Home > The Body Politic > Letter to the Editor: Is National in trouble in the polls?

Letter to the Editor: Is National in trouble in the polls?





The latest bout of bene-bashing from Bennett and the rotten National government;


Travelling beneficiaries' payments cut


Bennett said;

“The new rules recognise beneficiaries should be ready and available for work – not prioritising travel.

Every day we hear stories of how people cannot live on the benefit. Today you’re hearing that literally thousands can not only live on it but can afford to travel overseas as well.”

My response;


FROM:    Frank Macskasy
SUBJECT: Letters to the editor
DATE:    Sun, 06 Apr 2014 23:16:21 +1200
TO:      NZ Herald <letters@herald.co.nz>


The Editor
NZ Herald

Paula Bennett's recent attack on welfare beneficiaries,
where she claimed that "21,000 beneficiaries have had their
benefits cut for going on unapproved overseas trips in the
last nine months" is simply too fantastical to be believed.

For one thing, how on earth does one fund a trip overseas on
an unemployment benefit of $210 a week (net) and pay rent,
power, food, clothing, medical expenses, school fees,
transport, phone, etc, etc?

This doesn't make sense. The arithmetic simply doesn't add

One thing is for certain; National must be in trouble. They
have defaulted to Deflection #2;

1. Blame previous Labour government
2. Release story on ‘welfare abuse’
3. Blame Global Financial Crisis or similar overseas event

Perhaps National's own internal polling has them falling in
public support and Labour/Greens doing better than public
polling is suggesting?

How else would one explain Bennett's latest foray into
Fairytale Land?

-Frank Macskasy
[address & phone number supplied]


It is interesting to note that the Herald story, written by  deputy political editor, Claire Trevett, does not question anything that Bennett has said.

Not. One. Word.

I remember that this is what the media looked like when I lived briefly in Eastern Europe in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

This is what a media mouthpiece for an autocratic government looks like; faithful; reliable;  committed to the Party (in this case, National); and unquestioning.

This is what our media has become. They have been tamed.



NZ Herald: National down as NZ First gains

NZ Herald: Travelling beneficiaries’ payments cut

Previous related blogposts

Hon. Paula Bennett, Minister of Hypocrisy



= fs =

  1. 7 April 2014 at 12:08 am

    Yep, deflection alright. Wrote up a post concerning it myself, my general take was

    …her own statements: they were too bloody vague in my opinion about what’s actually behind the numbers … but that’s the way the statement has been crafted I’d say, it is *clearly* for maximum effect to appeal to the baying masses. “Today you’re hearing that literally thousands can not only live on it but can afford to travel overseas as well.” And she says ‘that’s staggering’

    No, what’s staggering is how venal that wolf whistle was – there is no background as to a) why they’re travelling or b) by what actual means – it has deliberately lumped in being paid a benefit with the idea they’re using that *same benefit* to supposedly travel. Which is patently bullshit in probably every, single case.

    … this whole thing was indeed one of *the* cheapest publicity stunts – particularly in light of corporate fraud costing us several, several billion more – but as the government are getting duly rammed up the behinds for some seriously crap shenanigans involving a host of Ministers, and they’re levelling off if not falling badly in reality in the *real* polls, what’s the go-to tactic that *always works*?

    Roll out Paula, and get her to BASH SOME BENES – guaranteed to work, every. single. time. Who green lit the go ahead on that I wonder … which one of the political hacks looked at the dire news across the board, and thought “Wheel Paula out, that’ll get the public on side with us again!” Crosby Textor phone in with it? McCully the oft-called “dark master of the backroom” call for it? Or was it some “Ohh, ohh look at me John, I can help!” from Paula herself.

    One wonders.

    Notice of course she’d been quite low key lately? Heat has been turned onto National, Collins their superstar a bit tarred and feathered over the Orivida scandals … I was myself wondering what the next bombshell we’d hear from Paula was going to be and boy she doesn’t disappoint in the feral, mean spirited stakes.

    It is gutter politics at its worst ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, but this is yet another reason to remove this stain from our collective shoes as we walk toward some redemption for a Nation that has been played for fools, ignored and then pumped and dumped like so many of those useless shares these traders of our country’s resources are playing with to our collective detriment.

    • 7 April 2014 at 8:06 am

      And the worst of it all. Alan? That the media is not questioning or looking deeper into the issue. They’ve accepted the government spin and left it at that. They might as well just publish government press releases verbatim and be done with it.

      The Herald could even re-name itself… “Pravda” sounds nice. And appropriate.

    • Robert
      7 April 2014 at 8:11 am

      The trick of course is to figure out the circumstances where the dog whistle not work, and then to create those conditions.

  2. sleepdepriveddiva
    7 April 2014 at 1:19 am

    Is National in trouble in the polls? May very well be. Mike Williams on Q & A yesterday suggested similar with the PM resorting to trotting out a sky is falling scenario around a ‘Left’ government and interest rates.

    • 7 April 2014 at 8:07 am

      I saw that as well, Sleepdeprived. And when the Nats feel threatened, they lash out to appeal to our society’s punitive, intolerant, red-neck psyche. This will give them a boost in the polls!

  3. Deb Kean
    7 April 2014 at 5:00 pm

    I have heard about one of those beneficiaries ‘travelling without permission’, who went to Australia for the funeral of an immediate family member, on about a day’s notice, without time to inform WINZ, getting back to a cancelled benefit. Given he’d borrowed the money to travel, he was in deep trouble – especially given how long it took to get his UB back.

    • 7 April 2014 at 10:02 pm

      That would be about the only thing that makes sense, Debs.

      And if it emerged that was why beneficiaries were travelling overseas (and funded by family loans), that would make Bennett look like a nasty little troll…

      • Deb Kean
        8 April 2014 at 3:51 pm

        Exactly. Those on National Super would be the only exceptions (but they’re not considered beneficiaries, although I did hear of one superannuitant who was most indignant at being treated as if he was one – the friend who told me about him, was laughing – she’s an advocate for victims of HCNZ and a superannuitant herself. ) That being said, another friend on National Super went to Oz for her brother’s funeral, but had her husband go and explain for her…

        • Priss
          8 April 2014 at 5:01 pm

          Kia ora to that Debbie!

          Retiring baby-boomers may get a shock when they’re treated as beneficiaries by the system, including having to inform the government when they go overseas!

          Then they might understand what unemployed, solo-mums, etc, have been going through with National’s bene-bashing!!

          • Deb Kean
            8 April 2014 at 5:11 pm

            I have a close friend on National Super, married for 47 years (!) and living in her own freehold house. She really has no clue – she’s a basically kind person, who thinks solo mothers are such because of their own behaviour, ditto unemployed people – I think meeting me has been good for her in that respect. She has no idea that she and her husband are very well off, because they have been lucky, and for no other reason…

  4. 9 April 2014 at 7:33 am

    “…she’s a basically kind person, who thinks solo mothers are such because of their own behaviour, ditto unemployed people – I think meeting me has been good for her in that respect”

    Several commentators have made that very point, Debs; that the middle class generally have little contact with unemployed and solo-mums. They stick with their own; employed, comfortable, and secure. So those who are no so fortunate are an “unknown quantity” and totally alien to their way of life and thinking.

    Their thinking is “I made it, so why can’t the 160,000 unemployed?

    It’s only when these things are personalised and middle class either become unemployed or have friends of family who are made jobless (or become a solo-parent), that they suddenly gain understanding.

    • Deb Kean
      9 April 2014 at 6:38 pm

      Exactly. I have a very good example of that – a woman at a kindergarten years ago who looked down her nose at us, until her husband left her – then she apologised to me in tears! It was really quite embarrassing for us both!

      • Priss
        18 April 2014 at 8:41 pm

        Sometimes it takes personal experience for some people to understand these things Deb. It’s a shame someone has to suffer before understanding what others are going through.

  5. Orinocco
    24 May 2014 at 7:54 pm

    I guess I used to be one of those who used to to get pissed off every time there was a media report about beneficiaries ripping of the system. But these stories seem to come so often and just when the Nats are in trouble with some scandal, that I now realise it’s a massive con. With billions in tax evasion being allowed to go unchecked by this government it’s easy to see just what Benett and her mates keep focusing on beneficiaries. They make easy targets.

  1. 21 April 2014 at 8:01 am

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