Read this very interesting, re-edited and further updated post that ‘Marc’ initially published via ‘ACC Forum’ on 19 September 2014:


It was hard to believe what I read in the New Zealand Herald on 18 September 2014, just two days before the general election. According to Deputy Prime Minister Bill English long term benefit dependence is similar to “crack cocaine addiction”:


“Bill English’s cocaine reference slammed”, NZ Herald, video, 18.09.14:


“Bill English’s cocaine reference slammed”, Bay of Plenty Times, article, 18.09.14:



“Deputy Prime Minister Bill English has compared some long-term beneficiaries to crack addicts, sparking criticism.


 Mr English made the comment while speaking to about 100 voters at a meeting at Club Mount Maunganui yesterday in his final push to Tauranga voters ahead of Saturday’s election.


 “Getting stuck on a benefit (long-term) is like crack cocaine, it’s really hard once you’ve started to come off it …”

 He delved into the economy and outlined his party’s economic plans.


 He was joined by Tauranga MP Simon Bridges and Bay of Plenty National candidate Todd Muller.


 National’s economic plan was about growing the economy steadily, creating 150,000 more jobs by 2018, delivering higher incomes, helping more businesses to succeed and addressing long-term welfare dependency, which was costing the country billions, he said.


 Once people entered the benefit system, particularly those aged under 20, they often stayed on it for years, and there were concerning numbers who had been on a benefit for up to 20 years, Mr English said.


“Getting stuck on a benefit (long-term) is like crack cocaine, it’s really hard once you’ve started to come off it…


 “We know hooking adults back into the education system and getting them off benefits into work in seven years rather than 20 saves the country millions,” he said.


 Mr English said one of the main reasons the country’s economy was consuming billions of dollars was in the number of people on benefit long term, including many receiving sickness benefit.


 Welfare statistics showed there were 300,000 people on benefit, costing $76 billion over a lifetime, and about $50 billion worth was driven by those who started on a benefit under the age of 20.


 Mr English said National was getting 1600 people off welfare and back into work each week, which was “pretty good start” and the Ministry of Social Development’s case-management approach with long-term clients was paying dividends.


 Research also showed many beneficiaries had solvable problems such as depression that once addressed would enable them to return to paid work.


 Mr English said voters had a stark choice – vote for National and “steady as she goes” and sensible fiscal spending or vote for the “others” and watch the ship start to list and sink.


 The country was in good shape and it was not time to make dramatic changes, he said.


 Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services executive director Tommy Wilson said Mr English’s reference to crack cocaine showed a lack of understanding.


 “You have to be there to understand it’s not an addiction. Most people don’t have a choice.”



The story was also covered by some other media:


“Bill English describes beneficiaries as drug addicts”, Yahoo News NZ:


“Bill English describes beneficiaries as drug addicts”, ZB news, 18 Sept. 2014:


“Beneficiary bashing unacceptable – BAFNZ”, Voxy, 18.09.14:



Own Comments:

The talk about welfare dependency being just like “drug dependence” is nothing new to the well informed, who know all about Dr David Bratt, MSD’s Principal Health Advisor, who has repeatedly made the bizarre comparison in his many “presentations” to health professionals (especially GPs) and in comments to media. Here is one of his “presentations”:


“Ready, Steady, Crook”

(see pages 13, 20, 21 and 35)



Bratt is one of the most faithful followers of the ideologically influenced “findings” and “research” by Professor Mansel Aylward, who has been condemned by many disabled and advocacy groups in the UK. His long term involvement with the UNUM health and disability insurance company has also been controversial:


Aylward had input into the formation of the recent welfare reforms in New Zealand, and met Paula Bennett to advise her. He also met with a “health and disability panel” that took part in formulating and drafting up the welfare reforms that are now written in law. Aylward wrote reports that suggested many people suffering mental health conditions – and from musculo-skeletal conditions – were rather suffering from “illness belief” than true sickness. He claims that most sick, injured and disabled are able to work in jobs on the open market, to compete with fit and healthy for jobs, and should be “supported” into work, as work is “therapeutic” and has “health benefits”. His claims have been disputed by many, but as he seems to deliver the “science” and “research” findings that governments and insurers wanting to cut costs simply love, he is now held up as a supposed “expert” with credibility.


The following posts shine light on what is really behind the whole policy drives:



Even the AFOEM of the RACP has taken up Aylward’s advice and recommendations, which should not surprise, as the President of the AFOEM is Dr David Beaumont, a former ATOS staff member, and also controversial assessor or advisor used by ACC:….mansel-aylward/



After the fatal shooting of two WINZ staff members in Ashburton we read articles like the following in the NZ Herald – same as in other media:


That shocking story is yet to unfold further, and be prepared that at least some of the truth about how WINZ now work with “clients” may finally come out once the matter is heard before the court at some time in the not so distant future.


Bill English should know better, but him resorting to the bizarre kinds of claims that other “experts” have used before, this shows us that things are going to get a hell of a lot worse, for those dependent on benefits for health and disability reasons. Fasten your seat belts, as the journey will not be a pleasant one. Since  National has won the election, we will have another chilling 3 year term of them running the welfare system in New Zealand further into the ground.


This is a link to the original post that ‘Marc’ made available on ‘ACC Forum’:





In the morning of 19 September 2014 there was an interesting brief report by Radio New Zealand’s Political Editor Brent Edwards on ‘Nine to Noon’. He revealed how statistical figures used in the election campaign were often far from the truth. That applies to the governing National Party, same as to some other parties. But it was very interesting to hear what the actual figures were, of those leaving benefit-receipt on balance per week (while considering the inflow of new benefit claimants as well, besides of those supposedly leaving benefit receipt). And the movements off benefits are only possible due to employment being a bit more available in various regions. The figures thrown around also tell us little about how long people stay in jobs, and what they actually earn.


The actual NET figure for people leaving the benefit is much, much smaller than what we got told in election brochures and in bold claims from Paula Bennett, various other National Party candidates and the Prime Minister.


I strongly recommend people listen to the following audio recording – here is the link to the track on Radio New Zealand’s website:


“Brent Edwards discussed Fact or Fiction throughout the campaign”, Radio New Zealand, 19 Sept. 2014:



Further UPDATE from 19 Oct. 2014:


Another media article shines more light on what is behind the supposedly much “improved” numbers for people being dependent on welfare benefits:


“Govt ‘playing the figures’ on welfare”, Thomas Heaton, Manawatu Standard / ‘’, 18 Oct. 2014:




“There are 10,000 fewer people around the country using the welfare system compared to this time last year, according to the Ministry of Social Development. The central region, which includes Manawatu, contributed 150 people to that statistic although local aid agencies thought the number was not entirely accurate.”


“However, the Salvation Army’s Palmerston North Corps says it has been approached by an increasing number of people whose benefits have been “cut or reduced”.


The increased number was “due to the new social reforms and requirements”.  People were not being allocated the proper aid and were being dealt with inappropriately, it said.


Those with medical issues were receiving “jobseekers assistance” when they should have been receiving the “supported living payment”.  There were cases where beneficiaries were unable to fulfil the obligations to receive jobseekers assistance.


The “supported living payment” is given to those with illnesses, the blind, or those caring for people fulltime, while the “jobseekers assistance” requires beneficiaries to attend seminars and interviews. If three commitments are missed within 12 months, the beneficiary is cut from the system. Some of those people are unable to fulfil those commitments due to illness or health problems.


Palmerston North social worker Kevin Richards said he was not seeing things as “getting better”.  Clients were finding it “increasingly difficult” to qualify for welfare, because of changes in criteria, he said. As his clients were rejected, he was left looking after people who had no way of supporting themselves.”


Own Comments:


Check the above link to read the whole article! This is more proof of WINZ staff being instructed by their team leaders and managers, and ultimately by the top levels at the Ministry of Social Development, to meet set targets and remove people from benefits. Even an increasing number of sick, injured and disabled are told to prepare for work, and to look for work on the open job market. Doctors (GPs) are increasingly told by WINZ Regional Health and Disability Advisors to not issue work ability sickness certificates that declare their clients as not fit to do any work. A new approach from the UK, that one devised by Mansel Aylward and like-minded colleagues, and pushed by these hand-picked “experts”, is used, and hence MSD and WINZ tell medical professionals to look at what their patients can (hypothetically) do, rather than what they may not be able to do. If you can do some work in sitting, you can be considered “fit” to work, even if you may never have done office work, or other kinds of work that people tend to do while they may sit. It is viewed as of little or no relevance, whether you may actually lack the qualifications and skills to do such a hypothetical job, as doctors are only meant to look at health issues based on “medical” aspects. This leads to increasing numbers of sick and impaired being denied Living Support Payment benefit entitlements, and rather being put onto the lower paid Jobseeker Support benefit.


Some may for time being get a “deferred” work test obligation, but eventually case managers will communicate expectations that clients prepare for some form of work, and urge them to attend seminars, courses or get referred to special, outsourced service providers, that will put them into whatever kind of supposedly “suitable” job there is (for nice fees paid by MSD).


And if the client’s own doctor may not complete a certificate as WINZ may wish it to look like, then WINZ case managers are encouraged to send their clients to one of their “designated doctors” to be re-examined and re-assessed. The MSD paid “designated doctors” tend to deliver what WINZ prefers, at least some of them, who appear to be used much more often, than other ones they have on their books.


Another post reveals what that entails and means:



Further information of interest and relevance to this topic:


Also check these posts for “work ability assessments” and providers they now use:


And in the following post found under this link, there is some advice of how to prepare, if anyone is asked to see a designated doctor or a supposedly “independent” “work-ability assessor”:


And here is a link to newer scientific evidence which shows that at least some forms of paid employment on the competitive, often insecure, casual and term contract based job market is not really as “healthy” as “experts” like Professor Mansel Aylward and some of his colleagues claim:



Closing note:


All this is information you will NOT find in any “mainstream media” in New Zealand, who have apparently not bothered to investigate, research and analyse any of this. It seems to be easier and less “disturbing” to simply report on what Ministers and other government politicians tell people, no matter whether it is based on truth or not.

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