Work and Income office staff are breaking into applause or
sounding hooters when beneficiaries find work.
The celebrations have been labelled patronising and
embarrassing but Work and Income claims clients enjoy them.
Solo mother Candice Benson was stunned to see a round of
applause erupt after a jobseeker at Work and Income's Lower
Hutt office found work on Thursday.
"One of the clients got up to leave and people just erupted
into applause," Benson said. "He looked like he was trying to
get out of there pretty swiftly," she added.
Benson conceded there could be positive intentions but job
seekers already felt "humiliated and degraded" and had
complex reasons for needing benefits.
Benson is seeking work while caring for her young son.
A man who requested anonymity said his mother was applauded
at a Hutt Valley office when she found a job.
He said his mother thought it "weird" as she didn't know the
staff, although it was probably intended as a positive
Wellington regional spokesman Mike Freeman said staff asked
clients for permission before celebrating.
Green Party welfare spokeswoman Jan Logie said the practice
was mortifying and condescending.
- By John Weekes of the Herald on Sunday