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Dear Winston.

Written By: - Date published: 11:28 am, August 30th, 2017 - 136 comments
Categories: benefits, corruption, politicans, welfare, winston peters - Tags:

When you ain’t living on the bread line and stressing over the smallest financial outgoings, there’s absolutely no excuse for not responding honestly to letters like this.

136 comments on “Dear Winston. ”

  1. popexplosion 1

    is Winston 72?

  2. riffer 2

    The simple answer to the question is “none of your bloody business.”

    • Bearded Git 2.1

      Disagree Riffer-the public should be told why Winston had 6 letters like this to correct the original “mistake” that he was Single (and so got a higher rate of pension) and failed to do so.

      • riffer 2.1.1

        And how do you know this? Because somebody illegally leaked the information. So again I will say – it’s none of your bloody business. In this country you are innocent until proven guilty.

        • Enough is Enough

          The reason we know about it is because some leaked it.

          The reason he ignored these letters (if he did receive them) has nothing at all to do with the leak.

          Don’t confuse the two issues.

        • james

          Did you have the same view when the whale was illegally hacked and his emails used ?

          • weka

            Public interest.

          • lprent

            My position is exactly the same. Whoever violated the law (rawshark) if found and a case can be made should be charged and probably convicted.

            In exactly the same way that Cameron Slater and others should have been charged and convicted of accessing the non publicense parts of the Labour party website without authorisation. Similarly that Cameron Slater should have never been given a police division that he was not eligible for, after he paid Rachanger to try to hack my servers and was charged for it.

            Except for the special law for jouurnalists protecting sources in the public interest, any public interest defense is reserved for the sentencing.

            This is pretty basic legal principles, but I am sure that you are too limited in your partisan foolishness to understand that.

          • Robert Guyton

            A whale was illegally hacked???
            Call the Department of Conservation, quick!

        • Philj

          Try making that point at airport security or entering a sports stadium, or at a police booze checkpoint.

      • riffer 2.1.2

        Jesus wept. This is as bad as asking when he stopped beating his wife.

        • Cinder

          No, its a standard yearly letter sent to all those receiving a pension. My mother receives one every 12 months like clockwork asking about changes to living circumstances.

          It is the same with beneficiaries who need to inform WINZ / MSD of any change to the circumstances they have given to them, yearly check up and also a yearly need to reapply for the benefit.

          No one is asking Winston to waive his privacy (apart from the media), Bill is simply asking why this sort of form letter, sent to all pensioners and beneficiaries, did not set alert him to WINZ / MSD having incorrect details.

          • Anne

            See my comment @ 3 Cinder. I may be wrong but it has always been my understanding that the details provided to WINZ dictate which ‘form’ letter is sent to individual clients.

            • Cinder

              True that.

              Sorry, given my mother receives one yearly I thought it was across the board.

              It may be that she receives one annually because she is a HNZ tenant.

          • weka

            We don’t know that WINZ sends these to every pensioner, as opposed to some.

            Other beneficiaries don’t necessarily get a yearly letter, and I’ve never seen one like the one in the post.

            Long term beneficiares don’t have to reapply yearly.

            Yes, there is still an onus to tell WINZ if your circumstances change irrespective of whether you are sent a form or not, but if you believe that your circumstances haven’t changed then there’s nothing to tell.

            I agree with the gist of the post, I’m just going to point once again to the problem with judging beneficiaries based on supposition and personal experience.

          • ianmac

            Those on Super do not get such a letter.
            I haven’t anyway and its over 10 years since I went on Super.

            • weka

              Some do, some don’t.

              The letter in the post is for pensioners.

              • Macro

                I’ve never received one either.
                Frankly I wouldn’t know what rate I should be on – I receive a different amount from my wife. We are both on Super. She has not received such a notice either. When I hand it all over to my accountant at the end of the year we receive different tax returns.

                • Carolyn_nth

                  And surely Peters would have an accountant dealing with his financial affairs?

                  • Macro

                    I would have thought so too!
                    So really I don’t think we can say Winston is in serious fault here.

                    I’m not a fan of Winston and won’t be voting for NZFirst – even though they have some very good policy. I really do think NZFirst (and by that I mean Winston) should come clean, and give the electorate some heads up as to which way they will jump after the 23rd. Their policies are very much more in line with Labour and the Greens, rather than National. But Winston likes to think that he should offer the largest polling Party the first chance to form Government. This seems to me to negate the Policies that he is standing on, if the largest Party does not have Policies (or its actions in the past are contrary to) those of NZ First.

      • weka 2.1.3

        what evidence do you have that (a) Peters received 6 letters like this? and (b) that he didn’t respond appropriately?

        • weka

          and to make it even clearer, there is a difference between what Bill did (asking Peters to clarify what he did), and what you did (making assumptions about fact and then judging Peters for it when you don’t actually know what happened). That’s what happens to beneficiaries all the time. Please stop doing this.

          • Cinder

            Sorry Weka, not sure if that is directed at me. I assume so given where is sits in the thread.

            Hate to be a bore, but I am not judging Winston, just interpreting what the point of Bill’s post was while assuming that those letters were sent across the board to apply pensioners. As I stated, if he received such a letter and read it, you would think it would have alerted him. Will promise to not assume things in the future.

            It may have helped if some context was provided for the image above, such as if it was issued following someones initial application to receive superannuation or a change in their circumstances or something else which may have led to the issuing of the letter.

            As a beneficiary myself I am VERY accustomed to receiving letters like the one above and would hope that I would never be part of a torch bearing mob calling for heads. As it stands, I dread receiving letters from WINZ / MSD. You just never know what could be inside. Hopefully it’s just a new community services card…
            And those who receive a Jobseekers Benefit DO need to reapply annually.

            Apologies to Bill, Anne and yourself.

            • Bill

              No need to apologise to me.

              It’s not unreasonable (though not always correct) to extrapolate from known scenarios on the assumption they’re common.

            • weka

              2.1.3 is a reply to 2.1 (Bearded Git). If in doubt you can scroll upwards following the edge of the comments. Or use the Comments thing on the side of the page to see who is replying to who.

              I don’t mind people extrapolating if they’re being clear that’s what they’re doing. BG was basically saying he knew what had happened and what Peters had done, and was basing his argument for Peters to disclose on that as if it were fact. It’s not. It’s very similar to what happens to beneficiaries when they end up being questioned by WINZ or people in their lives. All sorts of assumption when people don’t know what happened. Same as Shearer’s Painter on the Roof story.

              I think Peters needs to be held accountable, I’m just arguing for doing that without resorting to false arguments (and I agree his privacy rights need to be upheld). Assumptions are ok so long as we don’t assume they are true 😉

              Like you I’m not a great fan of getting letters from WINZ. My concern here is that in the haste to get Peters some people are missing the fact that WINZ is a pretty dysfunctional organisation.

              • ianmac

                Those on Super don’t get such letters.

                • weka

                  Some do, but not all.

                  • tracey

                    A friend has said this to me

                    If Peter’s uses a tax agent (accountant) then it’s most likely that these letters went to that address.

                    If he set the mailing preference to send electronically, he would get an email telling you there is a letter to retrieve online. BUT since the e-services is so poor most people give up retrieving them after a few attempts.

                    I have to say logging in to my IRD online is a freaking nightmare

                  • mikesh

                    I have never received such a letter. I assume that that would be because
                    I´m neither single nor living alone, and that has been the case since I started. If I found myself living alone, either because my wife had died, or we had separated, then I guess it would be up to me to advise WINZ in order to receive the increased pension.

                    • Rightly or Wrongly

                      You could be onto something Mike.

                      Knowing how the bureaucratic mindset works you can see their reasoning for sending letters to people receiving the higher payment amount and not to those receiving the lower amount.

                      Higher amount: send letter incase you are not entitled to the difference.

                      Lower amount: who cares as you are on the bottom of the barrel – never mind if you are entitled to the higher amount.

                      I do ask this question, only half in jest:

                      Who benefits from this leak?

                      All upsides to Winston who gets lots of publicity and appeals to his conspiracy constituency. Also his old foes the Nats gets hammered for free. (Takes the focus off Green/Red)

                      If I was a conspiracy nut I would wonder out loud whether Winston leaked this himself.

      • mpledger 2.1.4

        “Special” people get different services to ordinary people so we don’t know that he got any of those letters.

      • Terry 2.1.5

        My mother is very elderly. I look after her financial affairs, She has never received one of these letters.

        • Bearded Git

          Yes Terry (and mpledger above) it appears they are not sent out to everybody by any means. So this is another Farrar fantasy (it was him that has been pushing this) and my comment above is wrong.

          Silly me. Why on earth would anyone believe anything David (Dirty Politics) Farrar wrote or said?

    • Well, in theory it should be none of our business. But in our lack of wisdom, we’ve made our social welfare system unnecessarily complicated via the petty and penny-pinching decision to pay people in a relationship less than people who aren’t in one (whether that be NZ Superannuation or whatever-the-hell they renamed the unemployment and domestic purposes benefits to). By doing so, we made these people’s personal relationship’s the government’s business. We can point out that was a very stupid thing to do, but that doesn’t alter the fact it is the government’s business. And since the media just conducted a several-week dirt-digging operation on Metiria Turei over the same issue, with no politicians of other parties objecting to that treatment, they’ve made it the public’s business also. Bad luck for Winston.

      The leaking of his private information for political purposes is a separate and more important issue.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.3


  3. Anne 3

    You are single
    You are living alone.

    Those details are going to vary according to whatever was recorded at the time of the application or when the person’s circumstances changed. I’m picking that the detail on Peter’s letter was along the lines:

    You are in a de-facto relationship.
    You live part time with your partner.

    When the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing mistakes in the calculations can still be made even if the details are correct.

    • weka 3.1

      That would be my guess too. Or we don’t have enough information.

    • Bill 3.2

      However the exact wording next to the highlighted relationship status and living situation might vary, the fact would seem to be that clarification or correction is a simple matter of answering to those statements.

      • weka 3.2.1

        Assuming Peters gets letters like this (not a given), if the information in the letter matches Peters’ situation, then the letter clearly states he doesn’t have to do anything.

        • Bill

          Of course no action’s taken if the info’s accurate. And if the info is incorrect, then an 0800 phone call sorts matters.

          I haven’t assumed Peter’s got such correspondence. That’s why the post asks how many such letters he received. (And sure. The honest answer may be “none”.)

          • weka

            Yes, that’s how I took the post, but I don’t understand your point at 3.2 as a response to Anne.

      • tracey 3.2.2

        IF he got these letters it will be interesting if the first few said de facto and the last one said “single”, given the assertion of an alteration to a form?

        • weka

          That’s a good point, we don’t know which form was altered. I had assumed the original application.

          • tracey

            So did I but this would also solve that question? If it was altered after the correct one was loaded… that would thorw a different light on to it (if it was recently changed I mean)?

    • Pat 3.3

      thats pertinent point…everyone seems to be assuming the overpayment relates to a simple difference between living alone and couple rate,however…
      “This amount may be affected by other income you receive. Rates at 1 April 2017 (adjusted 1 April each year)’

      it would be safe to say that Winstons position will be directly impacted by additional income and clawbacks….something his accountant is likely to have been dealing with so was almost certainly at arms length from Winston…or not.

      • weka 3.3.1

        he became an MP again in that time?

        • Pat

          yes..and he almost certainly has investments after god knows how long on MPs salary, and may still do odd legal work

          • tracey

            He would also have been entitled tot he large taxpayer funded super scheme (2-1) that he joined when he first entered Parliament

            • weka

              Didn’t that finish by the time he had applied for Super?

              • tracey

                He would be paid out in a lump sum wouldn’t he? Quite a substantial sum to offset as income (or is super exempt?)

                • alwyn

                  The scheme Winston belonged to wasn’t a lump sum one.
                  It pays out a annual amount, which depends on the number of years you served, and which is inflation indexed, untaxed and guaranteed by the Crown.
                  Joining that scheme ceased to be an option for MPs who entered Parliament on some date in 1992. There are still a few people there who will get it, although I can only think of a couple who will be there after the election.
                  Dunne, Williamson and McCully will start getting it. English and Smith will start getting it when they retire.
                  There are a lot of retired MPs who are getting it of course.
                  The current scheme pays out a lump sum. Winston probably gets the old scheme’s pay-out and will be eligible for the new one as well when he finally goes.

      • alwyn 3.3.2

        The section you are referring to covers the situation of a couple where only one person qualifies for National Super because of their age.
        It is possible, if you have a sufficiently low income to get Super for the underage (ie less than 65 Partner) as well. I find it very hard to believe that Winston and his partner could possibly qualify for this. His MP’s pension from his 1979 – 2008 period in Parliament would preclude him from that state.
        Doesn’t mean he might not have tried to claim it of course. That would explain why he took his partner off to see the department.
        When both people in the relationship qualify, or only one is claiming it, the other income they may have is totally irrelevant.
        That was certainly the case for Winston during the period being considered.

    • AB 3.4

      Yep. We don’t know if the computer system from which this letter gets generated is properly integrated with the computer system that initiates payment. The two systems could be saying and doing quite different things.
      Nor do we know that Winston got any letters, or if upon getting them that he threw them unopened in the bin because for someone like him it’s a trivial amount of money.
      I get that the point being made here is that a wealthy pensioner gets the benefit of the doubt while a poor solo Mum gets hounded to within an inch of her life. I agree that this is appalling, but it’s no reason to start hounding the pensioner as well.

      • weka 3.4.1

        That’s a very clear synopsis. My problem is that Peters has been evasive this week, and the explanations don’t quite add up. Given he is a Member of Parliament, I think he could clarify and settle things. The fact that he hasn’t looks dodgy. That’s a problem.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          The fact that he’s being asked these questions at all is what’s dodgy.

          Peters has zero obligation to answer any of them. I’m gutted by the stories I read on #wearebeneficiaries etc,. I’m not going to start endorsing this shit now it’s Winston under the gun.

          Whoever leaked this information is a criminal, so the overwhelming likelihood is that they are also a National Party Cabinet Minister.

          • weka

            I largely agree except that it denies the problem of MSD/WINZ not being perceived as trustworthy, and the context of what happened to Turei. I don’t think Peters should be subjected to what happened to her, and if he’d come out this week and been straight with NZ instead of his usual bullshit self then this could get sorted out in an adult way. One thing that could have come out of this is a focus on fixing WINZ. In this sense the MSM are largely culpable, and sounding dodgy isn’t a crime but he’s an MP and he’s been pulling this shit for a long time. I think as an MP there’s a higher standard needed.

            The leak and National is a different issue that also needs to be addressed.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              The whole point of the crime was to bog him down in questions. He doesn’t have to answer a damn thing: doing so validates the offence.

        • Xanthe

          Nothing “evasive” about it. Howabout you actually watch whats happening instead of parroting !

          The only “evasive” is a lot of spin from newshub, go and listen to the source of “evasive” you will hear a very agressive reporter pushing hard and winston quite properly telling him to get fucked, nothing evasive about it!

          • weka

            I used the words obfuscation and evasive myself after listening to Peters directly and trying to make sense of what he was saying. I have no idea who else might be using what words, but Peters’ story didn’t make sense. I don’t think he’s committed fraud btw.

    • alwyn 3.5

      I doubt that, based on what Winston himself has said that he would have received a letter with the statements you propose. He would have got one in the published form in this post.
      He has stated that he was being paid the maximum rate of the National Super. This is the rate paid only to people who are single and living alone. He would therefore have to be recorded in that way to get the super he says he was paid.
      If he was recorded the way you suggest he would only have received the minimum rate and there would have been no need to repay anything.
      You don’t need to get a letter if you are on the minimum level of super, which is the one to which he was entitled. After all what could they ask you that could reduce your entitlement? Are you still alive? Has your age decreased and you are now less than 65? It would be difficult to answer in the first case and I have never met anyone to which the second option applies.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.5.1

        He has stated that he was being paid the maximum rate of the National Super.

        [citation needed]

        iirc he said he was being paid the next-to-lowest rate.

        • alwyn

          “being paid the maximum rate”
          You are correct. He didn’t say he was getting the “maximum” rate.
          What he claims is that he was receiving a level above what he should have been getting.
          The relevant current rates are

          Standard NZ Super Rates (for tax code M)

          Single – living alone $20,290.40
          Single – sharing $18,729.36
          Married, civil union or de facto couple: One partner qualifies (and the other is not included) $15,607.80

          These are the current figures and are for the lowest rate of tax. He would obviously have received prior years payments at lower rates and I hardly think he would be on tax code M.
          If his claim about the rate is correct, and with Winston you don’t know whether NO means YES, it would mean he was getting the equivalent of the $18,729 when he should have been getting the $15,607 amount. He would still have got a letter asking him whether he was single although he might not have the living alone part.

          I wonder why he had his partner along?
          At the time she didn’t qualify on the basis of age and there was no reason at all for her to be there.

          Surely he wasn’t trying to get the pension for her as well was he? You can do it if you don’t have a taxable income, or at least much of a taxable income. I don’t know the full details. Bloody cheek if he tried that on. I know someone who, as a retired public servant with Super which was exempt from tax, tried to get his wife included. They got knocked back as Winston would have also been. Winston’s pension at the time he applied would have been tax free and might have been his only income.

          I hadn’t thought about this before but I am now getting quite curious as to why he took her to the meeting.

          If he had got away with something like that they would have got the equivalent of $29,669/year

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            What a load of witless drivel.

            You really are a complete idiot eh.

            • alwyn

              You don’t have to read it you know.
              We don’t have laws that require you to do so, yet.
              Just skip straight over it if it disturbs you. I’m sure you will be happier, and have lower blood pressure if you do so.

              On the other hand when I read something like this
              “Whoever leaked this information is a criminal, so the overwhelming likelihood is that they are also a National Party Cabinet Minister.”
              I really think I should tell you that there is some severely delusional idiot out there who is publishing ridiculous remarks using your pen name.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Do you deny that a crime has been committed?

                Do you deny that National Ministers have motive, opportunity and crucially, form in this regard?

                Tough luck if you don’t like the inevitable conclusion.

                • alwyn

                  I haven’t the faintest idea whether a crime has been committed.
                  Neither, I would say, have you. It is only your opinion after all.

                  I fail to see how the Public Service telling the Minister something they believe is covered by the “no surprises” rule is a crime. Foolish it may have been but I don’t see that they committed a crime.
                  I also cannot see that the Minister(s) hearing that detail is a crime. How can they really be blamed for something they have simply been told. Are you guilty of a crime if someone, a friend say, tells you that they have been speeding? The Ministers having been told puts them in that situation.

                  The only possible crime is the leaking of the information to the News outlet.
                  If, as I suspect, it was leaked by Winston, or someone acting under his instructions and on his behalf, I can’t see what crime has been committed. Winston surely can’t be charged with a crime of breaching his own privacy?

                  “Do you deny that a crime has been committed”.
                  That is like the “have you stopped beating your wife”?
                  I haven’t the faintest idea on whether there has been a crime committed. You like to believe there has been but that is merely your uninformed prejudice at play.

      • WILD KATIPO 3.5.2

        So,… 7 years of incompetence by DSW?

        No wonder they have been seen in such poor light recently.

        The Jenny Shipley / Ruth Richardson 26 year old dream of ‘ shitting on the poor’ is over , alwyn.

        Its all going to change soon.

        A little bit past the September elections.

        Not long to go.

      • Anne 3.5.3

        Errors do occur alwyn. Probably more common than MSD would ever admit to. But I take your point. If a person is single and living alone then its likely they are the only ‘pensioners’ who receive that particular form. They are the only ones whose Super is set at the maximum level. So, did Winston receive that form or not? That is the question.

        Which leads us straight back to where I think Bill started… 😕

      • WILD KATIPO 3.5.4

        State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes defended the decision to inform the ministers, saying it was carefully considered and the Solicitor General consulted.

        However, English said the Government departments should not have told ministers, given the personal nature of the information.

        “Frankly, the ministers would probably have preferred not to be advised about it. There’s a question as to whether it was the right judgment by the public service to advise ministers when it involved a senior politician during an election campaign.”

        He said the ministers had handled it “with integrity”.

        Bennett said she knew the information would be “explosive” so decided not to share it even with her staff. She denied National had leaked it, saying there would be little benefit in it for National and it was not the kind of behaviour she would engage in.


        Get that ?

        Even English is saying govt dept’s should not have told minister’s…

        Bennett saying that ” it was not the kind of behaviour she would engage in” .

        And yet she did exactly the same to two beneficiaries a few years back.

        Yet contrast this whole sordid affair with Aderns statement :

        Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said there was a need to get to the bottom of it to ensure people’s privacy was protected by Government departments and whether it had gone beyond that.

  4. Ad 4

    What would happen to our punitive culture if every person’s direct subsidy was available to be seen by everyone:

    – Kiwisaver
    – NZSuper
    – Unemployment and related benefits
    – Parliamentary and civil servant Super schemes
    – Working For Families
    – R&D writeoffs
    – Irrigation grants
    – Student grants
    – Housing subsidies
    – Public transport subsidies per ticket
    – ACC benefits
    – Doctor visits and hospital visits
    – Rates discounts
    – GoldCard discounts
    … and all the rest of the stuff needed to have a functioning society.

    The indirect transfers would make it all too weird and complex, but simply being open about the direct ones would be a general reminder that most of us have them, most of us rely on them, and it’s New Zealand.

  5. weka 5

    Nice one Bill. Don’t know why the MSM couldn’t have done this right at the start and asked direct questions.

    Peters doesn’t need to share private documents, but he does need to start being upfront instead of evasive.

    • Pete 5.1

      If he stops being evasive his credentials for being PM will be shot to bits. They are the credentials the previous and present ones had, have in spades.

      • tracey 5.1.1

        I am confused, you seem to be saying being evasive worked for Key and English but not for Peters? ON what basis do you think he will be PM?

        • weka

          I think Pete is saying the behind evasive is a prerequisite for the job if one is on the right.

          Neither the Greens nor Labour would support Peters being PM in a left wing govt, it’s an absurd notion. Him leading a RW govt kind of makes sense though (still don’t think it will happen).

  6. Psych nurse 6

    But now Winston has paid too much tax, top rate on god knows how much. He could fall into a long drop and come up with gold teeth.

  7. Adrian 7

    68 and Ive never recieved a letter like that.
    But if this is/was an even mildly sophisticated setup, ( to change his original application ) its a simple thing to programme the recipient’s account to not recieve any clarification letters.

    • Karen 7.1

      I think you only get that letter if you are single. If you are in a relationship at the time of application then they assume you will contact them if you later become single as then you would be entitled to a higher rate. They are not interested in making sure you get your full entitlement, only that you don’t get more than you are due.

      If Peters was being paid the higher single rate then he should have been sent these letters – it would just be a computer generated letter based on the rate he was being paid. I can see how there could have been a mistake made at the application stage, and I can accept that he would have just assumed the rate was correct initially.
      However, I would like to know whether he got these letters and, if he did, then why wasn’t the the error rectified.

    • In Vino 7.2

      Turning 71, living alone, and I have had at least 3 such letters over the years.

  8. Arthur 8

    Since becoming widowed I have regularly received letters asking for details of any changes to my living circumstances. If there are no changes the letter may be ignored.

  9. So he did or he didn’t get those forms,- appears by the comments of some not all get them frequently , while others do.

    We are talking Winston Peters here ,… not some personage obscure .

    He went with his partner physically into the DSW office , and was served apparently by a senior official.

    Everybody knows Winston Peters, lets not beat around the bush with this . Unless somebody has been living in a toilet the last 30 years anyone in official capacity pretty much knows the basics of Peters relationships . And if they don’t , – Google is a wonderful thing.

    If the DSW can even manage to screw that up , … that just goes to show their incredibly stunning levels of incompetence – and just how deep the incompetence really runs . Therefore it is no wonder this dept has had the spotlight put on them recently.

    It is no wonder so many have been overpayed , – then months later , after they are in debt a significant amount relative to income , – are then asked to pay it back.

    Because of gross incompetence.

    Not simply an occasional slip up , – but time after time after time. Almost as if it is a punitive attempt to incur dept and mental anguish upon its ‘clients ‘. And if neo liberalism seeks to recreate every govt dept to be run along business models, – then this must be the poorest business model in existence. No real business treats its ‘ customers’ or ‘ clients’ like diseased subhumans quite the way DSW manages to do.

    Worrying about if Peters did or didn’t receive one of ‘ these letters’ detracts from the issues at hand. And those issues are that we have a grossly incompetent, punitive and deceitful govt dept that should, – after the new Labour led govt be installed , – be completely overhauled and many of its current govt lap dog managers sacked , along with its contrived ‘ business model ‘ charade and get back to doing what it was created for , – serving those on superannuation and those in dire need with respect and dignity , – AND not withholding information of what those people are entitled to.

  10. mary_a 10

    Hubby is 72 and I’m 71. To the best of our knowledge we have never received any correspondence from MSD since receiving national superannuation, other than having our cards updated and from memory, a letter advising of an increase in our pension.

    On one occasion we went into the WINZ office to advise of our change of address and that’s been about it. Nothing else.

    Not sure how the MSD system works. Doubt the department knows itself, given all the stuff ups and confusion related to it!

    • weka 10.1

      This is how I understand it. WINZ have made a lot of changes to their internal processes in the past 5 years and how they deal with the whole updating circumstances thing is part of that. Some people get letters, others don’t.

      I would hazard a guess that people getting supplementary benefits would be getting the letters.

    • alwyn 10.2

      That will be because you, like me, are receiving the minimum rate of the pension.
      The only way your entitlement can be reduced is if you die.
      Winston wasn’t on the minimum and therefore gets the letter to check whether he is still entitled to the higher rate. He wasn’t and he has apparently never told them.
      It is quite likely he never read the letters of course. He was notorious for not reading Cabinet papers.

  11. David Farrar is touting this letter in support of the contention that WP lied initially and lied by default subsequently in order to get a bit more money on his super, i.e. even if the initial input of data was a mistake, he would have had 7 opportunities to correct it. That seems damning if indeed he received such letters but I’ve never had one nor has my husband who’s been in receipt of NZ super for 6 years or so.

    I’m capable of binning a computer generated letter without reading it thoroughly but he’s the opposite so, if he’s never seen one, they’ve never been sent – which suggests not all superannuants are written to every year. It would be hugely expensive to write to every person who is in receipt of superannuation and / or a benefit.

    If only some people are sent letters – it would be interesting to know how they are chosen. We know one possible criteria from this thread – a superannuant who lives in an HNZ house receives one every year. We know from my situation that being in long-term formalised relationship and a home owner means you do not get one – possibly at all and certainly not annually.

    We can be certain of one thing, the primary intention will be to ensure the state is not over paying – not to check whether the claimant is being underpaid.

    And the important questions remain: Why now? Who leaked? What was their intention?

    • Dirk Meatwhistle 11.1

      While it seems like a botched National hit job I still can’t believe they’d do this to Winston, a potential support party, instead of trying it on Labour

    • ianmac 11.2

      Super receivers do not get letters to update. It is a universal income.
      I think the onus is on the recipient to let them know if the change in circumstances would change the payout. Eg: Go from shared to single. Or both partners become eligible.

      So David Farrar is, out of character, mischief making.

      • weka 11.2.1

        If there is one useful thing that’s going to come out of this, it’s the understanding that one’s personal experience with WINZ can’t be extrapolated to the whole population 😉

      • Karen 11.2.2

        They do if they are being paid at the single rate – they only have to respond if there is a change in circumstances..

    • Karen 11.3

      “I’ve never had one nor has my husband who’s been in receipt of NZ super for 6 years or so”.

      This is why. These letters are not sent if you are in a relationship. I just checked with family members – the single ones get it annually, the couples don’t.

    • alwyn 11.4

      “Why now? Who leaked? What was their intention”
      Why now is fairly clear. His partner reached 65 and applied for Super. She would have declared Winston as her partner and that she was living with him. This would have immediately flagged that he was getting the single/living alone rate when he didn’t qualify.
      Who leaked? I think it was Winston himself. After he cleaned up the amount owing he will have leaked the problem, now settled fully to everybody’s satisfaction, and he can say “what a good boy am I”.
      What was the intention? Winston, among all the stuff about Ardern and Turei, has been getting absolutely no publicity. This gives him the chance to put on his Don Quixote armour and lash out at National, proclaiming that only he is there to fight off the evil Dalek overlords. (Sorry about the mixed metaphor).
      The public service “No surprises” interpretation has been a godsend to him as he can claim that National leaked it to try and destroy the hero of the common man.
      They obviously can’t find a leaker in the departments or the beehive as there isn’t one.
      Meanwhile Winston rides high on the front pages and everybody remembers he is still alive. After the election he will immediately forget about the whole thing and start his negotiations with National and Labour to see who will provide him with the most baubles and the highest level of knighthood.

      • peterh 11.4.1

        You should do comic scripts

      • WILD KATIPO 11.4.2

        ‘ His partner reached 65 and applied for Super. She would have declared Winston as her partner and that she was living with him.’

        * Would you rather she didn’t declare the relationship?

        ‘ Who leaked? I think it was Winston himself.’

        * YOU think. You think a lot of things alwyn and most of them are just your opinion, designed to further your agenda. Apparently National , DSW and IRD think otherwise. As do much of the opposition. And now the media , – and the public.

        ”What was the intention? Winston, among all the stuff about Ardern and Turei, has been getting absolutely no publicity.”

        * And so you think Peters would rather spend time and money on legal costs pursuing something he just made up. To get publicity when he already will determine the make up of the next government. Somehow ,… it seems Peters didn’t need THAT MUCH publicity…

        ” The public service “No surprises” interpretation has been a godsend to him as he can claim that National leaked it ”

        * And possibly an official from either the IRD or DSW DID pass on information to ministers in the National party , – therefore the ‘ no surprises ‘ policy was deliberately misappropriated for political motives. As that was not what the ‘ no surprises’ policy was intended for. As the IRD has stated – it is a criminal offence to disclose personal taxation information , – let alone to the media.

        ” They obviously can’t find a leaker in the departments or the beehive as there isn’t one.”

        * Again. Assumption. And I’m sure you could assert that about every crime that has been committed , – until the perpetrator is found. And I hardly think Peters would set himself up for criminal prosecution if it was found to have been a hoax all along , – or political oblivion.

        ” After the election he will immediately forget about the whole thing and start his negotiations with National ”

        * It maybe rather difficult when the perpetrator is found to be seen negotiating with National after the election because they will literally be Pariahs, – because of not only this latest scandal , – but also the Todd Barclay affair, – which is yet to be resolved by the latest police reopening of the case . Not forgetting also manned reentry into Pike River which National have ruled out but is a bottom line for NZ First.

      • Adrian 11.4.3

        Yeah, right, Bill. Dream fucking on. It is you isn’t it Bill., you knew he wasn’t going with you in a million years.

      • tracey 11.4.4

        Do you parrot all of Bennett or just snippets.

      • TeWhareWhero 11.4.5

        So – assuming you were being serious – is it your contention that Peters made a false declaration on his application form 7 years ago in order to get a few extra dollars, thereby taking the risk that at any point – given he does like the limelight, his relationship is not secret and he has a habit of upsetting people – someone could have checked his records and leaked the information; that he ignored all the letters some people are claiming he would have got every year thereby repeatedly compounding the original false declaration, and that he never anticipated what would happen when his partner applied, i.e. that his original false declaration and ongoing failure to correct his records would be found out given the MSD would cross reference his superannuation entitlement with his partner’s application?

        Then, having been so incredibly shortsighted – not to say stupid – he somehow found out Ministers had been secretly briefed about the over-payment, and concocted the mother of all manipulations by leaking the information to Newsroom, anticipating that Tim Murphy would spin the story into the mother of all media meringues, all the while intending to ruin Newsroom’s ‘scoop’ by admitting the overpayment in advance of their story so he could present himself as the victim of a National Party smear in order to grab the headlines……?

        I know he’s got a reputation for being Machiavellian but …. yeah, nah.

    • TeWhareWhero

      ”And the important questions remain: Why now? Who leaked? What was their intention? ”…


    • Anne 11.6

      I have just read your “In Place of Fear” TeWhareWhero. I recommend it to all Standardistas who are interested in the subject. I empathise with your MSD experience. They put me through a frightening ordeal in the 1990s at a time when the ‘Dob a Beneficiary a Day’ scheme was at it’s height. Someone provided them with false evidence but WINZ would not provide me with any details nor did they apologise. It was beyond shameful.

      • WILD KATIPO 11.6.1

        Communist China and Russia did that as well , encouraging the children to dob in not only friends, neighbors – but family / parents if they spoke against the regime. So did NAZI Germany and other fascist governments.

        And that’s just the thing , – the far Left and the far Right are wings of the same bird.

        And to see the European origins of the neo liberal reforms NZ had in the 1980’s and 1990’s … this is helpful.

        I would suggest alwyn take a good read then stand back and admit what he / she is actually supporting.

        New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          “Communist” countries never figured out what to do about authoritarians and their followers any more than we have.

          It’s easy to blame extremists; brutality is far more mundane.

          • WILD KATIPO

            There never will be a perfect society that’s true, simply because of the need by many to maintain a sense of deference to authority. That’s what enables psychopathic leadership of all manner of descriptions.

            Even this latest affair regarding Peters has been enabled by inadequate enforcement and adherence to legal / political principles of fairness.

            But what we can do is have checks and balances and laws and regulations to inhibit harmful negative activity’s be they political or otherwise before they start. Something the neo liberal hates.

            There’s a reason why they want a complete free market and open slather in order to be able to maintain a cowed compliant peasant workforce without regulations in force to reel in their avarice and malicious activity’s…

        • Anne

          … the far Left and the far Right are wings of the same bird.

          Yes. I came to the same conclusion 30 plus years ago.

          • Arthur

            Many years ago (early seventies?) I attended a lecture by Wolfgang Rosenberg he described the left/right situation as follows
            National get on the train in Christchurch intending to go to Picton and arrive in Picton. Labour get on the train intending to go to Invercargill and arrive in Picton.

            • Anne

              I don’t see your point. National is not the far Right and Labour is not the far Left.

  12. swordfish 12

    Hoots-Farrar Twitter Exchange (Yesterday)

    National’s political hit job on Winston Peters

    In which Hoots suggested

    Current unofficial #Beehive line is that the @winstonpeters info was leaked by an @msdgovtnz datacenter worker with @NZGreens connections


    Hoots (Today)

    Matthew Hooton‏

    Beehive has decided to go with the “@winstonPeters leaked it” story for today. “@NZGreens @msdgovtnz staffer” no longer operational. But …

    …”@winstonpeters leaked it” only makes sense if he knew @NZNationalParty had been briefed under #NoSurprises. And how could he have if …

    … the official line remains that neither the ministers nor Eagleson told anyone? Unless …

    … the line is that @msdgovtnz staff leaked to @winstonpeters that Beehive had been briefed. Which would make it all exceptionally complex.

    • tracey 12.1

      He is tying himself up in knots. The Greens staffer was mischief making to which he and farrar gave oxygen with no proof..

      IF the PM was not told under the no surpises policy, are they repealling the policy or just crossing out “No”?

      • Bearded Git 12.1.1

        Agreed Tracey…”no longer operational” is the new “total bollocks”.

        Hooton should be banned from being the politics expert on RNZ if he is willing to spread this bile. How about a petition on this?

        (And maybe Farrar should be banned from the panel for similar reasons. After all Jim banned Bomber for simply expressing an opinion, not making stuff up.)

        This is all happening only 13 days before Advance Voting starts on 11th September-spread the word on this. VOTE EARLY!

    • repateet 12.2

      At least it shows Farrar and Hooton are modern and all that – you know, tweeting and all.

      Bit sad though, symptomatic of our society that a couple of kids in a sandpit don’t actually put the electronics down and just talk to each other.

  13. I mus wonder what the reaction would be if this had happened to a brown solo mum. I can just imagine filth and anger from the Political Right and
    the self righteous .The talk back anger and ignorance would have been sickening.
    I’m just thankful that it wasn’t the above and some poor Maori wasn’t
    found taking more than they expected
    The Pink Postman,

  14. Richard Christie 14

    What all you people should be asking is why the sex lives of any beneficiary should affect their entitlements.

    It’s a throw back to pre 1980s pre dominance of the single income family.

    Well overdue to be thrown out.

  15. AsleepWhileWalking 16

    So…the shit thickens

    “I did, however, have the presence of mind to ask my associates just why they thought NZF was about to be in the gun. They bluntly stated that there was about to be a rather ‘large’ scandal concerning National due to come out early the next week, and that National was looking about to find something to ‘defuse’ the situation pre-emptively by putting out a DISTRACTION SCANDAL that would harm their adversaries and minimize the damage to their own side.”


    • ianmac 16.1

      Now that will be interesting if National has a serious issue yet to be exposed.
      Maybe that is why Key bailed out?

      • AsleepWhileWalking 16.1.1

        I still hope National are scandaled (?) out…oh the things that would change.

    • tracey 16.2

      Really? How would this distract from a scandal? Are you saying the outlet that was going to publish the national scandal now won’t?

  16. ianmac 17

    And the 5pm News RNZ points out that if on Super and you have a Housing Supplement, then there is an annual declaration to be used. Otherwise no declaration. Hence the difference.

  17. Carolyn_nth 18

    Heard on RNZ 5pm news bulletin: they had contacted the Ministry of Social Development about people on super getting annual letters about their circumstances.

    the answer was that not everyone on super is contacted each. From memory, it’s people who have no other source of income, and may be on something like accommodation supplement, who get letters once a year to confirm their circumstances.

    • tracey 18.1

      Why couldn’t Tim Murphy have asked MSM this question and included the answer in his follow up article today? I had hoped Newsroom would avoid this kind of gotcha reporting that lacks substantiation.

      • Carolyn_nth 18.1.1

        Oh dear, Tim Murphy is using kblog as posted by DPF as his source.

        Murphy set himself up promising #motherofallscandals and he can’t seem to back down. Just digging deeper.

        RNZ news bulletin said “people” had been questioning why peters hadn’t taken notice of letters all super-annuitants get – so RNZ went to the source to ask ie MSD.

        • tracey

          That is my sense. it wasn’t what Murphy said it would be, so now he is just looking for evidence that supports his view that it is a scandal. He seems to have lost objectivity which, to date, I thought Newsroom was based upon.

        • weka

          “RNZ news bulletin said “people” had been questioning why peters hadn’t taken notice of letters all super-annuitants get – so RNZ went to the source to ask ie MSD.”

          It’s Weds, and this story broke on Sunday. Even if Shub didn’t think to ask when they were researching the story, there are multiple outlets that could have asked on Monday morning. I’ve spent 3 days pointing out the lack of facts in people’s arguments over Peters, it beggars belief that even RNZ didn’t see the importance of reporting what the situation is.

          • tracey

            You have and it is pretty basic stuff. Unless you are part of a press corp that hankers for scandals… real and imagined.

        • Whispering Kate

          What letter which is sent to super-annuitants – my partner and I have been receiving super since 2011 and have never received a follow-up letter confirming our relationship at any time. We get the electoral forms every election time to alter if changes have happened but zilch from WINZ. We certainly let hem know if we leave the country on holiday but that’s it for us. I know they cut it off smartly on the demise of a partner but that doesn’t surprise us at all.

          Maybe Winnie didn’t get any letters from them.

          • Carolyn_nth

            Oh. Above I said this:

            the answer was that not everyone on super is contacted each.

            And should have said this:

            the answer was that not everyone on super is contacted each YEAR.

            As the audio linked below says:

            The Ministry of Social Development says, superannuatants, without personal earnings, who receive support, such as the accommodation supplement, or an allowance for a permanent medical condition, do have to make annual declarations. So do those with no other form of income, who claim the single rate. But it says other superannuatants are not contacted regularly to reconfirm their circumstances.

  18. Rosalene Bradbury 19

    The issue that is startling in all of this is the advice that was given to Anne Tolley on the NO SURPRISES rule. I believe this cabinet manual rule needs drastic reworking to ensure that issues affecting single individual’s personal affairs (whatever those affairs may be) are NOT disclosable to a minister.

  19. beatie 20

    Why do wealthy people like Winston need a state-subsidised pension?

    • Its been said that at that time he was out of parliament without a regular income, – and , – he was fully entitled to the state-subsidised pension.

      The good thing is , that when he was alerted by DSW he was over-payed , – he simply contacted them and payed them promptly. Pretty seamless.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 20.2

      Because if we only give the pension to poor people, National Party supporters will author hate speech about pensioners and commit human rights violations against them.

  20. John Stone 21

    I agree with beatie. After forty years of Tax payers money! With all the homeless how does he accept the pension on top?

    • Carolyn_nth 21.1

      The problem is not with pensions. All Kiwis should be able to get it.

      The problem is with our system which enables major inequalities in income and wealth. We need higher incomes for the least well off.

      And we should have a truly progressive tax system, so top income and wealth people, like Winston, pay as much tax as they get in pension.

      A universal system is easier to manage, and those on lower incomes, with less wealth, are not demonised for getting it. Once it’s means tested, super would start to demonise the least well off, people would try to disguise their incomes so they could get it, and a punitive system would result – as for other benefits.

      And, all people who have paid taxes in their lifetimes, should be able to get super in their old age.

      PS: Winston made a big public thing when he got his gold card in 2010. I don’t know any other way to get a gold card than by applying first for, and being given super. the gold card was Winston’s political achievement.

      And, basically, this line of argument about Peters being to wealthy to get super is a red herring – a distraction form the dirty politics being slung at him.

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