Many thanks to G for permission to publish this email she has sent to the Minister of Social Development today, regarding the discriminatory welfare reforms in Future Focus and the Minister's quotes on the matter.
Kia ora Paula Bennett MP,
The NZ Herald article about your welfare reforms quotes you as saying: "I think that is a discrimination that most New Zealanders will see as being fair and reasonable." Firstly, please don't speak for me, I am not in your "most" category at all!
I would like to think you were mis-quoted although when I discussed this comment with colleagues today one noted you said the same thing on a tv interview last night also.
I am astounded and appalled that you feel that any some forms of discrimination could be deemed as "fair and reasonable". As you were on the DPB yourself, do you then believe it is ok for people to discriminate against you? Fair and reasonable discrimination is an oxymoron.
Obviously the National Party believe it is ok to pick on certain members on society, to be arrogant towards others, to discriminate when it suits you to. I cannot stand back and wait for someone else to pull you up on this, I am horrified that you are in charge of MSD.
I have limited experience of the MSD system, I tried to apply for some short term employment assistance and was basically told that WINZ didn't have enough contacts to help find me a job that I would be better off doing it myself. I felt so uncomfortable, judged and looked down upon after sitting through a compulsory training course that I suffered for the next two months with no assistance until I found a job.
My mother is on the sickness benefit and was working part time as a in-home carer. She struggled to make ends meet due to the low wages she was paid and lack of petrol money paid by the caring agency. She got little in the way of assistance or empathy from WINZ when her clients died and her hours were cut and she needed more assistance at times.
I tried to help a friend and called WINZ on her behalf only to get the incorrect information about stand downs and have her face her case manager again who gave her a bollocking about daring to question WINZ. She had tried to go off the DPB and be self-sufficient and when she needed help it cost her dearly, only through loans from friends, family and her union did her family (her and two children) pull through their hard time, no thanks to MSD.
There may be a small amount of people trying to rort the system but you make it sound like ALL beneficiaries are taking NZ for a ride. What crap - what evidence is there to back up your assertion that we can pick on these people, that they are all rorting the system?
Stick your tax cut and GST increase - I don't want either. I won't be better off even though I am now fairly well paid. Besides, I would rather my tax dollars went into health, education and helping those in need.
What a shame you show no empathy towards those who are in the very position you were in.
How can you justify your comments?