Survey shows toxic culture at WINZ takes more than Labour’s whitewash renovation

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Oh yay, Labour will spend $2.5million to make WINZ offices warm and fucking friendly…

All of Work and Income’s service centres will undergo a $2.5m transformation from cold, clinical waiting rooms into colourful, well-furnished spaces as part of the Government’s plan to make the welfare system “kinder” and less punitive.

The renovation of the 126 centres comes after the more welcoming approach was trialled at four service centres around the North Island.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

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“We don’t want to be pushing people into further hardship or causing unnecessary stress and anxiety in people’s lives because we’re making it difficult for them to access something that they are actually eligible for.”

…YAY! When the sadistic WINZ staff member (who seems to get off on the power they have over weak and vulnerable people) kicks you in the guts, turns down your welfare and spies through Facebook to see if you you are in a  relationship, it’ll all happen in a  warm and friendly environment.

Wokedom at it’s most hollow and insincere.

I’m sure most beneficiaries would be more than happy to swim through shark infested pools and walk over broken glass to just see a WINZ staff member who wasn’t looking to catch them out and use spite to denigrate and shame their vulnerability. Look at the latest survey…

Survey shows four out of five people had negative experiences at WINZ
A new survey has shown that four out of five people have had negative experiences at Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ).

The survey, conducted by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and ActionStation, questioned 267 people on their perspectives, insights and experiences of the welfare system.

The findings included an overwhelming trend of people having negative experiences with WINZ and a desperate lack of income to afford basic needs.

One of the key findings was that 84 per cent of people said they did not currently receive enough income to live with dignity and participate fully in the community.

…punishing people who don’t have enough already seems like the sort of social policy Mordor implements.

The simple naked truth is that beneficiaries do nt have enough to live on and making them hungry, cold and vulnerable only creates more costly social harm than any good.

When we have a surplus, it is wretched that the poor must still crawl on their bellies.

Making the place they crawl in prettier isn’t a fucking solution.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Do WINZ and Housing NZ share offices and staff? They certainly share information in their war against their client bases.

    Now, instead of interrogating their clients in an intimidating austere and brutal environment, they will do the same in a so-called colourful and warm environment. The attitudes and results will be the same.

  2. No good making the offices warm and friendly when the staff are a bunch of arseholes and what do you expect after 9 years under that thing pull the benefit they the staff have become just like there last political masters nasty and judgemental. What the staff need to remember no beneficiaries no job for them.

  3. There is a disparity between Sepuloni’s seemingly encouraging comment “We don’t want to be pushing people into further hardship or causing unnecessary stress and anxiety in people’s lives because we’re making it difficult for them to access something that they are actually eligible for”, and your derisive response, although you don’t go so far as to say you believe she is lying? But I gather you must, because your response reads as though she hadn’t made that comment at all?
    Outrage is well justified, and no doubt there are still career sadists inside the system that need to be dealt with. Yet I feels it behooves us to encourage the overhaul in general to be as positive and worthwhile as we can make it rather than continue to attack at every turn with vitriolic mistrust. Thus we set the example we hope and demand they can follow.

  4. WINZ/MSD should be wound up sooner rather than later, and certain senior staff issued with restraints of trade stopping them from ever working in the public sector again!

    WINZ/MSD has become a punishment maze of security guards, humiliation, lost documents, “missed” calls and cut off benefits, and standowns–all over pittance amounts inadequate to even feed people

    overpayments, WINZ errors, are routinely established as debts/fraud, WINZ staff are personally rewarded for NOT providing the assistance being sought, they soon change their tune when advocates like Auckland Action Against Poverty support people

    I like the idea raised by an academic recently, that ACC/HNZ/WINZ/MSD and National Superannuation should be collapsed into one service, drop the bull about relationship status, sanctioning, high abatement rates, and get real about the gig/precarious economy so many live in nowadays

  5. No good prettying up the furniture when the people working @ Winz/MSD are rotten, fix the people first then the furniture they need to be deprogrammed.

  6. so you all now see that they are using the spy agency’s to persecute beneficiary and housing NZ clients, just so they can shove those bucks into their own pockets, its governance for profit, its neo-lib enrichment of the ruling elite at the expense of the robbed and raped NZ citizen.
    When everything they say is proved a lie are you gonna stop believing their media bullshit and say enough or keep bending over?
    They have co-opted the law, they have stolen your heritage and poisoned your country side, they have raped your children and now they are gonna sit back and watch you all die in the ice age.
    Ill be sittin in my igloo munchin seal meat and laughing at the fools who believed the GOVERNMENT

  7. So, let me get this right. Labour’s plan for fixing WINZ is to give $2.5 million of public money to the interior decoration industry? Corporate welfare at it’s finest *sigh*.

    How about this as an alternative. Put that same money into a fund to be paid out in bonuses to the staff who do the best job of making sure everyone they see gets every bit of help they are legally entitled to, and/or, staff who get the best rating in random, anonymous surveys of beneficiaries?

    Of course the first step before that would be to abolish the existing bonuses given to staff who do the best job of blocking beneficiaries from getting the help they are entitled to. I remember National ministers denying these exist, but I recently spoke to someone who has a family member working at WINZ, who confirmed that they do exist.

    • Why bother to fix it? WINZ stikes me as an old leather shoe, you can glue the heel back down a few times, polish it up and even replace the inner supports – eventually though it’s just time to move on. When the person gets a new pair they say, “I should have brought these ages ago!”

      People would probably say it’s folly to just chuck out WINZ and that I’m ignorant of the nuances that come with historical claims, employment histories, client debts, computer systems, solo mothers, etc.

      To all that I say, it’s folly to keep a system which clearly isn’t fit for purpose. BUT, I’m not saying chuck it out .. by all means KEEP WINZ .. just give people a choice!

      I’m in Christchurch and throughout the rebuild I’ve seen friends go from job to job with small periods of unemployment in between. Such periods have required them to move, buy new clothes, exhaust their saving, etc.

      Many of my mates have tried to receive funds during these down periods for; moving costs, tools, clothes and general money to make it through. The majority of them just gave up jumping through WINZ’s hoops, many already knowing first hand of WINZ’s dysfunction didn’t even bother to try .. so what happened ..

      – Some just spent all their savings till they found employment again
      – Some loaned/received money from family
      – Some gave 21 days notice to their landlord and became boarders/flatmates and used their refunded bonds to get through
      – Some maxed out their line of credit
      – ALMOST ALL have now moved to Australia or the UK~!!!

      They mostly moved because if they didn’t, being renters, the current way NZ operates would have seen them totally dispossessed, living with parents and underemployed. Myself, if I’m required to move from my currently rental or my circumstances change – I’ll be on the first plane to Perth!

      I say start some competition to WINZ, let’s call it ‘TEMP UBI’! Newly unemployed people can access ONLINE (no questions asked) all their entitlements – accommodation, clothes, work costs, etc and receive $150 – $200 per week (regardless of past income/savings) for up to 7 weeks per year. These 7 weeks could be split, i.e. a person might have two periods of unemployment in a 12 month period, one lasting 4 weeks, one lasting 3 weeks.

      Let people choose between using the current WINZ system which ‘pays’ more but requires hoop jumping OR using this online, TEMP UBI, self-service model.

      Drop Mic!

  8. Has the murderous, ignoramus of judge(s) rulings CEO still have a job? Brendan Boyle? Yes, says alot about the Minister in charges’ ineptitude. They both need sacking!

    • Ffs he is finishing up his last few weeks right now.

      And of you think any other minister is going to give a shit you are sorely mistaken. Your options are Carmel, or shove it.

  9. How long are citizens with appointments waiting? In the private sector if a business can’t offer customers a timely service, the customers go to another establishment.

    I’m not suggesting we privatize social services (not yet anyway), but I am suggesting there needs to be more competition. WINZ clearly has monopoly power in providing these services, I say bring on some competition!

    It sounds like the supposed “Peter Principle” has been fully realized at WINZ. Competition would surely drive competence and clear out the incompetent?

    National said it should NOT be the rule that state tenants are entitled to state housing for life, once they’re in the system (I largely agree). Let’s apply this thinking to the jobs of the employees of WINZ and MSD.

  10. It is well known that if you want to change behavior, changing the environment is the easiest way of achieving that.

    Works for MJ DeMarco, addictions, ..I could go on but a fact is a fact.

  11. And it’s been Dickensian so since ’84. The bureaucrats turned over like cats on a hot day. Of course, in those days, they remembered, if not objecting.

    Pay well.

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