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Is Work Always “Good for You?”

Is Work Always “Good for You?”
Beware! This Model Could Harm Your Health!

Press Statement by Unite Waitemata Branch
14 August 2013

Unite Waitemata and supporters are holding a protest against the welfare reforms outside Paula Bennett’s Office at 429 Great North Rd,  Henderson at 5.45 pm Thursday 15th August

“Paula Bennett and Work and Income are touting the new mantra :“work is good for you” , says Janet Robin, President of Unite Waitemata, which is a branch of the Unite Union.

“Dr Bratt, WINZ Principle Health Advisor is training WINZ designated doctors to believe that being on a benefit is an addiction, and the best cure is work.
she  said.

“WINZ Regional Health and Disability Advisors  (many of whom lack medical expertise) are being taught the same thing.”

“  Family doctors are also being pressured to take this approach when they do the beneficiaries’ “work capacity assessments “.

“The result is harsh treatment of beneficiaries who are seriously ill and need rest and support. Instead they are pressured to look for work, and have to fight to get the support they need.  They may lose all or part of their benefit. This causes extreme stress and can seriously harm their health.”

“In the UK, more than 30 people are dying every week, whilst appealing the government’s decision that they are “fit to work.” “

“This is the model that New Zealand is copying.  “

The UK model was brought to New Zealand by Prof Mansel Aylward.
Prof Aylward has spoken to Paula Bennett, and is an advisor to the Mangere District Health Board.  He has influenced Dr Bratt, WINZ’s Principal Health Advisor.

“Medical practitioners, health centres, and designated doctors should beware of this approach, which seriously compromises their medical ethics.  They cannot put the patient’s health first, and at the same time be pushing their client into any kind of work, no matter how unsuitable.” said Ms Robin.

Prof Mansel Aylward’s approach is a corrupt version of the “Bio Psycho Social “ approach.    

“According to this version, illness is “all in your mind.” “

UK academics, Mansel Aylward and  Gordon Waddell ,  were paid by the convicted fraudulent US insurance company Unum, to create this approach.  Unum wanted UK people to be afraid their government wouldn’t help them if they got sick, so they would buy insurance policies from Unum instead .

“There is no genuine, medical or scientific basis for this approach whatsoever”
said Ms Robin

“It defies any logic, common sense, or compassion to expect seriously ill people to compete on the labour market and work their guts out – and somehow “ get better” by doing this! “

“Of course it can be good for some people’s health to get work or participate in  other ways in their communities. But it needs to fit the person’s real health needs, skills and abilities.”

“The government plans to save itself more than a billion dollars by getting sick and disabled, and single parents, off benefits and onto the labour market.”

“It is clear what WINZ’s priorities are.  They are not about helping people to get jobs that genuinely suit them.  They are not about helping people to get well, or raise their incomes.   They are not about creating jobs. They are not about meeting social needs.”

“WINZ’s priorities are about meeting employers’ needs. When large numbers of sick and disabled people compete with everyone else for scarce jobs, employers can lower wages to raise their profits. In addition a large number of private companies stand to make a lot of money training sick beneficiaries and trying to get them into work.  Others are already making profits from cheap subsidised, and even free labour provided by WINZ. This brings wages down still more. “

‘The “ benefit addiction” and “work is good for you “ approach, is a fraud. “ 

“It   promotes the false idea that the sick are just avoiding work, when they have real needs.    This stops other people from being supportive towards them. “
“We need to support each other.”
“Don’t let this divide us.”  
“Beneficiaries and workers, sick and well, need to Unite!
for a living income for all!”

Issued by Janet Robin, President, Unite Waitemata.
Unite Waitemata contacts:


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