Friday, January 24, 2020

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Terrible start to a "factual campaign free from misinformation"

This is quite desperate stuff. The number of people on Jobseeker benefits has gone up 10 percent since December 2018. Here's Sepuloni's take:

The December quarter benefit numbers released today show the Government’s plan to get people off the benefit and into work is starting to pay off,” Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said.
“Nearly 19,000 people cancelled their benefit and went into work in the last few months of the year – that’s about the population of Levin – and is the second quarter in a row that the number of people coming off the benefit and into work has increased, year on year.
When a net figure goes up the only reason is that there have been more grants than cancellations.

“The number of people on a main benefit is 314,408, which is 10.5 per cent of the working age population, remaining lower than the 11.2 per cent on a main benefit under National five years ago.
In December 2014 the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent - not 4.2%. This is feeble stuff.

The picture is bad and she really cannot explain it away.

“The Government is committed to helping people to find meaningful and sustainable work while ensuring the welfare system is fairer and more accessible for all New Zealanders. While there’s more to do, we are on the right track,” Carmel Sepuloni said.
Unbelievable. I'd don't want to see what the 'wrong' track looks like.

And right now Jacinda Ardern is in Martinborough telling her MPs she wants a "factual election campaign free from misinformation".

Update: Getting worse. Sepuloni told Magic Talk midday news,"The trajectory for the rise started before we got in."

It did not.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

'Hand-out' prioritised over 'hand-up'

Trite as they may sometimes sound there is a good deal of wisdom in ancient proverbs:

Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime

The following is a quote from the latest MSD Annual Report:

The increase in demand for financial assistance this year has impacted on the time our case managers can spend with clients on proactive employment-focused case management: only 20 percent of engagements with clients in June 2019 had an employment focus, the lowest proportion since 2014.

A significant element in extra financial assistance is Food Grants.

A 72% increase in 2 years.

Regionally, most of the food grant increase is classified as 'other' so one can only assume the applicant has no fixed address. The objection is commonly made that you can't get someone into a job if they have no fixed address. Yet MSD matches thousands of temporary visitors to jobs every year.

Ardern's government has prioritised a hand-out over a hand-up and the 'need' only grows.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Fairness or Freedom?

The Daily Blog links to a column published in the Guardian by Bryce Edwards. It begins:

If New Zealand had a giant monument at the entrance to Auckland or Wellington harbour it would be a “Statue of Equality” not liberty, or so said visiting American political scientist Leslie Lipson who wrote a book about our politics in the 1940s.
New Zealanders have long held dear the notion of fairness, and Lipson’s reflection remains true today. 
And concludes:

 ...if Labour and its coalition partners can keep public debate around traditional egalitarian concerns about inequality, housing, health and education, the New Zealand notion of fairness will probably also ensure her government will get another chance.
Intrigued I had a look at the Lipson book. Some further context:

'Fairness' is of course a highly subjective notion. One man's fairness is the next man's injustice. That's why politicians should not be trusted to deal in it.

Freedom on the other hand restricts the use of force by politicians to impose their particular brand of 'fairness'. I know which I rate more highly.