How has the year been for you?

Written By: - Date published: 9:42 am, December 18th, 2013 - 145 comments
Categories: class war, cost of living, poverty, same old national, welfare, workers' rights - Tags:

The holiday season is upon us, and, not surprisingly with an election coming up next year, the government, the Treasury, and many MSM cheerleaders are joining in a re-vitalised chorus of a brighter future right around the corner.

Yet, the foodbanks around the country have queues of people in need; struggling in the face of the brighter future of tomorrow that never comes.  More people than ever are queuing outside Auckland City Mission’s foodbank.  The need is especially great in South Auckland, and a new foodbank has been opened in the last couple of weeks: a partnership between Auckland City Mission and  Manukau Urban Maori Authority (MUMA), of which Willie Jackson is a part.  It has the Whanau Ora aim of cutting down on the amount of agencies that struggling families have to deal with in order to get some help.

In the last week even an editorial in The Listener is expressing concern.  It quotes the following telling facts from Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills, who commissioned the recently published first annual Child Poverty Monitor report:

A paediatrician, Wills brings an unusual fervour to his role, perhaps because he sees daily evidence of child illnesses in which poverty – reflected in poor-quality housing, lack of good nutrition and inadequate access to medical services – is a contributor.

According to Wills, the poorest 10% of infants are 10 times more likely to be hospitalised with bronchiolitis than the richest 10%. Such illnesses often occur when children’s brains are developing, raising the prospect that they will be held back for life – a tragedy that should never occur.

Unfortunately, the editorial then goes down hill into the slippery slope of neoliberal apologetics:

The goal is to help people into work. It is simply not true, as many claim, that inequality is increasing in New Zealand. The Ministry of Social Development’s latest Household Incomes Report shows the widest gap actually occurred in the mid-2000s and peaked in 2004. There is no evidence of any general rise or fall in income inequality since 2007. Top earners are paying more tax, whereas single-earner two-child families with an income less than about $60,000 from wages pay no net income tax.

Max Rushbrooke provides a different perspective. He contests NewstalkZB’s equivocations on the statistics relevant to measuring the inequality gap and the poverty line:

That leaves just one final point: why is the measurement 60% of the median? Well, it’s one of the internationally accepted definitions of poverty, and for good reason, because work from focus groups (including those in New Zealand) shows that it is below that level of income that families typically struggle to afford everything they need for a minimally decent life.

It’s worth remembering that in the real world (not our fictional example) the median income for a single person household (albeit this is a bit of a statistical construct) is only about $30,000. Which means that the poverty line for single person households is about $20,000 – and it doesn’t seem too much of a stretch to say that, if you’re living alone and earning less than $20,000, in New Zealand, you really are in poverty.

The statistics are out there.  But Bill, John, Steven, Gerry et al, will spin them in the interests of the top earners.Brighter future for key and pals

But what is the reality for New Zealanders? How  have you experienced this divided nation in your daily living this year?

For me it is seeing supermarket, petrol prices and public transport fairs continue to increase.  Meanwhile the nice-to-have consumer goods like electronics seem to become ever cheaper.  When I walk around West Auckland main street, people in well worn clothes are begging to survive.  At work, some are feeling insecure about their jobs – it’s not just having a job, but the pay and status of them that seem to be on the decline. Meanwhile, the people in my wider middle class whanau, the generation that has recently graduated seem to be getting well paid, professional jobs with excellent potential for the future.

So, how has 2013 been for you and those near to you?  Are you part of the brighter future, or is your view of NZ far more bleak?

 

 

145 comments on “How has the year been for you?”

  1. Puckish Rogue 1

    Pretty good for me, better job and getting ready to get a rental property going so I’m pretty pleased. National could be doing more but slow changes are better than fast ones (think labour in the 80s)

    • karol 1.1

      I should have put in my post in the overview of my year: being a renter is not that great – prices too high, too little choice and in too few areas of Auckland. And meanwhile a lot of rentiers seem to be doing just fine.

      • Puckish Rogue 1.1.1

        Swings and roundabouts though, I wasn’t doing so well when Labour were in power…although to be fair whether I do well or not has pretty much nothing to do with whos in power, not much difference between Labour and National over the last 20 years or so

        • s y d 1.1.1.1

          PR never a truer word spoken
          “not much difference between Labour and National over the last 20 years or so”

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      and getting ready to become an even bigger bludger as I get a rental property going so I’m pretty pleased.

      FTFY

      Adam Smith and a few other free-market economists railed against rentiers with good reason.

      • Naturesong 1.2.1

        Yup, and also his main pet hate, Mercantilism.
        Which we are seeing more and more as state after state becomes corporatised.

        In New Zealand the main examples are the SOE’s and Auckland’s CCO’s.

        I’ve noticed most folks that say they like Adam Smith’s writings, either haven’t read him, or really don’t understand what he was talking about. Which is quite weird, because the ideas are quite simplistic and easy to follow.

        For example, Smith placed value on laissez-faire only because he saw it as a restraint on the evils of the businessman. He believed the state would not be as effective.

        From the revire of The Clash of Economic Ideas: The Great Policy Debates and Experiments of the Last Hundred Years by Lawrence H. White, published here

        Smith saw mercantilism as a process of collusion between the State and merchants, allowing the latter to take advantage of the former’s monopoly on force for their own benefit and against the well-being of the average consumer. He did not recognize the State as an effective tool to restrain the potential damages that self-interest could wreak in a completely unrestrained environment. Rather, Smith saw the market as the mechanism of restraint; it is the market which increases competition between merchants, figuratively enslaving them to the wants of the consumer. This “macroeconomic” interpretation may stem from his views on the division of labor, which he also saw as a restraint on the actions of men. Indeed, the division of labor makes all dependent on others, meaning that one needs to produce to the benefit of others in order to earn the income to consume for one’s own wellbeing. Inter-dependency and competition jointly restrain the producer in favor of the welfare of society as a whole.
        While Smith may be rightfully invoked against some of the modern arguments in favor of intervention, as does White, one must be wary of overuse. Our author notes at least one exception to Smith’s support for capitalism: public goods. In cases where the market cannot guarantee the existence of competition — as disputed as these are — Smith may have readily supported interventionism. During his time, he may not have recognized a great many examples (although, Smith did argue in favor of various forms of interventionism25), but the modern rise of welfare economics may be seen as just as Smithian as any modern free-market theory.”

        • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1

          And it may be worth mentioning that Adam Smith lived with his mother for most of his adult life.

          • Naturesong 1.2.1.1.1

            Lol, that actually explains a lot.
            He comes across as extremely sheltered and naive in his writing.

            I’m finally taking the plumge and reading Kapital.
            I really had no idea what I was in for. It’s like eating dry weetbix. You know there is good stuff in there, but its not exactly easy to masticate.
            After the first attempt a while ago, this time I got “A companion to Marx’s Capital” by David Harvey. It’s made it lot easier, and has provided a lot of much needed context.

            • Murray Olsen 1.2.1.1.1.1

              I found Capital easy to read, but I do know most people find it easier as part of a group. The Grundrisse required more effort. Capital analyses capitalism, sees the inevitable problems, and looks for solutions. I find it in marked contrast to people like Friedman and Hayek, who start with the problem that the rich have come constraints put on them, and look for bullshit ways to remove these so that they can not only give full reign to their obscene greed, but be worshipped for it. They do not write texts of political economy as Marx did, they write manuals for psychopaths.

  2. Philj 2

    Xox
    Are you now working for JK in the PR department?

  3. Sosoo 3

    Jerry Springer type social media screeching supplanted sober political debate.

    It was a bad year.

  4. adam 4

    All I know is that the cases I deal with are more extreme, they are also getting harder and harder to solve. The rules have change with many government departments again this year – sorry PR but you obviously don’t deal with government departments much, the rate of change is impossible to keep up with. Especially immigration, but w.i.n.z are no slackers for changing the rules from month to month. They only department that is decent to deal with is I.R.D – which is ironic, as 10 years ago I.R.D were nearly imposable to understand, let alone deal with.

    Also the amount of beggars has doubled this last year, it is especially notable in the West Auckland townships. The amount of people who have walked away from there rentals has doubled in the last year. I wonder what it will be like after x-mas – yes I will get the usual domestics violence cases, but each year under neo-liberalism the numbers increase, and the level of violence goes up a notch. The violence is different too, it is not so much bash with fists these days – that happens – it also has a sinister psychological undertone to as well.

    And to top off my year and I know our country has turned to shit. The worst scum to walk the earth have raised their ugly heads again in West Auckland again – Skin Heads.

    • karol 4.1

      The inequality gap, and the struggles of those on the lowest incomes are probably more visible in west Auckland than in other parts of the city. The inequality gap is also inter-related with some geographic differences.

  5. rich the other 5

    This year OK,
    Next year is shaping up like a boomer, the chance of green/labour gaining power is diminishing so not to many worries.
    If green/labour won the election then all bets are off, the greens power over labour would soon see the south Auckland problem wide spread.

    Poverty, which is not necessarily related to low income and will always be a problem for some.
    I think most political party’s agree, education is the only long term solution which requires encouragement and inspiration from parents, that in some cases will be a problem.

    • Bob 5.1

      Not true RTO, if a Labour/Greens coalition was in power I could quite easily see the median wage drop as investors pull out of a country where Nationalisation is the new great idea (power, construction, insurance……), and we all know the median wage dropping means less people in poverty as more people will rise over the 60% threshhold, it will be a great country for all once again……

      • framu 5.1.1

        “Nationalisation is the new great idea (power, construction, insurance……)”

        that bullshit

        power – modelled on pharmac, not nationalisation
        construction – not sure about that one, but im pretty certain no-ones proposed a forced buy up of all the construction firms
        insurance – same model as kiwibank – not nationalisation

        you could quite easily see lots of things – if you just make shit up inside your head

      • Fisiani 5.1.2

        If a Greens/Labour/Mana/NZFirst coalition was in power then there would be no 90 day right to prove yourself law, photocopied dollars in your purse, and unions dictating Government policy. It would be the worst three years in NZ history.

        • Fisiani.

          Claptrap ! This present government is not only the worst with its anti-worker far Right policies its so incompetent it can’t even apply them without making a complete ball up .
          We have had some awful Tory governments like Holland’s and Muldoon’s but this one must rate among one of the worst ,

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.2.2

          Actually, history shows that the best years have all been under a left leaning government.

    • karol 5.2

      rto, to say that poverty will always be a problem for some is just heartless. It also ignores that the rich/poor divide has been increasing.

      There are plenty of highly educated young people unable to get jobs right now. Blaming it on parents is no solution.

      • Fisiani 5.2.1

        It also ignores that the rich/poor divide has been increasing.
        Can you prove this ridiculous statement which is evidently wrong as proven by the Prime Minister?

        http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/business/qoa/49HansQ_20110802_00000001/1-living-standards%E2%80%94inequality

        • karol 5.2.1.1

          Try Max Rushbrooke’s site that I linked to in my post. In the page I linked to he explains why some of the reporting on inequality is wrong. Rushbrooke has a book out containing detailed evidence. Here’s a bit on it on his website:

          From the mid-1980s to the mid-2000s, the gap between the rich and the rest widened faster in New Zealand than in any other wealthy country

          In the last 30 years, incomes for people at the top have doubled, while those at the lowest end have barely increased

          And at the link there’s a graph to go with that quote.

          • aerobubble 5.2.1.1.1

            “In the last 30 years, incomes for people at the top have doubled, while those at the lowest end have barely increased”

            Basically, most people have been effectively taxed by Rogernomics, as you are most undoubtedly aware such taxes aren’t talk about by the media, only those insidious taxes on the wealthiest whose pay has doubled while their taxes have halved.

    • Colonial Viper 5.3

      RTO – “education”?

      You mean loading young people down with student debt, for jobs which will not exist when they graduate?

    • Tracey 5.4

      Gosh, it’s all so easy when you put it like that. Here’s to a swimmingly good 2014 for everyone, cos rich the other said so.

      • rich the other 5.4.1

        Not me , the indicators are their .
        Spending up %8 on 12 month’s ago going into Christmas , farming up, exports in general up construction boom, etc etc but Tracey, people have to do something themselves , all any govt can do is provide an environment that promotes growth , the rest is up to our selves.

        • Naturesong 5.4.1.1

          And real unemployment sitting at about 8.2%
          Thats up too.

          Hmm, a jobless economic recovery. How awesome it that.

          The next phase which entails building more prisons and walls will increase GDP as well – great stuff, more recovery right there.

          • rich the other 5.4.1.1.1

            Naturesong.
            Predicted unemployment next year is %6 or even a little less,
            Next year a Landslide victory for National, let’s hope they can govern alone.
            Get rid of Dunne and Act .
            Looking good , just leave it to the greens , they are destroying labour.
            It just keeps getting better.

  6. Chris 6

    It has been a bloody tough year. The other half of our equation was made redundant this time last year, and not a job in sight. Jobs applied for rarely receive a response (which I find extremely rude) can be so demoralising to the point they question whether it is really worth bothering.

    Unfortunately the skills we have gained at our age are not what employers want. We are neither young nor pretty enough to compete with the 20’s and 30’s heading into the workforce, nor are we near old enough to retire.

    Fortunately I am employed so we don’t have to rely on WINZ, I doubt either of us would be able to be able to tolerate the degradation of having to go cap in hand to their office. I, particularly would lose my rag.

    Anyway, every day brings something different, so we live in hope that tomorrow there maybe an employer who recognises knowledge gained over 30 years in the same industry may just suit them.

    • BM 6.1

      Unfortunately, You wouldn’t get a bean anyway.

      The person working is expected to support the one not working.

      • vto 6.1.1

        “The person working is expected to support the one not working.”

        Bullshit

        A decent society will ensure that every member is looked after.

        Your view is warped.

        • BM 6.1.1.1

          That’s the way winz operate, nothing to do with me.

          Personally I think it’s really unfair, the ones that pay all the tax to support the ones who don’t are the ones that get no assistance at all.

          If you are working it really pays to have income insurance otherwise you’re pretty much fucked.

          • vto 6.1.1.1.1

            ” the ones that pay all the tax to support the ones who don’t ”

            You mean the wage and salary earners who pay all the tax, compared to the likes of businesses and farmers and large corporates who pay fuck all because they make the bulk of their money by way of tax-free capital gain.

            They are the ones who need venting at…… the bludgers.

            And further, has it occurred to you that those poor people who don’t pay tax, don’t pay tax because society has deemed them of little use and does not provide a use or job to enable them to pay said tax?

            So it is not that they “don’t pay tax” it is that they “can’t pay tax”.

            Because we have given all the jobs to overseas slaves. We are nothing better than slave owners.

            Its all fucked up.

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.2

            What bullshit

            The ones who are “paying all the tax” are the ones reaping the lions’ share of our economy’s benefits. And I don’t see you having a cry about that.

            • BM 6.1.1.1.2.1

              You’re right,Chris should just shut the hell up with his whining

              The selfish prick doesn’t know how lucky he is,what an odious individual.

              • Colonial Viper

                Austerity came to the blue collar working classes in the 80’s and 90’s, and the middle classes couldn’t care less. It was all justifiable in the name of efficiency and productivity.

                The top 0.1% are now clearly targeting the top 20%. Skilled white collar jobs are bleeding away now.

                That’s the way this capitalism is going, a catabolic self-consumption of nature and of people.

                • Naturesong

                  The 4th Labour government is also likely the main reason why many farmers have a blind pathological hatred of the Labour Party.

              • Chris

                for the record Chris is a she 🙂

                secondly neither I nor my hubby have ever applied for nor received a benefit from any govt department and would have to be living on the streets before we did.

                I most certainly wasn’t having a whinge, I simply answered the authors question.

                It has been a tough year.

                How ghastly your life must be that you need to spend your day on blog sites tossing unwarranted accusations and criticisms at your fellow commentators.

                I pity you 🙁

                oops that reply was aimed at BM… post number disappeared

                • karol

                  Well said, Chris. But, BM’s response shows just what a divided country we’ve become – and the way some on the right will try to suppress any evidence of how life really is for many Kiwis.

              • karol

                The selfish prick doesn’t know how lucky he is,what an odious individual.

                So you don’t like to hear how tough life is for others? Calling someone odious for telling it how it is….. pretty Orwellian really.

                • BM

                  Seriously?, I thought I couldn’t be any more sarcastic.

                  I recommend you re-read this thread.

                  • Chris

                    Irrespective of your “sarcasm” I still hold the opinion that you are a mean minded person with a ghastly life.

                    I have been reading this site for quite sometime now and I cannot recall one positive reply that you have made BM. You seem to take great pleasure from being as nasty as you can.

                    Pitiful…

                    No further discussion required.

                    [lprent: Ah no. You have no idea what nasty on blogs can be like.

                    All it takes is the removal of the minimal (but rather abrupt) behavioural moderation that we use to protect the comments section on this site and you’ll see them. You’ll find some of those banned from this site at the sewer. But many more of them tend to hang out at Whaleoil.

                    Also consider that there are people who are banned from all three of these sites for their behaviour. ]

                    • chris73

                      Well just to put it into perspective lprent I’ve been asked if I give my wife a hiding and that I fantasize about raping the elderly which is something not normally found at whaleoil

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      When are you going to stop beating your wife, Chris73?

            • framu 6.1.1.1.2.2

              well, you could say it actually the ones who arent paying the tax they are meant to who reap the benefits – so BM is right, just not in the way his punative mind thinks

      • Tracey 6.1.2

        do you even understand that many of the unemployed were once employed and paid taxes?

      • Te Reo Putake 6.1.3

        Slightly off topic, but can I just congratulate BM for his subtle, if subliminal, Marxist critique of capitalism?

        “The person working is expected to support the one not working.”

    • karol 6.2

      Yes, Chris. Being made redundant is pretty hard for both the youngest, and many older people.

    • David H 6.3

      Then you are lucky you are still working. Try this for a scenario your eldest turns 18 and moves out, your benefit drops by $94.00 per WEEK and when you ask for help you are told there is nothing they can do, and to go to a budgeters. (who think they are god) What are they going to tell me ? which bill to ignore this week?

      Well there’s only power, and the phone/net (needed for job searching) I have a 2.5 year old so I will have to try to sell something (laptop) for Xmas pressies and dinner for my toddler.

      I don’t mention my situation usually but the moronic comments by Fisi and co have really pissed me off.

      And the future if the Nats get back in well one option will have to be splitting up with my Partner and soul mate so that at least then this fucking govt will look after my son and partner, and after 30 years of working, and tax paying is all I can hope for.

      So how has the Year been for me? Crap. How’s your’s been

  7. Enough is Enough 7

    It has been another terrible year for our nation under the worst government in the developed world.

    The MSM is at it again. Despite all the evidence to the contrary they are telling us Bill English is doing a good job and the brighter future will be here soon. There is not an ounce of truth in what they are brain washing the masses with.

    It is time to stand up and call these guys on the bullshit spin.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      we don’t have the worst govt in the developed world, but the overall trends are bad.

      • Lanthanide 7.1.1

        Yip. Hyperbole is a quick way to get yourself written off and ignored.

        Especially by me.

    • Naturesong 7.2

      “It has been another terrible year for our nation under the worst government in the developed world.”
      I’d have to disagree. There are worse governments. But we do elect ours.

      New Zealand did hold top place as the stupidist electorate in the world from 20th Janurary 2009, but recently ceded that dubious honour to Australia on 18 September 2013.

      As we’ve seen, a government can do significant amount of damage to a small country in just under 5 years.

  8. Conquestored 8

    Do we even deserve the air we breathe in…

  9. captain hook 9

    It has been ah ard job digging out the truth when the media including the herald and radio new zealand employ nitwits that swallow anything and everything and wouldn’t know how to investigate a story in case they get blackballed for a PR job down the track.
    DonKey and his mates have tried to scare the media into submission and by and large they have either succeeded or they weren’t up to much anyway.
    If BLubberguts is the default standard of journalism in this country then we are all stuffed completely.

  10. vto 10

    the year
    down here
    has been quite queer

  11. Naturesong 11

    My year has not been too bad overall.

    Highlights have been;
    – Bought a house
    – Broke up with girlfriend (good thing, wasn’t going to work, and we realised before things got messy)
    – Got made redundant 2 weeks ago.

    Not too much point in looking for a job in Dec, so I’ve decided to just take the rest of the year off.
    Will look for contract work in Janurary while I figure out what I want to do next.

    Anyway, I was in the city with an old friend last week, and politics came up – as it does.
    She is generally inclined toward National but doesn’t really think about it too much; she thinks John Key is a “nice man”, quite down to earth.
    I generally try to engage with things that she is interested in when talking about politics, because simply screaming “Are you fucking blind!!!” is less than constructive.

    Anyway, we were walking up Queen street after dinner and she turns to me and says:
    Have you noticed that there seems to be more beggars and homeless people than there used to be?

    • Paul 11.1

      And street washers,

    • infused 11.2

      Probably because it pays so well…

      Boozing in Wellington in early 2000’s every weekend, they were everywhere.

      • Naturesong 11.2.1

        This was on a tuesday night.
        Anywho, I noticed the same thing during Ruth Richardson’s time – remember +12% unemployment?

        Looks suspiciously like a pattern is occurring.

        Labour gets in, folks want to live in houses, people choose to work and not be lazy dole bludgers.

        National gets in, and all of a sudden there’s loads of dole bludgers. Loads of folks just preferring to live on the street.
        It’s weird, 6 months to a year after National gets voted in, +4% of the workforce just downs tools and say’s fuck that, give me the dole, who needs a job anyway. And who needs to live in a house, it doesn’t get that cold in the winter.

        Solution: sooner Labour gets back in, sooner people will choose not to be lazy and want to live in houses again.

        What other explanation could there be?

    • Colonial Viper 11.3

      Upward transfer of wealth mate, that and national share of income skewing to the already rich

      She’s smart she’ll figure it out

      (Might take ten years or so…)

  12. Ad 12

    Just a complete grind of a year.
    Achieved savings targets – assisted by shifting to Kiwibank and going into an offset mortgage.
    Huge success politically in the Labour Party.

    But generally a huge and unremitting grind – caused in no small part in my industry by massive mismatches in central and local funding and policy direction.

    Can’t wait for a new year to start afresh.

  13. Tracey 13

    Finally repaired leaky home. Left a big contract for ethical reasons. Bigger mortgage. Partner’s MS largely in remission. Friend moved in with us after landlord nearly doubled rent. Have survived another year with a 19 year old we “adopted” and who can be a selfish self centred bugger.We;re amongst the lucky ones.

  14. Flip 14

    It has been a year of two halves. Started out well enough getting a temporary contract until July in something I enjoyed doing though I had to travel away from my family and home to do it.

    After that despite my best hopes and efforts, nothing.

    I’m very apprehensive at being on the outside and looking in. Not a good feeling. Particularly as daily you know that you fall further. I am not in poverty as others but without an income it is a free fall to the benefit.

    It would be tolerable if everyone was in it together but the obscenity of the wealth gap makes it tough and makes you furious at the injustice. I am conscious of those who are less well off than myself, but I am also aware that people on the big incomes are simply not that good.

    It has meant I have had plenty of time and do a lot of thinking and reading in areas not previously contemplated. I’m working at influencing government in the ways I can which seems pretty insubstantial without position, the right relations or wealth.

    • karol 14.1

      Thanks, Flip. You have explained well what i think is probably the situation for many Kiwis – getting by but feeling insecure. unfortunately your response is not the one made by all. Too many of the precarious and insecure follow the “neoliberal” PR of bennie bashing and believing in the brighter future.

  15. Tracey 15

    Take a ride on the Tunnel of Self Love

  16. swordfish 16

    “Unfortunately, the (Listener) editorial then goes down hill into the slippery slope of neoliberal apologetics.”

    No surprises there, then. When Stirling took over, she argued that she was simply moving the weekly away from a Left-wing bias to something more politically unpredictable. In reality, its politics have become all too predictable over the last decade. National Party apologetics on a routine basis.

    If you take a look at Listener covers (and, hence, cover-stories) in the weeks before each of the 2005, 08 and 11 General Elections, for instance, you’ll find highly complimentary photos/stories on Brash and Key (2005) and Key by himself (08 and 11). Always with Key looking in control and decisive.

    In 2005, for example, the cover has a smiling-but-decisive-looking Brash and Key with the headline : “The Right Stuff” and below that – a quote from Brash highlighted in red “We are convinced there is scope for tax reduction. Here’s why.”

    Then, on a November 2011 cover, very shortly before the election, we see a very decisive-looking Jonathan Wedgewood Key with his sleeves rolled up, looking like he’s ready to take on the world and win, under a quote from a “Harvard School of Government Expert” that says “No one alive has lived through what the global economy is going through now” followed by the headline “Is Key up to the job ?” More National Party PR than independent media analysis.

    (Then again, maybe I should have stuck this comment on Karol’s post on The Herald).

  17. Rosie 17

    karol, one despairs at the BS the lamestream spin around the “Economy”. Improving for who?

    The fact that we have queues at food banks is proof that our country has failed those most vulnerable to economic “downturn”. There can be no talk of improving circumstances while this is happening.

    We have our first women’s night shelter in Wellington. Great that homeless women now have a safe place to sleep but disgusting that we allow our society to get to this point. Worse still that our leaders couldn’t care less.

    Interesting to read people’s personal stories here and thank you for sharing them. To those going through a stink time, I share your frustration. Interesting observation Flip:

    “I’m very apprehensive at being on the outside and looking in. Not a good feeling.” You mean in terms of being out of work?

    Realised the other day that my fridge interior looked like it did when I was 20. It shouldn’t be looking empty at 44. Took a photo. I actually took a photo of the fridge contents 3 days out from shopping day I was that upset, not just at the fridge but at everything.

    We are not living in poverty. We bought our first house last year. We are though, living week to week with no savings left and nothing for emergencies, using our credit cards to cover Dr’s visits and F’ing ACC part charges. Luckily we don’t celebrate Xmas otherwise the lack of gifts would be depressing! (Well, a few pressies would be nice…)

    With illness and injury I can work part time but just can’t get the work we are so desperate for. You can’t live comfortably or securely on one wage, and if this continues, and if mortgage rates go up next year I am wondering if we will lose our house. So no, Blinglish and Key our future is not brighter.

    We might get through, with a bit of luck but what hope is there for 265,000 children who live daily with hunger, illness and inadequate accommodation. Remind me again which country we live in.

    PS: That was meant to be a reply to Flip at 14

    • Tracey 17.1

      “The fact that we have queues at foodbanks is proof that our country has failed those most vulnerable to economic “downturn””

      i think you ill find that these are just lazy beneficiaries who cant be bothered working but inexplicably dont mind queuing for 7 hours for a can of baked beans.

      • Rosie 17.1.1

        I should have added, “that we even have food banks, is a failure……………..”

        Anyway, yeah, those lazy people, don’t realise how lucky they are eh?

    • karol 17.2

      Rosie: Interesting to read people’s personal stories here and thank you for sharing them.

      Yes. It shows some of the spread of circumstances in our divided society.

    • karol 17.3

      Rosie: With illness and injury I can work part time but just can’t get the work we are so desperate for. You can’t live comfortably or securely on one wage, and if this continues, and if mortgage rates go up next year I am wondering if we will lose our house. So no, Blinglish and Key our future is not brighter.

      We might get through, with a bit of luck but what hope is there for 265,000 children who live daily with hunger, illness and inadequate accommodation. Remind me again which country we live in.

      Yes. it’s tough for too many. Not the brighter future we were promised in 2008.

      • Rosie 17.3.1

        Your billboard sums it up perfectly karol. There is just no other aspect of reality to Key’s leadership over these years, and its what he intended all along. He exists in his position as PM solely for the benefit of his mates. I’m even hearing National voters saying that now – two of them said it yesterday to me.

    • Flip 17.4

      @Rosie

      “I’m very apprehensive at being on the outside and looking in. Not a good feeling.” You mean in terms of being out of work?

      Yes. I’ve been out of paid employment a few times and it has always been hard.

      One feels that you are left out of society if you do not have work. Not only do you not have money which is often required to participate but you are socially isolated.

      Sure there are ways around these things and many are successful at defining their lives apart from paid work but I personally find it challenging.

      Anyway
      Good luck Rosie for your future….

      • Rosie 17.4.1

        I understand your points and empathise with you fully Flip. Good luck for your future too. Take care 🙂

  18. Lanthanide 18

    Pretty much a ‘holding-pattern’ of a year for me. Job’s going well, having been promoted to a leadership role with a fairly hefty pay rise. BF’s job is going very well, although he’s still underpaid for the value he provides; should get a decent payrise if his chartership comes through (turns out PhDs are good for something after all).

    Otherwise I’ve largely been waiting for EQC to kick into gear and fix my house up so I can sell it – finally some action happening on that front. Having to spend $25k on fixing a leak from the shower more or less wiped out my savings for the year, although a modicum of that should be recovered when I sell the house and the bathroom does look a lot more modern now.

    Overall nothing National has done has directly helped me, nor harmed me. Their tax cuts make the budgets a bit looser but I didn’t need the extra money.

    • Naturesong 18.1

      With you on the tax cuts.

      I did track it earlier to see if I was better off, and I was, but not by a whole lot. And I didn’t really notice it day to day.

      It’s the margins where it really shows, if you are struggling, the GST really cuts. Or if you’re earning as much as my brother ($300K+) you can see significant benefit.

      For those of us earning around triple the median, wasn’t noticible at all.

  19. infused 19

    Pretty good after July actually.

    House renovations are almost done. Bathroom and carpet to go.

    Business has picked up significantly this year. About to do an ad for a new employee to start in Jan.

  20. SHG (not Colonial Viper) 20

    Worked hard this year. Partner informed me there was an unforseen pile of money growing in the bank (I have no visibility of these things), it seemed prudent to do something sensible with it before we did something silly with it, bought a nice place at the beach for weekend getaways. The “bach” is actually bigger and nicer than our first house. We still own that first house, there’s a young couple with kids renting it at the moment.

    Our kids are doing well at the school we chose for them both and they have suffered no major illnesses or injuries this year beyond normal stuff like colds and bike crashes.

    I intend to try and work less hard next year, I got very close to total burnout in 2013 but you know, hay while the sun shines and all that. This year’s hard work bought a house at the beach so I can’t really complain. 2013 was better than 2012 which was better than 2011.

  21. Will@Welly 21

    For some people, this has been an absolutely lovely year. For those with the “right” connections, 2013 will go down as a momentous year. For the rest, maybe 80% plus, of the population, it has been absolute shyte.
    2014 looks just as bleak. New Zealand is fast turning into a third world country, if it hasn’t already reached there already, with aspirations of a fourth rate country.
    John Key is seeing this country turn into a nation of down-trodden peasants, dependent on the meagre subsistence incomes they can eak out. Well done.
    Man of the year, no. Man of the decade, no. His name will live on infamy along with the likes of Stalin, Hitler, and ever other desperate criminal leader. Man of the century, just possibly, just for all the wrong reasons.

    • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 21.1

      John Key is seeing this country turn into a nation of down-trodden peasants, dependent on the meagre subsistence incomes they can eak out. Well done.

      His name will live on infamy along with the likes of Stalin, Hitler

      Just…wow.

  22. tricledrown 22

    The wealthy bloggerrs who are rubbing peoples noses in their greed and opulence.
    Meglomaniac Narcissistic emotionally aloof idiots.
    Anyone who gets off on that is seriously in need of phyciatric help.

    • Rosie 22.1

      Hi tricledrown. When I first read SHG’s comment at #20 I immediately thought it was an insensitive gloating piece of self indulgence and he/she just wanted to rub other’s noses in it.

      Then I thought, fair play, karol asked an question of her readers and she got an answer. I also gave gave SHG the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they are unaware that it is poor form to speak of the (flash)”bach” when others may have been struggling with their rent, their mortgage, or even finding suitable accommodation, especially if they are from CHCH

      Then I saw their comment at #22 and realised, no they aren’t naive, they are just cruel.

      (And right now on 3news they are talking about the queues at the Akld City Mission. Let’s ask them how their year has been).

      • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 22.1.1

        When I first read SHG’s comment at #20 I immediately thought it was an insensitive gloating piece of self indulgence and he/she just wanted to rub other’s noses in it (…) it is poor form to speak of the (flash)”bach” when others may have been struggling with their rent, their mortgage, or even finding suitable accommodation, especially if they are from CHCH (…) they are just cruel.

        I’m sorry, I must have missed the bit where karol said “only post if your year has been shitty”. My partner and I have worked hard and had a productive positive year. Our children are bright, happy, healthy, and growing in every way that we could hope for. The end of 2013 sees us in better shape than the end of 2012, which itself saw us in better shape than the end of 2011. I’m pretty damn happy with life to be honest.

        If that makes me “just cruel” then I suggest you find some way to get over it.

        • Rosie 22.1.1.1

          Clearly, you missed this bit:

          “Then I thought, fair play, karol asked an question of her readers and she got an answer” So, yeah, it’s obvious that people will discuss their successful year if they’ve had one. But, you know, success isn’t always measured in financial terms. I was also raised not to brag, maybe you weren’t. Bragging is a sure sign of those who believe they have a sense of superiority over others.

          Clap clap clap to you for working working hard. Thousands of others have too, except, because of our increasing government influenced inequality, brought to us via policy and legislation, not everyone is experiencing the same financial reward as you.

          I don’t need to “get over” anything, and I don’t need to be insulted by you.
          .

          • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 22.1.1.1.1

            I was also raised not to brag, maybe you weren’t.

            Whoever raised you sure seems to have done a bang-up job in the passive-aggressive resentment department though.

            • Rosie 22.1.1.1.1.1

              Nothing passive about me dude. Just saying it like it is, loud and clear, nothing couched.

              • vto

                That was an interesting little conservation

              • SHG (not Colonial Viper)

                Nothing passive about me dude. Just saying it like it is, loud and clear

                Bollocks. If you had the guts to actually say something loud and clear you’d address me directly and speak in the active voice, like “SHG you’re cruel”. But you don’t have the courage to do that. Instead it’s the tired sarcasm of “clap clap clap” and the Remuera snootiness of “I was raised not to brag, maybe you weren’t” while simultaneously insinuating something about ME having a “sense of superiority” (how’s that for Fox-News-level tone-deafness) instead of just making a plain old declarative statement.

                Check this out: “Bragging is a sure sign of those who believe they have a sense of superiority over others”. Jesus, what a gutless passive-voice clusterfuck. Here this is how you should have done it: “You’re bragging, SHG, and that’s a sign that you consider yourself superior to others.”

                See? Not so hard was it? Slaps me in the face with the second person present continuous, addresses me directly, accuses me in the active voice of considering myself superior to others.

                Your idea of “loud and clear” is more suited to a passive-aggressive post-it note on a flat-kitchen fridge.

                SMILEY FACE! LOL!

        • karol 22.1.1.2

          I was hoping the discussion would be a bit of a reflection of the range of circumstances people are living in across the country. Generally the range of responses do seem to support the statistics that show a pretty big inequality gap.

          I would also hope this discussion leads to some sensitivity and understanding from the haves of the daily struggles of too many Kiwis.

  23. Blue 23

    A good year for me. Business is good so we will be adding three more staff next year. The oldest son will graduate from Varsity soon, eldest daughter starting Nursing training. Still happily married.

  24. Matthew Hooton 24

    It’s been quite a good year thanks. Moderately profitable. Kids did well at school. America’s Cup disappointing. Fucked up a couple of times on live radio. Wrote a few good columns. Next year will be heaps more profitable I expect. Also I am a political junkie so next year should be a lot of fun.

  25. cricklewood 25

    Personally and for the company I work for the last 6 months have been a real turn around, we have more work than we can cope with and have taken on an extra 6 full time staff and have had work to keep 7 uni students fully deployed over their holiday period.
    We are trades based and due to our clientele its fair to say we are one of the first to see “trickle down” we have heaps of forward work into next year so I suspect things will continue to improve.
    Also for those looking for work try door knocking etc. We seldom advertise but if someone keen looks us up and calls or knocks on the office door they will get an interview and often a job. If it all works out generally we will offer an apprenticeship. Advertising is expensive and time consuming hence we only advertise through necessity.
    I can say with certainty we arnt the only company with this kind of approach…

  26. McGrath 26

    It’s been a good year for me. Good job, good house of my own, good family etc etc etc. The years under National have been good to me personally. Good economic stewardship by Key/English has seen the company I work for (and the employees) thrive.

  27. just saying 27

    I can’t complain about my finances this year. But I feel for everyone who is stressed out by having to cut out essentials to make way for the most pressing essentials. For those who go to bed and toss around worrying how much longer they can hold it all together, and what will we eat tomorrow….

    This year I joined a bunch of people, most of whom I didn’t even know, and we pooled resources bought a bit of land and we are building a community together and trying to sort out how to build the housing. And sometimes I think I must have lost my mind to have just jumped in like that. We’re kind of stuck together. And anyone who thinks this kind of thing is easy should could come along when things aren’t going well and they could join me in the corner banging my head against the wall. Community is hard work, as is tolerance, consenus, democracy, and diversity. Sometimes I wish I could just walk away.

    But dammit it’s worth it (and what alternative is there really?). The group and friends are having a Christmas party tonight, and because I’m sick, they’ve just sent me some photos, and I feel warm and grateful and very lucky. Attachment and connection are built from being in the same boat. Which is exactly what is wrong with this country. The different sections of it aren’t even on the same ocean anymore.

    • karol 27.1

      Wow. js. I hope your community continues to develop successfully, and the houses gte built in the way you all want.

    • Molly 27.2

      For a model – look at cohousing.. Denmark has a lot of diverse, success stories. Cohousing development is based around building community – not just housing.

      Note: Seems that the longest thriving communities are those that welcome a diverse range of people – who agree on cohousing. Communities of like-minds tend to eventually divide and split – strangely because they are not like-minded enough – and their expectation was that they all thought the same.

  28. bad12 28

    i hate to say it but i have had a good year, having come to grips with the fact that i won’t be in the paid work force again in this life-time i have simply devised a system where i can ‘live’ on the benefit, albeit on one meal a day,(except payday when the breads fresh and sandwich’s are a must),

    Having a set of bones that no longer do the job as far as mobility over any ‘normal’ distance while being a ‘pain’ in all senses of the word has a small up-side in that except for ‘food foraging’ my whole life is now more or less centered around ‘home’ as going to most popular events i sometimes think of having a squizz at require parking at a distance from where they actually occur,

    The one saving grace in what will be a future of slowly grinding bones,(with another growing on my spine the doctor assures me will finish me off well befor the ‘grinders’ drive me completely mad),is that i am a tenant of the State giving me knowledge of and stability in the weekly rent,

    Despite the best efforts of the National Government to completely ‘f**k’ me financially and drive me to the ‘food-banks’ along with the many thousands of other’s with the ‘tax switch’ which leaves me paying an effective tax rate on my meager income of over 30% i can report that my garden which i grow as a mono-crop not only saves me the burden of an effective 45% tax rate but also allows me to wave a large finger in the direction of Tariana Turia and the whole cohort of smoking Nazi’s hell bent on either having me quit an addiction that for me personally is an impossibility or starve me,

    Befor the inquisition begins over just how i manage to dig a garden with a ‘pile’ of bones that are essentially ‘f**ked’ i will let you in on what is essentially an ongoing process on any day where the weather allows,

    All up i have 25 meters of raised garden bed all of which is 700cm wide, everyday, weather permitting, in spite of whether i ‘feel’ like it or not i use a garden fork to dig down one fork-width trench across the 700cm width of the garden,

    That’s it in total, nothing more nor less, it is now a habit which supports another habit which also’frees’ me from a punitive and unnecessary financial attack upon me by the present Government and for anyone who has some mobility and wants to also have a garden i can advise that the secret is not in how big a garden you can dig considering your disability, it is in fact just how small an area you can manage to dig without aggravating your physical condition, with rigorous psychological fortitude that small area makes an excellently large garden,

    Being single i have adapted with relative ease to the one meal a day regime and my system of shopping has allowed me the luxury of that one meal being pretty ‘rubust’ in nature, a Sunday roast, which here is a must in reality triples up into a reheated in tinfoil roast on a Wednesday along with the remainder of the roast vege having a couple of sausages added for another go on a Friday,

    i feel tho for those with kids reliant upon a benefit for their daily bread, just how does anyone tell their kids no to lunch without having already lost part of their humanity or the greater part of their sanity,

    Never mind the insanity and idiocy of Christmas, the school holidays are happening, all the kids are home all day and what minimal ‘food in schools’ ‘Fonterra milk in schools’ or ‘breakfast club’ just doesn’t apply for the duration,

    And what those kids rely upon to put a bit of food in their stomachs, like mine, thanks to this scum of a National Government, it’s all being taxed at 30%+ which tells the tale of rising child poverty in New Zealand…

    • Rosie 28.1

      Don’t hate to say you had a good year bad12. 🙂 I hope your crop is doing really well and surviving the winds we have down our way.

      Thanks for sharing your considered and intelligent analysis throughout the year (and that goes out to everyone who contributes here) and thank you also for your tips on constructing a raised garden. We got there in the end, and I have to say it is a real success. Thanks too, to Felix, if you’re around, for sharing photo’s of your epic wall lining made from recycled pallet wood.

      The Standard, a political education, with handy home tips!

      • bad12 28.1.1

        Lolz, thanks Rosie, yeah wasn’t this year a real swine of a year for blowing ill winds, it was touch and go in November when we got 3 ‘events’ one after the other, i thought for a while that i had lost the whole garden which with shredded leaves looked for a while more dead than alive,

        Now tho a mere 4 weeks later the difference is simply stunning,and i have to fight my way through the growth to get the hose in near the base of the plants for water delivery,

        My education tip for the year,(lolz in the vein of don’t do what i did),this year besides food scraps and weeds as compost i thought i would give the soil a boost by burying a small bucket of ‘store bought compost’ along the food scraps and weeds,

        MISTAKE, which along with the gale force winds was nearly enough to fry my brains, what occurred was the small amount of initial growth that did occur had the plants producing leaves with definite signs of ‘burning’ on the tips,(a sure sign of soil gone acidic),

        PANIC, you bet i did, with those brrrrr winds having a lot to do with their ill health i had to weigh up the two conflicting ‘differences’ in this garden from last years and decide what the problem was,

        On a hunch, i chose that the compost i had mixed in with the soil was burning at least the tips of the leaves produced and maybe the roots of the plants as well,

        THE SOLUTION, large quantities of the ‘magic wet stuff’, water pumped into the garden over 3-4 days,

        In Conclusion, what lead me to believe that it was a good idea to bury ‘store bought’ compost in the garden was that the year befor i had ‘fed’ the garden, four handfuls to a plant, with the stuff in the year befor’s ‘grow’,

        The difference being that i had not buried that years compost in the soil, simply feeding it to the top of the soil and hosing it in with the daily watering, which leads me to advise anyone interested to be wary of burying ‘shop bought’ compost in the soil, it does tho work like magic when used as a top dressing…

        • Rosie 28.1.1.1

          Bingo! That was our problem initially with our herb garden. Burnt yellowing tips! We had planted seedlings straight into store bought compost, which hasn’t failed before but sure did this time. I kept thinking it must be the compost, it must be the compost. Just too acidic, not mellow at all.

          They have also been watered heaps, also to help them cope with the winds and have recovered.

          Interesting lesson.

    • JK 28.2

      Please elucidate Bad12 – why are you paying a tax of 30% on your benefit ? I thought it would be much lower than that – more like 1/4 or even less .
      By the way, your crop sounds as if its much healthier than the crop you might have bought in the local supermarket – no nicotine maybe !

      • infused 28.2.1

        It would be. He’s full of it.

      • bad12 28.2.2

        Simple JK, on a benefit i have no disposable income so on ‘payday’ it is all spent which simply means i pay income tax plus GST on 100% of my income,

        As to your second query, Lolz i am not a medical professional so cannot really attest to my ‘grow’ being much healthier than that which is paid for in the super-market, it does tho i believe contain some nicotine in it’s natural form along with some arsenic,(the leaves are said to be used by some when soaked for a longish period in a solution of water as a bug spray for other garden plants),although there is the question of ‘added chemicals’ from the market version which may or may not have adverse health effects,

        Psychologically tho such a crop is a definite boost from the cost of an addiction that has been with me for 44 years,(if the stuff is ‘the cause’ of death of half it’s users it sure as hell takes its time)…

        • just saying 28.2.2.1

          Hi B12. Really glad to hear that you are prevailing.

          I’ve switched to vaping, but I still feel really angry at the sancitmonoius pricks patting themselves on the backs for making smoking into a sin that only the well-off can indulge. Knowing that when the poor do indulge (because it’s an addiction for fucks sake) the ka-ching of that outrageous tax take is a delightful bonus for non-smokers and the wealthy duty-free set.

          Sins only the poor are forbidden: smoking, drinking, relationships “in the nature of marriage”, children (used to be out of wedlock now it’s out of well paid work),…

          • bad12 28.2.2.1.1

            Lolz as what appears to be Auntie Tariana’s parting ‘shot’ the plain packaging legislation has been lodged with the Parliament for it’s first reading sometime in the New Year, from there it will be sent to ‘a select committee’ until the legal action taken by the tobacco companies in Australia over the same issue is settled one way or another,

            The Maori Party saving ‘their people’ by whipping the money outta their pockets that goes to feed the whanau, the 2014 election cannot come soon enough…

    • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 28.3

      All up i have 25 meters of raised garden bed all of which is 700cm wide

      Sounds like your time, energy, and garden area would be better spent growing food.

  29. miravox 29

    Mixed bag for the kids with one overseas because of the Christchurch earthquake and the low pay in his field in NZ. The other two in NZ have not had pay rises for over three years now so are feeling stretched financially. It’s hard to understand how people expect those on lower incomes that they have are meant to get by.

    My partner got a contract extension, which means we won’t be back home until NAct is voted out. It also means I can continue to live as an able-bodied person because I have access to meds in Europe that I can’t get in NZ. I’m very grateful to my (temporarily) adopted home. I also finished my formal education this year – a long time coming. The health improvement and study have opened up some opportunities, so hopefully some personal career growth next year.

    Crazy how the NActs portray Lab/Greens as ‘hard left’ – they’d find it impossible to label the Social-Democratic-Conservative coalition government here. It’s been an eye-opener seeing some policies here that are similar to NZ – trial periods and working for the dole etc – work so differently because they have employee and social protections around them. Too easy to do things punitively in NZ, I reckon.

    • greywarbler 29.1

      Hi miravox
      I have noticed that usually NZ pollies when copying overseas policies which is often, pare them back, and do them on the cheap. Though announcing future results that are based on ‘overseas’ experience, but ensuring that they will be weakened by the poverty of minds conceiving and implementing them.

      • miravox 29.1.1

        Yes, I agree, gw. It seems to be a disease of English-speaking developed economies, generally (although Australia was exempt from that generalisation for awhile).

        They see any social fallout of their policies as too expensive to ameliorate. Some other countries have learned the lesson that the social impacts of economic policies are too expensive not to include in the policy development and implementation.

      • Naturesong 29.1.2

        It would be nice though, if they chose to copy policies that actually worked in the countries they were originally implemented.

        I’m thinking the UK welfare reforms, US style charter schools, PPP’s etc

  30. Saarbo 30

    Well my small business is doing well but would have been doing better if GST wasn’t raised in 2010, it would also have been doing better under a Labour Government which would have provided better pay and conditions to more people, so a larger portion of the population could afford to SPEND. A minimum wage of $18 would be good, the minimum we pay is significantly more than that (incl a new 17 year old), and surprise, surprise…no staff turnover since starting our business in 2004…

    The Family dairy farm is doing well but would be doing better if there was a Capital Gains Tax in place, this would have reduced the need for interest rate increases, which would have reduced the pressure on the exchange rate improving returns on exports…and yet farmers will vote National…

    This year we shifted the family away from urban to rural, it is sad to see what has happened to rural New Zealand. Most of the farms in our area are owned by 3 families (all 3 families have a very “crafer” look about them)…they have workers who are paid terribly and work in harsh conditions. I presume this is the reason that farm owners are having to get foreign workers, because farm owners don’t want to pay kiwi’s payrates that they deserve for working such huge hours doing incredibly de-meaning work (try putting the cups on 1000 cows twice a day)…its doable but it needs to be rewarded accordingly.

    Ive also learned that farmers are some of the dumbest people Ive come across in my 47 years, fucken thick as 2 short planks…it just proves that wealth has nothing to do with brains.

    • Lanthanide 30.1

      “the minimum we pay is significantly more than that (incl a new 17 year old), and surprise, surprise…no staff turnover since starting our business in 2004…”

      Good.

      Although I suspect if the minimum were higher, while turnover would be lower than it currently is, I suspect it wouldn’t drop as much as it has in your case. In your case, people want to keep their job because they know it pays so much better than other options. But if all cleaning/retail jobs paid $18, there’s not really any incentive to stay working at your job vs going somewhere else if that other place would pay you the same rate anyway, compared to if you’re getting paid $18 and the other places would only pay you $14 to do the same/similar job.

      “Ive also learned that farmers are some of the dumbest people Ive come across in my 47 years, fucken thick as 2 short planks…it just proves that wealth has nothing to do with brains.”

      My BF’s sentiments, having grown up in Oamaru.

      • Molly 30.1.1

        “Although I suspect if the minimum were higher, while turnover would be lower than it currently is, I suspect it wouldn’t drop as much as it has in your case. In your case, people want to keep their job because they know it pays so much better than other options. But if all cleaning/retail jobs paid $18, there’s not really any incentive to stay working at your job vs going somewhere else if that other place would pay you the same rate anyway, compared to if you’re getting paid $18 and the other places would only pay you $14 to do the same/similar job.”

        Perhaps. But the turnover may remain low, because Saarbo seems to be an employer that shows his values his staff. People tend to forget about personal relationships when it comes to job satisfaction – they can often play a big part.

  31. Beatie 31

    My year has been ‘treading water, not quite sinking’. Health wise it’s been bad, my rheumatoid arthritis has flared up and I’m still trying to find an effective medication to control it. I also lost my 6 hours per week job which means my income has dropped from $375 to $298 per week net. Also I miss being part of a workplace. On the plus side, I’m going to be a granny!

    • miravox 31.1

      Best of luck with the RA meds Beatie – I’m all too aware of how hard it is to get that sorted, and the effect on work when you have flares. Awesome news about being a granny – nothing finer.

  32. Bill 32

    Ah jeez – it’s that time of year again when I promised myself to not bother pointing out that the year is only just kinda half way through. Colonialism – with all its cultural impositions – gotta love it 😉

    • karol 32.1

      Yes, I get that the 2013 year is part of the European Gregorian calendar, that was imposed by European colonisaton.

      However, it does feel more like then end of the year in December in NZ than it ever did when I lived in England. Maybe because my main career was in education. In England, the academic year ends in June/July and the majority of people take a summer break, as people do here in December-January. The New Year celebrations in London always felt odd to me, because it just was a couple of days off work for people, then back to the grind.

      The actual celebrations on both sides of the globe arose from marking the mid point in winter in the UK – winter solstice. In NZ it actually coincides with the summer solstice. So the changing in seasons gives the celebrations a totally different feel on each side of the globe. What I do think is the major colonial imposition, is the whole Santa in winter gear thing, plus cards and decorations with snow etc.

      I’m also all for celebrating Matariki in May/June.

      • Bill 32.1.1

        shhh – I’m meant to be not mentioning the whole cultural marking of the year by season and the fact that no culture – none that I’ve ever heard of or read about anyway – has ever marked the year’s end and beginning as occurring in summer. (Obviously I’m excluding whacked out cultural impositions here)

        • karol 32.1.1.1

          Well, my post was more of a response to the news articles about English providing some “Christmas cheer” with his “news” about the (alleged) great shape our economy is in. It wasn’t so much about celebrating the “New Year” or the changing seasons.

          Although, the one or two commenters who mentioned gardens, storms and climate, maybe have touched on something significant: about how much our mis/fortunes over the last 12 months include the on-going impact of climate changes on all our futures.

      • miravox 32.1.2

        “I’m also all for celebrating Matariki in May/June.”

        Absolutely, bring on the mid-winter celebrations. I love the mid-winter celebrations in Vienna – lots of space for myths, legends and craft markets. No place at all for Coca cola and Santa with his reindeer.

        I do agree a NZ Christmas feels much more like the end of the year – probably because it’s attached to the summer holidays. Can’t really call festivals in NZ seasonal markers with them being the wrong way round. A Matariki celebration is the only one that would fit. Whereas here seasons are marked with distinct festivals so each feels like a celebration of continuity, rather than a year-ending.

  33. freedom 33

    could sum up the year in a nutshell

    but I needed the nutshell for soup

    🙂

  34. tricledrown 34

    Saarbo they have been investigated by Mobie dairy farmers and found out 25% of farm workers not being paid for extra time no records of hours of any sort by these farmers .
    Plus some foreign workers found to be paid slave wages.
    Damien O’Conner has been informed on more than one ocassion he is as bad as National.
    Its time we got more people to stick up for the ripped of worker in the New Year.
    These unpaid wages would make a big difference in the local Economy.
    Farmers and sharemilkers are stealing workers wages !

    • Saarbo 34.1

      Yep tricledown, farmworkers are sitting there to be targeted by Labour in 2014, O Connor seems to be one of those Labour people that could just as easily be a National caucus member.

  35. happynz 35

    Another up-and-down year about to be done and dusted. Another year or two overseas and then re-assess. Plans are being formulated for an eventual return to New Zealand, but living the life as part of the precariat it’s difficult to say.

  36. Murray Olsen 36

    This has been a bad year for me, watching Australia and particularly Queensland, lurch well into lunatic right wing territory. On the financial side I still have a job and I don’t go without. Health could be better.

    On Aotearoa: I hope to be around to see Key get his come uppance and Labour reestablish itself as part of the left, which will require euthanasia of a few dinosaurs. I’m happy to see Mana being considered more and more as a serious contender, and the Greens keeping the worst of Labour vaguely honest. I hope there’s something left by the next election that hasn’t been dug or drilled.

  37. KJT 37

    It has been a “mixed bag” I suppose.

    The highlight has been a successful six months for our special needs child.
    Thanks to a dairy farmer who took him under his wing, they are not all bad, a set of excellent and understanding polytechnic tutors and health school/special education (Despite them being run off their feet with too few staff and too many kids who need help).

    Not so good for our eldest who hasn’t been able to get any more than a minimum wage and precarious shop job with a rotten bunch of managers, despite good school and tertiary quals.
    Trying to encourage her to go live with relations in OZ. We would not like to see he go, but she needs a future.
    And the middle one, who has left hanging, last month, by a forestry contractor who promised him a job, then never contacted him again.

    Tax cuts have been more than offset by the cost of feeding the rotating group of young people that doss in our basement. When they need help after the merry go round of ill intentioned WINZ staff and crappy employers.

    I hope I am not skiting by saying that the two of us are doing fine. Painting the yacht at present between politicking and going to the beach.
    Even had the luxury of taking the moral high ground and turning down a lucrative oil industry contract..Not as noble as it sounds. Easy to do when you already have ongoing work. Even if it does pay, in NZ, half of the money that we got in the 80’s. The brighter future?

    My heart goes out to those who are trying to survive on welfare, or even less. I know that I couldn’t.
    Lets hope we get rid of the mean spirited, psychopathic pricks in charge, soon, and we can all start becoming a community, again.

  38. johnm 38

    “Recent reports underscore the widening social gulf in New Zealand. Like its counterparts in the US and Europe, the National Party-led government is imposing sweeping cuts to essential services and overseeing the destruction of jobs, wages and conditions, while engineering a transfer of wealth to the rich.

    A recent book, Inequality; A New Zealand Crisis, edited by journalist Max Rashbrooke, notes that workers’ share of gross domestic product is lower in New Zealand than in 28 other OECD countries and higher than only four: Luxembourg, Mexico, Slovakia and Turkey. Half the population, including beneficiaries and pensioners, earn less than $24,000. The bottom 10 percent of single-person households received an average of just $11,000 in 2011. After housing costs are deducted, these households have less money to spend than they did in the early 1980s.”

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/10/02/nzin-o02.html

    My personal opinion, We’ve become a nation divided between a parasitical class snapping up houses for speculative capital gain and renting them out to the serfs to pay off the mortgages while doing as little as possible in return and the economic unfortunates forced to rent as they can’t get into a grossly inflated get rich housing bubble by greedies who buy 4,5 houses knowing they can flip them at a profit later. The facts are there: We are one of the most unequal societies in the developed world, no ifs and buts and Shonkey is accelerating the process. The true strugglers don’t have the time or energy or a computer to comment on sites like this.

  39. risildowgtn 39

    My year? So so

    After a health scare I have now been sober for 8 months.

    It was either give up drinking or die basically.

    Hard bloody hard. Both my parents were drunks.But I am going to beat this demon

    Christmas will be the same. Spent with friends as I have no immediate family to spend it with in NZ.

    Financial = about same…. I can buy things when I want. But I try and save $400 every 2 weeks
    Its the poor I feel for…..

  40. Tracey 40

    The divide is well represented in this thread

  41. Tracey 41

    Havent spotted the lazy no good folk yet. Apparently they are everywhere sucking on ny tax dollae

  42. srylands 42

    [deleted]

    [lprent: currently banned. ]

  43. Crunchtime 43

    I should be doing pretty well. Got a new job with about a 40% jump in pay. However, working for families went from being a help to pretty much nothing, which took a chunk out of that. Additionally, tax bills, having to move house and ending up with a much higher rent took another chunk out. I don’t have much to show for it at the end of the day. It makes me wonder how I managed to survive these last 3 years on so little pay.

    Rents certainly have been increasing in Wellington much faster than inflation.

    On my previous pay I wouldn’t have been able to afford where I’m living now and would be forced to live further from where I work, meaning more money and time spent on transport. And the place I’m living now has turned out to be not nearly as flash as it seemed at the outset – still have pretty crap neighbours.

    Now at the end of the year though I’ve managed to come out from under some of the financial pressure I was under. Things are looking up – except perhaps the public service entity where I work coming under the squeeze and needing to be doing more with less, as usual. Looking forward to this changing next year with a decent government coming in! One hopes.

  44. Tracey 44

    “If we can keep growth up for 5 years we should start seeing somwe wealth trickle down to support some modest positive wage growth.”

    Big shout out to srylands who has made me laught alot this year. The comment above may be his funniest yet.

  45. cricklewood 45

    Tbh Tracey the company I work for is seeing this now… but even after good pay increases it will take while for me to recover enough to spend meaningfully.
    On the up side had a proper haircut for a while this month as opposed to a clipper cut at home… and I earn reasonably well but with rent childcare etc it is tough…

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