Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: On benefit fraud

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  • andin, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    If it’s not a wealth redistribution system, it’s not working

    The main reason to redistribute is, that due to ideologies that gave birth to policies that profited a small section of the population (the already wealthy), and corporations that could work all the angles on tax avoidance, has so distorted our previously social democratic state, it is the best and quickest way to restore something resembling wealth balance in society.
    And the dishonourable S Joyce & co can go suck eggs.


    Thanks for that info about Pilger Rob.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • John McCormick,

    Presumably all the people demanding that Metiria Turei pay back the govt have never broken the speed limit. Because if they had, they would now be rushing to the Ministry of Transport to pay the required fines. They broke the law and didn't get caught, same as Metiria. Why shouldn't the same principle apply? I would make a wild guess that a lot of those people have expensive cars and a sense of entitlement. If they paid for every time the total would probably be quite large.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to andin,

    policies that profited a small section of the population (the already wealthy), and corporations that could work all the angles on tax avoidance, has so distorted our previously social democratic state

    Exactly. Lawful tax avoidance - it's neoliberalism all grown up and on steroids - globalisation, the ideological sham of the 21st century.

    How we reverse it is anyone's guess, but I can't get past the feeling that the utter chaos and turmoil we are experiencing globally right now is its progeny.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody,

    Anyone else find this statement from Paula Bennett interesting;

    Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett, someone with firsthand experience of the welfare system, said she was never deliberately in a position to lie to WINZ.

    I take that to mean, she never deliberately lied, but did by accident. Another master of spin.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/94789628/new-zealands-welfare-system-is-no-longer-a-functioning-system

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    never deliberately in a position to lie to WINZ

    I take it to mean, she’s assuming some other position that I don’t want to visualise.
    Seriously, that’s … not just odd, not just spinning, but a deviantly legalistic turn of phrase, too hedged by far to have any real-world application.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1940 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to linger,

    Glad you thought so too.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to ,

    Now that we are onto the turning of phrase, I’ve been noticing politicians not answering questions by saying : “sorry, that’s above my pay grade”.

    Is that right? Not that I'd know, but it's the kind of talk that I'd have assumed happened with strippers and football teams.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    she was never deliberately in a position to lie to WINZ.

    In other words, when she was in a position to lie to WINZ she got there by accident.

    She is very carefully not denying that she lied to WINZ.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to ,

    Now, seen as how this is the Winz confessional blog

    It is?

    Forgive me Russell for I have sinned, I took money from the guvmint what I was not s'posed to... Although I don't actually recall doing that, but I'm sure I did. I was more inclined to trespass against corporations that trespassed against me than go through the bureacrazy to get money that I didn't actually need (lucky to be me, I know). I was on the dole for a bit, but my supervisory official was a woman I went to university with and she just looked at me and said "we don't have the sort of job you should be looking for, so I'm not imposing a job search requirement. Now take your dole and go away". As you might guess, that was about 1990.

    I fear Pullya Benefit would demand "three paean to RogerDouglas and kick a homeless person" for absolution, where Russell might be more inclined to "donate that sum to charity".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    she never deliberately lied

    Bennett's wording in the RNZ interview included "I never lied to them as such". Now, what could that mean .. ?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to Sacha,

    She probably used a terminological inexactitude, instead.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Sacha,

    "I never lied to them as such"

    Charitably that could mean that she lied about being available for full-time work while on the unemployment benefit and studying (or some similar stupid requirement).

    I am guessing she's trying to exclude lying by omission, suggesting she failed to report income or a relationship and considers that lying by omission despite the requirement that claimants affirmatively state the lack of income on a regular basis.

    But the cynical part of me takes it to mean that every statement she made included truthful elements, like "I, Paula Bennett {this bit is true} have no income to declare {this is the "as such" part}".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    I told a lie to claim benefits. Now I am an MP
    and I want to tell you why

    - Metiria Turei

    https://www.theguardian.com/global/commentisfree/2017/jul/20/lie-claim-benefits-mp-tell-you-why-new-zealand?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Roland Askew, in reply to Emma Hart,

    It's possible they never considered.

    Anecdotal word is, when ms Ruthanasia herself wanted minimum subsistence levels measured for benefits and was told of the findings, she said "cut them by 25%, that will get more people into work!" And they were, and despite recent rises in some benefit levels they've never returned to that minimum level.

    Additionally, the effective inflation for people earning low incomes has been around twice the average inflation rate, meaning the recent benefit rises actually made no real gain in reaching adequate subsistence levels.

    To my knowledge the Invalids Benefit, which I receive, has had no effective increase, and has been adjusted at the average inflation, so now some welfare recipients with disabilities are living at least 30% below what they need to subsist (and many need more than that for medical costs).

    Auckland • Since Dec 2015 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Sacha,

    “I never lied to them as such”.

    Skating on thinner ice by the day.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Roland Askew,

    Anecdotal word is

    Oh, there's evidence beyond that. No shame.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Moz,

    I have heard allegations she was receiving undeclared income from a rental property.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Sacha,

    I have heard allegations she was receiving undeclared income from a rental property.

    Now, I don’t know if this is true or not. But let’s assume it is. The thing is this is how the NZ economy operates in the real world. Cash job discount here, a little bit of undeclared income there, let’s not mention the boarders over here or the barter off the books. And the reason it operates that way is because for thirty years governments of both stripes have successfully driven wages and benefits down. To stay afloat through tough times millions of NZer’s have turned to the black economy and become sharp practitioners and/or minor fraudsters against the state. The middle class single income and a bit of overtime Dad with Mum at home world of the early 1980s has been replaced by middle class dual incomes and a converted garage granny flat paying cash rent, just to maintain a middle class standard of living – and even then, we’ve relied on the exploitation of slave wage labour offshore to drive down the prices of the things the middle class like to have. The dole and the DPB etc etc are now weaponised tools of humiliation and oppression designed to strip people of their dignity and keep them in grinding poverty. That undeclared boarder paying $150 a week most likely is what keeps all your kid’s school fees paid.

    The problem with the likes of that hyper-arsehole Farrar and the rest of the pompous pricks who sit high and mighty in judgment is they are fat and sleek from the winnings of being on the bosses side of neoliberalism. They’ve allowed themselves to be persuaded that the bullshit from the bankers and crackpot economists like Eric Crampton at places like the New Zealand institute about our economy is the truth.

    More than anything, the trials of Turei and Bennett – about the only two MPs who experienced welfare post Richardson – is an unwelcome intrusion of reality into the rarified income strata of the ruling elites. Of the two of them, one took the lesson and vowed to try and make sure no one else was ever in her position. The other one turned into a class traitor who kicks the down and outs as a way to assuage her sense of humiliation. I guess that is about the right ratio for that sort of thing as well.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Sacha,

    I have heard allegations she was receiving undeclared income from a rental property.

    That phrasing is marvellous!

    The easy implication is that she owned a rental property and wasn't declaring it or the income. In reality she likely had a housemate and didn't declare their rent payments.

    But hearing that it feels as though she's a fat cat... especially now when we know that most MPs own rental properties. We're not thinking "20 years ago she was a poor solo mother" we're being encouraged to feel "she's a rich MP on the telly, and she screwed us". Because people vote their feelings, not their carefully considered, soundly researched logical conclusions.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to ,

    I'm not in a position to vote my feelings on anyone, never have been. Two main reasons: I'm quite misanthropic and judgemental, so the overwhelming majority of people seem like arseholes to me. Secondly, I grew up knowing politicians and political people. I've hung out with people from Bill Rowling to David Farrar (and, to my credit, killed none of them). Even Mike Ward irritates me, despite liking him in general and agreeing with his politics 99% of the time. But hanging out with them doesn't make me think "wow, these people are moral paragons full of good ideas and wisdom", on the contrary it generally fills me with rage and a desire to either run away or punch them.

    So voting my feelings about politicians would result in another ballot with "I hope you all die in a fire" written on it. That's not the best outcome, and not even the "least worst" outcome.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • Warren Doney, in reply to Shane Le Brun,

    I feel it with the Bitcoin too. Someone asked what I wish I knew 5 years ago, and I did the research. I console myself by thinking I probably would have had it all in Mt Gox :)

    Auckland • Since May 2017 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Moz,

    In reality she likely had a housemate and didn't declare their rent payments.

    It would be interesting if both got in trouble for the same thing. This passage survived some rapid redacting of a Fairfax article this morning shortly after initial publication:

    Another truckie, Rex Howie, says he knew Bennett and her then boyfriend, truck driver Alan Philps, or "Philpsy", who'd helped to set up the tattoo club.

    Bennett re-connected with Philps later in life and they married in 2012.

    The pair were living together at a place in Lake Tutira, 40km north of Napier, Howie says, and Bennett also rented a place in Wellesley Rd, Napier.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Metiria Turei interview clip from Q&A (12 mins).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to ,

    I notice a sort of swagger some people have when I visit the supermarket down the bottom of college hill. It's a sort of confidence that says I'm doing ok, l'm in the bubble.

    Eastern suburbs have that vibe when I venture there. Two nations.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Sacha,

    Eastern suburbs have that vibe when I venture there. Two nations.

    It is the culture shift that occurs when you have massive inequality. Perfectly nice middle class Chileans know nothing and care even less for the people who live in the slums of Santiago, beyond seeing them as an irritant that entails much higher security measures.

    The rich white Castelano population of Venezuela didn't give a shit about the poor there either.

    We have to accept tat this culture shift has occurred here as well. It is why the poor are now invisible, why the media treats low income/poor NZ as a foreign country and why Mike Hoskings can live with 250,000 children growing up in poverty.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

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