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Thread: Something very wrong here.

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    MotherBear's Avatar
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    Default Something very wrong here.

    11,500 on dole for stress, drugs, booze
    19 March 2006
    By HELEN BAIN

    More than 11,500 New Zealanders are unable to work and are claiming benefits because of "stress" or drug and alcohol abuse. Unemployment is at a low of 3.6 per cent, but the number of sickness and invalid beneficiaries continued to grow at a rate of 2.7 per cent last year, totalling 121,362 at the end of the year (74,500 invalids; 46,862 sick).

    Social Development Ministry figures obtained by the Sunday Star-Times under the Official Information Act show the number of people on benefits because of substance abuse rose from 2879 in 2001 to 4158 at the end of last year. Questions from National welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins have revealed 7468 people are claiming a benefit because they are stressed.

    Eligibility for sickness and invalid's benefits is determined by doctors, who assess whether a person has an incapacity preventing them from working. To be eligible for an invalid's benefit, a person must be assessed by a designated doctor as being "permanently and severely restricted in their capacity for work". "Permanent" is a condition expected to last at least two years. Collins said the numbers on benefits citing stress and substance abuse were surprisingly high.

    Putting people on invalid's benefits suggested the government accepted that stress and substance abuse were permanent, rather than treatable conditions, she said. "We're not doing people any favours by deciding that they aren't fit to work and dumping them on a benefit. We should be doing everything we can to help people overcome these issues and help them back to work."

    Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope said substance abusers were assessed by doctors and if it was determined they could become well with rehabilitation and treatment, they would not be eligible for the invalid's benefit. The government was spending $27.7 million in the next four years on expanding its service for sickness and invalid's beneficiaries with the aim of getting more people back to work, Benson-Pope said.

    Mental Health Foundation chief executive Judi Clements said stress and substance abuse could have a debilitating effect on people's capacity to work. "The word stress gets bandied around - people say, `Oh, I'm really stressed out' - but that's not usually a situation where stress reaches a high intensity and continues unabated, which can cause people to crash psychologically and become depressed. In that situation people can be quite unable to function."

    But although some cases of stress or substance abuse might result in permanent incapacity that was "the exception not the norm". Tim Harding, chief executive of addiction treatment service Care NZ, said people with addiction problems were as much justified in being on benefits as those who suffered from physical health problems. "Dependency is not a moral issue, it's a health issue," he said. "People who take the moral high ground are not aware of the often complex reasons for dependence. There is no point telling someone who wakes up in a deep, dark hole every morning to pull themselves together when they can't even get out of bed."
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    Glenda's Avatar
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    Default Something very wrong here.

    Hmmm.

    It is tempting to take what they call the "high moral ground" and say the world is going stupid. Many of us Brits here know that where the UK goes, New Zealand eventually follows in a decade or so. On that basis, and being quite pessimistic, don't be surprised to find a new underclass of non-achievers growing, mobile phone bullying increasing, drunkiness among youngsters, increase in crime, kids being paid to go to school etc. etc.

    Looking at it without the "high moral ground", a local mother left her four year old child in the house, went into the bush and hanged herself. Her body was found three weeks later. They don't say much in the papers but in a small community you hear that she was depressed, had a history of on/off drug use, and was stressed over a custody battle over her child.

    We can rant and rave at the indiscriminate handing out of benefits to all and sundry, but true cases of need do exist. With a population of around 65million, the UK can be excused of treating everyone as statistics. Here in New Zealand it would be nice if the government could be seen to be showing more interest in the health of its population, and offering real help, as it cannot afford to keep thousands of people in benefits for their working life.

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    Default Something very wrong here.

    It?s a situation that?s costing the government (for that read ?taxpayers?) millions of dollars so why, instead of ignoring the fact that there is a huge problem, don?t they attempt to rectify it? I suspect this is all tied in with the high rate of suicides and, either directly or indirectly, in many cases, I would think drink and drugs comes into it somewhere along the line. There is casual use which gets out of hand and there?s comfort usage where people resort to such means to escape an intolerable situation, possibly brought on by someone else?s habit e.g. violence in the home. I?d like to think that the money dished out in benefits would be better spent in providing rehabilitation centres for those hooked on drink and drugs in an attempt to reform them and give them back their lives. I can well imagine that a lot of stress within the home could come from a partner?s abuse of these substances. Where both partners are involved, the effect on the children doesn?t bear thinking about and will only serve to perpetuate the problem when they grow up thinking it to be normal behaviour, that is, if they live long enough to grow up.

    There are so many reports now of women and children being beaten and ill-treated at home, but no one seems to be trying to find a way to combat this. Unfortunately, this idea of getting put on the sick for stress could become a trend with the more unscrupulous people that don?t have the will to work anyway and are looking for a way out. What do these people do to pass the time when they aren?t working? They drink even more and why not? The government will take care of them. No worries. We all have stresses in our lives and deal with them in our own way, but falling back on drink and drugs is only an ?easy? way out and, thankfully, most of us rise above that and find other ways around our problems. Perhaps easier access to counselling would be an advantage, so that those in danger of teetering on the brink of succumbing to drink and drugs would have somewhere to go where they can be assured of a friendly ear and some assistance.

    If I thought my taxes were going towards funding those who have gone down this path of their own accord i.e. self-inflicted drink and drug problems, I would be furious. It?s true that there are quite a few genuine cases where depression has taken its toll and is responsible for someone?s downfall, but there must be some way to sort the wheat from the chaff. There is quite a difference between someone becoming clinically depressed and resorting to drink or drugs and someone who has, entirely of their own accord, deliberately set out to become a substance abuser as a recreational pursuit. After all, isn?t the NZIS making such a big issue of immigration applicants not being a potential burden on the health system? If I were them, I think I?d be looking a bit closer to home to resolve the matter.


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    netchicken is offline Senior Member
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    Default Something very wrong here.

    Its also a way of fiddling the unemployment figures. If people ar eput on the sickness benefits then the government doesn't have to find work for them, and their stats look better.

    So if you were working in the Unemployment place, and you had a client who was obviously unwilling to find work, then by reclassifying him with something as untraceable as "stress" the person is taken out of the equation, and you can move his file on to someone else.

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    Default Something very wrong here.

    Ooooh, naughty . ?Talk about a cover up and sweeping the problem under the carpet ?.

    Would I be right in thinking (and this has only been gleaned from what I?ve read and not from personal knowledge) a large proportion of the people who are ?suffering? from these problems are non-Pakeha? ?If so and many of them are Pacific Islanders, these are the people that NZIS welcome with open arms ? no having to go to extraordinary lengths to justify themselves, no copious form filling, medicals and police checks, handing over of, what is to many, a vast amount of money - they can just hop on a plane and walk in through the front door. ?Again, from what I?ve read, these people don?t always bring with them a very good work ethic and aren?t of any benefit to NZ in the way that it?s insisted that we have to be. ?The government is just encouraging their habit by ?paying? them to stay at home and drink all day . ?Sounds a bit like the UK and a certain section of its immigrants who flood in to, literally, reap the benefits. ?I?m not so aware that they turn to drink and drugs as happens in NZ, though.

    I wonder what the result would be if the NZ government decided to run a clean up operation where any Pacific Islanders that hadn?t found a job after one year were made to return home. ?Perhaps that would sharpen up their ideas and help them focus through their drink/drug induced haze. ?The fact that they don?t have jobs only gives them more time to get up to mischief because, as they say, ?The devil makes work for idle hands? . I?m not sure what could be done about the Maori section of this problem as they are native to NZ, but there must be some incentive to, at least, ?encourage? them to find work. ?

    NZ is making its own bed and will have to lie in it. ?If those PIers who showed no interest in finding work were sent back home and more Pakehas allowed entry in their place, imagine how much more industrious and profitable a country NZ would be. ?Probably a lot safer too. ?As it is, by condoning the situation, NZ is digging its own grave.
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    tottefan is offline Senior Member
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    Default Something very wrong here.

    New Zealand eventually follows in a decade or so

    Actually, if a lot of these threads are anything to go by it already has the same problems as the UK. [smiley=icon_eek.gif]


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    Default Something very wrong here.

    Jeez that figures nothing, someone branier than me could work that out as a percentage, bet it's not a lot. It's easy to look at the figured and see high number and assume bad place, it's just not the case.

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    Default Something very wrong here.

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    Default Something very wrong here.

    Well, yes the percentage is somewhat low, but one would think that the government would put more into therapy or treatment so those poor overstressed :smiley19: and over-drugged :smiley11: people could get over it and back into the workforce

    I'm a bit tetchy about this sort of subject, because locally we have a related problem - a friendly environment for abuse of the medical marijuana initiative. Being interested in herbal medicine, I appreciate that marijuana has uses for easing glaucoma and helping chemotherapy patients have an appetite. But we have had a huge influx of potheads who get marijuana scrips for vague pains, anxiety and even alcoholism! And then they loaf around, bumming money and making trouble. ...Sorry, but my Puritan work ethic is showing :013:.
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