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Tom Baker: Beneficiaries don't know their rights

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By Tom Baker

In the Depression era, it was common enough to see people queuing in the "bread line" for life's essentials. It was a tangible sign that systems of state welfare needed strengthening. Today, we are seeing a different type of bread line.

Every Friday morning, outside the Clendon offices of Work and Income in South Auckland, you will see people queuing up long before the 8.30am opening time.

They are queuing in the hope that they will be one of 65 people assisted by a specialist "beneficiary advocate" from Auckland Action Against Poverty, a largely volunteer-based non-government organisation.

It is normal for the 65-person quota to be filled by 8.30am. People arrive early, often travelling considerable distances.

In a recently published research article, Courtney Davis and I investigated why people use........

© New Zealand Herald