Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Weak start for Sue Moroney

A question irrelevant to the subject. I don't know why Bennett can't simply say 'No'.

Benefits—Outstanding Arrest Warrants
7. MELISSA LEE (National) to the Minister for Social Development: How is the Government’s new warrants to arrest policy for those on benefits ensuring a fairer welfare system?
Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Development): As part of this Government’s substantial welfare reforms we said we would stop benefits for those who are on the run from the police with an outstanding warrant. Since this policy took effect on 15 July, 311 people have been matched and notification sent. Of these, 161 warrants have been cleared within 6 weeks of operation and 95 people have been sanctioned.
Melissa Lee: What process takes place before reducing or suspending benefit payments where there is an outstanding warrant?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: The new policy means that beneficiaries who have an outstanding warrant to arrest for more than 28 days will receive a letter from Work and Income asking them to clear their warrant or face their benefit payments being stopped or reduced. They get another 10 days to clear it, but if they do not the benefit is stopped. The exception to this is for parents, who, as with all sanctions, never lose more than half of their benefit.
Melissa Lee: How often has the discretion of the Commissioner of Police been applied in highrisk offending cases?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: We did make an exception for the Commissioner of Police to request an immediate benefit suspension for seriously high-risk offenders. To date this has happened in nine cases.
Sue Moroney: Does this policy help anyone on welfare to get a job?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: What this policy does is make it fair, and people who are on the run from the police are held to account. They should not actually be getting taxpayers’ money to be on the run from the police. It is that simple. This policy is about being fair.
Grant Robertson: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.
Sue Moroney: Point of order. You go. [Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! There is a point of order.
Grant Robertson: I think that Sue Moroney and I had the same point of order in mind. That was a very direct question, which the Minister did not answer.
Mr SPEAKER: I invite Sue Moroney to repeat the question, please.
Sue Moroney: To the Minister—another go. Does her policy—[Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Start the question again.
Sue Moroney: Does her policy help anyone on welfare to get a job?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: Well, these people need to clear their warrants to start with, so currently they are actually breaking the law. We thought we might clear up the legal problems they have got and get them to account for that and then we will work on the job.
Grant Robertson: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am sorry to say that that still did not address the question. I presume the answer is no, so we can just move on. [Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Order! On this occasion the question was then addressed.


thor42 said...

Bennett could have scored a knockout punch by replying "no-one would WANT to hire a beneficiary who was unable to meet their legal obligations" (i.e. pay their fines).

Jigsaw said...

Sue Moroney is one of the weakest of the new Labour frontbench.I watched that exchange and I thought that Bennett was very kind to her especially as her supplementary question really had nothing to do with the initial qustion. Ms Moroney is often confused and offers up an air of queit superority that is very misplaced.