In the lead up to last year’s budget John Key said that the poor and those on benefits had made lifestyle choices. If they budgeted properly, they’d be fine.
But things aren’t fine, and they’re getting worse in John Key’s New Zealand.
Which is why a 40-yr-old DPB Mum in Christchurch – facing an $80/week rent increase, because John hasn’t done anything about Christchurch’s housing shortage – has had to resort to the lifestyle “choice” of prostitution.
Sarah receives $660 on the domestic purposes benefit each week, and in September her rent will increase to $440.
The rise will leave her with $220 a week to pay for power, basic bills and food.
She’s been hunting for somewhere cheaper:
One rental she viewed had no hot water and the landlord told her she could shower her children at Jellie Park, while other open homes had left her disheartened when people started offering more money than that advertised.
And there’s nowhere cheaper as she’s competing with
a family of 30 living in a five-bedroom house, a family of eight living in a garage, families sleeping in cars and a man who has pitched a tent in a burned-down, red-zoned home.
As Christchurch is hit by winter snow, and wanting to keep a roof over her two young children’s heads and shoes on their feet, means there’s no “choice” available. So:
While her children are at primary school, she closes their bedroom doors and entertains clients in the family home.
“If I could stop, I would,” she said.
“I am putting my life on the line by doing this but I am doing it for my kids, just to feed them and provide basic daily living for us.”