If it bleeds, It leads

I see the media are practising their mantra of “if it bleeds, it leads” in beating up a non-story by a little known blogger who says she knows someone who won’t be named and won’t provide any evidence…in other words hearsay.

If I blogged about a person I know that won’t be named,  without any documentary evidence…do you reckon the major newspapers would leap in to that so quick?

In any case this is clearly a case of following policy, it fits their narrative too about how evil and nasty National is, pity it wasn’t true.

The woman who says she was told she could not buy tampons on a Work and Income food card because they were considered “luxury items” says she was told she would have to instead apply for a separate grant which she would have to later repay if she needed items such as tampons.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said she applied for a food grant about six weeks ago after her benefit payments were disrupted during the transition from the Sickness Benefit to the Jobseeker’s Benefit under new welfare benefit categories. 

Her case manager at the Queen Street Work and Income office had told her the payment card the grant was loaded onto could only be used for basic food just as meat and vegetables. She had asked whether tampons or sanitary pads would be covered.

“His response was that they were considered as luxury items and I couldn’t use the food payment card for them.” She said she was told if she needed such personal hygiene items, she would need to apply for a separate grant which would have to be repaid.

“I was quite surprised by that. I don’t think anyone considers pads and tampons to be a luxury item.

Touching story, pity it in’t true.

Work and Income and Social Development Minister Paula Bennett have said that there is no policy which prevents a beneficiary buying sanitary items on the supermarket cards.

Only alcohol, tobacco and electronic appliances are specifically banned and it is up to
checkout operators to monitor those.

Great publicity for the governments payment cards though…seems they work really well.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Social Development said any claims that female hygiene products could not be purchased using the Work and Income payment card were “totally untrue”.

“Individual items are not tagged on payment cards. If someone’s card doesn’t work, it would be for a system reason and not because of what the person bought.

“The only items banned from purchase on the payment cards are electronics, appliances, alcohol and cigarettes.”

But the spokeswoman said if people had a specific case or example where they had been incorrectly advised by a case manager, please contact Work and Income so they could look into it.

Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett was not immediately available for comment but she posted on Twitter “Rumours that women can’t buy tampons with Work and Income payment cards are simply not true.end of story.”


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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