The Dim-Post

February 22, 2011

Rebstock’s brown acid

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 10:43 am

The early reports seemed too crazy to be true – but they are. Right here on page 15:

The Welfare Working Group also proposes a change in the conditions of eligibility to address this issue. The majority of the Working Group recommends that a work test in the case of parents having an additional child while on welfare should be aligned with paid parental leave provisions (when the youngest child reaches 14 weeks). A minority of members felt that the work-test in the case of parents having an additional child while on welfare should be aligned with parental leave employment protection provisions (at 12 months). The Working Group is of the view that if the changes to the work test do not address the incentives to have additional children while reliant on welfare payments, then it may be necessary to consider additional financial disincentives in the future.

It makes perfect sense if you’re an inhuman monster trained economist: women who have a second child on the DPB tend to normalise to living on a benefit and become long-term beneficiaries – so if you impose a high cost on that behaviour then they’ll respond rationally by avoiding it, with positive outcomes for them and the taxpayer.

But back home on Earth, there will always be a non-zero – and possibly quite large – number of young woman living in poverty who do not behave like good rational maximisers, and under Rebstock’s proposal the state would force them back into the work-force while their baby was less than four months old, or stop their benefit if they failed to comply.

I’d be amused to see Rebstock questioned on the practicalities of this policy: if a woman is married with one child and her husband leaves her, and she goes on the DPB then discovers she is three months pregnant will she be compelled to return to work fourteen weeks after giving birth?

But what’s the point? Who cares what Rebstock ‘thinks’? It doesn’t really matter what’s in the rest of the Welfare Working Group proposal – to suggest something this psychotic discredits the entire project. Some commentators have suggested that the WWG is an attempt to shift the Overton Window on welfare issues to the right and make the government look more moderate. If so I think it will be an utter failure. You can’t shift the Overton Window to the left on, say, Treaty of Waitangi settlements  by suggesting the crown grant the entire North Island to Maori – you’ll just provoke a backlash from the other 99.999% of the political spectrum.


  1. The thing that creeps me out the most is the emotionally disengaged, disassociated tone of language used to discuss seriously fucking up young lives.

    Inhuman monsters? These people are emotional cripples.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 22, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

  2. This is a goody

    The Welfare Working Group recommends that work expectations for:
    a) people who are sick or disabled should be based on the presumption, until determined otherwise, that people can undertake paid work;

    Comment by k.jones — February 22, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

  3. “and under Rebstock’s proposal the state would force them back into the work-force while their baby was less than four months old, or stop their benefit if they failed to comply.”

    Lets be clear.. this is a political argument. There’s nothing unusual or wrong about women drying off and going back to work at 4 months. Indeed, most babies came off the tit at around 3 months back in the 70s.


    Comment by JC — February 22, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

  4. Danyl, unfortunately I do think that for many people, their Overton window will be moved as a result of this. There are a surprising amount of people that are looking for a group to blame societies problems on, and this provides an opportunity to target beneficiaries.

    However, overall, I think that this is good for Phil Goff. That proportion of the population that will welcome these recommendations are hard National (or Act) voters. Soft Labour voters, or even some soft National voters, will start drift back to Labour. The true cost of repeating the 8.5 years of National government in the 1990s will start to feel more real now.

    Comment by DT — February 22, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

  5. JC, yeah, before we had strong research-based guidelines to the contrary from agencies like the WHO. You sound like those hippies who advocate the all-natural birth at all costs; no drugs, no medical interventions, &c. “Women have been doing this for millions of years”, they say. True. But women have also been dying in childbirth, and their kids have been dying, and being irreparably harmed for millions of years, too.

    If you want to go back to the stone age, just say so.


    Comment by Lew — February 22, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

  6. JC, while there is nothing wrong with women returning to work when their babies are 4 months old, it is not common at that age – for a reason.

    See my comments on the Death by Burke post about the difficulties of working while a single parent. It is way way way harder than being a working parent who is part of a couple. The two are not the same!

    Comment by Me Too — February 22, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

  7. One thing that jumoped out at me.

    According to the Herald, the WWG suggests “…That payment would be administered by a single Crown Agency – Employment and Support New Zealand – standing at “arms length” from the Government…”

    Given that two of Rebstock’s confederates are privatised welfare advocates Adrian Roberts and Enid Ratahi Pryor one can draw your conclusions about self-serving agendas…

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 22, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

  8. Even putting aside the absurd timeframe, the view that people receiving a benefit should be heavily coerced by society against the base genetic imperative of having children is a real mindfuck.

    Comment by garethw — February 22, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

  9. Thanks for using tha Overton language instead of the ‘bait and switch that everyone is throwing around. Not too many people bait with dogshit.

    Howevers, the point of Overton is to have non politicians use extremist positioning.

    The more it used, the less extreme it is. These proposals will be referenced for years as being radical, but not unthinkable. That’s a change. The backlash will be real, but it will be defensive. It won’t be politicians saying the report is the answer, but the BRT, editorialists, and the rent-an-OpEd crowd. Following them, the reporters begin to treat these ideas as ‘serious’ if not ‘politically viable’. then a politician becomes ‘brave’ if they can ‘confront the issues in a serious manner’.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — February 22, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

  10. Gee obviously Paula Rebstock’s talent needs to be used to sort out the financial markets in NZ,

    Oh but wait she did and that worked!!

    Comment by Doug — February 22, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

  11. Bookie, you’re bang on.


    Comment by Lew — February 22, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

  12. ‘nother Christchurch eq – 6.3, and lots of damage…

    Comment by Sam — February 22, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

  13. These cynical bastards are pushing this out under the cover of the catastrophe that has just befallen Christchurch.

    It is even worse for Phil Goff, who is at Christchurch airport, or what is left of it.

    Comment by poneke — February 22, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

  14. Um, Poneke, much as I love to hate the Nats, the release date for this report was set well in advance of the quake. And, in fact, the release itself was an hour earlier …


    Comment by Lew — February 22, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

  15. Oh Lew, didn’t you know that the Earthquake was planned as well?

    Comment by DT — February 22, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

  16. Yeah, I must have been trolled. Nobody is that stupid.


    Comment by Lew — February 22, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

  17. Only since the subject’s come up, I did have a hazy idea there was something politically unfortunate around the time of that first quake. Not that it’s all that unlikely or that I care.

    I was just going to say IIRC there was a clause where they had to get pregnant after signing up.

    Comment by lyndon — February 22, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

  18. Agree completely this suggestion shows they are just more of the same brush as the 2025 commission.

    Comment by Rob — February 22, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

  19. The Stuff comments page is now a cut n’ paste National spamfest (“About time!”, repeated a hundred times).

    While this astroturfing project might have seemed a good idea this morning, it just seems weirdly obsessive now. There’s only one news story, and it’s not this one.

    That’s the trouble with bots, once programmed, they’re hard to stop.

    Comment by sammy — February 22, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

  20. Too many single mothers having babies while on welfare?

    Step 1: Force single mothers to look for work. (Brotip: Use magnets to make them look harder)

    Step 2: Single mothers all get jobs with internet startups.

    Step 3: Full employment.

    Step 4: Use mad tax dollars to pay for national cycleway.

    Problem, Labourfags?

    Comment by Hugh — February 22, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

  21. Agree completely this suggestion shows they are just more of the same brush as the 2025 commission.

    Havve you bothered to look at the list Welfare Working Group members?

    I’m confident they know a fuck of a lot more about the ‘coal face’ of NZ’s Welfare system, and its participants, than Danyl and his talking-head commentators like you and I ever will.

    Comment by Phil — February 22, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

  22. Phil, your point is?

    There may be a couple (I could stretch that to 3) who might know
    what they are talking about. The rest are rubbish.

    Plato tried the experts know best propaganda some time back.

    It did not work.

    Too many Aristotelian sceptics abound.

    This group was put together to “tittify the Nats/Crosby/Textor agenda.
    The Nats were going to do it anyway.

    This report is simply an excuse for what the Nats intended all along.

    It might just occur to you that other blogsters “know a fuck lot more about the ‘coal face’
    of NZ’s Welfare system,and its participants, ” than you do.

    Your judgement is based on government appointed committees?

    You are a mug.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — February 22, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

  23. And at least one of the panel is a Protocols of the Elders of Mecca tin-foil hatter, not unlike the Alex Jones ilk. If it’s anything to go by, I read that link so that you don’t have to.

    Comment by DeepRed — February 23, 2011 @ 1:34 am

  24. just noted, with rebstock *actually* suggest ‘voluntary long-term contraception’ for beneficiaries?

    because that sounds awfully like sterilization to me.

    Comment by che tibby — February 23, 2011 @ 7:59 am

  25. stupid fingers… “did* rebstock…”

    Comment by che tibby — February 23, 2011 @ 7:59 am

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