The Greens on National’s data collection enforcement and Community Groups

Written By: - Date published: 8:34 am, November 7th, 2016 - 27 comments
Categories: Abuse of power - Tags: , , ,

Last week Green Party Spokesperson for Social Development Jan Logie outlined the problems with National’s data collection policy,

No data, no funding. That’s just wrong.

The National Government recently announced that they will be requiring community organisations to hand over client information to the government to get funding. Services such as women’s refuges and budgeting agencies will have to share “client-level data” as a condition of funding. I’ve been hearing a lot of concerns about this. Social workers and counsellors are really worried that this will break down the relationship of trust they have with their clients.

I was at a national social services conference last week and Associate Professor Nicola Atwool reminded everyone that according to research the critical factor in determining the effectiveness of a service or intervention is the quality of the relationship. It’s not data, it’s not ticking boxes, or fancy formulas. It’s relationship.

Confidentiality is an absolute cornerstone of social work, budgeting, and counselling – with the caveat that you’ll be obliged to break confidentiality if you believe a person is a risk to themselves or someone else.

Today, I asked the Minister about this policy and first she replied saying it was all about getting great public services and then later it’s all about making sure people don’t fall through the cracks and get hurt.

The Minister’s safety concerns don’t really stack up. There is plenty of evidence of information having been shared or available in risky cases but because there wasn’t, for example, an understanding of the risk, the staff were too overworked, or there wasn’t trust between the agencies, people weren’t properly protected anyway. Women and children have been killed despite all the agencies having the information.

It’s also very worrying if the Minister is suggesting that someone turning up at refuge might go into the system and trigger a response somewhere else in the system, without her knowledge or agreement.

I understand there is greater pressure for sharing of this information, and that some sharing has been happening already. In the old days, we used to sit down with a woman and talk things through and find out what she needed. She/we would often involve other people but by the woman agreeing to this there was a much better chance of that being a helpful experience.

The Government isn’t being clear about what it’s intent is in making these changes. The community agencies aren’t being told what will happen with the information. This does make me wonder how clients will properly give consent if they’re not told exactly what will happen with the information.

What on earth will the government do with that level of individual data? Are they developing a computer system that will track every public and community service we engage with in the future? Will my RealMe file become a dossier of all the services and how much I’ve cost the State? It seems improbable that the Government will be even able to analyse all that individual data when it can’t even sign the community groups contracts and deliver the funding on time.

I once accessed counselling for a mental health issue. It took me a very long time to book that first appointment. It’s a scary thing to do just in itself, but I was also reluctant to go for help because I was worried that I would get a diagnosis that would follow me around for the rest of my life.  The thought of that information going wider, even if you’re given assurances of privacy, may well act as a barrier to some people getting the help they need.

How is someone who is doing something illegal in one sphere of their life, but wanting help in another sphere, going to feel about coming to get help from a community group? I thought the Government’s reforms were supposed to be targeting the most vulnerable (a concept I dispute). The people with the biggest challenges in life often have the worst experiences with government and subsequently the most fear of government.

The Green Party has developed a petition to the Minister asking the Government to stop making community groups hand over client’s information. Please sign and share.

27 comments on “The Greens on National’s data collection enforcement and Community Groups”

  1. dv 1

    This is from the Govt that can’t get payrolls right.
    Allows Bennet to access private records.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      This is from the Govt that can’t get payrolls right.

      Wish people would stop saying that. Yes, the government made mistakes but it was the private firm that actually stuffed it up.

  2. Michelle 2

    This is from a Govt that promised us higher standards and ethics and the Saudi sheep deal is not higher standards and very questionable ethical behavior.

  3. Takere 3

    With all Contracted Services with MSD, there is a condition for information to be shared. It’s a standard clause.

    So the question needed to be asked is, what further information is it they want? And, they should then be directed to the individual as it becomes a privacy issue between MSD & the individual, who has already signed their benefit documents when they first applied for any assistance.

    This is overreach? A Privacy issue between the individual & MSD, not the service provider I would think.

    If the recipient of the service provider is not on any welfare support, its a privacy issue between the individual and MSD and basically the can then tell MSD to go fish.

    Its obvious that this is MSD been a bunch of lazy dummies who are really thick? Or just pushing the envelope?

    • weka 3.1

      What do you mean by ‘Contracted Service’s? Is that a formal term? I wasn’t aware that community groups funded by the govt had to hand over client names, addresses etc before now.

      “If the recipient of the service provider is not on any welfare support, its a privacy issue between the individual and MSD and basically the can then tell MSD to go fish.”

      Um, no. All community groups will have to hand over data or not get funding. Individual privacy rights will be ignored if the community group does this, irrespective of where the individual gets their income from.

      Not sure why you are making a connection with beneficiaries here. eg A client of Women’s Refuge will have their details disclosed. What does being on a benefit have to do with it?

  4. Whispering Kate 4

    This Government loathes anybody who has to access social services. Our Government are the great punishers of our times – just love putting the boot into people who are needing help and will do anything to make their lives even more miserable than they are experiencing everyday.

    • Garibaldi 4.1

      Yes ,full marks to the Greens for doing something. This is a cruel and vindictive Govt., and when you look at the world they were brought up in and how they now actively destroy the chances they were given by a caring state, it is even more damning on their character.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    I thought the Government’s reforms were supposed to be targeting the most vulnerable (a concept I dispute).

    National views the most vulnerable as the richest people in the country and so they work to protect them. Money going to beneficiaries isn’t money going to rich people as it should be thus the rich people are in danger of becoming poor.

  6. NZJester 6

    This is about saving money for the government by making people not want to access these services because they will give their data to the government.
    The loss of their trust in these services will mean lower numbers accessing them and the government being able to say that the reduced need is due to the fact the economy has improved and so the need has decreased.
    This is the government finding yet another way to game the statistics to make it look like things are improving, while they are getting worse every day.
    The current statistics of the high number of people currently needing to access these services have been a statistical thorn in their side when they are saying that everything is rosy in New Zealand.

    • weka 6.1

      hmm, not sure about the rationale of saving money. They’ll just end up spending more in other parts of the system. I think it’s more evil thank that, I think they want to control the population more, simple as that.

      • NZJester 6.1.1

        The other parts of the system however are better situated for their cronies to make money from such as with the increase in prison numbers. They will put it out to tender again for more prisons and I can see lots of in prison sweatshops being set up at some point also to make them money.

    • Macro 6.2

      The “rationale”, so I understand it, is to stop “double dipping”. Of course the keeper of the purse strings is not averse to that, in any way, shape, or form… Which is why he is know as “Double Dipton”..
      The need for some to seek assistance elsewhere, other than purely governmental departments, is a direct result of the increasing cuts in social/health spending and the increasing costs being faced by the a growing proportion of NZ society – despite the fantasies of National ideologues who say otherwise.
      This stupidity of Central Govt will result in a number of further failures in people becoming unable to access the help they desperately need. Not only women’s refuge, abuse counselling centres, help lines, and emergency housing providers, but also food banks will be all affected; as they all are dependent in some way on central Govt funding. It is thoroughly unethical and abusive – but so National, through and through.

      • weka 6.2.1

        How will this stop double dipping?

        • Macro 6.2.1.1

          Say a person goes to winz for an emergency grant, and then to the local food bank. the food bank is obliged to supply the name of this person back to Central Govt and what assistance they received. Next time the person goes to winz …. you get the picture? That actually is the rationale put out. That the emergency grant is insufficient, or delayed until such time that the beneficiary is in absolute dire straits is neither here nor there. They are in effect “double dipping” according to the Govt and we can’t have that!
          I hear a number of stories here from the local food bank wrt the growing problems they are facing. They are deeply concerned with respect to this proposal. They want none of it.

          • weka 6.2.1.1.1

            Fuck. Thanks, that’s a great explanation. I can’t begin to get my head around people working in the policy division of a social services govt department thinking that going to WINZ for a food grant and going to a food bank is double dipping, esp given there is a cap on the food grants. But that says more about me than the situation. The culture there is well and truly fucked. I wish the Greens would be more forth coming about what they will try and do in govt.

            • Macro 6.2.1.1.1.1

              We have had people desperate knocking on the door late at night for assistance because they have applied for an emergency grant but the local WINZ office has delayed the issuing of the Grant until its too late or it is just not enough.
              Yes there is a cap on the issuing of food parcels – but despite that the number being issued this year is way above that of last year and we are still 2 months away from years end – this is so right around the country. Here in Thames the number issued last year was 438 – this year we are over 540 at the end of Sept and the time of the most need (Xmas New Year) is before us. The food banks are running out – despite strong support from local business individuals and churches. 2 weeks ago the local Salvation Army Op Shop ran a sale from which all proceeds went to the food bank – over $4500 was raised – which will see us through for a while but it is always a stretch.

            • Macro 6.2.1.1.1.2

              Yes this really is a biggie! I’m pleased that it has been raised here on the Standard because it ultimately is about what sort of society we want, and it concerns all, who for whatever reason access some welfare provision for what ever reason.
              I heard today, and my daughter who is working with young people in this area, confirmed the number to me, that up to 1 in 4 young women today may have experienced some form of sexual abuse. The down stream implications of that are horrendous in form of counselling, mental health, etc. Much of that help will be provided by, to use the official jargon “Contracted Services with The MSD”. Should any of those young women also be seeking assistance in some other way, then that information too is to be communicated off to “Big Brother”. It is a huge invasion of privacy by the State and something to oppose vigourously.
              I’m pleased to see that Jan has take this issue on board and has begun a Petiton. I hope all Standard Readers take the time to sign it.

          • Patricia 6.2.1.1.2

            Most food banks are not funded by MSD so why would info re clients requiring food assistance be sent on ?
            Budget clients are not all on benefits ; some on wages and getting no help from WINZ. Why should their info be sent to MSD ?

            • weka 6.2.1.1.2.1

              It’s just the groups funded by government.

              Why should people who use a budget service who are on a benefit have their details sent to MSD?

              • Patricia

                No info should be sent to MSD about anybody. However when WINZ send their
                clients to budgeters that info is noted on client file. Sometimes WINZ case managers actually make the request for service.

                • weka

                  Yeah, but that’s a different thing than someone on a benefit going to a community group without a referral from WINZ and their details then being passed on to WINZ.

                  We need to be really careful here to not buy into the idea that the govt should be controlling beneficiaries.

            • Macro 6.2.1.1.2.2

              I’m using the food bank as an example Patricia yes after Turiana decided that she needed the money for whanau ora the supply of money to food banks started to dry up. However some still do receive some assistance. As with most non governmental service providers they don’t get all their funding from the one source. It’s a constant search for funding, and the Govt get welfare on the cheap.

  7. greywarshark 7

    Government by the people –
    Government of the people –
    Government over the people –
    Government oppresses the people’:?:’

  8. RedBaronCV 8

    And if someone attends say Rape Crisis then their name is logged for the world to see but the perpetrator, who may do this many times (and never face charges) and who causes a vast amount of social expenditure never gets tagged. Targeting effects not causes of problems.

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    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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