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Solo Parents Deemed "Work Ready" At Risk Of Losing Benefits

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Brian Dalley
Brian Dalley

From today, the Government will be forcing solo parents it deems "work ready" to find work, or risk losing their benefit.

Around 4500 parents have been selected as guinea pigs, and will be the first called up to discuss their circumstances by WINZ case managers.

Pity help these poor souls, - I recently tried talking through a proposal with some of these case managers and was left totally bewildered as to their apparent lack of ability to think outside the square and, it was some very senior managers I was talking to.

Yes, I have a beef with the Hon. Paula Bennett, largely because of a single paragraph response I received with no reference at all to the proposal I had put forward.

Let me explain; I recently became part of a small New Zealand Manufacturer that was looking for someone to take control of the day-to-day operations, including sales and marketing.

One of the two Directors was trained by Stephen Tindall of ‘The Warehouse’ fame and so believed one should give back to the community - a belief all three of us now share.

One of my first tasks was to decide how we could better market the company and products.

The decision was made to recruit Distributors to sell direct to the end user.

A potential work force that first came to mind was solo Mums. With flexible hours and full training provided, it sounded like the perfect mix.

I was on the phone in an instant, but this is when our vision hit a formidable road-block.

The people I spoke to at WINZ thought we had a great idea, however as the role was commission based, they could not consider my proposal as it was outside ‘policy guidelines’. They couldn’t even recommend a person to contact to discuss these ‘guidelines’, apparently there wasn’t anyone?

Somewhat deterred, I decided to contact Paula Bennett as I thought maybe she, (a hands-on person,) could facilitate some progress, but in a single paragraph response, no she could not help - as strange as that may seem, maybe they truly don’t have anyone.


Simple, yet very effective. The Distributor would place a $1000 Bond with us (which could be a loan from WINZ), then each week they would pay us for the stock sold and we credit them with more stock to the value of the Bond.

The Distributor is taught how to write weekly reports in line with standard sales and business management procedures. These would be made available to WINZ so they could easily manage the clients benefit entitlements, measure their learning, and to keep a check on us to make sure we are honouring our end of the agreement.


We have put forward a proposal that would help beneficiaries ease back into the workforce and lessen their dependency on WINZ. Those involved would become more employable and sort after by other organisations, as they would be trained in small business management.

All this for a fraction of the current cost while helping a New Zealand based start-up company.

In my capacity as a Property Consultant, I am constantly banging my head against a brick wall when talking to the ministers about low-cost housing, however I really did think this proposal would at least be given some consideration.

Remember, being a Mum is a full time job in its own right, AND there are Solo Mums that would love the opportunity to work part time, get out there, and earn some extra cash.

Paula Bennett, SHAME ON YOU, I would have thought you of all people would be more understanding, all we are asking is that you allow us to help ease the transition back to the workforce for those that are willing, but there is an untouchable policy blocking our efforts.
Maybe it’s time for a change of policy. 

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