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Some beneficiaries need to be 'micro-managed'

Tuesday, 4 July 2006

Turner: Some beneficiaries need to be 'micro-managed'

United Future deputy leader, Judy Turner, insists that there is a need to intervene and help micro-manage the finances of beneficiaries who demonstrate a persistent inability to manage their own welfare payments.

"We need to be discussing creative ways to help those who genuinely struggle to budget for necessities, to ensure they can pay for the basics of living for themselves and their children," explained Mrs Turner.

"It is ridiculous that there is no provision in those circumstances for more intensive case management, and more creative ways of making sure essential bills like rent, power and food are adequately covered.

"Folk could have rent taken automatically from their benefit, possibly with utility bills and perhaps could receive food vouchers so that they are only left to manage any discretionary amounts left over after essentials are paid for."

Mrs Turner's comments follow a suggestion from John Tamihere, CEO of the National Maori Urban Authority, that Maori social service providers would be better able to manage Maori beneficiaries' money than they are.

"While I don't endorse his extreme position, it does raise the question as to whether there are some easily identified beneficiaries who consistently, over a sustained period of time, mismanage their weekly income and require regularly bailing out of debt by WINZ.

"I am not talking about those who every now and then have a dentist bill that they need a loan from WINZ to cover, but those who run up debt to such a degree that WINZ has to step in regularly.

"The vast majority of beneficiaries are fine and there is no need to intervene in their financial matters, but there are those out there who need extra help, for the benefit of both families who constantly get in trouble, and also the tax-payer who end up bailing them out," says Mrs Turner.


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