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One word away from needing food parcels

Written By: - Date published: 1:05 pm, December 24th, 2014 - 71 comments
Categories: class, Economy, jobs, national/act government, workers' rights - Tags:

The smug middle class National voter seems oblivious to how close they are to financial hardship. Other than the self employed who face financial precariousness for other reasons, the employed middle class, living close to the edge  in pursuit of all things material, are a word away from needing food parcels…

No right wing government has been better at disguising the true state of most kiwis vulnerability  to job loss. Especially their nodding band of middle class followers, pursuing the brighter future with avarice and no redundancy  clause. The later quietly taken away with the smiling agreement of middle management.


65 of them at KiwiRail may now be waking up.


Acting chief executive David Walsh confirmed that up to 65 people were affected by a restructure that had been unwinding since October, including senior engineers, administrative staff and middle and senior management.



71 comments on “One word away from needing food parcels”

  1. NZJester 1

    Most of those running businesses are also fools to vote National. They see the tax breaks National offer them as a good idea. But when National takes away all the spare spending money of their customers and the after tax profits of their business shrinks even with the tax break they are also getting closer and closer to needing food parcels themselves along with their employees.
    Businesses selling non essential goods tend to make better after tax profits even if they are paying higher taxes under Labour as more people tend to have the money to spend.
    The only business that do well under National are those offering the essentials that people can not survive without and thanks to National they are allowed to heavily overcharge for those essentials.

    • Halcyon 1.1

      However, if those poor misguided National supporters focus their marketing of production on overseas countries then it does not matter if people in NZ do not buy their products.

      And there is nothing to stop the unions from starting businesses making essential goods and underselling the current manufacturers who are heavily overcharging for their products,

      • Paul 1.1.1

        What are you talking about?

      • NZJester 1.1.2

        Very few of the businesses selling products here make there own product. They are just retail stores that rely on local sale for their profits.
        As for selling overseas the high New Zealand dollar has meant it has been hard for local companies to compete overseas and that some overseas companies have swooped in to purchased some of our best manufacturing names that have taken this country decades to build up. Now some of them are getting rid of the kiwi workers and slowly taking the brands overseas. Thanks to the National government a lot of or local companies are now rich in assets such as their brand name recognition and product copyrights and patents, but low in cash making them perfect targets for corporate raiders.

        Fisher & Paykel and its 420 patents is one such NZ company now 90% owned by overseas interests and has been slowly closing down NZ production for overseas manufacturing.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Other than the self employed who face financial precariousness for other reasons,

    Yep. My nephew just found out that he isn’t being paid today because it appears that his employer didn’t get paid for a job done a couple of weeks ago.

  3. batweka 3

    “65 of them at KiwiRail may now be waking up.”

    Maybe. Surely the right wing narrative is that you should have prepared for such a possibility? So those that have will continue to be smug.

  4. I hate saying this but how many off these people voted National ? How many loked down on the unemployed and unfortunate ,most I would say. And I bet if there was an election this week they would still vote National .

    • tracey 4.1

      sadly for many life has to personally affect them before they wake up.

    • tracey 4.2

      contractors, particularly lower paid like courier drivers and some trades are very vulnerable… but also amongst those I know the most scathing towards those on welfare.

      • Colonial Rawshark 4.2.1

        Of course. Because they work hard for their money, up at 6am every day, while the spongers get cash for doing fuck all.

      • Paul 4.2.2

        And the Nats play to that.
        As long as they can keep pointing to beneficiaries as bludgers, workers will not see that the real bludgers are at the top of the pyramid.
        We saw that for a brief period in 2008 and events like Sky City asking for more cash is a reminder. However, the media is owned by the wealthy corporate bludgers who don’t pay their taxes by using tax havens. They ensure their propaganda outlets constantly remind people of beneficiary fraud.
        Divide and rule.

        • Draco T Bastard

          As long as they can keep pointing to beneficiaries as bludgers, workers will not see that the real bludgers are at the top of the pyramid.

          And that the only reason why we have beneficiaries is because of those at the top of the pyramid.

          • Paul

            Yes and how to apply the focus on the criminal behaviour at the top of the pyramid when the elite have control of their powerful propaganda tool, the media, is a huge challenge for all of us.

  5. I hate saying this but how many off these people voted National ? How many loked down on the unemployed and unfortunate ,most I would say. And I bet if there was an election this week they would still vote National .

    • Paul 5.1

      A lot of people have invested a lot in the whole ‘aspirational’ bs line put out by the elite through their puppets in the National Party.
      There is less social mobility now since the advent of neoliberalism. Class is becoming more entrenched.
      Being born poor is a more likely predictor of you dying poor than it was in the1970s.

      • Lloyd 5.1.1

        I have aspirations to live in a country where I share in the ownership of public assets through an equitable tax system. The left must recapture the word “aspiration” . Actually it would be a really good word to work into the next election slogan.

  6. Yes, I see a method in Silly Billy English’s half brain.
    No surplus equals no wage increases and that suits this awful Govt just fine.

    Surely if every one was being paid a wage that is keeping up with rising costs would be far better for the NZ economy and business would prosper.
    The awful Govt would have a higher tax take through GST also.

    But no, Silly Billy would sooner have us on hard times and under his thumb.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      Please be charitable to those afflicted with right wing brain syndrome this Xmas.

    • tracey 6.2

      earlier this year bling was telling businesses to give pay rises. this was when they were pretending it was a rock star economy

    • adam 6.3

      Bugger gst – it is an evil tax.

      Flat taxes hurt everyone – except the rich, the rich get a good belly laugh about that fact on a regular basis.

  7. Reddelusion 7

    What a load of dribble, people just move on, one door closes another opens, if you embrace change instead of wallowing in the above clap trap or acting and thinking like a victim your ok. I can’t believe some of the views here, it’s like you want nz to fail or individuals to suffer to prove an idealogical point, very sad

    • Colonial Rawshark 7.1

      Enough with your stupid hateful aphorisms. Who will pity you when you are next in line to be economically fucked? Do you really think the 1% give a shit about a little cog like you?

      The people destroying the country are the same people who are economically destroying Kiwi lives which are all but invisible to them.

      The simple fact is that doors are being closed on the bottom 95% of the population by the top 1% to 2%.

      Need to change the economic system so that the rich who are raking in shit loads of unearned wealth stop making off like bandits.

      Much more of the country’s income needs to go directly to workers, not corporate profits. The left seem to have no idea how to actually bring this about but there is always hope.

    • tracey 7.2

      reading is a skill. many middle class are very close to the breadline and are a layoff away from calamity. once you are in your mid 40s the doors dont open anything like they do in your 20s and 30s.

      mortgaged to their eyeballs, spending as fast or faster than they earn.

      acknowledging reality is not wallowing.

      let us know when you awaken.

      • Paul 7.2.1

        ‘mortgaged to their eyeballs’

        It is this fact that makes many of the middle class vote for the right wing.
        They are wedded to rising house prices which is the only way they can make money to clear debt.
        Their jobs no longer pay enough to clear that debt.

        They are terrified and the Nats play to that fear.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Too many MPs with too many property investments. And Labour doesn’t have the guts to roll out any game changers. $400K-$500K “cheap” houses FFS.

          • Paul

            And an open door to corporate lobbying with a revolving door to cushy corporate jobs on retirement.
            Labour also take corporate cash which restricts their independence. Sky City being the most obvious.

    • sabine 7.3

      its the same dribble post but a different name.

      maybe you guys at troll central need a pay rise … your performance is lacking in skill and enthusiasm.

    • Paul 7.4

      Did you watch ‘The new Haves and Have nots’ made this year?
      It shows how many people are vulnerable if they lose their jobs.
      There are also 140 000 people unemployed and there have been at least this number out of work for 5 years.
      Please do so before pontificating your extreme views, which I imagine are based on nothing other than an ideological hatred of the left.

    • The Al1en 7.5

      “an idealogical point”

      Better watch out ’cause MurrayRawshark will be on your arse for spelling Ideological incorrectly. 😉

      • fender 7.5.1

        The deluded fool will probably react with some kind of c*nt-ish abuse.. nudge nudge wink wink

        • The Al1en

          ‘Some kind of c*nt-ish abuse’ is a common problem for a few commentators here, and it’s never direct enough for me, it’s always snarky or snidey – Sort of like the cowards way out (nudge nudge, wink wink).
          He should just be straight up, call him a cunt and be done with it.

          • fender

            You’re so tough, dunno how that guy managed to knock you off your feet considering your short temper skills with a keyboard.

            • The Al1en

              Ouch 😆

            • emergency mike

              fender, don’t you know that using swear words at people on teh internet requires the brave heart of a lion? C’mon admit it, you’re really impressed.

              • The Al1en

                So what sort of person does it take to mock a victim (or alleged if you prefer) of violence?
                Or the type that skims over that sort of person to focus on a swear word as a method of attack?


                • emergency mike

                  Well the first person: childish, immature, unhelpful, tr0ll. Not sure, I’d have to know the context. But I’m sure an articulate and thoughtful person such as yourself would be able to make your point without lowering yourself to the ‘down pub I’m swearing at you so there’ book of look-at-me words. Often doing so is a sign you are losing the argument. And it looks dumb.

                  I’ve sworn at a few people here, only the most venal tr0lls spouting the ugliest stuff. I’m sure they loved it. But not people who were trying to make a point I thought was misguided. I think of this place as one for mature discussion, i.e. without recourse to swearing at people because they disagree with you. I try to restrain myself on the snark and snide also, but I’m only human.

                  The second: you mean you swear at people who criticize you for swearing because they did so instead of attacking the person you thought deserved to be attacked? Again I don’t know the context, but people don’t always react the way you want them to. And no one is under any obligation to agree with your opinion nor to back you up in attacking someone else. You could disagree with their criticism, but swearing at them seems childish.

                • Paul

                  Can we get back to the actual issue at debate here?
                  The precariat.

                  ‘Who will be a voice for the emerging precariat?
                  Progressives need to find ways to speak to the new global, insecure classes before the far right does


                  • emergency mike

                    My apologies. Definitely a more interesting and important subject than spelling mistakes and swearing.

                    Interesting times. It seems that there is emerging some semblance of a global awareness than we have lost our way, or that we never had it. A hint of momentum.

                    Which leads to the question of what the power elite’s reaction will be. Of course some, like CV here, have been saying for a while that they preemptively began their preparations against it some time ago.

                  • Murray Rawshark

                    I think the far right are already speaking to them in Aotearoa, especially when we have people like Collins, Sabin, and Benefat in parliament. I’m pretty sure those three are already moderating their words for public consumption. Winston First could also become extremely right wing very quickly, given the right circumstances.

                    On the other hand, with Syriza and Podemos in Europe, at least some left groups are being heard. I’m still hoping Mana will be able to grow into something that will fill that role in Aotearoa. Labour won’t.

                    • Paul

                      South America is leading the way.

                    • Murray Rawshark

                      The South American country that I know most about, Brazil, has a scarily large proportion of its population calling for a military dictatorship. The president is only vaguely left wing, appointing some real right wing scum to ministerial positions.

                      Uruguay is much more hopeful, but is also small. Venezuela is trying hard, but has the cards stacked against it at the moment, because they don’t have the technological expertise to run the oilfields. Maybe Brazil will help them. Petrobras, even though I don’t want them anywhere near Aotearoa, is technically proficient. Bolivia is trying something different, but could end up very dependent on China. I’m not too sure about Argentina and Chile, but Colombia is still basically an outpost of the American empire. I haven’t got a clue about Peru or Paraguay.

                      Still, I’d say that overall they’re doing much better than our part of the world. Maybe they are leading.

                    • Paul

                      Chile another outpost of neoliberalism since Pinochet.
                      Argentina much more hopeful.

                      If you want a clue as to the countries which are progressive or are not, look at the countries Key visited in his South American tour in 2013.
                      Countries visited.


                    • Murray Rawshark

                      Chile has had some slightly leftish governments since Pinochet, but nothing too impressive.
                      Colombia is a failed state run by right wing paramilitaries and with a government where the president is Uncle Sam’s man in Bogota.
                      Mexico is pretty much a basket case, with most of it being held ransom by drug traffickers.

                      Brazil has done some pretty progressive stuff in the last 12 years, and millions fewer people go to sleep hungry every day. It’s still a mess though, with most of the states being run by corrupt crooks. It may have been the corruption that attracted Key, or it may be that the country was just too big to stay away from.

                    • Murray Rawshark

                      It’s strange to me that Chile is classed as more unequal than Brazil. I saw far more extremes of wealth and poverty in Brazil than in Chile. I suppose I’ve only ever been in Santiago and Viña del Mar, but I never saw beggars in the streets. I saw them everywhere in Brazil. Maybe Brazil has done “um jeitinho” on the statistics.

                • fender

                  Considering the verbal violence you are only too quick to dish out here to others I’m sure you can handle it in your typical tough guy style.

                  If I was mocking anything it’s the disparity between your online persona and your in the flesh one where others push you around.

            • Murray Rawshark

              I am also amazed by it.

      • Murray Rawshark 7.5.2

        Why? It’s just more evidence of the sort of person who spells the word incorrectly.

        I wish this blog had a blocking facility like Facebook, because I’m getting more than a bit tired of idiots having shit fights over nothing. If your first resort is to abuse people on the left, go and comment on Whalespew. They’d probably agree with most of what you post.

  8. Paul 8

    Nigel Latta mentioned some interesting statistics in his documentary ‘ The New Haves And Have Nots.
    From memory, 55% of all NZers have 4 weeks or less savings.
    There are a lot of people vulnerable to losing their job suddenly.


  9. North 9

    Dear Old Delusion, NOTHING a government can EVER DO do will EVER change ANYTHING. How clever of Dear Old Delusion !

  10. Red delusion 10

    In my 50s, don’t need to work, I choose to, raised in a family of 7 kids with bugger all, left for OE at 18 for 5 years with 2 k in my pocket (saw a lot of socialism at work, not pretty) , paid my own way through university later in life, made my own way self employed, as a cog at times for evil multinationals. If you want to be a victim you will end up one , your advise is helping no one, the government, unions won’t make your life for you you, never have, never will, take accountability and just get on with it, sure things go wrong but just get back up and move on
    Merry xmas

  11. millsy 11

    A lot of these guys would probably have savings built up, or a freehold house to break their fall, further softened by a generous redundancy package.

    The likes of Rick van Barnveld (sp?), who had spent 2 decades at Transit NZ prior to joining KiwiRail would probably end up forming their own consultancies and rake in the cash this way.

    We should be more concerned about the loss of expertise and institutional knowledge these 65 people had and the impact this will have on KiwiRail (and possibly on other jobs in the business).

    Every company has a worker (or several workers) who are so vital to operations the company litterally would not be able to afford to let them go.

    • Colonial Rawshark 11.1

      Unless the owner of the company was looking at deliberately running down and degrading the business.

    • tracey 11.2

      Admin and Middle management and others amongst that 65, if a reflection of the rest of their ilk may not have redundancy clauses. I know many in similar positions who dont. Dont confuse them with high management

      As for equity, you may be right but I also know people in million dollar homes with 850k mortgages. It takes time to sell. WINZ wont help cos they have an expectation that such salary earners put money aside and saved. Most havent. So the stand down period, depending on which part of NZ they live, will be the same time it takes the house to sell, 10-15 weeks.

      I was interested that the person in charge of passenger transport had their position disestablished, showing the priority of kiwirail,perhaps, and by extension, the govt.

  12. vto 12

    I think, besides from the actual point you are making, you have shown that most awful left wing trait which puts off so very many so-called “middle” nzers…

    … and that is looking down your nose at them and painting them as unthinking cogs and dimwits living shallow and fruitless lives. Examples;

    “the employed middle class, living close to the edge in pursuant of all things material”

    “nodding band of middle class followers”

    “smug middle class National voter ”

    Bit of a shame really as such a lack of understanding of fellow humans taints the cred of the balance of the post.

    But anyways, merry Christmas to you and all the other addicts of this site…..

    • tracey 12.1

      I look forward to your guest pots in 2015

      • vto 12.1.1

        ha ha – there is a reason for the lack thereof ……….

        but to the point made I say – Go “middle” NZ Go!”

        • tracey

          To quote ms collins

          you are a “sensitive wee sausage”.

          • fender

            Ms Collins


            ‘Collins was giving Slater confidential information about what the e-mail contained and the possible ACC reaction to it. Collins, as ACC minister, was sharing sensitive information about her department’s business and about one of her clients.’ (DP p.52)

            ‘The e-mail contained just five words: ‘Simon Pleasants, Manager, Ministerial Property.’ It seems very much as though a senior Cabinet minister was collaborating in publicly accusing a ministerial staff member of wrongdoing’ (DP p.50)

            Just two examples of why Ms Collins should not be allowed anywhere near parliament or any government department. Rotten sausages need to be discarded. Come on Key/National, you appear to be a sorry excuse for a man despite what’s written on your stupid t-shirt.

  13. Michael 13

    I think Tracey’s depiction of middle class New Zealanders as smug, venal materialists is spot on. What’s more: National knows this (so does Crosby Textor) and manipulates this group very successfully. It will take a big shock to wake this bunch up.

    • vto 13.1

      It is not spot on at all, it is an easy way to paint a picture to support what you wish to see in the world.

  14. vto 14

    Tracey, what is spot on here is the very short, yet difficult to see, route from relative comfort to poverty. Life can come undone in a flash. Many d not appreciate this, especially those who have not experienced it.

    And the higher our debt levels go to buy houses off each other over and over, the shorter that route becomes.


  15. collette 15

    more like two letters away from sending families to the food bank when employed becomes UNemployed

  16. Rob 16

    Yes, nothing like a good dose of paranoia to make you feel positive through the well earned holiday period. Keep spreading the fear Tracey. Merry Christmas.

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