Saturday, April 10, 2010

A member writes about the hardships of being a beneficiary

WE all apreciate what you guys are doing on our behalf. At the moment we are struggling to keep roofs over our heads and our kids out of the justice and mental health system. What makes us all so ultimatly fearful is that the logistics of being on a low income means that it takes us 4 times as long to do what "normal" people do every day, just to survive the increasing burden of beurocracy to maintain an income. Working poor, a group that will increase under Paula Bennet do not have the luxury of affording fast food, housekeepers, or transport, and often telephones. Food parcels are often inaccessible due to lack of transport. Even bus fares become unaffordable in many cases, money for multiple meetings, appointments, and comply with a host beurocratic demands to even receive what we get now. This is possibly the most underrated and difficult aspect of Paula Bennet's proposed regime. Her proposals threaten to increase this demand as well as expecting usually sick, disabled or parents and otherwise impaired people to comply with 15 hours work a week on top of this. I was shocked to see people still in pajamas waiting for some considerable times at New Lynn WINZ office.

The person I was supporting has 3 children, 2 of whom are under school age, and unable to drive. To get to a WINZ review appointment at 9am they gave her 48hours notice, and the paperwork arrived by courier at 5pm the preceeding day. To get to the appointment she had to arrange safe supervision for her children, leave the house at 7am with her children to get to a sitter, and walk to the office from Green Bay.

More often than is admitted because of the imposed complexity of the administartive regime staff do not have a whole lot of incentive to be fair as opposed to being expedient. The situation often demands that to be safe a support person is needed to accompany people to even reletivly insignificant WINZ, CYFS, or Justice department meetings to ensure that people are not taken advantage of. These people are not readily available in the community.This is time consuming and often happens at least once or twice a week, sometimes more. This comes at a time when 3 major support organisations, 1 being in existence for 100 years, have had their funding slashed or in most cases removed altogether.

I predict a whole lot more teen pregnancies, drug addiction, especially meth, and alcohol problems and less relinquishment of smoking habits,violence and property crime and increase in mental ill health as a result of increased stress from having an already inadequate income slashed as punishment for not obtaining those jobs that must only exist in Paula Bennet's imagination.

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