Media release 19th April 2018

BAS’ Vision for Beneficiaries (part 1): Attitudes

We have been noticing positive change recently in society’s attitude towards beneficiaries.  This more positive view of the previously maligned group will lead to some much-needed changes in the benefit system.  Things will only improve for beneficiaries with better laws, which, in turn, will only happen if they are supported by the wider community.  We wanted to create a series of suggestions for the future based on our experience helping people on benefits.

Non-beneficiaries are now seeing people like Jessica who needs enough money every week to look after her high-needs children.  For a few weeks, she had no working washing machine and had to travel half an hour each way to use a laundromat.  With our help, she received a back-payment of benefit for which she had been eligible for many years.  She was then able to buy this washing machine out-right rather than having to get an advance and having to pay it off.  Sometimes people have to wait weeks for an appointment to apply for help with urgent goods like this.

To help change the attitudes of some WINZ staff and show them a new direction, we believe emphasising the purpose of welfare is important.  This includes being empathetic to people’s individual needs, including those arising from past trauma, medical conditions, domestic violence, and mental health needs.

Rebecca Occleston is the Speaker for Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS)

BAS is a Christchurch based Community Group who help people on benefits and low incomes with their problems with Work and Income, providing FREE advice, information, support and advocacy.  Contact BAS by phone: (03) 379 8787 or 377 3560, email: facebook: @BeneficiaryAdvisoryService ; website: ; Our Office is in Christchurch Community House, 301 Tuam St, Chch Central 8011