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Letting beneficiaries suffer during a pandemic is no solution

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Martyn 'Bomber' Bradbury: We have much to be grateful about regarding Jacinda's calm and graceful leadership during this latest crisis.

Her sense of decency saw us through the Christchurch massacre, a volcanic eruption and now a pandemic. Her immediate instinct was to assure New Zealander's that she will do everything to look after us during this unprecedented event.

She has looked after business, workers and even put $25 extra per week into the benefit, but valid criticism can still be made at the manner in which WINZ, & MSD are still treating beneficiaries.

This Government are too frightened to take on the toxic culture in WINZ and force real change so that the welfare of beneficiaries is more important than the welfare of MSD.

Labour have failed to implement 40 of the 42 recommendations the recent Welfare Expert Advisory Group put in front of them and the toxic culture legacy has seen beneficiaries waiting all day on the poorly staffed 0800 numbers often finding more pointless red tape for them to wade through to gain access to help.

WINZ is purposely built to be difficult and obtrusive to use so as to put off desperate and vulnerable people from accessing benefits. When there is a stampede of need for access, the way we are seeing with this pandemic, that purposely built difficulty of access creates vast log jams and gridlock within a system that isn't designed to say yes in a way that alleviates stress.

If anything, WINZ is there to manufacture a sense of unease and fear.

The draconian measures put in place to sate angry National Party voters who see only bludgers and shameful solo mothers are making a stressful time even more worrying.

If Labour don't find the courage to challenge the toxic culture of WINZ and wipe all draconian policy, desperate and vulnerable people will start hurting themselves and others as the pandemic's economic effects start to impact lives.

The politics of kindness mean nothing if the poorest amongst us aren't protected from the fallout of this pandemic.


Martyn Bradbury

Editor -

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Radio Waatea

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