From The Hood: WINZ of Omission

Just when you thought it was safe to go back on a subsistence wage provided by the State.


Dear Mr Zealand-Government,

I have been asked to review your case.

The first matter concerns your behaviour during recent appointments. I have to inform you we consider it entirely unacceptable.

While we have no rules that prevent you bringing props to a meeting, the business with the hoops has gotten entirely out of hand. You yourself admit the vast majority of our clients are perfectly capable of achieving what we require of them, so we are frankly bewildered as to the purpose this ever- increasing obstacle course.

Your habit is to smugly pointing out every time someone trips on a hurdle you’ve just put there, then throw them out. This suggests you won’t care if I say the whole business is degrading and exhausting. But surely you will understand the matter of the ladder was utterly reckless.

It is basic workplace safety that, having climbed a ladder and encouraged people to climb up after you, and having further offered them a “hand up” from the top, you do not withdraw your hand at the last second and run it casually through your hair, saying “But not a hand out! Zing!”

Those bewildered souls who remained after your hoop shenanigans would probably have fallen off anyway at that point, but you settled the question by kicking the ladder out behind you.

And yet your defence is that you want everyone to get as high up the ladder as possible. If you can’t understand that your actions are not helping, we will have to consider referring you for a psychological assessment.

Quite apart from the question of whether any ladder you supply will actually be rated to take that much weight.

I understand your assertion you were being perfectly reasonable but I’ve spoken to those involved and frankly they felt intimidated.

When you began to engage what you call “loving correction” of the other users of our services we had no option but to call security. We are responsible for the safety of our clients and some of them were seriously injured.

We have a right to do our job in a safe environment without constant interference ruining our hard work. Please find attached a notice trespassing you from all our offices.

This will, of course, seriously hamper our ability to help you. Perhaps you should have thought about that earlier.

But to come to the second matter, what really concerns us is what it shows about your attitude.

It’s all very well you going on about what you’re entitled to but this relationship also involves obligations on your part. It’s a deal. It’s not something we can change to suit your whims or what “your mates” tell you.

These obligations include providing dignity, respect and the ability to actually participate in society, not grinding people into the dirt with endless suspicion and phantom offers of assistance. Participants should also be able to understand that giving people who are not treating their children in a way that satisfies you less money isn’t necessarily going to fix the problem.

Even a cursory assessment shows you have been failing in these requirements for some time. If you do not remedy this situation at once will be penalised accordingly.

As of the first of the month you can expect to receive 50% less job seeking, child-raising and being old or infirm. If your delinquency continues we will be forced to hand over the administration of your welfare system to a country qualified in these matters.

At this point I would normally explain what to do if you feel you have been unfairly treated, but I’m afraid the irony of offering you due process and considered decision-making would make my keyboard explode, and we have a budget to meet.


[name withheld – I know what happens to people who disagree public with you about welfare]
Area Manager,
Work and Income New Zealand.