Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Great WINZ ripoff

You're a beneficiary. Because they're muppets, WINZ overpays you a day's benefit when you start. When they notice, you're forced to repay the money (which is fair enough) - and tagged as a "fraudster" for good measure.

But what if the shoe is on the other foot? What if WINZ systematically underpays you, and everyone else, for years? Simple: they get the government to change the law:

Beneficiaries have been underpaid for the past 18 years - and the Government is now seeking to change the law to avoid paying for the mistake.

Certain beneficiaries have been underpaid by a total of one day each since 1998, beneficiary advocate Kay Brereton said.

An amendment to legislation currently before Parliament would mean such underpayments would be wiped.

The unfairness of this ought to be obvious to all. WINZ owes these people money, and it should pay them. So what's the government's excuse for this theft?
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said the law change simply reflected what was happening on the ground.

"We're talking a day, so it's not a huge amount of money," Ms Tolley told Radio New Zealand.

Which probably sounds eminently sensible to a Minister on a $272,000 a year salary. But when you're on a benefit, a day of income - even if its only $20 or $30 - can make a huge difference. But we can hardly expect a pack of wankers on over a quarter of a million a year each to understand that.