Saturday, January 05, 2008

Attacking symptoms

National welfare spokesperson Judith Collins is worried about the amount of debt beneficiaries are getting into and the rising number of staff tasked to manage the problem.

Under National the problem wouldn't improve, it would get worse. Why do I say that?

One of the biggest contributors to debt accrual is sanctions. Under National policies more sanctions were imposed. For example benefit payments were reduced for non-compliance with work tests. Under Labour sanctions still apply but with full backdated reinstatement on compliance. This was done specifically to reduce indebtedness.

Work and Income operates like a bank. When clients need something extraordinary they apply for a grant or benefit advance. When their benefit won't cover costs they apply for extra hardship assistance. Some grants have to be repaid, others do not. Some debts arise out of overpayment. Some from fraud. The system drives the debt.

The debt problem has become this large because SO many people rely on Work and Income. But again, like spending $45,000 for TVs for prisoners, this is just a peripheral issue. It's a symptom of the problem. Again this is National attacking symptoms, not the condition.


ZenTiger said...

Good point Lindsay. Might I add it is also National opening themselves up to Labour retorting "Beneficiary Basher" to immediately change the original point and make National out to be heartless.

National really have to start to strategize to second guess and shutdown Labour's rather obvious tactics.

I've started doing a series of posts on my blog to flesh out this idea. (The first is NZ Labour Election Strategy

Labour know how to play dirty, and they are quick to do it.

National have to get better at pointing out the problem, the reason and how they are going to help the people affected.

There's a knack to doing this in a few sound bites, and if they don't focus, this election can go to a Labour coalition.

Swimming said...

my comments here

Swimming said...

lets try that again is where you`ll find some comments on this.