Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Paul Blair - this time in court, he loses

Paul Blair, Rotorua beneficiary advocate who has a record of forcing the state to pay more money to beneficiaries and getting funding for himself for 'research', has been given 4 months home detention and 200 hours community service for possessing and selling cannabis.

The sentencing judge said...
... Blair's work over many years as an advocate and spokesman for disadvantaged people in the community and voluntary work at the Community Law Centre was highly commendable.
Highly commendable?

Some excerpts from past posts:

Three Rotorua beneficiaries have forced a law change for single parents with split custody of their children through an out-of-court settlement with the Social Development Ministry.

On October 1, 1991, a law was introduced to stop two parents living apart, but who had split custody of their children, from both getting the Domestic Purposes Benefit.

One was eligible for the sole-parent benefit and all the benefits that went with it, while the other was entitled to the unemployment benefit.

Rotorua beneficiaries advocate and sole parent Paul Blair argued that this was not fair as the parent receiving the DPB was entitled to earn more when working than the parent on the dole.

Parents on the DPB were also entitled to childcare subsidies, a non-recoverable training incentive allowance if attending a course, and did not have to be work-tested.

Rotorua sole parents Leon Broughton, Richard Amoroa and Mr Blair started legal proceedings in the High Court at Rotorua against the chief executive of the ministry more than a year ago.

In the out-of-court settlement, the ministry agreed the second parent in split-custody cases would be entitled to the emergency maintenance allowance, paid at the same rate as the DPB and with similar advantages.

Justice Alan McKenzie ordered the ministry to review the plaintiffs' benefits, pay any arrears, treat all similar cases in the same way and review cases as far back as December 12, 2000.

That was January 2005.

In the interim he applied for Families Commission research funding. It was granted and he went on to produce a report, 'Improving Work Life Balance for Domestic Purposes Beneficiaries Sole Parent Families'.

Anyway the report was signed off (according to Sue Bradford), peer-reviewed, ready for publication and PAID FOR when Mr Blair used an excerpt in a submission (no doubt opposing) the government's (then Labour)social security amendment bill.

Minister David Benson Pope was understandably most unhappy and suddenly the report was returned to the author as a 'final draft' for 'editing'. The report findings?

"It was felt that Work and Income was not forthcoming enough with extra assistance that might alleviate poverty and facilitate genuine personal and family development," the report said.

"On the whole, sole-parent DPB recipients felt that an emphasis on paid employment as the ultimate outcome ignored and devalued the work they were currently engaged in (as parents)."
And just last year I blogged:

Yesterday beneficiary advocate Paul Blair was back in the news claiming the Ministry of Social Development is acting illegally. He is trying to get people who have been relegated from an invalid's benefit to a sickness benefit to come forward and form a body that will take the department to court.
Blair has been happy to use the legal system to his own ends. Ironically this time the state used the legal system for theirs.

I do not relish anybody's prosecution for cannabis dealing but I am not sorry to see his ability to 'advocate' for more welfare somewhat limited in the near future. I suppose though he will be pulling another benefit while confined to home. He thinks the 'system' is against him. I think it is against us. Any which way the contributors lose.

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