INDEPENDENT NEWS

Tertiary qualifications not answer for WINZ staff

Published: Thu 16 Dec 1999 11:05 AM
National’s spokesperson on Work and Income (excluding Employment) Belinda Vernon MP is keen to identify and remedy policy shortcomings by working with those who deliver services from Work and Income NZ, and those who receive them.
“Through my electorate work, I have developed positive relationships with both of these groups. I look forward to continuing and building on those relationships.
“The role of WINZ is to help New Zealanders meet their aspirations,” Ms Vernon says.
“I do not share Mr Maharey’s view that front-line staff at WINZ should have to have a three-year tertiary qualification in social services in order to do their job effectively.
“In my view, the practical skills and experience of the WINZ staff I have come in contact with have been far more relevant in assisting their clients than any qualification in legal and policy issues.
“From my own electorate experience, I have come to understand the difficulties and challenges faced by those on low incomes. I know they want to maximise their potential and make the most of the opportunities before them. It is up to government to make sure those opportunities are there, that everyone is encouraged to aim high and that there is support for those who need it.
“Policy needs to focus on removing barriers for those who are able to return to or gain employment. At the same time it needs to consider those for whom employment is not an option.
“There are no quick fixes. Policy changes need to be carefully worked through to ensure the best long-term results.
“I will be tracking the performance of the Labour/Alliance minority government in this area very closely,” concluded Ms Vernon.
Ends

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