Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Work & Income intimidation culture linked to disconnections

Media Release Tuesday 25 March

Work & Income culture of intimidation linked to surge in power disconnections.

A deepening culture of intimidation at Work & Income explains why more people are going without power, and less are receiving their hardship entitlements to cover electricity and gas payments, says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson Alastair Russell.

“Last year, over 41,085 households in New Zealand had their power disconnected. That’s a quadrupling of disconnections since 2008. It’s a shocking increase in the amount of people living without their basic need for power met, “ says Russell. At the same time, hardship grants for power payments have dropped almost 20% since 2011.”

Energy Minister, Simon Bridges, expressed surprise that hardship grants have consistently fallen, despite the Work & Income entitlement criteria remaining the same. “The Minister obviously lacks an understanding of the extent to which peoples access to their entitlements for emergency needs is being impeded by the routine harassment and intimidation beneficiaries face at Work & Income,” says Russell.

“The Energy Minister needn’t look further than his colleague, Minister of Social Development, Paula Bennett, for an explanation as to why people are clearly not gaining their entitlements in desperate times,” says Russell. “Entitlements surrounding hardship grants may remain the same as they were two years ago on paper, but the culture beneficiaries face at Work & Income has changed as a direct result of Bennett’s broader attack on beneficiaries through her reforms.”

“This deprivation is an indictment on Bennett and her Ministries pressure on Work & Income to reduce grants to beneficiaries to a bare minimum, even in instances where people are entitled and most need them,” says Russell. “People are facing sharply rising costs for their basic needs like power and food. Vulnerable people have died due to power disconnections.” he adds.

“Further tragedies are avoidable. Compassionate access to hardship grants for electricity and gas is a necessity in tough times, these statistics are a strong indicator of the toxic culture within Work & Income. The National Government must face up to the responsibility of the environment it has created.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Ch-Ch-Changes At IRD

job cuts aren’t happening at the IRD, exactly. Instead, there’s apparently a ‘transformation’ in store, and jobs won’t be axed ; no, they will be ‘transformed’ before our eyes into… non-jobs, if you happen to be among the unlucky legion of 1,900 who are being lined up for transformation, which seems to work rather like a secular version of the Rapture.

Except that at IRD, not even your shoes will be left behind. More>>

 

Christchurch Mental Health: Hospital Too 'Awful' For Reviewers To Visit

Jonathan Coleman has to stop the stalling over a new building for mental health services in Christchurch to replace the quake damaged Princess Margaret Hospital, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark... More>>

ALSO:

Greens Call For Govt Action: Children Sick Because Of NZ Housing

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians president-elect said today that children with preventable respiratory illnesses are being re-admitted to hospital because they're being sent back to cold, damp homes. More>>

ALSO:

Less Tax Cut, More Spending: Labour Launches Fiscal Plan

“Labour will invest $8 billion more in health, $4 billion more in education and $5 billion more for Kiwi families through Working for Families, Best Start and the Winter Energy Payment than the Budget 2017 projections for the forecast period.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Greens’ Room For Political Pragmatism

The Greens here are currently being criticized by the commentariat for not making the same kind of pragmatic choices that sunk the Democrats in Australia. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Being Humane About Welfare, Child Support, And Tax

It made for an unusual Venn diagram, but Greens co-leader Metiria Turei and Finance Minister Steven Joyce were briefly sharing some common elements this week in the set that says – hey, don’t use the powers of the state in ways guaranteed to make the system you’re trying to defend worse, not better. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election