The major event that springs to mind is changes to the names of all main benefits. I still consider this a major waste of time and resources. And in August 2008, before John Key became Prime Minister, so did he:
Labour's pursuit of a "single core benefit" has ended in a complete farce. The different benefit types will still exist, and will be different from each other, but will all be simply called "income support". The Labour Government is going to issue a directive telling case managers and government officials that they are forbidden from using use terms such as "DPB" and "invalids benefit".
Ruth Dyson has one opinion about this. She says this will "remove the stereotyped language and bureaucracy of a bygone era [and] will ensure that Work and Income responds to people as individuals rather than as categories".
I have another opinion. I say that is a load of politically correct rubbish, it will waste money in rewriting everything, and it will not help beneficiaries in a single way. National will not be making those changes.
Well actually in July 2013 National will be making those changes:
Three new benefit types will replace the seven current benefit categories, in addition to the new Youth Payment and Young Parent Payment introduced in August. The new categories included in this Bill are:
• Jobseeker Support for those actively seeking and available for work
• Sole Parent Support for sole parents with children under 14 years
• Supported Living Payment for people significantly restricted by sickness, injury or disability.
Just for a moment reflect on the ongoing problems that the government has had with their IT data systems - ACC, Education, Work and Income and Corrections. 300,000 plus people will have to be recategorised and transferred from one benefit to another. The data recording systems all change; the continuity of data will be lost. There's a Census running this year. Information about income sources will be collected in February which by July will be meaningless. There will be confusion, challenges from people unhappy with their new categorisation, and given the teacher salary debacle, it wouldn't surprise if benefits go under/over or un-paid.
It's all going to distract from what WINZ should be concentrating on. Getting people into jobs.