Meet ‘Carol’ from WINZ – the horror of the neoliberal state and who will fight it?

By   /   February 2, 2017  /   24 Comments

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This is your chance to let the rest of New Zealand know as they enter the voting booths in 2017, that the punitive, spiteful and damaging social welfare policies of WINZ, Housing NZ, Corrections, Parole, Mental health, Ministry of Social Development and CYFs are crucifying the poorest and most vulnerable amongst us.

Meet ‘Carol’ from WINZ

 

Once upon a time in New Zealand, the agencies of state welfare were constructed as an instrumental and direct means to ensure our egalitarian values.

Social welfare was seen as a way to redistribute back to the most vulnerable amongst us and these agencies were critical in carrying out that redistribution.

There was a pride involved in this public service, our compassion made us unique and it built the values from which we as New Zealanders have benefitted from.

That simply is no longer the case.

For the last 30+ years, the neoliberal experiment has turned our once egalitarian welfare state into a neoliberal welfare state. The branches of social welfare, the MoD, CYFS, Corrections, Parole Services, Housing NZ, WINZ and Mental health have all been warped and mutated into weapons to punish the poor for being vulnerable.

In a culture of me first and gimme, gimmies where success is private and failure is personal , we see the poor as victims of their own circumstance rather than as a result of the hegemonic structures of power.

I’ve been wanting to put a face to the Neoliberal Welfare State and ‘Carol’ from WINZ sums up the agony and frustration so many beneficiaries feel when dealing with WINZ, CYFs, Corrections, Parole, Mental health and Housing NZ. It could be ‘Carol’ from Ministry of Development, or ‘Carol’ from Corrections, or ‘Carol’ from CYFs, it’s interchangeable.

‘Carol’ is a symbol of the repressive face of bureaucracy that beneficiaries are forced to endure.

The poor, the vulnerable, the weak, the sick and the disabled do everything in their power not to be needing assistance from these Government agencies, because these Government agencies don’t help, they only punish.

We have a MoD who put homeless people into illegal housing.

We have a WINZ service who break people each day and force them to grovel on their belly to make ends meet. Who perform mass surveillance spying on beneficiaries to catch them out in ‘relationships’ despite WINZ not telling anyone what the actual relationship equation is and we have 60% of beneficiaries oweing WINZ money because WINZ claims they’ve defrauded the system by having a ‘relationship’.

We have a Corrections department that is more interested in hiding prisoner suicide stats than actually looking after their prisoners (more on that developing story next week), more interested in locking 10 000 NZers up for profit than rehabilitating them.

We have a Paroles Service that almost every NGO despises having to work with because it’s staffed by people who enjoy the power they have over prisoners lives and are concerned with  only throwing them back into prison.

We have a CYFS that sexually molests, abuses and assaults the children they are supposed to look after while continuing to remove children from families.

We have a mental health system more interested in allowing people to die than help them.

We have a Housing NZ more focused on throwing people out of their homes based on flawed meth testing than providing shelter to the poorest amongst us.

For me, nothing  sums up the horror of our neoliberal welfare state more than what happened last year with the Auckland Action Against Poverty beneficiary clinic they held for 3 days outside a South Auckland WINZ office. Over a 1000 people lined up to beg for help from activists to gain some type of assistance from WINZ.

Just comprehend that.

WINZ are so evil to these people that a 1000 of them lined up to gain assistance from AAAP. Some had walked since before dawn to arrive in time to get help. Many were in tears and emotionally distraught by the way WINZ had treated them.

What kind of an indictment is that?

So what are we going to do?

Here’s the simple, unvarnished truth. MoD, CYFS, WINZ, Corrections, Parole Services and Housing NZ only give a fuck when the media pick up on a story of their disgusting attitude and treatment of the poor. They only magically find a way to solve the problem when the news media focus on them. All they care about is avoiding embarrassment and negative media attention.

Your power, our power, is in shaming these bastards publicly.

So what are we at The Daily Blog offering?

To every beneficiary who has been abused by our system, we offer you Your Voice Election 2017

This is will be your opportunity to speak out against how the neoliberal welfare state has hurt you and continues to hurt you.

This is your chance to let the rest of New Zealand know as they enter the voting booths in 2017, that the punitive, spiteful and damaging social welfare policies of WINZ, Housing NZ, Corrections, Parole, Mental health, Ministry of Social Development and CYFs are crucifying the poorest and most vulnerable amongst us.

There are almost 300 000 beneficiaries in New Zealand, yet their voice and true political muscle are ignored and forgotten. The Daily Blog offers you a chance to take back some mana and have the empowerment of a platform that will amplify your truth.

Use the form provided to contact us anonymously with your story of how the policies of WINZ, Housing NZ, Corrections, Parole, Ministry of Social Development and CYFs have actually hurt, not helped you.

We will contact you via the contacts you provide to check and verify your story. We will review what you have written, and as long as it isn’t defamatory, we will anonymously publish it and give you a voice in this election so that you can criticise these agencies and highlight their abuses without them being able to retaliate negatively against you. We will consider your stories of abuse at the hands of Government agencies as whistleblower material and will never hand your details over to the Government.

It’s time the rest of voting New Zealand understood just how harsh the neoliberal welfare state is.

 

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24 Comments

  1. Priss says:

    What a fabulous idea! I’ll share this with others and encourage those affected to speak out!

  2. danny says:

    great idea!
    as a disabled kiwi the humiliation is constant and tying a noise seems the only way forward
    good luck

  3. Susan St John says:

    Great to have this voice. Thanks Daily blog. May be add to the list the Inland Revenue as they also administer a lot of social policy under such as Working for Families. While they are far less draconian, IR debt can be hard to challenge and crippling, and arise in situations such as marriage break that people did not expect. Unlike WINZ who wants to find relationships every where to save money, they can save money on the IWTC if parents separate. Tiresome and irrational policy at the heart of it. When is a political party going take relationship out of welfare assistance?

  4. Sam Sam says:

    Ae bro, tika tonu

  5. esoteric pineapples says:

    In regards to the image, it’s funny how we associate inner evil with physical ugliness. For the most part they have nothing in common whatsoever. I imagine this developed from people using caricatures of people they hated or feared as an image of evil, eg based on race and sex. Take Ryan Paul for example. As hard right as Trump but looks like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth.

  6. Siobhan says:

    Excellent idea, but how to get this ‘out there’. Anyone with some good Facebook links??

    • Sam Sam says:

      I think that Facebook page by Graham Axford on CYFs has the largest collection of disaffected kiwis in New Zealand. Happy to be corrected

  7. Tiger Mountain says:

    great idea, pass it on everyone!

    this is just one incident I know of, will check with person involved if they want to use “your voice”–family friend on dialysis, one functioning arm and in a chair most of the time was hauled into Henderson WINZ and reduced to tears when asked what efforts he was making to find employment! His benefit was cut and he had to reapply when shifting to Whangarei despite being told that would not happen, then he got hit with an overpayment claim that turned out not to be one, WINZ owed him a week! and so it bloody goes

    your story does not have to be major horrific, things like repeatedly “lost” documents, condescending and bullying attitudes from case managers etc. all mount up to the sadistic punishment maze that is WINZ, MSD and ACC

  8. garibaldi says:

    A very worthy idea. Congratulations. We just need to be able to distribute the information widely somehow, and maybe it will get many people who weren’t going to vote motivated enough to cast a vote.

  9. David Stone says:

    UBI

  10. Penny Bright says:

    Niki Rauti at 14 Taniwha St Glen Innes is fighting the privatisation of State Housing.

    Support her brave stand!

    I am.

    Penny Bright

    2017 Independent candidate
    Mt Albert by-election.

  11. Andrea says:

    Carol from WINZ…Surely you mean this one?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOdjCb4LwQY

  12. Jono says:

    Carol looks the perfect carricature to picture MSD. Ugly, corrupt and evil thats Winz.

  13. Mike in Auckland says:

    “Carol” is her name now, well, maybe so, it is actually the top bosses at WINZ, the policy developers there, and the big, deep thinkers and breathers, heavily influenced by welfare demagoguery from the UK and also US, who run the show.

    To just show one bit, how they mislead, misinterpret and abuse “evidence”, read the following:

    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)

    We get inundated with biased reports from basically right leaning, neoliberal think tanks and “experts”, who all cater for governments and business, now following the same agenda, COST CUTTING, FOR THE HELL OF IT, NO ALTERNATIVE, GET THEM OFF BENEFITS, NO MATTER HOW, AS LONG AS IT CAN BE EXPLAINED SOMEHOW.

    This has been going of for decades, in the UK and here and other places, we have alternative views and voices silenced, like the Alternative Welfare Group that spoke out against the NZ government appointed Welfare Group headed by Rebstock.

    So the MSM, who does not usually care about beneficiaries, unless it shows a sob story for the middle class TV viewers, to perhaps make a donation to the Sallies, they misinform, and NEVER allow any alternative parties or advocates to even voice the slightest bit of ne cessary action to stop the injustices and unfairness, such as people living in cars or in boarding houses.

    The status quo continues and is intended to continue, no serious change is “allowed”, really that is according to government, MSM and business circles.

    We argue, we are being cheated, lied to, manipulated and sold out endlessly, tell the fucking truth about what really goes on, and what has gone on over years. Paula Bennett swiftly moved away from welfare, because complaints to the Ombudsman reveal her shoddy dealings and “advice”, sadly that Ombudsman, heavily underfunded by government, has only been able to start investigating on some matters now.

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/the-new-zealand-ombudsman-underfunded-and-compromised-the-auditor-general-sees-no-need-for-action/

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2016/07/24/the-new-zealand-ombudsman-fairness-for-all-an-empty-slogan-for-some/

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/msd-dr-bratt-present-misleading-evidence-on-worklessness-and-health-publ-post-19-09-16.pdf
    (new current PDF with post, 19.09.16)

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

    The agenda they tried before:
    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/2013/09/07/the-health-and-disability-panel-and-its-hand-picked-members/

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

  14. John Martin says:

    Can anyone tell me why we still work forty hours a week when so much of human manufacturing is automated? Does anyone doubt that we would have full employment if wheat and hay were still harvested with a sickle?

    If the worlds wealth was redistributed more or less evenly, most people would work far fewer hours and households would get by nicely with one income as they used too.

    The recent story of a homeless man being offered wedding cake by the bride and groom was quintessential neo-liberal meaningless, Antoinette-magnanimity which should never have made news, anywhere.

  15. Penny Bright says:

    Do the sitting Labour and Green MPs who are candidates in the Mt Albert by-election, (or their parties), have the following?

    “ACTION PLAN TO ENSURE ‘OPEN, TRANSPARENT AND DEMOCRATICALLY ACCOUNTABLE’ NZ GOVERNMENT AND JUDICIARY”?

    1) Make ALL ‘facilitation payments’ illegal.

    2) Legislate to create an NZ independent anti-corruption body, tasked with educating the public and preventing corruption.

    3) Legislate for NZ Members of Parliament (who make the laws for everyone else) to have a legally enforceable ‘Code of Conduct’.

    4) Make it an offence under the Local Government Act 2002, for NZ local government elected representatives to breach their ‘Code of Conduct’.

    5) Make it a lawful, mandatory requirement for Local Government elected representatives to complete a ‘Register of Interests’ which is available for public scrutiny.

    6) Make it a lawful, mandatory requirement for Local Government staff, responsible for property or procurement, to complete a ‘Register of Interests’ which is available for public scrutiny.

    7) Make it a lawful, mandatory requirement for Local Government Council Controlled Organisation (CCO)) Directors and staff, staff, responsible for property or procurement, to complete a ‘Register of Interests’ which is available for public scrutiny.

    8) Fully implement and enforce the Public Records Act 2005, to ensure public records are available for public scrutiny.

    9) Make it a lawful requirement that that a ‘cost-benefit analysis’ of NZ Central Government and Local Government must be undertaken, to prove that private procurement of public services previously provided ‘in-house’ is cost-effective for the majority of taxpayers and ratepayers.

    10) Legislate for a legally enforceable ‘Code of Conduct’ for members of the NZ Judiciary, to ensure they are not ‘above the law’.

    11) Legislate to provide a publicly-available NZ Judicial ‘Register of Interests’, to help prevent ‘conflicts of interest’.

    12) Ensure ALL Court proceedings are recorded, with audio records available to parties who request them.

    13) Legislate for a publicly-available NZ ‘Register of Lobbyists’ and ‘Code of Conduct’ for lobbyists.

    14) Legislate for a ‘post-separation employment’ (‘revolving door’) quarantine period from the time public officials leave the public service, to take up a similar role in the private sector.

    15) Legislate to make it a lawful requirement that it is only a binding vote of the public majority that can determine whether public assets held at NZ central or local government are sold, or long-term leased via Public-Private-Partnerships.

    16) Legislate to make it unlawful for politicians to knowingly misrepresent their policies prior to central or local government elections.

    17. Legislate to protect individuals, NGOs, and community-based organisations, who are ‘whistle-blowing’ against ‘conflicts of interest’ and alleged corrupt practices at central and local government level and within the judiciary.

    18) Legislate to prevent ‘State Capture’ – where vested interests get what they want, at the ‘policy’ level, before laws are passed which serve their vested interests.
    _________________________

    Does ANY other candidate in the Mt Albert by-election have such an ‘ACTION PLAN for transparency and democratic accountability’?

    If not – perhaps you should consider ‘being BOLD – vote BRIGHT’?

    🙂

    Penny Bright

    2017 Independent candidate
    Mt Albert by-election.

  16. Truth says:

    Hi Penny, is it or is it not true that you worked with ex-Police officer Grace Haden to spy on and harass the families of those involved in the Auckland Occupy movement, and then with Grace consented to a debriefing with the NZ Police, in the hope of having your overdue rates bill wiped?

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