Work and Income to remove 'shameful' poster after social media outrage

Work and Income has decided to take down a poster after social media users called it "despicable" and "shameful". 

The poster showed a man in a suit at a computer, overlaid with the words: 'My biggest disability was thinking that I couldn't do it… The reality is I can."

Twitter user @BasicBishopNZ took a photo of the poster outside the Work and Income (WINZ) office in Helensville, northwest of Auckland. 

"TF is this," they wrote, tagging in Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni. "JFC… I wish all WINZ a very stop being c**ts." 

offensive WINZ poster
The offending poster. Photo credit: @BasicBishop/Twitter

Twitter users were outraged, many pointing out the difficulties they have had accessing support services through WINZ thanks to their own personal circumstances.

One suggested they could "simply become undisabled by manifesting it into reality", while another said they were "definitely going to grow my legs back now".

"Finally realizing that the only thing stopping me from driving into town was my weak will and not my inability to f**king see," wrote one person. "Huge 'just don't be sad vibes'," added another. 

Some suggested it went up long ago, perhaps when Paula Bennett was Social Development minister between 2008 and 2014. Bennett's time in the role was controversial, cutting funding for programmes and increasing the number of hoops beneficiaries had to jump through to get assistance. 

The Ministry of Social Development didn't confirm exactly when the poster was developed, but did say it was old. 

"This poster was developed with the team member featured, who lives with a disability," Liz Jones, deputy chief executive service delivery told Newshub.

"This series was discontinued in 2016. We'll make sure any remaining posters are no longer displayed." 

Government department the New Zealand Office for Disability Issues said it would work with the ministry to ensure they're taken down, and if "anyone spots another one in the wild", should get in touch to let them know where. 

Sepuloni wasn't immediately available for comment.