Now outrage is building at historic abuse will Labour finally challenge the Public Service?


‘Carol’ from CYFs

At the highest levels of the Labour Party, there is a deep disgust at what the Public Service of NZ has become. The stories of how beneficiaries are being treated by our neoliberal welfare state, as exampled on TDB time and time and time and time and time again have built a belief that something fundamental must be done about the cultures within our neoliberal welfare state agencies.

The manner and way these neoliberal welfare agencies have gone about punishing and damaging the most vulnerable amongst us with draconian polices staffed by people who enjoy their power over fellow human beings has been heard by the Labour leadership.

At the same time  shows like The Hui have been unearthing the horror of past abuse by our Public Service meted out to 100 000 children.

This rising wave of disgust at our Public Service may give Labour the courage to finally force it to radically reform.

My advice to Labour is that if they really want to force culture change within the Public Service, to move them away from abusing vulnerable people to helping them. then they  must empower advocates to be able to help beneficiaries navigate the purposely difficult agencies and fund these advocates enough to be able to produce annual reports that can humiliate and shame the agencies if they continue to hurt those they are charged with helping.

Handing more money over to a neoliberal Public Service can’t be the answer, however changing policy and then setting guard dogs with real teeth can be the answer.

TDB Recommends

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  1. …it is not just mental health and disabled beneficiaries who are being systemically short changed and having their lives compromised ( if not cut short) through neglect and lack of care by the state which wants to force them on to private providers. (This could almost be termed ‘abuse’ of the most vulnerable New Zealanders.)

    …it is also the elderly in public hospitals…people who have conscientiously paid their taxes for a high quality public health care system and are now being denied this

    …we need more whistle- blowers in this area too ie the abuse and neglect of the elderly in public hospitals

    …now , because the public hospitals can not ,or will not, look after the elderly properly when they need state hospital care , like the rest of us ( in other words age discrimination)… it would seem that there are moves afoot to take the elderly away from their families and homes (where they want to be, with their loved ones, and where they are looked after the best)

    …there are moves afoot to force the elderly into private care which costs them hundreds if not thousands per week/fortnight and consequently their homes and private lifetime savings ( which will go into the coffers of multi-million/billion dollar private aged care institutions …and much of the profits will go overseas)

    ( politicians and health care professionals need to be forced to declare whether they have shares in private health institutions)

  2. “At the highest levels of the Labour Party, there is a deep disgust at what the Public Service of NZ has become.”

    It like all other Government agencies has had it’s heart ripped out by Nactional “make money” policy and raped the poor, Disabled and venerable among our country and we need to change the Government to change this heartless policy directive.

  3. Attitudes run deep.

    The transformation of the Public Service ethos began in the mean spirited Muldoon era, was accelerated with the modifications under the Rogernomic transformations and has proceeded apace ever since: a generation and a half know nothing else. The agencies are penny-pinching and inquisitorial as they become punitive ATMs and have neither time nor inclination to treat or even understand underlying problems in most cases.

    No one should minimise the retraining and reorientation work needing to be done to make the “Helping Professions” genuinely helpful again.

    It is a task only the Left are even likely to attempt. The right see nothing wrong but the bottom-line price ticket.

    • I agree with this. Welfare has become privatised and services have deteriorated. Obviously the wrong people are “looking” after the most vulnerable and the policies of welfare and care are done under a business plan that some profit from at the expense of the whole community.

  4. it is about time the Labour tops did something on this, all the opposition parties should be asked to sign up to:
    –reinstate proper Benefits for unemployment, underemployment and retire “jobseekers” allowance, let partners receive a benefit in their own right
    –funded advocates with skills like at AAAP–Auckland Action Against Poverty
    –a firm sack ’em policy for staff that don’t inform of, and assist to obtain full entitlements for people in need
    –reinstate the ’91 benefit cuts, including inflation adjustments since
    –slash the abatement rate so working part time is worth it, and it is possible to transition off a benefit without constant standouts
    –medium term; introduce a UBI, abolish “benefits”, and close WINZ
    –PSA to educate members on why vulnerable people must be well treated by them

  5. But can we blame the ‘public service’ as a whole, when it is only parts of it that are or once were responsible for serious failings and misconduct?

    Going to WINZ for instance is no easy exercise, but while I have over times come across some nasty and unhelpful case managers, there are also others who do what they can, as far as the system put into place by the government of the day permits it.

    There are still good people working in the public service, I believe, and we need a different, more honest and committed kind of government, that actually cares and delivers on ‘better public service’, not does the opposite, by only selling the ignorant public catchy slogans.

  6. ‘Change of Government’ means diddly if it doesn’t improve the lives of our vulnerable, those who need a helping hand and those of who hit a speed bump in life.
    I don’t expect we’ll ever see people filled with joy at the dole office etc, but it would be nice to know they can go there without being totally destroyed.

    I am waiting for a statement from Labour…without that, and given their track record with beneficiaries, I’ll be seriously dawdling to the polling both this election.
    In fact the thought of $500,000 “affordable homes” and no plan to curb exploitation of renters… might very well keep me at home that day.

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