ask for a review if you disagree with us.

So that we can help, you need to:

  • give us the information we need to assess your entitlements
  • make sure any information you give us is correct
  • tell us about any changes in your situation
  • keep any agreements you have made with us
  • attend and be prepared for our meetings
  • tell us if you’re unable to keep an appointment
  • treat our staff with courtesy and respect.

See: WINZ – Our Service Charter

I propose a minor amendment to the above Charter with one addition,

Our prime obligation to you:

  • we are committed to honouring the Prime Minister’s pledge to create new 170,ooo jobs
  • we will have one chance to provide suitable work from one of those 170,000 new jobs; at decent pay-rates; within reasonable travel time/distance
  • failure to comply will mean that the Minister of Social Welfare will have her Ministerial salary docked at the rate of unemployment benefit, for each week that you remain unemployed
  • if, after one year of  failing to honour our committment to you, and you are still unemployed, the Prime Minister will personally apologise to you, and will either provide a meaningful job for you, or support you into retraining at a nearby polytech or University, to be paid out of his own $50 million bank account

I think that amendment is fair, and puts the onus on to John Key and Paula Bennett to fulfill their obligations to us, the public, and to those people who voted National on the basis of creating 170,000 new jobs.

Let’s see National meet their obligations: 170,000 new jobs, as promised.


Full story




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  1. Ralph
    19 September 2012 at 5:56 pm

    If these berks were tested in one of their own ‘reprogramming workshops’ they would fail all of the multiple choice questions. The neo-libs have failed every logical assessment. They know it and we know it, but like a drowning man they want to take us all down with them. Thrash the workforce into submission….let the chattering classes eat grass. With summer coming I suggest that ‘one strike’ which should apply to them must surely be ‘flystrike’ or some similar pestilence on all their houses.

  2. 19 September 2012 at 7:19 pm

    This morning I was watching a news item on the BBC about the New Zealand economy and it was stating the New Zealand economy had experienced growth of less than 2% and that our economy was being impacted by the slowdown in growth in both Chia and Australia. Ironically, the austerity measures in Europe and stubbornly high unemployment rates in the United States, combined with a very high New Zealand dollar, means people can’t afford to buy our dairy products and meat and tourists just aren’t coming to New Zealand in the numbers they used to. Perhaps Paula Bennett might want to explain where all these jobs she expects the unemployed to apply for will come from.

    And, as an aside, don’t expect the public to protest against these measures. Most people seem to either don’t care or actively hate the unemployed.

    • 20 September 2012 at 12:27 am

      “And, as an aside, don’t expect the public to protest against these measures. Most people seem to either don’t care or actively hate the unemployed.”

      Quite a few do, Miles. I suspects that dislike/anger comes from not wanting to confront the issue head-on. If people accepted that unemploytment was a consequence of poor econbomic performance and bad policies, it would mean people having to address those issues. Prejudice is safer – it means not having to do anything about it.

  3. 20 September 2012 at 3:43 pm

    I had a long chat with a mate about the state of unemployment the other day, after he’d posted something to the effect of “soooo right, the unemployed don’t even want jobs”. It was a comment on one of those many memes that go around – this one was “Why should I hand over money in the form of taxes just to support people who simply don’t want to work”

    Took about 3 hours before he’d grasped the reality that jobs come from being business being productive and actually offering jobs instead of retaining it in case of further “economic downturns”… which is essentially what most are doing. Also that there is nothing right about “simply don’t want to work” in this particular economy,

    Phil O’Reilly himself, hardly a champion of the actual workforce but a full supporter of draconian employment legislation in my opinion, has been forced to admit that the economy is much more sluggish and job creation a lot slower in the last couple of quarters but that he’s “still hopeful” things will improve.

    We live, it would appear, in a constant state of hope – nice and ethereal, general, and therefore one cannot be pinned down to a fixed date or wild promise made to get oneself elected. The dangling carrot of a “brighter future” … if only the lazy would get off their asses and get with the program in National’s view it would appear.

    The angry people get more disgruntled when you disabuse them of the fact that they have absolutely no right to a) expect people with degrees, significant experience or similar to simply just go for the next cleaning job they see (one of Paula’s “fixes”: You should just be happy, I had to work as a dishwasher once…”) because b) people managing those jobs will simply come to the not-so-illogical conclusion that you might not actually ‘want’ this job, being qualified and all, and therefore you might take it and move on straight away. That’s if you aren’t laughed off the planet by the employer as I got one time: “Why is someone with your qualifications wanting to work here? You must know we can’t pay you anything near what you’re worth?”

    To reply: “Well, it’s better than having condescension heaped on you week-in, week-out and though, surely?” somehow doesn’t convince them otherwise…

    I recall being forced by WINZ to apply for a number of highly inappropriate jobs, to which I said I’m not going to get them because I’m simply too qualified for them so I can’t imagine they’d consider me anyway, was made to apply anyway, and hey presto! Next I get accused of being “too picky” when all 3 turned me down, for bleedingly obvious reasons..

    There are not enough jobs in this economy. That’s being stifled by a number of factors, but despite the Government insisting that this is due to the Christchurch earthquake, their standard go-to option at various times I’ve noticed, they’re running out of ideas, excuses and they’ve still got WAY TOO LONG to go before they’re given the heave ho.

    The cumulative effect of coming down harder and harder on beneficiaries is quite appalling and there’s been some significant whipping done in the past, but this has been taken to new heights by this particular crowd in power.

  4. Deborah Kean
    20 September 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Oh wouldn’t your amendment be so wonderful, Frank! I am coming to the end of a 6 week contract – last year I got a 12 week one at a different school, and my ‘case manager’ asked me what was wrong with me, that I kept getting short-term contracts, and never a permanent job! Simple, I answered her – the ESOL industry, (and industry it is) is going down the toilet, and permanent jobs are like diamonds – you can get one only if you know the right person who will ‘espouse’ you!
    Notice, that by WINZ, it’s always what’s wrong with the beneficiary, and not ‘what’s wrong with the economy? The place (where I still am working for another week) is a shambles, and the permanent staff hate it – but they’re not leaving except in their frequent fantasies!

    • 24 September 2012 at 10:06 am

      Spot on, Deborah. Can confirm it is exactly the same in palmie north, where there are high numbers of Esol students, but not as high they used to be. A well-qualified and experienced friend ( a decade teaching English in the Middle East, degree and secondary-teacher trained), can’t get more than temp, part-time work, and there are very few permanent positions. Poisonous work culture as everyone is desperate for more hours and ingratiating themselves. Budgets have been slashed to such an extent that necessary revamping of courses doesn’t happen as no-one has time.

      • Deborah Kean
        24 September 2012 at 5:54 pm

        Oh dear, I am sorry to hear it… it seems as awful as here, where the problem is too many schools, all in cut-throat competition and driving wages down..

  1. 7 October 2012 at 4:36 pm
  2. 9 January 2013 at 5:33 pm
  3. 17 June 2016 at 8:01 am

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