Friday, June 04, 2021

Benefit income versus income from work

 Another graph from Perry's latest report:

This is a depiction of core benefits compared to before tax minimum wage and after tax average wage. Note Accommodation Supplement, Winter Energy Payment and Best Start are not included.

The AS pays a maximum rate of $305 for a sole parent with two children. If one child was receiving Best Start that's another $60 and the Winter Energy Payment is $32.

If someone on the blue line (DPB/SPS +2ch) was receiving these extra payments it would push the line up to almost the 'after tax average wage' line.

I accept that rents are very high and the sole parent is still struggling.

But I come back to the reality that being a sole parent is a viable option if that's the environment in which you were raised. And it's only going to become more viable.

From April 1, 2021 beneficiaries can earn up to $160 before their benefit is reduced. This is a large rise from the previous $90 on Jobseeker and $115 on Sole Parent Support. 

Add that to the blue line and it'll push it above the 'after tax average wage' line.

It is an unavoidable conclusion that dependency on the state is set to grow.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Child hardship: controlling for education almost removes ethnic differences

Bryan Perry writes reports about incomes for MSD and has done so for years. I admire and respect his work.

Child Poverty in New Zealand, released today, contains the following child material-wellbeing graphs. Wellbeing is measured not by household income but by asking parents about what they can or can't afford in respect of lifestyle eg heat house or run a car and specifically for their children eg two pairs of shoes or a waterproof coat.

"The six groupings range from material hardship (red) through to very well off (dark green on the right). 

The next breaks the groupings into households where the highest educational qualification is a tertiary degree:

Perry comments re the second graph:
"There is a greater similarity for the material wellbeing profiles for these children across the ethnic groupings than there is when all children are looked at,though some differences are still evident."
The profile for Maori children almost inverts if the household features a parent or caregiver with a tertiary degree, and looks a lot more like NZ European or Asian.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Stuart Nash on unemployability

The following exchange took place between Mike Hosking and Stuart Nash on NewstalkZB (8:15) this morning:

MH: TV One last night, so you pay people $5,000 to move to a job ... claim is 1/ they quit when they arrive and scarper 2/ you guys at the Ministry no longer follow up. Why?

SN: Yeah, I heard that Mike and I'm not aware of that. I will follow that up because if it is happening it's completely against the spirit of the policy and programme. I'll see if it is happening and if MSD aren't following up or people are abusing the system in that way then that's wrong.

MH: And the Ministry has also given up on social checks. So the social responsibility that was brought in  by National in 2013 - you enrol your kid wuth a doctor, you get your kid into school, and that's part of being on welfare - you've given up chasing that as well because you claim it's too administratively difficult. How is that possible?

SN: I'm not aware of that Mike. But one thing we are doing and one thing we do do is ensure that people are work ready. So if you are on a Jobseeker benefit we work really hard to make sure you can get into a job and we've got one of the lowest unemployment numbers in the OECD...

MH/ Why do we have 115,000 people on unemployment longer than 12 months if there are so many jobs and they are all work ready?

SN/ What economists will tell you - and this is under any government - well, it varies between 3 and 4 percent of the workforce is unemployable. This is where the marginal cost of getting that person into work is just huge. What we do do is work incredibly hard with those people who want to get into work which is to be honest the vast majority of New Zealanders. There's always been, Mike, that rump at the bottom who don't want to work or it's very impossible to get them to work or there is some reason why they can't work.

 This is the first time I have heard a government MP talk about accepting unemployability. 'Shrug - it's just a fact of life.'

Neither am I aware of economists agreeing on some inherent level of unemployability occurrence. Economists do talk about a minimum unemployment rate of around 3-4 percent which will always exist as people move between jobs and are not working.

People couldn't become unemployable if there wasn't an alternative to working for money. The benefit system creates a vicious cycle. Paying indefinite benefits makes some people unemployable therefore requiring more benefits.

Just last week Nash said gangs aren't a problem ("You have nothing to fear")  and now he says unemployability should be tolerated. 

What a no-hoper - literally.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Seymour twice as popular as Prebble

David Farrar has gone back through poll archives to see if any other ACT leader ever surpassed David Seymour's current rating at 6% as preferred Prime Minister. Here's what he found:

* Richard Prebble (96-04): 3%

* Rodney Hide  (04-11): 1%

* Don Brash (11): 0.8%

* John Banks (12-14): 0.2%

You have to hand it to Seymour after so many years as a solitary MP. He never wavered. Exactly the kind of attitude and perserverance NZ needs. 

1930-40s housing problem and political propaganda

 A poster at the BFD put up this comment and 1930s pictorial:

"I wonder if in election 2023 we will see back to the future advertising?"

Come 1943 and National was counteracting with this:

I wonder if in another 70 to 80 years - a lifetime - NZ will still be yo-yoing between the two?

Sunday, May 30, 2021

'Cousins' the movie

I went to see the movie version of Patricia Grace's story 'Cousins' today.

Witi Ihimaera's 'Mahana' was a hit with me - 'White Lies' to a lesser degree -  so I thought I'd give this one a go.

Three female cousins of a similar age (born post WW11) form the core of the story.

One is estranged from an early age due to her mixed parentage. She is in the legal guardianship of a nasty, drunken, Pakeha matriarch who doesn't want the child to have anything to do with her Maori side. That plays out through the film.

It moves about chronologically alot. Between childhood; young adulthood and the present.

The child who is 'stolen' (words used in the film) suffers mentally and eventually becomes a homeless lady living on the streets of Wellington.

The cousin who balks against living in the homeland and being one half of an arranged marriage to cement tribal ties but more importantly land ownership, flees to Wellington and becomes a lawyer.

The remaining cousin fills her place in taking on the arranged marriage.

She ends up being the winner.

The lawyer will only come back to the heartland if she can find the stolen cousin.

The lawyer develops terminal cancer and coincidentally finds her long lost cousin who has just stepped out in front of a Wellington bus causing it to screech to a halt.

They return to their turangawaewae together  - one dead.

I was very moved. I shed a few tears. 

But I am not sure if my tears were for the death of the lawyer cousin, the trauma of the dislocated cousin or because I felt like the movie was holding me responsible.