Sick of WINZ, sick of NZ, sick of people

One of the great things about being a New Zealander, is that we pride ourselves on our social security system – the fact that if you lose your job, if everything fails in your life, if you hit rock bottom, the people of New Zealand will provide you with enough money to live and help you find work, get back on your feet.

It’s a system I’m very thankful for – whilst I’ll probably never be in that position (yay, IT jobs), I like to believe that I’m in a society that cares enough for people that we don’t let them starve or die on the streets when they run out of money, like uncivilised nations such as the USA.

But the sad thing is that this just isn’t true – whilst we have this social support in the form of WINZ, it doesn’t deliver – nobody I know who has had to rely on WINZ has had a good experience and the system as a whole is setup to cause people immense stress and anguish.

Thanks to a culture inspired by media and political parties using benifiercies as political target points, there is immense pressure to rid NZ of the “freeloaders” on the system – whilst some complaints are valid, there will always be people who abuse any system, but the existence of these people does not necessarily mean the system itself is bad.

From what I can tell, the users of WINZ seem to fall into one of four main categories:

  1. People who have recently lost their job and need help in the transition period – not everyone has large savings and can afford to live between redundancies.
  2. Youth, out of school with few of the real skills required that businesses want and unable to find work.
  3. Intelligent/otherwise successful people who are having trouble finding work and need support sometimes – maybe the job market isn’t so good, maybe they’ve had some issues (eg depression, unexpected children, etc) and just need a hand.
  4. People who just don’t want to work and would rather be paid money by the government to stay home.

In my experience, the people in the fourth category are relatively rare – the money isn’t good and the social stigma isn’t that much fun, not to mention sitting around with nothing todo most of the time gets pretty boring pretty fast – most people would rather be working and feel like a member of society.

However with all the political pressure to curb these freeloaders, WINZ has evolved to operate in a way to treat people as poorly as possible to try and force them off their books and into work with some bizarre logic of “if we treat people badly enough, we’ll get them into work”.

I know of many cases where WINZ is:

  • Refusing to fund people who have lost their jobs because they “resigned” rather than being fired or made redundant – however this isn’t always simple, people may resign because the job is abusive, dangerous or resign as part of a settlement to avoid firing. In these cases, people still need the same support services, but WINZ won’t fund for at least 10 weeks after the job ceased.
  • Sending people to training courses on skills they already have, yet pulling people off training courses they actually want to do because they’re considered unready or unsuitable.
  • Randomly cutting benefits with little/no warning and demanding people to justify their payments in order for it to be reinstated.
  • Aggressively trying to force single mums who have come out worse from a divorce into the workforce, not considering the child at stake, nor their current challenges.
  • Discrimination towards people with mental health issues, trying to cut their benefits, force them off sickness benefits and demand they get a job, when in reality, a number of these people will never be hired by most companies.

The latest issue which has pushed me over the limit, is WINZ trying to force @splatdevil to attend a boot-camp like course to somehow help her to find a job in NZ’s currently difficult job market.

This course involves living to military law for 6 weeks, dressing in military uniform and performing large amounts of physical activity – the write up about it from NZ Military pretty much states what it is – a boot camp, designed for youth who have been in trouble with the law, problems with drugs, violence and other issues.

Essentially, WINZ wants to *force* my girlfriend to attend this course – of course it’s “voluntary”-  but if you don’t attend, your benefit entitlements get completely cut, and you’ll be out on the streets with no money. So real voluntary there.

Their thinking is that someone intelligent, with university education, who is working hard having interviews and applying for work, would be improved by spending 6 weeks running through mud, doing military drills and associating with other people with serious violence, drugs and attitude problems.

Not to mention the health impact of forcing someone with asthma and weight into performing intensive physical activities plus the mental damage of pushing a creative free thinking mind into such a rigid structure designed to curb and reduce attitudes to fit a standard mold chosen by out-dated conservative mindsets as being “appropriate” for society.

I don’t have a problem with the boot-camp/LVR course structure per-say, but it’s something individuals need to choose if they think it’s something that they’ll benefit from – at the same time, an individual actively looking for work or doing a data entry course is complete equally entitled to my tax dollars as far as I’m concerned.

I know that someone like myself would end up bitter and resentful at being treated like an idiot and forced into military activities – I’d be more likely to come out angry and bitter at society than someone wanting to work and contribute towards it. Far more likely to sit at home writing black hat malware and hacking systems to get back at the man than to be out there designing solutions and startup companies to bring NZ into the business of technology.

As it stands, I’m sick of WINZ, sick of New Zealand and most of all, sick of the people in New Zealand who, as one smart friend puts it, have the attitude of benefit bashing being a national sport and just sick of the fact that our country is slowly sliding more and more backwards.

Quite frankly, I’m feeling increasingly ashamed to be a New Zealander every day, living in a country that lies about it’s true issues behind the false premise that we’re a clean, green, forwards thinking, socially conscious nation.

And New Zealand probably isn’t that likely to retain me for that much longer – from 2012, I’m strongly considering a permanent move overseas, most likely to AU – there’s little opportunity or future left here for me. And who knows if I’ll ever be back once I leave.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

79 Responses to Sick of WINZ, sick of NZ, sick of people

  1. Nicola says:

    Lisa’s case manager doesn’t seem to be paying any attention whatsoever to her needs or situation – this is clearly the wrong thing for her to do!! If there was a more suitable course being required, then sure, she should do it. But this is just ridiculous and I highly doubt it’s suitable for any university graduate.

    If WINZ get serious about this, maybe she should talk to her local MP? Write to the Minister? I don’t know the detail of this particular government policy, but surely it is not aimed at people in Lisa’s situation and the case manager doesn’t appear to me to be doing her job correctly. Maybe talking to people higher up will help.

    And I’m so with you more generally. I came over to Oz on a whim, with little thought to how long I might be here, but figuring I’d give it a couple of years and take it from there. A year on, I have absolutely no plans to return to NZ anytime soon, and have just this week been thinking that, at this rate, I don’t ever want to return.

    • Jethro Carr says:

      Yeah, not sure about the case manager – they seem to change every other week.

      We believe we’ll be able to sort it out via medical cert means, but it’s a stressful hassle we don’t want – hopefully a good job comes up ASAP so we can avoid this whole painful experience. :-(

      See you in AU shortly :-)

  2. Jethro Carr says:

    And @splatdevil’s take on the events of today around this whole headache:

  3. Brad H says:

    Moving to Aussie is a good option even if it is just gaining experience for a few years. However, just be aware Kiwis in Aussie do not have access to any sort of unemployment benefit unless they are permanent residents – most are not, they are on special category visas.

    • Jethro Carr says:

      Thanks Brad,

      Yeah I’ll need to make sure I’m fully aware of all the services I can/can’t get – will probably end up getting private healthcare insurance, but because of my age and lack of financial commitments like mortgage/etc, I probably won’t worry about income protection insurance at all and just ensure I have enough funds for a rainy day.

      Long term I’d like to spend time in Europe, so from AU I’ll prob spend a few years there and then consider where I want to settle for the future.

    • Bear in mind that the Australian social security system is a lot more draconian: you have to prove 5 job applications a week (never mind there are not that many jobs advertised in any given field) and can get cut off for missing an appointment with the ‘flu if you have no doctors certificate (never mind that doctors fees are expensive and you might wait up to 2 weeks for an appointment making this requirement impossible to meet).

      On top of this, there is a huge gap between the basic cost of living and benefits. Unfortunately the Howard government made bashing beneficiaries an election campaign point and things have gone downhill ever since.

      Having worked in that sector, the reality is that abusers are so insignificant in number they are probably not worth chasing at all, yet everyone is made to suffer. Court orders have been taken out to silence those who have complaints that must not be investigated (because corruption is implied), and some fraud is committed by staff (rerouting people’s benefit payments to their own bank accounts from time to time, etc).

      In short, it is very tough over there even if you qualify for assistance.

  4. nenuphars says:

    Lisa shouldn’t be having different case managers week by week. There should be one standard case manager throughout. It sounds to me that her situation is poorly managed and her needs are not targeted.
    I would talk to the case manager again and ask what other alternatives can they provide in lieu of the Military Boot camp, possibly even provide suggestions.

    • girlysan says:

      Hi the casemanager system was changed last year to lighten the workload of a single case case manager.I am against myself because most people build up trust with there own one if it changes you start from scratch every week with your personal story.

      • davidnz says:

        Davidd: Hi yes the case manager system gas changed for that reason alone to lighten the load. and yes, u build trust with one then have to explain ur persona life story to another.

    • Fiona says:

      Everything under national is poorly managed. We seem to have a Nazi party for a government not a National party.

      • damage says:

        i feel we are heading towards a third world country
        winz say go for 5 job interviews per week and just this week alone near on 1000 jobs have being lost (thats going to be easy isnt it)

    • maggie says:

      we all have different case managers each week. each time we go visit. where are you living? in dunedin there are not many managers here so everyone sees whoever. and its different person each time.. just a cross ur fingers and hope they have had a good day. i no longer understand the system. and i wonder why they even have winz.. and why are the govt here ruling the country.. once upon a time it was there to help the people live, now its against the people, maybe there is too many population? i really do not understand what is with john keys nor do i understand why he is still in charge.. what is the queens job ?? is she not supposed to help support the country here.. sounds like so many people are complaining yet nothings being done. maybe some riots are needed?? protests?

  5. Kai Koenig says:

    I don’t think it’s necessarily an issue with NZ as such. It’s a general phenomenon that central/right governments have a different attitude towards benefits than Labour governments have – in any country, really.

    Lisa’s particular case sounds absolutely ridiculous to me. I’m pretty sure WINZ has totally screwed up the case, my next step would be to formally complain about the case manager – I’m very sure in good old public service there’s a process for that. If that doesn’t lead to a fast resolution – get an appointment with the local MP (not sure where she’s officially registered with WINZ) – take the whole paper trail of job applications, responses etc and get that person involved.

    • Jethro Carr says:

      thanks Kai,

      I did wonder about the Labour vs National argument, but from what I can see, the LSV was an activity introduced under the Labour government – although I’m sure National are keen supporters.

      Advice we’re getting from everyone is to talk with a proper case manager about options and then consider other options like talking with an MP.

      • Lynden says:

        Under Labour the LSV’s were truly voluntary, National introduced the draconian penalties not just regarding LSV’s either

      • davidnz says:

        As long as LIsa is fulfilling her obligaiotns WINZ cant touch her. If ur in strife with Winz go see Benefit Rights(advocates) in your area.

  6. mark says:

    Your points are very well taken and quite consistent with others who have spoken of the issues.

    I guess the biggest concern is not so much the pressures and techniques of WINZ, but the absolutely idiotic notion that jobs are falling off trees or dropping from the sky and that there is such a plethora of available jobs that the market is dying of a need.

    In fact the reality is that jobs in NZ are SCARCE at best and the stupidity to believe there is excess in the job market is precisely why there is so little corporate hiring and so little done to improve the job growth and for that matter business growth in NZ.

    I think the biggest issue is that leaders seem to be pushing an ideaology that looks like the EUs strange austerity deals, eg. the DELUSIONAL concept that if you CUT all expenditures and reduce debt you will see economic growth. Idiots coming out of level 100 Macro Economics courses can figure out that a substantive portion of growth and economic development is cross linked with jobs and expenditures.

    I would propose that WINZ is simply the symptomatic response to an otherwise delusional economic model. Your views of course very much appreciated!

  7. The Terminator says:

    I so agree about WINZ- it a set up and I’ve been on the unemployment benfit for 3 years and comming to 4 years this november, I wont say what I think as there is alot. That course LSV is not a great idea for me as I’m deaf which I’ve told them a 100000000000000000000000000000 times and I always gets looked at like I’ve bn in trouble with police, done drugs and all that kinda things!! I’ve never ever done drugs or gt in trouble wif police because they can look at my school report which I might have to bring to show them!

    I have sent emails,rang them to let them know what I do and what I’ve done and yet they say get a job and hurry up cause u hve bn on the benfit for a year nw!! so I told my dad n mum about it n they said they hd no rights 2 say dat, I’m 22 in 2 wks n hd lots of experiances so I’ll either blow WINZ up or they cn go 2 court wif me??

  8. james says:

    I have been on a sickness benefit for 12 months , due to surgery i had to my neck. 12 doctors have confirmed i have the same problem. i take 8 panadol tablets, 6 codeine tabs and 2 amtrip pills. I have major pain down my right side and a small metal disc inserted in my neck. I am unable to lift anything above 4kg , i can not twist my neck without causing pain and i can not pull backwards and forwards, i get pain from using a computer key board. I had my review at winz this took ten minutes, told to come back next year. What i want to know is who will hire me with such a disability my experience no one.

  9. BARBARA says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I recently resigned from my job because my employer refused to give me 10 days leave and 3 days without pay as I was going on holiday. I have since come back from holiday.

    I have no job at the moment but am keeping an eye open for employment. My husband, Kevin is not working at the moment as well as he has epilepsy and finding jobs around Christchurch is difficult for him at the moment.
    We have a mortgage on our house and the lack of income is going to make things difficult for us to be on equal terms with mortgage payments.
    I have an appointment with WINZ next Thursday and I need to put forward a strong reason why I resigned.
    Before my recent resignation I had not been happy with management on several occasions.
    Kevin and I are both deaf and we would appreciate it very much if you are able to assist us to explain strongly so I am able to get a benefit.

    Thank you


    • Jethro Carr says:

      hi Barbara,

      Sorry, but I’m not the best person to address this – you’re best off talking to an employment lawyer, they might be able to advise whether you ex-employer was being unreasonable at all and if you raise valid grounds that your resignation was effectively forced due to an unfairly inflexible employer, it may open up new options with WINZ, not to mention compensation if you ex-employer acted unfairly.

      At least maybe talk with Department of Labour first to get some points – being deaf will unfortunately make it a bit harder I imagine, perhaps see if the non-profit support groups for deaf people in NZ have some people/resources able to assist around employment disputes.

      PS: surname removed as per your request.


      • james says:

        I would get an advocate to act on your behalf, Automatic 13 week stand down if you resigned without having a good reason why.

    • Fiona says:

      Barbara there is a good lawyer down there called Rob Davidson and he is Lianne Dalziels husband. He took a case on behalf of an invalids beneficiary about getting her credit card payments included in the special benefit payment and he won. He seems very good.

  10. Kanders says:

    I’m not using my real name or details, for fear of being found out. (I have a job but wish to keep it)

    I am a born NZ’r but call another country ‘home’ because of the way things are run there. It’s safer, It’s cleaner, there is a lot less crime, and there are a lot less people sitting around doing nothing because everyone there has something to do.
    Whilst I agree with your catagories of beneficeries I disagree with the numbers. I know a huge amount of people sitting around because they can’t be bothered, more so than people who are unfortunate and are using the system as it was ment to be used, ie sickness, unemployment but looking. They are ripping the rest of us off, so that if the unfortunate situation I were out of a job came a long I’d be screwed because of the people abusing the system. It truly only take a couple of bad eggs to ruin it for the rest of us.
    I too feel sorry for single mothers, some deserve their lot in life a lot don’t ie your example of a divorced mother, but I was a single father. I was single for a period of time and was on a ‘shared’ care arrangement with my childs mother. Was I entitled to any ‘handout’s’ from WINZ or the IRD ?? No. Nothing but my childs mother kept getting more and more money, and complained the second something went amiss. I have always been in my childs life and have always paid support, I’m not like the other ‘run off’ fathers who are too retarded to take on the responability, but here is the next injustice. I now have 1/2 time custodial care of my child. One week with mum one week with dad. I’m no longer a paying parent but a custodial parent. I am still paying child support, where she is not. Why? because she’s on the benefit. Should that Matter? No. Should she pay?? Probably, but I don’t wish to take her precious ‘booze’ money away from her because it amounts to 5/10ths of SFA if I get money back. By the way I now have another child, with another woman whom I am in a relationship with. Winz gives us a small amount of money a week. My partner is well over maternity leave now, and is recieving nothing from Winz because we live together.
    I do earn a comfortable amount of money, but it’s not enough. We are surving renting a two bedroom place, plus bills, debts etc, on the one income. Winz wont help because I ‘earn’ too much. So because I earn it, I magically have it laying around in abundance to spend. Sorry guys I didn’t win lotto, but that’d sure help right now..

    I could go on and on about what’s wrong with this hole of a country but I wont. I usually get into trouble for making ‘unfavourable’ remarks.

    Thank you

  11. Pete says:

    I actually have only ever had good experiences with WINZ..
    The government has done a great job setting up WINZ to help hard working and future hard working citizens of New Zealand.

    I walked in feeling lost depressed and hopeless after losing a job (on top of other things) but they welcomed me in, Assigned my a case manager who asked me a few questions, went over my options and things I needed to do to get the help I needed.

    I did what they asked me to do and went to see my assigned case manager and we talked about how to get back into the work force, gave me advice and info on places that were hiring ( they great up to date list too). I felt great My manager was sympathetic to my situation and really helped bring my confidence up tremendously.

    A week goes by and I got an unemployment benefit. I found a job a few weeks later!

    Great job WINZ! I couldnt have done it without you guys!!
    Even better job NZ GOVT. In setting up a great service, Im so glad the citizens voted the right people in!!
    Damn it feels good to be a New Zealander.
    I love telling people abroad how amazing it is here.

    You previous posters just have your nickers in a twist.

    • riley says:

      yes i think that the case managers do try their hardest and work well.. it is hard for them to work there .. remembering everything.. working with the people who are as&holes.. and grumpy. i wish the govt would start looking positively at things.. or maybe our media need to change,. then again all happy news people would not bother to listen right?

  12. Pete says:

    Yeeeeeah, I wish my above post was true. Maybe thats what a WINZ experience in Heaven would be like.

    Thats the COMPLETE opposite of my experience. I think im going bald dealing with those scum. The people that set up the system are scum of the earth, the people that work there are scum for doing what they do without a conscience.

    I honestly would rather live on the st than deal with WINZ. In their office, I have to muster all my might to not stand up and start chucking chairs at them.
    I’ve had such a bad experience with them that my head is pounding just thinking about it..seriously. I don’t want to go into it.

    Im glad I found this page though.

    I hope you guys above me find your way.

    Im done with this country, the government and the people that elect these idiots can have this place.

    Such a beautiful, amazing country on the outside but such a effin train wreck on the inside.
    What a waste.

  13. Maryanne gerrard says:

    HAMILTON WINZ department/s ( 5 x road & Angelsea St ) Staff are on individual planets, the communication between staff of both departments are so screwed up.

    My son (22) & daughter (18) have casual jobs for 3-6 months so signing up for the dole is becoming sooooo depressing,,stressful,,, for them,it took my son 4 weeks to finally see someone,as one of the office dept would say ” no no no,,they sent you to the wrong dept,,you need to go to —-. ”

    Both department did this 3 times to him.

    My 18 yr old went thru something similar,,took 5 weeks.
    She was given 2 options of Training course ,one was the 6 week army course OR a Factory Course.

    The factory introduction course was held on a Friday and, the Army was on the following Monday,, here’s the thing, they said to the group
    ” To keep your benefit,you have to do ONE of these Course, either one,,it ‘s up to you”

    My daughter didn’t do the Friday factory class,and did the Army intro Class and received her money the following week,,, BUT,,the week after that,a day before her pay,she got a letter that her bene had stopped,because she failed to do the Factory intro Course.

    We thought it would be easy to sort out,,,but no
    My girl explained that they were given the option to do either one,
    Department said ” Yes,,, that’s right,,but we prefer you did the Friday-factory,,you now have a Stand-down for 3 months ”


    OR maybe they screw-up to stay employed,,

    My girl explained to them that the case manager said she could do

  14. Joel says:

    My beef with WINZ is that YES, they are taking the so called book and just judging the cover sort of thing, with each new client that walks through there doors now. I’ve been a beneficery for nearly three years now after being made redundent from my previous job. My first experiance with WINZ was one you would kill for now-a-days. I was appoionted one of the most kind, understanding and caring case managers that you could find. He got my application proccesed in five minutes of me having my appointment with him. It all turned horribly wrong when they appointed me with a fresh new case manager straight out of training. She had no idea of what she was doing and inturn she totally messed up my file.

    I’ve now been dealing with all sorts of different case managers since my first one and, all of them are the same wanting me to get a job. I dont necessarly disagree with that but when i am out looking for employment doing my hardest to do so, then start getting letters in the mail saying that im being work tested for breaching client obligations is bull-s*#% and thats the thing I DO DISAGREE with.

    I’d also just like to say that the LSV course offered by WINZ and the NZ defence force is a truely awsome programme to do. It’s not realy a boot camp but, more a motivational camp for youth who are in that catogory that don’t want to get off the bene and waste tax payers dollars on drugs or booze and con’t want a job.

  15. Andy says:

    Seems quite unanimous reading this site, I can’t help but think wldnt it make more sense to swap the ppl receiving the benefit with the case workers employed by WINZ and vica verca?
    Anyway I have a question, I need help. Today (being Fri the 17th) I received a letter from WINZ (dated the 14th) saying my benefit will be terminated tomorrow (Sat 18th). The letter states that the benefit is only a 12 month temporary contract, oh, I have been on the benefit for a number of years now (I am taking steps toward self employment) and this is the 1st time I have been informed of this? Thanx for the warning anyway WINZ.
    The question is, can they do this? and what is the normal notification period for termination? What is the legal termination notification period for paid Winz employees? 2 weeks?

    Well anyway I have been working toward self-employment (if i cant get a job, make a job!) problem here is I have to “illegally” hide money from WINZ as every time I save up a bit of cash WINZ tell me I have money to live on and cut my benefit (oh I buy old cars fix them up and sell them for a little more and so on, not enough to live on but everything I can put away….)
    If WINZ cut my benefit I may never get a business of the ground and could quite possibly be on the benefit for the rest of my life? My plan was to start in 12 months with a small staff and within 2yrs employ up to 10 ppl, well….. just hopes and dreams now?

    Oh and before anyone suggests the so called enterprise allowance that WINZ has to help business start up, well what a waste of time that is!!!
    $5k over 6 mouths, its just the same as the benefit, the only difference is they let u earn as much as u like without it being cut but once it ends u r on ur own. Sorry WINZ if thats a joke im struggling to laugh.


    • Fiona says:

      What branch are you with? Don’t accept their word for anything. Find out what the legislation says and ask them to provide it. Don’t ever be afraid of them they seem to think they have all this power that they don’t actually have.

    • Rongomai says:

      You are allowed up to $8000 dollars unacessable(like credit union or 5 year bond etc not immediately accessable) savings or cash assets, and I can’t remember the threashold for non-cash assets, but do look it up at the library or somewhere reliable. Nz threasholds for Benefits etc you should also be able to ring through with out your client number to the IRD or WINZ o800 # That amount has probably increased also. You would be wise to download a copy of your human rights, and the social security acts, and any acts of law that cover discrimination, your right to live justly(property laws,conduct laws,good faith,recordings, intellectual property, documentation etc) Use them and quote them, complain correctly as much as possible. Groups such as council can put you in touch with networking and enterprise groups ,business mentors etc, which will definately help someone who is trying to remove themselves from the system by working…

    • tracey griffiths says:

      i agree andy, the self employment grant is indeed a massive scam,one that my CM is forcing me to take on right now.I mentioned a few moths back that i had aspirations of being self employed.which i do.a few months ago however i had to move house,its much smaller,no garage and literally nowhere to work or store anything,i am a single mother of 4,2 of which have ADD and Aspergers and will need to be in an out of the hospital paediatric system to see what we can do to help them,my youngest is 3 1/2 and cant go to kindy cos they wont accept him till toilet, no workspace? no childcare? does my CM care? no! ive been given 4 weeks, 2 already used up, to research a massive,feasible business plan and complete a checklist of about 10 other items,pull a grands worth of equipment that i dont have out my arse,vacate my bedroom kitchen and washouse cos it gonna be the closest thing i have to workspace,all while 2 of my kids are screeching,twitching and rolling round the floor beside me as i go/. my benefit will be 75 pw less than im already struggling on,and my flexiwage (paid monthly) is going to have to feed us cos self employed people arent entitled to GMFI tax credits,hope my kids can handle eating monthly lol.
      Im effectively comitting financial suicide to suit some clueless CM and help her collect her performance bonus in time for xmas.And we all know the consequences if i dont produce this great miracle.

  16. Fiona says:

    From what I can tell, the users of WINZ seem to fall into one of four main categories

    No there are people who have disabilities as well and some too sick to work.

    • Jethro Carr says:

      That is true, I’ve excluded that from my blog post here, since payment to people with health problems or disabilities is a separate issue.

      • Fiona says:

        But they suffer the same treatment as the unemployed. Look at that poor guy up north who was refused a food grant so he smashed the windows of winz he was on an invalids benefit and theuy are putting the screws on them as well. They even have the nerve to visit their doctors and dictate to them what they
        are allowed to put on the medical certificates having no real regard for the persons health. It can be a lot harder to deal with them when your sick.

        Heres a useful website

        Auckland Action Against Poverty

        • Jethro Carr says:

          Yeah for sure, a lot of the same issues – I haven’t gone into those in detail on this post, it’s been purely from a healthy job seeker POV, rather than looking into the treatment of people with disabilities, something which is a real serious problem that needs more investigation.

      • Except that there are people on unemployment who should be on sickness benefit or assisted living due to wishful thinking, such as, if you put someone crippled with CFS in a job, they will magically get well, rather than just get fired and have their reputation tarnished hindering their long term prospects.

  17. Fiona says:

    This is old but still relevant today because nothing has changed.

    Who set up this website?

  18. Naomi F says:

    Where are these jobs that they want to kick everyone off their benefits for?
    They need to get down off their high horses and stop playing God with peoples’ lives.
    I personally would like to stick it to em and take their jobs.
    Huh, now you be on the benefit, and I will decide whether I like you, or think you are deserving enough to stay on one.

  19. Jo says:

    This National government is destroying lives and families.
    I was on a sickness benefit following a car accident. ACC accepted the claim then decided my spinal injury had only exacerbated an existing weakness in my spine (one that had never been discovered and could not be proven to have either existed or not before the crash). WINZ decided that since ACC wouldn’t accept responsibility that my disability was only temporary, despite surgeons and doctors letters to the contrary. So, according to them I was not an invalid and only needed time to recover before returning to work.
    Prior to my accident I was on an income in the top tax bracket. Moving to a sickness benefit was a shock. My outgoings on medical expenses, mortgage, insurances, etc were more than the benefit so my savings were quickly disappearing.
    Every single contact with WINZ saw me dealing with a different case manager. I never had the same case manager twice.
    Last year, my benefit was reviewed and I again had to provide medical evidence about my disability. The benefit was continued then stopped. I was told I wasn’t eligible for a sickness benefit and had to apply for an invalids/disability benefit. I did this and payments started again at a lower rate.
    Four months later, the benefit stopped without any warning. Four months worth of benefit was taken out of my bank account. I couldn’t pay my mortgage and my bank account was in serious arrears. The bank is threatening a mortgagee sale. Council has sent debt collectors chasing unpaid rates.

    WINZ claims that the benefit had been granted in error and that they have no record of my paperwork. They say I can appeal but that this won’t get me anywhere as they haven’t any record of receiving my forms last year. I can again apply for the benefit but this will not pay arrears which means that I will still be defaulting with the bank.
    I have sold everything I can sell with the exception of my car (which I need or else I am housebound) and house. If I lose my home I lose everything.

    I’ve paid taxes for over 20 years and all this time I thought NZ had a social welfare system. More fool me. And more fool anyone who voted for National.

    • Fiona says:

      I hope you challeneged their decision Jo? Don’t let them get away with it.
      Where are you based Jo?

      • James says:

        I am on a sickness benefit only took ten minutes to get reviewed as for the debt i had outstanding i did a nap my life is so much better now and i can concentrate on getting well again.

    • Kate says:

      Old thread, I know, suffice to say I’m having a WINZ experience. I thought mine was bad – this is unbelievable. You’ve been economically crippled by state social services. I’m going for a “review of decision” meeting at some stage, after, having applied for such, the case manager appears to have both made the decision that I’m disputing, and reviewed it. So on to the next level, which hopefully has a degree of independence. The thing that’s disgusting me about the whole process is the Orwellian nature of it. They sent me two lettters, one dated the 17th March, stating that they would conduct an internal review first, which would take about two weeks. The second letter, dated 18th March, stated that the review had taken place and they supported their initial decision. So, hang on, the two week internal review took a day and was conducted by the person who made the initial decision that I’m disputing? Oh, due process, very nice. Very nicely done. Then the letter telling you what to expect from the next step in the review process is pretty much designed to put you off, telling you you can stop the review process now, or may bring a solicitor to the meeting, or other support person.
      I thought it would be some highly-educated boffin in an office in Wellington, looking over my letter of request, considering the points I’d made, taking the wider context into account, but, no. LOL. It’s the person who made the seemingly arbitrary decision to cut the accommodation supplement in the first place, reviewing their own decision in an hour, rather than the advertised fortnight, then onto the lawyers! Cool! How much do they cost? Like I’m gunna be bringing a solicitor. Reeks of cronyism, point-scoring, and frankly, a weird callousness that revolts me. I hate this country, it has really gone down the shitter.

  20. jess says:

    I HATE WINZ. I have worked my ass of all my life paying taxes etc. the one time when I need some help????- I have recently become unemployed after I left my job to help my younger sister who was living out of town with her first pregnancy. I ended up getting a seasonal job. I have now been unemployed nearly 5 months. I have been refused interview clothes twice! I told them I had nothing nice to wear for an interview, they basically told me “too bad”. I also only got help with petrol after iIalmost cried infront of them because i wasnt gonna make it to my interview. They made me feel like scum and like I was a pathetic stupid woman. I have now been given a job offer. I am so happy! I have had many interviews and job trials that I could of claimed money from WINZ for help but I did not want to deal with those bastards more than I had to. I now need some shoes etc for my new job which I am worried I will get the judgemental ‘scum’ look when I walk in the door.
    I just thought I would have a little bit more respect from the staff at WINZ, but they dont see me for the woman who has paid taxes her whole life, its the woman who is bludging off the government. I can not wait to ever see WINZ on my bank statement EVER AGAIN!

  21. Dre says:

    F.Y.I. WINZ people such az case managers are not there to “make a difference” in the way we would like, they are given a set of rules to follow and collect bonuses if they follow them well.
    I’m not to sure if any of you now how the monetry system works but all the changes we suffer in New Zealand are because of a debt we as the people did not agree on, but because we voted for whom ever…. this alone means that we did.
    Ive been studying our debt for 5 years now and found that the end result is we loose everything, poor or rich we loose everything.
    There is a safe solution using the system against itself that I would like to share but need people that have great intellergance in Accounting, Horticulture sciecne and Architecture.

    If your interested just comment back.

    Also Mr Carr and others, what a great page. this ant something you will see on mainstream media.

  22. Jimmy says:

    2013: Nothing has changed. WINZ is just has it’s been described by the many disappointed people above, a power play of words with little results.
    My case manager keeps saying he’s going to put the granting through tonight, then a week later informs me he’s going to do it that evening. Ten weeks later he’s still telling me this! Un-believe-able.

  23. Phyl says:

    Many of you have heard… many have not. Announced publicly on 25 December 2012, the system of Corporate-Governmental rule has been foreclosed. Legally foreclosed… via one of its own mechanisms. The “Powers That Be” are now the “Powers That Were”. All debt has been erased and corporations – including but not limited to Corporate Governments and Banks – have been foreclosed.

    Sure, they may continue to play along in hopes we will play along with them. But thanks to a series of UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) filings made by the One People’s Public Trust (known as OPPT) the choice is now yours to make. A new framework for social governance is now in effect; a fact that has been ratified by the ‘legal’ framework of its corporate-controlled predecessor.

    Systemically speaking… WE ARE FREE!!

    (Get comfortable folks – this is a long article but it’s one you can’t afford to miss!!)

  24. michelle says:

    All I can say is ‘WAKE UP’ – why should the Government and hard working people, such as myself, have to pay for people to get educated or have babies. I studied full time for four years and worked evening PUMPING FUEL to pay the rent. It was bloody hard work, I had no car (walked or bused everywhere), barely could afford food; 2 minute noodles were a staple. Today I am fully qualified and have a great job. BUT I DID IT MYSELF, with no support from family or the government.

    I agree that if you’re sick or have a disability then the Government should assist.

    But I dont agree that the Government should continuously help the vicious cycle of people having kids and never working and for those kids to do the same.


    • Lyalletuimckeown says:

      U obviously have no clue. You sound narrow minded, judgemental, uneducated. with no compassion. Maybe u should put yourself in someone elses shoes. People less fortunate then yourself, and trust me when i say there are a whole lot of kiwis struglng. no what your talking about before u post this rubbish

  25. will says:

    Michelle you sounded like me, It is a pain for those who work hard and pay rent and have to walk or use bus or train everday! seeing those bums or people complain that got no jobs! makes me tell them get a job. I was a cleaner for 6 months before i went on my OE and now I’ve got a fantastic job which was my own doing.

  26. Dan says:

    Totally agree with you Michelle. There is a sense of entitlement from everyone moaning on this site. I have lived and worked in countries where there is no social welfare. I have seen children picking food from rubbish bins and parents prostituting their daughters to feed their families. These families ave no access to government support at all and have no chance of changing their situation. The people moaning on this site are pathetic. If you don’t like the rules of being a beneficiary then don’t become a beneficiary, it’s that simple. The majority of people moaning on here are not in their situations because of winz but because of their own poor planning and decision making. So be grateful for the support, take responsibility and get on with your lives instead of blaming someone else. Unlike the people from other parts of this world You have the chance of a better tomorrow if you choose it.

    • Fiona says:

      So you would like that to be the way NZ goes just so your taxes don’t help anyone else? Boy I hope you would expect the same if you ever have hard times or fall sick or end up severly handicapped through no fault of your own.
      How did NZ end up with so many evil minded bigoted arseholes? Are you imports or does it run in the family?

  27. riley says:

    last time i went to winz asking for help.. the person suggested well hinted.. her words “if you had another child, you would be entitled to more and you would be able to get yourself a statehouse easier..” i was like.. wtf.. no thank you. this country is no place for families.. its like a half way country.. for those in rich areas around the world who can come here and get work instantly.

  28. Hi Im from NZ and Im sick of going to winz but I had to for job search they only get you on these courses so they see you doing something and that you are looking for skills and experience that relates to you not something that you dont want to do. I have my own case manager and yea u do have your fall outs with them, but its best not to argue or they wont help you. I just got a job from my job search programme but I’m finding it difficult now with transport cause I dont have my own car my friend use to take me to work I am a commercial cleaner and now cause she wont be able to take me work I got to go without my job. I am now looking for another job that I wont have this problem again.
    I tried to get assistance from my case manager cause I was getting paid fortnightly but they said they couldnt help me so I could have money to help out with gas on the weeks I dont get paid. So now I have to go back to course have a talk with my tutor and see what he can do. I am hoping that he will be able to get my case manager to put me back on job search support benefit in the mean time.
    Im not sure what you can say about this but I hope this problem will get sorted out.

  29. Sarah says:

    What an awesome, empathetic guy you are. This fascist libertarian Govt. is making many lives a misery. How could anyone have voted for them??? Actually it’s ‘big business’ that are the biggest bludgers, along with politicians. Politicians are just glorified beneficiaries.
    People love to pick on the most vulnerable.

  30. GS says:

    The job market in NZ is a waste of time, I have been looking to find employment as my self employment work is near enough to non existent so have spend time obtaining electrical qualifications but due to a lack of practical hours non of the applications have been successful as in this country they want highly skilled workers at minimum wage (ie school leavers). Why is it they don’t see the benefits if a mature worker who has skills they can use towards there new career.

  31. gloriouslypurple says:

    great piece. “the emporer has no clothes” sums up the whole WINZ attitude and the societal attitude to beneficiaries for me. All that judgemental, superior attitude and its based on a blinkered, highly limited system.The beneficiary bashing often occurs to deflect attention from something else, some unpopular policy the government wants to slip through etc. Beneficiaries are the ideal scapegoat, easy to blame, something to pour that passionate righteousness into other than looking too closely at what the upper echelons are doing. I agree it is a very small percentage that are taking advantage. But when did that stop the blaming and accusing? The arrogance and attitudes of WINZ are absolutely abusive. The more people writing about it the better

  32. Firetoad says:

    My wife is facing a similar issue that because i was forced to leave my job a year ago to serious illness she is by default being my partner, on the job seekers benifit.

    she works 24 hours a week and has been harassed my call center plebs in wellington to come in for interviews booked while she is working etc . to come in to look for a new job 30+ hours a week.

    Been working same job 6 years and on good wage would lose $3 an hour to get a new job if you could even get another they can let you go 3 months after you start for no reason.

    she has been in tears on the phone trying to explain situation with these faceless call centre people and has had to resort to getting a medical certificate to stop the harassment.

    Of course while i am left with very little help looking for a part time job . . . well done WINZ

  33. Lyalletuimckeown says:

    I am a solo mother of a ten year old boy. I was on a dpb for a few years. I found it very hard to get by. Strugling week to week. Often getting cut off the benefit. It is very stressful being on a benefit. N.e way my son is at a age where i have to work. So after working with an agency called sevens we
    managed to find me a job. Which was also hard and stressful. After a few weeks of working with a agency they helpd me find full time work. I was so excited and worked very hard, but after a few weeks i didnt like how i was being treated. I was getting doct a half hour a day evn though i did not hav a break. I was doing alot of work some weeks doing 48 hours. The last straw was when i got paid 200 after doing a 47 hour shift. I txt my boss to c y i had not been paid. My boss told me that they over paid me the week before. i didnt recieve payslips nor did i have a copy of my contract. N.e way i refused to return as i had to find a way to get my rent paid and as a consequence i was not rehired. And i have a13 week stand down so im pretty mueh homeless with a ten year old boy as i have not been able to pay rent. Winz pretty much forced me into work even though i am very unstable mentaly. I txt the work broker to ask what do i do now and they had nothing to offer. So i dont no what to door where to go for help. I am angry i feel like i have been set up to fail just so they can get me off the benefit.does anyone no what i can do or where to go i dont want cyfs to get involved in my life bt its inevadable as i wil not b able to care for my child financialy please help me with idea

    • Guy says:

      Anyone in this situation needs to get in touch with a benefit advocate, in wellington contact the wellinton benefit rights centre.
      I am so sick of what nz and nzers have become, john key said we need to go to war this week because it would be a bad look not to support traditional allies, obama couldnt have come up with a less compelling reason.
      Its a shame but the english speaking world is all the same now, im emigrating to europe, ive had more than enough of the new new zealand (and the anglo alliance) its not nz anymore.

    • Andy B says:

      No pay slips, no contract, deducting pay without your written permission – these are forbidden in the Employment Contracts Act. Why didn’t you file a grievance against the employer????!!! Just call the Employment Relations 0800 02 90 20 number!

  34. samuel says:

    My father-in-law had an appointment for 4pm on Thursday 21st August with an officer in Clendon Park Weymouth office. The appointment time was allocated and 3 of us are witnesses.
    When we arrived at WINZ, was told the appointment was at 3:30pm.
    I continually told her it was for 4pm. The lady at the reception just thought we were some fools. Asked me to come and see the computer appointment booking. I told her, it must be an error on the officers side, booked in the wrong time. She still argued as if we were lying.
    Little does she know I am a computer technician and know and understand the computer better than she ever will.

  35. Crystel Waters says:

    Your list of who is on a benefit has left out those with chronic illness. Yes you mentioned mental illness/depression but there are many with physical limitations due to auto immune disease and similar and even these people are being treated badly. They are people who would love to be living normal lives but are literally stuck at home dealing with symptoms all day and night. Winz and their lieing designated doctors are causing these people much stress and hardship, forcing them off invalid benefit, hasseling them to prove they can’t work part time….. under paying them ….. forcing them off the benefit by making it too hard for them to meet the process requirements e.g appointments. They don’t want to go to appointments where they will be further abused so they give up and their families who are usually also in hardship have to support them plus support them in trying to get them back on the benefit. Other than that your write up is very good. Thank you.
    Can you get people to sign this petition?

  36. Stella says:

    My husband has been employed at his job for 29 years and he is 61 he was made to do a fitness test the physio took his blood pressure and was too high so the didnt
    do the test went to the doctor the following day and the doctor put him in high blood pressure pills and cleared him for work on the 4 th day when blood pressure had stabilised he then went to work and was sent home so he went back to doctor who cleared him back for work and again he got sent home again he had to complete the fitness test and see the company doctor which he did he went back to do his fitness test and failed on the spongy ball test which wobbles and he had to stand on it with one leg he was off work for 23 days and had to use his sick days does the company have to pay him for the 23 days suspension as they said he wasn’t suspended my husband has been back at work for over a month now and still being herrased he is going to get an assessement done at his own cost as a second opinion he does limp a little and has been goin to the gymn to build up his fitness is there anything else he can do as he is pretty stressed out and still wants to work

  37. Ida Rose says:

    Oh the judgement of those who have never experienced a day in the role of a case manager/work and income employee. Perhaps if you really knew what was involved, you would think a little differently and perhaps bite your tongue. Just like any person you come across in a work setting, there are some good case managers, and others that are not so good. Such is life. And yes, I agree that some get it wrong, but there are so much more getting it right. And as for bonuses. They don’t get any. But hey, let’s just keep making stuff up just to further ignite the bashing of a role that not too many of you would ever look at doing.

    • I imagine it is tough dealing with some “characters” or honestly wanting to help people but having to operate within strict guidelines that often prevent it.

      Yet, you do encounter the odd case manager who cannot count n days by putting their finger on the calendar squares to calculate a due date. I had one who calculated 20 days since the first as the 15th, after 3 attempts of counting the squares with their finger where they sometimes included weekends and often missed weekdays at random without noticing.

      Yet, we live in a time where employers are loath to take on more qualified/experienced employees.

  38. Sue says:

    I recently went on a benefit after becoming unwell. I have worked one way or another over the past 13 years. Sometimes really long hours.
    I hate the benefit system. you are made to feel like a criminal, like yo are sub human.
    I am on a sickness benefit and after my rent have $41 for everything. It is shocking. Appalling. I mean I’m grateful for at least some money. It’s more about how all they talked about was me working. Nothing to do with me being unwell. All to do with when i will be working, what i will be doing, and even after approval, receiving a letter two days later with my requirements to be on a benefit. ‘ Must be available for full time work’. Ridiculous. My doctor just told them I was sick. And, i couldn’t work. What planet are they on? YEs, i will work when I’m better. But, right now, I can’t.
    When elections take place again, don’t vote National. This is what you get.

  39. Santa Dog says:

    Former WINZ worker here. They cannot “force” you do anything so long as you are taking reasonable steps to fulfill your obligations. If your girlfriend can show that she’s actively job searching and they still threaten to cut your benefit, you should talk to the service center manager, and if they don’t listen to you, go to the Benefit Review Committee, or the Regional Manager.

    When dealing with WINZ, keep this in mind: Don’t go in to an appointment with the attitude that WINZ are out to get you. Be patient and mindful that there are all sorts of people who work at WINZ; some are idiots, and some really are there “to make a difference”. Sometimes you will find yourself confronted with an idiot, but if you patiently prove that you are taking reasonable steps to fulfill your obligations, then they can’t touch you.

    If you really have no luck, find an advocate in your area. It’s been a few years, so I can’t remember the name of the agency, but there is a third-party benefit advocacy group. Try asking at the Citizens Advice Bureau. And don’t be afraid of making your local MP do their job.

    • davidnz says:

      Absolutely agree. Keep an open mind when approaching winz and yes, there are idiot case managers and then there are some good ones. Yep, if u are actively job seeking and fulfilling your obligations they cant argue with you.

  40. Mitch says:

    I am a graduate from a course last year. I successfully gained skills, won a scholarship and a qualifcation (Motorsport certificate) I am also a qualified Butcher. I have been working since I was 14 now 25. Two months before I finished study I was searching for jobs, down south island which is where I am from. I had a job lined up but once I got down there I was turned down since the position wasn’t available yet. (Still haven’t heard back)
    I flicked my CV to every business I can find that are related to my skills, but in these trying times jobs are hard to get (West Coast) Most jobs advertised here you need some sort of qualification as normal jobs are hard to come by.
    I then searched for jobs at christchurch much more success but people go crazy when a job comes up on sites like Trade Me so you got to be quick. I had 4 interviews 1 successful 1 trail run for a day and 2 nothing. Only problem with the successful one I coulded afford to move to and live at christchurch(post student= not rich)
    I have only been on the jobseekers benefit for 2 months but man it is depressing.
    I sweared I woulded be on it and I will get a job straight after my course finished but it never worked like that.
    Luckly my father owns a trucking business so I help him (unpaid)
    I am keen to join the Army as that is what my inner child and dreams wanted me to do. I believe in good morals and full hearted respect.
    I seen WINZ has that LSV course going and thinking hard should I do it? Will this get me in the NZDF after the course is finished? I know ex criminals and generally lazy bastards go there to sort their lives out, but I do not need my life sorted out its I need to get myself sorted and prove myself.
    Its crazy I never seen myself to be in this position but life is not all sun shine and rainbows. I was living my dream last year now starting from the bottom again. Anyone know who has made it into the NZDF after the LSV course?

    • Jethro Carr says:

      I’m sure it would probably help with your application to NZDF if you passed LSV – and might be worth a taste of what the army is like to make sure it is what you want to do?

      • Mitch says:

        I have read a few successful LSV students have been offered further training in the Defence Force but only the ones that have passed Level 1 or 2 NCEA and including Maths and English. Luckly I have gained all those during my time at High School and Study.
        I have also read the Ex LSV students aced Basic training in the Defence Force.

  41. Jon says:

    You say “…the system as a whole is setup to cause people immense stress and anguish. Thanks to a culture inspired by media and political parties using benifiercies as political target points …”

    and I totally agree. In theory Social Welfare is designed to help citizens through periods of hardship which most hope to be temporary situations. Unfortunately most politically inspired theories become, in practice, totally f…..up!!!

    Beneficiary bashing is a favorite National Party sport. John Key is simply one more in a long line of morons since the Bolger days. Remember when National took over from Labour in 1990 and Bank of NZ was bust and needed a ONE BILLION DOLLAR bailout? Who paid for that? Richardson imposed her “beneficiary bashing” budget and beneficiaries provided that bailout cash. Politicians delight in reminding middle class voters how much dole bludgers are eating up their tax dollars and those same middle class voters join the chorus but how many of those middle class voters who complain about $300pw for a guy on the dole also complain about the $300 per day it costs to keep same guy in prison? Not many because politicians prefer to hide truth from constituents to preserve their self-serving rhetoric.

    Politicians are part of (actually cause of) the problem so can never be part of the solution.

  42. calibann says:

    I got a letter saying I owe them 43 cents. It said it would be taken out of my account weekly until it was paid. It would have cost more to post than the fine itself.

  43. davidnz says:

    Here’s a link to my work&income gripes.

  44. davidnz says:

    Hey looking for a job/job application/employment gripe blog- prefer NZ site. where I can post a job application experience I had with a wgtn organisation in July this year. Actually, I have a few experiences I want to write about.

  45. Jethro Carr says:

    This post is pretty old and attracting all kinds of abusive comments, so closing comments on this thread now. If you want somewhere to talk about WINZ or other NZ social welfare issues, recommend other online communities like

Comments are closed.