Red Alert

Paula Bennett shamed into releasing full benefit stats

Posted by on September 9th, 2010

National has had a good run convincing Kiwis that it is an “open and transparent” government where “sunlight is the best disinfectant” etc etc.

It’s a tremendous bit of spin. The reality is somewhat different.

For the past 20 months, John Key’s ministers have acted in concert to block access to public information though the Official Information Act and written parliamentary questions. They’ve ducked and dived like sports cheats. It is not just the Opposition that has been thwarted. There is some excellent analysis on No Right Turn about National’s cheating.

Journos too have told me they are getting increasingly frustrated by National’s trickery.

In this context, I’m treating as a win for open government Employment Minister Paula Bennett‘s reaction this week to my media statement of a fortnight ago criticising her for burying bad news.

To recap, she was pinged for sneakily trying to hide bad unemployment data as the economy has slowed. As the jobs news got worse each month, the length of time before she would allow official data to go the Parliamentary Library got longer.

So I am pleased that she has been shamed, at least for now, into ending her dodgy practice. This week, on the same day as issuing her dishonest statement on benefit numbers for August (she said 6000 had come off main benefits – what she didn’t say was the situation had actually worsened again, with more than 8,800 people going on to main benefits over the same month), she quietly released to the Library the full summary of benefit stats for the month. You can see why she’s so shy, it’s pretty grim reading.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but whatever next? National Party ministers dispensing with their haughty contempt of the OIA and WPQs?

57 Responses to “Paula Bennett shamed into releasing full benefit stats”

  1. tracey says:

    ” Ms Bennett said sanctions would apply to those who did not make the effort to return to work once they were assessed as fit.

    “Right now, at least 9000 sickness beneficiaries have been medically assessed as fit and able to work part-time, so rather than write them off as completely unable to work, let’s help every one of those individuals get a job.” ”

    I would like to see a release from Ms Bennett about where she and her government see those 9000 jobs coming from?

    I absolutely agree that those who can work need to work, and there need to be real jobs for them to get?

  2. Spud says:

    Medically assessed by who? 😯 I’d like to see her haul herself out of bed to work if she had a serious illness! 👿 These people didn’t choose to be sick! 👿 !

  3. Capital says:

    I have no problem with medical professionals deciding whether or not people are fit to work. Benefits are a last resort, not another option.

    But if its just some drone at the ministry of health deciding it, I don’t agree with it.

  4. Spud says:

    Exactly Capital, and certainly not some evil Welfare Slashing Group either! 👿 !

  5. Tracey says:

    Today on Breakfast TV Paula Bennett revealled, after two years, nearly a 2 full years since the Job Summit,t he Govt’s plan to increase employment…

    Wait for businesses to feel confidant and positive.

    “And while she also said the unemployment levels were offset slightly by the higher number of people studying, she acknowledged the government could not deny there are more people looking for work than there are available jobs.

    The government’s plans to combat this, she said, largely revolved around business confidence, which they were sure was improving.

    “We do have confidence that businesses are talking it up, they are feeling more positive, they’re certainly seeing the market turn around.””

    So talking and feeling positive is the plan, and frankly sums up the National party strategy for NZ. Dont actually DO anything, just talk positive, and use hot buttons, and PR phrases etc to make people feel positive even if realty bites.

  6. linaka says:

    Well I know why Bennetts figures dont tally because winz case managers are a law unto themselves.
    Take me for instance I was taken from the invalids benefit to sickness without their new work doctor, consulting with my gp or any of my medical records. This doctor says he does not need any, to make a work assessment, he said I had athritis when according to my neck specailist I dont. I was dumped, and treated very rudely by winz, one case manager says the criteria has changed and another says they have not changed and anyway you are well now, news to me and my doctors opinion is being ignored.
    A manager told me that because a leg clot condition has cleared up that I can go back to work now, but I was never on the invalids for that, I was on for spinal and bowel problems. My doctor cant argue with another doctor opinion so his hands are tied, he wrote out a sickness form for 12 months , winz says OH we will take no notice of that as sickness is only temporary we will change the date and send out another one in 3 months time ,so now Im on the temporary sickness now, that must make Bennett happy to know that she saved a few dollars her figures are good pfff, they expect me to be totally honest, and I am ,while their staff lie and arent honest they do not know the stress they cause, winz did not process my benefit in time and cut it and I almost had to default on my mortgage. National can blame all the beneficaries they like, real good, kick the honest people too, without seeing that their staff need better training Winz should police their staff, part of the benefit problem is created by the case managers themselves. unhelpful disrepectful lot, in the 14 years that I have had to deal with them only one was ever helpful and polite.
    So in essence Winz made me borrow a car I dont own to go to the work accessment doctor 200k away, for a work accessment for a job that I cannot do, does any of this make any sense?
    I have fibromyalgia too, so it hurts to travel, asside from the bowel issues and I’m expected to get a job, this govt says Im cured, Yeah right…