WINZ Privacy for some – but not for others
Most of us remember this apalling episode of Paula Bennett’s career as Social Welfare minister,
In 2009, Bennett made public private details of two solo-mothers. She handed over personal information to the media without the knowledge of the two women, Jennifer Johnston and Natasha Fuller.
The information included each woman’s weekly income from the State, including benefits and allowances.
Her move was supported by misogynists; right wing nutjobs; assorted beneficiary bashers; and National’s core constituency of conservative cranks.
Bennett’s actions were roundly condemned by fair-minded New Zealanders who recognised the Minister’s actions as a gross abuse of her power and invasion of their privacy. No wonder that many who remembered Rob Muldoon’s style of authoritarian governance likened Bennett’s behaviour to the late, former, Prime Minister.
But Bennett defended her mis-use of Ministerial powers,
“If someone is deciding they’re happy to use their case to speak about or against something we are doing, I think it’s fair the full story be told.”
Three years later…
Deputy Chief Executive, Janet Grossman, who had been head-hunted from Britain and paid over $50,000 of taxpayer’s money to re-locate to New Zealand, resigned only eleven months after taking up her role with WINZ,
Despite quitting less than a year into her new job; and despite over $50,000 paid to relocate her to New Zealand; it is reported that Grossman was paid out $97,000 as some sort of severance pay.
When Labour MP Jacinda Ardern questioned this extraordinary payment in Parliament, this exchange took place with National Minister, Jonathan Coleman,
Jacinda Ardern: Was the only reason she was given for Janet Grossman’s departure in that briefing or information that “her husband has had job opportunities in the UK and she wishes to return back there.”?
Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN: Yes.
Jacinda Ardern: Was Janet Grossman paid a termination benefit?
Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN: As you know, $97,000 was allocated across five people who left that year, and there will be no breakdown given, for privacy reasons, of the allocation to any of those five executives.
Really? Dr Colemnan cited “privacy reasons “?!
Chief executive of Ministry of Social Development, Brendan Boyle, was reported by Radio New Zealand as stating,
Mr Boyle says there is nothing unusual in paying out someone their entitlements when they resign but he refuses to disclose just what payment Mrs Grossman got, saying to do so would breach her privacy.
So let’s get this straight…
Two solo-parents who have done nothing wrong; and their only ‘misdemeanour’ was daring to criticise a politician; have their personal details of WINZ payments splashed all over the country’s media, inviting lunatics to attack and threaten them…
But the payout to a senior WINZ executive who resigned/sacked/? is suddenly a matter of “privacy”?
The double standards set by National, and their cronies at highest MSD levels, beggars belief. However, it is unsurprising.
National’s reputation for One Rule For Everyone and One Rule For Themselves, is by now fairly well known in this country.
It demonstrates their complete contempt they have for the rest of us.
This is the sort of arrogance that in other countries leads to authoritarian rule; jails full of political prisoners; eventual uprisings by the populace; and a bullet through the head of despots.
Here in New Zealand, we do things differently. Here, despots get elected to two terms of government.
Previous related blogposts
NZ Herald: Bennett gets tough with outspoken solo mums
Fairfax Media: Paula Bennett accused of Muldoon-style bullying
NZ Herald: Work and Income boss quits
Fairfax Media: Social Development Ministry grilled over security
Radio NZ: MSD chief clashes with MP in committee
= fs =
For a better New Zealand…
~ Cleaner rivers
~ No deep-sea oil drilling
~ Less on Roads - more on Rail
~ A Living wage at $19.25/hr
~ Marriage equality - Yay! Got that one!
~ Strong, effective Unions
~ No secret free-trade deals
~ Breakfast/lunches in our schools
~ Introducing Civics into our school curriculum
~ Cut back on the liquor industry
~ A fairer, progressive tax system
~ Fully funded, free healthcare
~ Ditto for education, including Tertiary
~ Fund Pharmac for Pompe's Disease medication & other 'orphan' drugs
~ No state asset sales!
~ Rebuild public TV broadcasting!
~ Keeping farms in local ownership
~ Reduce poverty, like we reduced the toll for road-fatalities
~ Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!
~ Being nice to each other
- Citizens present petition at Governor General’s gate
- Letter to the Editor: Steven Joyce – Hypocrite of the Year
- Hekia Parata breaks law – ignores Official Information Act – claims emails “not found” – and it gets worse!
- Dumber and dumber, scarier and scarier
- The Mendacities of Mr Key # 15: John Key lies to NZ on consultation and ratification of TPPA
- David Bowie – returning to the stars
- Letter to the Editor – Rightwinger caught out parroting his own garbage
- The Best Laid Plans of Mice, Men, and Mechanoids…
- Letter to the editor – Donald Trump and the lessons of history
- Welcome back, Collins
- Hekia Parata breaks law – ignores Official Information Act
- Media stories of the Week: Police Commissioner Mike Bush on dubious police practices
- Media stories of the Week: ISIS revealed by Middle East expert
- Media stories of the Week: US Ambassador dismissive of our laws
- Wellingtonians say; “Everyone deserves a home – no more homelessness!”
- The slow starvation of Radio NZ – the final nail in the coffin of the Fourth Estate?
- Citizens march against TPPA in Wellington: Did Police hide tasers at TPPA march?
- Citizens march against TPPA in Wellington, send message to National govt: “Yeah, nah!”
- Andrew Little: if you want to send a really strong message to New Zealanders…
- Big Bro’ is Watching You!
- A picture sheds a thousand tears…
- A Tale of Two Head Coverings – a personal-essay
- Unemployment, Christchurch, dairy prices – Bill English confirms blogger’s analysis
- 2015 – Ongoing jobless tally
- State houses – “wrong place, wrong size”?
- Weekend Revelations #3 – Greg O’Connor and criminal statistics
- Weekend Revelations #2 – Michelle Boag has a whinge
- Weekend Revelations #1 – Dr Jonathan Coleman
- The consequences of tax-cuts – worker exploitation?
- Anne Tolley’s psycopathy – public for all to see
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- 409,283 hits