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United Future news and views with Judy Turner MP

Filed under: General — Julie @ 7:51 am Fri 29th June 2007

Below is Judy Turner’s newsletter (all quoted)

Last week a very significant piece of legislation passed its Third Reading, and United Future supported its passage. The Bill was an amendment to the Social Security Act and made some major changes to the principles under-pinning our benefit system.

The Bill introduces a work-focus, stating that “Work in paid employment offers the best opportunity for people to achieve social and economic well-being”, and creates within the Act three clear sets of expectations for those in receipt of a benefit.

The first targets those on the unemployment benefit and allows for pre-benefit activities before payment is made and requires more pro-active case-management focused on finding suitable employment as soon as is possible.

The second set of expectations applies to those on the Domestic Purposes and Sickness benefits and possibly some disability beneficiaries. For these people it is acknowledged that paid employment is not appropriate in the short-term, but is a realistic goal for the future. These people are required to begin to plan for that eventuality, and will be actively case managed to develop plans and to take up training opportunities in readiness for the future when that is appropriate.

The third set of expectations apply to those on the Disability benefit where there is no intention of having unfair work requirements, but where there is now an expectation on case managers to make sure that they facilitate opportunities for these people to participate as fully as is practicable in appropriate community activities, so that they are not isolated.

Critics of the Bill refer to the fact that people who undertake crucial unpaid work, like child-rearing or caring for dependent elderly relatives, remain unrecognised and under-valued. While I think they raise an interesting point, I don’t think that the benefit system is the best mechanism available to us to address this.

United Future believes that the tax system could better recognise the contribution of a parent at home through Income Splitting. If you want to find out more about that policy do visit our website

“In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it”
John Ruskin, English Writer (1819 — 1900)


  1. Julie,
    Why is that in our current economic climate, that there are still people on the Unemployment Benefit?.
    Factories down south here are screaming out for workers, but cannot find anyone to fill these positions.
    I’m an electrician that would like to take on an apprentice, no matter what sex or age, but again the local employment agencies can give me no-one to fill this vacancy either.
    The DPB needs to be seriously looked at, as in my opinion it seems to be a career option for young women these days that didn’t do well at school.
    There are some people in this country who choose not to contribute to the growth that this economy is experiencing.
    These people should start looking for a job now, because if there is a change of Government at the next election, things could change rather drastically for these people.
    Remember what happened to the unemployed under the National Government in the early 90’s?.
    Just my $0.02.

    Comment by Mike — Fri 29th June 2007 @ 5:45 pm

  2. Hi Mike,

    I am no expert on the subject but i do believe we need to have a certain amount of unemployment for business reasons else wages go up too high for the likes of you to afford to hire someone.

    Most people are not on the unemployment benefit anymore. These days it is the invalids benefit. It doesn’t matter what the government does in tightening up the polices or rules for people will find away around it. Labor brags about low unemployment while the sickness and especially the invalids benefit has increased hugely.

    It is wonderful you are wanting to take on an apprentice and i wish you were up in Auckland for we have lots of young males who would work for you. Maybe you could approach the high schools and enquire about their GATEWAY program. That is designed to catch males/females who are wanting out of the education system so they can be placed in apprenticeships. It is a very good scheme. Also you could take on one youth once a week and help them get their NCEA 2 credits. If you like the boy/girl you can hire them full time and they can continue on through a polytechnic to get the papers for their apprenticeship.

    Comment by julie — Fri 29th June 2007 @ 5:59 pm

  3. Hi Julie,
    Thanks for your reply.
    I’m in the situation of needing an apprentice, not wanting one, I’ve done 90 hours so far this week and it isn’t letting up next week either.
    I have heard of the GATEWAY program down here, but the people that they have sent aren’t exactly suited to the type of work I do.
    I trained people when I was with the old Power Board here and work usually filtered out the “wheat from the chaff”.
    I don’t have that now and I have had a lot of failure in this side of the deal.
    But, it is interesting how you mention that a lot of people are put on Sickness Benefits as opposed to the U/E Benefit, I had an apprentice line mechanic at work with a drinking problem that we sacked, it turns out that he is now on a Sickness Benefit, regardless of the fact that he “can’t work”.
    A good kick up the arse is what he needed, nearly out of his time and caused a High Voltage accident one day, while hung-over.
    Now our taxes pay for this guy to drink his benefit every Thursday.
    That’s a great plan!.

    Comment by Mike — Fri 29th June 2007 @ 6:47 pm

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