The great welfare benefit rip-off

Given that beneficiary bashing is back in fashion, I thought it would be interesting to have a look at where the biggest rip-offs occur.

Work and Income has a benefit called Temporary Additional Support (TAS). It replaced Special Benefit as the benefit of last resort in 2006, although Special Benefit is still available to those who have been in continuous receipt of it since then.

TAS / Special Benefit are paid according to a formula (although with Special Benefit there is discretion to payer a higher amount than the formula assessment).  The formula takes into account what a beneficiary’s essential costs are, compares that figure with what the beneficiary receives in benefit payments, and if there is a significant difference, the beneficiary is entitled to receive TAS / Special Benefit to help meet their costs.

Accommodation costs and disability-related costs are considered essential costs for TAS / Special Benefit, and these will be already known to the Ministry of Social Developments’ Work and Income Service in the case of any beneficiary who applies for Accommodation Supplement and/or Disability Allowance.

So it is possible to work out approximately (not exactly, because there will be a few who will be disqualified by a cash assets test and a few who will qualify through essential costs that are not accommodation or disability related) how many beneficiaries should be entitled to TAS / Special Benefit on the basis of high accommodation and/or disability-related costs already declared to Work and Income through Accommodation Supplement and Disability Allowance applications.

That is exactly what the Beneficiaries Advocacy Federation asked the Ministry of Social Development to do. Here are the results, as of December 2009:
tasdeficiency2
There were 34,641 beneficiaries who, according to information already held by Work and Income, met the formula assessment for TAS / Special Benefit at the end of last year but were not receiving it.   Around four out of every ten beneficiaries who are entitled to it miss out.  In most cases I suspect they are not even told they can apply.

The ethnic breakdown is disturbing too.  If you are a Pakeha beneficiary, you are around 20% more likely to get your full and correct entitlement than if you are of Pasifika ethnicity.  It seems that institutional racism is still alive and well at Work and Income.

With a performance as appalling as this, Paula Bennett needs to focus a little less on the few beneficiaries who are ripping the system off, and a great deal more on the many who are being ripped off by it.

Hat Tip: Graham Howell on the comments thread

66 Comments Posted

  1. Re the discretion for SP to be paid above the formula rate… how does someone apply for that discretion?

  2. Institutional Racism: While I have some historical data on WINZ staffing, it is irrelevant in terms of the institutional racism claim. Clearly, the specifics of individual staff members may impact on their own attitudes to people of their own and other races, but the institutional nature does not explain why places with high Maori staffing have poor resulkts for Maori, for eaxmple, or palces with high Pacific staffing have poor results for Pacific benes in terms of missing out.
    The institutional racism alluded to by Frog (in relation to Pacific actually, although I point to anti-Maori as well) is reasonably clear from the TAS data.
    My chalenge is how can the significantly different take-up/granting of TAS on the basis of race be regarded as acceptable. It seems a major part of the fault has to be placed at the foot of the institution involved. in ensuring full and correct entitlement. My claim to institutional raicism is backed up by other research I have done.
    I have analysed take up by ethnicity (Maori, Pacific, Pakeha) of TAS, its fore-runner, the Special Benefit, one other area of on-going assistance (for people with on-going health needs the Disabaility Allowance) amd two forms of one-off/emergency assistance (advances for power/water and foof grants. Tus comparing two forms of on-going assistance with two forms of one-off assistance, covering a numbrer of years I have found signnificant anti-brown folk results for the former, but none for the latter two.
    It is very hard not to say our institutional arrangements re on-going assistance do not have a racial bias, particularly when the results are so stark. These results have been made known to WINZ/MSD management and Ministers.
    My question is “Why” and my challenge, over the last decade, is for the institution to do something about it.

  3. Sorry for not adding comment during weekend, but no PC at home…
    The TAS details at the start of this thread came from one of my posts last week, and I am well enough in tune with WINZ policy/opreations and their impacts to offer some educated comment on the reasons and effects of overpayments and underpayments of a main benefit and supplementary asistance.
    A comment first though on the woman denied assistance for the tangi. If I read correctly she was also denied assistance for a replacement fridge – because she had supposedly been given similar assistance 3 times before in the last 4 years. The area of assistance that was used to purchase the 3 previous fridges is an “Advance of Benefit” (section 82(6) of the Soc SecAct). While the law does not say “provide as little as possible to meet the need” that is what happens, with the recipient of the advance often having to buy inferior second hand crap which breaks down. Result, 3 fridges in four years – AND now NO FRIDGE.

    Overpayments: Most often caused by WINZ responding too slowly to changed circumstances around beneficiaries in part-time work or finding a job. Benes are encouaged to make contact via 0800559009, as opposed to front at a service centre, and the info provided about wages is used to work how to abate/rerduce the benefit, or if necessary stop it. Errors abound, and partly due to the poor state of NZers knowledge of financial management, the bene does not realise overpayment until they get a letter from WINZ. A debt is created, and most often, it has to be paid back.

    Underpayments: A lack of knowledge of potential eligibility, not helped by inadequate/poor/inaccurate publicity material in WINZ service centres, and ill-trained WINZ staff (I am not prepared to say how many are deliberately withhold information as I do not know if it is 10%, 25%, 66%…,) means people do not know about on-going assistance that might be available. (They often do know about one-off/emergency type assistance.) As a consequence applications for on-going assistance like TAS are not made. Instead, our poorest get further and further into debt, often borrowing from loan sharks, getting into rent arrears (with resultant negative effects of transience), having the power cut off, etc. All provable effects as one can match loan shark type debt to areas where NZ’s poorest live (and by analogy, where most are missing out on TAS), tenancy tribunal cases for rent arrears and so on.
    Overpayment/Underpayments: If proven, overpayments are paid back. Mostly, those missing out due to being underpaid hardly ever get the amount they missed out on paid to them. That appears to me an institutional bias/power imbalance.

  4. kahikatea,

    I’m not confused, just reading the columns in a different but valid interpration then you. That is the problem with frog’s spin. He claimed that WINZ were witholding information while a reasonable and alternative explanation, that I offered, is denounced because it does not fit the spinning yarn.

    Trevor29,

    It seems……….

    frog went on to explain a new phenomena (sp?) of “unconsious intitutional racism”.

    His slur stands and he shoulds apologise to this minister, the previous minister PLUS all the WINZ staff for the insinuation.

    Easy to sling words around like “rasism” but hard to front up with evidence.

    Frog has gone down a huge number of points in my estimation, and so has the Green party. Winston Peters used to to the slinging , now the Greens are doing it.

  5. frog did not say that there was institutionalised racism in WINZ. Instead frog said that “It seems…” which is offering an opinion of a likely explanation of some evidence – in this case different take up rates of TAS. It is not up to frog to provide more evidence. Instead frog is inviting alternative explanations, which are a bit thin on the ground. Certainly awareness of entitlement to TAS may be different amongst different groups and Maori may be a group with lower awareness.

    Trevor.

  6. Gerrit wrote: “Another anomoly is the last column. 56% of Maori clients (their words not mine) have a TAS recorded in their account. While 15k out of 88K is??

    For goodness sake allright!!!!

    A very different % figure then one would get from playing with the figures in the other columns.”

    no, it’s 56% of the Maori ‘clients’ who appear eligible based on excessive accommodation or disability costs. 13393/23752 is 56%.

    I’m not sure whether you’re genuinely confused, or misreading the table on purpose to make it look like it doesn’t add up.

  7. Kahikatea,

    I am in favour of a system which does not provide benefit to those too lazy or stupid to read a brochure or the other readily accessible sources of information. i.e I am in favour of a system where people whom can actually be bothered to put effort toward getting the money get it; given git to all without requiring any effort on the part of the recipient merely reinforces the behavior that got them there in the first place.

  8. toad and kahikatea,

    The spreadsheets shows for example that out of 103K of Maori beneficiaries, 88K do not have a TAS out on their account while 15K have.

    The spreadsheet does not show if your assertions are true. Simply records that they have not uptaken a TAS.

    You guys claim that they do not know about it, I claim that they have been turned down for not meeting the critiria.

    See you can view a spreadsheet any way you like and get two different conclusions.

    Another anomoly is the last column. 56% of Maori clients (their words not mine) have a TAS recorded in their account. While 15k out of 88K is??

    For goodness sake allright!!!!

    A very different % figure then one would get from playing with the figures in the other columns.

  9. Sapient wrote: “Furthermore, so what if they do not point out the entitlements? So long as they do not hide them, what is the problem? If people are too stupid to ask then they deserve to sit on the side of the street and rot; certainly they do not deserve to pass on their genes.”

    so you’re in favour of a system that encourages people to keep going to WINZ and asking for assistance for different things on the offchance that they might get it?

    and that gives all the financial support to those who have put all their effort into learning how the system works, rather than those who put that effort into trying to improve their circumstances in other ways?

  10. Gerrit wrote

    “No toad,

    what frog table shows is numbers not specific reason for the turning down of request.”

    it doesn’t show numbers of requests turned down – it shows numbers of people statistically likely to be eligible. Check what the table says before accusing other people of misinterpreting it, for goodness sake!

  11. If everyone who had a drop of euro blood in them was classified as european, the stats would read completely different. Maori wouldn’t feature at all.
    If there is institutionalized racism it’s the insistence of ‘the system’ to racialise everyone.

  12. Sapient, the fact that Maori are over-represented in benefit figures has nothing to do with this issue. It is actually Pacific Islanders who fare most poorly in TAS uptake. The issue is that a greater proportion of NZ Europeans who should be getting TAS are getting it than the comparable proportion of other ethnicities. And, of course, the bigger issue that many people of all ethnicities who should be getting it are not.

    Gerrit (11:29 AM): These are in the main not people who are having requests for TAS turned down. They are people who are not even getting a foot in the door through being offered the opportunity to make a request for it in the first place.

  13. Toad,

    Maori are over-represented in benifit figures. This means that any change to the benefit at all will disproportionatly effect Maori. This is not racist as it does not target this group but rather targets a macro-group -of which a part of this group inhabits disproportionately- for purposes other than race.

    If one were to alter the benefits such that the change effects Maori and Pakeha equally as a percentage of the total ethnic group then that would be institutional racism as any individual Pakeha would be hurt or benefited more than a Maori individual with any given change; this occurance is not institutional racism, as on an individual level there is little to no difference.

    Gerrit,

    Double negatives? Really?

  14. Under MMP you have a duty to knock on doors. That is what MMP strength is.

    Hold on here. Discusions go on all the time. Most are not fruitful. I have no idea if an approach has been made on this issue, but don’t start to grossly over generalise. You accuse me of mere opinion in stating a position of the Nat’s, yet are happy to spout about things you know nothing about.

    Naive, yep naive to think the Greens of all politicians would grasp the MMP nettle and actually WORK with the rest of the political entities in our parliament.

    This is pure bullshit. The Greens have pioneered new working relationships with govt in EVERY Parliament since 1999.

    So far all the Greens have done is parrot the Labour party in knocking everything and promoting nothing.

    More BS. In fact, we knock even more of National’s programme, because it deserves it, and always have alternatives on offer. Our webste has more such info on it than any other party.

    Try knocking on wood vith VIABLE alternatives and working toward a SUSTAINABLE consensus for the good of all.

    THOSE are just opinions over which we clearly disagree.

    Those tiny cracks you see need to be built on and you may have to COMPROMISE to achieve a goal such as more transparent WINZ organisation.

    Again, Greens have taken more opportunities to work constructively than anyone else. But beneficiary bashing is good politics for the Nats. Surely you can see that.

    Something National wants as well

    Has that been established? Sorry, no time to go back over the other comments.

    us plebs are naive and dont understand

    No, it’s just you. I think most do understand.

  15. No toad,

    what frog table shows is numbers not specific reason for the turning down of request.

    As I said, the numbers actually dont mean nothing unless you have the list of requests.

    What the table says to me is that Maori make far more requests for funding then is covered by WINZ and hence get turned down.

    Care to address that issue?

    Others know what they are “entitled” to, Maori it would seem by the figures in the table do not.

    So let frog come up with the list of items that were turned down. And then lets see if there is “unconscious, institutionalised racism” in WINZ.

    So far all frog has done is cast a slur on every WINZ employee. From this National and the previous Labour minister down to the Maori lasses at the coal face.

  16. Under MMP you have a duty to knock on doors. That is what MMP strength is.

    Naive, yep naive to think the Greens of all politicians would grasp the MMP nettle and actually WORK with the rest of the political entities in our parliament.

    So far all the Greens have done is parrot the Labour party in knocking everything and promoting nothing.

    Try knocking on wood vith VIABLE alternatives and working toward a SUSTAINABLE consensus for the good of all.

    Those tiny cracks you see need to be built on and you may have to COMPROMISE to achieve a goal such as more transparent WINZ organisation.

    Something National wants as well but the Greens judgement is clouded and stilted by unsubstanciated claims of racism.
    ————–
    excuse number 3

    us plebs are naive and dont understand

  17. Gerrit, according to Wikipedia:

    Institutional racism is the differential access to the goods, services, and opportunities of society. When the differential access becomes integral to institutions, it becomes common practice, making it difficult to rectify. Eventually, this racism dominates public bodies, private corporations, and public and private universities, and is reinforced by the actions of conformists and newcomers. Another difficulty in reducing institutionalized racism is that there is no sole, true identifiable perpetrator. When racism is built into the institution, it appears as the collective action of the population.

    What the table Frog has published shows is differential access the the services (or at least that of TAS) of WINZ on the basis of race.

    As such, I think it falls within that definition.

  18. equals an OPINION

    As would just about everything in politics if you insist on being that pedantic.

    Beehive politics prevents a Green MP delegation from visiting a ministers office?

    It takes two to tango. You need a Minister who wants to talk too.

    A knock on the door is verboten?

    No, just a waste of time if no one will answer.

    seems mighty strange

    Sad, maybe, but not at all strange.

    excuse number 2

    Have you any idea how Beehive politics works?

    Politics wont allow dialog!!

    Not to change the subject, but while your exasperation in this context is downright naive, this is a problem that MMP does at least go some way in addressing. Under FPP, you have completely insular govt who need answer no knock on their door from another party (yes, it is how they operate), so there’s very little chance of cross party support on difficult issues. With MMP and minority governments, the leading party MUST answer that knock from its partners, which widens the points of view being heard. The Greens MoU affords the tiniest crack in that door, and only for issues where there is already agreed common ground (hence there being such a miniscule number of initiatives included in the MoU). Social policy is clearly not one of them.

  19. So who gives the incentives?

    So very hard to prove, so very hard to disprove.

    So the slur sits that all WINZ employees are racist, even “unconsciously” they are racist.

    Good thing to see that the Greens at least acknowledge that Maori can be racist even though it may be “unconsciously” and “incedental”.

    wriggle, wriggle, wriggle.

  20. Consider institutional racism, where those hired are given incentives to deny due support to their clients – many of whom are Maori. That sometimes many of the staff are also Maori is incidental to the institutions practice.

  21. At least 99.9% probability of it being fact

    equals an OPINION

    Beehive politics prevents a Green MP delegation from visiting a ministers office?

    A knock on the door is verboten?

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    seems mighty strange

  22. It’s Bennett who wouldn’t show.

    opnion or fact?

    At least 99.9% probability of it being fact. Have you any idea how Beehive politics works?

  23. Toad,

    Good call (we do agree, well sometimes!)

    What I cant understand is why frog and others have bought racism into the picture.

  24. What I can’t work out is that if WINZ already have the accommodation cost and disability cost information that identifies certain beneficiaries as likely to have TAS eligibility, why don’t they just send them all a form and invite them to apply?

    Problem solved, I would have thought.

  25. frog,

    Your reluctance to look at the reason for the refusal but instead concentrate solely on numbers sounds like you have bought into the spin.

    Numbers can be read anyway you like.

    Specific refusal reasons are the more telling.

    ————————————-
    Racism at WINZ

    So now we not only have “institutional racism” but yet another form of rasicm, “uncounscious institutional rasism”

    as defined by you

    I’m not suggesting there is a conscious decision by staff to discriminate in the delivery against people who are of ethnicities other than NZ European

    As most WINZ workers and managers seem to be (in the Manurewa office anyway) of Maori race.

    Are Maori practising racism against themselves?

    Why are they favouring the NZ European race?

    Or are you talking a load of bollixs on rasism at WINZ to make a point and spin meaningless figures to a certain racist viewpoint?

  26. ‘not getting involved in the solutions’

    It’s getting worse, Gerrit!

    I too, expect Russel to come up with viable answers, in fact, the Greens have many of them already. Are you really unaware of any solutions the Greens have proposed to degraded rivers?

  27. greenfly,

    LOL

    but paddling down the brown stuff is moaning about it, and not getting involved in the solutions.

    At the risk of getting frogs back up and having a treadjack, I expect Russel to come up with viable answers and stategic plans to remove the brown from the river.

    Not a moan to “highlight” the plight.

    Lets give the Greens the benefit of the doubt and look forward to a frog post on how, when, who and at what cost the Greens would clean up the river.

    Somehow I think there will be an excuse by the Greens not to formulate a remedial plan.

    Like the lame Valis excuse above.

  28. One of the problems of the benefit system that we have now is that it penalises people who attempt to save, via means tests. Putting some money aside for contingencies such as funerals or unexpected expenses (e.g. broken glasses) often results in this money being clawed back by WINZ through reduced payments. Then when those contingencies do arise (as they will), the beneficiary has little choice but to apply to WINZ for support.

    Trevor.

  29. Gerrit, this is not a case of vast numbers of beneficiaries being refused TAS by Work and Income after making an application.

    It is a case of vast numbers of people who have already declared accommodation costs and disability-related costs to Work and Income at a level that should alert staff to test their eligibility for TAS. But they are not even getting through the front door and being invited to make an application.

    As for my claim of institutional racism, the figures above (provided by the Ministry of Social Development, not by me) speak for themselves. I’m not suggesting there is a conscious decision by staff to discriminate in the delivery against people who are of ethnicities other than NZ European, but the effect is that they are discriminated against.

  30. In addition to those being turned down when they apply for TAS and those who don’t apply because they are unaware of their entitlement to it, there is also a group that discuss TAS with WINZ and are mis-informed or otherwise discouraged from applying by WINZ staff and therefore aren’t counted in the statistics of those denied TAS.

    Trevor.

  31. Gerrit said:

    Scrolling down the postings on frogblog would indicate that the Greens are good at moaning but not good at doing.

    Time for the Greens to get into the brown stuff and earn their membership to parliamant. Lets have less critisism and more alternatives.
    Packing a sad because the PM wont wallow down some river with Russel is a good example of the moaning minnie attitude prevalent from the Greens.

    Isn’t Russel out ‘in the brown stuff’, paddling the despoiled rivers of the country to draw attention to their sorry state right now?

    How many other MPs are doing something comparable? Certainly not Key!
    Your claim seems to be on it’s head, Gerrit!

  32. toad,

    Sure lets get back on topic. No boubt frog will dig out not just the meaningless number of TAS refused, but more importantly the actual specific reasons they were refused.

    That is the significant factor and may actually show up why Maori are refused more often.

    Frog also needs to come up with figures and quantify how WINZ has institutionalised racism against Maori.

    Just calling it so is an oplnion not a fact. The only true fact is that the line

    It seems that institutional racism is still alive and well at Work and Income.

    is an insult and should be withdraw (an apology to WINZ would not be amiss)

    UNLESS frog can prove it is so.

    ——————-

    What do you think the chances are of the Green MP’s actually going into Paula Bennett’s office and working towards improving WINZ?

    Or will they be not green but yellow?

    Scrolling down the postings on frogblog would indicate that the Greens are good at moaning but not good at doing.

    Time for the Greens to get into the brown stuff and earn their membership to parliamant. Lets have less critisism and more alternatives.

    Packing a sad because the PM wont wallow down some river with Russel is a good example of the moaning minnie attitude prevalent from the Greens.

    Srart doing, cut out the moaning. Leave the moaning to the ineffectual Labour party

  33. Toad,

    Not imposing ones culture and not sponsoring the culture of another are two totally different things. Were you to say that they can not go it would be the former but this is clearly a case of the latter. That is, unless you are saying it has become Maori culture to have the state pay for everything they desire despite them not being able to afford it only because of their own failure?

    ~

    Frog,

    I think there really should be some large degree of allowance regarding topic. People will inevitably drift to that which is more interesting. If people are drifting it tends to indicate that there is not that much more that is worth discussing, or is interesting to discuss, on the topic.

    Deliberate thread hijacks are a different matter.

  34. Shunda,

    The purpose of the test is to find evidence which may be used to evaluate support for or against the hypothesis. That is the purpose of any test of a hypothesis, at least for people whom embrace the scientific method.

    The hypothesis is a development of a old philosophical apathy towards the existence of god which I happen to adopt. This particular development postulates that not only does the person whom proposed it (and myself) hold this apathy but that many believers and non-believers hold this apathy themselves. That is, that while people care about if god does exist or does not (and discounting the implications of an afterlife as this is a separate issue to the existence of god), people would not really live a life sufficiently different to that they live presently -in a moral and interpersonal sense- were their position regarding god to become different or the opposite.

  35. bj, I don’t have that expectation either. My uncle died last week, and I chose to not go to the funeral, partly because of the cost of the airfare and partly because of my workload in my job and my fear of how I would catch up on my return.

    But I try not to impose my culture over that of others who may consider it much more important from their cultural perspective to attend a funeral than I do.

    [frog: Hey, we are wandering a bit off-topic here. The issue is Work and Income’s administration of TAS / Special Benefit to meet ongoing shortfalls in their benefit payments – not whether someone should get a one-off grant to attend a funeral. Sorry, Toad, I know you didn’t start taking this thread down that path, and I’ll admit to contributing to the thread’s diversion myself, but yours was the first post I picked up on how far it had moved from what I intended to be the discussion topic.

    Can we keep it more on topic folks?]

  36. “It’d be a nice thing if there were money to spare, but that little oxymoron is as extinct as Tyrannosaurus Rex.”

    Well Bj, that’s where you’re wrong.
    I’ve got one of those in my back yard!!

  37. “Hypothetically, if you were presented with absolute proof that there was no god and you accepted that proof, would your morals change in any way?

    Would you, embracing the absence of god, now go and rape people, sodomize, kill, bash, steal, etc., etc., etc.? ”

    What is the purpose of the test?

    I think you have a point that the times we live in do determine the morality of Christians, but that fact can also be used in Christian apologetics to explain some of the issues that people have with the old testament.

    So no, I don’t think my morals would change to a great degree, but I am not exactly the perfect “moral’ Christian in any case.

  38. Frog, Fly…

    If I have no money for the trip and have 5 kids to take with me it won’t matter if it is my brother or my mother who is being buried, I am not going to expect the taxpayers of the country to fund the trip.

    It is just “too bad”. Extend it – my mother lives in Virginia… the round trip for me and the family would be 10 large, and there is not a chance in the world it should be paid. There is no such moral obligation on the part of the society. It’d be a nice thing if there were money to spare, but that little oxymoron is as extinct as Tyrannosaurus Rex.

    BJ

  39. toad,

    I’m NZ European as well but when my family needs to travel for an important family gathering, and any family member has a hardship (is on a benefit) we organise it within the family to cover the expense or make arrangements to suit.

    We dont go running to the state. We have our pride (mana?)

  40. and frog,

    any breakdown on Maori employment at WINZ? Maybe a post on that tommorrow on how even with a Maori minister and Maori staff, a government department can still be racist (meaning Maori can be as racist as I can be)

    Or maybe it is time to drop the racist slur and concentrate on the real work required to be done.

  41. Shunda,

    Do me a favour, I want to test a hypothesis on you. I am not trying to make a point.

    Hypothetically, if you were presented with absolute proof that there was no god and you accepted that proof, would your morals change in any way?

    Would you, embracing the absence of god, now go and rape people, sodomize, kill, bash, steal, etc., etc., etc.?

  42. Gerrit said: Where is the rest of that beloved “whanau” to take some self responsibility to make sure ALL members of said “whanau” can attend the tangi?

    I am a Pakeha, Gerrit, so no expert on tikanga, But my understanding is that the whanau take responsibility for you when you get there. You put down koha, if you can afford it, but no shame if you cannot.

    But I don’t believe tikanga expects that the cost of travel to a tangi is the responsibility of whanau members other than those who are travelling.

  43. frog,

    Saying is not doing. So line up the Green MP’s and march into Paula Bennetts office and get alongside her to sort out WINZ.

    What a golden opportunity. Do the Greens have the courage? Or will they whimper in the irrelevant background?

    Be interesting to see what the Greens will do.

    Excuse time to moan and do nothing starts …………… NOW.

  44. Gerrit, you may want to recall that Sue Bradford was saying this repeatedly under Labour’s watch:

    I don’t know how many of you have any familiarity at all with how beneficiaries in places like Kaiti, Wairoa and Ruatoria are treated, but I believe at one level it comes down to the continuation of the kind of systemic racism for which the Department of Social Welfare was notorious in decades past.

    Alongside this the much-vaunted Government promise that all beneficiaries can and should receive their full and correct entitlements upon application to the department is so far from being standard practice as to be a somewhat sick joke.

  45. greenfly

    We know that one of them at least, Gerrit, is dead.

    But do we?? ( I presume if it the royal version of “we” you are reffering to?)

    Does WINZ check with Births, Deaths and Marriages to confer there is a need?

    And will there be a repeat call on the “entitlement” when the headstone is unveiled 12 months later?

  46. and frog,

    Gerrit, thanks for your second comment re the Manurewa Work and Income office. It reinforces what the Green MPs have been telling me – that decisions are driven by “saving money” rather than exploring whether there is an entitlement under the legislation and regulations.

    has this only come to light on Nationals watch? I cant recall any Green comments regarding WINZ saving money when Labour held the purse strings. WINZ saving money and paying bonusses to staff for doing so, has been going on for a long time.

    Selective memory?

    Maybe it is time to sort out the rort. Looking forward to the Greens working with National to publish ALL the “entitlements” and not just route out the underpayed but also the overpayed.

    Paula Bennets office is in the same building and no doubt you will find her most receptive to the Greens proposal that to each only what their “entitlements” allow. You know each according to their needs, and the abilty of the tax payer to fund the “entitlement”.

    That should be fun, but somehow I dont think any Green MP will take the first step.

    Much easier to sit on the sideline and snipe than to get something concrete (like making sure each only receives what they are entitled to) done.

    ————————–

    It seems that institutional racism is still alive and well at Work and Income.

    Do you have a breakdown on the racial groups employed by WINZ? Be interesting as Maori by definition cannot be racist (ask Hone) so how can the organisation be racist?

    And has the minister (Paula Bennett) any Maori bloodlines and if so how can she be racist?

  47. We come from dust and so do we return to dust. Life is fleeting and the likelihood of anything after is effectively nil; enjoy life while it is there and get the frack over it when that of another ends.

    Missing a funeral will not harm their ability to sit on the benefit. They can sit back and soak up funds better spent elsewhere (a pity those funds were not used to teach her about condoms, though). If she starts complaining about haunting as a result of tapu violation then just hit her around the head and tell her she is nuts, the spiritual element of tapu is just as much bullsh*t as Christianity, and that if she wants to attend the next one she should stop being useless and do something.

  48. “Where is the rest of that beloved “whanau”..”

    We know that one of them at least, Gerrit, is dead.

    I mate ia.

  49. Hmmmm…. In Sapient’s case, I think I’d try something from my somniferum line. For the migraine, I’d advise the technique I was taught by an old woman with a hare-lip (she could cure migraine, but not cleft-palate, apparently).

  50. frog,

    But Work and Income refusing to pay for the travel costs is extraordinarily insensitive.

    What an extraordinary statement!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m lost for words.

    No, I’ve found some.

    Where is the rest of that beloved “whanau” to take some self responsibility to make sure ALL members of said “whanau” can attend the tangi?

    This sort of reliance on the state is degrading and destructive for Maori.

  51. Shunda,

    Only if I drink a substantial amount, and by that point the heart murmurs would start freaking me out (migraine medications plus alcohol is a bad combo).

    I just have a limit when it comes to stupidity. The state paying for someone to go to a funeral on the other side of the country -especially when they are already taking a non-insubstantial amount from the state- is just plain stupid in a time where we are selling our sovereignty at a rate of $15 million per week to cover the little pet projects of ideologues obsessed with subsidizing retardation.

  52. You seem a little grumpy tonight Sapient!
    Get greenfly to put a cider drinking curse on you like he did to me.
    Takes the edge right off!!

  53. Frog,

    WTF?

    Why should the tax payer give money to someone to have a holiday, even if it is family orientated? What about deficit spending does not penetrate your mind?

    I have family in Ireland, they are having a get together and general meeting. Should the state pay for me to fly there, stay there, eat there, and then fly back? Should the state pay for me to holiday in the sounds?

    This person has failed to save for the unneeded trip. There is no reason that the tax payer should be expected to fork out for that trip just because the person is an idiot with more kids than she can support.

    Furthermore, so what if they do not point out the entitlements? So long as they do not hide them, what is the problem? If people are too stupid to ask then they deserve to sit on the side of the street and rot; certainly they do not deserve to pass on their genes.

    Note: Yes, I know a tangi is not a holiday but a funeral. It makes no difference. It is not of fundamental importance and the tax payer should not be expected to fork out for it. People die; get over it.

  54. Gerrit, thanks for your second comment re the Manurewa Work and Income office. It reinforces what the Green MPs have been telling me – that decisions are driven by “saving money” rather than exploring whether there is an entitlement under the legislation and regulations.

    And denying someone the ability to attend the tangi of a much loved member of their whanau is appalling. I would have some concerns about the accommodation costs (I have been to many tangihanga, and the whanau always provides accommodation, even if it is a mattress on the floor, in my experience).

    But Work and Income refusing to pay for the travel costs is extraordinarily insensitive.

  55. frog,

    so the “Main Benefit in Force” column represents?

    Having been in the biggest WINZ branch (Manurewa) a couple of times with my tenant (NZ European) to help her get what she is supposed to receive, I can vouch for the unhelpful, rude, arrogant (like to write more but better not) frontline staff.

    Many if not most are Maori by the way (may indicate why PI people are even more badly represented then Maori).

    My understanding the whole office is on a bonus system to “save” money.

    What the greens should be pushing for is full publication of ALL the benefits available. Caseworkers dont tell anyone what benefits are available.

    And having an open plan office system there is no privacy in the Manurewa office of WINZ.

    Hence I know that one Maori woman looking for a TAS was told no, she cant have money for a new fridge. She had already been funded three fridges in four years and she was not going to get another.

    And the look of disgust from this woman, when she was turned down a weeks accomodation, a return Cook Straight ferry ticket, petrol for her car, in order to attand a tangi was unbelieveable.

    Dont you have family to take a ride with was the caseworkers question to her. No, I have five kids to take.

    Priceless

  56. @Gerrit

    I think you miss my point. This is not about beneficiaries who have applied for TAS – it is about those who have already disclosed information through their Accommodation Supplement and Disability Allowance applications that should indicate that, but for the cash asset test, they are eligible for TAS.

    Given that the cash asset test means that people who have a weekly deficiency of income compared with expenditure meet that deficiency by expending their cash assets, they will eventually qualify for TAS as well. Therefore the number excluded from TAS by the cash asset test will always be small – people newly entering the benefit system.

    The reference in your comment to Maori is also misguided. The issue of the disproportionate number of Maori of working age receiving benefits, while being an issue that should be addressed, is a completely different issue from the ethnic disparity in current beneficiaries who are not receiving TAS but have disclosed information to Work and Income that indicates they likely should be.

    In most cases, contrary to your assertion, these are people who have not applied. This is most likely because they were never told they could apply, or never told that TAS even existed.

    The statistics also reveal that Pasifika fare more poorly than Maori in TAS uptake in any case.

  57. You really need a breakdown on what specific request the TAS was turned down on. Then do a breakdown on racial profiles versus TAS request specifics.

    Interesting to see a racial breakdown of benificiary numbers versus the percentage of total population.

    Maori, 15% of Population, 103,426 on a main benefit.
    NZ European, 65% of Population, 135,320 on a main benefit

    Out of a population of 4 million one can do the math and see that all the years of pandering to Maori “rights” has seen very little improvement in their numbers on the main benefit.

    Stick that in the racist basket and smoke it.

    Institutional racist claptrap??? No, Maori being turned down for unreasonable TAS requests I would imagine.

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