Here’s what WINZ are patronisingly saying to people on welfare when they don’t think anyone’s listening

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Yesterday, a case manager from WINZ called to tell me that I needed to “imagine what I would do if I did not have welfare”. I replied “Well, I guess if I couldn’t live at home, I would be homeless.” The case manager responded by saying “Now, you see that is a really negative way of seeing it. You would find ways to support yourself.” She went on to tell me I just needed to take a minimum wage job, maybe cleaning or something, and that my expectation of being paid 15 dollars an hour was unrealistic. She informed me that training as a volunteer at Women’s Refuge and writing on politics was not making me any money, so I needed to lower my expectations.

After this case manager’s patronising attempts to get me to “envision life without welfare” I snapped and told her:

You may not be able to agree with me but you know John Key has gutted welfare, which has plunged people further and further into desperate poverty. You know it is nearly impossible to live off minimum wage in Auckland, yet you are telling me to just be happy with a wage that would leave me barely able to afford food. You know Key has slashed funding to education, meaning that the post grad qualification I have in teaching is almost worthless.  You know the job market is shit and stagnant, and you know you are hassling over qualified people into unfulfilling and underpaid work and expecting them to thank you. And then you harass and humiliate people who become part of the revolving door at your welfare offices. There is a reason why people go on and off welfare; it is because the [capitalist] system we live in is broken. Not because we are inadequate or lazy. It is depressing working jobs where you are expendable and treated as worthless and paid accordingly.

The case manager then said in a patronising tone that she had just called to confirm an appointment and I was getting upset for no reason, and anyway I just needed to “think more positively about my situation”. This despite the fact that she had at the start of our conversation brought up the fact that I had been on welfare before, and she had pointed out that because I had so many degrees I should have no trouble finding work. The case manager must not have heard me when I had told her:

“Key has slashed funding to education, meaning that post grad qualification I have in teaching is almost worthless.”

Not to mention that preventing violence against women, the sector I desperately want to work in, is under-funded. Anything perceived as ‘women’s work’ always is. Women’s Refuge already relies on 60% of its work force volunteering their time. Without these courageous and dedicated women who work for free, many victims of domestic violence would go unsupported and often have nowhere to go. Without a doubt, lives would be lost without these volunteers.

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Under our current National government, as Green MP Jan Logie said at ‘The Women’s Forum’ before the election, “we have seen the erosion of our women’s rights, economic position and pathways out of violence. They have cut the targets for women’s representation, legislated against equal pay, and removed vital protections for victims of sexual and domestic violence.”

It almost feels like a crime to want to work in a job where I might make a difference to my community and country.

Lord knows after my political rant at some random WINZ worker who was not even my personal case manager, my welfare could be cut this week – speaking out is a dangerous game to play. But hey, us benefit bludgers deserve what we get, right? We are just lazy losers and having a benefit cut out of nowhere is the price we pay for sitting on our couches all day playing PlayStation and drinking RTDs. Unemployed people are clearly what is wrong with society – not the super wealthy who horde every last penny creating massive wealth inequality and whose travel habits have a 250 times greater impact on climate change than those living in poverty. We just need to ‘work harder’, be happy with our lot and stop complaining.

Last night I paid a visit to Jill* who used to be an unemployment case manager for WINZ. She predominantly worked with people with disabilities and mental health problems. Jill told me that “every employee at WINZ has to meet a job target. If WINZ employees push people off welfare, they a get bonus and it can be one to two thousand dollars. Keep in mind that WINZ workers are also often low paid workers who have mortgages to pay and families to support.”

When Jill first started working at WINZ she told me that to meet these targets she was supposed to shove (and it was “shove”) her clients into any job. But having worked in the mental health sector previously, Jill was aware that this can set people up to fail and destroy self-confidence. Because of this she found short training schemes that were free and placed people on these educational programs, as she said “to buy her clients time”. She faced enormous pressure “to place people in jobs regardless of their capabilities.” In the end Jill quit after “seriously losing the will to live, sleep and eat” because “working at WINZ was just fucking awful.”

Months after she left, Jill spoke to a case manager still working at the same office and learnt that many of her clients she had managed get into training schemes had found “sustainable work.”

That word “sustainable” has a slippery meaning when uttered by WINZ workers. I have no doubt that Jill, with her moral convictions and refusal to meet her targets at the expense of her clients, managed to get at least some people into work that would be truly sustainable and perhaps meaningful. As Jill told me “I never met one job target the whole entire time I was there.”

But I doubt this can be said for many other WINZ workers as the system they work in demands that they force people into any job no matter how unsuitable or underpaid. When this case manager rang me yesterday she kept telling me I needed to find “sustainable work”. I asked the case manager to define what “sustainable” was supposed to mean in the context of WINZ. She could not tell me. In truth I need not have asked this question. I know, like anyone else who has been on welfare, that it really means: take any job no matter how underpaid or unsuitable and shut up.

Just over a month ago a Russell Tully walked into an Ashburton branch of WINZ, pulled out a gun and shot 3 case managers, killing two of them. Tully had recently been in the paper pleading for help. He had been living in a tent, he was homeless, desperate and mentally very unwell.  Nadia Filistin who advocates for beneficiaries said in passionate response the shootings:

The man who murdered Work & Income staff today was homeless, destitute, chronically ill and repeatedly shunned by our politicians and our scarcely remaining “safety net”. Remember that thousands just like him will not murder. They will be quietly loathed, demonised and their collective pain will be depoliticised. Rather, thousands who do not react to the violence and contempt of our Government squeezing and beating people within an inch of their lives with punitive policy, will walk away. Some will commit suicide. Others will die on the streets. Others will carry on crushed by the weight of unjustifiable hardship and social and economic exclusion.

The ruthless and brutal welfare reforms of Paula Bennett under the National government have plunged people below the poverty line. More and more people are living in poverty stricken circumstances: new mothers living out of their cars and families who are on long waiting lists for state housing are living in over crowded cold damp homes. These people and many like them are desperate for help that often never comes.

James Baldwin once said: “The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”

I am lucky. I was born into privilege: I am a white cis gendered heterosexual woman. I am well educated – I was afforded hardship scholarships and my student loan is small compared to most. I am not homeless. I do not have a mental health diagnosis. I have friends and family that continue to hold me up. There are, without a doubt, many people significantly worse off in Aotearoa than I am.

I am lucky. I am lucky. I am lucky. I will repeat this to myself, every day.

But I think it is worth sharing with you that I have felt seriously suicidal on welfare. I have drunk myself into oblivion and popped sedatives because I felt so hopeless about my situation. I have woken up and wished I had not. I have suffered from eating disorders retriggered when I had no money to buy food on welfare, and sometimes no matter how hard you try to find employment, your best is just not good enough. And that feeling of ‘not being good enough’ is overwhelming.

WINZ compounds these feelings of worthlessness by pushing you into poorly paid, exhausting and often depressing work that in no way reflects your skill set. If you cannot find work you are shamed, harassed and patronised. In the Grey Lynn WINZ branch they will not even let clients use the toilets.

Here’s what is notably not being said to beneficiaries: you are more than your inability to find a job. You deserve to eat food, to have a warm dry roof over your head, to feel loved and to be supported by your government regardless of your economic position. You need to know you are worthy, simply because you were born. “Human beings are worth more than their usefulness to capital” wrote the journalist Laurie Penny. I am so tired of being measured purely by my ability to turn a profit.

 

 

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of this person

225 COMMENTS

  1. The WINZ people are thick. None in my experience actually understand why we have a social welfare system. They’re like workers in a sausage factory who think the factory exists to produce the plastic packets.

    • I disagree with you about WINZ workers – they’re still workers and are hardly the only group of workers in society who are at the grinding point of ideology, plus one important step for welfare reform would be WINZ workers striking.

      However, I love your simile there, and I wish to steal it.

      • On the other hand, if the WINZ workers were given an accurate job description by their employer, WINZ would not be able to operate as it does.

        Too many of them believe that unemployment is necessarily a personal failing and ignore the economic and political causes of unemployment. Too many of them believe that their job is to relentlessly pressure beneficiaries (as if the latter were initiates into some weird positive thinking cult) into adopting the “right” attitudes for jobs that will never exist.

        These are weird beliefs to have when the purpose of the social welfare system is mind numbingly obvious.

      • WINZ staff are no doubt a mixed bag, trying to do their best with limited resources, many burning out due to the high stress of dealing with angry and upset clients.

        My advice would be to take whatever job you can get and avoid welfare like the plague as it affects the self esteem too much.

        Minimum wage work may well be unfulfilling and depressing but the reality is that most people (myself included) have supported themselves doing crap jobs until they get one they really want, or at least hate less.

        • Its not as simple as that for everyone, after a 10yr marrage, i’m now a solo mum with my younget child who has autism spetrum disorder and with all my qualification in adventure tourism and a child who has full time needs and apointments the option of ‘just take any job’ doesent aply.
          I did find work as a kitchen hand part time which worked around my girls and WINZ taxed me $ for $ at gross rate which left me owing them money at the end of each shift on top of secondary tax! when i called to ask how it works i was told i had to keep the job as it was experience even tho we were worse off and it caused more stress on my girls…

    • The important thing here though is don’t blame the WINZ workers. They are underpaid and need to do these awful things to meet awful targets just to get paid enough to get by.

      It’s no more the fault of the WINZ workers for being “clueless” than it is the fault of the unemployed for being jobless.

      The management is to blame.

  2. Excellent piece, this sort of patronising claptrap from WINZ staff needs to be on the front page of the MSM, how dare these people talk to you as if you have no brain and no ability. If you get trodden on imagine how it is for those way less educated.

    • Hard. This is what I worry about on the daily what about people who because of their circumstances could not attend uni or do not have the family support I do. They get left out on the streets if they cant find work

    • Agree ! It’s history re-visited. During the Great Depression workers thrown on the scrap heap, young single men and women in particular, were “informed” by the captains of industry “efficiency experts” that they were young, fit & imaginative enough to “bum their way around the country.” Lesson: same story, same world, same ($first b4 people) system, different day. And “they” wonder why people become radicalized, if utter despair doesn’t do them in beforehand.

  3. “It almost feels like a crime to want to work in a job where I might make a difference to my community and country.”

    Hear hear.

    • Maybe, but you take what you can get. Who cares how well trained you are or how you want to save society… if the only job you can get is pumping gas then you take it, do it and look for something more suited to your tastes while you take pride in the fact that you’ve got a job and are able to help yourself just a little bit more.

      I’ve done this… get up at 4am to pump gas for minimum wage… And you know what? It gave me a sense of pride, it gave me money and a lot of new experiences. Now I’ve gotten back on my feet (relatively) and back into my chosen field. If it all happened again, I’d do it again.

  4. I read it all and agree with the sentiments expressed. It may seem like a little thing I am picking on BUT, it is not only Grey Lynn that won’t let clients use the toilets. The majority of them don’t. They will keep you waiting for hours and if you ask to use the toilet, you get directed to public toilets, no matter how far away. I believed that the bonuses had stopped for the workers when they push someone off welfare, there should be something done about that. It is so wrong on so many levels.

      • Hate to tell you….but it’s every WINZ office that there are no bathroom facilities available for the “clients”.

        • and not only will they not let you use the toilets, but if you must leave to use the nearest public toilet (if there are any) due to medical reasons, if you go and use the toilet and they call your name while you are gone, you are noted as a DNA and may be cut off your benefit and lose the ability to get another appointment in the near future!! Inhumane 🙁 There is so much wrong with our social welfare system, its scary!

        • SUEH said,”Hate to tell you….but it’s every WINZ office that there are no bathroom facilities available for the “clients”.
          I tried to verify your bold statement with a friend of mine who is a MSD-WFCM( Ministry of Social Development- Work Focused Case Manager).
          In their office clients are allowed to use the toilet, surely it would be a serious breach of health and safety regulations if they were denied, I was told.
          I was also told that, although it’s true their bosses encourage them to find jobs for their clients, there are no bonus payments for job placements. However, they may receive a rise after their annual review, based on many factors including job placements.

        • I remember going to WINZ with my mum when I was younger and being told to go use the public facilities. Because we had to leave the building and walk five minutes down the road my Mum missed her appointment. They showed no sympathy towards my mum my baby sister or me. We had been sitting there for nearly two hours no one even cared that my baby sister was tired and thirsty it,s almost like beneficiaries are not even worth caring about. Im only 15 and I promised myself from that day on I will never become a victim of Work and Income NewZealand

    • I’ve had bladder problems for 16 years because of my Multiple Sclerosis spasticity and accidents do occur regardless of precautions taken. Nearly 5 years ago, I was denied access to the toilet at WINZ on Queen St, Auckland. Then, the following week, I was threatened with violence for staring at the thug who didn’t let me use the toilet. Since then, I’ve attended Mt Eden WINZ, where a toilet is freely available. A few months ago, I checked Queen st winz, they now allow toilet access with a security thug escort. Even though I live 200m from Queen St winz, I refuse to go there. Toilet access problems have been a pet peeve of mine for many years, I’ll continue to tell every winz worker this story. It’s one of several personal reasons why I hate them so much.

      • What did they think you were going to do in the toilets? Suicide bomb? Leap out the window and do a runner? Leave toilet paper on the floor?????

  5. After I had my baby I once met a case manager with a brain. She was a little old lady about 65 in the Glen Innes office. The rest have been delusional (e.g sorry for the 10 min wait when it’s been an hour wut are you taking the piss) disrespectful dead eyed gold belcher chain wearing robot like a-holes with impenetrable brick walls for heads.

  6. Well written, I don`t think John Key`s Gvt will do anything though, they seem to want to keep people down, crushed, poor and suicidal. I wonder if there are any stats on suicide rates for beneficiaries. I am a well balanced and resilient person until I had to turn to Winz for my grandson.. the grind of being treated like a liar, thief, and useless gets a person down after a while. I was ready to give up.
    i hope people find their voice and stand up to the bad decisions National is making for our country.

    • I don`t think John Key`s Gvt will do anything though, they seem to want to keep people down, crushed, poor and suicidal.

      Oh, they’ll do something – they’ll make it worse.

    • Even if there were stats on beneficiaries committing suicide it might be misleading as they probably wouldn’t include suicides by people who just had their benefit cut off because they are no longer on the benefit!

    • Self-responsibility is fine for those things you can control. The economy is out of most peoples hands though and National seem to be actively destroying it even more so that they can continue to lower wages.

    • Damn right, Michael Mouse. Because as we all know, the global financial crisis was caused by the unemployed, solo-mums, invalids, et al, who were on the Boards of Directors of those mighty corporations who nearly brought the world’s economy to total collapse.

      Of course! So obvious! Why didn’t we see it all before?!?!

    • Mickey Michael mouse you right wing extremist zealot.

      Have you got a picture of Hitler on your wall dickhead android?

  7. I have an answer for the uncaring idiots at WINZ when they say if you didn’t have this you would find some way to survive. The way so many people already do survive when their job or the benefit doesn’t pay enough, I would break the law. I would sell drugs, I would steal, I may even resort to prostitution. Eventually we will have parents selling off children, putting daughters into prostitution, making minors work illegally for pittance! Sounds like a third world country, won’t have to send our production to offshore child labour camps, just try south auckland!!!

    • That is the inevitable result of the capitalist system. We saw it in the 19th century across the world. It was only for a few short decades after WWII that we had capitalism almost working and that was due to the massive socialist systems put in place.

      Now that we’ve gone back to pure capitalism we’re getting the poverty and deprivation back and, sooner or later, we’ll get the guillotines out as well.

      But hey, the rich are doing well – ATM.

      • I’m usually more of a Russian revolution guy than a French revolution guy, but I have to say, it’s well passed Guillotine o’clock.

      • 1000% Draco. right on the button and at 70yrs old I lived through that golden age, most dont know what a good life feels like when capitalism actually worked because everyone shared in the wealth.

        Not now with these criminal rich pricks robbing our last remaining acts of kindness, so what goes around will come around, just wait and see.

        You will reap what you sow Key and co.

    • @Kate – hush your mouth mentioning child labour camps! John Key might pick up on the idea and run with it! Incapable of having an original plan himself, you know what he’s like at pilfering ideas from others!

      With a government plan in mind to further cut benefits this term, causing yet more hardship among families, I feel we are only a short step away from introducing workhouse like facilities! The places where the wealthy industrialists abuse the labour of the workhouse destitute to assemble their goods, to be sold off at a profit!

      In return for their labour, workhouse residents receive a bowl of watered down soup two or three times a day, as well as a flea infested bed in unhealthy communal living conditions!

      Welcome to 21 century NZ and step back into the dark world of 19 century social conditions!

  8. It’s a bit like one of those reality show competitions where each week someone else has to be pushed off the show and teams of beneficiaries and WINZ staff have to compete.

    Other than that, the fact is that countries like New Zealand will never have a job for every person any more thanks to technology which has vastly reduced the number of people needed to produce goods and services, plus an exploding amount of goods and services that is rendering everything from kitchen utensils to music almost valueless from a monetary point of view. Our expectation is that everyone will still get/deserve a piece of the pie by having an official job (exacerbated by an increasingly extreme capitalist system/society that doesn’t want to share the wealth). If you are cut out of the working loop, you have no way of accessing any of the profits of this economic system. New Zealanders in general are out of touch with reality in expecting everyone to work for money and their antiquated “lazy beneficiaries” mentality

    • We really, really need to look at a better system for distribution as the work till you drop isn’t going to cut it much longer – actually, it’s not cutting it now.

      • Universal Basic Income is the way out of this mess. With UBI, a person can aspire to some sense of intrinsic satisfaction, and a sense of belonging. You are free to work as a volunteer, or as a part time worker. Finding full time paid employment, for those who seek it, should also be easier. The dictatorship and its bureaucracy will oppose UBI though, because for them, the main function of work is (i) for the worker to make sacrifices so that the owners can accumulate more capital, (ii) as a control system operated on behalf of the state (iii) so that the worker can go into debt (mortgage, etc) so that s/he can compliantly go to work every day, conform and not complain, merely to pay off the interest on the loans. Even when the work being done is dehumanising, alienating, and may well be totally unnecessary, existing only so an economic system can be perpetuated.

        • Allen – interesting thing about the UBI. It would probably do away with most of WINZ. So people like Chloe’s judgemental case officer would be out of a job…

          Oh gawd. The irony…

  9. I would have asked the case manager what she would have done if there were no welfare. She’d be out of a job and even if she found another one, she may not be able to exercise her sadistic tendencies. I used to think DSW workers like this were idiots who had failed the intelligence test to be screws.

  10. Although WINZ staff and management are a definite problem, I think the main issue lies with the National government. They are leading this country to ruin, Key is obviously aiming to turn NZ into a mini-America, and we all know that their welfare system is pretty much non-existent and their poverty rate is horrendous. The past elections have shown that not enough is being done to turn this country around, the majority of NZ voted us into another 4 years of an improving economy at the price of the well-being and sustainable, mentally-healthy future of our nation.

    • But how do we know YOUR work is of any real value anyways?

      For all we know it could be purely your subjective opinion…job justification….

      Or would you rather pay more from your precious taxes for PAID Womens Refuge workers?

      And you’ve got the gall to post yet another mindless right wing Whalecrap supporters views….honestly….so braindead.

      If anything – you should be grateful these people devote their time and energies to helping to keep this country from descending into an open cast slum and donate to them ,- or better still,…lobby your precious National govt to pull its finger out of its arse and get moving on all the poverty and social destruction directly attributable to their vulgar neo liberalism that caused it in the first place.

      Another clown who needs to think before they post.

      NEXT!!

      • The concept of being a volunteer for a worthy cause (Womans Refuge, Coast Guard or whatever) and being in gainful employment seems to be beyond your comprehension

                • Doesn’t matter. Some people have two, three, or more jobs to sustain their families – and have to pay SECONDARY tax.

                  So pay your tax on your “one rental” and quit your bitching.

                  You have a nerve to act superior to Chloe, and then expect us to be tolerant of tax-bludgers?!

                  Jeezus, wept.

                • Oh Dean that is rubbish, you are a baby boomer in your retirement years right?

                  Well you and I had it good didn’t we, and then we had real capitalism right?

                  Today we have a corrupt government who is selling our assets and closing down all industry with crippling high dollar values?

                  We are now headed for another depression your parents and mine lived through one along with two world wars and bought us a good few decades, and now you aren’t interested in pay it forward to help others up like you was?

                  I am ashamed of you as our baby boomer generation, you are one sick puppy.

            • But it should be – you admit that – and so we should be working to make it so not sitting saying that it isn’t and that’s that.

        • Dean, you are assuming that “gainful employment” exists?!

          Do you even know how many unemployed there are in this country?

          Making sweeping judgemental statements may pander to your sense of self-importance – but it doesn’t create a single extra job.

          You are indulging in ego-masterbation and getting off on the sense of superiority it gives you.

          You must feel incredibly safe sitting behind your anonymity and pontificating on the lives of others?

          • Yes I do assume gainful employment exists. Doctors, nurses, teachers, shop keepers, road repairers, mechanics, not sure what colour the sky is in your world but I appreciate the contribution to society that 99% of New Zealanders make no matter what there race creed, or political views are. And yes I have been unemployed. Just dont give up.

            • Gainful employment may exist in your closed world, Dean, but with 154,000 unemployed, there just isn’t enough for everyone. Christ man, even National ministers have admitted as much. What planet have you been holidaying on?!

              Or are you seriously telling us that 95,000 NZers decided to chuck in their jobs, post-2008, to go on the dole to receive $210 a week, net?!

            • So people just go to uni and get a qualification (Drs, Nurses, Teachers) and then go get a job? Oh, I wish someone would have told my partner that! He just finished a law degree and there are zero legal jobs of any sort going here. He might have to leave our family and move 5 hours away or even to the north island to work (if he finds any).
              I’ll let him know of your plan of ‘gainful employment’ just get a job and ask him why he is not doing that. He’s probably just being lazy…

              • My offspring ended up in the same situation educated -no jobs 2 have been working in Aussie for years now( good wages shit jobs). The youngest after a year out of uni is about to flee sometime next year. Her cynicism regarding the job interview process would make a great stand up comedy routine.She is repeatedly told her lack of experience is the reason she wasn’t selected for the job even after making the shortlist most times.She reckons she will stick the next personality test she repeatedly endures with each application up her next interviewer’s arse! Oh and she has an insecure on call( never knows how much she will have to live on) job working in a cafe. She also does a number of on call low skilled jobs when available so she can survive.So she works Dean and to all the other narrow minded numpty righties on here. She just wants and deserves a secure permanent full time career position commensurate with her education. There aren’t any frigging jobs though!

                • Didn’t you realise education is now a business? Just because the course exists, doesn’t mean the jobs do. Surely your daughter looked at the long term demand for her “job” she was training for and decided it was a sound move? Experience, That’s often used as a fall back for “we don’t think you’d fit in”..

    • How do you figure it’s you paying, Dean? Are you the only taxpayer in NZ? Are you not clear that the vast majority (and I mean VAST majority) of people who receive unemployment benefits have been taxpayers too?

      Seriously, you should try thinking sometime. You might like it.

      • We are all paying. My point simply is, if you can work you should. If you choose to do volunteer work then that great. If you do volunteer work instead of paid work ,then do not expect the state to keep you. As an aside, we all owe those volunteer firemen, coastguard and there employers, who sacrifice wages, productivity, time and so on, to protect all of our communities.

        • You do realise, don’t you, Dean, that volunteer work in this country is estimated to be valued in the order of around $1 billion? And that if all voluntary work ceased, our economy would suffer a shock that would make the GFC and Recession pale by comparison?

          Just putting it out there, because you don’t appear to have the full picture of this issue.

          • Volunteer work can lead to paid work, and I am being full trained by WF for free. I do have some paid work one day a week teaching but they have no more than that for me. Remember people are under employed and often alot of people on welfare have a little work, it is barely pays for food.

    • National is running an economic system that requires 6% unemployment. What this means is that those people who are unemployed are doing their job as defined by National. They should actually be getting the minimum wage of $570.00 for a 40-hour week.

      If you don’t want to pay people for doing that job then I suggest you lobby National to go for full employment policies.

    • Dean… Tell us… how long did it take you to think up those two sentences? An hour? Six hours? A day? Or did you simply do what other naive trolls do and simply parroted what others of your ilk have said? No thought required, eh?

      Maybe I’m being harsh. Maybe you’ve been living on the dark side of the moon, or the asteroid belt, and haven’t heard of the Global Financial Crisis? Maybe you’re one of those slow ones who haven’t yet grasped the full utilisation of Google, and discovered for yourself that 95,000 New Zealanders lost their jobs post-2008?

      Or maybe you just don’t think. Because thinking about what Chloe has written (and her experiences are by no means unique) actually means having to consider the issues she has raised.

      And by god, people like you are too damned lazy to think.

      What is truly depressing is that you are apparently the product of our(?) education system.

      That really is something awful for the rest of us to consider.

      • Come on Frank, in the overall scheme of things we are only a molecule apart at most. You cant tell me someone of your obvious intellect, is unable to get a reasonable job and perhaps do a bit of volunteer work on the side, I do not believe it. In the end, we all only want a fairer society Frank. Do you?

        • A fairer society is both desirable and achievable, Dean. But not with the judgemental nonsense you spout when someone has it tougher than you. It may give you a warm feeling of “moral superiority” in the goolies looking down at struggling folk like Chloe, but in the end, it’s rubbish. Any dickhead can pass judgement on another human being who happens to be in tough times.

          So what are you going to do to make it better?

          • it also pays to remember Dean, my line of work in the community sector is percived as ‘women’s work’ which is nearly always underpaid or not paid. Becuase anything associated with the feminine is instantly dismissed as either worthless or unnecessary. ‘Cos hey women being beating to death is no biggy, and the women who support victims of violence, well shit they deserve to get paid nothing or hardly nothing they made a choice to go into that line of work. But the issue here is Dean for someone, like me who is a survivor or rape and violence it does not feel like a choice it feels like a real obligation. Because if I don’t stand up who the fuck will?

            • Cloe,
              You are a doll girl I love you.

              You have a passion as I do in my senior years now I face seeing my Grandson and other young not able to see a good life for all in front of them, but just an ugly completive cutthroat world akin to how the Romans threw Christian’s into the lion pit.

              I feel ashamed but when I see your plucky wonderful strength it reminds me of my youth. Go gorgeous Choe go.

    • Good I like that idea Dean, can you tell me your address and phone number so I can contact you, I know lots of people wanting to work but they can’t find jobs, but you obviously know where they are.

    • Those that can work probably do. They may not all be paid for their work, however.

      Everyone who buys stuff in this country is a tax payer. Goods and Services TAX.

      Why should you pay?

      I don’t know. Neither do you.

      Can you track the little tax dollars you reluctantly allow to leave your care? How many fractions of a cent from your ever-increasing tax burden, scrounged by the great Tax and Spend National Party, trickle down to those – mothers at home, elderly, war veterans, kids in foster care?

      Or are you a real employer and strive to meet payroll and fairly pay the people who help you compound your wealth? (Employees.)

      Or are you still just a wage slave, full of fear and greed?

      How is it, Dean?

  11. Thanks for speaking out Chloe. I once gave an anti-government political rant in a WINZ office and was told I was lucky not to be trespassed. Your phone conversation would have been recorded of course. Even those of us who stand up for our rights, maintain our dignity and can ‘out-argue’ most WINZ staff, feel bad going into a WINZ office. For the rest, it is simply hell. My view now is that anyone in that situation MUST have an advocate with them.

    • Good idea! I always feel scared going into WINZ and sick in my stomach and a waste of space on this planet when I come back out. A support person or advocate would make it less likely that clients would be verbally abused by WINZ staff.

  12. Sadly I read your post not batting an eyelid. No surprise to any of us who have to deal with WINZ. Not that long ago I’d have felt some sort of negative emotion reading it, but not anymore- the bastards have got me beaten down as is their intent. Between the Nats, WINZ, and the bashers, and the now permanent state of financial stress (with no hope of paid work due to medical condition) they’ve won. No fight left.

    “Lord knows after my political rant at some random WINZ worker who was not even my personal case manager, my welfare could be cut this week – speaking out is a dangerous game to play”
    – this too. I really want to write a letter to the Minister, or CEO, or whoever, ask them why I’ve had to stop taking my 2 unsubsidised prescription meds because I can no longer afford them on my benefit. And why I’m having to forgo other necessary medical treatment. It’s that or pay the power bill- I could put together a better budget than Bill English but when you’re not even allowed an overdraft facility because you’re on a benefit… But I’m scared to send that letter because there’s the very real risk of backlash, even if it’s not going public. Paula did a great job there didn’t she, got us all too scared to speak out, just roll over and take it.

    I’ve always been incredibly greatful I’ve lived in a country with a welfare safety net; I remind myself everyday I could be in the USA and I’d have been dead a long time ago. But we’re heading that way. What I don’t understand is why so many (working and voting) NZers don’t seem to have a problem with the welfare system being dismantled, and have been more than happy to join in the bashing along the way. What happened? When did society stop being society and caring about anyone else? Do these people that hate us not actually realise this could happen to them” There is noone in NZ who doesn’t have a friend/relative/aquaintence/themselves who is or has been reliant on welfare at some point.

    • most of middle class NZ are in enormous debt, and if our property market bubble bursts they’ll have negative equity

      if the property market bubble bursts it will be alongside another global financial crisis

      the middle class in NZ who are so smug with their multiple investment properties will be bankrupt, have no jobs, and be in a WINZ office alongside you

    • I’ve lived in the states for the past 12 years. I worked my arse off for 9 of those years and for the past 3 years I’ve been too sick to work.

      What do I do? Well…. I’m on social security. I get my social security payments plus 350/month for each of my 2 kids. I have federal health insurance as well. Seems for a country with no “safety net” it’s a much better one than NZ.

    • I met this girl at teachers’ training college – she was just young. She couldn’t conceive of a time when she would need the support of the state. She, her husband or her parents would always be able to do that. No imagination! Does anyone bother to learn from history? Or from the experiences of others who have lived longer? I didn’t think I would ever end up on a benefit either but here I am – too ill to work, husband long gone and my parents retired and elderly needing my support at least emotionally. History teaches us – life’s a bitch. The Bible teaches us – there but for the grace of God go I. Like someone commented above, I am lucky, I am lucky, I am lucky. I have my family, my home, my education and my brain. I live in a truly beautiful country. BUT there are many, many people in NZ much less fortunate than I am.

  13. If work and income case managers ring you up and say those things tell them to put in txt or in writing and post it to you. You will find that they won’t because they can’t say those things.
    I went to work and income office to reinstate someone’s benefit and she started telling me that it won’t happen plus heaps of other things like the person signed a statement to say that they won’t come back to seek any further help, so I said to put everything she just said in writing and she asked why? I pointed out to her that if they had read his contract they would have realized that the person wasn’t getting paid until 3 months of training and supervision had been completed, also asked for the name of the case worker that dealt with the person before because the person and I were ready to lodge a complaint to the ombudsman.
    I once said to a case manager what are you going to do for a job when state welfare is stopped. You will have no job just like these people needing help now.
    Ask for these things in writing and Auckland Action Against Poverty are great advocates if you need one. If you are not in the Auckland area they are all over new zealand just look it up on Google and you will find them. They are made up of advocates from different parts of the country.

  14. Those that can work could , maybe, if they can find suitable employment.suitably rewarded ..why should you pay Chloe to do nothing ? who are you to say what some thing is ? seems to me she is doing some thing good in service to Human kind . more than you Dean . your attitude looks to me as being very ignorant and being ignorant you are probably very proud of that .. go and do like chloe buddy go get yourself an education , a few clues or some thing .

    • The trouble with those like you Brian, is you assume my contribution to society is of no value and that of the likes of Chloe is comparatively good. I am simply saying, work for a living, pay your dues, and do some charity work. If everyone did that then the wold would be a bit better Brian.

        • I am casually employed by AUT to fill in when lecturers are sick or can’t make class. Alot of us young people have been left scrounging for what ever is left, begging for work and hoping to god some casual contract turns into at least some kind of part time work.

          • Here’s an irony; right wing moralists often demand that, in lieu of paid jobs, people on welfare do community work.

            So.

            Here we have Chloe doing the community work that right wing judgementalists keep rabbiting on about.

            But that’s not good enough, evidently, for other right wingers like Dean.

            Have done the community work, evidently that leaves the moralists unable to pass judgement.

            So it’s back to parroting the #1 mantra; “get a job!”.

            But there aren’t enough jobs.

            So it’s community work in the meantime.

            Around and around in circles, people like Dean don’t have to think through the issues. Just keep repeating mantras. It absolves them of actually thinking through the problem and, shock!, actually coming up with solutions.

            Meanwhile, the problem continues.

            Here’s my challenge to Dean: offer us a solution that steps away from gormless judgementalism and finger-pointing. Come up with a practical idea how to address a lack of paid employment for 154,000 New Zealanders.

            If he can do that, we’ll listen.

            If he keeps parroting mantras, we’ll dismiss him as another unthinking rightwing moralist.

            • Frank hit the nail on the head: whatever I do, as some who is technically unemployed, I am always going to be lasy no matter how much free community work I do or how much activism and advocating I do for women’s rights and workers rights. Oh, and obviously I am a political blogger, which is, of course unpaid. But I believe in the transformative power of words and know words can challenge authority and the establishment. And I am also a practicing artist who teaches a theory class on a friday, this is unpaid because I offered my time (this costs me money as bus far from howick to town is now 15 dollars there and back). And sometimes I get paid work covering for other tutors – but rarely. I do not write or work within the community to make money, although that would be nice, I do it because since I was a little girl I have wanted to change the world. And if I don’t do try to change the world… then who?

        • Frank you are much more intelligent that that troll, he gets his rocks off by winding people up so just ignore the twerp and he will crawl under another slimy rock along with the other slime.

      • I think the discourse here are what is driving the wedge between the ‘left employed’ and the ‘left unemployed’ and what lost Labour so many votes. Everyone is right so there is no point beating up your own side over a small point of difference. Yep Cloe should not be condescended by WINZ as she is working but can’t find any more that she would like and is qualified for so needs welfare. But Dean is also right to say that if she can work she should try to even if is not her dream job. What is the point of staying on WINZ unless you can help it? I don’t think Dean should be abused by the other posts just by saying this and told his contribution is worse than hers (we are not 5yo). Anyway unless left wingers unite from far left to center left, from David Cunliffe to David Shearer and all their supporters, National is cleaning up and wrecking the country. So soon Cloe, Dean and Frank will probably be out of a job or retraining as WINZ workers:) My thoughts are use any sarcasm for good by taking out the right wingers not the central wingers. Right wingers already have the advantage by being conformists so therefore are able to work with others without having a fight every 5 minutes unlike many left wingers. Set small differences aside and unite.

        • “Right wingers already have the advantage by being conformists so therefore are able to work with others…”

          Terrifying people, aren’t they?

          Found in packs at witch-burnings, stonings, hangings, and sly whisperings at the water cooler.

          Also gossiping and curtain twitching and Judging.

          The Righteous Society for the Suppression and Eradiction of Change, Difference, and Kindness. (Or “The Harper Valley PTA”. Yeah.)

          Lovely people.

          • I am not sure that right wing are more conformist than left. From where (I believe) it sit, which is somewhere somewhere in the middle, the right seem a little more unified (I mean Act really doesnt have a voice does it?) But the left of the left seem more extreme and silly than the right of the right.

    • exactly positive thinking is one thing… if you have something to be fucking positive about. I do now have alot of hope I have my writing and I feel like I am giving back to my community which is so important to me. My activism is a big part of what defines me, and honestly if i got paid for all the free work I did I would make a fairly good wage a week. But I don’t because out capitalist system does not value humanitarian or community work. We need to drastically challenge the current oppressive and brutal system we live in because it is not working for the majority of us.

  15. I’ve been working at Work and Income for over a year now, and yes there are targets that we are supposed to meet, regarding lowering the numbers coming into welfare and increasing those that go off. But in my entire time there I have also not heard of bonuses given to staff for meeting targets. Progressive pay rises to a certain level when you’re new, but that ‘should’ be standard in any job. Starting rate is about $38k and if you’ve been there for years I think the top is $55k. I don’t pay much attention to the targets. I’m probably a pretty shit case manager, I definitely don’t talk about work as much as I probably should. I hate my job. I agree with most of what you write. I’m trying to find a new one that doesn’t cause me anxiety. I often feel stupid in front of my clients, even after a year I still don’t know everything. I often feel powerless, unable to help people because they don’t meet particular criteria, and are struggling to live on $200 a week. It’s disheartening and disempowering.

    And side note, in one office I worked in, the manager closed the public toilets because they were constantly getting abused. Nobody likes cleaning smeared sh!t off everything. 🙁

    • The case manager I interviewed was very clear that when she worked tat winz she was offered bonuses in the thousands… and she is prepared to come out publicly and back me on this if needs be. The problem is the welfare system is utterly broken now. John Key has gutted New Zealand’s welfare state and every well-off sitting pretty New Zealander is cheering at these brutal welfare reforms – they are so devorced from the reality of poverty. Paula Bennetts reforms are literally costing lives. And people are cheering this shit on. Fuck how depressing.

      • Keep writing Chloe ! What you have written is so powerful and is giving others the opportunity to share their own experiences. Getting the truth out into the open empowers those who are hurting to speak out. And it is only by people speaking out that those who have been brainwashed can be educated about what is really going on.
        Yours is the most powerful article I have seen to date on the true effects of the brutal, sadistic Rape and degradation of what was once a Social Welfare system that other countries were envious of. You make me feel proud to be a Kiwi once again and give me hope.
        Thank you !

  16. The NZ system you describe sounds similar to that documented in the UK see this from 2011
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2011/apr/01/jobcentres-tricking-people-benefit-sanctions
    Which is unsurprising when NZ neoliberal think tanks like the Maxim Institute facilitate the propagation of such an approach here by inviting the Minister in charge of these sanctions as their guest speaker.
    ” Maxim Institute is pleased to be hosting the UK’s Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, on Friday 22 July, to deliver the Annual Sir John Graham Lecture.” Perhaps you could cut & paste your blog onto the NZ Productivity Commission’s submission page for their inquiry into social service provision. They have a 96 page document explaining their inquiry if you are at a loose end and fancy a bit of uber dull (but probably quite significant) reading at http://www.productivity.govt.nz/sites/default/files/social-services-issues-paper.pdf
    There is also a brief video presentation about the inquiry which is kind of ewwky. But I’m guessing all this democratic consultation will be leading to changes in the provision of social services. Perhaps slash & burn under the guise of efficiency & moving services into the community/ voluntary sector… oh no that would be a left wing conspiracy theory….

    • I know a little man who worked so hard on a mate’s fishing boat to keep his house over his head. He grew his own veg and kept a few chooks, and ate the rejected fish that had been bitten. By the age of fifty eight he was unable to work on the boat any more. He went to WINZ.
      They offered him more strenuous work on a twelve hour shift rota. He couldn’t do it so they turfed him out. He had to sell his house and now lives in an ancient bus working his way thru his house money. No longer does he have fresh eggs or veg or a warm home. I shudder to think how he managed to survive the winter down south here.
      One of my daughters was made to feel like a beggar and work for a pittance at times until she finally got good employment.
      There are good people at W.I.N.Z. but there are also the other kind.
      I would say they too are all under pressure.

  17. People need to stop assuming that their work taxes only pay for welfare.
    Welfare is a very small section of what taxes are spent on, and, actually, tax evasion costs the country infinitely more than unemployment and Government support ever could, so if you want to tax bash someone, try the rich guy with his squillions in trust funds and dodgy accounts, because while you’re busy dropping hammers on the poor guys, you’re not looking at the real issues – and that’s the way the rich tax evaders like it.

    Now I can’t say this loudly enough, but I’m going to try –

    BENEFICIARIES ALSO PAY TAX ON THEIR BENEFITS.

    Surprise! So this whole “Why should I pay you to do nothing” attitude just shows how ignorant some people choose to be.

    As for the quality of WINZ case managers – it is poor at best. They seem to lack any kind of compassion, and are low on common sense and decency, to say the least. Now, after the shooting tragedy, they are even worse when it comes to treating clients like something they’ve scraped off the bottom of their shoe.

    Fuck Paula Bennett, her reforms, and her lies. She should try living like this for a year under a third term National Government. I’m pretty sure her opinion would change fairly swiftly.

    • Yes you are quite right beneficiaries pay tax on their benefits, however the taxpayer pays their benefit so essentially pays their taxes.

        • My point is a beneficiary is a nominal taxpayer not a net taxpayer so they contribute nothing to the economy of New Zealand.

          • Stephan,
            I hope you are as just as indignant about all the tax evasion conducted by the wealthy who can afford lawyers and accountants to squirrel their money away for them.

          • Stephen You are so wrong. A lot of the beneficiaries contribute to the economy. They work as volunteers in the communities. Most of these organisations rely on them for the help. People that work can’t do it so most beneficiaries and pensioners do this work for FREE.

            You need to come off your high horse and be the decent person that you probably are.

          • I had a part time on call job which left me no money for food.
            So I went to winz which said I didn’t fit their criteria .The security guard told me to calm down or I would be asked to leave , the irony of that is I am a security guard . Lol
            I have a full time job now which I don’t particularly like and a second job which helps pay for extra stuff like registration for my car so I can go to work
            Stephen, people on welfare contributte more to society than you obviously do . Maybe you should try existing on a benefit and being made to feel like a piece of worthless crap .

            • I actually contribute quite a lot to society, I would not want to live on the benefit, that’s why I work hard and save money.

      • But when we are able to have a bit of part-time work it’s secondary tax, plus we pay GST on EVERYTHING (including rent indirectly since rates are figured into rents) so as a tax payer you get a 15% refund. Does make make you feel better?

        And I’ll draw your attention to what’s already been said about rich tax evaders.

          • Stephan,
            It seems you fail to understand that many jobs have simply disappeared- remember petrol pump attendants, supermarket baggers, bank tellers, book keepers, telephone operators, milk maids, and milkmen… to name a few. Hell, way back when Henry VIII even had someone employed to wipe his posterior, a Groom of the Stool.
            Ask yourself who’s benefiting from all these technological advances that have reduced labour costs. Here’s a clue, check out CEO salaries and share holders’ pay outs.
            I think it would be a fairer society if all could share in the benefits of our modern world, something governments should be trying to achieve. If a few CEOs had to take a small pay cut Chloe could be paid to be “gainful employed”.

            • Well a lot of those jobs have become automated and as a result society is better off, yes we could employ more people if say we got rid of combine harvesters but no one seriously wants to toil in the fields anymore in order just to have a job. With automation a new set of jobs is created think robotic engineers, people require a higher skill set as a result. The problem is there is a skills shortage in NZ, their is a shortage of trades people, people with IT and computing skills, we seem to be in NZ training young people up with skill sets for jobs that just aren’t there, think BA degree.

              • With automation a new set of jobs is created think robotic engineers, people require a higher skill set as a result.

                And National are busy:

                1. Making it harder to get that training by removing the students allowance
                2. Reducing funding to tertiary institutions
                3. Reducing funding to research institutions so that there’s even less jobs for graduates
                4. Making it harder to get a student loan for living costs (never mind that that amount hasn’t gone up since 2007 and so is nowhere near enough to live on)
                5. Running the economy in such a way as to ensure 6%+ unemployment meaning that there’s no jobs available anyway.

                As is typical for RWNJs, you’re delusional.

              • Stephen you are so shallow saying we are better off when automation made wprkers redundant.

                Wake up everyone needs a job otherwise we need welfare, so you NatZ stop banging on about the unemployed your mechanised lot caused with automation and are running to make many more redundant as we speak. Meter readers, Garbage collectors, street cleaners and a raft of other “manual jobs”.

                They will all be joining the dole queue shortly also.

                • What absolute nonsense you have just written, if we take your arguement to its logical conclusion we should turn our back on the industrial revolution and instead toil in the fields and that way their would be full employment for the unskilled worker. New technologies create new jobs and free mankind up to pursue more leisure activities.

                • Cleangreen his obviously never heard the (probably apocryphal) story of the Economist who visits China under Mao Zedong. He sees hundreds of workers building a dam with shovels. He asks: “Why don’t they use a mechanical digger?” “That would put people out of work,” replies the foreman. “Oh,” says the economist, “I thought you were making a dam. If it’s jobs you want, take away their shovels and give them spoons.”

                  • My point, that both you and Stephen have not addressed, is why don’t we all share in the benefits of technology’s advances?
                    In your apocryphal example it would seem the builders of the dam would benefit from using a mechanical digger, while the coolies were left without work.
                    I’m not a Luddite who believes the mechanical digger should not be used, but the unemployed workers should share in it’s cost savings on dam building.

                    • “the unemployed workers should share in it’s cost savings on dam building”

                      They do. It’s the reason why you (and they) can buy a a DVD player for $29.99.

                      Have a think about the costs of goods and services nowadays, and then have a think what they would cost without machines.

                      The absolute reality, is that the unemployed New Zealanders today, live better lives than the well off from 200 years ago.

                      All of this is down to technology advancement.

                      Every technology makes some positions redundant and simultaneously creates new ones. I have no doubt that the invention of the motorcar put a lot of stablehands out of work. But invisibly created a new new ‘automotive mechanic’ category.

                      To claim that the non worker receives no benefit from technology and automation is to ignore history and to ignore reality.

                    • Johann (response to your above comments)
                      I totally agree with you that we all- apart from poor unfortunates in the third world- have benefited from technology, however, from my perspective it appears that a lucky few are disproportionally advantaged compared to us hoi polloi.

                    • “My point, that both you and Stephen have not addressed, is why don’t we all share in the benefits of technology’s advances?”

                      I have shown that we all share in the benefits of technology. Now you complain that we share disproportionately.

                      Yes. We share disproportionately in many things.

                      Health, money, happiness, sex, attractiveness, physical attributes, mental attributes, personality traits.

                      So yeah, we can have a discussion that people share disproportiantly in any number of these traits (or improvements in any of these areas), but that doesn’t really get us anywhere.

                    • What about those Third World people I mentioned, you really believe they are all benefiting? Some may be but others are simply being exploited for the materials and labour needed to manatain our privileged lifestyle.

                    • …also try telling someone in this country who has lost their job because of automation or off-shoring that they are still benefiting because technology allows them to fill their time on their PlayStation.

                    • “…also try telling someone in this country who has lost their job because of automation or off-shoring that they are still benefiting because technology allows them to fill their time on their PlayStation”

                      Just to clarify. You don’t believe that off-shoring (specialisation of Labour by countries) is a good idea (even though I presume you believe that specialisation of individuals is a good idea).

                      And you do not believe that technological advancement (and automation) is a good idea.

                      If it is a bad idea – when did it become a bad idea (i.e. what date. 1700, 1800, 1900, 2000)?

                      Also, If you want to talk about the ‘third world’, I will need to talk in more specifics. Let’s use one country to exrapoltae for the others. Which one do you choose? (try and pick an ‘average’ third world country)

                    • Either you’re being deliberately obtuse or I’m not explaining my point with any clarity, apologies if it’s my fault.
                      I thought it was quite a simple point I was making, obviously not. I think technological advances are marvellous as long as all society shares in their benefits and, in my opinion, this isn’t the case now or at any time through Western history- U.S. railway barons, Carnegie steel, U.K. cotton mills for example. Too often an individual becomes fabulously wealthy by using technology to exploit his workers or dispense with their labour; perhaps it’s their guilt that makes many of them philanthropists in later life! Labour saving in it self in a wonderful idea, but I feel the benefit should be shared with the now unemployed, not just to return more profits to owners, or to pay inflated CEO salaries and shareholders. If this was the case people like Chloe may be able to be paid for the volunteer work they now do. Naturally some people can be retrained for new jobs but there always seems to be more people than jobs (some would claim that this was deliberate, so production can continue to rise while wages remain stagnant).
                      I have no idea what you mean by an “average” third world country, but surely you don’t condone the exploitation of workers in any of them.

                    • I’m asking you to name a third world country that is not benefitting from technology, as you say all aren’t (your assertion).

                      By ‘average’ I simply mean a third world country that is quite obviously not third world because of another obvious factor (useless and oppressive dictator/horrific cival wars/religious barbarism)

                      You keep stating that society doesn’t “share” in the benefits of technology. This is patently untrue. You might need to be more specific. You mean that society doesn’t share equally?

                      When you say that the cotton barrons “using technology to exploit his workers or dispense with their labour” you are having your cake and eating it too. You can’t both blame the employment pre technology and after technology, and say that it is the fault of technology. Isn’t your argument ‘Cotton Barrons are evil regardless of technology’? (since they were fabulously weathly before technology advancements?

                      Regardless, lets look at the working conditions of the cotton worker from 1750 to 2014, and tell me whether the lives of the cotton worker have improved.

                      Then look at whether the price of cotton shirts, and access to them has improved.

                      Then look at what happened to people who were unemployed by technology. What happened to them. Did they stay unemployed or did they move into other areas.

                      And before you start on the ‘sweatshop labour’ apply the same logic to sweatshops.

                      No, sweatshops are not nice places. But they are a massive improvement over what was there and available to people before. In exactly the same way as the working conditions in cotton mills in 1850 vs 1900.

                      If you are going to think about these issues, you need to think about them in a deeper or broader sense. You can’t just think “This guy lost his job to a machine, that’s terrible!” Because while it is sad for the individual involved, it is much much much better for society that we no longer (by-in lagrge) hand pick cotton, hand separate, hand sew and hand deliver cotton items). And apply this logic across every imaginable sector – Potatoes, corn, buckets, wood etc etc etc.

                      We are a far richer society because of this. We have far better working conditions and far more free time.

                      Your argument doesn’t hold water. Wind the clock back to the 1800’s and we don’t have the spare money for Chloe to be manning the phones at a domestic violence call center, because she is probably in the feild (or at some rasing the next generation of feild workers. The only people who were really able to engage in ‘charity work’ were the Church (rich) and the wives of the wealthy. There is almost no chance of a paid position in that area at that time. There is now (precisely because of the massive increase in relative wealth brought on by……..?

                      We HAVE the time to argue on blogs via our computers and we HAVE the standard of living we have to day (all of us – even the poorest) because of technology and the very same machines that replaced the majority of the feild workers.

                    • Thanks for taking the time to give me the hard sell of the wonders of technology and globalisation. Many of the points you make I would agree with, generally speaking technology has made most of our lives richer, however, I would argue that it could have been even richer if those technological benefits had been shared more equally. In other words, yes I do mean… “You mean that society doesn’t share equally?”
                      (I could argue that these days we are too dependant of electricity and fossil fuels but can save that for a climate change/doomsday debate).
                      You said I appear to think “‘Cotton Barrons {sic}are evil regardless of technology’?” Evil may be too strong a word, but I do suspect most of them were greedy and shared little with their workers. This fact remains the main thrust of my argument; those “evil” barons could have afforded to supply their workers with better working conditions, more time off, and/or better wages.
                      You continue ” (since they were fabulously weathly {sic} before technology advancements?” {sic}
                      I don’t know if there’s any proof to your allegation- although obviously they would have had to raise the money to start the enterprise- but most of them most certainly became wealthy after the factories were up and running.
                      I don’t feel as if “I’m having my cake and eating it to” (although I have to ask what’s the point of having a cake if one can’t eat it?) because I’m not blaming technology, I’m blaming those barons for using it for their own ends without sharing its many benefits.
                      You say “Your argument doesn’t hold water. Wind the clock back to the 1800’s and we don’t have the spare money for Chloe to be manning the phones at a domestic violence call center, because she is probably in the field {sic} (or at some rasing {sic} the next generation of field {sic} workers.”
                      Once I stopped laughing at the thought of Chloe using a telephone system with a device that wasn’t invented till the late 1870’s, I remembered that the welfare state in a modern idea so of course state money has only recently been available.
                      You ask…”Did they stay unemployed or did they move into other areas.”{sic} A look at unemployment figures around the world will probably answer that question better than I can.
                      You also ask me “to name a third world country that is not benefitting from technology, as you say all aren’t (your assertion).”
                      What I actually said was, “apart from poor unfortunates in the third world”, and, on another comment “Third World people” . I never mentioned a particular country, I was thinking of individuals. Actually I was thinking of cobalt from the Congo and blood diamonds when I made that comment, but I suspect that wouldn’t met your strict criterion due to civil wars in Africa.
                      In summary (’cause me brain ‘urts) I do not make the ridiculous statement… “To claim that the non worker receives no benefit from technology and automation is to ignore history and to ignore reality.” …but it would be nice if we could all find some empathy and learn to share our wonderful toys.

          • Yes Stephen, it was always my career goal to finish university and graduate onto an Invalids benefit. Wanted to be a bludger as far back as I can remember…

            When you come up with a)cures for the many health conditions that leave people unable to work and/or b)force employers to actually give us a chance, then come back and let us know, ok?

          • Take it up with National – they’re the ones running polices that enforce 6% unemployment so as to keep wages down.

          • Why the heck should we make you feel better if we are “gainfully employed”, who do you think you are .
            Go crawl under your rock you piece of judgemental c rap

          • Secondary tax is a higher rate of tax on your second income. You pay secondary tax on the lesser earning job.

            I believe that the idea is that if your tax is PAYE deducted, earning from 2 sources would mean you are under-taxed; the tax on each smaller income does not reflect the fact that the two incomes are combined to make a larger income.

            (However, when both your incomes are low and relatively equal, you just end up paying a lot of extra tax. A lower secondary tax rate does exist for this purpose, but you have to know about it and apply for it.)

            (4-weekly) tax on $1000: $125.40. Secondary tax on $1000: $194.21.

            • Secondary tax ignores the low tax threshold, so it effectively ‘assumes’ you have already earnt a certain amount of money. So you are effectively taxed higher on the S rate.

              Note: You do not end up paying any more tax (at the end of the year) with a S rate – because you can claim any over payment of tax.

              The problem with ‘doing away’ the S rate/s completely is that a person will end up underpaying tax, so then have a tax bill at the end of the year.

              Both are bad. But on balance it is probably better to get money at the end of the year than to owe money (unexpectedly) to the IRD at the end of the year.

              CHERRY is correct about there being a newish “low S rate”. It needs to be advertised more widely amongst employers and employees. Note: Many people arguing that ‘the S rate needs to be abolished’, don’t even understand these tax rates.

          • One liner? Is that the extent to your understanding of issues?

            Considering your short posts here, that would seem to be the case. If anything, Dean, you demonstrate amply that right wingers like you cannot sustain complex arguments or ideas unless encapsulated in one or two sentences.

            Let me repeat that parroting right wing cliches and mantras does not an intelligent argument make.

  18. Chloe, best wishes and luck with whatever you do and wherever you go, that’s all I can say that will help. Can’t share my story, learned that it’s pointless to say it. The sloganeers aren’t listening, but jesus, if I told how I survived, how I survive, through luck and graft (and grift), and what they and their culture that they reckon everyone envies really looks like to those permanently shut out of it, the hystercial abuse would crack the internet. I’m still waiting for a “Dean” of the world to show up and show some courage in their convictions, but everytime they face me, they start squealing and back right off. They can’t finish it. They are cowards.

  19. I also think that not letting someone use the toilets at WINZ is extremely degrading. Possibly this policy is due to some clients taking out there frustrations on the floor in the facilities but still….. But again if everyone wrote a letter to their MP about it, then the policy would be reversed. Surely it is a human rights issue. If in doubt breast feed in there, therefore the nazi types will ask you to use the toilet to feed your child…..

    • Look, they used to have toys for the kids to play with. They got stolen or destroyed. Toilets would be similar.

      ***The solution to security, toilets, client anxiety and access issues is to do all case management by internet and phone.***

  20. When you read in the news about the govt’s total bill for benefits, the figure quoted is the gross amount before income tax. As a previous commenter has pointed out, there is also GST on all the beneficiary’s expenditure. So the actual cost to the govt is about 30% less than the gross amount quoted in news items.

  21. Growing up is hard to do . . . good luck in your efforts to find a job and support yourself to the best of your ability.

  22. I read your article and I cried, (I am usually pretty tough). The bonuses the case managers and work brokers are paid are bribes to tow the party line. If not they may revert back to being human. My hubby finally managed to get a job after FOUR years and started on Monday. We were relieved and thrilled until Tuesday when the work broker came in announced to the WINZ successful applicants that for the first two weeks they will not recieve any wages, they will get a training benefit. The “Training” is on the job so he will receive $160.00 for a job that would have net him around $680.00 per week immediately, had this heinous woman not “done a deal” for her brownie points and fat bonuses. This was told to them after they started which can´t be legal. The place urgently required workers, they would have been employed anyway. This vile woman is just making sure the company deals with HER only. My son worked the last season and this didn´t happen. 50 hours for $160.00, it´s a slave labour racket.

    • Wow. He’s been waiting FOUR years for a job, then you wanna bitch and moan that he’s only going to be paid $160 per week, for the first two two weeks before going on to $680 per week?

      Suck.it.up.

      • Being paid $160 for 2 weeks is one hell of a lot less sacrifice than those students that graduate with a massive student loan to pay off. There are far to many people wanting hand outs.

        • $3.20 for an hour’s work is a hand-out? This is a job she’s talking about, not a benefit or government-funded training program!

        • Dean. All stupidity aside (and no wonder you’re posting anonymously – I wouldn’t put my name to your moronic statements either) – do you actually have anything positive to contribute here?

          Anything at all?

          Regarding “massive student loans”, most of the baby boomer National MPs gainst a free, tax-payer funded tertiary education.

          Then, after 1992, it wasn’t free anymore.

          So your reference to “massive student loans” is ironic, considering it was National that implemented user pays.

          But not before Key got his university education for free.

          If there are bludgers in this country, it is the likes of National and it’s supporters. You expect social services and infrastructure but expect others to pay for it.

      • Tell you what, why don’t you go work for 50 hours for $160 dollars. And don’t forget that it will cost you more than that to go to work.

        Really, I thought you RWNJs were against subsidies.

        • “Tell you what, why don’t you go work for 50 hours for $160 dollars”

          Absolutely. No problem. If I was (as is the case in this example) on the dole for FOUR YEARS and then someone said “You can get paid $680 per week, but first you have to do two weeks at $160” I would ABSOLUTELY do that. I would do it for free.

          That’s what you have here. Someone’s husband has been unemployed for four years, and has been offered a job at $680 p/w but has to do two weeks on a reduced (training) wage before moving up to a full wage.

          She (his wife) should be doing backflips wih happiness. Instead, she is on here moaning about it.

          I find that unbelieveable.

          If I had been on the unemployment benefit and I was offered a job paying 3x the dole, but I had to do two weeks work for FREE, I would take it, and be happy to take it.

          Seriously, there are certainly valid issues in the world to complain about. This isn’t one of them.

          • Absolutely. No problem.

            Great, I’ll send a post card to your funeral.

            That may be an exaggeration but not by much. They can’t afford to live at the moment and yet your demanding that they not only not get paid for the work that they do (otherwise known as slavery) but that they also pay for the privilege.

            but has to do two weeks on a reduced (training) wage before moving up to a full wage.

            Two weeks training? Man your funny. There won’t be any training – it’s just a way for the owner to pay themselves more at the workers expense.

            • Yes. It is a complete exaggeration. Nobody is dying. The money is nearly the same as they get on benefit. They do have increased cost, but that is temporary before moving on to two to three times their previous income.

              Like I said in the post below, suck it up, it’s worth it.

              If I was an employer, and was taking on a long term unemployed person (a completely unknown quantity), I wouldn’t want to pay them a full rate initially either. Training a person is a lot ofcost. Not only are you paying the trainee, but you take another person out of action to train them properly.

              If you can’t look at this from both sides, then there isn’t much hope.

              And if the guy takes his wife’s (Liberty4nz) attitude into the job, there probably isn’t much hope of him staying there. He got a job after four years (presumably) trying and she is moaning about a two week training wage.

              Good luck to them anyway.

              • If I was an employer, and was taking on a long term unemployed person (a completely unknown quantity), I wouldn’t want to pay them a full rate initially either.

                That would be ebcause paying people enough to live on seems to be against your sociopathic beliefs.

                Training a person is a lot ofcost.

                That would be true – if there was any training which there isn’t.

                You’re making shit up to justify your position.

                • You have no idea. You are “making stuff up” also.

                  This is all we have to go on: Quote – “The “Training” is on the job”

                  They get paid less for the first two weeks while they are learning on the job. Hardly the crime of the century.

                  • LIBERTY4NZ claims the workers were not told about the reduced pay for two training before they accepted the unskilled job, isn’t that illegal?

              • As a matter of fact my husband did a similar job before this, was there 7 years, had an excellent attitude because he was made a supervisor. Would have been there until retirement except he lost his job along with everyone else when it closed down regardless of record profit. Their PTB thought it would be even more profitable in a cheaper location. He was as gutted as I was about what happened because he is normal. He can’t complain because he needs the job, and that’s what they bank on. People like you Dean, who speak as if you believe you are superior, in judgement of people you know nothing about, who troll to alleviate boredom, or just to get your kicks, are the ones in need of a attitude adjustment.

          • Except that´s not what happened, Johann, try reading the post. He had an agreement which was renegged on. I don´t think anyone who is in financial hardship would do backflips at the prospect of it getting even worse, nobody sane anyway. Two weeks is a long time with a family to feed. If you don´t mind working for free that´s your prerogative.

      • You study for skilled work. This is unskilled but very hard work. Training is not required. I have been working two jobs supporting us in part-time and casual, insecure work while he has taken care of the kids. Johann your sanctimonious attitude, assuming you know-it-all is a huge part of the problem. We felt we finally made a difference to our lives and the work broker basically put the boot in for two more weeks. Now we have to pay a babysitter to care for the kids during my meagre hours as well as find the extra gas money WHILE ON A BENEFIT! No problem if he was earning what he was supposed to. A huge problem now. It feels like we are being set up to fail. Johann you are a very ignorant person.

        • Fine. Give me the details. How much does he earn on the dole? I’m going to assume $300 per week – because you probably won’t tell me. (maybe it’s more, maybe its less)

          Tell me how much the gas is going to cost, and how many hours you need a babysitter for, and at what rate.

          You may find this difficult to find the money in the short term. But after the third week you have an extra ~$250 in the family (I have taken out a big chunk for tax and am assuming you already receive $300) than you had the week before. Two weeks later you have ~$500. After a month, you have ~$1,000 and so on.

          You REALLY want to complain that you have to find money for gas and a babysitter?

          Suck it up.

          I don’t want to ask all your personal details, so I won’t ask how old your kids are. Whether they are a school, whether you have friends that they can visit with after school. Whether you can take some leave from your job (sick leave if you have to).

          Whether you can say to the babysitter, we will pay you double the normal rate, but you have to wait two weeks to get paid.

          Dump money on a credit card. Use a short term loan facility. Borrow money from friends at 0% interest. Borrow money from friends at 25% interest. You will still be better off.

          There are so many options available to you.

          And this isn’t the job he wants. So what? He needs to do it for his family. And every night he comes home, he checks the paper/or online for a different job (like everyone else who doesn’t like their current job)

          Suck it up and stop moaning about this gift horse.

          • As usual you RWNJ missed the point of the post completely. I wonder how happy you would be if you were told you were going to take a pay cut to the tune 3/4 of it just because someone decided to arbitarily re- label YOUR work TRAINING. Then to make it worse, you have additional expenses, but don´t have the money.

                • I wrote a long post in response above.

                  I also spent 30 seconds Googling lenders who specialise in lending to beneficiaries.

                  Benefciaries who have a family member employed (albeit underemployed) and have also secured a job, should have zero issues getting a temporary loan.

                  • MSD Case Managers may also issue a “transition to work grant” under certain circumstances, I wonder in LIBERTY4NZ was aware of this.

                    • Yes, thankyou Yogibare, I have an appointment. I have an appointment to beg for a hand-out so he can get to work whilst “Training”, and I’ll be sure to kiss their feet in gratitude, since had they just done the introduction and butted out like they are supposed to, we wouldn’t be on a benefit now.

    • This was told to them after they started which can´t be legal.

      No, it’s not. You actually have to know what the contract is so that you can agree to it.

  23. This is not depressing Chloe, it is an act of villainy. Villains should be treated with the contempt they deserve. It is not you and yours who created this situation, is it?

    Liberalism is a flawed economic system – which is in desperate need of scapegoats for it to survive. So what a few white middle class NZers think it’s fun to bash and generally stomp on welfare recipients. They are losing their income in real terms, each year this government is in power – just laugh at them. I’m serious middle NZ are bloody idiots and deserve what is coming to them.

    Funny when it’s the middle class it’s entitlements, like the accommodation benefit and families tax credits which the middle class are benefiting from – and what no real discussion on that route. As it’s not apparent it’s a route, as the landlords are living off the taxpayer, and their not up in arms. Looking at what Stephen said, it’s apparent that many don’t understand the economics of the situation or are willfully blind. No capital gains tax, another middle class route of the system.

    Finally Chloe, good job with your volunteering. This is the point you go to, if you feel the need to argue with ideologies within winz. You just talk about what you do, and the fact funding has been cut – waffle with intent. Guilt is a wonderful thing, ask clients if you can talk about their situation in a broad sense as well – nothing better than making people squirm when you throw reality in their face. I do it with people who eat farmed pork all the time, I just describe the conditions they are forced to live in and the way they are killed – I’ve stopped people from eating farmed pork, just by telling the truth.

    • True liberalism, in theory, would probably work. I am all for freedom of choice, less government interference, personal responsibility, it´s a crime only when there is a victim, etc. With a true free market there would be many opportunities for small businesses and entreprenuers. It´s just that, the government preaches this, knowing full well that´s not what we have. The corporate monopolies have taken over pretty much everything and are in bed with our government. Our options and incomes have been actively minimalised to benefit these corporations, that is not a free market! Sell your milk to Fonterra or you can´t sell it! That is not a free market! If there was a TRUE free market most of us would be able to afford insurance for the possible bad times such as loss of a job or disability. We don´t want their bloody handouts, it´s just that we have no other choice because of the rampant market manipulations and corruption. The free market only would work if it was free of corruption.

  24. I’ve been on and off the dole myself – I think the WINZ case managers vary widely – some are mean, some kind. Also depends on the particular culture at the specific office you go to – each seems to have a slightly different way of doing things.

    Its definitely miserable at the bottom – it does sometimes seem like people on benefits are viewed as worse than criminals – even crims in jail get guaranteed food, shelter and free health-care.

    I think we’d all be much better simply bringing in universal basic income (UBI) – everyone gets a guaranteed minimum income, no questions asked. This would actually cut out a lot of wasteful govt. bureaucracy, since you could then greatly simplify the current welfare system.

    How to pay for the above? Simple, an extended land-value tax on the use of all natural resources – socialize all natural resources and let the govt. manage them democratically, in effect the govt. ‘rents out’ the use of natural resources and raises its revenue that way.

    The only parties that would bear the brunt of the new taxes would be big corporations that rack in huge profits due to monopolies – such as energy companies, power companies and telecom companies – they make their huge profits through natural monopolies , so its really only fair that they should cop much more tax, and rich financial speculators.

    In fact, so much revenue could be raised under this new system, it may be possible to scrap income tax entirely! Yes, even most right-wingers would be better off under this system – neither small businesses nor the poor would pay one cent of income tax – I believe that income tax could be abolished.

    Link here to Georgism on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgism

    “Georgism is an economic philosophy holding that the economic value derived from natural resources and natural opportunities should belong equally to all residents of a community, but that people should own the value they create themselves”

    To summarize the advantages of my system for the left:

    *ALL NATURAL RESOURCES SOCIALIZED AND MANAGED DEMOCRATICALLY, GOVT. REVENUES RAISED VIA LAND VALUE TAX (LVT)

    *ALL REVENUES RAISED IN THE ABOVE MANNER TO BE RETURNED TO THE COMMNUNITY VIA UNIVERSAL BSAIC INCOME (UBI) – GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME FOR ALL

    To summarize the advantages of my system for the right:

    *ZERO INCOME TAX – SMALL BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS WILL NO LONGER PAY ANY INCOME TAX AT ALL

    *VAST DECREASE IN GOVT. BUREAUCRACY – NO LONGER ANY NEED FOR COMPLEX WELFARE SYSTEM

    It may sound too good to be true, but it’s very possible. The only thing standing in the way is ideology and ignorance.

    • Can you explain how a Land Value Tax is going to generate any money off telecommunications companies, banks, hedge funds, currency traders, IT companies, Trademe etc

      These businesses have tiny/no land footprints.

      To be honest, your economic philosopy sounds like it was invented in the 1800’s when the amount of money you made was correlated to land use (mining, farming). I’m afraid it is past it’s ‘use-by’ date by a couple of hundred years.

      ?

      • Actually, LVT is in effect in parts of the world today – Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan for example. It is quite successful.

        But I agree that in the modern age a LVT alone may not be enough to fund the government. I’m suggesting an updated more modern version of LVT, interpreted to mean a tax on the use of ‘natural resources’ – including for example: extracting minerals and hydrocarbons, forests and stocks of fish, right-of-way (use of airwaves, roads, utilities). If you also supplemented this with capital gains taxes, the combination of these taxes would probably be enough to fully fund the NZ government, and we could then scrap income tax and GST altogether.

        I’m suggesting we could also use the revenues generated from taxing natural resource use to scrap the current welfare system and replace it with a universal basic income (a guaranteed minimum income for all NZ residents). If you are sceptical, look up ‘Alaska Permanent Fund’. In Alaska, a certain share of oil revenues (25%) was put in trust to be returned to all residents of Alaska as a basic income ‘dividend’. It does work.

        • “Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan for example.”

          They all have individual income tax. And tax on corporate profit. You explicitly say:

          “*ZERO INCOME TAX – SMALL BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS WILL NO LONGER PAY ANY INCOME TAX AT ALL”

          “I’m suggesting an updated more modern version of LVT, interpreted to mean a tax on the use of ‘natural resources’ – including for example: extracting minerals and hydrocarbons, forests and stocks of fish, right-of-way (use of airwaves, roads, utilities).

          Again, tell me how TradeMe will pay a cent under your suggestion. $80 million profit, but no fish, land, minerals or hydrocarbons. Or ASB Bank ($699 million profit). No airwaves, minerals, or roads.

          You say “No tax for small businesses”. How do you decide when a small business is no longer small?

          How do you decide that a group of small businesses is really actually one large business?

          • Under my taxation system, it’s not the size of the business that’s important, but its environmental footprint. In practice that would mean larger businesses would tend to pay more taxes (as it should be), but there would be exceptions.

            To my suggestions for modern LVT taxes (environmental taxes) I would also add taxes on financial services and capital gains. That would include ASB for instance (falls under financial services) and most of the other corporates listed would fall under my environmental taxes – power/energy companies (utilities), telecoms (right-of-way – infrastructure and airwaves) and so on. TradeMe would be an exception – if it doesn’t have much of an environmental footprint, then no, under my system it would pay little or no tax.

            Income tax and GST are not really progressive taxes – people at the bottom are hit most , and in any event, these taxes are a drag on the productive economy. That’s why I think we really need to be looking more at alternative methods of taxation.

            • So just to clarify – Under your tax system. Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple (manufacturing overseas) can move to NZ and pay no tax (other than a small footprint tax – and assuming they aren’t involved in financial services)?

              Seems like your idea might have a few holes there.

  25. In some ways, I wish that these case workers were a little more liberalised to say what they really mean over the phone, rather than to obfuscate their message with platitudes to avoid offending the recipient. Because I’m pretty sure what the case worker meant to say was “grow the fuck up.”

    Lady, you need a massive attitude readjustment. Your entitlement complex beggars belief. Human beings are naturally social creatures. Left to our own devices, we tend to coalesce and form things called “societies”. The purpose of a society is that each member contributes to the collective whole, for the betterment of all particpants. Can you tell me, in 10 words or less, what exactly you are contributing to our society?

    You want to be an educator or work for women’s rights. Admirable goals. However, at this point in time, these areas aren’t getting the funding and attention they deserve. Whose fault this is, and why it is happening is an important conversation to have, but I think you need to realise that this conversation is also completely irrelevant to you. You do not, and for the forseeable future will not have any control whether people are hiring in the field you want to work in. That’s the bad news. The good news is, you can control yourself.

    You say “you deserve to eat food, have a warm dry roof over your head, to feel loved and to be supported by your government, regardless of your economic position.” What you haven’t expounded upon in your essay is “why?” Someone has to grow the food you eat. Multiple someones are out there right now, working 8-10 hour days to complete the long and intensive process that turns a cow in a field in King’s Country into the sausages you eat for breakfast. Those someones have families. Those families deserve to eat and have a house too. What are you doing for them in exchange for what they have done for you? Or do you think that they should just do this for you gratis, because you bring such a light to the world by your mere existence?

    Don’t like that there’s no funding for womans rights or education? Do something about it. Go look at private education. Go start a foundation. Go raise money for social justice. Go out and actually do something to reward the people who are carrying you on their backs so that you can follow your dreams.

    • DNA – your entire post is predicated on one thing; your expectations of living in a civilised society such as New Zealand, without thousands of beggars ans homeless lining the streets, or vast squatter-villages on the outskirt of our cities or rampant poverty-related disease. Yet, your entire spiel ignores the fact that you are privileged to be living in New Zealand and not, say, Mumbai, or Soweto, because our grandparents decided that social fairness was integral to our way of living.

      So you want all the benefits but none of the ethical consideration that went into building those benefits?

      You ask why Chloe deserves to eat food?

      My god, man, do I need to spell it out to you?!

      Because it’s the right thing to do.

      The moment you take away a person’s rights to have food, do you know what you get as a consequence?

      Someone with nothing to lose.

      Your self-righteous pontificating is possible only because others before you created a society where your living standard, heath, education, etc, was paid for by others. A fact you seem to have over-looked.

      I guess privilege will do that to some people.

        • DNA: “The Author is unfairly capitalising on a free resource, generated by others, because she either doesn’t want to or doesn’t see the need to contribute to others wellbeing, unless it is in the exact manner and time of her choosing.”

          Frank: “Our society was built on people agreeing to do things for one another for the betterment of said society. However, it’s ok for the author to be excluded from this standard because x.”

          The Author: “Privilege!”

          …Ok.

          Welfare should exist, to catch those who cannot fend for themselves. Chloe is well-educated and able bodied, and her decision not to work because she can’t find the job she wants is a personal choice. Welfare is not designed for her. Worse, her use of this resource reduces the amount of that resource available for the genuinely disabled or incapable.

          • You have made some massive assumptions about myself, I am willing to work a job that is not my dream job. I have heaps of hospo experience, but I have had serious problems with alcohol. Working late nights at a bar puts me at major risk of becoming pretty acoholic again. I will work some job that pays shit all as long as boozes is not what I am serving.

    • DNA,

      There used to be near full employment prior to the time that neo-liberal ideology made a come-back in 1980s onwards. This proves that joblessness is mostly a function of economics and govt. policy.

      The ‘dole bludger’ is a myth- the unemployed provide convenient scape-goats for the people at the top to divert attention from themselves- if you want to see who is getting money for nothing, look to investment bankers, financial speculators and corporates that have been rorting the system and ripping us all off.

      Capital gains based on natural monopolies are how they do it – the entire banking system is based on putting people on a debt ‘tread-mill’ from which they can’t escape – the people at top just sit there doing nothing racking in interest on their accumulated capital, whilst everyone else is put on the debt tread-mill and repeatedly screwed over , forced to work just to pay off interest on the debt.

      Given that large numbers of people are going to be unemployed as a direct result of this economic system, and given that welfare is needed, why not simply give everyone a universal basic income , no questions asked? This could easily be affordable – the govt. could actually save a lot of money by cutting out all the unnecessary WINZ bureaucracy and pointless ‘case managers’, and bringing in capital gains taxes that would ONLY affect the aforementioned people at the top.

      I agree that money for welfare shouldn’t come from those who are productive. That’s exactly why I advocate scrapping income tax altogether. My view is that people that are genuinely productive (such as the farmers working the fields you mention and small businesses) should pay zero income tax. I repeat that welfare should be paid for via capital gains taxes that would ONLY affect the people at the top (who are the ones who are really getting money for nothing now – financial speculators, big corporates raking in huge profits via monopolies etc. – the real ‘bludgers’).

    • DNA needs perhaps a “rewiring” to the physical and other senses, perhaps some electronic shock treatment, to wake the brain up from malfunction, I wonder!? Sorry if this sounds a “bit ” offensive.

    • Why? We pay it to superannuitants and retired politicians.

      Would you rather have people starve or live in the streets?

      Express an alternative idea in more than one or two lines – if you’re capable.

      • Frank, you seem to want to continually demean me….which is not really fair.
        Superannuitants deserve their share and JK has said that the age of entitlement will not go up while he is P.M. Retired politicians have enough and I could not care less about them. I came to this site on the advice of a friend, (I did not know the site existed before). You simply alienate people that have views, or sympathies not dissimiliar to your own, but for some reason you seem to take exception to. We all want a fairer society. Anyway Frank, I wish you a good life, and I wish you well. This will be my last contribution,
        in my view sadly. All the best to those regular contributors on the site, Regards Dean

        • “Demean you”?!?!

          Perhaps if you review the comments you’ve made about unemployed people, you might begin to understand why. Dean, there is an old maxim; treat others as you wish to be treated. Do that, and you’ll be treated with courtesy.

        • Superannuitants DESERVE their share? Why? I thought you were an advocate of personal responsibility! You have been working! Why didn´t you save for your retirement instead of spending your money on crap and now you are going to leech off the taxpayer! How very entitled of you, expecting the taxpayer to foot the bill so you can sit around and do nothing after 65. I´ve got news for you Dean, IT´S ALL WELFARE. It´s just that when you need it, it´s a different set of rules in your mind. You are worse than self-righteous, you´re a fucking hypocrite. FYI, when they start removing welfare, they may actually start with pensions as they seem to pick on the most vulnerable of society because it´s easy. The elderly/disabled of course need their pensions just as the unemployed need theirs, until their circumstances improve. With the amount of income tax I have payed over the years I sure as shit
          know I DESERVE it!

    • “Paying people to do nothing simply does not work”
      DEAN

      You obviously don’t support the idea of any form of inherited wealth, then?

      Or cashed up trust fund babies being given millions by Daddy

      Or lotto millionaires

      Or the one percenters at the top of social pyramid who swan around the world and do absolutely nothing to earn the money that relentlessly pours into their bank accounts day and night whether they get up in the morning or not.

      Or do you?

      Because all these above examples of unearned wealth are predicated on one thing, the impoverishment of everyone else.

    • Why then are females not paid to reproduce? There is a simple way to end all welfare Dean, and that is to steralize all males at the age of twelve. Do convey this cunning plan to Mr. Key. There’s bound to be a good business or contract in it for someone.

    • Why then are females not paid to reproduce? There is a simple way to end all welfare Dean, and that is to steralize all males at the age of twelve. Do convey this cunning plan to Mr. Key. There’s bound to be a good business or contract in it for someone.

  26. Ask her to imagine, If all the people on benefits were able to take your advice to imagine not having welfare, and having to find ways find ways to support themselves. (If that was even possible)

    Ask her to imagine, if it was possible. That the first thing she might notice, was that she wouldn’t have a job either. (no welfare, no need for welfare workers)

    Ask her to imagine being newly unemployed herself with no welfare, in a job market filled to overflowing with newly jobless people just like herself, many of them, far more qualified and experienced than her, all desperately competing with her and each other for even the meanest hardest jobs on the lowest wages just to keep starvation at bay and a roof over their heads.

    And then ask her to imagine what that would be like?

    Imagine
    (apologies to John Lennon)

    Imagine there’s no welfare
    It’s easy if you try
    No roof above you
    Above you only sky
    Imagine all the people starving by the way.

    You may say she is a dreamer
    But unfortunately she is not the only one

    Imagine having no possessions
    I wonder if she can
    Racked with need and hunger
    A dog eat dog of man
    Imagine all the rich people stealing all the world.

    Imagine there’s unemployment
    It isn’t hard to do.
    Nothing to live or hope for.
    And little private charity too
    Imagine all the poor people starving together in peace.

    NOT BLOODY LIKELY!

  27. Hang in there Chloe. There are many people who do appreciate your caring, compassionate, much-needed contribution to society. Ignore the naysayers, they are often the selfish and greedy of society who contribute nothing except when there is a self interest. I think people like Johann and Dean actually envy people with a heart, because they don´t have one, hence their anger. You can´t just buy one! It must be awful living this existence with that sort of souless void.

  28. Recently I had to stop study due to the fact that I have a chronic illness that was flared up due to my course being a lot more physical than I had imagined. I am still quite young to have a diagnosis of fibromyalgia so ‘the system’ find it very hard to class me and label me. About a week ago I went into WINZ armed with an epic amount of paperwork, feeling like I had gathered every ounce of information I could. Technically, I should qualify for the whole shebang, disability, additional support etc but was told that I had to prove my situation. How bloody demeaning. The fact that I have worked since I was 15, despite me illness, never comes into play. You’re always made to feel as though you are somewhat less than the person sitting before you, even though it is quite obvious sometimes that your intellect is greater than that person and everything you say confuses them and you end up going around in circles.
    My point is, even though I am someone who has overcome many an obstacle, I still leave every appointment feeling as though I am cheating my government. Last week I tried to take my life because I was just so sick of it all – the judgement, the pain, the critique. People like me should feel looked after by ‘the system’ not shunned by it. There are many who suffer like I do but not many who will stand up and keep on keeping on.

    • Hey, darling. So sad reading your story. My son, daughter and I all have chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia – inherited it seems. My son is on a sickness benefit, I’m on an invalid’s benefit and my daughter manages to work full-time so far. My condition got worse when I had treatment for breast cancer and had to medically retire from my job as a teacher. We get by with the philosophy that we can only do what we can do. Lots of things don’t get done including tasks I hate like vacuuming (hurts for days afterwards) but also the things that I used to love like playing squash. It is a lifetime’s job trying to explain to others, including WINZ staff, something that they can’t see or experience – fatigue and pain on a daily basis. I hope that you find ways to cope and never, ever forget that you ARE worthy – God loves you and wants the best for you. I know that I am a much better person now than I was before I had to learn to deal with a life that wasn’t going perfectly. Hugs and kisses and blessings coming your way!

  29. Maybe its time to stop waiting for others to tell you, your worth and start knowing your worth regardless of what others think or say!!!!!

    I came back from aus with hardly a dime to my name, they helped me with no question an every case worker I had were so helpful and kind, even the ones over the phone………why?? because of my attitude toward them & belief & knowing that I’m good enough!!!

    Change starts from within…….

    One love ya’ll

    • Oh dear god. Good for you not everyone can think this way. Reducing these massive structural issues down to “just change your attitude” is not just ignorant it is fucking offensive.

    • Lydz, expecting others to share your situation and the sheer luck you’ve experienced is unrealistic and more than a tad arrogant.

      If you’re so full of your self-worth, then obviously that “self-worth” is missing a few important factors. Like, for example, understanding that we are not all the same as you, and have differing strengths and weaknesses.

      The fact you got a good case worker is not because of your “sheer worth” (good lord, up yourself much?!) – but sheer luck.

      I have advocated for some folk and been unemployed myself on two occassions when I drew the redundancy card.

      On one occassion my case worker was a thororoughly unpleasant person who, eventually was moved elsewhere. Working with the public was not her forte.

      On another occassion, I struck it lucky with one who bent over backwards to assist me – including offering grants I didn’t need (and didn’t accept), and I thanked her for her diligence.

      Your comment about “being good enough” speaks volumes about your own over-inflated ego and I suggest a big helping of humility might be in order.

      The old maxim – “There but for the grace of god, go I” – is worth remembering.

  30. Chloe is very much onto it, re what WINZ are doing, and the information that can be found under the following links just proves much of it:

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/15463-designated-doctors-%e2%80%93-used-by-work-and-income-some-also-used-by-acc/

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/16092-work-ability-assessments-done-for-work-and-income-%E2%80%93-partly-following-acc%E2%80%99s-approach-a-revealing-fact-study/

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/16685-bill-english-takes-lessons-from-work-will-set-you-free-propagandists/

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/13301-what-to-do-if-you-are-required-to-see-a-winz-designated-doctor/

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/16737-work-has-fewer-%e2%80%9chealth-benefits%e2%80%9d-than-mansel-aylward-and-other-so-called-experts-claim-it-can-cause-serious-harm/

    They do have targets, they do get some forms of perks or bonuses, they do have the orders and instructions to get as many off the benefit and into work, no matter whether suffering mental illness, physical impairments or else.

    And we know how MSD and Paula Bennett have abused the OIA system and withheld crucial info on all this.

    A friend of mine filed a few OIAs and is still waiting on info that was not provided, well over a year ago now, it all being investigated by the Ombudsman now. No wonder Bennett wanted to “change” and take on new portfolios, the house of cards she built at MSD is close to collapsing, and her excuses were running out.

    Another OIA was sent in a few weeks ago, and the answer will be expected with great anticipation, but it will likely also result in yet another complaint to the Ombudsman, like many before. Their office is underfunded and struggling.

    And this is of interest too:
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/256912/pm-backs-child-poverty-advice

  31. Just over a month ago a Russell Tully walked into an Ashburton branch of WINZ, pulled out a gun and shot 3 case managers, killing two of them. Tully had recently been in the paper pleading for help. He had been living in a tent, he was homeless, desperate and mentally very unwell.”

    And that is the story NO media or government agencies or ministers talk about, while it should have caused an outrage, not so much for what Tully did, but to ask the damned questions, WHY???

    NO bloody “media” in NZ Land has bothered to “ask” ANY questions, it seems, it was a joining of the ranks against “unacceptable violence” and about “zero tolerance”.

    We have WINZ and MSD apply measures that are draconian, that are inhumane, that breach human rights, and that breach the UN conventions on the rights of disabled persons, but NO MEDIA asks ANY questions, they jump in line, and serve the interests of the ones up there in power, and lament the “violence” and need for “security”..

    How willing many are, to serve the cause of something, not much short of modern day “fascism”, that is what this is all about. Shame on them!

  32. Chloe, you go, girl! Loved your article and almost cried. Very different situations, you and me, but very similar feelings dealing with WINZ. Anyone that thinks that we would CHOOSE to try to live on a benefit while being treated like some sort of low-life by WINZ should give it a go sometime. God bless you and good luck for your future. Hold on to those dreams and fight hard for them.

  33. good article chloe, you’ve got guts. I have been in your position, believe me, (especially back in 1999 and the last national govt – work for the dole/dob in a bludger, anyone?) and having someone voice the injustice of it all at length and with some intelligence is a very worthwhile thing. Do you ever wonder what is at the core of this meanness?

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