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Personal stories were shared and collective community reflection and political analysis were provided at welfare information meetings in Dunedin this week.
Organised by Welfare Justice - the Alternative Welfare Working Group, the two meetings on Tuesday were attended by about 45 people, who discussed proposed changes to the welfare system.
Member Paul Dalziel said a "key message" was a concern people were treated with dignity in all their dealings with Work and Income.
"That does not always happen in our current system," he said.
Fellow member Wendi Wicks said participants supported a holistic approach to welfare.
The organisation is conducting a month-long series of public meetings across New Zealand for people to share their experiences and views regarding welfare.
It has been commissioned by Catholic social justice agency Caritas, the Social Justice Commission of the Anglican Church and the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation of New Zealand to write an alternative report, which will be presented to the Government in December.
It is inviting submissions both to itself and to the Government-appointed Welfare Working Group.