Work and Income New Zealand is a Government department; thus funded primarily by the NZ taxpayer. Its objective is to provide for those who cannot provide for themselves – the unemployed, the incapacitated, the physically or mentally disabled, and the elderly.
Realistically though when most people think of WINZ, three letters spring to mind: DPB. While it is true that the Domestic Purposes Benefit is funded by this department, it is my opinion that school-aged girls who have only ever aspired to a ‘Government Funded’ lifestyle of this nature, are among the nation’s least deserving beneficiaries.
Taxes. That’s the word for the day. Here’s another. Pension. Now think about the logical relationship between those two words.
An elderly citizen receives a pension for two basic reasons. Firstly: generally they have already paid a lifetime’s worth of taxes to our Government and probably deserve some sort of rebate. Secondly: after slaving away for a lifetime, it is only reasonable to expect that the twilight of said lifetime should be Government funded.
If you and your spouse, civil union or de facto partner both exceed 65 years of age, having had taxes skimmed from your pay packet each week of your working life, you can each relax with a net weekly payment of $274.94.
Out of interest, the base rate for a sole parent on DPB is $278.04.
That’s not a lot of income. This is why it’s advisable for one approaching retirement age to have supplementary savings; advisable furthermore to use contraception.
So what happens if a citizen reaches that golden age having endured a life of particular hardship, for instance: if from an earlier age their spouse was deemed an invalid requiring constant care, effectively precluding that citizen’s ability to hold down a job and subsequently build that recommended nest-egg..? What if that retirement-aged-citizen had been bereft of their spouse shortly before reaching that age, thereby stripping them of one pension? Then what if the home in which this person had lived for most of their life had to be sold to cover costs?
You are left with a single pensioner with no savings, no house; forced to subsist on a decidedly meagre income.
A single pensioner living alone will receive $357.42.
This person, truth be told, is my great aunt. She has spent countless hours in talks with WINZ, trying to squeeze out just a little more financial assistance; to no avail. So while the indolent lack-wits of the nation are able to sit back and do practically nothing for their $160-$180 weekly dole payment; while other youth who also happen to have deficient work ethics tell lies in order to bolster their payments, my octogenarian aunty with her genuine plight, is essentially shafted by WINZ.
Her problem, she doesn’t try to scam the system.
She declared the several thousand dollars which had been set aside in an untouched bank account, so that on her departure her family aren’t crippled by funeral costs. The fashion would have been to lie about this sum. Of course WINZ consider it a ‘cash asset’.
That is just one example of where my aunt’s forthrightness is resulting in her persecution, while another claimant’s falseness seems to result in their benefits.
I am not for a second claiming that all beneficiaries are deceitful – only some of them. These people have ruined it for the country’s genuinely stricken. It seems that WINZ have become so accustomed to dishonesty, that’s what they now expect from applicants. From fudging income facts to being insincere about repayment, rental and overall living costs, this Government department seems to have become a target for scammers, while remaining a virtually impenetrable fortress for those good, honest folk who just want a fair go…
My aunt just wants what she has spent a lifetime earning.
Article by Mit Reklaw
Edited by N Just
Photography by D Sheat-Phil