This morning I had a call from a really lovely lady called Kim. Her story is becoming far too familiar for my liking, so I wish to share it with you all. Kim’s background is simple, she has always been a hard worker contributing to her family and paying her way in society. Had been employed for 6 years before being made redundant and to add insult to the injuries her marriage fell apart. Left with debts and a child to support Kim was forced to seek help and advice so she turned to “Work and Income NZ” (WINZ). She was in a desperate place not really knowing how to sort out her affairs as life was all a bit of a jumble at this point, she had never applied for welfare before and she was not savvy to this world at all. I refer to it as a world because it is, there are very genuine clients in need of a helping hand and then there are those that know all to well how to play the welfare system!
Kim has only been collecting welfare for a short time and has been very proactively seeking re-employment. To her delight she recently secured a job and has been taken on full time. She was thrilled to walk into the WINZ office and advise her case manager that she would not be requiring the level of support she had been receiving, she however is entitled to a working for families tax credit.
This new job and new lease on life is what bought her to me. Her car was involved in an accident and had been deemed a write off, not her fault either, but she needed another car urgently. She diligently faxed off all her details to me so that I could assess her for finance and at first glance she gets a tick in all the right boxes. She runs her account well, holds a full license and had a relatively hiccup free payment history on her previous vehicle to a well known New Zealand finance company.
I proceed with the normal checks and balances that are required when applying for finance and this is where the story takes on a very unfortunate twist for the lovely Kim. She had recently filed for a Non Asset Procedure (NAP) and was not eligible to apply for finance at this time. The NAP was advised to her by the WINZ Budget Services back in February as a way for her to emotionally cope with the fact that she was struggling to put food on the table (her words)! The debts that she forgave her entire credit profile for were a pathetic amount of $1478! One to a Power company and the other was to Telecom…
Lets just say I am still flawed at the advice she was given and to my disgust at the adviser, Kim genuinely did not seem to understand the ramifications of the actions she took under the advice she was given. Remember she was in a foreign head space, struggling with more that a few hardships that she had to work through, she was not thinking properly at all and this forced her to take unnecessary actions that have affected her credit worthiness for at least the next 5 years. You rely on the advice that anyone with the title “BUDGET ADVISER” gives to you right??? Well folks think again, I have seen this happen once to often now and frankly its disgraceful and disgusting.
How can a government department advise a person who has $1400 worth of total debt to take the extreme steps of a NAP which is just a creative word for voluntary bankruptcy?? This woman had always held a previously good credit rating and the advice she was given now affords her zero opportunity to put her life back in order. She cannot borrow money for a car which is pretty essential if you work and have children to cater for.
As the budget adviser had no consideration for her past or future life, maybe he or she or WINZ would like to give this lady a loan so that she can replace her much needed vehicle. This is one of the most pathetic cases I have seen and is a clear demonstration of the inadequacy of our WELFARE WORLD and its employees!