INDEPENDENT NEWS

WINZ passes the buck to students?

Published: Thu 19 Aug 1999 01:47 PM
Students have paid dearly for the government's decision to transfer student allowances to Work and Income NZ (WINZ). The extent of the problems caused for students has been highlighted once again this week with a new set of bungles.
"The Victoria University student hardship fund estimates that it paid out an extra $100,000 this year to cover students whose allowances weren't processed in time" said Alice Revell, Welfare Vice-President of the Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association (VUWSA).
"This Tuesday, a computer malfunction meant WINZ failed to pay many Victoria University students their allowances. This caused serious problems for our students, such as rent payments bouncing, students not having enough money to buy food, and hefty bank charges."
"Students who called WINZ to complain were told that there was nothing WINZ could do about it and they should see the student hardship fund at their university. This is completely unacceptable," said Ms Revell. "Situations like this really show WINZ's complete lack of understanding of students' situations."
"WINZ has continually shown their inability to administer student allowances this year. We have no confidence in their ability to administer student loans on top of this.
"When WINZ took over student allowances, the government promised students and the public that it would be more efficient and save money. However it seems that WINZ is trying to save money by passing the costs on to students and the University," said Ms Revell.
"Student allowances and loans used to be processed face-to-face on campus until the government gave WINZ the job. WINZ has now realised that this was a better system, and they are trying to get Victoria University to pay $13,500 so that they can have an office on campus," said Ms Revell.
"We think it is a great idea for WINZ to have an office on campus, as does the university, but we are completely opposed to students covering the operational costs for a large government department. So much for efficiencies of WINZ, it seems more like they are just trying to find other people to pass their costs on to" concluded Ms Revell.
ENDS

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