This Bill would extend the sanction regime to people on benefits who have a community sentence and who fail to comply with that sentence.
I note that section 186 does not give those people already on community sentences a grace period before this sanction can be applied to them.
This Bill highlights failures in the New Zealand justice system and does not address the underlying causes of non-compliance with community sentences.
A very concerning part of this Bill is that it would negatively affect children. If the Ministry of Social Development knows a child is dependent on the person whose benefit they propose to cut, the benefit can still be cut, but “only” by half. On the levels that benefits currently are, cutting a benefit in half will still be devastating for a family, and for the welfare of a child.
A person’s benefit can be restarted if they start to comply with the community sentence, but it’s unclear how they will be able to comply with their sentence if they have no money for transport. They might also not have money for food, rent, power or health costs – things that we recognise as minimal entitlements of prisoners. This Bill might push vulnerable people to committing petty crime in order to survive.
Our social security legislation should be a safety net. This Bill will further erode that. It will not make a positive difference to people or to society. It will not “rescue” people from their situation. It will not rehabilitate them. It will not increase public safety.
The Department of Corrections should be given more resources to take practical steps to address non-compliance. This Bill is not one of them.
From their handy ‘How Conservative Are You?’ quiz.
Welfare reform so that there is no pay without work and incentives are toward working and couples staying together. No benefits (“no pay without work”). Concerning that they want to incentivize couples to stay together. Creates a, I assume, financial, incentive to stay in a domestic violence situation. Not everyone wants to have a partner and they shouldn’t be penalized for that.
That the legal drinking age be raised to 21 years of age. War on youth.
That the ban on smacking be removed with a return to parents being able to use reasonable force in correcting their children. The law already has an exception “if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances”. Force shouldn’t be used instead of proper parenting.
Tougher sentences for violent criminals along with a requirement that they work and learn while imprisoned. “Requirement that they work” seems like it would be slavery. Locking people up longer isn’t the magic answer to crime.
In sentencing ‘life’ imprisonment shall actually mean life imprisonment. As above, this isn’t the magic bullet.
That Citizens Initiated referendum should be binding if 67% or more of votes cast favour the proposal. (and apparently we’re having a referendum in 2014 – “That the 2014 election referendum should include the following questions …”) – Referenda are stupid in that questions are often worded in a way that solicits the response desired by the people behind the referendum. Binding referenda could unfairly affect minority groups. Here are some examples of ridiculous referenda we have had:
Should the number of professional firefighters employed full time in the New Zealand Fire Service be reduced below the number employed on 1 January 1995? (12.2% yes, 87.8% no – 1995 – 27% turnout)
Should there be a reform of our justice system placing greater emphasis on the needs of victims, providing restitution and compensation for them and imposing minimum sentences and hard labour for all serious violent offences? (91.8% yes, 8.2% no – 1999 – 84.8% turnout, held on day of general election) [emphasis mine, did 91% of New Zealanders who voted really support hard labour? Unlikely. Were they voting for better treatment of victims? Probably.]
I vote for compulsory military training. I vote against compulsory military training. (77.9% in favour, 22.1% against – 1949 – 63.5% turnout)
If I have crushed your Conservative Party dreams, and/or you’re not sure who to vote for tomorrow, check this website out.
This is stupid, slightly racist and reads as “welfare recipients are lazy”, but I’ll play along.
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.
The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper admires the ant’s work ethic and would like to be like a hard-working ant, but unemployment is at 6.6% and at least three out of 50 people, including himself, can’t find jobs. If unemployment gets below 5%, the wasps who own the factories start to panic. If the wasps had to compete for employees, instead of the employees competing for jobs, the wasps would have to either raise their prices or keep less of the profits they earn from the labor.
There are more ants than grasshoppers, and ants are usually better qualified, because their parents got them access to better schools and healthcare. Some ants went to private schools and when they got sick outside of business hours, there was no hesitation in taking them to an after-hours surgery. Because their parents valued their education, they were encouraged to work hard at school and many ended up going to university. Because the ants have better qualifications, the grasshoppers are the last to get hired and the first to be fired.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.
One News, 3 News, PRIME News, and Campbell Live show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
The country is stunned by the sharp contrast!
How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Sue Bradford appears on Campbell Live with the grasshopper–and everybody cries. The Green Party stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing, “We Shall Overcome”. The Green Party leader Metiria Turei condemns the ant and blames John Key, Rob Muldoon, Roger Douglas, capitalism and global warming for the grasshopper’s plight.
Many people on radio, TV, in newspapers and on the internet complain that grasshoppers are lazy and should just get jobs. Michael Laws says something about sterilizing all of them so they can’t have kids. He also says something about taking a shotgun to Sue Bradford and members of the Green Party.
John Minto exclaims in an interview with TV News that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.
John further explains that the wasps are avoiding taxes by moving their money offshore, exploiting tax loopholes, and ensuring that the bureaucrats appointed to regulate their industries are their friends. He claims that last year the government found $1.7 billion to bail out the well-off shareholders of South Canterbury Finance, but didn’t want to spend $500 million to pay the minimum wage to caregivers staying the night looking after disabled people. He says that a social safety net pays dividends in the form of lower law enforcement and penal system expenses. He is immediately attacked as engaging in “class warfare”.
Finally, to gain votes to win the election, the government drafts the “Economic Equity and Anti-Ant Act”, retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.
Eventually, the grasshopper does in fact manage to find a job, working in the same factory as the ant now does. In fact, the factory started to hire lots of grasshoppers, since they would work more cheaply than the ants, the low wage still being a huge improvement over the welfare cheque that had previously enabled his “carefree” life.
This had unexpected consequences for the ant. One day, the factory foreman came up to him. “I’m sorry, Mr. Ant,” he said, trying to avoid eye contact. “I’m going to have to let you go.” Not long after losing his job, the ant became ill, he’d contracted cancer through exposure at his job. Because of deregulation and tort reform, the ant had no legal recourse.
Unfortunately, his health insurance had lapsed after he lost his job. While on a waiting list, he was last seen hanging out in an alley, filthy and wearing a “will work for food” sign.
This was eventually the fate of the grasshopper as well. One day the wasp who owned the factory decided that he could make even more money by closing the factory and opening a new one overseas, in a developing country, where the grasshoppers will work for even less money and the government environmental and safety regulations are even less “burdensome”. And the wasp lived happily ever after.
The moral of this story? Not everything is as simple as it seems. Also, that analogies with ants and grasshoppers end up being a bit batshit.