National leader John Key says if he becomes prime minister the long term unemployed will have to be looking for work, in training, or working for the dole. Mr Key said the welfare system would always remain as a safety net, but his party believed in individual opportunity and responsibility.
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Here is a selection of views:
Dear Mr Keys, You say that people on the dole need work for the dole, training etc/. I am sorry but we the poor underclass as you call us, unemployed even discriminated whereever we applied for a job and are often overlooked even if we reach the interview stage. But people who are white, pakeha fare well than us. There are so many stumbling blocks agaist us. We want to work but the work is not given to us. Your policies are to get rid of the benefit anyway its not just about beneficiaries finding work you intend to create your so called underclass. I think you suck and thumbs up to the Helen Clark for bringing unemployment down.
I have worked closely with WINZ for more than 20 years and so have a good knowledge of the efforts they make to get persons back to work. Here are some of the "facts". Many of the persons on the benefit have had personal problems such as business failures, successive redundancies, or marriage break ups which have caused mental or emotional problems. These persons find it hard to get back into the workforce. Each person on the unemployment benefit has a significant training allowance and every effort is made to increase each skill levels by appropriate courses or training . A scheme which helps unemployed persons start their own businesses (Enterprise Allowance, is a major success with more than 95 per cent of those approved not returning to the dole. Some of these businesses have been very successful. One person on the scheme obtained $250,000 for 25 per cent of the business on the TV programme Dragons Den. This values the business at $1 Million. Another business started by the scheme has had $800,000 sales in eight months. Most of the persons on the Domestic Purposes Benefit are not an unmarried person who want an easy life. Most are mature persons whose husbands have left them with one or more children I know a recent case of a mother being left to bring up 8 children. When many of these DPB persons can send the youngest to pre-school they start a business or get a job. A number start a business which they can run from home. Many of the persons on sickness benefits make major efforts to get off the benefit. One person who had two years of operations and who is still paralysed and in a wheelchair has formed a very successful and profitable concrete pumping business. Another person with no left arm and only three fingers on her left has started a very successful business under the WINZ Enterprise Allowance scheme. Finally would any person want to live on $204 a week after tax unemployment benefit.
McGehan and Delphine Close are around Helen Clarks electorate, and she is already well aquainted with these areas, and surrounding schools, which she visits regularly. It is difficult to imagine that it is sheer coincidence that John Key should choose to focus on these two particular streets, it looks more like a starting point to highlight Labour's "shortcomings". I have taught children from these streets , and visited their homes to support them and their parents regularly for the past five years.Yes life is lean from a middle class perspective, and residents are struggling to raise their standard of living, but I find it hugely irresponsible to label and stigmatise my lovely kids ( who all have great potential and intelligence) in this manner. It also overlooks the huge efforts made by Housing New Zealand in the past few years, where all homes got a major makeover and compared with the standard I saw five years ago, the area is much nicer and safer. I see good relationships between many residents, and children of such diverse cultures playing together. WINZ in Mt Albert has evolved to being very supportive of its clients from every culture. Compared with the fears and despair I first experienced I now see hope, and faith that lives can be improved, and I really think this comes from the comparative stability Labour has provided.
Labour points out that the work-for-the-dole scheme has been tried and failed. However, you can do any right thing wrong. John Key loosely refers to the schemes success in Australia. Likewise, National needs to clarify what its thinking exactly. Personally, I think work-for-the-dole makes sense if it Is targeted towards unemployed people that have no good reason for being out of work. However, the idea that work-for-the-dole will give people some dignity is questionable - forcing people to do fake (not really productive) work on rubbish money could just ram their status down their throats and make them feel even worse - care needs to be taken with this potential effect.
I am sick of paying my taxes and it going to all the people sitting on there ass doing nothing! When that money could go to retirement (for people that have actually worked)/hospitals/childcare so parents can work (even part time). I say if you dont work and earn money, you shouldnt be allowed to use our hospitals our roads!
Work for the dole has worked well in Australia. I have a friend who works for a private agency contracted to the Commonwealth agency Centrelink. She says that they are down to the "unemployable" (physically and mentally unable)having sucessfully moved all the 1 to 10 year term unemployed back into work.
Getting political mileage out of an issue appears to be the name of the game and those who know how to play it better, get the drivers seat for another term. The people of New Zealand have suffered over the years and it is a known fact that the gap between the haves and the have nots is getting wider. Also is the diminishing return on the dollar for the same basic primary need. Having said the above, I tend to agree with Key that the underclass is not on a decline. Sometimes I wonder what was the source statistical data, such as unemployment is on the decline and so forth. I have known some New Zealand MBA graduated who are still looking for jobs despite having graduated one year ago. One only hopes that the policies of any party are genuinely geared toward national interest in a longer term.
Helen Clark is seriously deluded and her attempt so side tract the issue with thinly veiled sarcasm is pathetic. If only John Key and Pita Sharples could get together and nut out some way forward something might get done. But whilst we have so any people in Wellington pushing their own party cart that is probably unlikely. So the frighting and squabbling and nit picking will go on unchecked till things get so bad in this Lovely Gods Own Country know one will be able to fix anything. A council of dedicated people who dont have a hidden agenda OR a great desire to line their pockets and don't have to heed a party line should be in charge of this Country and Really very few of the present lot should apply .
Get real NZ. The days of looking after everyone are over and done with. t is high time NZers took more responsibility for their actions. Unemployment - so what is so wrong if one has to earn credits to be entitled to it? Living in the US, I see firsthand how people have to work i.e. they must work and earn credits to be able to obtain unemployment benefits when and if needed. But wait, guess what, there is a max amount/time limit to that UEB. Thats right, you don't get it forever. I was once on the DPB back in NZ for a short time. It still astounds me that my former neighbour, who had been on the DPB for years even before I was, is still on some sort of benefit. She had two kids and when the youngest was reaching high school age, decided to have another child to be able to stay on welfare. Now, that youngest child, is a mother of 3 - she had her first one I believe at the age of 16. Mum, daughter and daughters kids still live in the same state house which strewn with wrecked cars that sonny drops off and strips. What annoyed me was I was visited by Welfare about retraining and getting off the DPB. This was a laugh as I had been trying to do so. Having typing skills but no computer skills, I checked out word-processing courses and found a 3 week course that cost [then]just over $200 followed by a further course that was around the same price. Welfare declined the course stating that they could only pay $19 "a week" and I would have to find a course that was long term and met their financial criteria. It was impossible! So with that, I enrolled in University which cost the taxpayer a hell of a lot more. I could have been job ready in as little as 6 weeks but no, it wasnt to be. Eventually after having to give up Uni studies in my second year due to an accident, I was able to find out about word-processing course being run by the Council under some Govt plan. When I spoke to the course co-ordinator, I found out that these courses had been run for several years but guess what, Welfare had not for some reason only known to themselves, been able to give me info that there were courses available!
It appeared from many persons on the DPB I met afterwards that they had suffered the same fate at Welfares hand i.e. there was no co-ordination between course organisers and Welfare; well there may have been from the former but the latter couldn't have given a damn. It is high time there were limits to the period available to be able to obtain benefits such as UEB and the DPB.
Mr Key has a fantastic vision for New Zealand. I wholeheartedly agree with his comments. As a New Zealander living in London, I look forward to returning to a New Zealand with a leader such as John Key. It is refreshing to hear a politician speak from his heart.
Here we go again! The same old rhetoric, catching the same suckers. National wants to return to the days of "Work for the Dole"! Policy that failed overseas and was placed here. A policy that left a sop to the dignity of those who were genuinely out of work. A policy which meant your boss could sack you and get someone in to do your job at a far cheaper rate. What a bet they want the old Employers Contracts Act back also!, which was the deterioration of your wages and conditions. Which means your boss could sack you etc. Then once again NZ will be polarised by us workers fighting one another over the crumbs of what is now our real jobs. Hold onto your jobs Kiwis because soon we'll be lining up with our CVs to flip burgers at Maccas for 1.25 an hour. Those "bludgers" on the dole are the minority, and a very small one since Labour has reduced unemployment. The ones who want the Nats to champion these ghastly policies are also the minority. A filthy rich minority that dont give a rats about us hardworking kiwis.
Good on him. It is about time someone talks about it and actually recognizes that there is a problem. How to solve it is not important at this stage, that can be done later. Its a bit like mankind wanting to go to the Moon, first of all you need to say I want to go to the Moon . And then worry about how you actually going to do it. And that is what Key is doing . Nothing wrong with that.
After living in the same street for the past 3 years, finally I happily took out 100 thousand more dollars mortgage and bought a house at North Shore which is much more shabby than my current place. Why? I have enough of the theft, burglary, violence at my neighbourhood where HNZ is the biggest landlord. I was always wondering why HNZ did not sell some of the properties here to private owners so as to make the neighborhood more livable. In the mean time, HNZ might be able to achieve good sale price as the location is so good and use the funds to invest in more affordable, well designed mixed community where rich people, working class people, people on benefit can happily live together and help each other. The reality is, HNZ are subdividing the land and building more HNZ houses in the same street to create a bigger ghetto. I bet on my ass that the policy makers will never need to live here themselves for a day. I bet on my ass that the bosses will never need to ring up police in the middle of night under light of cigarette butt as my whole family was too frightened by the teenagers fighting outside my house to turn on the light.
The Government can throw around as many statistics and numbers as they like, it still doesnt change the fact that we have an underclass, one that is growing steadily. Helen Clark needs to wake up and smell the coffee.
It is reported that the Prime Minister visits these communities on a regular basis. Seems then that her efforts were useless, as the problem is growing.
So long as young people are parented properly, have food in their bellies, receive a decent education, are lead by example with guide lines and boundaries, have sports hobby and cultural clubs to belong to and have a feeling of achievement there shouldnt be an under class. Tackling this problem from a different perspective is to be admired no other Government seems to have made a real effort to do this. Good on John Key I hope the Press will get of his back and allow him plenty of time to get to work and get his Policy together so it can be achieved.
Of course John Key is right. Hard earned tax ayers money should not be given to those who are capable of working but choose not to work and just sit on their fat lazy asses all day and drink beer and smoke and do drugs and do violent crime and fill up the jails and behave as if NZ belongs only to them. Shame Shame. I cant wait for the next election to vote for National.
John Keys is right to point out the "underclass" in NZ, however unemployment is necessary for business it keeps wages down, and when that does not work we allow foreign workers into our work force. eg.The fruit industry can not survive without cheap labour. There is no doubt this underclass exists, whether it s growing or no is a mute point. There are families out there who are suffering and this still needs to be addressed. We must never stop assisting those worse off than we would except for ourselves. In the golden age when we all lived in state houses and had free education and good hospitals although less wealthy in material things we were more homogonous and arguably happier. This golden time never truly existed if you where gay, or Asian or Maori or Catholic or what ever that was slightly different from 'white anglo male'. The point I make is we have more to fear from the growing 'overclass' of which John Keys is a part.
The bludgers alphabet song:
ACC DPB KFC TAB
now I know my ABCs
Next time you can bludge with me.
I learnt this rhyme as a kid. I am middle aged now, Obviously there seems to be a welfare problem in this country.
John Keys rags to riches tale is a mirage. He emphasises full employment eliminating an underclass. But to achieve this he advocates a punitive work-for-the-dole scheme. Individuals will be locked into created work on below minimum wage rates on the pretext that they are learning skills or doing something for society (in return for a pittance dole). As numbers grow in this sub-class, Mr Keys government will lower the minimum wage so that the work-scheme labour might become unskilled workers, but their plight is little better - they remain an underclass. During Mr Keys childhood there was full employment. Minimum wage rates provided good living standards. Solo parents, such as his mother were generally offered state houses at well subsidised rentals. His mother apparently did cleaning work, and casual work such as that offered comparatively good rates of pay - US$10 per hour was a going rate - approximately the same as it is today, but it purchased a lot more. The staples (milk, bread, butter) were heavily subsidised. Education was free (including text books). Public transport was cheap. Telephone calls and postage were cheap, no bank fees - the list goes on. Mr Keys has not brought these things into the equation, but has created this mirage of there being no underclass and an egalitarian situation where everyone would have an opportunity to do as he did. The mirage is this full employment situation - but achieved by his prescription - punitive measures and low wages. The reality would be less education, less training, less opportunity, privatisation of health and ACC and superannuation. And rather than an elimination of an underclass there would be an ever-widening income-gap. In any event, to encourage our resourceful, ambitious, young people to follow Mr Keys example is to encourage them to leave NZ and try their hands in global investment markets etc and maybe one day return to their homeland having acquired large financial as!
sets. The whole scenario is a mirage intended for political gain- a mirage that conceals the same National Party policies.
Helen needs to get her head out of the sand and see what is really going on in her own country instead of tripping off overseas. I have lived in South Auckland for nearly thirty years and it is not getting better, we need someone like Mr Keys to stand up and tell the truth about what is going on even though he is ruffling a lot of feathers. I really admire him and if there were an election tomorrow I would vote for him. Good on you Mr Keys!
Getting close to an election again huh! Boring.(I do believe I could be getting a little older and a lot more cynical! (Mind you I am close to fifty and have a fantastic recollection of the 80's and 90's under National! Just more of the same me thinks!).
It is an absolute joke that John Key is painting himself the saviour of those in need. In the last two years he wasnt bothered about sticking his neck out to help the poor, underprivileged and non-mainstream when his then leader targeted them to denigrate. He also wasnt interested in helping those in need into state houses in Hobsonville because he obviously believes underprivileged people dont deserve to live in nice communities with lovely views. Instead he would be quite happy to ghetto-ise poverty where the wealthy people like him dont have to see it. Helen Clark on the other hand visits communities of all socio-economic backgrounds everyday but doesnt feel the need to score political points by crowing about it. I notice the media is never interested in covering her numerous visits to schools, league clubs, bowling clubs and kindergartens but obviously the scandal they can whip up over Key is too much to resist.
John Key should be widening his definition of underclass in his mind from just the long term unemployed who he says "they feel excluded from society." He could include people going from one dead end cleaning job to another, while getting by on WINZ food grants while struggling to get better jobs, he could include those on the invalids benefit and those who cant get jobs because they cant read or write correctly. He could include who spend their lives going in and out of prison, and teens who are not eligible for any benefits, but cant handle our school system. The underclass are not just the registered unemployed and it is time someone in Labour admitted this. Many of the registered unemployed who would be classed as underclass by Key have been switched to the sickness and invalids benefit to be left there to stagnate, rather than being assisted into work. That is state-sanctioned underclass, and it is time it stopped.
Rading "The Hollow Men" is a must to get to the real agenda of Mr. Key and his obscenely wealthy Masters. Nicky Hagers book exposes them as to what they truly represent. The book itself was a finishing off blow to Mr. Brash. They want the total destruction of the welfare system, along with NZ workers rights to decent wages and conditions. The very wealthy who are the small minority donors for the National Party have the greatest influence over their party policy. They have "unfinished business" which they say so themselves in the Hollow Men. This unfinished business means the return of the disastrous 80s/90s type Nation Party reforms. Work for the Dole, the anti-NZ worker law called The Employers Contracts Act. This latest speech is what Nicky Hager describes as "dog whistling politics". Last year former Telecom CEO Rod Deane got a $600m golden handshake at his departure. Who then are the biggest beneficiaries in this country then? Do not let the wealthy few dictate to us through their National Party puppets what the NZ worker should do.
Forcing long term beneficiaries to work will only create resentment. The financial offering is ridiculous, a top up not even covering transport, let alone the increased clothing and nutritional requirements of a labour intensive job. There is a need for incentive, a reward for hard work. It is not just this, though, that is so flawed in reducing unemployment. WINZ doesnt do its job. They are a demoralising and patronising group of PC individuals. To them it is black and white, and if you dont fit one of their boxes, they will try their best to jam you into one. I was one of those long term unemployed and the experience was horrible. Excuse me on my soapbox, but bear with me, as it is a prime example of how the poor are treated.Before I start on WINZ I must mention, not once did they offer me a job lead or find anything within my chosen fields. Nothing. I was told to go on a sickness benefit. My Doctor said they had no qualification nor right to tell me this. He gave me 6 weeks sickness and then I went back on the dole, determined not to be quashed again. When I explained to WINZ that I had spent several years researching and inventing technology to reduce pollution, and was interested in anything associated within the fields of aquaculture and hydroponics, I got the reply - "That's how they grow dope isnt it". Then I was referred to Workbridge. A place for people with special needs. I told the man in charge I was not special needs and received a bleeding heart speech from him also. Apparently he had a bad knee, qualifying him to be considered disabled. He tried really hard to convince me I too was disabled. He didnt even know my condition, kept trying to get me to name one of a list he rattled off. I wonder how Stephen Hawkings would feel about this particular speech, or my working sister with arthritis, my millionaire brother who is as mad as me, or my Mother, who, given 10 years to live with various ailments, continued to work the next 25 years before cancer took her. New Zealanders dont lie down to be kicked. Much to the chagrin of many in charge of them. I can see why they would think I am mentally deranged. High IQ, determination to continue on my chosen path regardless of financial reward, and a passion for finding profitable solutions to industrial waste. That's me, completely bonkers eh! Yes, NZ has long term unemployed bludgers. Literally thousands of them working for Government Departments and drawing a lot more than the dole. Folks who sit at their desks and judge and demoralise their clientele till they are reduced to sickness benefits due to the depression suffered at the hands of WINZ. Coupled with the committees and boards set up and highly paid for reinforcing what Govt wishes us to believe. The folk who actually cared about what I'm doing, real NZ'ers, not some PC wishy washy box ticking mob, held my spirits up, believed in me, brought me food, tools, materials, and internet to continue my research. Finally, years later, I met a case manager who heard what I was saying, thank you! I was referred to another man who got me on the road to employment. In case youre wondering, throughout this time I recieved in my hand $94 per week. After my rent. My power to run several experiments and my house came to $35 per week. I never could afford to run a phone in this time.
NZ stands to gain greatly through my years of poverty and determination. Nobody who genuinely helped me will be forgotten. But NZ stands to lose greatly, and is already, at the hands of the majority of WINZ employees who grow fat on their pay packets, fill the ranks of sickness beneficiaries to improve their statistics, and dont give a toss for individuals, let alone their country.
Mr Key wants to feed low decile schools, he should come talk to me. Ill show him how schools can feed themselves with no impact on the environment. Real food, real solutions. Meanwhile pupils are gaining skills, education, health, and self esteem through their own works. Ill show you how to make it work without charity and the resultant demoralisation involved. The human condition is such that we need to feel we are a part of something. Belonging. That we are valued in the part we play. This is what youth gangs are all about. We need to create opportunities for these kids to make better choices for themselves. To be part of something better. To hear them wisely and guide them wisely. Being a part of feeding themselves, a part of raising their own sports funding, and more. Being put in boxes and labelled poor or problematic is not recognition, and charity is not a solution, it is soul destroying. Well build a better country through working towards solutions that involve targeted individuals and areas in the process. If we are not a part of, we are apart.
The guts of Keys speech about the dole is this: "We should be proud to be a country that supports people when they cant find work, are ill, or arent able to work. But we should be ashamed that others remain on a benefit for years even though work is available to them." To all those that derided his speech... except for those Labour party employees pretending to write as individuals... do you agree with the first point? I assume so. But how could you not agree also with the second? Or are you incapable of admitting that anything Key says could be true? Come on, grow up! Sure, debate the workableness of a work-for-the-dole approach. But at least admit that something needs to be done.
It is about time the police and government address concerns in Owairaka. For too long its become a forgotten suburb.
"The speech did not contain new policy." I think this sums it all up rather nicely.
So John Key has done a little bit of thinking, however are we faced with the same sort of thinking that Richard Prebble, Roger Douglas, and Michael Bassett indulged in when they kick started the neo liberal reforms in the 1980s. In doing so they assisted in the creation of the working poor in New Zealand. Some key statements from this weekend's speech need to be taken at more than face value. For example, Is it really beyond us as a country to ensure that every kid turns up to primary school with some food in their stomach? I don't think so. Good stuff Mr Key. However charity, the solution given by Mr Key is a patronising and soul destroying solution to the problem. Welfare is not a hand out, it is there to assist those who can not afford the basic necessities of life some dignified way out. Welfare, unlike charity is not at the whim of private business able to decide who will get what and under what circumstance. We all benefit when a society is well fed, well paid, well educated and well housed. .Mr Key goes on to say "Hunger and malnutrition are simply unacceptable in a developed country like New Zealand. And it's a fact that kids can't and don't learn if they are constantly hungry. Their brains don't develop properly and they can't stay focused in the classroom. An empty stomach and an empty lunchbox set kids up for an empty life. So do something about it. It would appear Mr Key has invented a new term for the working poor, one which if allowed to gain traction has the potential to sideline a large group of New Zealand workers. Successive governments have ignored the result of neo liberal reforms. In short New Zeeland has become a low wage economy where in some cases even those who work can often not afford to feed their children or provide adequate housing. Again Work and Income provide assistance in an attempt to assist with schooling and feeding. Charity is not the way out of this situation. Ensuring that there is a decent living along with access to decent housing is a good start. As citizens we should be demanding such things. Mr Key then somehow distorts the responsibility of poverty onto the parent "Unless we tackle this problem we are effectively punishing children for the sins of their parents. It is a very scary country where it is held to be a sin to be poor. Maybe this is the Kiwi way Mr Key speaks of. For him the Kiwi way is a country where the underclass is alienated from mainstream society due to the sin of poverty. The term being used underclass is a way of ensuring the public develop a mindset that the working poor are those to be ignored. By placing this label upon the working poor middle new Zealand can safely get on with their lives assured that everything in garden is green, and that they weeds will be attacked and removed by the gardener. Mr Keys statements are dangerous in their subtlety.
In party politics, leaders come out with plans and they say they would get it done in three years time. At the end of the period they would come back to seek extension by another three years. Why it happens? I assume things have changed quite a lot in those three years. Mr.John Key's address seen in this context, not even goes into specifics, it is a broad outline of what he did in his life that he wants to do it for the masses. Individuals are unique. Each ones needs are different. Leaders like John Key and Helen Clark cannot prescribe common solutions to our problems.My understanding is any policy emanating from leaders to masses is bound to fail. In an ideal democracy, only people should say what they want and leaders should implement it. But in real world,there are demands that would affect other tax paying citizens financially and emotionally. Seen in this context a good number of able people, if they want to be on doles permanently at the cost of other taxpayers, are setting bad examples for our future generations. Their lives will be in misery with the paltry ever-dwindling dole amount. That culture in Australia was cited by critics as being introduced to silence the freed-convicts and keep them away from competing with the mainstream population. A lip-service and neutral stance of Labour Government would not uplift their day-to-day lives. I come to know the difficulties posed to dole-getters in WINZ through indirect methods. At least National says it in public.In a competitive world, accumulating certain level of wealth by everybody by satisfying the ever-changing market demand is quite possible, be they are employees, employers,investors,etc. We all say, dont aim at dole-centred economics, aim at wealth-centred objectives, thereby making all our families as well as this nation wealthier. Mr. Keys address tries to tell us this. Though this is not new, it is this direction that this country needs.
John Key is trying to stir up a lot of emotional divisiveness just as Don Brash did with his race relations speech a few years ago. Look how everyone eventually came to their senses over that, and the National Party has had to change tack. McGehan Close in Auckland is just metres outside the boundary of the Prime Ministers Mt Albert electorate. Tennyson Rd in Hamilton is a short street just metres from good, middle-class homes and a nice shopping area. These are not ghettos. There are very few long-term unemployed - it is not even an issue as far as the state of the nation, overall economy is concerned. The Labour Government has a policy of training/retraining and moving unemployed into real jobs, not occupying them with punitive, sole-destroying, created jobs - and its working - the number on benefits is significantly less. John Key is talking