TDB EXCLUSIVE: WINZ bosses murder a beneficiary – Paula Bennet is responsible

By   /   January 5, 2017  /   64 Comments

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I am convinced that is a significant reason fro the high levels of suicide in this country and the rise in absolute poverty reflected in levels of homelessness and the growing numbers of people accessing foodbanks.

A coroner’s inquest has revealed how WINZ has adopted a punitive culture that led directly to the recent suicide of one of the people it was meant to be helping.

celebrated former beneficiary Paula Bennet was the minister in charge at the time and should be help responsible.

Stuff reports:

Monthly quotas were imposed at the Ministry of Social Development to prosecute beneficiaries, an inquest into the death of a woman accused of benefit fraud has heard.

“We had to get one prosecution per month. We had to get $30,000 of debt to be recovered per month,” a former MSD investigator told the inquest into the death of Wendy Shoebridge. “Four cases had to be cleared per month.”

Shoebridge, a 41-year-old mother, was found dead in Lower Hutt on April 3, 2011.

The day before, she opened a letter saying she was to be referred for prosecution over an alleged $22,000 benefit fraud. After her death, that amount fell to about $5500.

Shoebridge was on the path to recovery after troubles including severe depression, coroner Anna Tutton heard, and the investigator did not want to prosecute her.

But he said a higher-ranking employee disagreed, and he was not well-placed to defy management. 

“My manager told me that just because [she] had threatened suicide in the past doesn’t mean she will try again.

“I was given a direction. Unfortunately it was the wrong direction.”

Because of existing concerns for Shoebridge, he hoped to hand-deliver the letter to her, but said this too was ruled out.

Accessing support from WINZ is a nightmare. There has been a massive drop in the mumber of people accessing benefits as a percentage of the working age population that is not matched by similar drops in official unemployment levels.

I am convinced that is a significant reason fro the high levels of suicide in this country and the rise in absolute poverty reflected in levels of homelessness and the growing numbers of people accessing foodbanks.

A culture change is needed. 

A small step in the right direction would be to abolish the difference between the single rate of benefit and the reduced rate you get if you are living in a relationship with someone else.

The next step would be to increase the rate someone with children gets on the jobseekers benefit to be the same as the sole parent benefit.

The current discriminatory Working for Families system should be changed to allow all low-income families access to the same level of support as those in work.

WINZ would no longer have an excuse to be hunting people down because a boyfriend has stayed too many times overnight. The punitive moralistic WINZ police could find better jobs to do.

The more accessing welfare support when needed is seen as a right the better off we all will be as a society,

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About the author

Mike Treen

National Director of Unite Union

64 Comments

  1. Susan St John says:

    Mike
    Spot on. Why we put up with a 19th century morality is beyond words.
    two people sharing accommodation are supposed to be different from two people ‘living together’. So different that if the two people on a benefit are found to be in a relationship ( ie having sex) their income is cut to an impossibly low level even if there are children from past relationships involved. it is no accident that the poorest parts of NZ are the ones with the highest sole parent rates. low income couples cant afford to be in couples. Thanks for also pointing out WFF is being allowed to decay Outcry in 2017 please New Zealand- thanks for this Mike!!!

    • Chris says:

      MSD have at no time since the decision in Ruka applied the correct legal test as to what constitutes a relationship in the nature of marriage. They just haven’t been interested in bothering to understand it. My guess is that the debt MSD decided Wendy Shoebridge owed was reduced when they realised that even their own limited idea about what a relationship in the nature of marriage means told them they’d got it wrong.

  2. Blake says:

    This above photo of Paula shows a tightly controlled ; staunch woman with cement held jaw and mouth and cold eyes TRYING TO GIVE THE ILLUSION of a person of authority and a person of strength.
    What a superficial joke. Look at her expression – does she look like a woman of warmth; compassion and someone you could trust or have a coffee with ? ? ? Does she look like someone who cares more for people than her power / her position and her bank account and being part of the old boys club ?
    She and her govt. have failed the people ( and the environment ) but – boy oh boy – both they and their profit making buddies have raked it in at our expense.

    If I were a homeless and / or suicidal person, she is the last person I would want on my side trying to help me.
    Her true and genuine caring for those in need is allegedly superficial and can not hold a candle to her joy at her recent pay rise. Alleged power tripping — RUDE & INSULTING phony and now she is second in command of our country. What mad perception is in control now with this kind of a person in charge of those in need and in charge of our government ? We are being controlled by forces way beyond our country. It is no accident that jonky donky left in a hurry and she is now second in command.
    More puppet controlled madness as the game continues on with the smiling brigade of right wing wealthy elitists.
    Run for cover when you see this tight jaw ; pursed lips ; cold eyes and gaudy clothes coming your way.

    • Ash says:

      Was “The woman from the Ministry”, in the Harry Potter series based on her, or is it the other way around?

  3. Mike in Auckland says:

    This is just one case, one of a fair few, I dread, and it shows how the bean counters pushing the “investment approach” rule with terror within MSD.

    Depression is just one condition that they do not seem to take all that seriously, the case managers and their superiors, hence the drive to try and even force sick and disabled into work. Reducing costs for the government, which would then allow them to go and offer tax cuts to others, that is the true agenda.

    The social conscience has long gone out the window, that is at least in the upper levels of management at WINZ (if they ever had one), their staff get set targets, although they like to say, there are no rewards for throwing people off benefits, for digging into their privacy and trying to find “fraudulent” behaviour.

    In 2012/13 the catch cry was to “free” people from “welfare dependency”, being sick and disabled was no longer an excuse for not being “fit for work”, and they tried to adopt the harsh approach from the UK, where one Professor Mansel Aylward had succeeded in influencing key policy makers and some colleagues in the medical fraternity to put the pressure on doctors and those being assessed as too sick and disabled to work.

    Paula Bennett was all excited then, boasting about the new “findings”, and apparent miracle solutions were talked about, to “enable” people to get back to work, while employers continued to simply try and get the fittest and cheapest and most desperate to do any kind of work at sometimes appalling terms and conditions.

    So more and more end up between a rock and a hard place, homeless, jobless, sleeping on couches, in cars, resorting to prostitution, drug dealing and whatever else may get them a bit of cash to make ends meet when WINZ cracks down too hard.

    Read more about what really goes on:

    http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/medical-and-work-capability-assessments-based-on-the-controversial-bio-psycho-social-model/

    http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/the-health-and-disability-panel-and-its-hand-picked-members/

    http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/designated-doctors-used-by-work-and-income-some-also-used-by-acc-the-truth-about-them/

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/designated-doctors-used-by-winz-msd-the-truth-about-them-post-upd-18-10-2016.pdf

    http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/nz-finance-minister-bill-english-insults-beneficiaries-with-mansel-aylwards-work-will-set-you-free-approach/

    http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/work-has-fewer-health-benefits-than-mansel-aylward-and-other-experts-claim-it-can-cause-serious-harm/

    http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/work-ability-assessments-done-for-work-and-income-a-revealing-fact-study-part-a/

    http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/work-ability-assessments-done-for-work-and-income-a-revealing-fact-study-part-d/

    But slowly the truth about that flawed model and the dishonest use of supposed “Evidence” is coming out:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/senior-scientist-and-legal-experts-discredit-evidence-used-by-msd-and-dr-bratt-when-claiming-the-health-benefits-of-work/

    ‚In the expectation of recovery’, Faulkner, Centre for Welfare Reform, Scrib
    https://www.scribd.com/doc/308613502/In-the-Expectation-of-Recovery
    (criticism of biopsychosocial model, Aylward et al)

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/msd-dr-bratt-present-misleading-evidence-on-worklessness-and-health-publ-post-19-09-16.pdf

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/msd-and-dr-david-bratt-present-misleading-evidence-claiming-worklessness-causes-poor-health/

  4. The Other Mike says:

    These are extremely serious allegations and I look forward to Paula being called to answer them in a public forum.

    I won’t hold my breath though.

    Interesting to see Stuff had no comments section open for this story… they are very selective about comments on stories seen as critical of the current ‘regime’.

    • Wensleydale says:

      Yeah, funny that, eh? You can bet if the story was about feral tenants ruining some poor property investor’s rental, or some scrounging bene rorting the system to feed their smokes and pokies habit, comments would be wide open. Feel free to put the boot in to those no-hopers, just don’t say anything even vaguely derogatory about Paula ‘Poster Woman For Hypocrisy’ Bennett. It’s mean and ‘unhelpful’.

  5. Wensleydale says:

    Brace yourselves for the WINZ damage control department to categorically deny there have ever been targets in place regarding the prosecution of “clients” for benefit fraud. It’s all an unfortunate misunderstanding and the department extends its heartfelt (stop smirking, this is serious) condolences to the friends and family of Wendy Shoebridge.

    Meanwhile, back in the real world…

  6. Z says:

    A massive system overhaul is required, starting with the elimination of face to face contact. It is unnecessary, increases humiliation, and exposes staff (and clients) to violence.

    Money currently squandered on leases, receptionists, security guards and computer kiosks should be directed to beneficiaries to keep them online and in touch with the world.

    • David See-More says:

      ACT and Welfare dependency:

      ACT believes that the welfare system New Zealand developed from the 1970s onward has been a social and economic disaster. While the intention of reducing hardship was noble, the incentive effects of the system have overwhelmed the resource provision effects. The policies have led to dependency and indignity for hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders, with an intergenerational dimension.

      ACT supports the current government’s initiatives to shift welfare from a paradigm of open-ended provision and resulting dependence to one of mutual obligation. ACT would continue this process by reducing effective marginal tax rates for those shifting from welfare to work, outsourcing rehabilitation functions to private providers, putting lifetime limits on Sole Parent Support, cracking down on benefit fraud, and scrapping the minimum wage.

      Online education has been incredibly successful and is fully supported by ACT in the long-term goal of privatising education in New Zealand and taking the financial burden for education away from taxpayers.

      Our policies are designed to create the right conditions for people to reach their full potential and build successful families, businesses and lives.

      However, online beneficiaries, as Z suggests, could not be supported. There would be too much corruption by beneficiaries possible. And what about coercion, with an abusive husband using standover tactics to force a spouse to ask for benefits she knows would be fraudulent?

      Having security guards at the doors is a cost however, that should be passed on to the users of welfare, especially violent or aggressive beneficiaries, in the same way that user-pays motels are being used to recoup the cost of emergency housing.

      People sent to jail, should also be charged for their time in prison. If they are not capable, then their families should bear the cost of incarceration. So many perpetrators blame their parents or their upbringing for their crimes. It’s time for those emotional and psychological triggers for antisocial behaviours in their offspring, to start paying for their collective crimes.

      Our policies are designed to create the right conditions for people to reach their full potential and build successful families, businesses and lives….poor included.

      • countryboy says:

        @ David see-more ! ? You ARE that ACT fucker. When next you talk to arch scum roger douglas? Tell him from me…. You know what I’d like to say, and do, but for Scarlett Mod and the police.
        My mums ashes are scattered on lonesome ground under neath Witchhazel trees now and she’ll be coming for you fuckers.

        • Gosman says:

          He’s not a member of the ACT party nor is reflective of it’s position. He attempting to satiricise them. The fact that people lime you fail to see it makes me laugh.

          • David See-More says:

            Thank you Gosman, praise from you is why I enlighten the left-wingers here in this forum.

            Great that you and I see eye to eye.

          • David See-More says:

            And by the way Gosman, it’s its position , not it’s position.

            Possessive its, does not need an omission apostrophe.

          • David See-More says:

            94.7% of what I have written in my posts Gosman, appears on ACT’s website? I am sure that ACT would appreciate your input on substantive errors of fact in the website.

            By the way, Gosman, here is ACT’s latest vision to improve New Zealand:

            “ACT’s role over the coming year, and after the next election, is to be both a stabilising force and an ambitious voice for improving policy in New Zealand. We will force debate and progress on issues of raising the age of superannuation, cutting tax, and increasing housing supply. Source: http://www.act.org.nz/

            You can’t argue with any of this can you? Unless, Gosman, you are in your late 50’s and approaching eligibility age for Universal Superannuation?

            • Gosman says:

              I’m a member of the ACT party. Being lectured on policy by someone pretending for satirical effect to represent the position of the party is laughable.

            • Gosman says:

              Do you not want to deal with the issue of an ageing population?

              • Wha Left says:

                OK Gosman and See-More, what happens to people living on the breadline who can barely afford to live day to day on minimum pay? They can’t save for super?

                And I see on your fuckwit website that you want to ban the minimum wage FFS. That will make matters even worse.

                “We support the current government’s initiatives to shift welfare from an open-ended system people rely on, to one of mutual obligation. ACT would continue this process by reducing effective marginal tax rates for those moving from welfare to work, outsourcing rehabilitation to private providers, putting lifetime limits on the Job Seeker Benefit and Sole Parent Support, cracking down on benefit fraud, and scrapping the minimum wage. Source:http://www.act.org.nz/policies

                Where’s your aroha for other people?
                Where’s your social responsibility?

                The only think you are missing on your jaundice-coloured website is your final solution for those that can’t make it in your neoliberal nirvana?

                What’s for those who can’t make it in your low-wage, serfdom? Euthanasia? State-sponsored genetic control? State-sponsored euthanasia? Concentration camps? Gulags?

                How do you two soulless bastards sleep at night?

                • Wha Left says:

                  Deathly silence….as usual when people who care about others, call out you ACT lot on what you’ll do with the poor once you have stripped a country of its assets and condemned the 99% to serfdom and abject poverty.

                  What does ACT do with the poor expendable human resources? The collateral damage from selling state-owned assets and state safety nets to “private providers”.

                  New Zealand has seen what ACT has had to offer on its barrow of lies since 1984 and you can jam it where the sun doesn’t shine – your dark, unfeeling souls, bereft of the milk of human kindness.

                  • Wha Left says:

                    Still, the deafening silence of See-More and Gosman, purveyors of Kiwi poverty for over 30 years.

                    You’d think they’d be shouting their policies on every blog and trumpeting the beauties of neoliberalism from every rooftop.

                    Holding cupped hand up to ear…listening..reading..waiting…. Just like we are all waiting for the bullshit wealth to trickle down from the 1%’ers.

                  • Wha Left says:

                    Hmm…deathly silence still.
                    Fuckwit ACT supporters, lay low trying to defend putting up the eligibility to Superannuation Age.

                    Wondering what to do with poor people that can’t afford to save for retirement (but hoping no-one will ask them, so they have to give an honest answer)!

                    • Wha Left says:

                      Tap, tap tapping ……
                      Drum drum drumming ….. waiting with baited breath for the meaning of life for the poor from ACT’s ra-ra team Gosman and See-More.

                      Zzzzzzz….zzzzzzz….zzzzz..

                    • Gosman says:

                      David See-More is not an ACT party member or even supporter. He (or she) is someone pretending to be one to satiricise the ACT party. I find it hilarious you fail to see this just as I find it hilarious that you expect people to answer your ridiculous ‘When did you stop beating your wife?’ style questions. If you want to discuss the age of eligibility for Superannuation then let’s have a sensible discussion around that. Why do you think it is sustainable that the age is left at 65?

              • John W says:

                The ageing population is not a problem.

                After their decades of contributing heavily to the building of infrastructure the present population rely on, then provision for their retirement and care should be there.

                If it is not then why is the question.

                The Currie Commission saw no difficulty ahead but we now have a greedy neoliberal cabal controlling what public resources are used for and responsibilities previously assumed are being discarded.

                Taxes effectively cut over recent years and the Cullen fund left unfed.

                State assets paid for by the boomers now being bled off to private investor state.

                Health system being run down and privatised by stealth.

                State housing under attack and market rents sky high.

                The ageing is not s problem so what is the drivel parroted about.

                Attempting to shifting public perception by ranting rubbish. Neoliberal dogma.

      • Mike in Auckland says:

        “ACT supports the current government’s initiatives to shift welfare from a paradigm of open-ended provision and resulting dependence to one of mutual obligation.”

        MUTUAL OBLIGATION is already applied under the Social Security Act 1964, now in process of being rewritten, Mr See NO More!

        Indeed, the list of obligations has been added to incessantly over recent years, while the rights of persons dependent on state support have been cut back at the same time.

        Preach your drivel to the ignorant and the up themselves ones in Epsom (those that vote mindless ACT), as you are wasting your time here. We don’t fall for such nonsense.

        Perhaps a study of the Social Security Act may be worth your time, if you can bother.

  7. Paul Carrucan says:

    This is news

  8. JRobin says:

    Appalling, that manager should be charged with manslaughter.

  9. Yahu says:

    And here is the research that backs up that.

    https://www.academia.edu/29679568/What_the_Poor_Eat

  10. SARAH says:

    An across the board UBI would solve all these things. Those earning the top rates would pay higher tax and the UBI would be clawed back by Govt, but those on the lowest or no income would get to keep the lot. The stupid thing about Social Welfare is the cost of administering it is similar to giving everyone a UBI. Outside of this, a small department which assesses those with different needs, such as the disabled’s higher costs and accommodation needs, can be set up. It will come, and the sooner the better for NZers so this benefit bashing culture and ending up in debts (which often just magically appears) can end and suicide can be an exceptional event.

  11. darth smith says:

    winz is so dis-functional it should disbanded and move to no strings attached ubi and Paula benett should be before the courts

  12. Rosie says:

    I also think that the jobseekers amount, even if for a single person with no children, is barely enough to live on. Some people, like myself, are on jobseekers with medical exemption. I can’t actually work but I can’t access the supported living payment because my condition is not considered ‘permanent’ even though I’ve been sick for four years. I don’t understand why chronically ill or disabled people should be expected to live in poverty.

    • Wensleydale says:

      It’s because, in their eyes, you’re of no consequence, Rosie. The poor, ill, disabled and other worthless burdens upon the state should do the dignified thing and crawl quietly off to die. You contribute nothing to the government coffers, and as such, you have no voice, no power, and no means of resistance. You’re nothing more than a bleating parasite screaming into the wind. And the worst… the absolute worst perfidy you’re likely guilty of, is neglecting to make a generous donation to the National Party. I mean, really Rosie, how could you? (And you probably don’t play golf, or drink John Key’s wine, which further tarnishes your non-existent reputation.)

      And that, very generally, is why they don’t really care if you starve to death in a gutter.

      • Jono says:

        Yep that’s the nasty things about the elites. They only value life ifor it is at there station. Otherwise you can go off and die quietly somewhere.

  13. bert says:

    Water off a ducks back to Bennett. Bennett is deputy PM so is ecstatic which just proves how morally bankrupt National MP’s are. I say MP’s because I lump in Coleman on Health and Parata on Education just to name a few. Oh Louise Upston for minister of Women (ha ha)

  14. countryboy says:

    Fuckers like bennett should running while screaming and this debate shouldn’t be happening because it just feeds her ego which is even larger than her arse.
    NZ is a huge, massive actually, country when measured by the people/land area equation. More aggressively maddening is how wealthy in vital, and not so vital, resources our country is and yet there are homeless and hungry. I mean ?? What is wrong with us ? That this goes on and on… ?

    When I lived in my house on the border between Southland and Coastal Otago I used to throw potato peelings and other vegetable scraps off the upstairs kitchen landing onto a garden area below. Then, I’d put the lawn clippings there too and behold ! Potatoes in abundance such was the fertile nature of the soil.

    Vicious narcissists like Big Bennett will enjoy the attention she gets. She will enjoy/get a dubious frisson, from the hate we have for her. That’s why the dangerous shit MUST go. Hate on an on-going basis causes cancer I’m sure of it. She’s an evil, vile individual and thank God she’s not physically beautiful which would only make matters worse.

    The discussion should be about tactics on how to rid ourselves of the likes of bennett.

    She, and her ilk are getting in the way of us who should be enjoying our right to relish our good fortune in having such a wondrous country upon which to live.

    Instead? We look up and pray that the shit they pelt us with is a little warmer than it was yesterday.

    Come, fucking, on ! ? Lets. Just. Get. Rid. Of. The. Bastards.

    And now. Right here and now, is the time to work out how.

  15. Blake says:

    Hard cold woman with no intelligent clue about how to help those in need.
    Big talker – thinks she is high and mighty and above the rest of us.
    La La land with leaders more beholding to their funders and image and bank statements than to the people.

    Condolences to all the families of victims like Wendy Shoebridge because there are many more than this – “out of touch” govt. wants to admit to.

    • BARBARA COOKE says:

      Thank you for your condolences. Wendy is/was my daughter. The above article omits to say, however, that MSD, shortly after reducing the debt to $5000.00 then decided that Wendy owed them nothing, and admitted that they had made a mistake in sending that letter. But all this is nowhere near the half of the story, in fact it barely scratches the surface. What happened was catastrophic for Wendy and her family, and we are still dealing with the grief.

      • Susan St John says:

        Barbara
        So sorry to hear of what you have all been through. There are no words. Thank you for your bravery is posting this as you suffer the grief of such a huge loss. The culture has to change.

      • Mike in Auckland says:

        I feel for you, this is a shocking story indeed. Perhaps it is time to set up a victim support group for those suffering such injustices at the hands of WINZ and also ACC.

      • Blake says:

        Barbara, I am so SO ! sorry for your loss and the madness and lack of integrity and honesty around it. Thanks for reaching out.
        —- Have you ever thought about writing a book about this, maybe getting some editorial help so as to expose this horrific story to the country ? I bet there are other stories and other people and help to do a project like that. Martyn may know of some help in this area for you, if you are interested.

        Justice can come in many different ways and exposing these idiots and the defunct system they operate in would be a very good thing.

  16. elle says:

    Seems the Nat party has things set up to fail.
    Judith Collins dosnt seem phased, neither is Stephen Joyce,those two could have kicked up a fuss when English was appointed leader and Bennet deputy, the whole team at National are acting as though these are temporary arrangements, either until next election or until people behind the scenes get their ducks in a row to take over the election.
    The making a leader of such an innocuous seeming person such as English is not an election winning move,as for Bennet what would such a mean minded person have to offer, she tries act like Key, being an unsmiling assassin while she eliminates the hope of genuine beneficiaries,just the type Key always liked in his team.
    Key wanted to save money mainly by attacking beneficiaries, the most vulnerable people , but on the other hand giving millions to Clinton crooked foundation. Keys interests were always with America not NZ.
    2017 will show the harm Key has done to NZ. Lets hope we get a government who can change the outcome to something positive.

  17. saveNZ says:

    Spot on post! Would love to see the UBI come in – this punitive way our taxes are wasted at present needs to change. If people were not so in fear of losing their benefit then they could manage their lives better, take chances to engage in work and even if it did not work out – they tried. Suicide would drop, poverty would drop or even be eliminated.

    As for the DPB witch hunts – they are a disgrace to our country – the law has to change, the sooner the better. The DPB money is for the CHILDREN not the parent, so no matter what the parent does (my god have sex, sarc) the child’s benefit should not be able to be cut.

  18. saveNZ says:

    I’m happy to contribute funds to a private prosecution on WINZ and the government on this. legal challenges seem to be able to bring about real discussion and change in this country. The government certainly doesn’t care they are killing people and driving them into poverty and discriminating against their kids with this disgusting legislation and targets.

    • BARBARA COOKE says:

      I would be extremely happy to accept your generous offer. I am Wendy’s mother. I would also be happy to fill you in on the whole story privately as there are legal impediments to the entire story being made public, and also the Coroner has yet to release her findings.

      • Blake says:

        Amazing Barbara – Your daughters story is one that, I feel, should not be filed away with no justice for you or in her name. The govt. and Winz get away with far too much, far too often and are rarely held accountable.
        I am curious as to what the — ” legal impediments to the entire story being made public ” are ?
        Sounds like this story needs much more attention and justice and I would also be willing to contribute towards it coming to light.

        Do you have a high powered attorney and if not is there one out there who can help Barbara expose the rot and get justice finally ?
        Something stinks to high heaven.
        I appreciate your honesty and being brave to come out with the truth. I believe there are many more stories like this one that just get buried away and no justice or healthy outcome occurs.

  19. Zack Brando says:

    Considering the popularity National has enjoyed and the fact the public lap up the media’s dribble – I’d say the NZ has the government it deserves.

    • darth smith says:

      its the government the property speculators want .there wealth is dependent on the status quo. homelessness poverty is required. our current system is stuffed , broken and honestly i hope a crash comes new Zealand is a house of cards and it needs to collapse because we need a complete reset just like Iceland. we are seeing the signs keys bolted for reasons unknown ?interest rates globally are rising and debt is accelerating fingers crossed bubble land blows up.

    • Teresa Irving says:

      the national govt was never popular – it was the manipulative polls that had people thinking that way – can’t wait for the general election this year!

    • Blake says:

      No country deserves the likes of our present govt.

      You think that the Natz are popular ? They are sliding down faster than
      grease on a hot tin roof.

  20. Writer says:

    Please go through this article and properly proofread it. The sloppy typos diminishes the content’s importance.

    • Jono says:

      Wonderful writer -but we are talking about a suicide here think that’s a little more important than bad grammar and a few typos…

    • Blake says:

      Writer – what diminishes the – ” content’s importance ” is not sloppy typos, it is righteous; judgmental; petty people who focus on the twigs instead of the trees.

  21. Marie says:

    The social cost of now having to support this poor womans children amd the psychological damage they face after her suicide…ongoing therapy, lost potential, risk taking behaviour….omg WINZ for the sake of 20k or 5k you have now cost our country and tax payer potentially 100k +

  22. BARBARA COOKE says:

    I am both proud and devastated that Wendy Shoebridge was/is my daughter – proud to have had such a wonderful daughter – devastated at the monstrous treatment that Wendy, such a vulnerable human being, received at the hands of MSD. The above story does not mention that Wendy was absolved of any fraudulent behaviour, or that MSD admitted that the letter sent to her was a mistake and should not have been sent, and that Wendy owed them nothing.
    And what has been printed does not even scratch the surface of the whole story – MSD continues to act in a monstrous fashion. Both the directives and the culture come from the top down.

  23. BARBARA COOKE says:

    Why would my post be awaiting moderation if it speaks the truth? Does the truth require moderating?

  24. Kim says:

    Yep I know people who suffer from depression and the Average WINZ case worker isnt qualified to deal with them in fact we have a couple of workers in our area who really do push people to the brink. What gets me is other agencies know about these case workers, however they still have jobs and make people lives a living hell. I have to have there help from time to time as I have two chronic long time illness that relapse and remit and trying to deal with them on my own when I am relapsing which includes cognitive difficulties ( I have Neuroimmune problems) is next to impossible usually 100 questions on a sign up form, whats up with that , that in its self can stress someone who is already unwell. The whole system is not set up for those who have any kind of illness or disability. There staff are not qualified to make judgements on people or have any dealings with those who are clearly unwell and they will continue to get it wrong. In a nutshell this department doesnt have a clue.

  25. George Garard says:

    When my wife went overseas to visit her family (family paid for the trip) she was the main beneficiary at winz. I was not able to become the main beneficiary unless I signed a form separating me from my wife. So winz policy is directly responsible for broken marriages.

  26. Takere says:

    The next Government needs to pass legislation that Ministers be Personally Liable for failure to provide Life Sustaining Support for All, as part of a “Treason Act” or something like that. The Penalty should be death but I suppose some may think thats a bit harsh?
    A Financial penalty which they are personally liable for, not he tax payer! And some kind of physical pain too, I think?

    • Wensleydale says:

      I think a more appropriate punishment would be to spend 12 months living as a beneficiary with all that entails. Attempting to scrape together some sort of meagre living while subsisting on a pittance, along with having to endure the contemptuous looks and scornful remarks of those fortunate enough not to be in that situation, would not only serve as a punitive measure, but perhaps as an education.

  27. countryboy says:

    For Gods sake ! Can you please remove the photo of the big pink abuser from the start up page. I’ve seen enough. Just her name, please?

    • John W says:

      She is representative of a personality type that typically have little effective empathy for others.

      Not a person who should every be in charge of caring for people.

      Also her personal comments reveal a darker deficit in her make up.

      All that to one side she is responsible for policies and outcomes of her Ministry. Such deaths as described and the surrounding miseries created by her department are her direct responsibility.

      Resignation is a soft option for her and a stronger consequence is needed to curb the current diabolical practices.



Authorised by Martyn Bradbury, The Editor, TheDailyBlog, 5 Victoria St East/Queen St, CBD, Auckland, New Zealand.