9 Apr 2009

Minister defends handling of Myanmar workers

11:00 pm on 9 April 2009

The Minister in charge of Work and Income has denied accusations in Parliament that a group of workers from Myanmar has been the victim of institutional racism.

Green Party MP Sue Bradford says the workers were sent to do seasonal work in Napier by Work and Income (WINZ).

Ms Bradford says when they walked out due to "appalling" pay and conditions, one was put on a 13-week stand down before being able to go back on the unemployment benefit.

In Parliament on Thursday, Ms Bradford asked the minister, Paula Bennett, why these workers seem to have been the victim of "systemic" racism

Ms Bennett, denied this was the case, saying WINZ staff work hard for all New Zealanders.