Friday, August 28, 2009

The social welfare challenge

I was further reflecting about the amount of government funding given to the Salvation Army, Barnardos, Plunket, and hundreds of other so-called social service NGOs. Many get the majority of their funding from government.

Imagine the Ministry of Social Development is like a giant construction company which builds some good, but many substandard homes. People have to use the company, however, because it has a legal monopoly on domestic construction. In turn, the company funds other contractors to go around fixing the properties up. But the demand for fix-up is far greater than can be met and many people go on living in leaking, unsanitary and unsafe homes. Sometimes the botch-ups are so bad that even contracted plumbers and roofers can't resolve the problems. But the contractors won't speak against the companies practices because they rely on the company for their own survival.

How is social welfare any different? And what would it take to remedy the problem?


Anonymous said...

I was driving through Dannevirke on Tuesday (benefit day) and observed a young woman of teenage years with child at foot strolling down the road clutching a box of beer under one arm and an open can in the other hand.

Her priorities were obvious.


Lindsay said...

Dannevirke has a population of 6,000. Have a guess how many people are registered on the DPB at the Dannevirke Work and Income Service Centre?

Anonymous said...

Lindsay, I shudder to think!

But I reckon the local supermarket would close down without them.


Lindsay said...


But take heart. There is no centre at Woodville!

With your local knowledge, would Woodville beneficiaries register at Dannevirke or Palmerston North?

bez said...

All it would take is sunshine....
By that I mean complete and utter openness and information, so that everybody can see what is actually happening.

Anonymous said...

Lindsay, The main office is at Dannevirke, but there is a one stop shop called Heartlands in Pahiatua which services Woodville and Eketahuna.

Winz officers from Dannevirke are in attendance on set days.

This "Heartlands" also provides other services such as community law and advocacy, ACC etc.

There are also maybe four other organisations other than the Medical centre which deal with community health issues. The number of public service cars driving around Pahiatua is mind boggling.

Is the number 446 you quoted for Dannevirke or the entire Tararua district?

One local pub survives because of the number sickness benificeries who board on a weekly basis. The number of somnambulists walking around town is on the increase.


Anonymous said...

And what would it take to remedy the problem?

1. an order in council setting all benefit levels to zero.

2. a policy judgement at the charities commission so that any "Charity" in receipt of WINS or Social Welfare contracts loses charitable status.

done. Take about a week. SAVES 20 BILLION IN THE FIRST YEAR - as a guide, you could zero income tax and the government's overall position would not change.

Lindsay said...

There is no Woodville or Pahiatua listed in the Service Centre stats. So residents from those towns and outlying areas would be counted at either PN or Dannevirke.

You can look at the stats here;

When you and I were kids the numbers would have been countable on a couple of hands.

Wim Verhoeven said...

I have often wondered about the activist support of organisations providing child care and health support for controversial government initiatives like anti-smacking and anti-smokinglegislation. It may well be the not too suble fact that the money they get from government is worth more to them than any loss of public support.

Lindsay said...

I agree Wim. A begging letter arrived today from the Sallies and I am going to return the envelope with an explanation as to why it contains no cash. I was considering their reaction and thinking, like you, they will shrug it off when weighing it against what they get from govt.