Written By: - Date published: 1:18 pm, September 13th, 2013 - 69 comments
Categories: activism, benefits, class war, health, housing, political alternatives, poverty, unemployment - Tags: auckland action against poverty, sue bradford
“At least 9 out of every 10 people seen by our advocacy service have been incorrectly or unfairly denied assistance. This ranges from being denied a benefit altogether when Work and Income have incorrectly assumed someone is living in a de facto marriage, to Work and Income not applying discretion in a case where a mother needs additional assistance for food.
“The culture of blame and suspicion which Paula Bennett has whipped up makes it near impossible for people to receive the assistance they are entitled to.”
Last year, in my report on AAAP’s similar Impact Action days in Onehunga, I stated how positive such action is for many people struggling on low incomes.
AAAP’s Facebook page links to some videos from these two weeks of action.
Sandra’s story was posted on youtube on 4 September 3013 (so before the New Lynn Impact), based on her prior experience of AAAP advocacy. Sandra had a bad back and a lumpy bed. Unable to get money for it from WINZ, she borrowed money from a money lender. AAAP advocacy helped her to get money for this from WINZ, and pay back the money lender.
Aaron’s story was uploaded to youtube on 1 September 2013. He is an unemployed graduate who had struggled with WINZ. AAAP helped to get his benefit re-instated along with backpay.
An AAAP video from 11 September filmed at New Lynn WINZ: advocates, and AAAP organisers, including Sue Bradford, give examples of the stories from people advocates have helped. They speak of people incorrectly/illegally having their benefits cut, leaving people struggling and hungry.
A Thursday press release from AAAP focuses on “Tales of despair: from the streets of New Lynn“ … Ranui … Glen Eden…
Even seasoned advocates running a beneficiary ‘impact’ outside Work
and Income in New Lynn this week have been shocked at the numbers of
people in dire need says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson
“In the last few days we have worked with many families who are living
with constant hunger and cold, and who are having to wash all their
clothes by hand in the middle of winter.
“We’ve helped people who are seriously ill but still hounded to find
work as a ‘Job Seeker’ rather than being paid the Supported Living
Allowance they are entitled to.
“We are finding many who have been turned down for Work and Income
assistance to which they are entitled, or who are on the wrong
benefits, meaning they are trying to survive on even less money than
an already minimal welfare system allows them.
“If our experience in New Lynn this week is anything to go by,
thousands of New Zealanders of all ages are having an already marginal
existence made even tougher because of Paula Bennett’s welfare
policies and departmental inadequacies.
“On top of that, Government housing policies which have severely
reduced access to state housing mean many beneficiaries are simply
unable to find or afford decent accommodation and are living in damp,
overcrowded and filthy conditions.
“It is deeply ironic that while there is huge angst about the
difficulty middle class families have in buying a suitable home, there
is little public mention of the families living in cars, garages or
being shunted from one unsuitable situation to another.”
A left wing NZ government needs to urgently repeal Paula Benefits damaging social security “reforms” and return social security to fulfill it’s original 1930s aims.
Well done AAAP!