From my perspective, what follows represents the ground on either side of a deliberate fissure or divide or fracture in NZ society/culture that’s been brought about by the fear that is an inevitable political component of Liberal economic ideology.
Theotherside’s original comment and responses to it.
Just as per your situation I would like to offer mine, maybe some understanding will help all of us.
We are “rich pricks”, with our household bringing in 112 000 a year before tax.
That sounds awesome hey? We get 2150 a week!
Then we pay 500 a week tax, leaving 1650.
But since we are rich pricks we are not allowed any help or any discount, except the 20 hours a week childcare from 3 years old.
Currently childcare is a whopping 465 a week for us!
That leaves a bit under 1200 a week.
We need to pay our own rent, get nor housing supplement or discount, or pay our own mortgage, mortgage for a 500K loan gets us a 3 bed, 1 bath 90 square old damp cold house.
That mortgage cost us a bit over 600 a week, leaving 600. Yes we could rent better for roughly the same, but that is not the point.
Then we have insurance and rates, at another 100 a week. we are left with 500 now.
Cellphone, internet and power is another 150 a week. We are down to 350 now.
Petrol and car rego etc is another 100 a week.
We literally cannot afford Sky TV.
We are left with 250 a week, living a a 70’s build cold damp house, where the water does not condensate on the windows, it actually freezes, to feed a family of 4, plus entertainment etc.
We can get no help, since we are rich pricks, we can get no discounts, or community cards etc, since we are rich pricks.
Do you see the problem here? Taxing my family another 100 a week means we lose our house.
We really do feel sorry for you, and all people in your situation, but we do wish people will realize most of us rich prick families, work 80 + hours a week, get no help or assistance, and pay the majority of the tax, to live a lifestyle that is even worse than most of the real beneficiaries live.
And Michelle, i am not having a go at you, I have no idea what assistance and help you do get, except the 26 000 you mentioned a year. I do not know if you have a community card and what discounts you get, i do not know if you get a free house or housing assistance pay part of your rent.
I do know you have it hard, i do know you have it tough, and I do wish it will get a lot better for you, but I want you to see the other side of the coin, we also have it hard and tough, and forcing us to lose our only asset, the family home, is also not fair.
All we ask is, in the process of making your life better, which we do wish for you, please do not destroy ours.
I hope you the best in life, and with the positive attitude you are displaying I am sure you will make it, remember to be successful in life you need to get things right 51% of the time, not 100%.”
And Korero Pono’s response from this morning
This is going to be an extremely long post but I would like you to read to the very end because my most important point is made at the end.
Some in my circles would class me and my partner ‘rich pricks’ too – let’s compare our stories and see how different they are. I will use your story as a template to my own and we will find marked differences in how we think, even though our stories are similar or not as the case may be.
Our household brings in $48,000 a year before tax. In comparison to some families that is awesome. We get $923 a week!
We pay $161 a week in tax, $69 per week in Student Loan and $28 a week in Kiwisaver.
Leaving us with $682 per week. We get a top up through Working for Families of $112.00 per week – making our total weekly income $794.00.
We don’t pay childcare as we choose to have one stay at home parent as we believe that is better for our child. We know we are making a financial sacrifice to do this. Our child just started school but before that we took advantage of the ‘free’ 20 hours – but we still paid ‘donations’ and were happy to do so because we knew it would allow the community kindy to function better with a high teacher to child ratio of 1:5, not including the voluntary hours my stay at home partner was able to put in at the kindy as well. My child is happy. We are happy. We feel privileged that we can do this, most can’t. Now at school, my partner is able to volunteer there as well, participating in swimming, helping with sport and fundraising activities to support the school. My partner also supports elderly parents with tasks they can no longer do themselves.
We pay our own mortgage – we feel privileged that we can afford to own a house, we feel privileged that we do not have to rely on the whims of landlords about our living situation. We live in a 110 square metre old wooden house with a pretty shitty oven that needs replaced this year. We’re so privileged because it is more than most have, it is more than even you have. Our house needs work, it needs updating and because my partner does not work well that is a task that gets done when our child is at school and as we can afford the materials.
Our mortgage costs us $200 per week. Our rates and insurances are around $85 per week that leaves us $509 per week – we feel extremely privileged about this.
Then we pay cell phones, internet and power at around $85 – we’re down to $424 left.
Petrol/car regos/maintenance etc takes another $70 a week (one of our cars is pretty old and definitely on its last legs and I am worried about how to replace it but hey – I feel pretty privileged because it is legal, it gets me to work and I don’t get tickets, so we are damned lucky, we’re privileged. So after car expenses we have $354.
We have sky, I don’t know why but it may be laziness instead of finding a solution to our television reception issues, that’s $25 per week. So we’re left with $329 per week – to cover our house repairs (there’s quite a few) to cover a car upgrade (and we know that mine is on its last legs), to buy food, clothes, medical costs (and we have some high ones due to a long term health condition).
We feel absolutely privileged because clearly we are way better off than you and Michelle – it surprises me that we on our humble $48k (with our $112 pw top up) are so much better off (both financially and socially) than you are on your $112,000k – life takes some funny turns.
You know we’re so privileged that when I work in the community with people not so privileged I sometimes spend some of my spare cash to make sure some families have milk and bread to feed their kids, because that is what you do when you know you’re privileged and they’re not and you can’t bare walking away knowing there’s no food in their house, it’s late Friday afternoon and there’s no way you can get them help – so you go buy some stuff yourself out of your own money so you know their babies won’t go hungry over the weekend. We are privileged because I know we can afford to eat, I know we can go on a yearly holiday (nowhere fancy but still a holiday), those people can’t and never will as things continue on this path.
Theotherside, I am not having a go at you, I feel really sorry for you and really sorry that you not getting a tax cut may lead to you losing your house – I am not sure you will lose $100 per week but of course I don’t know what it’s like to get a tax cut when your on $112,000 k, I only know what it feels like on a much lower income – even though last tax cut we got $10 per week but that got sucked up on higher GST on our food etc so we didn’t notice any benefit from a tax cut – but still we feel privileged and grateful we can have our lifestyle – but I know that we are and will always be one pay day away from poverty – we don’t have much to buffer us if I should get sick and not be able to work. But right now I feel damned privileged compared to Michelle who struggles to put food on her table and feed her child, damn the impact that must have on her well-being and the high level of stress she must endure must be heart-breaking.
I thank god for people like Michelle because they make me realise how lucky I am everyday – I wish her life to be better and I want to pay more tax to help her and people like her, I want to make their lives as easy as my life, I’d like your life to be as easy as mine, clearly you’re under a lot of financial stress, I can see how having more money makes life so much harder for people.
I do worry however when people say “All we ask is, in the process of making your life better, which we do wish for you, please do not destroy ours” – you assume that it has to be either/or so if Michelle is to be lifted out of poverty, that it’s somehow going to destroy your life? So are you suggesting that in order for you to get ahead that other people must live in poverty and struggle to feed their kids? Are you suggesting it is inevitable for children to live in poverty so that people like you don’t have to struggle? I am not having a go at you but genuinely confused about what you’re saying – on one hand you are saying that you want her life to get better but not at the risk of your lifestyle? So you getting a tax cut is more important to you than the wellbeing of society?
You do make assumptions about Michelle’s level of support – and based on what she wrote I can see that her $26k must be combination of benefits and wages because no beneficiary gets $26k in taxable income and no beneficiary gets given a house – they pay rent like everyone else – unless they’re privileged enough to own a house or have family supporting them in some way. I know this because working with people on benefits is essentially my bread and butter.
I think it is completely unfair to blame Michelle and people like her for your financial woes, it is not her fault, it is not their fault…blame the Government who has created a housing crisis, thus making your housing unaffordable, blame a Government who has devalued the role of parenting and forced families like yours to work 80 hours a week to feel like you’re getting ahead whilst denying you the enjoyment of participating fully in your children’s lives. That is not Michelle’s fault. The Government has created this situation and instilled in you the belief that it is somehow the Michelle’s of the world who make your life harder…you are not to blame for Michelle’s positon and she is not to blame for yours – the real culprits are the wealthiest New Zealanders and their companies who pay virtually no tax, and those on high incomes whom through legal tax loopholes not only evade paying their taxes but also enjoy sucking various benefits from the system by way of Working for Families and the like – I know this to be true because I once worked in the tax field, doing the taxes for these leeches and the wealthiest ones were the ones that got the greatest kickbacks and paid the least or no taxes, even arranging their tax affairs to avoid child support and get student allowances for their children, all whilst sitting on millions on assets. It is their fault and until these loopholes are closed, until these leeches pay taxes and stop sucking from the system your plight will continue and so will Michelle’s and before you go and tick your Blue/Blue boxes – you should know that National refused to close these legal tax rorts when it was recommended back in 2010, they continue to allow these leeches to suck us dry and then they mind fuck you into believing that it is somehow going to be Michelle’s fault if you lose your house!”