The war of words that has erupted between the Minister and AAAP over who is responsible for beneficiaries queueing outside WINZ offices at 2am is disingenuous and contemptible.
Responding directly to MSD, AAAP have pointed out that...
- People get turned away/deferred for emergency assistance at reception level. MSD doesn’t classify this as declines.
- Re: hardship granted. Ppl get far less than what they’re entitled to (eg. $50 vs $150 food 4 a family)
- While a lot of hardship grants are qualified as “granted”, in truth they are only partially so and the presence of an advocate is what gets them across fully.
- The issue is that people are getting declined at other offices on other days, not so much when AAAP is there.
- Encouraging people to use MyMSD or the phone means MSD is unable to properly engage in the use of discretion to help people (ppl get less 4 food). Both these methods create accessibility barriers and remove the possibility of an empathic conversation with WINZ case managers.
- You go to most WINZ offices and you’ll notice large amounts of empty desks, even on busy days. Chronic understaffing of WINZ staff and low benefit rates, compounded by high rent prices helps create the situation at Manurewa.
Someone needs to suggest kindly to Carmel Sepuloni that attacking an organisation with the mana of Auckland Action Against Poverty is deeply troubling as their advocacy against the toxicity of MSD is essential to this debate.
Blaming AAAP for the fact beneficiaries are prepared to cue at 2am in the freeing rain because they will do anything humanly possible to have an advocate guide them through the dehumanising and toxic culture inside WINZ is victim blaming in the extreme.
Shame on Labour.
Beneficiaries are frightened by the toxic staff and toxic culture of WINZ, a toxic culture that the Minister herself acknowledges exists but is now embarrassed because she has changed so little.
One is left to conclude by the Minister’s failure to change the damaged toxic culture of WINZ that her own personal history of her mothers benefit fraud has painted her into a corner where she must over compensate by siding with MSD rather than challenge them.
Not to worry, we banned single use plastic bags as an empty gesture instead. The low, low, low, low threshold of ‘transformative’ that so many on the Left are prepared to accept is why change is glacial.