Saturday, December 24, 2011

A name from the past...

Given that we've been blogging for over four years now, we've built up quite an archive. And we've always been good with names; for some reason, they tend to stick in our ageing grey matter.

Which is why, when we saw a story in yesterday's Dom-Post about Occupy Wellington, a name stuck out; check this out:

Occupy Wellington protesters have been served an eviction notice by the council but say they will have to be physically removed.

The remaining protesters were given the notice yesterday, signed off by Wellington City Council chief executive Garry Poole. It give the camp until 4pm on January 4 to leave Civic Square.

"The Wellington City Council has continued open dialogue with you but always on the basis that your occupation contravenes our by laws and is illegal and interferes with the rights of others to use and enjoy this land," the letter says.

"We have been consistent in our communication with you - you can not occupy this land indefinitely....this letter is to formally give you notice to leave the land in Civic Square owned by Wellington City Council on behalf of the people of Wellington."

Occupy Wellington spokesman Benjamin Easton said this morning that protesters had no intention of leaving the site by the deadline set by the council.

"If the police arrive then they would need to remove us physically. I am not going to make it easy for them to remove me. I am going to make it as difficult as possible.

"But am I going to assault or lash out at any authority that is trying to remove me? The answer is no, categorically.''

A Wellington City Council spokesman declined to comment on what action the council would take should the protesters defy the deadline.

Benjamin Easton; we knew the name was familiar, so we quickly searched our archives, and this is what we came up with:

It would seem that Paula Bennet's promise to crack down on those rorting the welfare system is happening. The Dom-Post reports:

An unemployed Wellington man who boasted he was living on the dole to run court crusades on social issues has been told to report for an immediate work test.

Benjamin Easton, who has lodged an Environment Court appeal to stop Manners Mall being turned into a buses-only road, told The Dominion Post on Tuesday he was "deliberately and directly" on the dole so he could bring "the people's challenge to the courts".

"It is a sacrifice, really. I am perfectly capable of earning."

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said she was "appalled" by the comments, and Work and Income officials had called Mr Easton in for an immediate work test after reading them.

She would not comment on what that would involve in his specific case, but said his views indicated he was in the category of beneficiaries to be targeted under a new regime of work tests due this year.

"It's exactly the type of person that our welfare changes are meant to identify and actually move off a benefit and into work. There will be obligations on people like him that they must meet."


Yes indeed dear readers; Benjamin Easton is a long-time, work-shy activist. And his challenge to Paula Bennett had immediate consequences, as we reported at the time:

WINZ has wasted no time at all in giving Benjamin Easton (whom we blogged about yesterday) the message - the Dom-Post reports:

A unemployed man trying to stop Manners Mall from becoming a bus-only road says his dole has been cut after he admitted he had no intention of getting a job.

Activist Benjamin Easton, 49, also revealed he had not had a job interview since he went on the dole nearly three years ago.

He met Work and Income for a work test yesterday after telling The Dominion Post he was on the benefit deliberately so he could bring the "people's challenge to the courts" and that he was "perfectly capable of earning".

Mr Easton said last night he had received a letter from Work and Income telling him he did not meet eligibility criteria and his benefit had been stopped as of yesterday.

His $70 weekly accommodation supplement would continue.

The Social Security Act states that anyone receiving the dole has an obligation to look for work and be available to work.

Mr Easton said after the meeting that he had no intention of looking for paid work and had not applied for any jobs since going on the dole in 2007. "I am not going to stop doing what I'm doing."

Work and Income deputy chief executive Patricia Reade said all beneficiaries knew of their job-seeking obligations.


That now makes us wonder what Benjamin Easton's current status is. Are you, and we continuing to support him via our taxes? Whilst he's occupying Wellington, is he meeting any obligations that he has to the MSD in respect of any benefit he might be receiving? Or is he trotting off to work each day like a good, productive Kiwi, and returning to occupy Wellington at the end of each day? We're sure that Paula Bennett will be asking those questions of her officials, given Easton's history, and his love of the limelight into which he propels himself.

We can't help but wonder just how Easton and his like are able to devote themselves so wholeheartedly to an occupation for more than two months. Most of us have jobs, families and responsibilities. They claim to represent the 99% but in reality they represent far less than 1%, whilst the 99-point-something go about their lives as productive members of society.

10 comments:

Jacqueline said...

I will give you this one INV2.

Nuts.

Merry Christmas! x

Tinman said...

Given his current address has his $70 pw accommodation gift been discontinued?

If not why not?

Keeping Stock said...

Given that we have had one day off in the last month Jackie, the whole "I'm quite capable of working but I have no intention oif working" mentality angers me.

You have a great Christmas as well :)

Keeping Stock said...

@ Tinman; fair dues mate; it costs big money to run a tent!

Still, parasites like this give Paula Bennett the moral high ground to reform welfare, so it's not all bad.

Anonymous said...

Cool! Personal attack on one of the Occupiers!
Merry Christmas every good Christian!
Spread your love all around, as Jesus did.
Blessings on all, especially you, Keeping Stock.

Jacqueline said...

Understandable INV!

It is people like him who give people who have really come upon hard times and need assistance bad names.

Kinda like the woman in West Auckland with 8 kids and a sky dish on her roof complaining on Campbell Live that 800 free dollars a week is not enough.

Pretty outrageous.

It is a shame for the Occupy Protesters who are really protesting against corporate bail outs and fraud - not their desire to sit on the dole - get lumped in with a d*ckhead like this.

Anyway - it's Christmas Eve - no time for complaining today! I'm too rich for that!

Sir Loin said...

How many bankers have changed their ways as a result of the so called 'protests' ?

One good outcome is that councils now have precedent for tossing them offff public property.

Keeping Stock said...

Merry Christmas to you too Anon.

Try Proverbs 21:25

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+21:25&version=NIV

Choosing not to work when you are perfectly capable is inexcusable. And Easton is no media-shy Joe Public; he is an activist, with a history of using the media to push his causes. If you live your life in the public arena like that, you open yourself to scrutiny.

Sir Loin said...

Does WINZ take photographs of it's 'clients' ?

If so facial recognition software could be used to analyse security footage of the camps to determine which 'clients' were not making themselves available for work.

Interviews with some of the protesters suggested the leadership could be foreign nationals. Similar facial recognition software could be used to eject those here on tourist / student visa's for illegal acts.

It is shocking that the ratepayer was providing electricity and water to the 'camp' up until recently.

The most offensive act is to claim they are speaking on behalf of the 99%.

Ross said...

I am also with KS on this one - also as someone who has spent the last 12 weeks working extremely hard with very little rest.

I also have some whacking great tax bills to pay 15th January.

If people want to be professional protestors that is fine and their choice, but not on the taxpayers coin.

Clearly those involved in the pathetic 'me too' occupations of NZ city centers have not been available for work during this period. In that case they should't be collecting an unemployment benefit.

Why the heck should hard working New Zealanders pay tax so that the 'Occupiers' can have a 3 month holiday.

Nice if you can swing it....

Way past time that the government sorted this nonsense out.

I have no problems with there being a social security system that supports those in temporary need. it is the supporting of the professional unemployed and 'rent a crowd' that really annoys me.