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WINZ Paralysis Threatens Community Groups

09 February 2000

WINZ Paralysis Threatens Community Groups

Hundreds of community groups have been starved of funding for the last six months, because funding applications are log-jammed at Work and Income New Zealand head office, Green Party MP Sue Bradford said today.

Ms Bradford said at least some of the applications had been endorsed by regional commissioners, but had been caught up in the paralysis at head office.

"It is an indication of how dysfunctional and top-heavy WINZ has become when regional commissioners don't even have the power to approve funding to community groups in their area," she said.

Ms Bradford said that many of the groups applied for funding last October, or earlier.

"Some have closed, some are on the verge of closing. When community groups like that close, the human effort which has gone into setting them up and running them is lost, on top of the physical infrastructure they have built up over the years."

Ms Bradford said the Wekaweka Valley Community Trust in South Hokianga was about to close its doors because its WINZ funding had mysteriously dried up in the last six months.

"The trust has had no word from WINZ about what has happened to their funding, and they are at the end of their tether. This isolated community depends on the trust to provide services for their people, and its loss would be a real disaster in a depressed district."

Ms Bradford called on the Minister of Social Services and Employment, Steve Maharey, to make funding immediately available to those groups whose applications have been approved by regional commissioners, and to sort out the organisational paralysis that has stalled the other applications.

"I would like to see a full review of Community Employment happen as quicly as possible," Ms Bradford said. "The minister said in the House today he welcomed my input, and I look forward to liasing with him on this."

Sue Bradford MP: 470 6720 or 025 243 4239 Gina Dempster, Press Secretary: 470 6679


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