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Speaker: 1600 beneficiaries moving into work each week? When a lot is not a lot

16 Responses

  • oga,

    Whenever I hear about people moving off the benefit, I wonder whether the number of people moving _onto_ the benefit during the same period was considered.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 47 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Yep. Turns out, it's a churn number.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Jim Brown,

    The amount of people coming into W and I Service Centres has actually increased.
    The backlog of processing work is at one of the highest levels as well. The proposed amalgamation of Senior Services and Studylink will only add to the workflow problems, so in short, the Statistics are flawed, and the problems are going to get worse. The Job Placement service has actually gone backward in the last 2 years.

    Long Bay • Since Sep 2013 • 3 posts Report

  • Kumara Republic,

    How many of them have gone into ‘real’ jobs? And are there any stats on how many of those who move off the benefit have gone to Australia and beyond?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

  • Joe Wylie,

    How many people on benefits turn 65 each week? Once you're on national super you're no longer counted.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jim Brown,

    The backlog of processing work is at one of the highest levels as well. The proposed amalgamation of Senior Services and Studylink will only add to the workflow problems, so in short, the Statistics are flawed, and the problems are going to get worse. The Job Placement service has actually gone backward in the last 2 years.

    Can you point us to any numbers on all that, Jim?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Michael Fletcher, in reply to oga,

    Yes, oga, the number is a flow figure. Nothing wrong with that in itself - it's just that it doesn't appear the welfare reforms have improved the rate at which beneficiaries are moving into work.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2013 • 4 posts Report

  • stephen clover, in reply to Michael Fletcher,

    And, apparently, "work" includes 1 hour per week "jobs".

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report

  • Steve Curtis,

    Yes, 1600 a week is not a lot.

    SkyTv has 865,000 subscribers, their churn rate ( from annual report) is 13.2%, which would be 2195 per week.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report

  • Marc C,

    Quote: "The ‘1,600 per week’ figure has two worrying implications. First, it is evidence that the welfare reforms have done little or nothing to improve Work and Income’s performance at helping people into work. So far we have had scant evidence of the impact of the reforms."

    It is true that the figure of 1,600 leaving benefit receipt from WINZ a week is simply a snap shot statistical number that may be valid for the mere "technical' purpose of measuring certain movements. What is not mentioned is the figure for how many people move onto benefits every week, and how many may be kept from doing so, by the new, very stringent "pre benefit activities" that are now expected of social security payment applicants:

    Case managers may turn people away, or tell them to try certain things before they get another appointment, and get a chance to actually apply for a benefit. Also there have been cases where case managers gave clients wrong information, or withheld information, so they were made to believe they first have to use up redundancy or holiday pay, before being allowed to apply for support. Others may fail to fulfill certain requirements and get sanctioned, or threatened with sanctions, and then there are those who have a partner who is working and earning money, so they are told they would not qualify, while in some cases they may actually qualify for some support (for accommodation, disability or so).

    WINZ have basically made it very hard to get onto a benefit now, and those who are not well informed, and familiar with WINZ, they easily give up, and do not even bother to seek support, some choosing to live with family, friends, or even an abusive partner, or even live on the street.

    We are told a person now alleged of serious crimes at the Ashburton WINZ Office had every help available to him offered to him, but I fear the truth will come out a bit later, that this claim may not be quite the whole truth. We will see.

    What is certain now is, that WINZ are instructed to present expectations to sick, injured and disabled, who are now deemed to "only" have "common mental health issues" or "musculo skeletal conditions", to be able to work, and make themselves available to work on the open market. MSD and WINZ claim they are not putting pressure on such persons, but I have heard other stories. Also has the medical profession now become involved, and is being tied in, to stop declaring people as not fit for work, and rather find every reason to find them rather "fit" for some forms of hypothetical work. Doctors have been instructed to work with WINZ, to "encourage" sick and impaired to go and look for work, following the UK approach, where under draconian measures and with too many wrong assessments for work ability having been made, at least 1,100 took their lives, or died early, while they could not cope.

    With all that, it is not surprising that more people get more or less pushed off benefits, or from the start get their claims denied, and so do no longer show up in the total statistics, apart from the 1,600 exiting benefits. And National and John Key make great use of that figure, as I have read in the last election brochures they put into my letter box.

    For more info re the new work ability regime see these sources for revealing details:




    Work and Income’s Principal Health Advisor sets the tone with the disqualifying measures for sick, injured and impaired:
    (see pages 13, 20, 21 and 35, where he likens benefit dependence with “drug dependence”)

    Medical professional organisations appear to have fully adopted the UK approach, working in support of WINZ and MSD measures:

    A critical UK report on what happened there, under Professor Aylward:

    Another critical UK report by disability advocates there:

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report

  • Marc C, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    We are still waiting for evaluation results and figures, that go beyond of such data that the Nats and Bennett have considered valuable for their election campaigning, see Michael's earlier post:


    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Beneficiaries Haul…
    With the computing power now on offer and the statistics within the various departments available , surely there can be a balanced accounting of how many people are :
    - employed (tax records)
    - unemployed (WINZ)
    - subtract those over 65 and under 16 (census)
    compare against known population number

    I wonder how big the discrepancy would be?
    I wouldn’t show up in there …
    being neither employed or unemployed
    but to call it self employed is a joke
    I’d be covering costs, just…
    and I doubt I’m alone in that, especially in Chchch

    I suppose I would show up thru ACC levy payments
    & the GST natch – I should deregister but then ya have to absorb that 15%

    I s’pose I could sign on to row in the
    Bennett Fisheries Hull…
    gizza job then…

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Marc C,

    And now we have even Bill English (Deputy PM) go around making bizarre claims that long term benefit dependence is like "crack cocaine addiction".



    Quote: "Getting stuck on a benefit (long-term) is like crack cocaine, it's really hard once you've started to come off it ..."

    Also reported:
    “Bill English describes beneficiaries as drug addicts”, Yahoo News NZ:

    “Bill English describes beneficiaries as drug addicts”, ZB news, 18 Sept. 2014:

    “Beneficiary bashing unacceptable – BAFNZ”, Voxy, 18.09.14:

    So he must have been told this by WINZ's Principal Health Advisor David Bratt, who has been repeating this nonsense for years, in his selective information using "presentations" to health professionals:
    (see pages 13, 20, 21 and 35)

    Dr Bratt has happily taken over the same ideologically influenced "science" from Professor Mansel Aylward, the UK "expert" that British governments relied on, to deliver ideas to declare sick and disabled as likely malingerers, who merely suffer from "illness belief", as in most cases they would not be sick, and would rather be "fit" to work.

    See the links in my earlier comment for details, what that is all about. I cannot believe National are leading in the polls, and that nearly half the voting public are willing to give this present lot in government a third term.

    I feel very afraid for those on benefits, who will get another round of not only bashing, but yet more draconian measures, to pressure them into total submission and into whatever work. Recently Paula Bennett announced that a National led government would pay incentives to beneficiaries to stay in work, after 6 months and twelve months. She claimed that after such time periods too many would return onto benefits, and she hinted that they may have attitude problems when it came to work. But I fear she is as dim as many say she is, it may rather be so that many have to go onto benefits after such times, because they were only on temporary employment contracts, which ran out, forcing people to claim benefits again.

    It is time to throw her out of her job, as Paula has lost touch with the realities her Ministry's clients have to live under. Perhaps she can do with a stint on the benefit for a few years, and let us see how she will "manage".

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report

  • stephen clover,

    This morning's RNZ news bulletin at 7.30 finished with a short, cute, and quite bizarre piece about how many drug tests had been failed by beneficiaries taken as a pre-req to going into a job or training course. No context. No quote from minister or department. No stats regarding the number of failed tests v. the total number of tests taken, or the cost of implementing this regime. Nothing.

    It sounded like a propaganda message on behalf of the govt and even the newsreader sounded slightly embarrassed at having to read it.

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report

  • Marc C, in reply to stephen clover,

    Yep, propaganda galore we get, there is NO doubt about it.

    I recommend this audio recording from Kathryn Ryan's Nine to Noon program today (Friday, 19 Sept. 2014), which has Brent Edwards, political editor for Radio NZ National, reveal the truth about many statistics that have been thrown around this election. He does at the start also reveal the facts on the mythical 1,600 beneficiaries supposedly all leaving the benefit every week, to move into work. As he states, the figure ignores the inflow of people losing jobs and moving onto benefits for health and other reasons too. The actual number of people moving off benefits on the whole scale of factual figures and in balance is much, much smaller.

    This is the kind of report people out there should carefully listen to, before they go and cast their votes.

    Link to the audio track:

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report

  • Marc C, in reply to stephen clover,

    Stephen, here is a news item from the Radio NZ website covering that topic. It is a tiny number of all beneficiaries who had to undergo a drug-test for prospective work or training, and who consequently "failed" it, and had sanctions placed on them:


    "Twenty people have had their benefits cancelled or suspended since a policy introduced in July last year made drug-testing compulsory for some jobs."

    Of the total number of 29,890 tested that is a ridiculous 0.067 percent!!!

    A few more had the benefit reduced, but that would hardly increase the percentage by all that much, to make it worth mentioning.

    So with all the hype, the draconian measures put into place, and all those earlier allegations that thousands on benefits were smoking dope or taking other drugs, and thus fail tests asked for by employers, Bennett and her colleagues have used a sledge hammer to deal with a problem that does not really exist in numbers worth talking about.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report

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