Access by Various artists

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Access: Is New Zealand Fair and Square?

21 Responses

  • Hilary Stace,

    Thanks for this Tom. Raises a lot of issues that I am sure many families will relate to. My son had such a run for a short time when he was a teenager. I thought it would be a nice normal activity for him. Our area has some steep streets. It took a lot of adult time to help sort and carry the heavy loads, and get the deliveries done on time - for minimal remuneration. Lots of letterboxes have signs saying they don't want the material meaning the runs are even longer. I won't put one on our letterbox even now (even though I don't read most of the material and have doubts about the environmental aspects of such loads of paper) as I know the relief of unloading each batch of material .

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    This does nothing to address your wider concern about finding simple manual work for those with limited skills, but delivering newspapers/circulars has always been horribly underpaid for the work involved.

    That industry is simply based on exploiting those who are most vulnerable - adolescents when I delivered 200 papers for $4 total (that wasn't minimum wage in the 80s either), recent immigrants now, or people who have difficulty doing skilled work for other reasons.

    The whole thing is appalling. If you need a vehicle to do the work, it should be stated up front. The work should be paid in accordance with the true number of hours expected for this work, not some fairy number based on relays of slaves.

    As to the issue of finding unskilled work in general, it's tough. Let alone if you have other issues to deal with.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    I won't excuse it, but I also don't think this is necessarily a recent thing.

    My exposure to the circular-delivery industry, in the late 1990s as a student, was sadly eerily similar. Soon after signing up, I rationally equated the rate with near slave labour. This was partly due to the absurdly low rate, but also because it was effectively a zero-hour contract where I was required to remain available on short notice, yet no work was being provided. (One relatively small delivery in two months of being on call!)

    I didn't last long in that job. At the time I'd been pushed into it by my parents, but it didn't take long to convince them that it was outright abuse of the employment situation, wasting masses of time, requiring to be endlessly on call, for virtually no compensation. Today I'm never surprised when I see large numbers of circulars dumped around the streets.

    I'd hoped my own experience wasn't representative of the industry, but perhaps not, and maybe nothing's changed after 20 years.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari, in reply to izogi,

    I'd hoped my own experience wasn't representative of the industry, but perhaps not, and maybe nothing's changed after 20 years

    its been going on longer than that, direct marketing this way has always exploited the worker, only thing thats possibly changed is the workforce has got older as real employment/cost of living has got harder, i.e. its not just kids doing this

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C,

    "The work experience served to accentuate extreme anxiety for the disabled person and it was necessary to advise the other party to the contract that further service could not be provided." And:

    "It seems to me that the ‘free economy’ has almost achieved its goal; that is competition has run its course to the point where human rights in Gods Own (NZ) are being contravened. This is because some of its citizens are now doing strenuous manual labour for almost nothing. If payment for the work is not made it will be less than nothing – at least $5.00 for the use of the family car and backpack has been expended. My guess is that this is not an isolated case."

    This proves my fears, and knowing other persons with mental health conditions, some rather complex ones, I am not surprised that few dare take the bold step and “volunteer” to attend the so called ‘Mental Health Employment Services’ trials that MSD and WINZ run on a trial basis. Indeed, it seems the whole exercise of offering so-called “wrap around services” (which means anything else but that in reality) to persons on benefits for health reasons is a total failure.

    I do fear though, the Minister and her underlings in her departments will again see the “problems” with the “lack of motivation” and “attitudes” of those involved, and try a bit harder (putting on yet more expectations) in the future.

    Read this to get some more info on all this:
    "Back-to-work programme labelled a fail"
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11514141

    “Despite $7.3m spend, beneficiaries in trial did not stay in work longer or earn more”

    Also OIA info that has been made available:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/mental-health-and-sole-parent-employment-services-msd-withholds-o-i-a-information-that-may-prove-their-trials-a-failure/

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/11/27/msds-selective-and-poor-responses-to-new-oia-requests-on-benefits-advisors-reports-mental-health-and-sole-parent-employment-services/

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/msd-and-dr-david-bratt-present-misleading-evidence-claiming-worklessness-causes-poor-health/

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/08/10/msd-are-planning-to-widen-the-scope-for-who-can-sign-work-capacity-medical-certificates/

    Some PDFs:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/msd-oia-rqst-dr-bratt-mhes-spes-waa-reports-winz-sundry-data-08-07-reply-anon-19-11-15.pdf

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/msd-o-i-a-request-to-c-e-of-m-s-d-base-benefit-break-down-anon-08-07-15.pdf

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/msd-o-i-a-request-to-c-e-of-msd-bratt-hd-panel-reforms-anon-08-07-15.pdf

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/msd-oia-rqst-mhes-waa-other-support-services-issues-reply-anon-26-02-2015.pdf

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/msd-o-i-a-reply-d-power-mhes-waa-information-complete-24-04-2014.pdf

    Our society is in parts now a “dog eat dog” society, believe it or not, and here in Auckland I see a lot of people that work for pittances, on casual, insecure part-time and also virtual “zero hour” contracts, and few dare speak out against anything much, as it is so damned hard to get a job and worse even to try and get a benefit from WINZ.

    But as the lower numbers on benefits, and costs associated, means the government can CUT taxes for many others, the ones not in such insecurity do not care, they just love to get their bags filled at the supermarket and the tank of their car filled at the petrol station, to drive home to leafy suburbia, where life is better, and where they vote governments in, such as we have.

    Add the endless spin, a largely neutralised MSM, consumerist brain washing, and the earth can be flat, it does not really matter, there will be no dissent allowed.

    I feel sorry for the weakest at the bottom, or those trying to work, while others do not give them a fair chance from the start. This post shows exactly what some of our biggest problems are, a good post, thank you for sharing this!

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Sam M,

    I can't understand why this kind of exploitation is not illegal. How do they get around our minimum wage laws?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Sam M,

    How do they get around our minimum wage laws?

    The first and easiest way is to ensure that prosecution requires a complainant. Then make it clear to potential complainants that they will be fired and blacklisted.

    The second, and longer-term way, is to elect right-wing governments who will make it lawful. In this case, likely by a contract rate that was determined using generous circumstances which can then be applied to other situations.

    I've done a lot of piecework rate work, and it's a very easy situation to get screwed in (it's also fairly lucrative manual labour at times if you're good, but employers work quite hard to avoid those situations). With fruit picking when there are multiple employers and a short picking season the pay tends to be good, but when growers consolidate so there are only a few employers the rates drop until only force labour can be used. Sorry, I mean "work for the dole" and "people trying to stay on the dole".

    With circular delivery there are a lot of people being forced into "anything that counts as a job" by the dole office, and a lot of others who can't get the dole for some reason (lack of a PhD in 'dealing with bureaucracy' usually). It's better than begging, at least in theory, and it beats starving, so people do it.

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

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Sam M,

    How do they get around our minimum wage laws?

    http://employment.govt.nz/er/pay/exemptions/disabilitiesemployees.asp

    last time I looked there were over a hundred 'businesses' exempted from paying the minimum wage to their disabled empolyees..

    very hard to find the list....try ASENZ....

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    Voila!

    http://thehub.superu.govt.nz/sites/default/files/HRC-11-Tracking%20Equality%20at%20Work%20for%20Disabled%20People.pdf

    Currently 1076 people receive a minimum wage
    exemption permit under s8 of the Minimum Wage
    Exemption Act.5 In 2001, under the DPEP Act,
    approximately 5400 people were employed in
    sheltered workshops. There are 136 employers
    across New Zealand who employ people who
    have a minimum wage exemption. Some but
    not all, are business enterprises.
    Rates of pay vary from just under the minimum
    wage to less than a $1.00 an hour.

    2011.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster,

    "How do they get around our minimum wage laws?"

    Easy, make them independent contractors. The erstwhile 'employee' is then responsible for everything (including ACC levies on their payments) and the 'employer' is responsible for nothing. The film & tv business, amongst many others, is run this way and the 'employees' just seem to accept it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to izogi,

    I'd hoped my own experience wasn't representative of the industry, but perhaps not, and maybe nothing's changed after 20 years.

    From the experiences of a close family member who'd been regularly assisting a friend with her Dunedin newspaper and leaflet deliveries, it seems that things haven't improved. As someone with a cognitive disability who longs to work and feel valued she's currently pretty much limited to voluntary work in a charity store. Being energetic with an outgoing personality doesn't seem to take one as far as it used to once you hit your mid-40s. Perhaps she's fortunate in having a sympathetic WINZ case manager, as she's reliant on a benefit in order to have something of an independent life.

    Anyway as of the end of last month the delivery work stopped abruptly when her unfortunate friend fell victim to a particularly savage dog attack. While such incidents are probably rare, it's a nasty reminder that not only is delivery work poorly paid, it can also be horribly dangerous.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    'A team of 31 eager workers on standby'. The language and reality of modern day sheltered workshops. http://www.odt.co.nz/hillside-feature/busy-bees-cargill-enterprises-cargill-enterprises

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    But do not sow the seeds of doubt, work is "better for your health", it has "health benefits", it is "therapeutic", there is ample evidence for it, so rather than have people sit around doing nothing, get them off to the work bench, or other places for “constructive” activity, the rest are just insignificant “side issues” that can easily be dealt with:

    https://www.racp.edu.au/advocacy/health-benefits-of-work/stakeholder-updates
    (They have changed the website repeatedly, deleted stuff that was available before, and “polished” up statements and so, that present information in summary and presentation form, giving little info on whose “evidence” and “research” it was based)

    Here the glossy and brochure like presentations, “corporate style” almost:

    https://www.racp.edu.au/advocacy/health-benefits-of-work/position-statements

    http://www.gpcme.co.nz/pdf/2011ROT/Saturday/2-First/1630%20Beaumont.pdf

    http://www.gpcme.co.nz/pdf/FridayBreakfastCE%20CME%20conference110610%20-%20Better%20at%20Work%20Evidence%20FINAL%20Jo.pdf

    http://www.gpcme.co.nz/pdf/GP%20CME/Friday/C1%201515%20Bratt-Hawker.pdf

    http://www.gpcme.co.nz/pdf/2013%20South/Fri_Lounge2_1630_Bratt%20-Benefit%20Sunshine%20-%20GP%20CME%20South%202013.pdf

    This is what the affected, advocates and critics in the UK think of one of the major “master minds” behind the “health benefits of work” drive, a relentlessly pushed agenda:
    http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2012/09/18/dwpatosunum-scandal-an-academic-responds-with-disbelief-to-professor-aylwards-statement-to-black-triangle-and-dpac-outside-the-ifdm2012-conference-on-11th-september-2012/

    By the way, Dr D. Bratt, PHA for MSD, was in early 2014 working with Prof. M. Aylward in the UK for one whole month, also learning about “change management” (to better achieve change in attitudes to accept new policies, which I guess will start with “information” being formulated to convince, and “non effective” or potentially critical information being left out and not being made available.

    Misinformation is gaining momentum by the day, assisted by modern IT communication, so we get bombarded with stuff that we are meant to take note of, and unfavourable info increasingly being cleansed from the web, assisted by search engines only listing what is heavily promoted. The ones that have the money and power are winning, which is not only happening in politics, I fear.

    So there is virtually NO discussion about poverty and many other "bio psycho social" aspects causing poor health, as that is not politically wanted. Low pay, poor job conditions, lack of suitable, decent work for those that do it, particularly persons with disabilities, those do not seem to be priorities.

    At least our government, same as many other neoliberally minded ones, do not care about those issues, it is rather that work is the solution to all problems, and we get results as this post above tells us.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    CARGILL Enterprises creates high quality durable products using skilled staff ...

    So...how do we find out if these "skilled staff" are paid at least the minimum wage?

    exploitation.....definition..

    the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work.
    "the exploitation of migrant workers"
    synonyms: taking advantage, making use, abuse of, misuse, ill treatment, unfair treatment, bleeding dry, sucking dry, squeezing, wringing; More...

    Somehow, we accept this.

    Why?

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    And..a section of the submission prepared for the Domestic Violence and Disability Working Group in February 2014 recommends...

    Recommendation 11:
    New Zealand must end the provision of Minimum Wage Exemption Permits25 and
    put in place alternative measures to ensure that all disabled people in paid work
    are paid at least the statutory minimum wage available to non-disabled people,
    with employers supported appropriately to encourage the employment of
    disabled workers.

    Disabled people have expressed concern about the Minimum Wage
    Exemption Permit. Some disabled people are paid less than 10% of the statutory
    minimum wage and hundreds are paid less than a quarter of the minimum wage.
    This locks disabled people into low paying jobs, often tied to disability service
    providers, with no financial independence to enable them to escape from abusive
    situations.

    http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/nzupr2-adl.pdf

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Marc C,

    So there is virtually NO discussion about poverty and many other “bio psycho social” aspects causing poor health, as that is not politically wanted. Low pay, poor job conditions, lack of suitable, decent work for those that do it, particularly persons with disabilities, those do not seem to be priorities.

    Marc....there is discussion, and in the most unlikely of settings.

    Just the other evening I was chatting with the owners of a very nice motorhome parked in a very upmarket part of Auckland.

    This quite elderly fellow was almost ranting about how the "poor"" are treated by this government. He was not only referring to those not in work, but to those working poor that the government has thrown under the bus of national economic advancement. He remembered unions talking about how it serves the rich to have the poor fighting each other for the sweepings from their overladen tables...

    His daughter was working as a caregiver, and jumped in when we talked about a Living Wage. Out of loyalty and concern for her long term clients she was being paid minimum wage, despite having completed Level 3 qualifications. She could go and work for another contracted provider for $18 per hour....not all people are totally self serving.

    The discussions we have here need a wider audience. We need a MSM that will regularly publish articles about the reality of life today for those struggling to make ends meet.

    I believe that the baby boomers, in the main, will be surprising allies. We need to tap into this undercurrent of disaffection that is evident, as I said earlier, in the most unlikely of settings.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Well that sounds encouraging. But I come across few such discussions. Also we must bear in mind, there is often a disconnect between what many people say and like to have done, and what they will themselves do, when they are asked to provide the means for it.

    For instance the topic climate change and sustainability bring that to the fore, when many say they see a need to do more, but when the same continue their lives more or less as usual, as paying a price of making a sacrifice can create inconveniences that they are not prepared to accept.

    The same applies to discussions about the minimum wage. When people may have to pay higher prices or pay more taxes for poverty to be alleviated, the enthusiasm to accept necessary measures often fades away.

    But you do at least seem to be meeting some very interesting and also enlightened people.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    Is New Zealand Fair and Square? Are all lives treated equally in the eyes of the law?
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/75318312/ipca-finds-investigation-into-severely-disabled-teens-death-lacking

    Clearly not.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Angela Hart,

    The boy's family are unamused.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    RNZ's story is better:

    Nathan's mother Angela Middlemiss said she believed justice would have been done if police had investigated properly.

    "I'm actually scared for other disability families, because it now means that nobody has to take things seriously when it comes to disability, and that scares me."

    Ms Middlemiss is also calling for the caregiver who left her son on his own to be named.

    The caregiver was charged with manslaughter but then had the charge dropped earlier this month.

    "Nobody knows who she is - she can still work today as a caregiver and it just feels like she got a slap on the hand and went: 'Oh, bad mistake'.

    "So I just need her to accept the blame."

    The IPCA report also said police should have sought a legal opinion before deciding not to prosecute.

    Ms Middlemiss said law changes around disability care were needed to make sure no-one else had to go through what she had endured.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Sacha,

    I don't want to cut across this thread...but I've flicked something up on the" Disabilty Abuse:its not ok"

    The Manawatu paper did published (briefly) the caregiver's name...

    There were two staff for six children....Idea Services could well have afforded a higher staffing level.

    Ms Middlemiss said law changes around disability care were needed to make sure no-one else had to go through what she had endured.

    Trouble is...there ARE laws...but the police seemed not to think that those laws were there to protect disabled people too.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report Reply

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