Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, July 20th, 2017 - 35 comments
Categories: class, class war, culture, discrimination, election 2017, elections, greens, human rights, Metiria Turei, political parties, politicans, poverty, Propaganda, Social issues, welfare - Tags: election, metiria, WINZ
If you know that feeling of dread when you find a letter from WINZ in your letter box, or if you’ve experienced the roiling anxiety that comes from being ‘called in’ for an interview by WINZ, or if you’ve sighed that sigh of relief when the letter from WINZ turns out to be a replacement community services card, then you might want to follow #IamMetiria.
And if you just don’t recognise that emotional merry-go-round that comes with NZ’s Social Security system, then you might want to follow #IamMetiria – just to get a taste for what thousands and thousands of people in New Zealand experience on a recurring and ongoing basis.
Let’s be clear about this. From the perspective of those having to navigate the NZ’s Social Security system, it’s sorely lacking both in terms of having positive social impacts and in engendering a personal sense of security. Essentially it’s a dog that needs to be put down.
I could rattle out a ream of stories about people I know where WINZ, instead of offering a hand up have administered a kick in ‘the tenders’ – with stupidly bad and sometimes downright dangerous consequences. But obviously these are not my stories to tell.
And such is the oft vindictive nature of WINZ culture, that I’m not willing to share any of my own experiences either.
Putting aside that “social security” in this country means “grinding poverty” and all the obvious enough flow on effects of that, I’ll just settle for pointing out the following. Generally speaking, if some institution or agency in society acts unfairly towards someone, then an advocate can be found and forms of redress sought. This isn’t the case with WINZ. Depending on where a person lives, they just have to take the bureaucracy on all by themselves. Given we can be talking about situations where a person is plucked from society’s safety net and dangled by a slender institutional thread, where one mis-step or one bureaucratic glitch can occasion a drop into free fall, many people just suck up whatever has happened and walk away – angry and bitter yes, yet often perversely grateful that things aren’t even worse.
Until now, the snarling culture of WINZ has been rendered invisible by a broader culture within NZ that’s contemptuous and disdainful towards those claiming social security payments. But it’s time to roll that broader culture back – to call time on it and roll out something containing a modicum of decency and compassion that might imbue the institutions that are meant to help people out. I know there are people who work for WINZ who would welcome such a cultural shift for the better. (Kanoa Lloyd’s somewhat emotional ‘statement’ on TV3’s “The Project” might indicate some positive signs on that broader cultural front)
Look. For a whole host of reasons, many unemployed people don’t follow twitter. If you do, then how’s about you do a little thing? How’s about you make a gesture and add your voice to the others that are speaking for the silent and follow #IamMetiria on twitter or bang on that fb share button at the foot of this post?
It’s not as if you have to follow that up by voting for the Green Party on September 23rd, though like I say, the culture permeating NZ’s Social Security system is a dog that sorely needs put down. And it seems to me that September 23rd would be as good a day as any to call in the vet.