“Of course I’m not going to be able to pay it back” Maddie Wilson spits to her mum over the phone from her 3×3 metre college dorm room.
“That’s the point of welfare. It’s for people who don’t have any options!”
As a recipient of the NZ Government’s Job Seekers Allowance, Maddie is restricted in how many hours she can work part time a week, without it affecting either or study or her pay.
“If I work more than 10 hours a week, it starts eating into my student loan. If I get off the student loan, I need to work three times as much to pay for my residency and tuition”
“I have to balance it perfectly. I’ve been declaring and everything but after all this news of people getting overpaid, I went through and checked every payment.
“I have my suspicions I might have been getting an extra couple goon bags a week out of the government over the last three years”
As reported this year, the New Zealand Government has discovered that they have accidentally overpaid up to 170,000 people since July 2016, through their local WINZ Office.
There have been concerns that welfare recipients who are unable to help out the government by paying these monies back will be fined and possibly jailed.
When asked what she would do if asked to pay back the possible thousands she may have been overpaid, Maddie says she’ll probably just play dumb and make things very hard for everyone involved.
“I’m a uni student and I still don’t know if I’ve been getting overpaid. What chance does some reading/writing hotliner in the back blocks of Remuera have”
“I’m just gonna ride this one out, hey”
“They’ve got Six60 coming to the uni bar this Thursday. That should be fun”