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Rankin Upbeat About WINZ Changes

WINZ Boss Christine Rankin says she does not consider her control of the department has been weakened by changes announced by the Government yesterday.

Reacting to the recently published Hunn report on WINZ, Employment Minister Steve Maharey yesterday announced a number of changes to the organization. These included the devolution of some of Ms. Rankin’s powers to WINZ Regional Commissioners, along with a directive to her to work more closely with other public service heads.

Speaking on the Paul Holmes show last night, Ms. Rankin said she was upbeat about the proposed changes to the structure and direction of the organisation.
She did not believe her responsbilities were diminished as she still had responsibility for 5,000 WINZ employees.

Ms Rankin said she believed the Department had performed well in recent times, doubling the amount of people it put into work, despite “a very difficult 24 months.” However she admitted that there was “room for improvement.”

Ms Rankin said she understood “as a professional public servant” that Employment Minister Steve Maharey wanted a change of direction for the department. As boss of WINZ Ms Rankin said she would ensure the department would do everything it could to meet Mr. Maharey’s performance targets.

Ms. Rankin told Mr. Holmes she tried her best to ignore the personal attacks made against her in the media by politicians students and umemployed groups.

She said she would not refrain from wearing short skirts and earrings as these matters were irrelevant to her performance.

Meanwhile, today a group calling itself the Christine Rankin supporters group announced its formation by sending an email to Radio New Zealand’s Kim Hill show.

The group said it would take a range of initiatives aimed to deflect public criticism from Ms. Rankin, and had adopted the Suzy and The Banshee’s song ‘Christine’ as it’s anthem.

Another newly formed group the Christine Rankin Impoverished Survivors' Independent Society (CRISIS) has applauded the move and issued it’s own press release.

To see the CRISIS release click here.

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