Thursday, September 21, 2017

WINZ steals from the poorest

Hot on the heels of yesterday's news of WINZ lawlessness, we learn that WINZ has been illegally underpaying the poorest beneficiaries:

More than 7000 of New Zealand's most-desperate beneficiaries have been short-changed by the Government - and they're about to get payback.

A Ministry of Social Development report has found 7148 people on Special Benefits have been underpaid by the Government since 2006, and they have known about it for two years. MSD have estimated the amount could be up to $9.5 million.

In 2015, MSD was advised that it needed to offer the Temporary Additional Support (TAS) to beneficiaries if they were better off on it.

And the short version is, they didn't. Instead, they deliberately kept people on the lower benefit and didn't inform them of their entitlement to the higher one, in order to keep benefit costs low. The good news is that they're going to have to pay it all back - but you can guarantee that they will make that process as slow and difficult as possible to ensure they don't have to. Because that's just how WINZ are: lawless, and focused on cost-cutting rather than helping people.

This agency needs a complete culture change. And that change needs to start by sacking the entire senior management who have allowed this toxic culture to grow and fester. And its lawless chief executive needs to be the first to go...