Sunday, September 01, 2013

Making families on welfare

What is welfare for?

I can accept a refugee coming into NZ and getting some emergency relief while they establish themselves and any family members.

But it's not for making family members.

Work and Income has ordered a refugee mother with a 5-month-old baby to attend a seminar about the military-style Limited Service Volunteer scheme.
The young mother, who came here from Burma under the United Nations refugee quota in 2010, was ordered to attend a seminar about the "boot-camp" scheme on August 2, despite having only very basic English, a 2-year-old son and a 5-month-old daughter.
The letter, dated July 29, arrived the day before the seminar and warned: "If you don't attend the seminar or contact us to make an appointment by 02 August 2013, your benefit may reduce or stop."

Yes, the blanket approach from WINZ is probably a waste of time if it doesn't fit her practical circumstances . But what does she understand about welfare? That a state income is no-questions-asked as long as there are children in the picture?

I get very annoyed with the NZ Herald portraying people as victims of an unreasonably heavy-handed state. Whatever she ran from was worse.

(And, yes, none of the 'father' questions are canvassed either).

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