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Maharey must take responsibility for staff threats

Bob Simcock National Social Services Spokesperson

31 January 2002

Maharey must take responsibility for threats to staff

WINZ Staff have had their personal safety put at risk because of Steve Maharey's inept leadership, says National's Social Services spokesman Bob Simcock.

"The Palmerston North Poverty Action Group has threatened to publish names and photographs of WINZ staff it claims show 'mean spiritedness' and 'inappropriate behaviour'.

"Their frustration is understandable, but this is not the right way to make a point. The staff at WINZ are just trying to do their job without the support they need from above.

"Steve Maharey's unnecessary restructuring of WINZ has caused management to take their eye off the ball. They have been more involved with negotiating offices for the Ministry of Social Policy staff than supporting their own front line troops.

"Mistakes made by staff are largely the result of overwork and a lack of support at the WINZ front line. Their personal safety should not be put at risk for the failings of the Minister.

"Unfortunately though the burden for these staff is only going to get worse. Maharey will soon be expecting them to take on the added workload of interviewing every DPB recipient to see if they can give them often unneccessary advice about transforming their lives.

"Steve Maharey, as the responsible Minister, must take personal responsibility for any threat to these WINZ staff."


Attachment: Palmerston North Poverty Action Group email

-----Original Message----- From: Ian Ritchie Sent: Thursday, 31 January 2002 07:48 a.m. To: Ian Cc: Steve Maharey Subject: re Recurring problems with DWI


After 3 years of working to improve the service people get from the Dept of Work and Income we are concerned at the lack of progress the Dept is making. We are continually hearing the same stories of mean spiritedness, inappropriate behaviour and claimants being told they are not entitled to income support when they are.

We have therefore decided to take a new tack and to target those staff members who tend to have these attitudes and exhibit these behaviours. We ask you to now give us names of receptionists and case managers, plus dates and times, we will document these, no claimant names, photograph them and publish this information. We intend to keep doing this until attitudes and behaviours improve.

Many thanks for your support in this


Palmerston North Poverty Action Group

Ian Ritchie

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