Just sent the following report to Shane Jones and others, it covers some of the ignorant garbage he is vomiting all over us via media at the moment.
NZ Initiative welfare report reveals failure of neo-liberalism
Kiwis are richer – and more are on disability benefits than ever before due to the failed neo-liberal experiment of the past 30 years. It has created gross inequality and caused significant harm to disabled and poor citizens, their families and friends.
With double the income-per-person than what was in 1970, a minimum wage up 50 per cent (inflation adjusted) and better medical care for working and wealthy people who can afford it. Including increasing child mortality for poor due to housing overcrowding, terrorised stressed people driven to violence drugs suicide, impoverished by years of austerity following illegal cruel and savage cuts to welfare. Cuts to welfare following deregulation and driving of 100,000s manufacturing jobs to China where the Chinese government gladly provided the infrastructure and man power to create wealth for their own people and country. You’d think New Zealand would be in its heyday.
But the facts are ‘tragically different’ argued the highly paid researchers of Business Round Table, now known as NZ Initiative. Part of a global group of right-wing think tanks and business membership organisations with an office in Wellington. Think tanks are an essential part of the global marketing programme that has seen the spread of socially damaging neo-liberal policies to most OECD countries – even though it was a never tested economic idea. It has also caused catastrophic poverty, violence, social dysfunction, addiction and suicide in rich countries and slavery, violence, unnecessary suffering and suicide in poorest countries as well.
Instead, in 2012 the proportion of Kiwis of working age on a sickness or invalids benefit was six times greater than in 1970. This is when NZ was one of the most socialist countries on the planet with an extensive welfare system that wasn’t needed as much because even disabled people were given opportunity to work and one wage could support an average 5 person family. Large numbers of workers employed by the government/councils would have been in that disabled category – with the introduction of excessive private contracting where productivity is the focus, disabled people who cannot work at 100% capacity of a healthy adult are rejected as inefficient and not cost effective.
To increase profits and productivity many jobs were made casual, part-time and seasonal. This is how New Zealand has tried to compete with rest of the world on efficient use of Labour – irrelevant of these vulnerable workers impoverishment when business people did not want them. Now they are even refused safe stable homes or be allowed to stay in their own communities – many families have been driven apart by desperate unemployed members moving to other regions, Australia and beyond.
Now 10% of the working-age population are on a main welfare benefit, compared with 2% in 1970 and around 500,000 people received some kind of income support from MSD this year. This is what neo-liberalism creates, business owners only using healthiest members of the workforce and letting the government take care of the rest. Strangely NZ Initiative interpreted the information as being a failure of the welfare state, rather than a success. What they are talking about is the failure of government to accept these rejected people and offer them productive work within the community within their capabilities and unique talents. There are multiple disability, human rights and welfare laws that say this is what should happen, sadly for 80% of disabled people it does not – and particularly mentally injured and ill people. ACC’s almost sole focus is rehabilitation – according to their accountability documents and the legislation. Hopefully this new government will finally address this gross miscarriage of justice and unnecessary suffering of most vulnerable while richest flourish and employ people to disseminate misinformation and bigoted opinion through well financed think tanks.
Report author Dr Bryce Wilkinson said New Zealand has got a serious and entrenched problem of disadvantage coming through the welfare system. When this has nothing to do with welfare and everything to do with lack of professional health care, increasing impoverishment and terrorising of poorest/disabled by neo-liberal policies, plus the lack of safe stable housing. Intergenerational benefit dependence is a consequence of Low Wage economy requirement that there is high unemployment to keep down wages over past 30 yrs ago. It doesn’t account for the fact many people have to apply over and over again for jobs and will often be denied the job in favour of a more experienced foreigner. People with looks, mannerisms that aren’t ‘mainstream’ are rejected from this system as well. Although there has been a little talk of tapping into creativity of New Zealanders – the past 9 years have been a stifling of the artists.
The cycle of neo-liberalism keeping generations of families impoverished, traumatised and marginalised is high – this would never have happened in the 1970s – although there were other mechanisms of racism etc that did their damage to certain cultural groups of people back then. The report found nearly three quarters of all beneficiaries aged under 25 had a parent on a benefit while they were a child. More proof of the cruel and extensive loss of jobs after deregulation neo-liberalism took over our government in 1984 (the relevance to George Orwell’s book 1984 is definitely unnerving at times). These young people have seen their parents/families terrorised by poverty and injustice since they were born – many of them ending up as income/jobs for the justice system. A review of types of jobs done in 1970s compared to 2012 will show the move away from manufacturing work into law, police, justice, security. In fact numerous jobs dealing with the fallout from impoverishing 100,000s New Zealanders – this is currently a terrorist act under the Terrorism Suppression Act, sadly the current GCSB head Rebecca Kitteridge refuses to investigate this crime.
This marginalised cultural group of disabled people have also suffered the brunt of extremist neo-liberal policies of cutting and privatising mental health services (even when empirical evidence shows NGOs in mental health did not work anywhere they operated because NGOs lied about the services they provided and excluded those most in need of care). NGOs also ordered to operate within EXTREME funding constraints – as required under austerity measures wealthy neo-liberals insist on.
My personal expertise is 15 years of study in traumatic stress disorders as a result of sexual and physical abuse. There are huge numbers of mentally injured abuse victims who have not received the extensive professional treatment care rehabilitation and justice they are entitled to under multiple New Zealand laws. They have been severely disadvantaged, neglected, misunderstood, marginalised and discriminated against, which has made everything much worse. I would suggest 10% of New Zealand population would be an approximately number of people who have not healed from trauma, or had so much trauma in their lives they have been permanently terrorised. Same number Mr Wilkinson refers to which I am sure with a little investigation would be born out as linked.
The disproportionate withdrawal of money from the poorest members of society – people purposely impoverished under neo-liberal measures and corresponding economic prosperity of richest members of society is actually a gross violation of our most basic laws. NZ’s first legal statute is Westminister Statute the 1st – common right be done to all rich as poor.
Neo-liberalism has also created gross violations of the Magna Carta which says governments are not allowed to destroy people and every person must have access to right and justice. Violations of both these laws by our government therefore must result in poor people not being required to follow any laws of New Zealand. The fight between rich and powerful and poor and powerless is age old, governments, democracies and laws were set up to bridle power and protect those they sought to exploit and harm. That is currently failing to happen in New Zealand and more and more people every day are coming to this realisation and becoming enraged at the rhetoric, deceit and bigotry we hearing through our media from organisations like Business Round Table/NZ Initiative – whose leaders are all captains of industry, money and law (check out their website).
Government cannot take responsibility for the plight of disabled New Zealanders because neo-liberals have under-funded health, welfare and justice to criminal levels – in order to use taxes to advance wealthy business leaders, pay horrendous govt debt and give rich people tax cuts, they apparently deserve. The predicament faced by people on welfare is one of being continually marginalised and terrorised by ignorant people who want them to have even less – as well as cope with whatever their disability throws at them. They are repeatedly swept up in the constant hatred towards ‘lazy’ young New Zealanders and others who don’t want to work. I have never met a person who doesn’t want a decent job, within their capabilities, that pays enough to live – EVER. I have only met disabled people – young and old who suffering and struggling to survive. My own children have worked since they were 12 years old, as a disabled parent they had to. They are now 22 and 23 and successful people in decent jobs, they have now both paid off their student loans and neither of them used those skills they were forced to pay for.
WE ALREADY KNOW WHAT WORKS – the idea we need more research and study is yet another neo-liberal idea, we already have all the information we could ever need about what works in creating a decent society. We have all the knowledge and the laws to back it up – we just don’t do it. Other countries know what to do, governments have spent $millions since introduction of neo-liberalism trying to combat social problems it created. New Zealand knew what to do, that is why our country was relatively peaceful in the 1970s. ACC is one of the most progressive forms of socialism in the world, now an agency used to terrorise people who have long term disabilities due to accident. Along with illegally withholding extensive professional treatment and rehabilitation to mentally injured abuse victims, who large percentage of those on welfare. Under ACC law these sensitive claimants also entitled to safe housing – which they currently don’t get – corrupted ACC officials save the money to spend on the stock market and promote dam projects in the Hawkes Bay – or banks.
Social investment is an incredibly offensive degrading elitist term used to herd all those people terrorised by poverty, austerity in health/welfare/justice and public neglect into a group in order to exploit them.
The interpretation of Peter’s story is incredible ignorant and shows no research was done with any disability organisation in New Zealand, Workbridge and disability reports would not have been reviewed either. This plainly sets out the issues with disabled people getting work – especially if their disability is intermittent. I have attended multiple disability forums where this topic is discussed, as the situation gets worse and worse as more healthy immigrants come to New Zealand. People are so desperate to work, many commit suicide after years of impoverishment and marginalisation by government and community.
My family have businesses I was told by my brother-in-law he doesn’t hire disable people because of OSH requirements and he just can’t carry them in ‘this day and age’.
Peter is the responsibility of ACC, he should have an Occupational Therapist working with him to get back to meaningful work? He should be a client of Workbridge, ACC has an extensive programme to return people to best possible health – they don’t apply it to everybody of course, eventually they dump you (that was the neo-liberal changes they called GETTING RID OF THE TAIL or LOW HANGING FRUIT). Why is Peter discussing this with an untrained employment consultant?
ACC has proper work assessments that Peter has described – I would suggest someone make a complaint to the ACC minister this government agency are not doing what they are required to by law. Why havn’t the media who covered this story followed this up? Given the worst neo-liberal immigrant in history of our country currently runs ACC may have something to do with it – Paula Rebstock. The woman who concurrently denied abused children ACC care they entitled to and was paid $2,000 a day to change the name of CYFS who had been found to be abusing children in their care. I have asked repeatedly for a police investigation into ACCs treatment of sensitive claimants to no avail. Hopefully a new government will ensure one goes ahead.
I will be contacting Carmel Sepuloni with my response to this Business Round Table uneducated uninformed rhetoric and sending a copy to all major news papers and bloggers. I will be sending a copy of this response to Mr Wilkinson and posting it on my website www.jrmurphypoet.com
This ignorance and bigotry has got to stop, our news media is making public unsubstantiated opinions not based on fact – this is to get CLICKBAIT and people upset. It fuels fascism in people who have been told to hate and blame the poor – when it is quite obvious wealthy elites and leaders who fund right-wing think tanks introduced neo-liberalism to this country are to blame for the inhuman situation many disabled people now find themselves in. This fuels suicide and hatred in those who being terrorised, their bosses/landlords/family members who believe in what Business Round Table say subsequently degrade & insult you at every opportunity.
We don’t need studies to know what to do – we should be doing what the law and professional health models tell us to do. I have a friend who is an Occupational therapist I know how grossly underfunded the health system is. I have studied Occupational Therapy and the extensive rehabilitation – particularly Social Rehabilitation ALL New Zealanders are entitled to under ACC.
The ONLY solution to this issue of valuing disabled people is for regional rehabilitation centres to be set up and regional mental health facilities (which could work in with them in some way). Places where disabled people can go and work on a multitude of different projects from supported house building, food growing, jump in a van with a team going out to do seasonal work. These places must be run professionally with an Occupational Therapy focus, by the government, private enterprise and charities ARE NOT trustworthy to do this. This focus is the same set out in multiple constitutional documents and the Commonwealth Charter – why we don’t do this is beyond my comprehension. Why we have such disregard for our less fortunate neighbour, young and old, disgusts me as a decent human being and kind New Zealander.
My website has a solutions page that outlines professional rehabilitation models and business plans, it also has a brief outline of the Regional Rehabilitation Centres I envisioned throughout New Zealand. The sort of regional development I know our entire society would benefit from. NOT PRIVATE ENTERPRISE – these must be government/health controlled as you are going to be dealing with ALL sorts of people – all of them unwell in different ways.
Please contact me to further this discussion and let me share the extensive knowledge I have gained over 15 years of studying the violence industry, law, psychology and rehabilitation. My perspective is invaluable because of my expertise and extensive experience – I know the big picture and I know where the problems are centred.
Completed 4 December 2017
Civil Society Activist