The vast majority of people want to work. The history of the last ten years in particular shows that when jobs exist, people work.
The "history of the last ten years" shows almost the opposite. During the economic boom numbers on the DPB dropped by a maximum of 15 percent and numbers on the sickness and invalid benefits continued to grow. Only the dole total dropped significantly.
"...the NZ figures on DPB recipients do not bear out Key’s specific assertion about ‘significant numbers of very young women going onto the DPB and staying there for a lifetime.”
In fact, only 3.1 % of those on the DPB are under 20 years of age – and that figure has barely flickered since 2005, when the figure was 2.9 %. Put another way, 97% of the people on the DPB are NOT the ‘very young women’ of Key’s lurid imagination. There are in fact, significantly more people on the DPB over 55 years of age (5.6%) than there are ‘very young women’ receiving this benefit."
Campbell repeats a widespread misunderstanding here. If Key's assertion is correct then we would expect to see exactly the kind of percentages Campbell describes. When people stay on welfare a long time they progressively appear in older age bands. The most important fact is that at least a third of current sole parents became parents as teenagers. I have shown that probably around a half of the DPB population first began on welfare as a teenager. The current age of a DPB recipient is irrelevant.
"...more DPB recipients are engaged in part-time work (16%) than those on the dole."
This claim is based on the DPB fact sheet showing 15.7 percent of recipients have 'declared earnings' for the year. It does not necessarily mean that they are currently working.
Most of the people on welfare are unmarried mothers – many of them teenagers – who have extra children so that they can get more money.
Not most. But 27,219 is significant. Certainly the public perception is grounded in reality.
Lots of people are on welfare for years and years, and then their children and grandchildren become welfare dependent.
This myth is based on stereotypes about the chronically shiftless and teemingly fertile poor. Lets stick with the DPB for a moment. Since the DPB involves the care of children who are dependent at least until they are 18, you’d think it would reflect lifetime dependency very strongly. Yet instead, over two thirds of DPB recipients (67.7%) are on the DPB for less than four years. More than a quarter of them (26%) are on it for less than a year, even during the recession. If this is a lifestyle choice, it is hardly a fashionable one.
Again, a fundamental misunderstanding of the data. Campbell has pulled figures from the benefit fact sheets that show current spell on a benefit. Many people have repeated spells thus increasing the time they spend dependent. MSD research most clearly explains this misinterpretation;
On average, sole parents receiving main benefits had more disadvantaged backgrounds than might have been expected:
• just over half had spent at least 80% of the history period observed (the previous 10 years in most cases) supported by main benefits
• a third appeared to have become parents in their teenage years.
This reflects the over-representation of sole parents with long stays on benefit among those in receipt at any point in time, and the longer than average stays on benefit for those who become parents as teenagers.
Had the research considered all people granted benefit as a sole parent, or all people who received benefit as a sole parent over a window of time rather than at a point in time, the overall profile of the group would have appeared less disadvantaged.
Inter-generational dependence is a proven phenomenon. Academic research provides evidence. Some part of it works through the much higher likelihood that a teenage parent will have a daughter who also becomes a teenage parent. Additionally it occurs because of the transmission of attitudes towards welfare.
Young people need welfare reform in order to teach them the value of work.
Far from being a myth young people do need to grow up with at least one working parent to understand the value of work. Building an expectation of independence is probably one of the most important goals of reforming the DPB especially.
The current rate of Maori unemployment is a catastrophic 36.7%.
This claim was not intended to be a "myth" but ironically, it is. The Maori rate of unemployment in December 2010 was 15.5 percent.
People are usually in hardship for economic reasons, and not due to a lack of moral fibre. The churn of jobs and the likelihood of multiple careers in one’s working life – ie the labour ‘flexibility’ so beloved by Treasury and its corporate friends – means that it is more and more likely that at any given time in their working lives, more people (and their children and grandchildren ) will be at risk of needing temporary welfare assistance during thedir job transitions.
Granted people are in hardship for economic reasons but also because of personal choices they make. Go back to the MSD quote. Is the economy to be held responsible for a teenage birth that results in many years reliant on a benefit?