Generosity from inside WINZ


Most people in New Zealand would think that a visit to WINZ (Work and Income New Zealand) would not particularly ring of generosity. But I experienced an appointment with WINZ that was a little different.

I went with a family member to their first WINZ appointment, many years ago now. There was a lot of anxiety surrounding this meeting. Besides the fact that it was a first meeting, WINZ is not particularly known for its generosity. We were anxious because when I was a beneficiary I didn’t always feel listened to or respected, and I was often pressured unnecessarily to find work.

The sequence of events were unique: Initially there was a recognition of me as a former client, then recognition of my family member’s current situation and a recognition of professional documentation – all of this added up to a surprisingly eager Case Manager, who wanted to ensure we had all the relevant information and could access all the support my family member was entitled to. .

Initially, I was quite surprised. I wondered, ‘Why is this different to my experience and many others’?’ But actually, this was pretty cool. I was pleased that this occurred in the process of supporting someone to face up to the notoriously tight-fisted WINZ.

The ultimate outcome meant that my family member felt safe enough to go to all proceeding appointments without support. And fortunately, WINZ continued with respectful behaviour.

From this experience, what is generosity?

  • A quality and a gift
  • Respect
  • Empathy

It is what we are made of. We either have it, or not so much. Do you agree?

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