Do you want to keep me in poverty?

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, September 15th, 2017 - 147 comments
Categories: election 2017, national, political parties, poverty - Tags: ,

I had a child 10 years ago but the relationship with his father did not last and I became a solo mum with a one year old. I was working full time but had to then cut my hours back. Eventually I gave the job up as things were really tough and I was extremely sleep deprived and exhausted.

Here I was a young mum on a benefit with no qualifications. I did all sorts of jobs from cleaning peoples homes to forestry work etc. But all for minimum wage, which was never enough to cover the bills.

When my son was aged a year and a half, I decided to study and raise him on a benefit. Just as I entered my studies National, who just got into government, cut the training incentive allowance which meant I could not get help with any study costs.

I worked as a bar manager part time and used all of this money to pay for my tuition and expenses. I then got my diploma of interior design and went job hunting. Trouble is the global recession hit and no one was hiring what I just got qualified in.

I felt distraught and knew I needed a new plan!

I decided to study again, but this time committed 4 years to getting my counselling qualification. What I did not factor in was that we had a government in play that was making drastic funding cuts to the social service sector and that this would make things tough. I studied the 4 years and got this qualification while working throughout and raising my child. All of this while living in poverty and running a house off less then $26,000 a year.

I then got a job once qualified that I absolutely loved! The students were amazing and the roles I held were perfect for me. My employer was even kind enough to support me while I studied full time for my teaching qualification on top of full time work and being a mum.

Even while working I still struggled to survive though and it was still pay cheque to pay cheque. Unfortunately due to the constant funding cuts done by National to this sector, the place I worked for was struggling financially and I was made redundant earlier this year.

I have 3 qualifications, two of which I am still interested in using and have applied for many jobs while now back on the benefit….. yet here I sit.

I did everything National told me to do. I studied, I got qualifications. I worked hard. 

Yet here I sit… living off the sole parent benefit or the top ups to my casual teaching work that I get.
Here I sit…bringing in less then $28,000 a year and running a household on my own.

Here I sit, National voters. In poverty!

I sit here due to training incentive allowances and other help to mothers like me being cut. I sit in poverty due to a world financial crisis that was not my doing. Here I sit… jobless due to funding cuts in the two sectors I am qualified and wanting to work in.

Here I sit… realising I need to find other ways to get ahead, as the system is stacked against people like me, whether we like to recognise this or not.

Thank you National for holding people like me in poverty. Looks like studying hard, working hard and being a great mum is not enough. What a dole bludging whore I am…..

You want to vote National? Go for it. Screw good people over some more.

I do not want hand outs . I do not want pity. 

We need to work for the whole and as a community. This me, me me what do I get from voting for “them” has to end. We all benefit if we address the serious issues, people. Lets shrink this ever growing gap in society.

Sometimes good choices do not always lead to good outcomes, no matter how hard you try. 

Let’s help each other up rather then judge harshly. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Some peoples walks have been harder, bumpier and longer. – not because they were being useless, or unmotivated, or not getting themselves out there – but because we all have a different journey and sometimes our paths are already mapped out.

People matter beyond our own selves.

– Michelle

147 comments on “Do you want to keep me in poverty?”

  1. Brian 1

    A story I imagine is echoed by many. Thank you for posting Michelle – I hope things turn around for you – perhaps the 23rd will be a new starting point for many. Time the economy was geared to serve the many and not the few.

  2. [ deleted]

    [The comment from the idiot trying to get you to justify personal shit has been moved to open mike and notified of a permanent ban if he continues on the track of digging into your personal circumstances with the obvious aim of vilifying you.

    I’ve deleted your comment that offered up an explanation because it was sitting stranded here due to you not using the “reply” tabs attached to comments and because this thread isn’t going to be turned into a court presided over by idiots, bigots and misogynists. If you really want to answer to his toxic crap, here’s the link to his comment on Open Mike] – Bill

  3. Rosemary McDonald 4

    “….this thread isn’t going to be turned into a court presided over by idiots, bigots and misogynists.”

    Thanks, Bill, for squishing those bugs so promptly.

    Credit where credit is due though…they are quick off the mark though. Are the current crop of (paid?) trolls on a higher hourly rate?

  4. Carolyn_nth 5

    Thanks for telling your story so well, Michelle. It really shows how the right wing mantra about hard work being rewarded is a crock.

    It also struck me that some of your qualifications are in public sector work, which makes a strong contribution to society and the well being of the people who live in it. these are the sorts of jobs the Nats have been undermining, while promoting the looting by investment and speculative bankers, etc.

  5. savenz 6

    One of the things that should be clear from the story is that there are not the jobs. NZ needs jobs OR it needs a UBI. Getting people to get qualifications does not necessarily give people a job at all.

    If you are a single parent, realistically how much full time work can you really do and is it worth it on minimum wages? Just the transport costs alone tends to make it uneconomic to work unless you are on liveable wages and since we have terrible transport links around much of NZ it means that it’s not feasible to drop off kids, get to work, come back to pick up kids at 3pm. You could spend 2 hours of that time in transit so that just gives you 4 hours of work available to a single parent in most cases. Thats only approx $64 per day less taxes and just the transport costs alone (yes there is still accomodation, food, power, school fees, clothing, repair costs etc) could eat up a significant amount of that. Then it’s taxed if you are on a benefit depending on how much you earn. It’s a lose lose situation that keeps single parents in poverty and their children.

    Since it is now illegal to leave any kid under 14 years alone (yep new rules that we didn’t used to have. I used to walk to school from age 4 and be looked after by an older sibling under 14 after school, but that’s not legal anymore, further making working more difficult and expensive). Because of that, it generally costs more to work on minimum wages that actually not work and save the transport and child care costs. Working puts people further into poverty in that situation in most cases. The rules are designed to punish not actually get a better social outcome.

    Then there is the welfare of the child, isn’t it better to have children being looked after by their parent rather than whoever is the cheapest childcare provider someone can find or not looked after at all?

    Also feel that the single parents are the most stigmatised groups – a new government needs to recognise that and look at ways they can get more money. Taking in a flatmate or border’s seems to me an excellent idea, so not sure why that’s punished like all the other ways someone in poverty, is punished by trying to make ends meet.

    • KJT 6.1

      Looking after a child, is a job.

      An essential one for our society.

      It should be paid.

      It was years ago. A universal family benefit, UBI, paid to the mother. Could be to the primary carer today.

      National. The party for serial child abuse.

      • Korero Pono 6.1.1

        Yes I think that is what people forget that being a parent in and of itself is a full-time and worthwhile job but is undermined and demeaned because it has no tangible monetary value to those who think that every exchange should involve money. Never mind the benefits to society of having happy, well-nurtured children to contribute to society later on down the track. Why are women forced into poverty and then lambasted by idiots when they stand up, put themselves on the line and speak up about it?

        • Tracey 6.1.1.1

          As long as women are predominant carers it will remain unpaid and under valued. Feeling valued is probably one reason women return to work

          • Megan 6.1.1.1.1

            I agree. The feeling of being financially independent is very important to a woman. Some are undervalued.

            • KJT 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Being financially independent is essential for the well-being of some women.
              Escaping from abuse, for example.

              What happened to a friend of my daughters, is what got me started on advocating for a UBI.

              If we are going to have one, it should start with mothers of young children.

              • RedLogix

                What happened to a friend of my daughters, is what got me started on advocating for a UBI.

                Pretty much the same here. Looking back over the past decade or so, two issues keep pressing my political hot-button; one is access to public land, the other is a UBI.

                Both are about core human rights.

        • savenz 6.1.1.2

          Exactly, agree with both KJT and Korero Pono 100%.

          If people valued looking after children more as a parent then we would have better parents, better children and a better society.

          Parents used to be paid a universal family allowance. My parents saved that money and bought their first home which was built by the state to help families into their first home.

          My how things have changed these days, and not for the better.

          One of the reasons government could do that though was that NZ had a small population and after the war people were valued. Kiwi’s could afford to live on one wage and jobs were plentiful. Teachers got paid to study. So called working class jobs were well paid and considered a career.

      • Eco maori 6.1.2

        +100000 KJT

      • Craig H 6.1.3

        Totally agree, and a top point has been made by economists that paying someone else to look after children might boost GDP, but it’s a meaningless boost, so GDP is skewed by it.

    • Eralc 6.2

      It depends what Michelle studied for. Was it for an occupational class where skills are needed?

  6. Frida 7

    Thanks for posting. Kia kaha. And let’s all keep working to change to a progressive caring Labour-Greens government next week

    • cleangreen 7.1

      Here here Frida. well put.
      Michele asked – Do you want to keep me in poverty?

      No No No – I had a goood start in life but I want everyone to get the same as we in 1950’s got in that former ‘Egilitarian’ world.

      It makes me very sad when i see anyong down on their fortunes, as this government have just robbed fromthe por and middle class for the rich, – it is as simple as that.

      • Frida 7.1.1

        Tautoko @cleangreen

      • Patricia Bremner 7.1.2

        Same here cleangreen and Michelle, We got free training, board and a stipend. I feel sorry and so angry that this has been done in our name. We sure can be better than that. Kia kaha Michelle. You didn’t fail, the Nat government did.

        Keeping relationships when the work and punitive social pressures combine to push and pull must be dreadful.

        We are listening Michelle and intend to change the government. Hopefully things will improve with better funding of health and services.

  7. Dot 8

    When I look at the polling I am grateful that we have a lot of people who do believe
    in the importance of the good of the whole community and making a better
    nation.
    Sadly we have another lot who can not get past self interest !
    just as sadly there are many in a state of ignorance or helplessness who do not vote.
    Nine years of this National government has left us with a huge increase of poverty.
    Thank you Michelle for telling us your story, being a mum in these circumstances is very tough but you have not drifted into helplessness and will go and vote.
    Lets get more people on the roll and voting Labour / Green.

  8. weka 9

    Good to see another story that details just how seriously hard it is for so many people.

    There’s no other way to understand this than that National want it this way but I think that the more stories are told the more that people who still have at least some conscience will wake up and consider that it doesn’t have to be this way.

    Thank you Michelle and thank you Metiria for carving out the space.

  9. Antoine 10

    Just not quite sure how Michelle would be better off under a Labour-led government

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1

      Once again, Antoine’s policy is: “it’s too difficult for me, let’s do nothing.”

      Off the top of my head.

      Training incentive allowance. Free tertiary study. Increased funding for mental health services. A reduction in disgusting government-sponsored hate speech against NZ citizens, the return of freedom of association to workers, realistic minimum wage increases.

      To really improve things for everyone the Greens would be even better.

    • On current lack of collate financial data no one would know.

    • Bill 10.3

      There’s a Liberal myth highlighted in the post when Michelle writes that she did the things expected of someone who wants to escape or over-come poverty – I studied, I got qualifications. I worked hard.

      NZ Labour spins the same line.

      And although they’ll tweak aspects of the environment that study and hard work and whatever else takes place within, the truth of the matter is that poverty’s a systemic product of capitalism in general and of liberal capitalism in particular.

      Liberalism’s denial of the class based, systemic nature of poverty marks it out from Social Democracy. Social Democracy doesn’t eradicate poverty (because it still embraces capitalism) but at least it recognises the systemic roots of poverty and so moves away from simply engineering an environment to offer individuals “opportunity”.

      • Stuart Munro 10.3.1

        Yes – in the absence of strenuous government efforts to lift people out of poverty, education becomes a stratification tool, not a path to a better life. And that in turn feeds back into lowered education quality, because usable skills or knowledge are disruptive.

    • Once was Tim 10.4

      @Antoine – so what would be your suggestion? Go ask Paula Bennett perhaps?
      Pull yourself together!?

      • Antoine 10.4.1

        I’m just being gloomy. Let’s check back in a year or two and see if her life is, in fact, better?

        A.

        • jcuknz 10.4.1.1

          For years now, going back to the ‘good days’ [ pre-Richardson days], I have been concerned with the draconian abatement regime which both major parties have supported to effectively make it better to stay at home than try and better oneself by getting a job [ assuming these days you can find one worth having].
          I doubt if it saves much if any money and is pure selfishness on the part of those lucky not to be on a benefit who I suspect are scared somebody might end up with a bit more than those not on the benefit. That is not many these days with WFF when all is said and done.

    • cleangreen 10.5

      Antoine,

      Labour under Jacinda has a policy liike Helen Clarks Governent was.

      A government that will except your letters and act like helen did!!!!

      Nationaln dont and there is the difference.

      I should know as I fought to save our rail to Gisborne during the years 2000 to 2008 and got letters back from Helen and her cabinet ministers and Helen actually sent me one letter half hand written, that I still have today and she and Michaelb Cullen answered our call and bought the rail back. National since are wrecking Kiwirail with financial starvation.

      Jacinda has a similar policy to respond to mail, and act as Helen and her cabinet did.

      So fear not as Jacinda has good carma, and will help, – just give her a chance.

      ‘Let’s do this’

      @ilovejacinda

    • Michelle 10.6

      I would be much better off. Here are just a few reasons –

      1) They would put more funding back into the Education and Social service sectors thus creating more jobs and I could get off the benefit and back into work.

      2) My Dr visits would be cheaper and many other costs.

      3) The environment would be looked after and I could take my son to swim in rivers that I use to swim in and create amazing memories.

      4) Peace of mind in many ways one being knowing that my son will get a better education and not be fucked over like I have been when it is time for him to study or work.

      • Antoine 10.6.1

        Well, come back and post again in a year or two and tell us how it worked out?

        • Korero Pono 10.6.1.1

          @ Antoine – what’s your point? She isn’t your social experiment. She’s telling you how it is. As much as I am not a fan of Labour, I believe if they are in Government with the Greens they will be more progressive than the Helen Clark years (https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/09/06/46460/labour-would-restructure-work-and-income), thus making Michelle and her son’s lives easier. Most of us on the progressive left are not fooling ourselves that Labour are the answer to everyone’s woes but at least they are talking about putting more support in place for people like Michelle, which is far more than the National Government have ever done, and thanks to the Greens, Labour are pulling back to the left ever so slightly. Based on the information Michelle provided people like her would be $57 per week better off, not factoring in reduced GP fees and other potential benefits from increased funding into mental health services (http://www.labour.org.nz/mentalhealth), which will likely open up job opportunities to her, opportunities taken away from her under the National Government. With all that said she does not need to come back to fill some bizarre void in your thinking, it is obvious that any family with children getting an extra $57 a week is going to better off and make some small difference to their lives.

          • Antoine 10.6.1.1.1

            I think we are probably going to get a change of Government and it will probably be for the better on balance, but I worry a bit that many people are getting over optimistic about how much difference it will make. That way lies disappointment.

            I think generally the things that make the biggest diffrrence in our lives come from ourselves, the people around us and the hand of Fate, not from the tos and fros of Goverment.

            That said i wish Michelle all the best.

            A.

            • Korero Pono 10.6.1.1.1.1

              Well therein lies the void in your thinking if you believe that the ‘tos and fros of Government’ make no difference in people’s lives.

  10. Macro 11

    Michelle thank you for sharing your story.
    I know you are not alone.
    How can we all bring those living in desperate circumstances together because together is strength. A movement grounded in liberation from slavery and poverty can lead to dramatic change:

  11. popexplosion 12

    Pensioners in caravans, kids sleeping in garages and cars… ..the brighter future Key promised and delievered. After pulling up the ladder, Key moved quickly to raise inflation on the poorest, raising GST, which the poorest at most of the it outgoings immediately hit by get. It was not hard to see, English pleated, it was balanced, hell no.
    Couple that to opening up migration without planning for it, building the super city so incapable it can’t do anything except spend big on cbc rich people’s problems.

    So nah. Stuff National, stuff nat-lite, stuff nutty nat (act nzf), party vote Green.

  12. Mike Hosking thinks hes got it sussed… however , …soon he will be out of a job , and others like Michelle will be prospering.

    Happy days.

    Like Mike – Poor People and Music | WatchMe
    http://www.watchme.co.nz/entertainment/like-mike/poor-people-and-music/

    And here’s Mike lamenting the John Key days of pissing on the poor , – and in the shower…

    Like Mike – Election Golden Showers | WatchMe
    http://www.watchme.co.nz/entertainment/like-mike/election-golden-showers/

    • Once was Tim 13.1

      “………however , …soon he will be out of a job ………”
      Unfortunately though, probably not unless there is a plan to make commercial media actually stand on its own two feet – without ANY corporate welfare and begin paying his ilk what he’s actually worth.
      But then, they’ve always got openings over at Fox News but I’m not sure ‘wifey’ could stand the pre-requisites

  13. Sans Cle 14

    Remember all the false promises by National of catching up to Australia’s GDP per capita? How did that go? Quick Wiki check shows we have GDP of $39k per capita, Australia $49k per capita! (Not that GDP per capita is in anyway useful as an indicator of well-being – it says nothing about how productive activities – GDP – is distributed, or actually has meaningful impact on people – the per capita component).
    Well nine years later, we don’t have convergence with our neighbours, and we have widening inequality, as measured, not on averages, but in absolute numbers of people suffering economically: homelessness, overcrowding, unfed hungry kids…..but then we were on the cusp of something three years ago, if I remember rightly. The cusp of changing our indicators of how we record the number of people in employment….the cusp of fudging our recorded statistics to suit the political narrative.
    All boats did not rise under National’s tide, and there are too many stories like this one.
    Kia haha Michelle.

    • tracey 14.1

      Labour will need a partner. If Green they have a detailed policy to reduce poverty including raising benefits by 200 a week.

      When reading these awful stories I am minded of a few things;

      1. A friend who is a qualified counsellor with 5 years experience in sexual offenders unit at paremoremo. Applied for a job which was a joint project between Police and Womens Refuge. Job required a Degree and at least 5 years experience. Rigorous interview process which included the question; have you ever been assaulted in the cells. She got the job. The pay? 42k. She has a student debt. Was being asked to intervene is emergency call outs of a domestic violence nature. 42k.

      She coukdnt take it and meet her rent and loan etc… She took a job a few months ago counselling sexual offenders and paedophiles. The pay? 55k. The place she works has a 92% success rate of non reof

      She couldnt take it and meet her rent and loan etc… She took a job a few months ago counselling sexual offenders and paedophiles. The pay? 55k. The place she works has a 92% success rate of non sexual reoffending. The value we place on that?

      2. My nephews girlfriend gives women faje lashes for a living. Just lashes nothing else. She is earning 120k a year.

      3. The current economic thinking and it has been this way for some time is low inflation or full employment. Low inflation was chosen. So we NEED the unemployed.

      • Sans Cle 14.1.1

        NZ’s very own version of the Hunger Games: your Counsellor friend slaving it out in the District; your nephew’s GF living it up in the Capitol.

      • Macro 14.1.2

        Tracey – NZ’s commitment to social services has always been on the cheap. After deciding that I would rather work with people rather than with computers in the late 60’s I began work as a social worker in what was then Child Welfare. as a beginning social worker with no training I had, after 1 year, a case load of 100 + boys almost half of whom were resident in the infamous ward M8 at Porirua Hospital. My salary was a princely $1700 per year. After 3 years of running from one crisis to the next I happened to be in a meeting with the then first School Counsellor at Porirua College, when he said to me – “You have a degree in Maths – why not come teaching?”
        The next time I called at the school, the secretary said “The boss wants to see you”
        The principal said “If you want to come teaching you can start here on 13 Sep – and this is what you will do…”
        As a beginning teacher I more than doubled my salary.
        And when I joined the Navy 3 years later my salary doubled again.
        None of these subsequent jobs involved half of the stress or responsibility for peoples lives that that first job as a social worker entailed.
        I gather that the commitment to social services is not much different today although the case loads, in some situations, may be substantially smaller.

    • tracey 14.2

      Remember the asset sales money that was going into a fubd for Health and Education?

      • Stuart Munro 14.2.1

        I’m sure it has – a private fund.

        • tracey 14.2.1.1

          Audrey Young must be drafting the betrayal as we type

          • Stuart Munro 14.2.1.1.1

            It didn’t really get reported properly of course, but Coleman’s plan for rebuilding Dunedin hospital was to privatize it completely. And of course the nebulous private partner wouldn’t have the money without tapping the govt.

  14. adam 15

    Women and their children still face the full brunt of a state committed to a deeply ideological position of the free market capitalism.

    If you want this brutality to end, then you have to ask yourself how are we going to end that.

    Because as it stands, the two major parties in this country are committed to the deeply ideological position of the free market capitalism.

    If like me you distrust the whole process, then your only option is to get organised.

  15. Theotherside 16

    Hi Michelle,

    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%.

    • weka 16.1

      why do you call yourselves rich pricks? Genuinely curious.

      Why do you think you are the other side of the coin instead of the same side of the coin?

      Who wants to tax you another $100/wk?

      Who in NZ gets a free house?

      • Theotherside 16.1.1

        I have read comments on here for many years, and a lot of commentators would call us rich pricks when they see our total pay per year. i am trying to show people on The Standard that maybe their definition of a rich prick is wrong. That is why.

        Most of the policies that is liked on here will cost me more, and not offer me any help. That includes also all of Labour and Green current policies.

        An estimate by economists is that on average the labour policies will increase taxes by 110 dollars a week per taxpayer. We are 2 taxpayers, so I took 25% of that just to err on the side of Labour, and got 55 a week. i then looked at the 50 odd dollars National has legislated we pay less tax next year, that labour will scratch adds up to just over 100 a week, which i rounded down to 100.

        I do not know, i know some people get houses from housing NZ, and I do know some people get housing or rent assistance, but like i said, i have no idea how that works, or how much they get etc, the point being rather that we are not entitled to any form of help.

        • Carolyn_nth 16.1.1.1

          Basically, if your gross income is $112,000 – rule of thumb, minus one third to get after tax income per year = $74700 (approx.

          If you have 1 child, that would put your household in decile 6 [decile 1= lowest nz household and decile 10=highest according to the Household Survey in 2016 (p35)]

          Basically a bit over the median level, but far from rich.

          • Theotherside 16.1.1.1.1

            I agree.

            But we will get no help from Labour/Greens, and we get to pay more taxes.

            See the problem?

            • Carolyn_nth 16.1.1.1.1.1

              But you would possible also get some extra payments for having a young child under Labour

              Labour’s family package:

              Labour’s Families Package will deliver more money than National’s to over 70 percent of families with children. Families on middle incomes will receive as much as $48 a week more, plus Best Start payments for children under three. Unlike National’s package, no families will be worse off and the wealthiest households do not get a disproportionate benefit.

              This package will replace the Budget 2017 tax and families package, and will come into force on 1 July 2018.*

              Greens plan to raise tax for those earning above $150000 per year.

              And both parties will be providing more public services that will in effect mean low and middle income people need to spend less on some essentials.

              And I do not regard Sky as an essential – don’t have it myself.

              • Theotherside

                No i wont get more, I checked with their tool.
                That is my point, i will be worse off, I will lose my 50 dollars a week tax cut next year, and get nothing from Labour.

                That makes me, and many other families like mine worse off under Labour.

                • Carolyn_nth

                  Ah, you lose a tax cut – so that’s not being worse off from the tax you are paying now.

                • Macro

                  So you will get an extra $50 per week from National in the hand – that is not the same as Labour or the Greens increasing your taxes by $100!
                  Where do you think that extra money which National going to give you, is going to come from? And who is going to pay for it? Remember that taxes are the cost of living in a society. No matter what Margaret Thatcher may have said – there is such a thing as society – humans are by nature social animals, and in a good society humans care for each other.
                  By not paying our way in Society we tacitly agree to run down our social services so that we are now in the situation where our mental Health services are practically non-existent. Hospitals – such as Dunedin can no longer cope. Teachers, nurses, police, and other social service personnel are shying away from working in our major cities. Our food banks around the country are over stretched. Our emergency housing cannot cope and we are having to spend even more on accommodating people in motels. On top of all this we continue to use our rivers as open sewers for overstocked farms, and denude our country of its forests and unique bird life.
                  You are in the fortunate position now that you are a JAMI (Just About Making It). But remember that there are many not as fortunate as you. Any unforeseen incident could see that position taken away. Certainly employment security for your generation is far less certain than it was for mine. Things can change in an instant. Do you want a secure safety net to support you and your family – whether or not you need it – or are you prepared to take the risk of the current WINZ culture?

                  • McFlock

                    at the moment the $50 is still in the bush.
                    Like all those bridges in Northland.

                    • NewsFlash

                      There’s currently a large employment muster on Seek searching for candidates for the civil eng projects in Northland (Bridges), very recent, forgive my cynicism, but three’s an election on and National wants it’s Northland seat back, perhaps why Winston’s a little unhappy, no support from the Labour and Green voters this time.

                  • Sans Cle

                    Margaret Thatcher, 1987 “there is no such thing as society!”.
                    Society, 2013: “there is no such thing as Margaret Thatcher”.

                • Delia

                  Seriously people like you never thank your lucky stars for anything. I was bought up in a comfortable home with hard working committed parents I thank my lucky stars. I got a profession and now retired, I am grateful I generally got a middle income wage. I have the care of a severely disabled adult son, unpaid, I am not complaining, the govt gives me a retirement income and help for my son. I managed to stay married and have a partner as a buffer because this old life throws some curve balls at us..did I tell you that I worked much of my life with below par health and often not 100%, do I complain? I am grateful I have got to this age. I never thought I would at times. You left out the tax cuts National gave a few years ago, and I know people with higher incomes were better off and that GST went up eliminating the tax cut for anyone on a low income wage. You say show me what Labour will give you or the Greens for that matter. Can I be blunt they do not have to give you or me anything as an individual. They can however improve health care, education and bring back some of the services National slashed while giving out tax cuts. Services like the hospital waiting list which has seen people lose their sight and others live in pain for years without surgery all so tax cuts could be funded. I got a tax cut back in the 1990’s of $50 a week, hard fought for by Winston Peters, it meant nothing at all. Did you get paid maternity leave? I did not, we did not have it, I never qualified working for families either…those are the breaks sometimes, how the cookie crumbles if you like. You make an assumption that your life could never change, well it can in a heart beat and that is why we have the social welfare system we have, which may have issues, but is better than nothing. I am grateful for it. What are you grateful for, or do you just think you are special working harder than everyone else, or some toffee like that? Try looking on a more humble, brighter side of life and you won’t resent single parents like Michelle doing the best they can.

            • Macro 16.1.1.1.1.2

              What do you mean you get no help from the Greens or Labour? Have you actually looked at their policies?
              Where do you get the $100 a week in extra taxes from? That is completely incorrect.
              Whoever fed you that falsehood has been feeding you large porkies.

              By the way I know where you are coming from. In the 1980’s 2nd mortgages were up to 16% pa. First mortgages were insufficient to buy a house even at around $39,000 – and that was for an uninsulated 1940’s 3 bedroom house. No TV and no newspaper. And no child care available either so only one income.

              • Theotherside

                Show me what help Labour and Greens will give me?
                I look and look, and see that i am their tax base, not their help base.

                Well for starters on tax, even if they introduce no new taxes, and raise no current taxes, they will take away a 50 dollars a week tax cut for us from next year.

                If I am wrong, show and explain to me what help they will give me?

                • Macro

                  If you would kindly stop looking at your wallet for a moment and start looking at all the things around you that are supported by government – then we might be able to have a conversation.
                  What will Labour and the Greens give you which National won’t?
                  Improved social programmes. Better health, education, public transport, and an improved social net work. By improving access to housing for all, your initial investment will mean that you are more able to upgrade from an ice box to something that is warm and healthy for your family. The Greens instituted with both Labour and National governments affordable home insulation programmes – which National is now no longer funding.
                  I could go on but frankly I think I’m wasting my time and energy. If you really want to find out what the Greens policy is for all New Zealanders not just your back pocket, you can find it here.

            • McFlock 16.1.1.1.1.3

              So you’re taking the average per taxpayer (including corporate tax and brightline changes, maybe?) estimate by “economists” and applying it to your circumstances.

              Are you factoring in Labour’s Families package? Because it looks like you’ll get a net income increase under Labour, @110k and 4 kids.

              • Theotherside

                So I must push out 2 more kids in a hurry, to get 54 Dollars a week extra.

                Do you have kids?

                If yes explain to me how 2 kids cost less than 54 dollars a month.

                • Bill

                  Alternatively, just have a sit down chat with Michelle or any of the other thousands of people who actually know how to juggle and make a little stretch remarkably far.

                  Pretty damned sure that with the amount of financial leeway you have (but that you apparently can’t recognise/identify) you’ll be on a fairly easy wicket no matter what the next three years dishes up. 😉

                • McFlock

                  my bad, tumbled “family of 4” into “4 kids”.

                  So at worst under Labour you won’t be any worse off than you are now. Maybe better off depending on age.

                  The nats are promising you $50 a week. You know what the nats are promising my electorate? A new hospital. Like they promised last time.

                • tracey

                  I want to believe yours is a genuine story but I am struggling.

                  What work are you and your partner in and what do you earn in each job?

                  By all means vote according to money in your pocket but, for a moment consider this argument thrown at beneficiaries by National supporters… why did you have 2 children when you could have had the childcare money instead?

            • reason 16.1.1.1.1.4

              Do you use a tax haven Theotherside ??????

              Because if you do not then you would be better off under a fair tax system …

              There is presently a multi-billion hole in our Government revenue. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-11/corporate-tax-minimisation-costs-governments-1-trillion/7587092

              https://greens.org.au/tax-avoidance

              Fix the rot and 95% or more of NZ tax payers would be better off ….

              National are part of the problem …

            • lprent 16.1.1.1.1.5

              More than the increase in GST?

              For anyone in your purported circumstances National’s increase in GST would have cut your income by a lot in 2010… far far more than any changes in income tax.

              If not. Perhaps you can advise why not?

        • Tracey 16.1.1.2

          Be specific. Who has called you a rich prick on a combined income of 112k a year?

        • weka 16.1.1.3

          “I have read comments on here for many years, and a lot of commentators would call us rich pricks when they see our total pay per year.”

          I think you made that up. I’ve been a commenter here for years and I don’t see detailed conversations about income like this very often. Most people understand that poverty or things being tight is a relationship between income and outgoings, not income per se.

          “An estimate by economists is that on average the labour policies will increase taxes by 110 dollars a week per taxpayer. ”

          Seeing as how you’ve been reading here for years you will know that that kind of statement of fact needs some evidence to back it up. Read the Policy on that, and provide some evidence. It needs to be specific not vague, and if you are providing links or videos you need to cut and paste the relevant bits or give a time stamp for the vid/audio. This isn’t my post, so I’m not moderating yet, but you can count this as a warning.

          “I do not know, i know some people get houses from housing NZ, and I do know some people get housing or rent assistance, but like i said, i have no idea how that works, or how much they get etc, the point being rather that we are not entitled to any form of help.”

          So you felt it was ok to make up shit about people living in poverty? I don’t know of anyone who gets a free house. Afaik state house rents are set at market rates.

          • tracey 16.1.1.3.1

            My radar is also piqued

            • weka 16.1.1.3.1.1

              Pretty sure the tax bit is not right but am curious what they’re reading that makes them think that.

              • tracey

                Me too.

                Thing is he/she is going to keep voting for a party that deliberately suppresses wages. There is NO talk from English aboit incomes and wages for a reason. No strong talk about dealing with over 50% of kiwifruit growers employees without a contract or under minimum wage? Why? Because tjis behaviour suppresses wages.

                If 2 people have a combined income of 112k then they are in industries experiencing wages suppression.

                TOS is one of many about to vote against their best interest and that of their children. Short term rear pocket thinking got us all into this. It will also keep us in it.

            • Rosemary McDonald 16.1.1.3.1.2

              “My radar is also piqued.”

              With all due respect Mods….what took y’all so long?

              The BS was fairly obvious from comment 1.

              Michelle (kia kaha, wahine toa!) has clearly hit a nerve.

              • Bill

                heh – be fair Rosemary! 🙂

                I signed in, saw it and shoo-ed the odorous creature. But I don’t have the standard hooked up to some internal troll radar in me head that makes me whatever or whatevers itch when one crawls out and ventures abroad.

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  Bill…you smote those trolls mightily this morning…a joy to behold!

                  So well in fact that the heavy and ostensibly more subtle weapons were deployed.

                  Clearly Michelle has rattled the cages of the trollmasters.

                  Running scared they are.

                  “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

                • Bill I would not faze to much, this trolling is still minimal and slightly entertaining. I have seen some of the fb shares comments…. now that is a site to behold.

                  Ignorance is rife in NZ 🙂

                  • Bill

                    ‘Theothersides’ comments were going to lead off down many a blind alley and cul-de-sac which is just kinda boring. That said, teasing out the mentality behind those commenters is kinda fun. But once that happens, they tend to run away. (As happened with ‘Theotherside’)

                    The actual moderated (ie, moved) comment from this morning had the potential to unleash some ugly shit which was why it was jumped on.

                    And yes. Facebook…

              • weka

                Depends on what you want. I think it’s just as likely that the general situation described is real, if over egged, but that the politics are RW. So better to let the conversation run and pull out all the facts and philosophies that show that progressive is better. I think about the people reading who feel similarly to Tos but who are undecided on who to vote for.

                It’s also possible the whole thing is a lie, but there’s no way of knowing and I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt. It’s easy enough to pull people up on what they say and how they act.

                • I agree fully. If they are uninformed then why not just give them the facts and information and hope they become more aware.

                  Although for some I imagine you would be waiting a VERY long time hahaha

                  • Tracey

                    Personal question, and you are quite right not to answer if you see fit, but what happened to your Ex? Is he an active Dad? Does he pay WINZ support? Has he started another family?

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Unfortunately, facts that contradict dogma are rejected, and the dogmatic clutch even harder at their false beliefs.

                    That said, beliefs do change over time. For example, the way Michael Cullen educated the Treasury Department about the effect of minimum wage increases on employment levels, forcing them to bring their “official advice” into line with reality.

                    A huge part of the problem is that the National Party is a dishonest bigotry factory. Joyce’s MBIE still tried to push lies on the issue quite recently.

                  • Rosemary McDonald

                    Michelle…great post. Personal stories lucidly told are powerful weapons.

                    A question.

                    In your 10 year journey has anyone you have engaged with, be it WINZ, an educational institute or an employer, ever asked the question….”How can I help you?” “What can I do to make your life a little bit less stressful?” ?

                    Only once in a nearly 16 year ‘relationship’ as a forced beneficiary with WINZ have I encountered a human who expressed genuine sympathy with my situation.

                    Unfortunately it went only as far as saying that the rules regarding our particular situation made no sense and were discriminatory, and we should make a case to the HRRT. This WINZ staffer did discover that a certain top up was owing and organised such…for which we were grateful….then said staffer promptly disappeared.

    • adam 16.2

      Theotherside 112,000 a year is an income, not wealth, so how can you call yourself a rich prick?

      If any thing you are middle class, and have a lot of that angst. Seriously you are missing some basics here of how income equality works.

      But if you are in the upper classes, property owning and wealthy please say so.

      My take is your like a lot of people, barely middle class (holding on with your finger tips) and one missed pay check from falling into poverty.

      As for your community services card, it does virtually nothing. There are no discounts, there is no cheaper option.

      And yes the reality is a lot of people are worse off than you, but seriously your not rich, nor wealthy. Nor from the sounds of thing income secure, which I thought was at the crux of this post, so you are not in that different of a space.

      • Theotherside 16.2.1

        I get taxed on income, not wealth, and most of the taxes come from the “upper middle class” so to speak, basically people in my situation.

        I do own a property, but owe a lot on it. i explained the property in my OP.

        I agree with you Adam, that is my point, Labour and Greens will hurt me more not help me.

        National although not perfect by bloody miles, at least does not hurt me more, and every once in a while help me a little, eg. the 50 dollars a week tax cuts next year.

        • adam 16.2.1.1

          Why should Labour and the Greens give you somthing? You need to be bribed to vote for them? Your happy to have a bribe from national to get their vote?

          Economically national and labour are minutely different, so I’m not sure this pain you talk of, angst defiantly, but not pain. And if you do the figures you will be no worse off, you will probably get help with making your house weather tight, warm, and safer. And the long term costs via power and health that will bring, will quickly out weigh a possible $50 dollars.

          Realistically, we will all have to pay back that $50, because national is borrowing off shore for current short falls. They will have to borrow more to pay for these tax breaks, it’s a classic case of steal from Peter, to pay Paul.

        • miravox 16.2.1.2

          National although not perfect by bloody miles, at least does not hurt me more…

          Except for when they cut your leave entitlements – effectively a pay cut as well. There goes that $50 and then some. e.g. you get sick for a day – you will lose a days pay… and don’t even think about what that means for taking an annual holiday – well you can’t because National won’t tell you how they will take away your money entitlements by other means.

          http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1709/S00230/national-needs-to-commit-to-maintaining-basic-leave-entitlements.htm

          Reducing leave entitlements fits well with the statement all those years ago by Key that “we’d love to see wages drop”

          I don’t know if you’ve had a wee think, Theotherside, about the other side of the wages equation and why you’re on such a low wage when we have a growing economy (why have workers not benefited from this apparent achievement?; why has productivity fallen? – I’m sure as a hard working person you’ve done your bit to keep productivity high) and which parties have the policy that may make a difference to that (and to the amount you pay out in housing costs).

          I’m also damned sure National supporters sitting on $200k are pretty pleases to see someone on a combined income of $100k arguing about someone on a single income of $26k, and their taxcut is going to be bigger than yours.

        • Michelle 16.2.1.3

          I hear your pain and frustration at the whole situation and like me you are struggling.
          Although you think National is helping you I disagree and here is why.

          Under National you think a tax cut is help. However if god forbid something was to happen to you or your partner – which very well could happen, and you were down to one income how could you live?
          You couldn’t, you would need to ensure that a government was in place that was able to assist you. This is not National.

          Also are you so desperate for a tax cut that you would vote in a government who puts business before people?

          You said you have a child, how the hell do you think we are leaving things when it comes to them? We have a duty as humans beings to vote for the betterment of the whole rather then self.
          Benefiting the whole will ultimately benefit you also as you may get child cares subsides under another government, you could vote in to tax wealth not income? You will have a better education system for your child and health care system for yourself.

          I am aware it is hard to make the choice to not get a tax cut you really would like but under a Labour/Greens government your wages would increase more then what they have under National which would cover that. They would rise because the economy will flourish the moment we start putting people first.

      • Theotherside 16.3.1

        Yes, we are adult 2 earners,

        That is my point Carolyn, we are not rich pricks, but we will hurt the most under Labour/Greens.

        • Patricia Bremner 16.3.1.1

          No, you will get cheaper medical costs, help with your children’s education, and more government services.

          • Theotherside 16.3.1.1.1

            Patricia, if National never got in, and Labour stayed the course, not dropping taxes, we would currently pay $115 dollars a week extra tax.

            If national did not bring in 20 hours free childcare from 3 years old, not means tested, we would pay another $ 155 dollars a week extra childcare.

            It is easy to say we will get cheaper medical, as my average medical cost is not even a $100 dollars a year, it is easy to say we will get better education for my children, please show me how?

            And what more government services do I get? More red tape that cost me more for anything I want to do?

            The thing is, as much as i also wish poverty would be gone for good, what Labour/Greens is offering me is more poverty for my family, what national is offering me is less poverty for my family.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 16.3.1.1.1.1

              When the next government proves you wrong, have the grace to acknowledge it.

              Do you really think your earning opportunities will decrease under Labour? Why would they when Labour always gets the economy running better than National?

              Look at the whole picture for a change.

              • Theotherside

                My taxes will increase under Labour. And if I look back the last 9 years vs the previous 9 years.

                My personal income went up a hell lot more under national than under Labour.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  As I said, look at the whole picture: the new government is going to do a lot more than that. When your circumstances improve, have the grace to acknowledge it.

                  I bet you won’t.

                  • Carolyn_nth

                    like maybe if ToS’s partner is a woman and working, the Lab-Green policies to raise women’s income might benefit the household? Plus the lower health costs, etc.

                • It went up $3.75 for min wage workers over 9 years. That is not o.k. You cannot honestly tell me that wages have risen with costs.

              • Bill

                OAB. This “Theotherside” character is a troll. One that lives in a jamjar house with ice on the insides of the windows apparently.

            • tracey 16.3.1.1.1.2

              How did you fare with the 6 petrol tax increases imposed on National without telling you in advance? How do you think your kids, and you ( am assuming you rely on public health) will fare since National lied about assets sales going into a fund for Health and Education? Mccully and Key giving 11.5m to settle a case without legal advice…

      • Patricia Bremner 16.3.2

        Michael Cullen ‘s “Rich prick” earned $200000+ then (10 years back), so $250000+ now? You are not rich.

    • Bill 16.4

      Lemme clear things up for you “Theotherside”

      There are pricks in this world. Some are poor and some are rich.

      So there’s your divide.

      Prick or not prick? Easy innit?

      edit – Where you located in NZ that water freezes on the inside of the windows? I was brought with that shit being a regular occurrence in winter, but for the life of me can’t envisage a location in NZ where it would be happening on anything like a frequent basis.

      • Theotherside 16.4.1

        Haha, well put Bill

        • Bill 16.4.1.1

          Uh-huh. And Michelle put things rather well too when she wrote

          This me, me me what do I get from voting for “them” has to end. We all benefit if we address the serious issues, people. Lets shrink this ever growing gap in society.

          I guess you missed that bit when you started up the whining about how hard done by you’ll be if “ifs and ands” ,eh?

          • Theotherside 16.4.1.1.1

            Like she winged about how she deserves more?

            Is that not also me me me?

            • Bill 16.4.1.1.1.1

              There is a huge difference between being raked by poverty on the one hand and whinging about some alleged dip in fairly favourable circumstances on the other.

            • Carolyn_nth 16.4.1.1.1.2

              Seriously!? You are comparing yourself to Michelle who is a single parent with no job and no mortgage?

              You will survive. Others will be continuing to queue at food banks and sleep ont he streets under a 4th National government.

            • Molly 16.4.1.1.1.3

              Your comments here are at least honest, and give a fairly vivid indication of how the issue of inequality has been allowed to develop and grow bigger in NZ.

              Theotherside – how much is enough? Your household income is similar to ours, which allows us to support a family of six and also over the years allowed us to provide support (in terms of accommodation and board) for others. But it doesn’t provide enough for some of the activities, choices and extras that higher incomes bring.

              However, I recognise that we are still in a privileged position – where despite our high outgoings – we have a home, a job and a stable life. We have the ability to be generous with things that don’t cost us extra – time, a place to stay, meals to share.

              Tax us more – if it is required to make our communities stronger, our health system timely and operationally functional, our education system delivering best outcomes.

              So – my initial question stands? How much is enough for you before you would read an account like Michelle’s without instinctively grabbing all that you have and saying – somewhat appalling – what about me?

              I’m guessing that what you have is never going to be enough, and that other NZers share your view is why the situation has been allowed to develop and become so dire. A bit of self-reflection would not go amiss.

              • Tracey

                The other aspect is there are more than 2 sides. Painting this as a simple Labour vs Nat as TOS did, belittles their position and Michelles

              • Frida

                Well put @Molly. @The other side’s’ comment was the most disgustingly selfish and ignorant response to Michelle’s brave and genuine story of REAL need and struggle. I agree with Bill – call yourself a ‘rich prick’ if you want The Other Side but you may as well drop the adjective….honestly….!

            • Michelle 16.4.1.1.1.4

              I never said I deserved more ‘Theotherside’ I do however say I deserve a chance!

              • jcuknz

                You can ridicule me if you wish but following on from what I did to my own house was to progressively double glaze the windows … starting with the main living room and immediately noticed a difference in quality of life … this is not a way of saving money by the way.

                You are fortunate to be living in an older property like me [ sort of anyway since I used wooden framed windows recycled from folk going modern with aluminium frames // more fools them.]

                I bought 3mm acrylic sheet to suit each window and mounted fixed windows on 50×25 timber Opening windows directly to opening windows.

                I am not a tradie but pretty well anybody wanting a better living condition could do this. Over a period of two years and a bit I DoubleGlazed most of the windows in my small house.

                Another tip comes from my wife who living in an english council house which they couldn’t do anything to as just tenants she told me she lined her bedroom wall with Pinex … but like most building materials Pinex is imported from Aussie these days and is not cheap

                It depends as to if you are ‘house proud’ or want a good living condition..

                PS …I do not have Sky either nor any TV just Netflix, donated to me by my daughter in law, viewed on my computer.

      • weka 16.4.2

        “Where you located in NZ that water freezes on the inside of the windows? I was brought with that shit being a regular occurrence in winter, but for the life of me can’t envisage a location in NZ where it would be happening on anything like a frequent basis.”

        Lots of places inland in the bottom half of the South Island. Tos has some holes in their story and that might be one of them, but it might not either.

        • tracey 16.4.2.1

          Agree

        • Bill 16.4.2.2

          Lots of places inland….

          Sure. But as a regular occurrence? Like, in a way you wouldn’t naturally qualify the claim with a “when it’s cold” type of statement? I’m picking Mr Prick is one of these people who runs around shouting about permafrost when the grass has a sprinkling of whiteness after mid-day…that’s if they’ve even seen frost and/or snow on any occasion besides time spent on a ski-ing holiday or some such.

          There’s a small chance I’m being too harsh on ‘Theotherside’, but it’s kinda really small – like frozen and shrunken tiny small.

          • tracey 16.4.2.2.1

            Chuckle

          • weka 16.4.2.2.2

            Probably, they had a story to egg after all. But yes, I think there are places where it would happen often enough. You’d need a poorly heated and uninsulated house in a place where there were regular hard frosts (hence inland) and where you had moisture build up. Rooms at the back of the house, esp if the house is in a cold microclimate. I’ve had ice on the inside of the windows a couple of times this winter but I live in a warm, dry house and it wasn’t a very cold winter this year.

            • In Vino 16.4.2.2.2.1

              As a child in Hamilton in the 1950s I remember some frosts when the condensation froze on the inside of our windows. Living in a similar, old ventilating house now, I agree that it no longer happens. Climate has warmed a bit. The cold rarely comes North of Taupo now.
              More importantly, I came into this late, and as I read the thread, my troll alert radar rang, and I even associated certain turns of phrase and moments of eloquence with those of one of our regular trolls…
              Maybe I am a conspiracist, but I think we need the sort of software that universities use to detect plagiarism. I do not believe that Theotherside is genuine. (I have spent much of my life marking English essays, and matching the writing to the speech etc of my students…)

    • Korero Pono 16.5

      Hi Theotherside

      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!

  16. Ethica 17

    This writer has a very valuable qualifications in counselling as well as teaching, as well as understanding struggle and desperation. She is just the sort of person needed for Labour’s policy for mental health support in every secondary school. I do so hope that eventuates.

  17. David Mac 18

    Hi Michelle, thanks for sharing the window into your life. I’m confident your quality attitude will win out in the end. Hurdles will shrink and bright warm sunlight will shine on your lot.

    Fake or not I do think Theotherside’s comments do represent a fairly sizeable sector of our population, many of whom voted left in the past. You should be in a position for your family to have an annual holiday TOS. You aren’t because of the path we’ve been on for the best part of a decade. If you’re $100 away from banging a mortgagee auction sign into the front lawn, National ain’t gonna save you, they got you there.

    Homeowners that don’t get much Govt help but are hammered for tax, a vote for National is not the best way for them to stay off the waiting list for a HNZ place. Maybe having to bang in the Mortgagee Auction sign is what it’s going to take for some to accept the inevitable, setting sail in the fresh winds of change.

  18. Yep ,… others have been there before us, … the Highland Clearances , the invasion of Eire by the English before that ,… and the motivation was always the same,… wealth and power. But we here in NZ have a good chance of heading off century’s of internecine class warfare by using the vote wisely.

    And guess what?… we are halfway there !

    Its going to be a Labour / Greens govt after September 23rd,… you just wait and see! All the signs are there. Then its up to us to keep the bastards honest !!!

    The Pogues With The Dubliners – YouTube
    irish rover you tube▶ 4:09

  19. ferret 20

    I understand completely, I have worked on my degree now part time for ten years. Almost finished. Winz used to help with the Training incentive allownace, and now with that being cut, my student laon is huge.
    Being on a benefit, living week to week is not the easiest job in the world, bills, rent, power, the essentials of life are cut to pieces due to not being able to afford them.
    Good healthy food, and health care have gone down the tubes, only good for those who can afford medical insurance.
    Where has the community spirit gone, where neighbors used to help each other, and the government caring for those on low incomes. All gone by the way side, sadly but true.
    Beneficiaries get so much back-lashing for things beyond their control, life is tough at the bottom and until someone stands up and takes control of this dire situation, it will only get worse.
    Surely there are people out there who are wanting change and help those who are struggling to make ends meet and support those who want to change. Until this happens, no one except those who have money will be healthy and don’t need to worry about living week to week.

  20. Sparky 21

    This is such a common and sad story. Lots of well qualified people gong to waste because of the Dickensian employment conditions that exist these days and a surplus of workers. Not helped one bit by irresponsible immigration policies on the part mostly of National and Labour.

  21. RedLogix 22

    Well done everyone on this thread who’ve come forward with their part of the picture. This is a great thread and I’m heartened to read it.

    Of all the regulars here I’m in the habit of weaving in elements of my own life more than most. There’s a balance to be struck … keeping real and grounded in your own lived experience, and not making a thread all about yourself.

    Working in Australia these past few years has certainly given me a bigger perspective that was not clear to us before we left.

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