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AUS rejects Behaviour of WINZ

AUS website
Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) staff are exceeding their authority and breaching ethical standards by making comments to students about the suitability of courses of study, according to the Canterbury Branch of the Association of University Staff (AUS).

Compounding general concerns about the processing of student loan applications by WINZ, the AUS has received complaints from students that some WINZ staff are making disparaging judgements about the suitability of University courses.

AUS Canterbury Branch President, Dr Maureen Montgomery, has cited one example where a student was questioned why he wanted to enroll in American Studies by a WINZ staff member and told that an alternative course would offer better career prospects.

“Similarly, other students, particularly those enrolling in arts courses, have met with derisory comments about the value of those degrees and their suitability for post-university employment. Some have been further questioned about how they expect to be able to repay a student loan with such a degree,” said Dr Montgomery.

One WINZ staff member, for example, described sociology to an enrolling student as a “waffly subject” in a conversation about the low commercial value of a social sciences degree.

“WINZ staff are neither qualified nor employed to make judgements about the value of any university degree”, said Dr Montgomery. “In light of their own performance in the current student loan fiasco they would be more usefully employed in concentrating on their own levels of competence before turning their attention elsewhere”.

Maureen Montgomery
University of Canterbury Branch President
Association of University Staff

For further comment Maureen can be contacted at:
Phone (03) 364 2488 (work)
(03) 384 1677 (home)
email: m.montgomery@amst.canterbury.ac.nz

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