September 16, 2015
WINZ debt amnesty needed
Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says Work and Income needs to take a different attitude to beneficiary debt to match its own position.
The Social Security Appeal Authority had found that since 1998 WINZ has been starting people’s benefits a day after their stand down ends, rather than on the day as the law required.
The Government has put a bill before parliament to retrospectively change the benefit start date so it doesn’t have to compensate the short-changed beneficiaries.
Ms Turei says that’s rich given the hard line attitude the agency takes to debt incurred for loans it gives for food and other emergencies.
"The highest debt that beneficiaries have as a result of being on the benefit is to WINZ. It's not to loan sharks, it's not to hire companies for the telly. The biggest debt beneficiaries carry is to WINZ because WINZ have been driving them to debt and our government wants get out of the debt they owe beneficiaries. Honestly these people have no … anything," she says.
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