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Open Letter to New Zealand Ministry of Social Development

16 October 2014

 

Mr Rob Brown

General Manager

Office of Corporate & Governance

Ministry of Social Development

PO Box 1556

WELLINGTON 6140

 

 

 

Dear Mr Brown

 

Thank you for your recent letter I am disappointed the Chief Executive refuses to deal with this matter himself, as it doesn’t appear he has spoken to a disgruntled disabled person on long term welfare, however I will do my best to respond to your letter.

 

My expertise is in stress disorders, psychology, using welfare, health and justice agencies.  12 years of study to try and understand what was happening to me after I was raped and how useless mental health services were to heal and support me.  I have barely worked in this time and currently spend around 70 hours per week trying to get treatment care and rehabilitation as well as protesting to highlight the gross miscarriage of justice going on in ACC and mental health services.

 

The majority of your staff are of course not directly responsible for the Ashburton killings.  However it is the ever increasing degrading policies and demands WINZ makes of disabled unemployed people that is.  I cannot believe you don’t understand what degrading hell it is to walk into a WINZ office year after year.  To have to tell a stranger what a loser you are, how little money you have and all your personal details.  At the same time you are watching the person at the next desk begging for help as well – you know details about why they are there.  I want to be able to TELL you these types of stories so you understand what people are going through.

 

I attended a series of lectures on Public Policy early last year, at one of these it was explained how there was a concern that senior public servants were not being told important information from middle management.  This is the only explanation I can think of for why you are not aware of the degrading nature of your processes and environment you have created.

 

Also I know there are people in your office who decide how much money people on welfare receive.  My case manager told me she could not live on what I was getting, but expected me to.  I was in a very unstable and dangerous living situation at the time – I already have a life-threatening stress disorder and this made it much worse.  Behind her on the wall was a large mural saying te tangata, te tangata, te tangataI (Wainuiomata office), this is so offensive to someone begging for help.  I want to tell you about some of my experiences at WINZ, my case managers have all been good people, it is what they are expected to do that is damaging, humiliating and degrading.

 

Every person who has ever been on welfare for any length of time blames MSD for what happened in Ashburton.  Roydon Christie on Breakfast the morning after the shootings first comment was I wonder what happened to that man.  You must know this, I can’t believe you take absolutely no responsibility for this considering the increasing levels of violent incidence – why do you think this was happening.  It was happening because people were being degraded further and denied more.

The narrow parameters of the review, have avoided the issue of degrading services and people driven to breaking point with unstable housing & income.  Have these violent incidents increased since 2011 when the National party changed the law and criteria for disabled people.  When WINZ started employing its own staff to define people’s level of health and support they should get?  I have spoken with Rob Robinson and Murray Jack about this.  I was so extremely concerned with the way the Ministry and Minister had absolved themselves of any responsibility on news media following the tragedy.

 

Unfortunately Mr Brown the tragedy at Ashburton was entirely predictable for those of us living in the darklands of New Zealand, things out here are very difficult and really harming people psychologically.  It was made even more insulting when the National party covered New Zealand in signs saying WORKING FOR NEW ZEALAND.  For those of us who cannot work due to lack of health and welfare services it is an insult as the NZ government are not working for us.

 

Due to my protests about the appauling state of mental health care for abused, disabled and mentally ill people I hear dozens of terrible stories.  I get a huge amount of support for my protests from people on the street. I believe my knowledge and ‘lay-expert’ opinion is important to MSD if they TRULY want welfare offices to be safer places for clients and staff.

 

Recently I was insulted by a young woman covered in tattoos and piercings, drinking red wine from a cup in a van of similar people across from the High Court –they were there supporting a friend who had done something really bad.  She insulted me for not working and said at least all of them had jobs and I was just a loser who wanted attention.  I am a good person, I do not associate with bad people, don’t have any tattoos and only my ears pierced.  Until I was charged with wilful trespass of Law Society ACC and Ministry of Health this year (because I couldn’t get a lawyer or services I was entitled to) I had never had a criminal charge.  There have been other instances of degrading insults about not working and I need to TELL you about them, explain what happens – even with my own extended family who are ashamed of me.

 

Did you have an ‘independent’ senior psychologist/psychiatrist on the review board to advise your department of the adverse psychological impacts of increasing security on the already traumatised and stressed disabled unemployed?  Also did you get ANY feedback at all from clients of WINZ in Ashburton.  Why do you think another worker killed herself two days later then?  It so happens I know a senior employee who had left the office only weeks before the killings – she had been desperate to get out she hated it so much, she was ashamed of working for WINZ – why do you think that is.

 

This letter is intended to assist MSD and to stop more people flipping out and hurting innocent people.  I am devastated by what happened, when I spoke to Rob Robinson and Murray Jack I cried when I said how disappointed I was in myself, that maybe if I had protested more, written more letters, done more to expose just how bad mental health services were and how degrading poverty was in New Zealand then maybe Ashburton wouldn’t have happened.

 

 I understand why you put in more security but I can assure you it is degrading and intimidating.  Again I have information with regard to this that you need to hear.  I believe the recommendations were short-sighted and over-zealous, you are never going to stop random acts like this.  But you can stop degrading people on long-term welfare.  Bill English said before the elections how people on long-term welfare were like P addicts, they became addicted to it.  I was insulted and horrified that a cabinet minister would say something as ignorant as this.  I have been fighting for years to get health care I am entitled to so I can heal and get back to work.  This is ignorance combined with bigotry at the highest level and should not be allowed to impact on services WINZ provides as required by law.

 

You may have taken all steps to protect staff, but you don’t appear to have acknowledge the degrading hell people on long-term welfare are being subjected to.  Psychological torture is what it is, ask anybody who has been on long-term welfare – do you survey clients?  Especially when you are an intelligent person but too dysfunctional to work and keep getting refused services you know you are entitled to.

 

You talk about the physical safety of staff, but what about the psychological safety of staff and clients.  Although my WINZ case managers have been great I have been told of other people that are not – some who are particularly degrading of men.  Can you imagine what it is like for a man to be sitting begging at WINZ, at the table next to him there is a woman ticking shaking and crying.  His teenage son is watching him tell the case manager they are about to be evicted because his benefit has been cut because he didn’t get some mail.  Of course you would be aware that the way offices are now set up people can hear the next person’s business.  The man I referred to above had a security officer hovering nearby, his benefit was restored immediately but they refused to backdate it.  Men don’t cry, men bottle it up and they get angry – that is human nature.  I was scared of the man’s anger too but could understand why he was like that – you must know this is happening.

 

I know what the function of the security guards is, but I also know it is stressful, traumatising, degrading and threatening to have them there.  How would you like it if there was security all around you because another senior public servant had gone mad and killed people.

 

Please meet with me, you need to hear what I have to say, even if you don’t like it.  Like several people on the street have told me – it needs to be said and MSD need to acknowledge just how degrading their services have become.

 

This letter also gives you the authority to look at any of my files, police, mental health, ACC and WINZ.  You can see what has happened to me over the years rotting on welfare I have nothing to hide.  Now I want you to think about giving me authority to look up anything about your financial situation, health status, living situation, family and friends or legal issues.  This is what you expect unemployed people to provide and you can’t understand how degrading this is – I find that difficult to believe.

 

I would ask you to seriously consider meeting with me, only two hours of your time and maybe you will have a better understanding of what is happening to me and others.  I can assure you I will be respectful during our meeting but I will also be emotional as you can’t go through what I do and not be.  Also please ask yourself, why a person such as myself hasn’t worked for so long?  I think this letter shows I am reasonably intelligent, the reasons for this I would prefer to bring up during our meeting.

 

I can be contacted on                                        if you wish to arrange a meeting, please hear what I have to say, it is vitally important.

 

Yours sincerely

  

JR

Take Your Blinkers Off – JR Murphy – To Paula Bennett & John Key

Take you blinkers off I say
With people’s lives your do play
The police are left to sort this out
While mental health do less than nowt

If you arrived dripping in blood
If you staggered in as you could
Would you expect to be turned away
Told its not bad enough you can’t stay

Back on the streets of this masters town
Neglected, rejected, oppressed, put down
They keep the suicidal from view
If only you knew, if only you knew

But you don’t want to see
How the system treats ones like me
So you put up barriers left and right
Leaving the only option fight, fight, fight

Fight that unseen enemy
Those that choose neglect are many
Giving excuse after excuse
Not taking responsibility for this abuse

Although I endure a stress disorder
That sees me on the edge, the boarder
No-one comes to sort shit out
All they do is look and spout

Of course almost dead is not enough
Living with suicidal ideology is tough
They know it – I’ve studied
So why neglect people bloodied

Compare us to the strongest man
Would he say any weight I can
I can lift 100 maybe two
But even I know what I can’t do

And what if this strong man
When asked to bear all weight he can
Was put in water above his head
Well that’s real easy – he’d soon be dead

I’ve lived like this for months, for years
Thousands of hours, thousands of tear
Trying to make you do what you say
But you keep the power at the end of the day

And with this power you do abuse
Neglect, reject, oppress, refuse
The backlash we see in social stats
Dysfunction, addiction, violence, the facts

Do something my peopld
Don’t leave us to cry
Rescue us from this place of neglect
Or watch innocent die

End

I wrote this a few years ago, it breaks my heart that two innocent WINZ workers were killed because our media and politicians refuse to believe what I say in my poems and say about how abusive and degrading mental health and welfare services now are.

Evil Lives Inside Me – JR Murphy

5.   Evil Lives Inside Me

To become that which I dream of
To start the journey as a wholy being
Living in syncronicity
Living with holy meaning

To be enlightened by the darkness
Surely the greatest human feat
To feel my heart smashed to pieces
See the light within extinguished

Standing at the ledge of death
Battered by a hurricane
Feet rooted like a might tree
Trunk broken but not in vain

Those spiritual roots stay alive
Through the greatest power that reigns
The power of the universe
Is coursing through my veins

When the evil overtakes me
No-one to pull me out
Let the evil live inside me
Show it great respect

Don’t empower it with anger
Don’t feed it with fear
Let it find expression
In the tom tom, bass and snare

All those kind and gentle people
Calling on God to bring us peace
For those so angry and afraid
A mere wish to slay a beast

Research, marketing, meeting, conference
And really so little difference
At the cliff face nothing changes
Still not enough funding and to much ignorance

A meteor burned in atmosphere
A shooting star to wish upon
All the pain that I have suffered
Will change the system because its wrong

Never END

This poem is apt today as yet another huge amount of mental health money is funnelled into fkn bullshit research.

This funding appears focused on intellectual disabilities and yet again ignores sexual and physical abuse victims, who are currently missing out on huge amounts of professional treatment, care and rehabilitation thanks to corrupt ACC processes.

Also a note to Roydon on the Breakfast show when he said a few weeks ago how great it was that more people were turning up to apply for jobs thanks to government welfare reforms last year.  The extra people are of course disabled, abused/traumatised and mentally ill people – those who are never going to be employed but the government insist they be repeatedly degraded and psychologically tortured by being forced to apply for jobs.  Many of these people have been ‘dysfunctional’ since children, but as soon as they turn 17 are considered adults and then subject to discrimination and being despise by the media and an ignorant society.

NZ SUX!

 

Go To Hell – JR Murphy

4.   Go To Hell

We’ve been here a long time doing the same shit
We’ve been here a long time and we still don’t seem to fit
They fill our head with bullshit, until we feel real numb
And when we don’t perform their tricks, they label us as dumb

GO TO HELL, GO TO HELL
GO TO HELL, GO TO HELL

They punish us for being wrong they make us sit all day
They punish us for being wrong and we don’t learn that way
And when we fight against it they come down on us like hell
They don’t care what life’s like at home, so long as we can spell

GO TO HELL, GO TO HELL
GO TO HELL, GO TO HELL

(slow)
They make us learn irrelevant shit
They don’t care what interests us
Give us half a day of music
15 minutes of math’s enough (screamed)

GO TO HELL, GO TO HELL
GO TO HELL, GO TO HELL

They don’t tell you it’s hard to learn when shit’s going on at home
The sooner we are outa here the sooner we are gone
It doesn’t have to be like this we can change it if we’re strong
It’s our lives they’re screwing with we know there’s something wrong

GO TO HELL, GO TO HELL
GO TO HELL, GO TO HELL  (repeat)

ENd

Punk song

I Want To Come In From The Cold – JR Murphy

1.   I Want To Come In From The Cold

Here I sit in on a windswept beach in the depths of winter
A winter that began on the first day of 2002
I am alone except for my dog
I have nothing to shield me from the elements

I see people walking along the beach sometimes
They rescue others from the treacherous sea
If not dead they give them drugs
Then take them away on stretchers
They never acknowledge me
Though they look in  my direction when I call out to them

Maybe I will eventually be so battered by storms, cold, wind and rain
That my body will become bones
Washed up like the driftwood that surrounds me
Or maybe the water will claim me
And I will be free of this earthly torture

I am mesmerized by the sea
Now numb to my cold heartless environment
Unable to move, but able to think
And imagine

To imagine a group of enlightened people walking down the beach
As they pass in front of me
Their dog would greet mine
They would walk over to me
Offer their hand and say

Come with us
You have been out in the cold too long you are frozen
We have a crib near the sea not far from here
It is warm and safe there
Come, come with us into the warm
We will play joyous games with you
We will cherish, develop and guide you
For as long as you need us
We will nurture you and never ever abandon you

You have been out in the cold far too long
We will sing and play music together
We really want you to be with us
We have so much to offer each other
Come, take our hand be healed along with the others we have found out here in the cold

But I know if ACC and mental health don’t change they will never come
I have been waiting nine long cold years
Searching for them, asking where they are
Asking why isn’t my country, why aren’t my own people bringing me in from the cold

My art I use as a beacon
That will one day bring together other people wanting to come in from the cold
It is also my sincerest hope that someday the rescuers will see the beacon
And offer me shelter in a crib near the sea
And my pen in this life will prove mightier than any sword wielded in the past lives of my ancestors

For I am Love, I am Life, I am Light
As much as I am Hate, I am Death, I am Darkness
A whole being
No longer shielded from the reality at the heart of our cruel and immoral Kiwi culture.

END

My first poem written about 10 years ago, still relevant today, so sad people are treated this way.  I recall sitting at my desk in Jellicoe Street writing it, looking out the large windows at my Greytown garden.

Thanks for all the comments made by ignorant abusive bigots

First time today I have been able to go through my Comments, lots of support but as usual some hateful ignorant bigoted stuff as well.  I didn’t read to much as it isn’t good for my mental health but I would like to say to all those vile abusive bigots out there that I thank them for their feedback as it continues to add validity to my case of brainwashing of the NZ public under Bill of Rights law and how they regard people with traumatic stress disorders as a result of abuse.

Do you think blind people or someone who was badly hurt in a car accident by a drunk driver would get the abuse a mentally injured person with a life-threatening stress disorder would get?

 

Woke up this morning & I wasn’t as scared to protest

Was telling M yesterday how angry I get with myself for being scared of the police & mental health services to the point of stopping me protesting as much as I want in the streets.  Telling people how bad it is, collecting names of people who are being abused/persecuted, educating people, making these maggots take responsibility for what they are doing.

This morning I woke up and I didn’t feel as scared, so I am off protesting CHALK BOMBING Masterton about sexual abuse, persecution by police & mental health services of abused and mentally ill people, corrupt DHB and others.  Am not going to get really angry at anybody today (I hope), anybody who gives me shit I am going to repeat a mantra (I havn’t made up yet) that brings the focus back to what is important.

I’ve been watching more of Russell Brand and appreciate the way he turns difficult issues back to the same issue of redistribution of wealth and the fact governments are the ones supposed to care about the poor and vulnerable.

Going to take my guitar too – A couple of hours every day, or maybe Monday’s and Fridays – my two favourite days – NOT.  Mondays because I’m starting another week not working and feeling like a piece of human sewage and Fridays because I have spent the week begging for the care & justice I know I am entitled to by law but nothing has changed (or things are worse).

Also Russell was saying how meditation is getting him through and I’m going to TRY and start.  Havn’t done it for years but after Michelle tried to get me to stop thinking yesterday and I couldn’t I know I need to try something to balance me a bit more.

Have been booted off commenting on news pages etc by facebook so taken to twitter a lot more and boy has it been a boost.  It’s harder in some ways as everything is a bloody ‘sound bite’ but its making me a little more creative and hooking up with some very interesting people.  Also getting the attention of a few good media people – even someone at the dominion post (shock and horror).

My new boarder has a bit of OCD I think and loves cleaning, so its great for getting me organised – the planets are aligning I can feel it.

Crack up the troll is back giving me shit

I post a letter I am sending trying to get the professional health care people are entitled to and all I get is uneducated ignorant bigoted neo-liberal NAZIs trashing me.  They don’t even use words that make sense, of course that is what neo-liberal NAZIs do, trash anybody with a brain that has educated themselves.

It’s great with moderation that I only have to read the first couple of lines then I delete them.  So if you are a person who supports what I say and wants to help contact me through facebook or twitter.  The troll who has been writing on this page is already blocked – how stupid do they think I am.

JR