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Handicapped Eat Crumbs From WINZ Cake

Gael Donoghue, Health Spokesperson for the Christian Heritage Party observed, “The New Zealand public is quite rightly becoming deeply sceptical about the state sector credibility in light of the latest WINZ debacle in which $325,000 taxpayers’ money was spent for WINZ staff training at Wairakei including $165,000 on aircraft charter.

"We have now learned that Social Welfare has spent a further $52,000 taxpayers’ money on a four day conference at Queenstown’s exclusive Millbrook Resort in March this year, attended by the embattled Christine Rankin of WINZ and WINZ National Commissioner.

“On Friday, 6 August, TVNZ viewers learned of the plight of a small group of severely handicapped young adults and their care givers in Milford, Auckland. This group of 12 young people, thanks to the dedicated care of their parents who set up a trust for the purpose, are able to meet at the Milford Scout Hall during week days for learning activities. This gives parents a few hours respite from their otherwise fulltime day and night care,” said Mrs Donoghue. “It was obvious to all viewers that these people had severe handicaps but were able to give and receive a lot of joy, and demonstrate sometimes with great difficulty some skills that were a result of the dedicated teachers’ stimulation and teaching effort.

“We learned that this valuable effort was to be curtailed towards the end of the year because WINZ, the funders of the administration and teacher wages, had reduced the annual contract by $10,000!

“The parents already pay towards the project with an added cost for many of transport, including taxis, to the Hall. These dedicated parents set up this Day Activity programme (9 am – 3 pm) because there is no special education funding for over 21 year olds, and they wished their ‘children’ to continue to have some form of social and educative activity and interest. It is disgraceful that funding is being denied for the last six weeks of the year while Christine Rankin et al can use taxpayer money for their ‘corporate junkets’.” Mrs Donoghue said.

“The Christian Heritage Party calls on the Health Minister Wyatt Creech, the Social Welfare Minister Roger Sowry, and the WINZ Minister Peter McCardle to investigate the reduction in the New Dawn Trust Contract, and give a compassionate hearing to the heads of this dedicated group.

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