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For the welfare system to work effectively to deliver the purpose, principles and values recommended in this report, a mutual trust between all parties is essential. Ministry of Social Development (MSD) staff who engage with people provide a relationship-based service and, to do their job well, need to be trusted by those they serve. This trust needs to be built on providing recipients with the right support and services when they need them.

As mentioned earlier, inadequate payments that mean people require financial assistance to meet basic living costs, such as food and housing, increase stress and undermine benefit recipients’ trust in MSD (MSD 2019i). Some people avoid seeking assistance from MSD because they do not see it as an organisation that can help (WEAG 2019a). The system at its heart disempowers those it is set up to serve, by not providing enough time or private space for staff to hear people’s stories, by being overly complex so it is difficult to access full entitlements and processing delays are common, by having stand-downs, sanctions, and unnecessary obligations, and through the inconsistent application of policies and discretion (Cotterell et al., 2017; MSD 2019i).

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