April 2018
« Nov    

Attitudes and Assumptions

Last month, Rebecca Occleston of Beneficiary Advisory Service released an article entitled Working and Welfare. As a follow up to this, she is now presenting Attitudes and Assumptions.

“The other day I was asked about my views on drug testing of beneficiaries. My first response was to . . . → Read More: Attitudes and Assumptions 8th November 2017

Working and Welfare: how do they mix?

Rebecca Occleston of Beneficiary Advisory Service states that she read another article recently on “Generous welfare benefits make people more likely to want to work, not less” and she agrees with this statement.

“Research has consistently shown that when more jobs are available, . . . → Read More: Working and Welfare 31st October 2017

Download Grants FAQ

Grants available from Work and Income[i]


There are a number of grants that Work and Income may be able to provide if you meet the income limit (see end of document for income limits)[ii].


You do not need to be a beneficiary to receive these, and you may not . . . → Read More: BAS FAQ Sheet 1: Grants available from Work and Income


“We at BAS are saddened to hear that Metiria Turei has made the decision to stand down as Co-leader of the Green Party, and to remove herself from the Green Party List,” says Rebecca Occleston, publicity coordinator for Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS). “Through telling the story of her own struggle to . . . → Read More: #IAmMetiria 10.08.2017

Income Policies Finally Focusing on Poor

“We were very pleased to see some much-needed Welfare Policies proposed by the Green Party this last weekend,” says Rebecca Occleston, publicity coordinator for Beneficiary Advisory Service in Christchurch.

“Benefit rates have been too low for too long, severely disadvantaging thousands of people every . . . → Read More: Income Policies for Beneficiaries 19.7.2017

Is it okay for children to suffer in poverty?

“I find many people are shocked by the poverty of others, but still blame the poor themselves!” says Rebecca Occleston of Beneficiary Advisory Service, Christchurch. “Why don’t they feed their children better? Why should we have to? (and other judgemental questions). At the . . . → Read More: Children Suffering in Poverty 18.8.2016

BAS has moved

We have great news: Beneficiary Advisory Service has moved office into Christchurch Community House (at 301 Tuam St). We look forward to all the opportunities this will afford – being close to so many other community groups. We hope the ease of access for clients will help us reach even . . . → Read More: BAS has moved 19.08.2016

Phrasing and Interpretations so that Beneficiaries will Miss Out on their One Day

Hundreds of thousands of people have had their benefits paid a day late because the Ministry of Social Development has administered the law incorrectly since 3 June 1998. This ‘mistake’ was revealed in September and since then thousands have sought a . . . → Read More: Missing out on the Missing Day 19.11.2015

Answers to Poverty

There’s no point saying to someone with little to no education “Just get a well-paid job and you’ll be fine!” What we need to do is ensure that as children, (poor) people are educated and given the same opportunities as everyone else. Then, as a grown-up, they may actually be able . . . → Read More: Answers to Poverty 04.06.2015

Human Poverty in NZ – it’s no joke!

Today was April Fools’ Day, many children (of all ages!) are running round playing silly practical jokes on others – I guess people have to find fun in their life where they can.

Some of our clients, living in poverty, struggle to see humour in a . . . → Read More: April Fool’s Poverty 01.04.2014

Communication from Work and Income re recent tragedies

We have received an email from Work and Income and were asked to distribute this to clients:

Hello I know you’ll be feeling much like me about last Monday’s terrible tragedy in Ashburton – shock, sadness and outrage. As an organisation we’re greatly heartened by the messages . . . → Read More: Communication from Work and Income re recent tragedies – September 2014

Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down! How they put you down:

“With changes to Welfare Law and Employment Law, matters have become increasingly worse for those at the bottom,” says Rebecca Occleston, speaker for Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS) in Christchurch. “In our country at the moment, there are more people looking . . . → Read More: How the Law Keeps You Down 19/12/13

Voting – a Valentine’s Day Special

While some of us celebrate this traditional Day of Love with a Significant Other or date and others of us rage against tradition or bemoan the fact we have no current romantic love, others of us count our blessings that we still have family to love . . . → Read More: Voting with Love, a Valentine’s Day Special 14.02.2014

Poverty, Fraud and Fairness – 11/09/13 Parenting v Poverty

There was a debate on “The Vote” earlier in the year with the subject Parenting v Poverty – what was the problem? “There was a huge lack of understanding of the principles involved by some on the show and viewers. The best line from . . . → Read More: Poverty, Fraud & Fairness – 11/09/13

Working Parents – 26/11/13

“We have pointed out many times some of the issues that make it hard for single parents to work,” says Rebecca Occleston, speaker for Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS) in Christchurch. “However, as the Government has obviously not listened yet, we shall point them out again.

“For a . . . → Read More: Working Parents – 26/11/13

Thinking about Hardship – 12/12/2012

Affording Shoes I had bare feet this morning in support of Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)’s rally outside Parliament today (Bare your Soles for Child Poverty), but I had to put my shoes back on as my feet hurt. This really made me think. I need orthotics . . . → Read More: Thinking about Hardship – 12/12/2012

Choices – 14/09/12

We have seen the announcement that the Government has made about what people on benefits with children will have to comply with to retain their benefits. “Scary stuff!” says Rebecca Occleston, speaker for Beneficiary Advisory Service. “I believe that parents are generally the best people at judging what is . . . → Read More: Choices – 14/09/12

Patronising Food Issues – 23/08/2012

Paula Bennett has stated she found herself pregnant at 17 but “I didn’t plan it”. Yet she assumes many other young beneficiaries DID plan this course of action.

I have got to say food parcels rather than food grants seems like more big brother interfering and not really thinking . . . → Read More: Media Release – Patronising Food Issues – 23rd August 2012

Beneficiary Budget Matters – 09/05/2012

“I was a bit disturbed by the Government calling for increased attendance in Early Childhood. We do not have a problem with non-attendance here!” says Rebecca Occleston, Speaker for Beneficiary Advisory Service, a Community Organisation in Christchurch helping people on Benefits and low incomes.

“We are, however, keen for . . . → Read More: Media Release – Beneficiary Budget Matters – 19th May 2012

Welfare Board – 17/05/2012

There is a collection of National Advocacy Groups in NZ including Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS) in Christchurch. We used to consult for the Ministry on Policy matters. When we did this, we were not paid for this work because the Ministry knew we would do it for free! We did . . . → Read More: Media Release – Welfare Board – 17th May 2012

Dependent Benefits – 16/05/2012

The Government is proposing to make benefits dependent on the perceived good behaviour of the beneficiary!

If the Government want to encourage immunisations then they can do so. Encouraging parents to “meet minimum health standards” and see Doctors when they need to (making it free / affordable) is good. But . . . → Read More: Media Release – Dependent Benefits – 16th May 2012

More Concern on Submission Times – 19/04/2013

Along with just about every other organisation who made a submission to the select committee regarding the proposed legislation (Social Security (Youth Support and Work Focus) Amendment Bill), Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS) objected to the time given for people to make submissions, says Rebecca Occleston, Speaker for . . . → Read More: Media Release – More Concern on Submission time limits – 19th April 2012

Judging Others – 21-02-2012

I read a comment on an article recently criticising a woman for having 6 children and then not being able to afford them. This made me think: how do I feel about blaming people for having so many children?

Blaming parents for having one or two children is clearly selfish . . . → Read More: Media Release – Judging Others – 21st February, 2012

Todays Lepers – 13/02/2013

If we are the (non-rich) 99% I can’t quite figure out how National got nearly 50% of the vote in the election last year. Now that a survey has shown that the economy is one of the biggest worries for New Zealanders, shouldn’t we be looking for a solution (long . . . → Read More: Media Release – Today’s Lepers – 13th February 2012

Proposed Policies – 25/11/2011

Due to recent tightening rules in order to get food grants, more people have had to go to food banks when they cannot afford to feed their families. How is this system fair when the Government cuts back and expects the Charities to pick up the slack?! The policy for . . . → Read More: Media Release – Proposed Policies – 25th November 2011

The Deserving Myth – 17/11/2011

Looking at an article in the Dominion Post (Policy cuts off booze but still lacks punch by TRACY WATKINS from 15th August 2011), I noticed a comment stating:

“john #2 08:03 am Aug 15 2011 I do not have a choice when the state demands my tax contribution so . . . → Read More: Media Release – The “Deserving” Myth – 17th November 2011

Policies for the Poor – 17/11/2011

“I don’t care if it is an election promise (as long as it happens)” says Rebecca Occleston, speaker for Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS). “It’s nice to see child poverty actually being an election issue this year. Well done Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and other groups for ensuring . . . → Read More: Media Release – Policies for the Poor – 8th November 2011