Jacinda Ardern slams Work and Income's decision to cut woman's benefit over Tinder dates: 'I think it's completely unreasonable'

Jacinda Ardern has slammed a decision to remove a woman's benefit payments because she went on two Tinder dates, saying such practices are disconcertingly common.

The Prime Minister was unequivocal in her criticism of a case manager at the Ministry of Social Development who stopped a South Auckland solo mother of three's benefits when she found out about the dates.

The Ministry has since apologised and reinstated the benefits, but Ms Ardern told RNZ this morning such decisions are signs dramatic culture change is needed within Work and Income NZ. 

"No, no I do not think that's reasonable. I think it's completely unreasonable," Ms Ardern said.

Ms Ardern said within her government's confidence and supply agreement it specified such benefit payment mistakes would be explicitly worked on.

"Anyone who's an MP and does electorate work as my office does, repeatedly hears these kinds of stories, it's not OK, the Minister has said that, Work and Income has apologised, but we ultimately do need culture change," she said.  

Ms Ardern said she had undertaken conversations with the Minister for Social Development about enacting that culture change among workers, and announcements were upcoming. 

The Prime Minister said she had also heard of stories about people having their benefit cut off because they missed an appointment they didn't even know about.

The Auckland mother concerned in this case, said she told her Work and Income case manager the man on the date paid for dinner and a movie, though she had offered to pay for herself.

The case manager had said it was a dependent relationship.

"Now I'm on the benefit they want to treat me like garbage," RNZ quoted the woman, who was not named, as saying.

The ministry said it did not suspend her benefit because she had told them she'd gone on two dates, and would never stop paying someone for that reason.

Her benefit was stopped because of separate allegations which have since been dropped after the ministry could not substantiate them, it said.

It had received an allegation she had been living with a partner, shared a mortgage with him, and that they both had jobs.

Secondly, she failed to attend two consecutive appointments this month, the ministry said.

The Prime Minister says there are intelligence gatherers here but they're not the same category as those expelled from other Russian embassies.
Source: 1 NEWS



Watch: Jacinda Ardern reveals New Zealand's gifts for Kate and William's new royal baby

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed the gifts she'll give to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's new baby boy, on behalf of New Zealand.

Speaking on TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning, Ms Ardern said she will send a collection of New Zealand children's books and and a handmade blanket made from New Zealand wool to Kate Middleton and Prince William for their yet to be named son.

Ms Ardern also said a family member of hers has made a white linen romper with a buzzy bee lining on it that will be sent as a gift.

The newborn came into the world at around 10pm last night (NZT) weighing 3.8kg.

The baby is the royal couple's third child joining Prince George, four and Princess Charlotte, two.

The Prime Minister said New Zealand will be sending several gifts to Prince William and Kate. Source: Breakfast

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Most read story: Body found after Waikato University student goes missing at Omanawa Falls near Tauranga

Note: This story first ran on Monday April 23

Tauranga City Council’s Warren Aitken says the falls are an ongoing hazard to the public, despite their efforts to cordon them off. Source: 1 NEWS

Police have now located a body, after Waikato University earlier announced that a man missing at Omanawa Falls near Tauranga is a student of the university.

A police dive team had been searching the area and have nnounced the discovery of the body this afternoon (Monday).

Waikato University Student Services earlier released a statement saying: "Our thoughts are with the friends and family of the missing student, and we are offering them all the support we can at this incredibly difficult time. 

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

"Our staff are in contact with the other students involved in the incident, as well as those who are on the same course as the missing man, and are making sure they have access to all appropriate student services and assistance."  

Police Search and Rescue responded just before 3pm yesterday to reports that someone swimming in the falls south of Tauranga was missing.

Officers were able to assist two people from the water, but a third person remained unaccounted for until the discovery of the body this afternoon.

A Waikato University van with a group of at least 12 people has arrived at the gates to the falls today also.

Members of the group have told 1 NEWS the missing man attended the university and had travelled to Tauranga to visit the falls.

It's believed the missing man's cousin is here and family are aware of what's happened.

The Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust says a woman in her early twenties was rescued in shock and suffering mild hypothermia yesterday.

Police were called to Omanawa Falls yesterday afternoon after a swim turned to tragedy. Source: 1 NEWS

A paramedic on the Westpac Rescue Helicopter was lowered into a steep and narrow gorge at the bottom of the falls and retrieved the woman.