Benefit of the doubt is a website that offers an alternative to current social narratives surrounding welfare provision in New Zealand today. The vast majority of media commentary and political rhetoric demonstrates an inability to engage with welfare recipients in a positive way.This website aims to counter this in three ways:

  • By offering a critique of current media commentary and government policy relating to beneficiaries and welfare.
  • By supporting this critique with relevant research.
  • By providing a site where beneficiaries can tell their stories in their own words.


Beneficiaries’ Stories

Over the course of my PhD research I recorded conversations with 65 women with experience of receiving a benefit. I coded and analysed the data and wrote it up into chapters for my PhD (still ongoing), an edited book, a conference presentation, and academic journal articles. All of this writing is however mine, so on this site I have provided a place where beneficiaries can tell their stories in their own words.

About me:

I’m Claire Gray. I’m in the process of completing my PhD at Canterbury University. I first became interested in welfare while working on a CLC research project in which we examined the legal needs of beneficiaries in relation to benefit review and appeals processes. Beneficiaries I spoke to, over the course of the research, related the discriminatory treatment they had experienced and the ways in which they were stereotyped. They talked about an increasingly harsh political rhetoric accompanying welfare reform that, they argued, did not reflect the reality of their lives. This led to my own research, a PhD examining the emotional impact of life on a benefit for women receiving Sole Parent Support; and ultimately to this website.

Contact me:


About this site:

This site was developed by the very talented Luke Robertson at aleofatime.com.  Cheers Luke!

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