Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Sanity prevails

WINZ, in an effort to throw more people off benefits, has been arguing that loans were "income" and that if you borrowed money, your benefit could be reduced or cut. Now, the High Court has ruled that they were wrong:

A solo mother of two has won her seven-year fight against the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), which unlawfully tried to argue bank loans and credit cards constituted income.


But in a High Court appeal released today, Justice Paul Davison ruled MSD was wrong to classify those sources of money as income.

"The bank loans did not truly add to Ms F's resources as she was required to repay the funds she received," Justice Davison wrote.

"Bank borrowings by use of a credit card have the same essential characteristics as a bank loan, in that credit card expenditure is to be repaid. Credit card spending is therefore a loan, and is not properly treated as income."

Good. But it raises an obvious question: how many benefits did WINZ cut over this fictitious "income", and will they be repaying the money? Because that is what justice demands in this case: that WINZ apologise to everyone it has victimised under this spurious and unlawful practice, and repay every dollar that they were deprived of.