INDEPENDENT NEWS

Ministry handles security warnings as they do benefits

Published: Thu 18 Oct 2012 11:25 AM
Ministry handling of security warnings parallels usual handling of applications
Kay Brereton from the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation of NZ says that “the way that the security notifications were handled by MSD has strong parallels with the experience that a person has when applying for a benefit.”
“First the report from Dimension Data was received, but obviously not read and actioned, then further information was received, but they didn't feel it was relevant, and did no follow up to clarify, next a phone call; they rang back to say 'sorry no money'. After that a member of the public was able go and spend over two hours in a W office using the internet it appeared, without attracting the attention, or an offer of help from any staff.”
“After it turns out that their decision was wrong and they should have done something, blame and aspersions are cast back at those who gave warnings, along with hints at prosecution.”
“When you apply for a benefit, first the application can't be found, then it is on the wrong form, then they need more information, if/when they decline the application (in a case where there was eligibility) it is because the person provided the wrong information or took too long to provide it. And sadly spending over two hours in an office waiting for an appointment is not unusual.”
“This is the culture of W that people refer to, this unapologetic, bureaucratic, gatekeeping, which blames the applicant for not knowing what the system requires.”
“It is this culture of blame, and disrespect that needs to be addressed.”
“We call upon W to act quickly to demonstrate that this is changing right now.”
We ask for an assurance that no sanctions will eventuate as a result of the closure of the kiosks, that W suspend the sanctioning of benefits for the next two weeks while this issue is investigated.”
“That immediate steps be taken by W to contract providers in all towns so that people can have restored, free access to internet as they had at the kiosks, meaning that as soon as possible people will be able to resume their internet job search activities.”
“We also ask that W do not assume that emails they send to clients have been received, as clients may now be unable to access their mail.”
ENDS

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