The following appears on the front page of the Dominion Post. It's not news - not in sense that news implies something 'new'.
Dr Van Herck, who is originally from Belgium and has been working in New Zealand for 2½ years, said many able-bodied sickness beneficiaries should be on the unemployment benefit instead.
"A lot of people on sickness benefits say Work and Income staff have sent them and just expect you to sign the form."
He had seen one woman who had been on a sickness benefit for 19 years because of asthma but smoked a packet of cigarettes a day. Work and Income had offered her several quit programmes. "She admitted she was too lazy to go."
Another sickness beneficiary's documented reason for not working was they "could not be bothered".
He signed off both beneficiaries but wrote on their forms that they needed follow-up and reassessment.
On the day he saw the asthma sufferer, he also saw a man whose leg had been amputated above the knee and who worked full-time, despite pain. Another woman continued to work after a stroke.
"They are paying taxes to sustain somebody with asthma smoking a packet of cigarettes a day. Many GPs have complained; it becomes a culture of handouts."
What it is going to take to break this culture? First there has to be a consensus that 'bludging' just isn't acceptable. Until that happens isolated individuals will struggle to stand up to the intimidation or sheer persistence. Alongside the culture of handouts is the culture of making excuses for people. The opposite doesn't demand that we stomp all over people punitively. What it requires is more people showing, teaching and expecting aspiration and ambition.
Sometimes those people just aren't available in the lives of beneficiaries. But they exist in the community. And I have seen the difference 'mentoring' relationships can make.
Then I have also seen the resistance of people to any effort to help and encourage them. In which case we need to relearn a culture of just saying 'NO'.
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