Where's Roger hiding?
The Minister of Social Services, Work and Income must come out of hiding and demonstrate a commitment to getting New Zealand's biggest government department focused on its job, Labour employment spokesperson Steve Maharey said today.
"Chief executive Christine Rankin has been hung out to dry, while Dodgy Roger runs for cover.
"The culture that has been allowed to develop at WINZ is not in the interest of the unemployed and other beneficiaries. A $12 billion department is in meltdown, the CEO's credibility is shot, and Sideline Sowry has remained silent for a week.
"The situation cannot continue. The Minister must step in and act decisively.
"The Government's laissez-faire approach has allowed a glitz over substance mentality to flourish at WINZ, which is acting in a way that is blatantly inappropriate for a department dealing with the most needy and most vulnerable of New Zealanders.
"It's simply not doing its job.
"WINZ is not meeting the most basic of its performance indicators," Steve Maharey said.
"It has failed to tackle Maori unemployment, and has failed to meet its target of getting long-term unemployed into stable jobs. There has been a significant reduction in the number of people in job training schemes.
"WINZ is not proactive with information concerning benefit eligibility and rights. Many find the forms and pamphlets difficult to understand. Rapid policy changes have confused both WINZ staff and beneficiaries. The administration of student grants and changes to childcare subsidies have both being handled incompetently.
"New Zealanders expect and deserve a better service. The buck stops with the minister and Roger Sowry must front up, and deliver."