WINZ threatened beneficiary with cutting off his benefit, beneficiary then kills 3 – good old WINZ

Carol from WINZ will see you now

WINZ killing more beneficiaries again…

Ross Bremner: Triple killer told to find a job or benefit would be cut

Keith Bremner says he has forgiven his son for a murderous rampage that took three lives.

But now he wants answers as to whether authorities missed opportunities to prevent the tragedy when Ross Bremner fatally stabbed his mum Clare and left Keith for dead at their home in Otorohanga.Ross went on to kill Maurice O’Donell and his wife Moana Tuwhangi at their holiday home near Kawhia. Ross’ body was found alongside the couple.

The Weekend Herald has discovered Ross was told his benefit would be cut if he did not get a job — two weeks before his killing.

TDB Recommends

..the toxic culture of WINZ must be responsible for so many suicides, but murder is a new one.

There won’t be an investigation, no inquiry into how threatening to cut people off welfare pushes them to the edge, no one from WINZ will be found to have been a catalyst, no public servants will be harmed in the making of this homicide.

If Labour want to have a chance of winning the next election, they must reform the toxic culture of WINZ to have any hope of convincing beneficiaries who are currently queueing outside WINZ at 2am to vote for them again.



  1. Where are the facts. This seems to me to be the ultimate blame game. How long was this man on the benefit and how hard had he tried to get work. The benefit is a safety net it should not be a way of life . I feel there should be more Winz staff employed so their work load is less and they can spend more time in helping the unemployed overcome the barriers holding them back.
    Labour had 9 years to prepare themselves to work on these social problems but I see nothing is happening the poor are worse off the state housing wait list is growing business confidence is falling and the only growth is in committees that will report with good ideas just as we lead up to the next election

    • Trevor, WINZ used to have work brokers, then I think they amalgamated them with the old case manager’s jobs, not entirely sure. The idea of someone saying ‘get a job in two weeks or else’ is so bad, I find it hard to believe. And it may not have been said, even if Mr Bremner thought that it had.

      WINZ in-calls are recorded, filed, and archived for x amount of time.Technology where personal interview conversations are transcribed and recorded automatically straight onto the client’s files instead of notes being entered manually by the interviewer, could curtail inappropriate interactions. It sounds as if this gentleman had mental health issues, but many folk do get massively stressed just by routine WINZ letters – a GP’s nurse told me that “everyone” does. They do help people with cv writing and so on, and I know that that’s not always the best either, but a friend on a benefit top-up in Tauranga, said she’s found WINZ very helpful.

      I interviewed someone who told me that her case manager wrote her cv for her, and another told me of WINZ helping her produce a pink or blue covered cv with flowers and butterflies all over it – which could be enough to stop some job candidates getting short listed.

      I don’t know if anyone knew how bad the housing situation was here, or that the Key/English govt was selling off state house stock. Had National got back in and continued with this, the situation would be ever so much worse than it is now, and they could still be denying that there is even any homelessness crisis, so at least things are moving – albeit slowly.

      • The quality of the jobs is also often in question. For example bus drivers with deregulation now have to have multiple hours unpaid during the middle of the day.

        They are often made redundant and have to move firms as each firm ‘bids’ for work… it is a stressful jobs, needing skill and experience, poorly paid with poor conditions, but it did not used to be that way.

        Most of the so called skills shortages are masking industries that have poor working conditions and unfair conditions as the norm plus they keep making workers redundant so there is little job security.

        So no longer do people want to work and move to locations where everything now is difficult, aka getting accomodation, getting a mortgage, keeping a job in a location if you do have a mortgage or rental… it ill starts from jobs that treat workers as a non essential part of their business that they can just pick up one then throw them away for hours/months/years then get them back again when they click their fingers.

        It’s aint gonna happen after a while and workers shun that industry.

        So they bring in migrants who once becoming citizens also shun that work… the Ponzi continues without addressing underlying causes, and creating more and more competition for resources in NZ from housing to benefits to health care.

        That can drive people over the edge.

        Who knows what happened in this circumstances. It is a tragedy when people take other people’s lives for what ever reason.

        Example of ‘modern’ jobs in ‘modern’ skills shortages. Would you do this or be on a benefit? Being on a benefit is more secure and better paid than many jobs when you take into all the factors aka fruit picking for a few weeks a year, then being in arrears once you have benefit stand downs, pay to get there, pay for accomodation, etc, it is not a real job is you are likely to lose money and have significant risk!

        Driving a bus used to be a career. Now, it’s a last resort job

      • As a former beneficiary, I can happily confirm that seeing the WINZ logo on the envelope you extract from your mailbox is a bit like being the captain of a treasure-laden frigate and seeing the skull and bones crest the horizon. It gives you a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach and you think, “Oh God, what now?!” When it comes to WINZ, no news is good news. Part of you doesn’t even want to open it but you do because, really… what choice do you have?

    • Well Trevor, while I can’t read the linked article (paywalled) and don’t know which benefit the man was in receipt of, you might want to consider the fact that there’s a lot of people on there on jobseekers benefit who once upon a time (pre-the last Nat government) would’ve been getting sickness benefit or eligible for Invalid’s benefit who are now being pressure/forced back into work when they are not physically or mentally ready or capable. Some people are NEVER going to be able to work even under threat of their benefit being cut. It’s reality, get over it.

      So before you leap in with your pre-programmed talking points about it all being a way of life (tried surviving on a benefit for any length of time recently Trevor? Real cushy life we have, thoroughly recommend it as a career choice) think about the fact our welfare system is just completely fucked up and the way it treats people has real consequences, rarely positive.

    • I think there might be a bit of a short in one of you logic gates there Trev.
      [to do with ‘feeling’ there should be more WINZ staff (probably equipped with suspenders and cracking a whip), then blaming Labour (as opposed to a coalition gummint) for lack of resourcing because they had 9 years in opposition to prepare – as opposed to the 9 years your idols had whilst in gummint to act.]
      I hae ma doots you’ll get your componentry fixed though – better to wait till the whole bloody circuit goes on the fritz and wait for Her Indoors Isla to nag you to get it fixed.
      Isn’t there a City Council or District Health Board somewhere you could stand for?
      Hamilton/Woikeddo maybe?

    • Good deflect and blame Trevor. For one thing you are insulting someone who is now dead, in the context of three murders and a suicide, you souless vampire. Why don’t you have a go at boomers on benefits, those receiving Superannuation who cost the country five times what job seekers and the underemployed do annually? That a bit close to home my captain? Boomers on benefits have received free services for most of their life, mostly white denizens with privileged access to housing, education, financial stability and lower costs per standard of living (some have only lived in this country for 10 years ffs, and it’s people like me who have worked most of their adult lives, now on a benefit, supporting these migrants and their ‘way of life’). Superannuitants have also had access to regulated industries and a job market that wasn’t controlled by some retarded gatekeeper, tendering out opportunities to the highest bidder, typically wealthy, white males who have cornered a market and thereafter psychopaths built in their image, followed by those in the approved cliques, church and nepotist networks (you know, the daughter of someone who has worked at WINZ for twenty years while having eight kids often has the detestable qualities required to become a case worker; that most repulsive character adept at backstabbing and fraud, a talentless form-filler ruining people’s lives for a living instead of growing healthy and happy communities).

  2. Terribly tragically grim. Paul Goldsmith interviewed by Jack Tame, blithely prattled that a builder, no longer physically able to build, could just get another job, retrain for another job, career change.

    I watched Goldsmith impressing himself with his own glibness and thought,”You lying bastard.”

    The jobs aren’t necessarily there, nor the training. Goldsmith’s out of touch with reality if he thinks that 65 year olds can make career change just by wanting to. WINZ are much worse. Employment issues are an intrinsic part of their own job and they know the realities.

    Threats and ultimatums are dreadful, and if WINZ broke Mr Bremner then they have to be accountable. A switched-on SSC would call for an enquiry. So should the MSD/WINZ CE.

    • You only have to look at the Ashburton office incident to know this is a serious possiblity.
      Winz staff can be absolute assholes .
      My young diabetic friend can vouch for that and the damn rule book and laws winz work too make it 100 times worse.
      Winz rulebook is straight out of the 1950s where mum stayed home and dad went out to work thaty reality no longer exists plus the income downgrade and employers resistance to employ older people.

  3. Terribly tragically grim. Paul Goldsmith interviewed by Jack Tame, blithely prattled that a builder, no longer physically able to build, could just get another job, retrain for another job, career change.

    I watched Goldsmith impressing himself with his own glibness and thought,”You lying bastard.”

    The jobs aren’t necessarily there, nor the training. Goldsmith’s out of touch with reality if he thinks that 65 year olds can make career change just by wanting to. WINZ are much worse. Employment issues are an intrinsic part of their own job and they know the realities.

    Threats and ultimatums are dreadful, and if WINZ broke Mr Bremner then they have to be accountable. A switched-on SSC would call for an enquiry. So should the MSD/WINZ CE.


    “As a global leader in human services, we aim to help 300,000 people around the world each year.
    To achieve this, we embrace the following values:

    Integrity – we uphold the highest standard of integrity in everything we do
    Customer focus – we deliver the highest quality of service for our customers and always look for ways to improve
    Respect – we recognise people are our business and maintain a culture of trust and respect in every aspect of what we do
    Empathy – we approach the challenges in people’s lives with great empathy and strive to help them overcome them
    Achievement – we move forward by adopting new technologies, best practices, and rewarding innovation and achievement
    Teamwork – we believe employment and being part of a team can greatly improve a person’s health and wellbeing
    Enthusiasm – we embrace positive outcomes of change with enthusiasm to support customers and teams in our day to day lives.

    APM abides by relevant industry standards and accreditations and maintains these accreditations through regular independent audits.”

    Now, I wonder whose brilliant idea it was to hire these gentlefolk to guide the workshy back to the path of righteousness?

    • Surprise. Surprise. If NZ had civil service entry and promotion exams the way they do in the UK, Canada, China, Russia, India and I daresay other countries, then we may have the expertise, and retain the expertise, to develop our own systems instead of relying on imports like this from Australia, Serco from the Brits etc.

      Pity that they refer to social welfare as a ‘business’. It used to be a profession. Social Science cadet-ships – working in the dept and doing a degree up at VU.

      The ‘teamwork’ jargon is not as clear cut as intimated here either, and the ‘enthusiasm’ is sound good sound good. ‘Innovation’ is interesting, because that particular dept has previously been timid about doing anything that hasn’t been done before, but they could just mean buying new brands of biscuits and lactose free milk.

      But according to this, their ‘regular independent audit’ should pick up on whatever was done to Mr Bremner, and take steps to make sure that it doesn’t ever happen again.

  5. Sound like a victim of government mind control which is real do the research for yourselves… mk ultra, phoenix program me,project paperclip,monarch programming.

  6. I call bullshit on this story.
    I’m not suggesting WINZ are wonderful but unless voice recordings and correspondence are released to back these claims up then I am back to calling bullshit.
    I am also rather shocked that you are so willing to blindly believe this Martyn. Seems to me that you want to believe it so much that all critical thinking flew out the window.

    • Jays- to my knowledge, to date there’s been only one case where the coroner has directly implicated WINZ as the direct cause of a death (a suicide). That’s one death to many of course. But you clearly have never been on the receiving end of them. The actions of WINZ and the associated stresses do not have to be the DIRECT cause of a person’s subsequent actions, but can, are certainly are contributing factors. I could confidently say if a full detailed analysis were done on many suicides in this country, recent dealings with WINZ would show up. When you’re seriously ill, mentally distressed, etc, all it’s going to take is one moron behind a desk, a computer that says no, the threat of no money which means you’ll be homeless, that can be the final straw, even if it’s not the only reason. I’ve never hurt anyone or myself as a result of my dealings with WINZ, but I’ve been hospitalised 5 times from acute episodes of my medical condition within 24hrs of having to deal with them. Go figure.

  7. Everyone here is ignoring what we now know from Rosemary McDonald’s link. It’s not WINZ any more, they appear to have sub-contracted their work out to an Australian business.

    The fact that their mission statement is loaded with the sort of cliches and nebulous aphorisms Roger Kerr and the Business Round Table first brainwashed money hungry right wingers and Libertarians with, may be beside the point. They can hardly state that they exist to make a profit from the plight of poor and needy NZ’ers, which is exactly what they’re doing.

    The point is that their whole raison d’etre depends on, or assumes, that there is to be a constant stream of out-of-work people in New Zealand. Their business plan would not be based on otherwise.

    The Minister of Social Welfare needs to explain why this is so.The Minister also needs to explain why WINZ is unable to do its own job.

  8. Why doesn’t the writer of this article spend a few weeks in winz offices being a fly on the wall and watch the real interactions.
    Poor Labour is supposed to give more help to the beneficiaries every time they are elected knowing full well that most of them can’t even be bothered to vote.

  9. A WINZ, beneficiary, whether unemployed, Disabled, or Super annuitant doesn’t stand a chance of a fair go for their situation when having to deal with this mob of Beurocratic profit & incentive driven demons from hell Called WINZ.
    When their jobs depend on loaning money to people who can’t afford to live in this current greed driven system and WINZ Workers have to earn incentive dollars by cutting peoples incomes off to save the sytem money or face the same punitive treatment they hand out to the living poor people asking for help & mercy to put food on their kids plates its only the coldest of hearts that can do that job and only short term at that! MSD/ WINZ Is the Devil incarnate of the Beurocratic underworld.
    Ms. Bennett created a “Millionaires Club” whereby Case managers who cut a million dollars in benefit payments to the most needy peolle could win cash bonuses, trips & shopping sprees. Hows that hit ya Trev? You unconscious people not having dealt with these people are clueless to the reality of a beneficiaries nightmarish world dealing with this level of evil called MSD… you better hope to hell you never lose your cushy “above it all” jobs as you would never survive 10 minutes of having to ask for help in NZ with this mob running your life.. its a universal thing -system widefor stakeholder and contractor profit…

    • Kia ora Angel
      I noted the Australian outfit now running WINZ and didn’t read too much as I found it shocking, but I did note that they are a global business, which, to my way of thinking suggests that poor, needy and vulnerable internationally are being ‘controlled’ by the same organisation, and I don’t like that.

      If Bennett did as you say here, then that’s chilling as it suggests that their focus is not, as they claim, on helping to tide people over bad patches, and it’s an indefensible oxymoron. Worse, it’s imparting fairly sick values to the case managers – I would call it moral corruption, but by and large it’s a waste of time trying to talk values or morals or ethics when people see only money as having any intrinsic worth.

      Bennett, as Minister, shouldn’t have been taking part in, or making operational decisions, and whenever govt ministers are called to account for their depts they usually say that these are operational decisions, and if she was as hands-on as this, then staff would also be in a difficult position as she’s something right out of a Grimms’ Bros story – except they’re fiction stories to scare kids – sometimes to good purpose – but this is real life nightmare territory, and I don’t have the language to describe Paula Bennett.

      The fact that their operating system also depends upon victims having to get x number of food parcels from charities is also a flawed system is as mean as hell, but thank God for the Sallies etc.

      Shopping sprees for case managers who save the dept money is not what our tax dollars are for – I could probably make a case for it being corruption – but I’m a bit crook, and it looks like the fish rotting from the head down here – it stinks. Kia kaha.

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