Waatea News Column: Ministry of Social Development debt fiasco an example of beneficiary powerlessness


An example from social media of the total power the Ministry of Social Development has over the lives of beneficiaries emerged last week and reminded everyone of the punitive welfare culture we still have in NZ.

A beneficiary posted a letter online from MSD that stated the Ministry had made an error in suspending their sole parent benefit and when they had attempted to repay the error, MSD had accidentally paid it out to a company and because they couldn’t get the money back, the beneficiary would have to pay the debt themselves or try and haggle it out of the company on their own!!!!

Why on earth should a beneficiary who has been wrongfully punished by MSD in the first place then be responsible for MSDs debt mistake???

At a time when Jacinda is trying to force her toxic welfare agencies to be ‘kind’ beneficiaries still have to live with a system designed to punish rather than prioritise their welfare as an individual.

If MSD was focused on the welfare of the beneficiary, this wouldn’t happen.

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First published on Waatea News.


  1. The fact that this horrid, cruel and purposely sadistic organisation is still up and working with little or no change or ‘heads rolling’ should be Jacindakindness’ political legacy. All mouth and smiles and seemingly not much else, other than NOT accelerating towards the dying stages of ‘death cult capitalist’s black hole’ that NACT would be doing.
    Someone PLEASE give us a real left wing party worthy of our vote, other Jacindakindness wins and becomes self justifying….e.g. the ends justify the means.

  2. IF this is correct then this is beyond fucked. I say IF because it just sounds too retarded and far fetched to be true.

    This should be front page news – however the MSM is too busy with covid scare porn (yes it’s know its a killer disease etc but 5+ stories every fucking day…..) and feel good stories about (little) Aotearoa to keep the sheeple in their debt fueled ‘everything is awesome’ bubble.

    • Experienced Beneficiary Advocates can come up with many such accounts.

      One for you from Whangarei, a mate of mine in late 50s, long wheel chair bound as diabetic, stroke hit, etc. Does what he can with his one good hand, gardening, knits hats with a rig for his church group etc. Moved from Auckland to Northland with elderly parents and working brother, teed up all details with Henderson case manager. Told it would be seamless. Lots of work to do on new house with ramps and bathroom etc.

      Arrives in North. Benefit cut off. “Your annual review was due, and you did not make contact with our office, previous case manager should have told you”. Benefit not renewed for two weeks, called into MSD office and asked to explain plans for finding work or training! In tears with his recently partially amputated foot! Brother, a burly towing operator intervened and becomes permanent support person and advocate. Benefit renewed, no apology. Constant loss of previously supplied documents continues.

      WINZ/MSD should be dragged outside and etc.

      • You have to ask with the MSM doesn’t report these incidents. Are they fearful, lazy or feckless? This ain’t a right or left issue – it’s a basic competency issue.

        Meanwhile the MSM reports a princess bride lookalike youtube clip with the Blairite and Gayford. AAAAANNNDDD you wonder why Trump got voted in.

        What’s next a blackface Matt Lucas presenting OneNews. Sadly most little Aotearoans wouldn’t get the fucking irony.

      • The MSD “lose” docs all the time. I’ve long advised persons to keep p/copies of everything sent to them, and to mail docs. A PSA delegate told me she’d approached a manager concerning a female service manager putting her arm around a young man sorting the mail, having observed that the confused young fellow responded by having an erection, in response to the sm’s kindness towards him.

        This debt collection story beggars belief, is probably not legal, is Dickensian and cruel, and is quite likely some incompetent jerk covering their derrière to avoid taking
        taking responsibility for their own error. Having said that, some say that being a WINZ employee is as bad as being a client, that it is not a supportive work environment,
        and that the semi- literate sm’s are out to get the staff, with performance appraisals serving as gotcha exercises.

        • Yeah but this is a straight up business /admin error.
          Any bank would reverse it given the correct details, especially considering this is a government department.
          I have dealt with up fucks like this when in business and having state funding for a job creation program.
          I simply don’t understand the issue here.
          It is NOT the responsibility of the beneficiary, legally.
          No MSD employee who was trained properly would do this.
          Yep utter incompetence all the way and zero relationship with the bank.

    • Frank the Tank as a person who helps people deal with MSD, this is not that unusual nor uncommon on there part. One similar to this, that I can talk about, is the paying of money into dead husbands bank account by MSD. They then did the same thing of debt creating with the person involved, because the bank would not reverse the money from the dead persons account. He had been dead for 3 years. No apology, no admitting of any wrong doing, just a collection of nasty letters about a debt recovery.

      I have many more similar and more than a couple of cases way more fubar from MSD, but confidentiality stops me from expressing them here.

      I do agree this is way beyond a left and right issue – this is a department that is just no longer able to do the job it was created legislatively to do. I would begin by following the Simpson Report on Health and remove all disabled people from the Care of MSD and put them under the guise of the Health ministry – with a commitment that employment for disabled people is the number one priority along side housing.

  3. It seems this organisation is like an ever-ready battery it just keeps going and going and going. The problem is it hasn’t learnt from past mistakes and it keeps making the same old mistakes time and time again. And it is not easy to get rid of some of the big wigs who have been working in our government department they protect themselves and their best mates around them. The newly elected government and Minister Sepuloni has a big job ahead of them.

  4. While I am not going to question the veracity of the lead story, or the anecdotes of those who have dealt with MSD over the years, as I know from personal experience just how inhumane the whole welfare setup had become under the Key regime, with willing and enthusiastic help from probably the most unfit person to do that job in the country, Paula Bennett, I can relate the issues they are having in replacing the senior management with real people who actually have an idea about what “social welfare” really entails… This is an ongoing process, but as all the incumbents have legally binding contracts, which makes it difficult to shift them until they either make a bad enough mistake to warrant sacking, or their term runs out.. The other difficult aspect of this change, is finding enough people with the necessary skills and experience to take the helm at what is a very challenging time.. That said, the process is going on… I can attaset to the change in approach from MSD personally, as I arrived in NZ less than a month before we went into lockdown, but had to apply for the dole just after getting back as my financial situation was dire as a result of the forced nature of my coming home… I have to say that I was both surprised, and gratified by the changed attitude of the people “at the coal face” this time around… This is, unfortunately, a basic reality that one can’t just replace hundreds, or thousands of incompetent, or inhumane workers with just anyone. Their replacements have to have the skills and experience to do what they do without failing repeatedly to get things right… What we do have now, is the freedom of choice to organise and make our voices known without fear of persecution, or harassment from a politicised police force on behalf of the tory robots who still cling to the sinking ship SS Key… Use it…

  5. Geez. I am not a Jacinda fan by any stretch of the imagination, but this seems rough. MSD has made yet another balls up if this is correct, and should be held to account. Maybe Jacinda needs to give them a shake up, in general if they can’t get their act together, or more to the point the Minister in charge should, but to hold Jacinda accountable in the first instance seems to be missing some steps of the process.

  6. We have two Prime ministers , one is the darling of the overseas media and slayer of covid in NZ and voted the best PM in the world by a german media company and the other is a utter failure who can’t or wont intervene to address the serious imbalances and cruelty of free market policies. She is like her predecessors on the front page of most of the women’s magazines because of her cult status never mind that she has apart from Covid done fuck all to seriously attack the reasons why we have entrenched poverty and that the countries workers continue to subsidize the top twenty per cent and foreign companies profits that after they have been extorted all go off shore.
    I could see the writing on the wall and was never in any doubt that this same New Labour party would do jack shit to act as if they had a conscience or an original idea.

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