Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Misadventure and Muppetry

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  • Christopher Dempsey,

    Christopher -- I tried to email you, but perhaps had the wrong address. When and where is the NW motorway cycleway opening tomorrow? I'd like to get along!

    Have emailed you the opening details, but it is on tomorrow (Thursday 15th) at 10.30am, at Nixon Park, just off Central Rd, Kingsland.

    See you there, and anyone else who'd like to come along on their bike!

    Seeing Sam will be there and yourself, and myself, perhaps a PAS caucus is in order?

    (and I've updated my email details in my profile as well...)

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    __What happens when your dole runs out?__

    Then you get starve, as befits the undeserving poor.

    I haven't lived in Canada for 21 years so I'm not sure what's in place now, but back then you went on UIC benefits if you were unemployed, and when it ran out (which was indexed to how long you had been employed to begin with) you either got another job or went on welfare. Unemployment benefits, workers' compensation benefits, Canada pension plan and (compulsory) government medical insurance were all automatically deducted from your salary, as well as being contributed to by your employer and the government.

    Novelist Douglas ("Generation X") Coupland coined the term "Poverty Jet-Set" to describe the demographic in Vancouver that would plan to work long enough to qualify for UIC then go (cheaply) to Hawaii, Mexico, Europe. Or they would go up Whistler or Grouse Mountain to ski. There actually used to be droves of people on the hills wearing signs on their ski-jackets that proudly said "UIC SKI TEAM".

    At the point that UIC benefits ran out you could go on welfare, though I never personally met a single person who admitted to collecting welfare. Like dropping out of high school, going on welfare isn't something people feel comfortable admitting as there is a huge social stigma attached to either.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    I suspect an unintended side effect of the proposed welfare changes is that many of those currently in work are probably going to be more bolshie about their job security. How bolshie exactly? If worst came to worst, possibly a replay of the Synovate episode, not unlike what's happened in France.

    Like dropping out of high school, going on welfare isn't something people feel comfortable admitting as there is a huge social stigma attached to either.

    Too bloody right. From my own experiences, it's not a lifestyle choice, but more akin to a prison minus the walls. It's an insult to our collective intelligence - not much could debunk the myth more so than the 2,000 people queueing for 150 jobs at the new Sth AKL Countdown supermarket. Not that intelligence matters much to those movers and shakers who think Kath & Kim is a training manual.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5439 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I can't put my finger on why, but the latest handwringing over beneficiaries reminds me of this.

    But perhaps I just want to see Paula Bennett tipped into horse pond.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    PS. The photo from the article I linked reminded me of the UK Tories' infamous 1979 campaign poster.

    Next stop: It's The Economy, Stupid!

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5439 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    ...and there is nothing new under the sun-

    I'd donate - to a worthy cause - quite a bit to see Paula B et al swim in something unsavoury - we have suitable settling ponds just outside HK-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Sickness beneficiaries up 26,000 in the ten years to Dec 09. Invalids up 33,000. Unemployment down 95,000

    A relative of mine suffering from severe schizophrenia was on the dole for years during the 90s, faithfully attending workshops on CV writing and applying for jobs although she was totally unemployable. In the early 2000s she was transfered to the invalids benefit. I have a hypothesis that our welfare system was really badly run for a very long time (this would correspond to the period Christine Rankin was CEO) and incorrectly classed people who were incapable of working as 'seeking employment', so that when some sanity returned to the organisation and people were classified correctly it looked like a suspicious boost in the numbers.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    next up from Frau Paula: Investigating moving our undeserving poor to Scott Base, where winter will impartially deal with them as God intended.

    At approx $1000 a day to keep someone at Scott Base - that'll save em heaps!
    Whatever happened to just putting the elderly out on the ice, and getting them to "...go with the floe..."

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7948 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Is anyone else as surprised as I am at Doug Graham's loud proclamations of innocence?

    "The prospectus was prepared by management, commented on by the auditors and solicitors and then accepted by the Companies Office. The document was sent to the trustee. None of these advised the board of any concerns with the final wording."

    Sir Doug also expressed dismay at the time it had taken to make the allegations and said he was "very disappointed" the commission had never raised with him any concerns it had regarding the prospectus before it filed proceedings.

    I know we don't have high standards for directors in NZ, but I'm pretty sure there's more to it than just signing what people bring to you and collecting your honorarium.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Whatever happened to just putting the elderly out on the ice

    As long as it's cubed, and in a tall glass smothered in alcohol, no problem!

    "...go with the floe..."

    Yeah, well, some don't have the strength of mind
    Others mistake piety for strength.
    Old Buddhist saying.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Surprised by Doug Graham's comments? Aue, no - we know now to expect so little from yesteryear's politicians. Or sportspeople. Especially when the brief is essentially being a front for moneymaking enterprises-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    ...and there is nothing new under the sun-

    Yes there is for us. Did you not get my email Islander?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    There's definitely a story there. I do sometime feel that there are a lot of sick people who need to harden up a bit.

    yes becuase being a sickness or invalids beneficiary is sooo much fun. Trust me it is not a ticket to great money, it is not an easy life and the stigma of being on a benefit is horrible to live with and is a harder life than having a job.

    I know i am on an invalids befit

    For me and the majority of others it's not even that we can't find a job (which is hard enough for people able to work) it's that we are not even well enough to work. I would give anything to be able to hold down a regular 9 -5 job, but i can't even hold down a 10 hour a week job.

    and god knows I've tried, I've tried so many times and failed. Each time i had to resign or was asked to consider my position becuase my health was not up to working i felt like i was loosing a little bit of myself.

    And being unable to work is not where it starts and finishes. Being that ill throws everything down the drain, you spend your money on doctors instead of going out. You don't see friends becuase you can't afford simple things that most people take for granted like going out for lunch or dinner or a drink.

    You treasure the friends who are understanding enough to stay in your life when you have to cancel hanging out with them all the time becuase you are not feeling so well.

    You fight to find a sense of purpose or point in the world where the first question people normally ask is so what do you do? If you are brave enough to admit being on a benefit of any kind you can 9 times out of 10 be guaranteed to stop a conversation flat.

    Yes it's a free ride being on an invalids benefit.

    I fill in all my forms every year, I declare any bit of income or any few hours I work and am happy to have my befit lowered for that week or month or on a regular basis becuase it means i might not be dependent on the system in the future.

    I see a case manger at winz every year (it's never the same person)
    who checks all my forms and questions me on my health.

    Every 2 years i have forms filled out by my GP saying i can't work. I used to have to see a winz approved doctor for that. I'm not sure why that rule changed maybe national decided to cut costs becuase winz couldn't afford all the doctors bills?

    If anything dealing with the system (which at one point canceled my benefit becuase my case manager lost my files) and being on an invalids benefit has forced me to harden up a hell of a lot more than when i was working.

    You don't hear the stories of those of us who play by the rules, becuase it doesn't make headlines, it's not news. But we are the silent majority. We also don't speak up becuase what if doing so might risk loosing our benefit.

    oh yes and the best part at winz we have to sit in a separate waiting area from the seniors and if you dare sit in the wrong section, you get asked to move.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Sue - only from family & friends' experience do I know what you are dealing with - a situation that politicians (who are paid for, by us all, an exorbitant salary) have created.

    Not everyone can work -as you so movingly tell; and when you are ill, longterm, life gets very harsh indeed.

    Anything I can do to help? I cant offer money but -anything else?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    Hi Sue,

    You are very brave to expose yourself like that.

    This beneficiary bashing makes me so sad and angry. There is no rational basis to it and I have experienced the "dream" of DPB and unemployment benefit up close and personal myself. Well, those that voted for National should not be surprised that they are mining this particular vein of "mainstream NZ" sentiment.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    a situation that politicians (who are paid for, by us all, an exorbitant salary) have created.

    That's what I think is the one thing entirely that I despise about this Government. No empathy.
    Sue, if you ever make it to Auckland, I'll have you over for a drink or 2. My shout. :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Robeson,

    G'day Mediaphiles!

    Is angry Russel back ready to smite the evil f@# who somehow seem to be running our country once more?

    Mining national parks, cutting back national radio, privatising prisons, probably welfare, cutting work rights, raising GST to cut top tax rates, asailing ACC and biggest crime of all giving TVNZ 6 and 7 to Sky free of charge.

    Oh and pay equity, appeasement on whaling...I lost count...

    Just as well they went easy on us first term huh?

    Since Feb 2008 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • SpikeHegan,

    Whoa, people. Stop. Take three steps back and get some scope on this.
    What have we got splurging out of the Cabinet caucus right now? Let me count the ways:
    Bashing beneficiaries. Ho hum. Might as well. Doesn't take much energy and always gets a bit of noise going.
    Cutting back National Radio funding. That was the opener, guaranteed to get the media seething.

    And of course, mining National Parks. As usual, Gerry Brownlee gets to deliver the big hit. Petitions, shrieking, suicide threats. But wait: if the government OK's mining in national parks tomorrow, it will be at least six years before a single truck rolls down any road, anywhere, to start the digging. Probably eight. This is not even remotely related to our need to increase our economic performance right now.
    I'm pretty disappointed that no-one in the media or anywhere else hasn't wondered if this might be a giant smokescreen. That they are throwing out controversies all over the place to cover something else up. I suspect that it is simply that they are borrowing a billion dollars a month and have put forward no plan whatsoever to manage this reverse haemorrhage, no reports about where it is going, or how long it will continue, what it means for our economy in six months, a year, two years, whatever. Nothing. They have no idea and don't want to be asked.
    But knowing Gerry Brownlee's track record of dirty tricks, it could be something else altogether.
    Anyway, come election time they'll just can the whole mining thing, say, what good guys we are, we listened to you and we are going back to locking the schedule 4 land up again. Hooray for us!
    Please - let's not be so naive. Somebody who has the time and contacts should start digging. I am convinced that something really bad is going down.
    Brownlee's comment about the area under consideration is only .02% of the conservation estate was great for a giggle, though. If it's a 50 million litre toxic sludge lake, it would be a mighty significant .02%.
    It immediately conjured in my mind the picture of a New Zealand's Next Top model would-be with a giant black hairy mole between her eyes. "What's the problem? It's only .02% of my skin surface!"

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Whoa, people. Stop. Take three steps back and get some scope on this.Whoa, people. Stop. Take three steps back and get some scope on this.

    What, same National Party, same Act Party, same United Future and token Maori Party for good measure? Same ol', same ol'. No surprises.More of the same selfish behaviour.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • SpikeHegan,

    Hey Andin! Give me a recent Buddhist saying! Or even one of a modest vintage. I tire of these old Buddhist / Sufi / Daoist sayings.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    For the policy wonks among us, MSD did some research in 2005 about Sickness Benefit and Invalid Benefit dynamics. A particular motivation for the research was to check transfers from other benefits, as there was some public contention at the time that unemployment numbers were being made to look better.

    Their careful and cautious conclusions were that about half the increases in both benefit types were due to inevitable demographic changes, and the rest to other factors (see their concluding remarks on pages 103 and 104 for a brief overview).

    It is complex stuff with lots of graphs and numbers. I do not want to risk mischaracterising the results, but look forward to reading what others make of it and may have a crack when I have some time and energy soon.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    From the document Sacha linked to:

    Growing numbers of people were coming on to SB and IB with a mental illness. The increase is consistent with trends in other developed countries. Comparisons of the prevalence of mental illnesses over time are difficult to make but rates may have been rising. Possible contributors include an increasing prevalence of stressors such as financial hardship and social isolation. New Zealand drug surveys also indicate a significant increase in the use of amphetamine and methamphetamine between 1998 and 2001. This can lead to a range of psychological disorders, including deep depression and symptoms that may be indistinguishable from schizophrenia, as well as physical disorders such as stroke and respiratory problems (EACD 2002).

    We observe patterns of growth that are consistent with the likely effects of the current rise in the prevalence of diabetes. The associated growth in obesity may also be contributing to the growth in numbers of people coming on to SB and IB with musculoskeletal conditions.

    Some of the growth in IB and SB might be due to the effects on health of long-term unemployment.

    Growth in IB inflow rates was more rapid for those aged 30–39 and 40–49 than for those aged 15–19 and 20–29. There is something different about the cohorts that experienced the economic restructuring of the 1980s and early 1990s in their early to middle years compared to those that entered the labour market either during or after the restructuring.

    Makes Ian's speculation seem all the more plausible.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    See, it's the P
    </holmes>

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    10:30am, at Nixon Park in Kingsland.

    why is it impossible to find any official info about this event on the web? or am i using the Goooooooooooogle all wrongly?

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    10:30am, at Nixon Park in Kingsland.

    why is it impossible to find any official info about this event on the web? or am i using the Goooooooooooogle all wrongly?

    For the simple reason that there isn't any official information.

    I've no idea why NZTA would want to play this down, other than some fear that Mr Steven 'holiday highway or hell' Joyce will cancel future cycling projects.

    Which is odd given that he's opening it, but this government is stranger than most.

    The usual response will be that someone forgot to do something somewhere.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

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