Thursday, June 04, 2020

A racist policy?

According to Work and Income:

If you or your partner have an uncleared warrant for criminal matters, you'll be told that unless it’s cleared, or you've taken reasonable steps to try and clear it, your benefit will either:
-stop, if you don't have dependent children, or
-reduce by up to half, if you have dependent children.
If it hasn’t been cleared within 28 days after its issued, you'll get a letter advising you to clear it within 10 working days. If you have an arrest warrant and the New Zealand Police considers you to be a risk to public safety, your benefit can be stopped or reduced immediately, without telling you first.
To clear your warrant to arrest you need to:
-go to the criminal counter at a courthouse. It’s best to go to the court where the warrant was issued, but it can be done at any courthouse. You can’t clear a warrant over the phone
-tell them you want to make a “voluntary appearance” to clear your warrant
-try to arrive early in the day. If you leave it too late you may not be able to clear the warrant that day.
-You can go to a police station to start the process of clearing your warrant if you can’t get to a court.
So the action to prevent a sanction lies wholly in the hands of the person receiving the benefit. Nobody else. And the actions required are laid out very clearly.

Here is an ethnic breakdown of sanctions on those with children. The 2019 stats are only up to June 2019.

Is this an illustration of a racist policy?

In the current climate many will say 'yes' because it disproportionately disadvantages Maori and their children regardless of the fact that the agency lies with the individual. The sanction is avoidable and you would think that with children involved, the motivation to do so would be strengthened. In fact the policy treats everybody the same.

Monday, June 01, 2020

The Left loathe the concept of the 'deserving' and 'undeserving'

A commentor on Kiwiblog drew attention to a Newsroom article by an Auckland University sociology professor:

Dr Louise Humpage was hoping Covid would help Kiwis better understand how tough it is to live off the benefit, but the newly unemployed are not being treated like main beneficiaries at all...
I became more suspicious of the Government’s intentions when it announced that 35 new unemployment centres would be established across the country, along with an employment service specific to those directly impacted by Covid-19, who are not on a main benefit.
Why? Work and Income already has offices in most towns and cities across New Zealand which focus on finding employment.
Could it be that they are either a) not very good at their job; or b) that the ‘toxic culture’ endemic in these offices is so awful that we couldn’t bear the shame of letting ‘ordinary’ (i.e., working) New Zealanders experience it?

I doubt the 35 new employment centres referred to will be places people walk into. Applications and grants all take place on-line. The new processing centres will be about boosting staff capacity to approve applications and attempt to redeploy workers.

The usual eligibility requirements she refers to as a “toxic culture” have been suspended because of the increased workload in processing new applications. Not because they were unfair.

She writes, “the base rate for the existing Job Seeker Support is $250 a week (before tax – yes, it is taxed) for a single person over 25.” Wrong. It is $250 after tax.

Essentially she wants all benefits paid at the same rate as the temporary Income Relief Payment saying, “a truly brave government would look voters in the eye and say ‘we want to treat all unemployed people, no matter when or how they came to be jobless, with the same dignity and respect that all New Zealanders deserve’.”

There are thousands of beneficiaries who have 1/ never worked 2/ made themselves unemployable through crime and/or drug and alcohol abuse and 3/ have no incentive to work because it pushes up their child support liability and income-related rent. This is the unfortunate reality of the benefit system.

In fact it would be preferable if the system could take more account of ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ – not less, leading to greater fairness for anyone who is genuinely (temporarily or permanently) unemployed through no fault of their own.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Treasury predicts 1 in 6 on a benefit by June 2021

Treasury is forecasting 487,500 working age people will be on some form of benefit by June 2021 (16.2 percent).

At the moment it is nearer to 1 in 10 (11.7 percent).

Here are the numbers to May 22:

I haven't posted much about the data to date because the numbers are being kept artificially low by the wage subsidy AND now the new Income Relief Payment (IRP) which cannot be applied for until after June 8. 

Obviously Jobseeker numbers will stabilise as people apply for the better paying benefit but one has to assume that Treasury's forecast includes IRP recipients despite Labour insisting that the IRP is NOT a benefit.