New Government response to MSD sadism is just not good enough


The Welfare Minister Carmel Sepuloni has underwhelmed and disappointed everyone who care about the despicable way beneficiaries are treated in this country.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has defended the Government’s slowly-but-surely approach to welfare reform, saying it is like to trying to turn a jumbo jet in mid-air.

The Prime Minister this week said big changes to the welfare system were “imminent”, but Ms Sepuloni would only confirm an advisory panel was being established, and changes would be made sometime in the next three years.

“[The Ministry of Social Development] is a huge machine. It’s like this massive jumbo jet that’s been set on a certain direction for the last nine years,” she told Newshub Nation.

“To expect me to able to put the brake on mid-air and turn that jumbo jet around immediately is a little bit unreasonable.”

…the actual time frame is meaningless.

We know MSD treat beneficiaries with sadism.




We know food parcels are soaring because MSD toxic culture means people will beg from Churches rather than go to WINZ.

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We know MSD are still spitefully cutting off welfare for Tinder dates.

We know that the sadists at MSD chase beneficiaries through the courts for obscene debt they should never be forced to pay.

We know that when one judge questioned MSD why they were chasing a beneficiary for $120 000 debt (most of which was penalties and interest) was because she might win Lotto…

…it is unacceptable that the new Government apparently have no idea what to do next.

There are two reasons why the new Government are not doing anything and it comes down to cowardice.

The new government are too cowardly to take on the PSA over their toxic sadism culture and they are too cowardly to go up against right wing media and the bash a beneficiary culture we have in NZ.

It is deeply disappointing to see such a lack of real political courage. We can make grand gestures against the oil and roading industry to appease white urban middle class liberals but we can’t protect  the weakest, poorest and most brown parts of our community from a cruelty that is being perpetrated by the very Government that is supposed to protect them.

What the fuck is the point of a review of historic abuse by the state when the Government don’t have the spine to stop the  current abuse that is happening right now?


  1. Are you kidding? MSD is a mess.

    A shit covered in glitter. Previous government had lots of fucking glitter.

    Sepuloni cannot and should not rush lest she cause further harm my accidentally mashing that shit in someone’s face.

    She is a Minister of Parliament. Sounds like you want Rambo Riggs-McClane.

  2. Just what is ‘social development’ anyway?

    To me it sounds like a jargon phrase conjured into existence by a neuro-linguistic programmer or an advertising agency.

  3. If it wasn’t for the C&S agreement with the Greens this review wouldn’t even be happening in the first place. Labour aren’t our friends, never have been. NZF definately aren’t.

    As for Sepuloni- well, there’s plenty of us who can testify to her despising of beneficiaries during her time as Opposition spokesperson. So when you have a Portfolio Minister who really can’t stand the people she is meant to be working for, well of course she’s in no hurry to get things done, even the things that can be changed very quickly.

    • ‘Let’s do this’:

      “Labour will:

      • Amend the principles of the Social Security Act so they reflect a fair and inclusive welfare system
      • Create a change in culture at Work and Income through more effective policies, regulations, and staff training that align with the amended principles of the Social Security Act
      • Work toward changing Work and Income offices from merely offices for processing payments and filling out forms to proactive spaces where New Zealanders can receive real support. Case managers would offer one-on-one support, and ensure that their client is informed of all support they are eligible for.
      • Work toward smoother benefit transition processes so people shifting in and out of work are not penalised.”

      “• Extend the eligibility criteria of the Supported Living Payment over time to ensure those temporarily unable to work are provided with proper support during a time of illness or injury”

      (examples from their Manifesto from last year, see page 4)

      So we get a review of the ‘welfare system’ and also of their Manifesto, it seems.

  4. I watched The Nation and the Sepuloni interview.
    Last night I watched Lucy Hockings interview Jacinda Adern expressing her commitment to make changes.
    I never thought I’d agree with Mathew H (as did Sue Bradford, and I think Tim Watkin) when he said ‘the public service is heavily invested in preserving the status quo’.
    This coalition government will fail unless it’s prepared to make their position clear with the public service hierarchy across all its ministries and departments. There is an organisational culture that needs to change.
    There are now countless posts and comments on this site by people who experience first hand what has been going on – especially over the past decade (from advocates, from those in the legal profession, from academia and from some public servants themselves).
    The public service organisational culture is going to be this coalition government’s biggest battle, and it’s something that

    • Just out of interest @ Jack R …. is the question mark a sign of uncertainty? From what I’ve seen of your comments, it’s probably more to do with your observations and experiences.
      It kinda/sorta reminded me of a philosophy professor who shared a similar interest to me in observing people and our ‘surroundings’, and actually talking to people directly and without the medium of txts, and fucking social media sites.
      The issue in one of his lectures was about the Koiwoi Joe Average male, his driving skills, and his aspirations towards owing (…..oops owNing) the latest tradie black vehicle with chrome roll bars, or the latest Mike Hosking vehicle with which they could show a persona that wasn’t as they ekshully were/are, and that they all had the stereotypical little dik/small penis. The stereotypical.
      We were asked to consider whether or not they might actually have a normal sized dik, and just happened to like fast cars, or serviceable vehicles most suited to their needs (nd in the case of Hosking, his wants).
      OK, I can accept all that. Except that later, engaging with a few drag queens who had to earn their crust on Vivian and Marion Streets, it became pretty damn clear that 9 times out of 10, these blokes did actually have little diks and were complete fucking wankers.

      I look at our senior public servants in much the same light these days (incidently – one or two not unknown in Vivian/Marion Streets).

      Personally, I don’t care if they fuck chickens in their spare time, but it’s about time some off them start judging others using the same criteria they’d like others to judge them by. They haven’t been and they aren’t

        • Funny ole Whurl eh @ Countryboy.
          I often look at your contributions and make my own judgements (usually I STU about them)
          I’m not asking for a hand in marriage – it wouldn’t be a silent carriage.
          But often what utterly,completely, fucking frustrates me is the muppetry – whether it’s your fellow farmers wedded to the gNatzi ideology (aided and abetted by their spin meisters, despite all the history and record of self-destruction – one of whom is in Mongolia FFS!), or whether it’s a new government that has such utter faith in ‘their?’ ‘officials’ who just seem to understand that although they might appear as ‘good blokes and blokesses’ they have an ability to do the whole ‘yes minister’ routine, and that often they laugh like fuck the minute you effect their exit .

          Really, Jacinda Adern would be better off following her instincts based on what she feels in her heart, rather than the advice ‘HER OFFICIALS’ keep feeding her.
          Same goes for Iain Lees-Gallowy ekshully – and probably more, but they’re the two examples that come off the top of my head. Oh, wait – there’s actually more, but let’s just hope their little contributions in service of their own agendas get a bit of Aunt Daisy’s light up their back passage

  5. Bullshit – don’t add to the instant gratification culture of the past Government and MSM.

    Come on Martin you surely understand that enduring change requires all factors of complexity to be implemented.

    • don’t add to the instant gratification culture of the past Government and MSM…

      …enduring change requires all factors of complexity to be implemented.

      What does that even mean, Brent?!

  6. Have they sacked Brendan Boyle, the Ceo yet? No! Are they going to repeal the 270 pieces of legislation which the last government removed from the Social Security Act? No! Time for another election because this governments shite!

    • A quick google @Takere seems to show they haven’t. But even if they have offered him a package he can’t refuse in order to move on, it’s likely that he’d reappear as a contractor not too long after – as in the case of say, Mr Smol at MBIE ‘going forward’
      It may be that Mr Hughes will be trying to ‘manage him out of there’, but you know, these things take time, and it’s complicated, and ….. and …. and …. and false names …. and performance review …. and severance packages ….. and

      Meanwhile, Sir Humphrey is unavailable for comment – he’s still having an orgasm and seriously considering moving to NZ knowing that he fits all the Immigration criteria

  7. I agree with Katie above, there isn’t the political will to change the way the MSD runs their shop. When governments want laws to be passed they make damn sure they do it, even under urgency when applicable. Remember when there used to be shock announcements about bla bla and on the turn of midnight hey presto it came into being to the shock of the citzenry. Labour is no different to National when it comes to the treatment of its vulnerable. Even the foodbanks are now saying they cannot provide for the hungry, the majority of which in this new wave of need are the working poor. So much for having decent jobs and liveable wages – the Government has other priorities and beneficiaries And the low waged are not in their sphere of interest one jot.

  8. A jumbo jet can be turned around in minutes, Minister Sepoloni.
    This government keeps on course burning gas just like the world is burning.
    No conception of “change” except as a stop to change the oil.
    “Complexity”, “evidence based”, “yes Minister” are all bureaucratic bullshit to keep the lid on change.
    “Second Term” is a pipe dream.
    We are headed for “near term” extinction.
    Last century’s mindset is our collective epitaph.

    • Yeah and automated planes can go a lot further with out cargo or passengers. I believe that the only way to insure multimillion dollar upward mobility schemes against the forces of the world is to have an expensive pilot at the helm. Automation should be limited to payment systems with in welfare policy.

    • More ammo for Audrey Young and the Nats in opposition to use when attacking the government, this is a sad state of affairs:

      ‘ Health Minister David Clark says coalition funding pressures have delayed cheaper doctors’ visits for all’

      ” Labour’s promise to cut the cost of going to the doctor by $10 from July 1 this year will now have to be phased in over time, Health Minister David Clark has said.”

      ” He points to Labour having had to meet the cost of new priorities from agreements with the New Zealand First and Green parties, Labour’s partners in Government, as the reason the full policy cannot be implemented from July 1 as promised.”

      Shit, with such lack of backbone, and backing down to financial pressures, they will ensure they will only be in government until 2020, maybe not even until then!

      Voters will NOT appreciate this, they know the Nats left the country in a mess and should hammer home that message and give up their tight fiscal management agreement and spend a bit extra.

      • Yeah this was a very bad one to back down on because it would have had a real impact on the people who can’t afford doctors or dentistry for themselves or their children. What happens is A and E.

  9. This sunk over night into the now out of date ‘Open Mic’ slot for yesterday, it is relevant to this post also, I feel:

    Instead of having yet another expert panel set up to ‘review’ the welfare system, perhaps MSD should start by sacking some of their OVERPAID senior ‘advisors’?! Paying them high salaries for making the system EVEN MORE mean spirited and based on made up BS ‘evidence’ does not cut it:


    Also, from what I hear, it appears the Ombudsman sent another recommendation to MSD, slapping them over the knuckles, for not providing OIA requested info yet again (asked for in Sept. 2016), for not accepted reasons. So there must be more to come soon.

  10. Once you tell me why people kept voting in the moron national govt for 9 long years I’ll start listening to your grinches about the new govt. If they didn’t vote in any party, therein lies the issue.

  11. The solution is relatively simple – start with a clean slate, all debt that is owed to WINZ is written off and all penalties are removed. To people defending the current government, it does not take 3 years to do a batch process job which writes off all debt owed and remove penalties from the schedule. The simple reality is that Labour had three years and unless you’re going to do something that requires major retraining then the only requirement for WINZ should be basic empathy and basic empathy isn’t something that can be taught – you either have it or you don’t.

    What I am more concerned about is the lousy policy advice the government get from these overpaid paper shufflers at MSD (a name that has all the overtone of ‘the ministry of love’ and ‘ministry of peace’) can’t work out basic ideas that maybe having a stand down period to punish someone who takes a seasonal job is a stupid idea, that maybe have a ridiculously low amount of $80 per week (before tax) before the beneficiary is punished is a disincentive not to mention the fact that most employers aren’t going to employ someone for 5 hours per week. Again, I have to ask who actually in the MSD actually writes these policies because it is clear that they’ve never lived in the real world and actually fail to understand how the real world operates (either they don’t understand or they don’t give a crap – I’m giving them the benefit of ignorance rather than attributing malice).

    • Slight problem. NZs sovereign debt gets onsold so hard it’s extremely difficult to differentiate one loan from another because it’s bundled. New Zealand’s credit rating is rated AAA by Moodies which mean debt from NZs most profitable companies is mixed with low wage premiums.

      • WINZ keeps track of the loan as so far as individual obligations and whether the person is paying what they need to pay. Writing it off would mean that the debt would still remain but it would be pushed into the consolidated pile of debt that would be paid out of taxes from the budget. It isn’t as complex as you make it out as if you need to go to each instance of debt and try to find the owner of that debt to negotiate – no one is writing of the debt in that the debt magically disappears but instead the debt, as I noted before, would become part of the consolidated debt pile that the government pays off out of the budget. It wouldn’t be a regular thing but it should be able drawing a line in the sand, marking a clear line between the past and going forward and that includes telling all those who owe money that it is has been written off and that they start with a clean slate along with a total remake of the WINZ institution from the ground up.

        Things aren’t as difficult as those in power try to make it out to be – sometimes things in life are as simple as they first appear and that the dragging of feet have more to do with an unwillingness than some sort of complex accountancy that needs to be undertaken or large number of work shops being held simply to tell WINZ staff to treat their clients like humans.

        • Your hart is to big for your wallet. You can’t be everything to every one. Some one always loses. So if you want to hear my take on how to crush MSD then fine, that’s what I do.

  12. Reminder: the Fourth Labour Government dabbled in the public service. Brought in people from the great and wise private sector (sarc) and left a trail of destruction.

    And the National Party looked upon it and saw it was good in their eyes and continued until Ms Clarke fronted up.

    As Michael Cullen would say, did say, ‘nine long years of Tory government’ – followed by the rump-crushed fingers of the Labour louts who never restored what Ruth Richardson took away.

    Cut to the present.

    Ms Sepuloni is correct. It will indeed take time to correct the awful culture of MSD and its twigs.

    Where will they get a boss and team tough enough, with a strong public service ethic, persistent enough, and secure enough from political interference to actually make this rabid outfit deliver what is needed for the present and future? The present crop is mostly weeds.

    What ‘influencing’ will the rest of government be supplying to society at large so that ‘the voters’ aren’t baying for tar and feathers all the time?

    Instead of futile bribes – ‘hire a long term unemployed bludger and we’ll cross your palm with silver’ – start providing more government-backed training and upskilling to instill the values and qualities we need in our workforce and enterprises. Creativity and innovation, ethical and practical, free from the rip-off and meanness we currently see.

    I don’t know if another ‘review’ will do anything practical. I doubt it.

    This needs for Labour, particularly, to examine its wrinkly soul before it offers any ‘leadership’. Because it has ‘form’ in trying to be private sector and appeasing and failing to understand its role. These unwholesome private-public combinations are happening too early in the process and private hasn’t got a clue.

    It needs a strong and ethical source of replacement personnel or manager-coaches for the wretches in MSD (and a few other toxic branches of the service).

    It needs a relentlessly repeated message to the citizens of this country that, while we’re not hugely fond of people who rip off others (regardless of current status) , we take care of each other. We work together. We find ways to alleviate, redress, innovate to resolve our social problems.

    A big enough task for central government – and for the public service itself. They’ve become infested with the revolving door for managers – private/public and back.

    The public service is where innovation and experiment can be done. Should be done. The private sector picks up the saleable products when most of the danger is well past. We’re in serious danger of losing the engines of prosperity if Labour’s nonsense continues musch longer.

    And NO ex-pollies or self-servers on the review. Include the coalface people and people who ‘don’t think the way the mainstream does’.

    They’re not all bad, I’m sure. They simply need a better message to be living and serving. With the occasional tune-up…

    If Labour does its ‘restructuring’ BS again – we and they have lost. It takes YEARS for the pain to subside. For the networks to rebuild. For the trust to be restored. Avoid all new letterheads and giant rehiring lists forever.

  13. Is this a script?

    Well intended wannabe politician on fuck all money.

    ” I’m gonna get them fuckers man! Them WINZ staff are paid too much to do too little but what’s worse? They enjoy being miserable fuckers. When I get in? I’m gonna fuck their shit up and quick smart too. ”

    Now elected politician on $ix figure$ plu$ entitlement$.

    Whispered to self. ” Fuck! I like my life now. I’ll ju$t keep my head down and my mouth $hut and if anyone notice$? I’ll go with moderate.Gently doe$ it… mu$t not rock boat. ”

    Example: mike hoskings says what he says because he’s paid a lot, and I mean a lot of money. He’d eat his mother one spoon full at a time if it was demanded of him.

    My question might be… who’s still pulling the strings?

    One more thing?
    Fuck off with your ‘white’ shit. I’m fucking white and I’ve been treated dreadfully by WINZ. I’ve lived in poverty since the earthquakes and now that I’ve injured my back I get nothing from ACC.

    Rolling out the race card in such sensitive times concerns me greatly. We should be standing up together, not getting wound up about fucking skin colour for Chris’s sake. I thought TDB was above that shit? Don’t you realise that the neo narcissistic sadists use skin colour conflict to segregate and control those most at risk by having us squabbling with each other while they wield the power and control. The last thing our abusers would want is if Maori and Non Maori united to ask uncomfortable questions and demand what would surely be uncomfortable answers.

  14. Remember also, there is still this hideous piece of legislation in the pipeline, they inherited it from the National government, and it is sitting there, waiting to be progressed:

    Submissions made:

    The Bill itself:

    Carmel Sepuloni talked about changing the Principles in the Act, so the whole piece of the Bill appears to be under a new review also, and without changing the law, all talk of getting rid of sanctions and unfair provisions of any kind, nothing much will change.

    So far the only thing that changed was that Accommodation Allowance and a few other things were increased as of April 1, and that the WINZ staff and management were apparently asked to look at their ‘culture’ when dealing with clients.

    The law changes may take a little time, but having ‘experts’ discuss and review stuff again for a year or two, that will push any prospect for change well beyond 2020!

    That is simply totally UNACCEPTABLE, in my humble view.

    • Except that for anyone reliant on TAS for high rentals/disability costs etc, the pathetic AS increase and token annual joke of the core benefit increase was cancelled out by the TAS being reduced. So many of us didn’t even get the $2-4 in crease in the core benefit and some of us went away worse of. That’s a pathetic con job that doesn’t need a working group to review. very simple- every beneficiary gets to keep every pathetic cent of every increase to core benefits and not have any supplements deducted as punishment.

      • ‘Any threatening behaviour will be immediately reported to the police’, a sign read behind a case manager I saw some time ago, that was at WINZ.

        So they know what power they have (WINZ staff).

        But they are also forced to do as they are told, as otherwise they will soon be out of a job.

        The whole ‘toxic culture’ was so designed by the ones at the top, inside MSD, who are in charge of drawing up policies, focused on the priorities set by the government of the day.

        It is not so much the case managers that are themselves ‘toxic’. Some of them are, but long term WINZ staff know what they are doing, some are between a rock and a hard place, struggling to stay composed, as they are asked to dish out a ‘toxic culture’, by their superiors.

        The Minister cannot directly interfere in ‘operational matters’, that is not appropriate under the law, but the law can be changed, and the ‘culture’, as the culture is based largely on the now harsh Social Security Act, and the the many sanctions in it are what the politicians in Parliament allowed to be put in, that is by the majority.

        So all this talk about increases, and ‘reviews’, it is all BS anyway, they can change the law, increase rates, they just need to get moving and do this with their majority.

        As they have chosen the ‘expert consultation review’ way, that means they are not serious about making much in the way of changes.

        Again, voters have been hood winked, lied to, simply because Labour wanted the votes of the poor, of beneficiaries and low paid, to get into power. Once in power, AGAIN, they are forgetting the very ones that helped them into power.

        Now they are back to their neoliberal light, third way, approach, thinking, we will please enough middle class people, we will no longer need the poor in the election 2020.

        As I said many times, only a new truly left of centre, committed, uncompromising party can change the game, and force Labour to get more honest again, all else is BS and a waste of time. Voting Labour is a waste of time, unless there is a stronger lefter force, they will need to depend on.

  15. It does not look like Winz is going to become empathetic anytime soon or dole out what they are legally obliged to. The minister says,

    “If they were getting what they were entitled to through MSD, would they need to be going to social services and NGOs to get food parcels and other types of support? Those are the types of questions we need to ask. The cost has been shifted somewhere because they’re not getting the support that they should be through MSD.”

    She says “those are the types of questions we need to ask”. Well you have had 6 months to “ask” your bureacrats. After nine years you already new whats gone on – you should be telling bureacrats whats now required, kicking some arse, taking some scalps, so they are so fucking scared of you they will be loving the poor.

    Then you need to be going over to the Finance minister, and the MBI minister, and the Regional Development minister and the Ag and Forests minister, and the Energy minister, the Racing minister and even the Arts minister and get in their face until they tell you what they are going to do about increasing employment in their piece of paradise. Then get back to them the next week and knock it into their heads that 4.5% Unemployment is a fucking embarrasment, that every day in your department you are having to dole out unemployment benefits because they are not doing their jobs. And keep getting in their face until they see that FULL EMPLOYMENT is the answer to this shit.

  16. People need to jump up and down about this. Make the politicians understand this is not acceptable. Pressure now needs to go on Jacinta and Carmel to make the changes needed under urgency. Look at National when they wante help the rich they aleays used urgency now when sre labour goinh to learn the lesson???

  17. Labour are now suffering because of their own right wing MP’s who are controlling the Party policies now of “ultra right wing fiscally tightly pushed policies.”

    This will cause Labour to loose the 2020 election.

    Labour must begin to enact the “reserve bank act” again as Michael Joseph Savage did in 1935 so they can print emergency funds tax free to fix our severely damaged public services as they were then.

    Wake up Labour, or loose the next 2020 election!!!!!!

    If these right wing elements inside the labour government are successful at total control the purse stings that will only benefit the rich well off 1%, while destroying us all left behind after nine years of national slash and burn, they will burn in the 2020 election.

  18. One solution: pay the UBI to everyone, doing away with the need for selective benefits. WINZ would be pared back and their power reduced. End of a bloated system that has forgotten why it was there in the first place.

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