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Minister defends WINZ excesses

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Labour is astonished that in Parliament today, the Minister of Work and Income leapt to the defence of WINZ for employing a brand manager, Labour youth affairs spokesperson Lianne Dalziel said.

"The WINZ brand manager tours the country making sure that every WINZ office looks identical. This includes checking whether pot plants are sitting in the correct place and whether the sculpture of the WINZ logo is sitting at the right angle.

"Today Roger Sowry said branding was a perfectly acceptable role of the WINZ head office.

"WINZ is the largest government department and is responsible for helping the most vulnerable of New Zealanders. It is not involved in a competitive environment and yet brand recognition is a commercial response to competition.

"The benefits of consistency that the Minister talks about come from consistency of treatment, not from consistency of carpet and wallpaper," Lianne Dalziel said.

"Rather than checking that pictures are hanging in the right place on the right wall, WINZ should be ensuring that each one of its offices administers the rules and procedures in a consistent and fair way.

"WINZ senior management should be leading by example, rather than performing in over-the-top video presentations and instigating other excessive aspects of a multi-million dollar branding exercise.

"Beneficiaries, together with the front-line WINZ staff who are doing their best to meet the needs of those beneficiaries, are understandably appalled at the excesses of Christine Rankin and her glitzy approach to spending public money."

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