Red Alert

By the numbers

Posted by on June 15th, 2012

110,000 – People still on the DPB after Government’s welfare reforms – if they work.  That’s still nearly 10,000 more people than when they took office.

13,000 – People have died, including the murder of children at Houla in the on-going Syrian conflict. Labour supports steps set out by Amnesty International to act on mounting evidence that the Syrian Government is responsible for the slaughter of its own people and gross violations of their human rights.

51.1 – Per cent of social assistance spending will be on superannuation by 2016.

25 – Per cent participation by women on Boards is a goal in the limelight this week. Sadly progress in the private sector is happening despite the Government not because of it.

5 – Heads have rolled as National’s mismanagement of ACC is realised.

24 Responses to “By the numbers”

  1. former Labour supporter says:

    David, what is this–political Sesame Street? All you need is a colour and word of the day as well.

  2. Bed Rater says:

    “Sadly progress in the private sector is happening despite the Government not because of it.”

    I take it this is referring to the perceived lack of action on this issue from the current government meaning you’re disappointed that an issue is improving with no government intervention.

    What a terrible attitude.

  3. Anne says:

    You could call it a weekly summary of the most important recent events – both in NZ and overseas. Thank-you David Clark. It’s good to be reminded. If you’ve got a problem with that fls, then I suggest you look elsewhere for your political kicks.

  4. former Labour supporter says:

    @ Anne. In case you hadn’t noticed Labour got thumped at the last election by a visionless pack of jive turkeys with nothing but an obscenely rich, unctuous, lisping baby boomer as a trump card. David is a up-and-comer with much ability and, as this is a public forum, he should present his thought in a way that isn’t so implicitly demeaning to the voting public.

  5. Andrea says:

    Instead of simply banging on about the percentage of people soon to be on superannuation – flesh out the rest of the story.

    You know. How you will tackle ageism. The work you want Golden Oldies to do. The retraining to be made available to seniors that doesn’t lead to people reneging on student loans. The civilizing of WINZ. What the ‘vision’ is for the incoming younger generations so they can choose their skills development and their ongoing education. What will actively be done to stop chronic government ‘theft’ which happens when more taxes are added, previous opportunities are whisked away after another session of ‘Urgency’ and all the myriad things governments of all colours do to blight the long-term plans of its citizens – because they can, not because they must.

    Anyone actually working on these facets and details? At the usual glacial pace of policy development (particularly the intricate ones) we’ll be past the ‘critical deadline’ and getting ready for the mini-boomers…

  6. George says:

    If you are male and want to live to collect the pension don’t vote Labour.
    If you are a Maori or Pacific Islander and want to live to collect the pension don’t vote Labour.
    If you are poor and want to live to collect the pension don’t vote Labour.
    Basically if you are not a rich white woman don’t vote Labour.

  7. David Clark says:

    @anne cheers. Looks like this weekly summary has touched a nerve. Perhaps understandable. I’m imagining there are a few raw nerves amongst Labour’s detractors.

  8. SPC says:

    The proportion of social spending on super should rise, after all we want there to be well-paid work available to those under 65 and investment in their work capability.

    But attempting to reduce the cost of super by pushing up the age of super has adverse impact on those aging people already on benefits before age 65. That people are dying in poverty while on SB or IB in their early 60’s is a national embarrassment. It demonstrates a problem that resulted from the increase in age from 60 to 65 that no one has yet faced up to. Extending the period involved makes it worse.

    It’s however just a tad sad that those who would oppose spending to reduce the poverty and improve the health of those groups who live fewer years on average than other Kiwis would suggest people not vote Labour. As if they would be better off under National, National has no opposition to increasing the age in the same 2020-2030 time frame as Labour suggests, all National opposes is giving people as much advance notice.

    Before the age is increased (I favour an increase from 65 to 70 over 25 years from 2025 to 2050) we should determine that people over the age of 60 on benefits should get the super rate payment if invalids or on a work tested benefit. This could be funded by a surtax on those working over the age of “65″ (65-70) at say 10 cents in the dollar of work income above the minimum wage. So if they earned say $80,000 – 10 cents in the dollar over $50,000 would be $5000, less than 1/3 of their super. Someone would have to earn about $200,000 before they lost single rate super entirely.

    It seems perverse that those who can continue to work while getting universal super are not helping in this way those aging beneficiaries who cannot find work or are unable to work.

    Otherwise the Cullen Fund needs regular annual contributions while the baby boomers are still working to ease the demographic bulge cost later and this can only come from dedicated (compulsory) contributions out of wages (2% matched by 2% from employers).

    And those people who will work and pay taxes to support the baby boomers in retirement should be given reassurance that they will get tax paid super and that their Kiwi Saver will be in addition to their tax paid super. They should receive the same tax paid super support from the generation after them that they are expected to give in the coming years. This is how the tax paid scheme is supposed to work. Barring the baby boomer bulge being accomodated by the Cullen Fund this is what should occur.

  9. al1ens says:

    “Basically if you are not a rich white woman don’t vote Labour.”

    Looking forward to those branch meetings 😆

  10. al1ens says:

    “present his thought in a way that isn’t so implicitly demeaning to the voting public.”

    Firstly, I’m not demeaned in any way by the presentation of this series of topics.

    Secondly, fingers crossed that whichever party you now vote for, share Labour’s commitment to adult education and self empowerment.
    With luck it’ll be How to beat inferiority complexes classes and anger management for free 😉 😆

  11. richie says:

    @ David Clark

    Have you seen No Right Turns analysis of future superannuation spend requirements? Maybe not such a problem and perhaps Labour should figure out how to pay for super, rather than making people work longer.

    What I find disturbing is the more National Lite policies Labour roll out, like this one, the polls go up. I seems it is a fight for the center vote at the expense of the poorly paid worker that works in a physically demanding job.

    Working 45-50 years should be enough for a citizen of this country

  12. former Labour supporter says:

    @ aliens
    if there’s any subtext of inferiority complex in my remarks it probably stems form the daily rejection letters I get post-university. But people should definitely be angry about the current political situation in this mickey mouse country.

    Labour will be the basis for the 2014 government, and, you’re right, I probably won’t vote for them, as they seem to be willfully taking a more moderate approach than public sentiment would warrant.

  13. David Clark says:

    @richie sustainable universal super is the goal. People my age know that if the Government doesn’t make the tough calls, there will be nothing left for us when we reach retirement age. People my age and younger expect to work a few years longer. Stats show that half of the girl babies born today are expected to live past 100. We’re living longer but we still need a generous retirement plan that can be sustained for future years.

    On the specific point: Labour went to the last election with a policy of supporting anyone from 65 in poor health at the same rate as those who reached 67 in good health. Unfortunately that part of the policy didn’t get much media attention and the policy was probably announced too late for us to get the message across.

  14. richie says:

    It feels like we are on a lift the super age bandwagon rather than looking for alternatives. TINA doesn’t work for me. It would great to hear some other possibilities being openly discussed rather than just raising the age.

    My mother in-law 63 works in a large retailer and spends 7.5 hours on her feet, it is like torture for her, no specific health issues, just getting old and worn out. She is going to get super, but according to Labour I won’t be worn enough at 65 to retire.

    This might be causing John Key a little discomfort at the moment but once kiwis really think about it and start to hear alternative from other parties this Labour policy could start to look mean and unnecessary.

  15. al1ens says:

    “people should definitely be angry about the current political situation in this mickey mouse country”

    Angry that the 50 million dollar man has bought himself NZ, and that with his investment, continues to profit at the expense of us all? Yes – Absolutely.

    Angry with the country that gave us a treaty, votes for women, the welfare sate, nuke free zones and stopped racist rugby tours? Not likely anytime soon.

  16. al1ens says:

    Am I concerned that at the next election, Labour and the Greens won’t motivate and mine the 30% of people who didn’t bother to vote in 2011, giving a larger majority, enabling a less center focussed narrative? If they’re paying attention on here, then maybe not so much.

    However, I do agree that being a credible alternative is nowhere near as exciting, forceful and honest as revolutionary and inspiring.

  17. David Clark says:

    @Richie David Shearer offered to lead cross party talks to explore the options. We’re certainly open to discussing the best way to make sure universal super is sustainable. John Key is the unfortunate individual who has said explicitly that he will not change his mind.

  18. Jester says:

    And also Winston it appears David. Makes the left coalition calculations interesting.

  19. richie says:

    Thanks for the response David

    How about all the parties minus National get together; put National in the minority. Come up with some ideas through a parliamentary majority group; this will really put the pressure on the Nats.

    You could count the Greens and Mana,NZ first would probably be a starter although Winston grandstanding might be a problem, Maori Party would probably take the opportunity to differentiate from National as would United Future. That leaves Banks and who cares what that inconsequential individual thinks.

    Take the opportunity to thrash out some other cohesive Government in waiting policy that tackle the other structural issues in the economy, a framework perhaps? Time to move the collaboration of MMP along, would make Shearer look great as he was working in a shadow Prime Minster role.

    Naive of me ….probably

  20. Anne says:

    It sounds like a splendid idea richie and not at all naive. There would need to be a set of ‘rules’ in place so that each of the parties could retain their individual characteristics and interests. I imagine it would only apply to controversial issues such as Asset Sales, Superannuation and (perhaps) Welfare Reform. In every other way it would be business as usual.

    We have a government that is governing for the few only, and refusing to face up to future problems and issues including Climate Change. They are in the game entirely for the power and prestige it brings them today. They don’t really care about tomorrow. A concerted effort on the part of other parliamentary parties would not only put pressure on National, it would show them up to be the empty vessels they have proven to be.

  21. OneTrack says:

    So why doesn’t Labour get on with it then. Instead of their current plan to simply filibuster and waste everybody’s time (again. It worked so well for voluntary student unions).

  22. OneTrack says:

    So why doesn’t Labour get on with it then. Instead of their current plan to simply filibuster and waste everybody’s time (again. It worked so well for voluntary student unions).

  23. Pete eorge says:

    There also needs to be a wideranging discussion on NZ Super outside parliament, which needs to work with those parties prepared to be involved. To contribute to the discussion see

    Mistyped name on comment – Pete George

  24. SPC says:

    David the 2011 policy is all very well, but what about all those people on the UB, not just SB and IB over the age of 60 since 1990?

    The numbers would increase further.

    What about super rate work tested UB over 65?

    And what about surtaxing the work income of those over 65 to both fund this and lower super cost?