Monday, April 11, 2011

Naive and arrogant Labour MP

A blunder by someone who should know better.

Labour MP Carmel Sepuloni expects someone volunteering in her office - because she has no money to employ them - should also receive an unemployment benefit. Then she chastises WINZ for enforcing rules regarding the compulsory attendance of unemployment beneficiaries at a seminar, which her 'intern' missed.

I have copied her post and the ensuing comments in case it disappears;

Get it together WINZ
Posted by Carmel Sepuloni on April 11th, 2011

So about three weeks ago a young Samoan women came in to my office asking ever so nicely if we could give her some work experience.

She recently completed a National Certificate in Business Administration but hasn’t been able to get work because she has no work experience.

I told her that I didn’t have any money in the budget to hire someone else but she pleaded with me to let her volunteer her time. I agreed to put her on a Parliamentary Internship to provide her with the work experience she needs as well as to support her in what ever way I can to assist her with getting in to paid employment.

Then what happened….

A week in to her starting I get a call from a WINZ case manager asking if I would agree to her being on a subsidised work scheme i.e. WINZ subsidise her being in paid employment for me. I told them - nope, I have no money and therefore can not pay her and I’m not even sure if parliamentary regulations would allow for me to do that anyway.

I explain to the WINZ guy that I will assist her as best I can with getting the work experience she needs as well as support her in trying to find work. I explain to him that I’ve even set it up, as a legit Parliamentary Internship. He tells me that he understands and that this sounds like a great opportunity for the young woman and that if she’s still actively seeking paid work, then that would be fine.

A week later (beginning of last week). I find out from this poor young woman that WINZ have cut her benefit. Despite the fact that the last case manager I’d spoken to, had said it was fine – another WINZ case manager had wrongly assumed that the young woman had deliberately (and without good reason) missed a WINZ seminar that she was suppose to attend as an Unemployment Benefit recipient.

I rang WINZ that day when I find out and leave a message (outlining the situation) on the phone of the case manager that had made this decision (a different case manager from the one I spoke to the previous week). I don’t get a response from her, but the very next day the young woman undertaking an internship in my office, gets her benefit reinstated.

Get it together WINZ! Not all of these poor young people are going to have an MP on their case, who can ring up and leave rather firm voice messages for you when these mistakes happen. The vast majority of our young people are wanting to be engaged with work or study but at this point in time, things are against them and they need additional support. Don’t treat them like criminals out to commit benefit fraud and/ or bludge of the system.
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6 Responses to “Get it together WINZ”

jennifer says:
April 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Are these the new ‘front line’ services that big Paula keeps crowing about?
Richard says:
April 11, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Surely unpaid internships are exploitation, or does Labour not believe in the minimum wage anymore?
Frank says:
April 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm

On the information you just provided, you inappropriately excercised political influence over a public servant who appears(on the facts you have chosen to represent) to have done exactly the correct thing.

You cannot do voluntary work INSTEAD OF being available for full time employment:

So maybe give some more details to prove that “WINZ got it wrong”? or maybe even better – ask Work and Income directly?!
peteremcc says:
April 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm

How come you’re happy for this woman to work for you just for the experience and for zero pay, yet you don’t want to let me or her or anyone else work for the experience and $10/hour (which would be more than she’s getting at the moment from WINZ)?
David says:
April 11, 2011 at 4:30 pm

How many other volunteers do you have in your office collecting a benefit ?
Lindsay says:
April 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Someone on the Unemployment Benefit must be available for paid work. Your ‘volunteer’ must meet those conditions. It’s quite straight forward. It would appear Work and Income are doing their best to ensure unemployed beneficiaries are doing everything in their power to get paid work and you are attempting to thwart their processes.


Andrei said...

Disagree Lindsay;

If this girl is working 9 to 5 and learning work and office disciplines as well as providing an element for a future CV, its all to the good.

It may be out of the box but since when was rigid thinking a good thing.

The only thing I'd say, given the actively seeking work requirement is that such an arrangement might benefit from an end date, which of course also protects us from this sort of arrangement being used for the MP in question using her as a source of unpaid labour

Lindsay Mitchell said...

"It may be out of the box but since when was rigid thinking a good thing."

It isn't. But it is the left that want vast state welfare. Because state welfare is funded via compulsory taxation it must be rules-bound. But then they cry foul; that it is inflexible. And in this case the MP intervened to get a correct (at least on paper) decision reversed.

Private charity on the other hand can apply discretion (or rules if it wants) because it is answerable only to its willing funders. It is able to discriminate between a trier and a loafer.

The hypocrisy irritates me as much as anything else.

Oswald Bastable said...

"Naive and arrogant"

There is another kind?

TimM said...

Imagine if Carmel and her flunkies discovered someone was working for free in a private business. They'd crucify the employer.

3-4 years ago Labour and my vote separated. Now my vote is seeing someone else. It's not perfect, but compared to the previous abusive relationship it's a vast improvement.