Judith Collins MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman
19 February 2008
WINZ pays for drunk-drivers to get cars back
Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson needs to explain why she is allowing Work and Income to pay for beneficiaries who have been caught drunk-driving and who have committed other driving offences to have their vehicles handed back to them, says National's Welfare spokeswoman, Judith Collins.
"This practice is rife and has been confirmed by towing companies up and down the country.
"It is outrageous that taxpayer money is being used to basically subvert a legal process to allow people who have committed driving offences to basically get off scott-free.
"Ruth Dyson, when alerted to the fact this was going on last year, told Parliament that before Work and Income would consider whether to pay a beneficiary's parking fine or car towage fees, it would consider whether the applicant had contributed to their situation.
"She further told Parliament that it would be 'unusual for assistance of this type to be provided'.
"We now know that rather than being 'unusual', it is very common for Work and Income to direct-credit tow truck firms to pay outstanding towage and storage costs for beneficiaries whose cars have been impounded because they've been caught drunk-driving or have had their licences stripped from them for other driving offences.
"Rather than considering who is at fault in this situation, Work and Income is paying out taxpayer money to enable people who have unregistered and unsafe cars to get those vehicles back.
"Towing companies are fed up and say they're going public because most New Zealanders would share their alarm.
"Unfortunately, the Minister continues to show how out of touch she is with the pulse of the nation, preferring to turn a blind eye to this unacceptable practice."
Hat tip: The Briefing Room
FFS - money forcibly taken from my pay packet to pay for this shit. It's enough to make a person consider suicide.
This story is a major beat up and I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.
Tax payers are NOT paying for it. WINZ will make an advance to an individual on review of their situation. This includes people on low incomes as well as beneficiaries.
Much of this story as reported is quite simply lies and/or bloody sloopy sensationalist journalism.
This knee jerk everyone on a benefit is a crime reaction is the sort of thing that keeps a lot of people voting labour.
We want to get outraged about "taxpayers money" lets start with 2.3 to build a tunnel under Helens house so her view doesn't get spoiled. Screw the los income people who will be evicted in their retirement for it.
Sorry Murray, Taxpayers are paying for benefits, so anything advanced and repaid is included. Apart from which the debt from advances just grows and then special assistance is required (TAS - temporary additional support) which is a top-up on the regular benefit. When the tow truck operator is contracted to the police the taxpayer pays to tow the vehicle and then pays again to return it.
It is still aiding and abetting. It looks like a great way to get an interest free loan to me.
Quite apart from what Lindsay just pointed out, the administrative costs of this kind of thing are also borne by the taxpayer.
Sorry Lindsay, as you are WELL aware any TAS is only a small proportion of the outgoing ammount.
Also this is one of those debts that never goes away.
Inland revenue, WINZ debt. Both untouched by being made bankrupt.
I'm asuming i don't need to proove my anti-government credentials here.
The concept that many conservatives seem to have that they own anyone on a benefit is very similar to the left wing one that they own anyone in a government job.
Being told by some smelly hippie that he is your employer because you're in uniform is SUCH a treat.
The attitude is a bad and will only help labour to scare monger that conseratives want everyone on a benefit to die in the street.
With 70% of kiwis collecting something from the government bribe box its a bloody short sighted approach.
"It's enough to make a person consider suicide."
Go on some kind og government benefit or program first, anonymous.
That way the taxpayer will pick up the tab for the funeral too...;-)
That is the great thing about blogging. You get to fill in the gaps left by the MSM!
Any bashing of mine is currently directed at WINZ. Like playing that 'Knock a Mole' game- you just can't help but take a whack!
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