Thursday, September 17, 2015

Beneficiary advocates could drive this into court

Asked yesterday by Radio NZ for a comment(s) about this incidence of seeming law-misinterpretation by the Ministry of Social Development that has seen new benefit grants paid out a day late, I said that beneficiary advocacy groups were like a dog with a bone. There are precedents where they have forced MSD into court and MSD has lost. So I wouldn't under-estimate what the taxpayer could be up for. By my calculation easily $200 million.  I don't know if the government can successfully retrospectively change the legislation to get MSD off the hook.

But the beneficiary advocates are over-egging the effect of a pay-out citing hardship and child poverty etc. Collectively the sum is large but individually the pay-outs are small. One grant would equate to an average of $40 or thereabouts. And the poorest beneficiaries - those on welfare long-term - would get the smallest payout or none at all.

I have no idea how a 'compensation'  process would work but if WINZ were to invite people to make a claim with the exact date of application and any other relevant details, it might just be too tough to bother.

Though who knows. That option might not be legal either.

I did say to the reporter that benefits, whilst an entitlement, are a privilege. New Zealand's welfare system is among the most generous in the world in terms of the length of time people can claim welfare for, and one day's payment wasn't a big deal in the scheme of things. The beneficiary advocates could find better bones to chew on.


JR Murphy said...

You should be ashamed of yourself making a comment like this. You are quoted in mainstream media as opposing beneficiaries being compensated for what was theirs in the first place. I know dozens of people that go on and off welfare and are forced to do stand-downs some could be owed $hundreds.

Obviously you have enough money to live because $40 isn't the difference between killing yourself and not? I know all about what its like to be driven to suicide due to neglect, discrimination, poverty and violence.

Also you say we have a very good welfare system, but what sort of 'charity' is it when you are degraded, humiliated, ostracised, discriminated against and abused for receiving it?

Anonymous said...

we have a very good welfare system

We have an absolutely terrible welfare system, one of the worst in the world.
That welfare system (which includes "healthcare", and "education", and "super") cripples NZ more every day.

It can be fixed easily overnight but not even ACT has the guts to say what anyone who can add knows is the truth