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WINZ "Lost In Space" Says Green Party

WINZ "Lost In Space" Says Green Party

The Green Party says the latest revelations about WINZ' conferences confirms that WINZ is well and truly "lost in space".

Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald says he has been told that the conference which was due to take place at the Wairakei Resort Hotel this week had an "outer space" theme. The conference has since been postponed pending an inquiry into extravagant spending on previous conferences.

"If this is true then WINZ is truly 'lost in space,' said Rod Donald.

"The senior management of the Government department which is charged with looking after the security of superannuitants, helping sole parents bring up their families, assisting job seekers to find work and supporting students while they study must be living on another planet if they think it is acceptable to spend taxpayers money on theme conferences with expensive tableaux, videos and black-tie dinners at resort hotels.

"I call on the Ministers of Social Welfare and Work and Income to end this squandering of public money. The unfolding WINZ scandal highlights both incompetent leadership at the management level and the Ministers' failure to perform their governance responsibilities.

"Heads need to roll before WINZ can be refocused on the Government's employment outcomes. Inadequate as these are, WINZ is not even achieving what the Ministers have asked the department to deliver.

According to the WINZ quarterly customer profile for March the principal outcomes that the Government seeks for the registered unemployed are: to minimise the duration of unemployment and, to increase the number of full-time work-tested beneficiaries who participate in organised activity (including community work).

"WINZ has failed to deliver on both counts. In the year to March long-term unemployment, ie 1 - 4 years, has increased by a dramatic 51 percent to over 70,000 job seekers.

"Meanwhile the number of people in community work stands at 8,820, well down on the target of 10,000.

"WINZ is also failing to meet its own key performance targets for Maori unemployed. The goal is to reduce the proportion of Maori unemployed to 27 percent of the register but the proportion has actually increased in the last year to 29.4 percent. According to the Household Labour Force survey almost 20 percent of working-age Maori are now out of work.

"The gung-ho corporate culture of command and control epitomised by WINZ's Chief Executive, Christine Rankin, is an abject failure. It's time to restore some common sense to this and other Government departments by ensuring that public servants recognise they are there to serve the citizens of this nation, not themselves," he said.


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