Poverty Trap!

Written By: - Date published: 1:35 pm, April 10th, 2011 - 178 comments
Categories: poverty - Tags:

It’s the game played by hundreds of thousands of kiwi families each week, with more new players all the time. In Poverty Trap!, you start with an income less than 60% of the median and have to support yourself and your family within those limits. Watch out for those unexpected costs!

You’re Maree. You have three kids. You have had to move your family twice to escape your abusive ex-partner. You don’t drink or smoke. You can’t work due to a chronic pain syndrome, which also affects your mental health.

Here’s your budget:

Weekly income
$827.50 – DPB, accommodation supplement, disability allowances, family tax credits

Weekly expenses

  • $385.00 – Rent
  • $35.00 – Rent arrears
  • $85.00 – Power
  • $60.00 – Petrol
  • $45.60 – Disability costs
  • $38.00 – Repayments to WINZ
  • $10.00 – Fines
  • $200.00 – Food


Clearly, you can’t go on with a deficit each week. So, what do you cut?

  • You can’t cut your rent. It’s already well below the Auckland average and rentals are rare as hen’s teeth. State housing even rarer because the Nats sold it in the 90s.
  • You can’t cut your loans and repayments from the last time you had extra costs.
  • You can’t cut your disability costs.
  • If you cut your power bill, your kids will get sick.
  • Your petrol consumption is only three-quarters of the typical household’s.
  • Your food budget amounts to $2 per meal per person.
  • You have no luxuries to cut.
  • You don’t go to the movies.
  • You don’t buy scratchies.

How do you make ends meet?

Found a solution?


Now, your youngest needs new shoes. How do you pay?

The car’s broken down. How do you pay?

The rent’s gone up, how do you pay?

Power’s gone up, how do you pay?

Kids need new clothes. How you do pay?

How do you pay?

How do you pay?

How do you pay?

Keep playing, week after week after week.

Poverty Trap! The game the whole family has to play.

178 comments on “Poverty Trap! ”

  1. Rolling 1

    Figures updated in this article, still not easy to pay for the kids clothes though. 

    • Eddie 1.1

      thanks for the update. $550 a year for everything other than basic weekly costs. Pretty bloody thin.

  2. Eddie I am pleased that you put this post up as I was about to post on Open Mike about boarding housing and the squalor that children are forced to live in.

    This article shows how bloody screwed up the governments priorities are.  It is unacceptable for a child to be living in a filthy, potentially violent dwelling.  How does this mother prepare food for her child or any other parent in this situation?

    The people in this article are doing the best that they can.  Housing conditions such as this need to be torn down.  Housing NZ policy and SNG policy has got worse.  Something needs to be done fast so people can eat and not live in squalor.

    Government have money to bail out failed companies but not for vulnerable young children, parents down on their luck or the ill and unemployed in the community who can only afford to live in deplorable conditions. 

  3. Gus 3

    Eddie how are you calculating Medium income?  Based on the NZ Stats Income Survey this is currently $529.


  4. HC 4

    Come on and join the poverty trap! According to John Key, Bennett (the Fata*** Minister) and the National (Socialist = NAZI) government we beneficiaries are making lifestyle “choices” and “sponging”” or “bludging” off the tax payer.

    With the benefit regime (which Labour also upheld when in power!) many depend on supposed temporary additional support, like it used to be with the so-called “Special Benefit”. That is reviewed every 3 or 6 months and beneficiaries struggling are asked, what “efforts” they made to “improve” their situation and save in costs!

    Where though can you “save” when rents do not go down and rather “up”, when groceries also tend to get more expensive, when electricity, water and other utilities are NOT getting cheaper, when you already are forced to budget for food for only $ 60 a week per person and so forth?

    AND – contrary to what Bennett and Co claim, there are more stringent rules to granting special needs grants now, so that fewer are handed out!

    It is a total disgrace and audacity what happens in this country that is a leading food producing nation! Many in Christchurch still get a somewhat “privileged treatment” by WINZ, but wait once you end up on the dole for longer!

    Others still working are brainwashed to think that beneficiaries are “ripping the tax payer off”. That may apply to a dishonest minority, but it hardly resembles the true picture of the average person on the dole, sickness or invalid\’s benefit.

    Then Paula F**** Pudding Bennett (whose waist line is extending by the day) has the audacity to force sick people to be work tested (as of May 2011).

    When do people wake up and show solidarity amongst all poor and soon to be poor?

    This is my message to this topic, and I can only hope that more people wake up and start taking a real stand rather than join the redneck bastards dividing this country more and more by the day.

  5. JAS 5

    If you are going to make comparisons between this scenario and median incomes, you need to compare apples with apples.

    Apart from her base benefit she receives entitlements that any other low income earner can receive.  eg Working for families payments, disability allowances, accomodation supplements.

    You cannot simply take her weekly payment and “annualise” it.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Two things.

      1.) Even with all those extras her income is still less than 60% of the median household income.
      2.) WfF is only for people who happen to have a job.

      • JAS 5.1.1

        No working for families payments are for “families” regardless of employment status, amount determined based on income level.

        The “in-work” portion is for those that have a job.

      • Jasper 5.1.2

        WFF is a misnomer DTB as the likes of the Accommodation Supplement, Temporary Additional Support are included in the “WFF” packages.
        What you’re referring to is the “in work tax credit” which again, forms part of the WFF stable, but is the only one available to people in work.
        It’s one of the great lies that I constantly have to rebut when people think they’re not eligible for WFF.
        Much the same as low income earners who are too scared to approach WINZ for financial help in case they lose their job – sad but true – and refuse to do so as they don’t believe their privacy will be kept, thanks to  Pulla Bennefits actions.

    • felix 5.2


      Apart from her base benefit she receives entitlements that any other low income earner can receive.  eg Working for families payments, disability allowances, accomodation supplements.

      Nah. The 827.50 figure includes the disability, accommodation and presumably any other supplements she’s eligible for, according to the bit in the post right next to the bit that says “827.50”

      • JAS 5.2.1

        ummm exactly my point!

        her base benefit is around the $270pw mark, (sorry am not going to go and look up the exact rate since 1/4/11)

  6. Robert B 6

    Easy peasy.

    Maree is not in a position to run a car and doesn’t need one since she’s not working. Hence:

    1. Sell her car – use the money to pay off the back-rent and fines she’s repaying.
    2. Spend $25 a week on school buses and transport rather than $60 of petrol (and not have to worry about warrants, regos, maintenance etc). Oh, and do her bit for global warming in the process…
    3. Save the $40-$50 pw that’s now surplus each week and use it to buy new shoes, clothes etc – that’s $2500 a year.
    4. Not worry about inflation increases in rent since National has finally inflation-adjusted all benefits which should cover it.

    Oh, and figure out why they’re spending twice as much as they should be on power – $370pm is far more than they need and I’m sure with a little creative thinking they could cut at least 1/3 of that off – saving another $1500 odd per year to go towards other stuff.

    I’m sure if she attended free budgeting services (now mandated for those in her position who want extra handouts) they’d find a number of other options for her as well.

    In fact I’d go one further and say that if the new policy of requiring those that repeatedly ask for additional hardship grants to take free budget advice had come in sooner perhaps she wouldn’t have got into the debt she’s now in, requiring back-rent and WINZ repayments – meaning she’d have $40 a week surplus in the above budget including keeping her car.

    Nobody said it was easy in her circumstances – in fact it’s bloody hard. However benefits are there to put a roof over your head (the basics) not as a lifestyle choice.

    But the fact is it can be done. Kinda highlights how good the new policy of requiring budget advice is, really, doesn’t it?

    • Robert B 6.1

      Or plan b, consolidate the debt.

      It looks like her budget doesn’t balance purely because of debt. Perhaps consolidate the debt to WINZ, power and back-rent and structure repayments to be a level she can afford.

      Again, the sort of advice the (free) budget advice people would give her, if she hadn’t refused to utilise their (free) services resulting in the predicament she’s in now.

      It’s bad budgeting and financial management – plain and simple.

      • McFlock 6.1.1

        Um – if you only need a car if you have a job, then surely selling the car means she’ll never get a job?
        God forbid someone without a job might need a car, though – say for midnight runs to the urgent doctors or other emergencies.
        But then if you’re wrong about the car, the gross assumptions about power might be wrong as well. And then your judgemental slide rule goes to shit.
        And most beneficiary advocates I’ve known have been pretty damned good at budget advice – maybe she’s broke simply because it’s not enough money to raise 3 kids on in auckland when you’re pissing through $45/w on meds alone.

        • Robert B

          Before you make passive-aggressive comments about “judgmental slide rules” blah blah consider the fact that she alerted the media – she invited judgement.

          She’s on the DPB – she’s not looking for a job.

          Regarding the car, plenty of people get by without a car – they’re a luxury item. Nice to have and all that, but not essential.

          And the article itself makes it clear she has consistently refused budget advice – while continually seeking hardship grants. So she’s refusing help on one hand and expecting workers to keep propping her up on the other. It simply can’t work both ways.

          The budget provided makes it clear there’s plenty of room there is she managed her affairs in a reasonable manner. She got herself into debt – that’s the real problem here. If she hadn’t she’d be fine.

          Now she has to do what everyone else who gets into debt has to do – figure out what she can forgo to get out of it again. The car is the logical thing, or sell a few things on Trade Me. Basically get back to square one, after which it’s clear there is sufficient in the thousands of taxpayer dollars handed over for her to get by.

          • Vicky32

            She’s on the DPB – she’s not looking for a job.

            Why should she? Looking after children is a job, especially if both she and two of the children have health issues.

            • Robert B

              That was kinda my point – I wasn’t suggesting she should be looking for a job.

          • McFlock

            As opposed to describing someone else’s difficulties as “easy-peasy”?
            Cars are not necessarily “luxury items”. Plenty of people do without, but they don’t necessarily have children asthmatic enough to qualify for disability benefits. What’s the waithing time for an ambulance in their area?
            At least some of the debt has been accrued due to unexpected faults (hot water leak) when on a below-subsistence income.
            But no, you’re all good just plugging out assumptions about debts and necessities, debt consolidation and life instructions when you have a couple of hundred words of the story.

            • Robert B

              No, “easy peasy” was in response to the original question “how do you make ends meet?”.

              If it was really caused by the hot water leak then hit the landlord up about it – tenancy services would help.

              Look, here’s the truth of the matter. The reason I don’t have a lot of sympathy is that my own family’s circumstances weren’t entirely different some time ago. We had the debt. We had to make hard choices. We had to give up the car. We had to go without.

              But we made those choices and we fought our f*cking way out and now we’re doing okay, thanks for asking.

              Call me bigoted, but I really have no time for people who are being given more than many people work bloody hard for every week, whinging to the media and refusing to jump through what are very minor hoops and accountabilities that come with getting more than everyone else (come talk to our budgeting guy before we give you yet another emergency top-up).

              I don’t begrudge the lass. I actually identify with her predicament. But I just think she should put her situation in perspective.

              Those that have visited places like the Cambodia, Phillipines, Thailand, Somalia, etc, etc, etc, etc (not to mention the REALLY poor countries) know that nobody in New Zealand *really* has to live in poverty. In many countries she wouldn’t have a roof. In many countries she’d be begging in the gutters and so would her kids. In many countries she’d be dead. Instead, she’s complaining because she can’t afford petrol for her car.

              Most in New Zealand seem to think poverty means not having a car or a TV or a new pair of shoes. Get some perspective, people.

              • McFlock


                No, “easy peasy” was in response to the original question “how do you make ends meet?”.

                And the question was posed because a specific individual was having difficulty making ends meet. So after reading a litany of someone’s woe, you say the solution is “easy peasy”.

                Even if your “solutions” were appropriate to her circumstances, you cover a multitude of sins with deceptively few words: e.g. the hot water thing “hit the landlord up about it”. Such a quick way of summing up a legal dispute that might drag on and on and on and then – bugger me- the lease is cancelled at the end of the term and she has to find relocation costs. It could well be cheaper to just pay the arrears herself. But you’ve presented an “easy peasy” solution to make her look either lazy or stupid.

                The real world isn’t always “easy peasy”. And she lives in NZ, not Cambodia.

          • Draco T Bastard

            And the article itself makes it clear she has consistently refused budget advice…

            That is an outright lie. The article mentions right at the beginning that she has already got budgeting advice. She’s refusing to waste time and money (our taxpayer $$$) to get more that’s just going to say the same thing.

            The budget provided makes it clear there’s plenty of room there is she managed her affairs in a reasonable manner.

            The budget advice that’s she’s already got that’s mentioned at the beginning of the article says that she can’t.

            She got herself into debt – that’s the real problem here.

            Nope, what appears to have got her into debt was WINZ not paying enough to cover her reasonable costs.

            • Robert B

              No, it wasn’t an outright lie. I didn’t see that first time around. Way to assume the worst in people, Draco.

              However it’s irrelevant. She refused the WINZ budget advice. You spin that as “saving taxpayer’s money”, but frankly that’s garbage. However even if it was true, the fact is WINZ said “you’ve been coming here every 2 months asking for top-ups. Look, let’s talk budgets”.

              Irrespective of whether she’d had all the budget advice in the world it’s a perfectly reasonable request even if simply for a second opinion.

              • felix

                No, it wasn’t an outright lie. I didn’t see that first time around. Way to assume the worst in people, Draco.

                Oh the irony. Here you are preaching personal responsibility for others yet you won’t even own your own bullshit.

              • Tohe

                She refused the WINZ budget advice. You spin that as “saving taxpayer’s money”, but frankly that’s garbage. However even if it was true, the fact is WINZ said “you’ve been coming here every 2 months asking for top-ups. Look, let’s talk budgets”.
                Irrespective of whether she’d had all the budget advice in the world it’s a perfectly reasonable request even if simply for a second opinion.


                But Pam Apera of the Beneficiaries Advocacy and Information Service, who supported Maree at the Wednesday meeting, said they both walked out only after “begging” for the food grant for an hour and a half and being turned down.

                She was obviously seeking some sort of help or she wouldn’t have had Pam Apera with her


    • Tangled up in blue 6.2

      Nobody said it was easy in her circumstances – in fact it’s bloody hard. However benefits are there to put a roof over your head (the basics) not as a lifestyle choice.

      Why should she have to struggle to get by?

      • Robert B 6.2.1

        Because she got herself into debt and doesn’t have an income other than a benefit. It’s not meant to be easy or everyone’d be doing it.

        Honestly, some people here are truly fascinating. There are plenty of people out there struggling bloody hard working long hours and taking home less than she is. Their tax pays for her, which is fine to provide the basics.

        The tax system doesn’t magicly come up with money. If you give a beneficiary $1 more it’s $1 that comes from hard-working kiwis. So someone working bloody hard has to go without luxuries so that someone on a benefit can have them. Is that really fair?

        The ONLY reason her budget doesn’t balance is because she got herself into debt. Nobody made her. She refused to accept budgeting advice. It’s nobody else’s fault but hers, and benefits aren’t there to fund lifestyles.

        • RobC

          “It’s nobody fault but hers”

          So I suppose the lowlife who smacked her around, possibly doesnt pay child support (and if he does, then it’s not thousand of dollars of taxpayer money, is it?) is completely blameless?

          How about the scum who has the snake in his trousers man up and take the kids for 50% of the time? Where is he? Where is the kid’s father?

          Dumping on a woman who has got out of an abusive relationship is just fucking sick. No wonder ths country is going to the pack with arseholes prepared to judge a woman who has to pick up the pieces of her life while the person who caused the problem is not even scrutinised.

          Tell me, all you know-it-alls. Know anyone who has been assaulted in a relationship? Think it’s easy to pack up and leave and suddenly have to do all the things that are usually shared between two people?

        • Tangled up in blue

          It’s not meant to be easy or everyone’d be doing it.

          Everyone would be doing what exactly? Going out and getting chronic pain syndrome so they can struggle to survive?

          The tax system doesn’t magicly come up with money. If you give a beneficiary $1 more it’s $1 that comes from hard-working kiwis. So someone working bloody hard has to go without luxuries so that someone on a benefit can have them. Is that really fair?

          What are you on about? Govt. revenue doesn’t just come from income tax. But yeah, good idea; let’s put more of the tax burden on people that can afford it.

          The ONLY reason her budget doesn’t balance is because she got herself into debt. Nobody made her. She refused to accept budgeting advice. It’s nobody else’s fault but hers, and benefits aren’t there to fund lifestyles

          No, when you have little to no money to save then unexpected bills (medical, vehicle, kids, vet, dentist, lost/stolen property etc etc etc) ARE the reason people get into debt. She doesn’t drink or smoke or waste money; so to say she got herself into debt is ridiculous.
          In one breath you say it’s bloody hard for her to survive and then go on to say the benefit is funding her lifestyle. What lifestyle? Her bloody hard barely having the basics lifestyle?

        • Puddleglum

          “She refused to accept budgeting advice.”

          Robert B, I think you’re a bit confused. In the article it was stated that “the mother could not work because of a muscle pain condition called fibromyalgia, had been to a budgeting agency, but had no way to reduce her costs.”

          What you are referring to is WINZ’s request to go over her budget. She has already sought independent budget advice and may feel that WINZ, partly because of the new directions from government to get people off benefits and make special grants, etc. more difficult to receive, are predisposed to get her to cut costs that she has already been told she cannot cut (presumably without risking something worse). 

          WINZ’s ‘budget advice’, that is, may have an element of ‘interest’ in drawing up the budget.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Honestly, some people here are truly fascinating.

          Some people are and then there are some that, like you, are purely psychopathic.

          So someone working bloody hard has to go without luxuries so that someone on a benefit can have them. Is that really fair?

          Yes because that person working is covered by the same process. In the business world it’s called insurance but the community does it a hell of a lot cheaper and far more efficiently than a private insurance company which is why it’s so damn cheap.

          The ONLY reason her budget doesn’t balance is because she got herself into debt.

          Nope, the only reason that her budget doesn’t balance is because she doesn’t have a high enough income to cover the basics and no way to increase it.

    • prism 6.3

      You can’t work due to a chronic pain syndrome, which also affects your mental health.
      Robert B  –  The theoretical woman has a disability and no doubt finds the car a huge help, even if costly.   If she had to get public transport, walk a long way with groceries, etc she would soon be in difficulty.  She needs to maintain her coping abilities to care properly for her three children.  A car is more than transport.  It is a load carrier, it weatherproofs the occupants, it provides a safety shell 24 hours a day etc.  And getting to appointments and school or sport events does not become the main task of the day.

      • Robert B 6.3.1

        It’s certainly nice having a car. However it isn’t an essential, and the lass in question can’t afford it because she got herself into debt. Simple.

        • felix

          What part of “chronic pain syndrome, which also affects your mental health” do you not understand?
          She has physical & mental disabilities you fucking sadist.

        • Vicky32

          I don’t have a car, and I seriously wish I did! So, Robert B, have you ever tried getting a load of groceries home by carrying them in flimsy bags? Tried getting a child to a dental appointment three suburbs away?
          Sure it’s nice having a car – and for some people it’s essential. Don’t be such an idiot.

    • Vicky32 6.4

      4. Not worry about inflation increases in rent since National has finally inflation-adjusted all benefits which should cover it.

      They have? Funny, I am on a benefit, and I haven’t noticed that, and I am sure I would have, had they actually done such a thing.

      • Deadly_NZ 6.4.1

        Yes Vicky they did increase the benefit I think mine and my partners came to Ummm  thats right the princley sum of $1.65.

        • Jasper

          They “increased it with the rate of inflation”
          less of course, the 2.2% increase for GST from last year.
          So, go figure.

        • Vicky32

          Oh, I see… Deffo I didn’t notice – they probably applied it to ‘debt’ repayment – a debt caused by their own carelessness in not taking any notice of earnings I had declared…

  7. Zorr 7

    I have often been in that trap and, though there aren’t ways out, there are ways around a lot of the issues there. I have been there and done this so none of these are just idle speculation. These are all things I have done in the past to make ends meet.

    First of all, petrol. You don’t use that because you don’t have a car. Kids go to school locally and you walk home with the groceries or pay a $20 taxi fare once a week instead of $60 petrol.

    Secondly, $200 for one adult and 3 children. 3 years ago that was luxury for me having to do shopping for 5 of us. With current prices it is becoming a real squeeze but I think I could still do it.

    Power of $85.00pw? You have got to be kidding me right? For Auckland? Even in the depths of winter in Christchurch we never got over that. Can definitely cut down there. Invest in blankets or sweaters from $2 clothing stores or cheaper.

    Repayments to WINZ can be lowered significantly. I know this from my time working for them. Whether “Maree” knows this is another matter of course.

    This creates some space in the budget. Not enough to meet a major crisis or anything. I know that for many years I couldn’t afford to see a dentist except when in crippling pain to get a tooth out as an example of how close to the line I lived.

    Potentially, to get the rent down, find a similar family/friends who are in similar straits and go looking for a new flat for all of you. It may be difficult but it is possible and would potentially result in a little bit more space in the budget.

    Would never voluntarily put myself back in that situation but, for example, currently living on approx $250pw for myself, wife and 2 children. Don’t have rent costs but it is far from glamorous living.

    • felix 7.1

      Zorr (and RobertB and others): How do you keep missing the words

      chronic pain syndrome, which also affects your mental health.

      A car isn’t a luxury for someone with a physical disability who needs to get from Glenfield to Papakura for medical care.
      You sick fucks.

  8. Redlogix 8

    Well Maree could move out of Auckland. Rents in many provincial towns are a lot lower than $385pw… not hard to find something closer $250 or even less if you aren’t too fussy.
    I know full well that this might not be a choice open to Maree, there are all sorts of personal and family reasons why it may not be a goer… but it is one realistic option.

    And the power bill does strike me as over the top. Personally I’ve never gone over about $40pw, often less than that. This is one area that I’ve annecdotally heard all sorts of different numbers. A lot depends on the climate, the thermal performance of the house you are living in, the type of heating available to you… but personal awareness and habits probably have a big impact. That extra 3-4 minutes in the shower each morning can really add up.

    Which still doesn’t take much away from the basic thesis here… if you are on much less than the median income here in this mean little country…. it’s struggle street all the way. Whichever way you cut it there’s very little margin for error and it only takes a few setbacks to keep families perpetually living this kind of hand to mouth existence.

    • Treetop 8.1

      And who will pay for the removal costs?  As well new college uniforms?

      Cheaper housing is the solution.  Why are the government not doing anything about expanding their housing?  Insulated housing would reduce the electric bill.  Living near a community garden would reduce food costs.

      It can be hard to think clearly when a person is overwhelmed by debt as they go into a type of survival mode of just trying to get through the day.

    • Missy Poo 8.2

      WINZ frown on beneficiaries moving to smaller, provincial towns. Why? Because there are even less job opportunities there and that means that ‘Maree’ would have even less opportunity to find work and get off the benefit. She might even be penalised for this because she would not be able to actively look for work because there is no work to look for. Draconian measures have been introduced under Paula Bennett and they have only serving to create a higher sense of helplessness among the unemployed.
      Moving is expensive. Phone and power companies often charge set up fees to low income famiies and those moving from one region to another. This is a bond to cover the utility companies arses should the low income earner or new customer make a midnight flit to greener pastures. There are many other costs associated with moving and one should not undertake this process lightly or even, too often due to the cost of doing so.
      Why should ‘Maree’ have to move again anyway? She has probably had to move to a less desirable area just to get away from her abusive ex. Now she may feel even more vulnerable because of it, exacerbating her medical and mental conditions, costing more in doctor and prescription fees, not to mention the cost of getting to her medical appointments.
      Having a car, especially when you have a family member who often needs emergency medical treatment, is a necessity (an ambulance can often take longer than hopping in your car and it will cost you an arm and a leg if it is not ACC related). It also helps give the person a sense of independence that they may not otherwise have. You do know that the public transport system is crap outside of the major suburban hubs, don’t you?
      What I am trying to get at is that we are all unique individuals with unique and individual circumstances. Not everyone who receives a benefit is on it by choice. Indeed, Minister Bennett has told me that she has been advised that the number of people ‘ripping off’ the welfare system is almost statistically unmeasurable because it is so low.
      Let us give people a chance. Let us encourage people in a positive way to try and claw their way out of the poverty trap they may have found themselves in. Let us stop this bickering between ourselves and direct it at Government, who are the ones creating this ‘bene bashing, holier than thou’ mentality and extending the poverty line even further.
      I walk alongside people who are in the poverty trap and I try and encourage them in any way that I possibly can. I can’t do it for them but I can give them some tools to help themselves. That is how I can help, personally. What are you doing?

      • RedLogix 8.2.1

        Yes I accept that there are potential hurdles to moving… I said as much at the outset.
        But I do object to your implicition that provincial towns are always a lesser choice “Why should ‘Maree’ have to move again anyway? She has probably had to move to a less desirable area just to get away from her abusive ex.”
        In my humble experience provincial towns can, if you have the right attitude, be quite pleasant places to live. Life is generally a lot more relaxed and less stressful. Shops, schools, medical centres and so on are usually within walking distance of each other.  It becomes possible to organise your life so that the amount of car use is hugely reduced… compared to what is unavoidable in a place like Auckland.
        Rents are not only lower, but sections are often larger… making a decent garden possible (and landlords in these places are often more willing, indeed happy, for tenants to do this). Part-time casual work is often not too hard to find, locally scrounged firewood is much cheaper, there is often a really good local market somewhere with good cheap fruit and veges locally grown… and with a bit of help from friends and a social network of some sort.. the cost of living in these places can be a lot lower than in the big cities.

        And there are plenty of quiet little neighbourhoods left where people still talk to each other, look out for their friends and it’s not always necessary to lock the doors when you pop down the road for an hour or so. Good for the mental health.
        Now I’m still not suggesting this makes living on any kind of benefit easy… but I am outlining one option that could make their lives a little better.

        • HC

          Have you never heard that WINZ actually keeps a very long list of “no go areas” for beneficiaries, to where they are not allowed to move, because the chances of getting back into work in those regions are so low?
          That is a fact and seems to be something you are not informed about!
          That list covers almost all of rural NZ, smaller towns and some cities from the Cape to the Bluff and naturally also covers Stewart Island.
          So what argument are you trying to make?
          Before you make such suggestions you should perhaps inform yourself.
          If a beneficiary moves to such areas they get penalised by having their benefits cut or reduced! Hence it is NO solution at all!

          • RedLogix

            What… no beneficiaries in places like… um… New Plymouth, Napier,  Nelson, Westport, Masterton?
            I know perfectly well about the list you speak of, but it doesn’t mean at the other extreme you can only live in the four major cities either.
            The point I’m making is that if you are smart, these provincial towns can be a lot easier to live in, a lot easier to get by on reduced means. I’m not suggesting it’s going to be for everyone, but it’s something many people who’ve only ever lived in the big cities probably never think of.

            • HC

              The rule WINZ uses is that they do not allow people to move TO such areas they have on a list of “no go areas”! That does not mean that there are NO beneficiaries in regional towns and/or such “no go areas”!
              They are happy for beneficiaries to move “up” the hierarchy of places, say from New Plymouth to Auckland or Wellington. They do not like people on benefits to move from Auckland or Wellington to places like New Plymouth, Whangarei or similar. Nor do they want people move from New Plymouth to say Opotiki.
              WINZ ultimately wants people OFF benefits, which means get them into any kind of “acceptable” work (minimum wage plus). So if a beneficiary moves to any place, where it is harder than the present place of residence to find work, they do not usually condone the move.
              So it seems you did not get the point I was making.

              • HC

                It may also be rather pointless to move to smaller centres, because the Accommodation Allowance paid to beneficiaries depends on the area where a person lives. If you would for instance move from Auckland to Hamilton your allowance would drop.
                So you may have lower rental costs but also less total benefit as a result! Where is the gain in this?

          • Colonial Viper

            Any reason why the list of no-go low employment areas in NZ should not be made publicly available?
            Now I can understand it for a town of 1000, but I wonder how many towns of 25,000-50,000 are also on the list.

            • HC

              The so-called “no go areas” were introduced under the Labour led government in 2004, so this is not really something new. See the following link below for a newspaper article about this:

              WINZ may make some exceptions to their rules if people have good enough reasons to move to such areas (e.g. caring for a sick relative, or indeed having a job lined up there). Otherwise people are discouraged to move to such less favourable places, where jobs may be harder to find.

              • Tohe

                These are the no-go areas.. they don’t include the larger towns such as Masterton, Palmerston North, even a lot of small towns aren’t listed.
                Effectively, as per this list, I’m assuming one could move from Auckland to Te Kuiti (Population 4300) without penalty. Seen plenty of decent 3brm rentals there for $150-$190. Thats a huge saving!
                I’m not saying that she or anyone SHOULD move, just using that list and rent comparison to illustrate.

    • wtl 8.3

      $85 on electricity including arrears caused by a leaky hot water cylinder

      From the more recent article

    • rosy 8.4

      “Well Maree could move out of Auckland.”
      And move away from her and her children’s support networks? This is one of the things I think is seriously wrong with our economic system. People move for jobs and leave behind all the people that could provide support, information and even a check to make things are going ok. The children leave friends, cousins, grandparents etc,etc as well as friends, football teams – whatever. We end up with unsupported parents at a time when they are least able to cope and displaced children. That to me is the greatest recipe for disaster our economic system produces.

      • prism 8.4.1

        The isolated individual is what the NZ welfare system will enforce. While making lip service to the value and worth of family with great play of family group conferences in the justice sector, the true attitude to family is not supportive.  The welfare department would force a beneficiary from a neighbourhood with known contacts and support to shift to another far away where the person is a stranger.
        When this is also applied to a parent responsible for children who receives useful help from family, it shows a callous lack of interest for the welfare of the parent and children.  Of course if the small family unit wishes to get away from a criminal and violence-inclined neighbourhood or family it would have more advantages than disadvantages.

  9. Anthony 9

    Without her fines/arrears she would have an extra $4000PA to pay for emergencies.

    • felix 9.1

      And if your Auntie had bollocks she’d be your Uncle.
      Why do you think she has these debts? I’m only taking a wild stab here but if she’s behind in her rent I’d guess it’s because she had some unexpected costs (a car repair or a medical bill perhaps) that she couldn’t avoid and had to let the rent slide for a week. Sucks but you get that when you have zero wiggle room in your budget.
      Fines could be anything but one of the most common fines poor people get is for having no rego on the car. When you can only just afford to eat and feed the kids and John Key near doubles the rego fee, it’s pretty easy to let it lapse. And a $200 fine that you can’t afford to pay multiplies into a $1000 fine pretty quick once the enforcement fees and court costs start getting added added.
      But I’m only guessing. For all I know she spent the rent on heroin and set fire to the neighbour’s shed.

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        Why do you think she has these debts? I’m only taking a wild stab here but if she’s behind in her rent I’d guess it’s because she had some unexpected costs (a car repair or a medical bill perhaps) that she couldn’t avoid and had to let the rent slide for a week.
        Absolutely. This is the most common problem…. this week it was a vet bill.  As landlords we walk a tight line with this because it can be really hard to know if you aren’t being taken for a ride or not.

        We always allow a few weeks wriggle room, but in the long run you have to insist on the arrears being paid.

        Fines could be anything but one of the most common fines poor people get is for having no rego on the car.

        Yeah… been there done that myself. In my case it was largely self-inflicted, but still a bitch to get out of.

        • felix

          Of course, and I’m sure people do try all sorts of stuff on.
          Of all the people I’ve known who’ve been in this situation – including myself – the last thing any of them ever want is to get behind with the rent. Especially the ones with kids – no parent wants to put the roof over their child’s head at risk.
          Some have been lucky enough to have understanding landlords like yourselves and some haven’t, and it really does make a difference to the stress levels in the household.

        • JAS

          In fact, talking to a temp worker at work recently, winz had actually advised him NOT to pay his rent in order to pay for car repairs so he could get to work.

          Really helpful of them to advise he gets himself further in debt, and risks eviction for his family.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Sounds like the “advice” (more like a demand) that my nephew got to reduce his rental – he’s in a fixed rate mortgage and it would have cost him $20k+ to break it and interest rates ATT were still higher than his mortgage. Follow the advice from WINZ and you’ll usually end up worse off.

        • RobC

          Heh … since moving to the poor part of town I’ve noticed the increased number of WOF/Rego checkpoints I have to endure …

      • Anthony 9.1.2

        She actually has the wiggle room to pay for emergencies in her budget, but obviously doesn’t have the skills or the budgeting support to live within that budget.

        That’s the sad thing about using “Maree” as an example, far too many people already have to live on a similar income and with similar issues (bar the spousal abuse) and work as well…

        They can look at her budget and know that they could do it. 

        It also sounds like she’s been suckered into taking liability for the landlords costs.

        • Draco T Bastard

          She actually has the wiggle room to pay for emergencies in her budget,

          Not according to the budgeting advisor she went to see.

      • Roger 9.1.3

        The $10 for fines is the minimum payment you are allowed to make on a $200 debt. It is completely feasible that she failed a warrant, had to pay for the car repairs, and was late getting a registration for the vehicle because you need a warrant to get this. Or it took time to get the money available to repair the car and she got a ticket in that time. Debts to WINZ usually involve expenses that are necessary (i.e. replacing fridge, new school uniforms etc).

    • Marty G 9.2

      “emergencies” like ‘kid needs shoes’?

    • prism 9.3

      If she had wings, she might be a bird or an angel.  If she had a different life, she might be someone else.  Being a theoretical person, fines could have been left out of the scenario, but including them makes sense for someone poor.  They are always living close to a small budget limit, and punishment fines for being late for some reason are incurred too often.
      And I think in Iceland I’ve heard that fines are tailored on the income being received.  It is obviously harsher on someone with no discretionary money to be fined $20, when it is an annoying pinprick for someone on the median wage.

  10. todd 10

    Well clearly you are wrong Eddie. Maree obviously chose to be on the dole… has a drug habit, spends all her money on the pockies, cigarettes and booze and sits around all day watching sky on her huge expensive sky digital TV. She should clean up her act, move to a cheaper rental, buy a cheaper car to run or sell it (she doesn’t need to drive her kids to the doctor) and buy cheaper food and less of it… $2 per person per meal is a kings ransom in some countries like Ethiopia and India.
    She doesn’t know how good she’s got it. $827.50 per week is more than the medium income; it’s a fortune. You can buy a loaf of bread for $2 and feed the whole family. Water is free! If she can’t survive, she should get a job. If she can’t get a job she should work for the dole. Her kids don’t need her to bring them up; they can look after themselves.
    It’s clearly all her fault… she is just a bad parent because she’s on the dole. Is Maree a Maori by any chance? It’s all her fault for having so many kids. We should force her to be sterilized so she can’t cost us any more money. Lets cut her dole until she submits. It costs millions of dollars to bring up children and I want tax breaks so I don’t have to pay. If her car has broken down that is her fault as well, she should have a husband that can fix it. A few beatings, is a small price to pay.
    If she can’t feed her kids properly we should take her kids away… Foster parents can do a much better job. She doesn’t deserve them because she’s poor and obviously evil for being on the dole. All beneficiaries are criminals! She should put in a garden at the rental property. When she can’t afford to pay the rent, just kick her out, who gives a shit! She’s expendable because she is poor without any rights or money for a lawyer. What we really need are some more donors for body parts. I’ve got my priorities right on the money. Poverty trap? Don’t make me laugh!

    • sean 10.1

      Lovely sarcasm todd – instead of taking things completely out of context as you and the Standard are doing on this topic, what would you suggest the Government should be doing?
      Howabout $1800 a week in benefits?  Would that be more fair for her and her family?  That would provide a lot of incentive to get out of the trap she’s in wouldn’t it?
      How about the government heavily subsidises her rent also with cheap housing and pays her children’s school fees and costs?
      How do you expect the government to provide services and infrastructure in the country that are conducive to growth and productivity, when it is already spending $40k per family in this situation – the crazy thing is you seem to be expecting that more money should be being thrown at these people to help them out.
      The last I heard, throwing ever increasing amounts of money at problems NEVER solves them.

      • todd 10.1.1

        I would not say that I have taken things completely out of context here. The real sad thing is that many of the things I have alluded to are actual policies of National.The fact that nearly all of my sarcasm is based on right wing ideology is indicative of how insane they actually are.
        Might I suggest a universal wage, proper competition so that no entity corners the market like Fonterra, raising the minimum wage so that welfare is not required to meet living costs, GST off fruit and vegetables, incentives for home ownership, progressing our economy through job creation and investment, not bailing out failed businesses, a cap on excessive top earners, ensuring people pay their taxes and are caught when fraudulent and rewarding people who abide by the law instead of constantly punishing them for being poor.
        The relative effect of increasing benefits is not particularly effective for your argument. It’s not a case of throwing money at the “problem.” I presume you mean beneficiaries are a problem? The fact is that there’s a requirement to ensure we have a functioning society without the disadvantages that poverty impart on those unlucky enough to be impacted. You can chose to attack the disadvantaged and contribute to social ills or you can chose to develop a structure that ensures everybody is looked after, irrespective of their circumstances. As long as we continue to have high inflation, we will need to increase benefits, it’s as simple as that. As long as the National Government creates more unemployment, there will be a high cost involved and not only in respect to the Governments budget.
        The incentive to escape the poverty trap is already there, however the means of escape is not readily available to most. That is the area that needs focus, a means to escape poverty… Not those trapped in the poverty cycle. If we can give the poor a choice to escape poverty through their own endeavours, how many people do you think will chose to remain impoverished?

      • felix 10.1.2

        The last I heard, throwing ever increasing amounts of money at problems NEVER solves them.

        What a strange thing to say. Depending on the problem, spending money may well be part of the solution. Doubly so if the problem is a lack of money.

        • prism

          sean – The last I heard, throwing ever increasing amounts of money at problems NEVER solves them.
          Where did you hear that?   If you opened your ears to something other than repeated slogans, you might come up with some individual worthwhile suggestions.  Does it make you feel unhappy to form your own opinions? Sort of exposed to the cold wind of reality.   Problems can easily be observed, solutions are not easily reached, but could be found if they could reroute past the barriers formed by tight, closed, self-interested and judgmental minds.

  11. chris73 11

    My wife and I average $900 a week after taxes (I average 45 hours a week) and shes bitching about $827 a week which is given to her
    People in this country should start being a little more grateful for the money they get and try taking a little more responsibilty for themselves
    $85 a week on power?
    $60 on petrol??
    Heres a suggestion for her: Go take advantage of the budgeting services offered to her (and rejected by her) and be a damn sight more thankful that there are people in this country that work damn hard so that people like her get more then the average wage

    “We have asked [her] more than once to meet with us to work on a budget and agree some reasonable steps towards managing her finances. We want to help [her] live within her means, to break out of the debt cycle,” he said. “To date, [she] has refused to discuss her budget and costs with us.”

    Yeah boo hoo I have no sympathy for her

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Wow you are below the median household income and you still support National? Talk about voting against your best interests.

      • chris73 11.1.1

        Thats because I aspire to be above the median level (my current circumstances will not last forever) by a rather large amount and I believe National is the best party to help me get there
        I can’t believe you people are going to sit here and say how hard done by she is, even you lefties must be able to see the absurdity of this womens situation.
        (Come to think of it is this whole thread sounds like a massive trolling exercise)

        • Jasper

          If you aspire to be above the median level, then your aspirations under National will be shot dead.

          To first get above the median level a country needs;
          – an increase in the number of jobs available for unskilled workers

          – an increase in apprenticeships and trainee courses for labourers

          These two effects have a multiplier effect upwards

          – large numbers of unskilled jobs provides funding into the local economy by way of more workers having some money to spend. These will generally be your teenagers and students living at home, who have the ability to buy clothes, shoes, fast food etc.

          – This ability to spend at the lower level equates to more retail stores opening. Retail stores are staffed by people who are semi – skilled. Those with decent customer service skills, high presentation standards, and sales ability.

          – These staff usually receive a higher wage than unskilled people. This is where the “aspirational” class begin. You may find that a portion of this class may be people who are undertaking further study in order to improve their career prospects.

          The flow on effect from more retail stores, usually means that office workers will develop. More retail stores (usually a chain like Overland) means that regional offices need to open.

          – Regional offices hire staff such as Business Development Managers to grow and expand their retail empire. Other staff such as accountants, CIO/CFO, regional managers are hired. These may be the people who have been working for the company on the high street, and got their degree which they are now putting into work.

          – This added growth to the company means that there needs to be more checks and balances in place at the National level. Companies do fail, so to assist NZ owned companies to grow, the Government sets up entities such as Ministry of Economic Development and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, to help these once small companies grow and expand overseas.
          – Government departments set up on a nation wide basis. Highly skilled people, with higher incomes who are able to afford to pay for the builders, plumbers, electricians that have been trained by virtue of the highly skilled peoples taxes going into the system to help educate them.

          So there you have it Chris. If you really want to aspire to a higher level, it’s all about helping those at the bottom first. Not the ones at the top who have got there through “hard work and dedication.” The ones at the top made it there because societyallowed them to do so. Society helped them to improve their own capabilities and skills.
          The individual cannot survive without the community, just as the community cannot survive with the individuals.

          • chris73

            Yeah ok

          • wtl

            Exactly, this government has proven that it prefers to pull the rungs of the ladder up rather then helping those at the bottom get up. Its a good way to make sure those at the top stay at the top but they justify it to themselves and others by saying that those who are already on the top are more deserving, whereas those at the bottom are there by their own fault because they are ‘bad people’ and no amount of help is going to do anything.

          • Robert B

            LOL – seriously, laughing out loud here.

            I’m guessing you’re a young idealist and that’s fine. However as you get a little older and build some life experience you’ll understand how the world really works and that your idealistic “trickle up effect” is bollocks.

            Sorry, but someone had to say it.

            • Colonial Viper

              you’ll understand how the world really works

              How the world “really works” at the moment is that workers get shafted with median wages falling and more money going to corporate profits and shareholders.

              How the world “really works” at the moment is that public services and benefits for all are getting cut while the rich pricks at the top are gifting themselves hundreds a week in tax cuts.

              How the world “really works” at the moment is that a generation of working poor have no where to go in this country except into more debt.

              How the world “really works” at the moment is that NZ university graduates of talent and ambition are better off in Australia than in NZ.

              How the world “really works” at the moment needs a proper ass up-ending, and since you seem to like this status quo, so do you.

              Sorry, but someone had to say it.

            • RobC

              Oh yeah, and trickle-down has worked in the capitalist world of the last 20 years. Pillock.

              Sorry, but someone had to say it.

              Edit: CV – I bow to your superior eloquence

            • felix

              I’m guessing you’re a young idealist and that’s fine. However as you get a little older and build some life experience you’ll understand how the bleh blarg blech etc

              Lol, that tired cliche doesn’t read nearly as worldly and grown up as you think it does. Reads like a 24 year old trying to impress teenagers at a party. Bit sad Robert.

            • Jasper

              Capcha says “inferior” and I agree.
              Your argument certainly is. CV on the other hand, sums it up nicely.
              As for young idealist? There’s nothing young about me at all. I just happen to believe in a society that is based on community.
              If society cast you out, and you were left to exist on your own, would you survive? Where would you get your food, your clothes, your building from? Definitely not from your own two hands.
              Hence why the individual cannot survive without community.
              In the words of Lily Allen “Your point of view is medieval”

              • Colonial Viper

                Idealism and a utopian vision are simply beliefs that life can and should be much better than they are today.
                This was the founding driver of the French Revolution, the unshackling of serfs and slaves, the US civil rights movement.
                That Righties try and denigrate idealism and utopian ideals shows how fraking scared they are of the energy and drive for change it unleashes in the people.

        • Draco T Bastard

          (my current circumstances will not last forever)

          Under National, Yes they will.

    • RedLogix 11.2

      Yeah boo hoo I have no sympathy for her.
      Which is the kind of comment that defines you as lacking empathy and conscience.

      • chris73 11.2.1

        Ok fair point
        I have no sympathy for the fact she gets a decent amount of money but can’t pay her bills but I do have sympathy for the fact she can’t recognize that her solution is entirely in her own hands and thus will probably stay like this for the rest of her life
        (Which of course means we will have to pay for her for the rest of her life and hopefully she won’t pass on her own bad habits to her kids)

        • RedLogix

          Yes. Quite different.. and better.
          In my world there is a mutal interdepedence between the indivdual and the society they live in. In other words I agree that the power to improve Maree’s life is in her own hands…. but it will never get used if the society she lives in keeps snatching it away from her.
          Why was it that your first instinct was to place the blame onto the victim? Why did you demand the most probity, responsibility and frugality from the weakest and most powerless?

          • chris73

            Why was it that your first instinct was to place the blame onto the victim? Why did you demand the most probity, responsibility and frugality from the weakest and most powerless?
            Probably this is what set me off:
            “We have asked [her] more than once to meet with us to work on a budget and agree some reasonable steps towards managing her finances. We want to help [her] live within her means, to break out of the debt cycle,” he said. “To date, [she] has refused to discuss her budget and costs with us.”
            She is getting a decent amount of money to live on and yet instead of doing what is asked (and I don’t think whats expected is that bad) she whinges and moans
            The money she gets is from people like me (and you) and because she sounds ungrateful (as well as wasting the money) its like a slap in the face
            We work hard for that money so is asking for some level of accountability that bad?
            (My boss expects a great deal of accountability from me)

            • Draco T Bastard

              Her advocate, Pam Apera, said the mother could not work because of a muscle pain condition called fibromyalgia, had been to a budgeting agency, but had no way to reduce her costs.

              She’s already been to a budgeting service so why would you want to waste even more taxpayer money to send her to another to achieve nothing?

              • chris73

                Work and Income head Mike Smith said last night that the mother had received four hardship grants since September but her debts appeared to be still growing.
                “We have asked [her] more than once to meet with us to work on a budget and agree some reasonable steps towards managing her finances. We want to help [her] live within her means, to break out of the debt cycle,” he said. “To date, [she] has refused to discuss her budget and costs with us.”
                She needs to go to the WINZ service
                She sounds like the type of person that if she was given another $150 a week she’d still run out

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Why go to the WINZ service that will achieve nothing wasting even more taxpayer money?

                  • chris73

                    She can be given the best budget out there but unless she sticks to it then its not going to be much use

                    • todd

                      She can be given the best budget in the World but unless her income meets her costs there will always be a deficit. She can chose to not eat properly and pay her debts, that is about the extent of choice available.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I’ve asked twice and you still haven’t answered. Is this because you’re stupid (you do vote NACT so that’s a high possibility) or are you purposefully disregarding the question as it proves that you were just repeating lines given to you by Crosby/Textor and National?

                      WTF are you so keen to throw more money away?

                    • Vicky32

                      She can be given the best budget out there but unless she sticks to it then its not going to be much use

                      How do you know she’s not?

                • As I noted above, she may well see WINZ as not being an ‘independent’ budget advisory service since it is now under instructions to make special grants harder to get, to reduce the number of people on benefits, etc..

                  As DTB notes, she appears to have gained independent advice and there is no ‘fat’ in the budget. This is presumably based on a rather more detailed analysis than that available in the Herald article. Or are we now to be suspicious of budgeting agencies? (But not WINZ?)

            • McFlock

              Back under the last national govt I was on the dole for a bit – WINZ were well patronising is the first word an the second rhymes with “punts”.
              You note they said …”with us”. That’s an hour meeting where they apply Robert B’s slide rule to your life, “ask” patronising leading questionsa and then get someone else in for advice. They ask your permission, but if you decline the meeting can’t continue. Then they need someone else’s “help”, repeat the process and in the end you’re faced by 4 or 5 people in a small room (most standing over you), each trying to pressure you to make “agreements” for less than your actual entitlement or take a loan instead of a grant the Act says you are entitled too. And if you leave “they haven’t yet made a decision”.
              Fuck those bastards – it sounds like they’re back to their old tricks.

    • Marty G 11.3

      do you have three kids that you’re raising yourself while having a chronic pain disorder and two of your kids sick too?

  12. Oleolebiscuitbarrell 12

    Don’t have three children if you can’t afford them.

    Do not do things that are likely to get you fined.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Here we go again. Only the rich deserve to have children.
      And don’t dare to need dental care or an after hours GP appointment because you can’t afford it.
      But if you have money you can have all the freedom society can afford you, even if it means open road driving at 120km/h in your new BMW limo, because the fine is a pittance.

      • infused 12.1.1

        “Here we go again. Only the rich deserve to have children.”

        Oh please. It’s like anything. If you can’t afford it, don’t fucking do it. It’s not about deserving to have children, it’s about giving your kids a good up bringing. Or the ‘poverty trap’ just goes around in circles doesn’t it?

        Like others have said, she has options, she just refuses them.

        • Oleolebiscuitbarrell

          Why stop at three kids? And, why stop speeding?  These are clearly both inalienable rights.  In fact, she should stick it up the system by conceiving children while driving fast on drugs.

        • todd

          Sterilization through economic restrictions… National’s new campaign slogan.
          So far she isn’t allowed a car, has to move to a poorer area so she can afford to rent a house, should get rid of some of her children because she can’t afford to have them and basically manage her money better, dah! Not much of a solution from the right wing I must say.

          • infused

            If you can’t afford it, tough shit. What do you think budgeting is? Obviously she doesn’t have the budget for a car does she?

            • felix

              If you can’t afford it, tough shit.

              National’s election slogan for 2011.

        • RobC

          Another one who can’t fucking read. In a marriage, gets smacked around, and you come on here saying she shouldn’t have had kids.

          Right, so no couples should start a family until a period of x years has passed to completely rule out the possibility that the supposed love of your life is not an abusive prick.

          • RedLogix

            Don’t have three children if you can’t afford them.

            What gets me Rob is the implicit assumption buried here that children are nothing more that the chattel ‘property’ of their parents.
            Now when it comes to ordinary chattels like houses, cars, boats and the sundry toys we clutter up our lives with… I do get that you can only have as much as you can afford.
            But when the same logic is unthinkingly projected onto children, that future generation all humanity shares in…. then something uneasily stirs within me. We don’t own them, they have their own autonomy, their own right to exist… I find that reducing them to a matter of what is ‘affordable’ deeply disturbing.
            But that could be just me.

            • RobC

              Not as disturbing as the increasing amount of rednecks who think all DPB recipients are making life-long lifestyle choices to breed and live off the taxpayer’s back.

              I hope some of them have daughters and they make a poor relationship choice. Karma is a bitch.

        • QoT

          Y’all are aware we had this thing called “a recession”, right?
          And plenty of people who were employed now cannot find work?
          What fucking planet are you seriously living on, infused and OOBB, where people never start off comfortably, budget for and plan to have kids, and then end up on the scrapheap with those extra mouths to feed?

    • wtl 12.2

      She made have been in a stable relationship with adequate income when she had those children, but her husband become violent after losing his job and being unable to find a new one. What is she supposed to do? Give her children away?

    • RobC 12.3

      Oleolebiscuitbarrell you make me fucking sick. Read the article:
      “The 42-year-old mother of three, who has had to move twice to escape from a violent ex-husband …” 

      She didn’t have children as a DPB lifestyle choice you sick freak. Learn to have some empathy and compassion for others before opening your mouth.

      And what everyone misses, the DPB is or should be offset by child support payments. If the arsehole is not paying them, he should be locked away. If he is, the cost to the taxpayer is a lot less than portrayed.

      • M 12.3.1

        Right on RobC!

        I know a woman in the same situation who has to move all the time to escape her violent and murderous ex. One time he sent his associates to take her out but she was not home at the time and they got the wrong house. Thankfully her neighbours who these thugs visited warned her and she moved a considerable distance away and has to keep moving. She has two children who have significant medical problems and this ties up a lot of her DPB along with rent.

        Oh, and yes the ex has all his money squirrelled away so that he does not have to man up and meet his obligations, well apart from the bare minimum and has managed to convince another female to enter his lair – I hope she clues up quickly with the way he is acting towards his ex and kids before she is inseminated.

        Your point about how the DPB is offset by liable parent contributions is never mentioned in the media as this would lessen the venom directed at “useless DPB slappers” by all the right wing butt plugs out there, who by virtue of their superhuman cleverness never have anything go wrong for them as they either have a nice fat cushion of money, have ways of gaming the system to their advantage or who always seem to find some sucker to pick up the tab for them.

      • infused 12.3.2

        Yeah I read it and I know. She keeps going back to WINZ for help and yet will not take a budgeting service.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Another RWNJ lying. She has taken budgeting advice – it says so in the article.

    • Marty G 12.4

      what you’re actually saying, oleole, is don’t have a family and then have to escape your abusive partner.
      to think that when someone has a kid they can project out their financial and personal future is stupid.

    • Roger 12.5

      As a couple, they probably could afford to have them, remember she was married, not accidentally having kids at random as apparently you lot think is usually the case. She may have picked up the fine merely for having the car parked on the street with a lapsed warrant due to a $100 dollar repair job that she couldn’t afford.

  13. Oleolebiscuitbarrell 13

    The benefit is no less than it was when Labour was in power yet, apparently, back then, this woman was bathing in milk and honey while driving fast on drugs and conceiving children.

    [You are fast getting my attention as a particularly toxic troll with this offensive line you are taking here…RL]

    • RobC 13.1

      Takes two to make a child imbecile.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.2

      You may not have noticed but food and other necessities have been going up at rates more than the CPI while her “benefit” has been going up at the CPI. In real terms, she, along with the majority of people in the country, are far worse off than they were three years ago.

      • wtl 13.2.1

        Not only that, but unemployment was extremely low under Labour, but has risen and risen since Nact was in government. Not Nact’s fault? Perhaps. What is clear is the government has no clue as to how to deal with it – or is too ideologically driven to implement the solutions that will actually help. How are people supposed to ‘help themselves’ get out of the situation when there aren’t any jobs or opportunities to do so?

      • Robert B 13.2.2

        “You may not have noticed but food and other necessities have been going up at rates more than the CPI”

        Umm….. Do you understand what the CPI actually is?

        • Roger

          CPI or Consumer Price Index takes an average basket of goods and uses this to measure the price difference between a year measured and the base year. Food and other necessities are included in a basket with other things such as whiteware, electronics, furniture, luxury items etc. Beneficiaries and people on lower incomes spend a higher proportion on food and other necessities than average so their basket of goods is different from what the CPI measures. The cost of that basket is increasing more than the CPI due to lower prices for luxury items due to recession coupled with high commodity prices. So DTB clearly does know what CPI actually is. Glad I could help.

    • Jum 13.3

      Actually, oleolebiscuitbarrell is doing just fine; I’m forwarding all his statements to my mail list;  that’ll fire them up!
      Women of all ages don’t like the oleole pondscum that like women being hurt. It’ll help no end with the election buildup.
      The younger women who think they are doing just fine re equality and respect from men will understand otherwise.  This guy is just an indication of the underbelly in New Zealand of John Key loving misogynists.

  14. tsmithfield 14

    The benefit is designed to enable people to provide the necessities of life, and not much more. If it was easy to live on, then why would anyone ever want to get off it?

    There may well be options this woman could explore to boost her income even given her circumstances. For instance, she might be able to have two of the children sharing a room (assuming they each have their own room currently) and take on a border in the spare room.

    Perhaps she could take some initiative and phone around business to see if she could get some part-time work from home chasing up debtors, or doing some telemarketing. This would avoid the need for petrol to get to and from work and could provide a bit of extra cash. It is often good for businesses as well because they don’t have the cost of providing office space etc.ash to help the finances, and should be managable with her medical condition. I know a number of people who do this sort of work from home now, so it is certainly a possibility.

    • wtl 14.1

      The problem is you are assuming there are options that she hasn’t already tried because she is just being dumb/lazy/whatnot. As her current situation sucks, it is more likely that she has already tried many such options but there is now nothing else she can do. e.g. her rent is already pretty low, she may already have tried looking for part time work.

      As for your initial comment, its all very nice to set the benefit at a low rate to provide an ‘incentive’ to allow people to get off it. But at the same time you have to ensure the climate within the country is such that it is possible to get off the benefit if you need to. This government has proven time and time again that they are not interested in that. Instead, for whatever reason – be it intentional or ideological – they rather keep unemployment high (so that wages are low), reduce funding to adult and early childhood education  and other such things to make it harder for people to get out of crappy situations rather than easier.

      If you are truly interested in helping people better their circumstances, perhaps a government that is driven to reduce unemployment would be a better option. But the government you support is not an example of this.

    • Marty G 14.2

      there’s a question of what we consider the ‘necessities of life’. should it be enough to make sure they don’t starve, or are we trying to give these kids a chance in life that doesn’t condemn them to poverty?

    • QoT 14.3

      The benefit is designed to enable people to provide the necessities of life
      No it’s not, ts.  Per NRT:

      experts worked out minimum food budgets for beneficiaries based on nutritional needs and different expectations of diet. Treasury took the lowest level – which was inadequate to meet basic nutritional needs – and cut it by 20% to provide an “incentive”.

      • Draco T Bastard 14.3.1

        His last paragraph resonates well with this story as well:

        This is indecent. No-one should starve in our country, and a government system which guarantees starvation is simply immoral. But it is also stupid. Kids who grow up malnourished and starving have higher health costs and do not reach their full potential. In other words, the short-term “saving” of benefit cuts in fact produces long-term costs. But it won’t be the present government paying those costs – they’ll be well out of office when the bill finally comes due, and cleaning up the mess will be someone else’s problem.

        Sounds remarkably like NACT – create the problem and then leave it for someone else to clean up and probably while blaming the people cleaning up after the disaster that NACT created.

  15. McFlock 15

    “There may well be options this woman could explore to boost her income even given her circumstances.”
    Or there might not. That’s what her advocate seems to think, anyway. In which case the benefits she’s on are not providing the necessities of life. Thanks national.

    • tsmithfield 15.1

      We don’t actually know what options she has or hasn’t explored, so we shouldn’t make assumptions either way.

      However, the point is that there are often more options and opportunities available than people think if they are willing to get their head out of the victim mentality and actually do something to change their circumstances.

      • wtl 15.1.1

        No the point is you just don’t care. You blame the victim and this makes it easy to ignore issues such as this. The same as this government – whose job it should be to improve society rather than just ignoring these issues and putting it down to ‘poor choices’.

      • Marty G 15.1.2

        she’s got serious physical and mental health issues. She’s had to escape an abusive partner twice. she’s raising three kids – two of whom have serious health issues too.
        For you, well educated and comfortable, this is a simple hypothetical bookkeeping exercise. She has to live it – without the tools you have and with a whole lot more challenges.

      • Draco T Bastard 15.1.3

        We don’t actually know what options she has or hasn’t explored, so we shouldn’t make assumptions either way.

        We don’t know but we can assume the budget advisor she saw does as well as her advocate and both of those (assuming that it’s a different service) say that she doesn’t have any options.

  16. Samuel Hill 16

    Selling tinnies

  17. Sookie 17

    I’m sorry but…running a car on the benefit? In Auckland where there’s fairly decent public transport? And what’s with that power bill? I absolutely believe in a fair and reasonable welfare state, and I’ve had to use it a couple of times myself, but I don’t have a lot of sympathy for this woman. A little more common sense and willingness to do it tough until times got better would garner more empathy with most people. There’s plenty of working families in Dunedin surviving on the same kind of money. Not saying its fun, but being on the benefit isn’t meant to be fun, its meant to be temporary.

    • QoT 17.1

      In Auckland where there’s fairly decent public transport?
      As an ex-Aucklander living in Wellington I nominate this comment for funniest thing I’ve read all year.
      [My credentials: high school years spent living in West Auckland, attending high school in East Auckland, nom nom nom 3-stage public transport journeying lasting up to an hour each way if the stars aligned.]

    • Carol 17.2

      It depends on where you live in Auckland.  And even then, the public transport is best at peak times during the week.  It can be pretty dire in many places during the weekend & evenings. Also, it’s not that safe for a woman on her own, making her way to and from the stations and/or bus stops at night, especially late at night.  I use public transport a lot during the week, but drive to work at the weekends, and prefer to travel by car when I go out at night.

    • RobC 17.3

      Read the updated article. Power bill arrears thanks to a leaky hot water cylinder. Thanks I’m sure to a mean-arsed landlord.

      Yep, she should have stayed in her marriage getting hit. Would’ve saved us all money.

    • RedLogix 17.4

      Not saying its fun, but being on the benefit isn’t meant to be fun, its meant to be temporary.
      No.. what you mean is that you want it to be a misery. A punishment for being one of those lesser people who don’t slave away 40-50hrs a week, oiling cogs in the great capitalist machine.
      It’s always same in any slavery system; the most vicious overseers are always ex-slaves promoted.
      “Work you idle buggers!”

      • Sookie 17.4.1

        Oh classic 🙂 You have got be yanking my fricking chain, mate. You have no idea of my background, my political leanings (left, I assure you), and the circumstances of when I was on the dole, and how I got off it. You just assumed I am a right wing scum troll who hates dole bludgers. In fact, I’m a dyed in the wool Labour voter who respects common sense and people who manage their own shit and not play the victim. As I had to learn the hard way.
        Its a shame that there’s so many idiots on this side of the fence as well as the other. Some of the criticisms about this place, which I mostly like very much, are sadly true.

        • RedLogix

          who respects common sense and people who manage their own shit and not play the victim.
          Now does that mean there are ‘no victims’?  I don’t think so.
          Or if there are they can always be safely ignored because they haven’t ‘got their shit together’?
          Because in one sense you are right, people living dysfunctional lives do make dumb dysfunctional decisions.  We all know that.  But we also know that that exactly these same reasons are routinely trotted out by conservatives to justify their hateful bigotry.
          Because that’s the whole point of Paula Bennet’s endless bene bashing, she’s working the oldest divide and conqueor routine out… get the ‘working poor’ angry and resentful of those lazy good for nothing ‘non-working poor’.  It’s a pretty lazy sell and works a treat if you swallow it.

        • RobC

          4 reponses to your original post at 7:17 and you reply to only 1? Who’s the troll?

          “not play the victim” … ahhh you did read the article, did you – y’know the bit where she had to leave an abusive relationship?

    • Vicky32 17.5

      I’m sorry but…running a car on the benefit? In Auckland where there’s fairly decent public transport?

      Auckland’s public transport is rubbish. I know, I use it all the time. (I hope it will improve – it’s got nowhere to go but up).

  18. Afewknowthetruth 18

    For a while my father only attended school every other day because he had to share a pair of shoes with his brother;  they took turns at having shoes and going to school. Meals were often bread and dripping, which was probably why he grew up so stunted.  And that was in England, the rich nation that won two world wars. I recall he told me he spent a considerable time carrying bricks to bricklayers for a halfpenny an hour in the 1930s. (That’s just under a half a cent per hour). There are tales of people in NZ stealing vegetables in the Great Depression, and of work camps where men lived in tents away from their families for weeks at a time, digging roads by hand for a pittance.  

    The only reason people currently have all these weird senses of entitlement is because we have been living through the age of cheap oil. 

    Sorry folks, cheap oil is over and WE ARE HEADED BACK TO NORMALITY whether we like it  or not.

    That means  a drastic drop in the standard of living and lots of walking and cycling.  In view of the fact that bicycle tyres and shoes are now mostly made of oil and are brought here from China courtesy of oil, we really are in deep sh*t.

    I went to the supermarket today and rejected the lamb cutlets that were half price as too expensive. The same for the small lump of cheese that was on special for $8. Once the recent rises in world grain prices flow through the system chicken and egg prices will rise.   

    We (and most of the rest of the world) are headed for a tsunami of poverty which could easily hit within months if the oil price gets bid up by speculators. Otherwise we may have as long as a year to prepare.

    By the way, there are now something like 42 million people on government food stamps in the US, supposedly the richest nation on earth. They do seem to have got most of the people out of the tent cities and into some kind of proper housing, but the implosion of the economy contiues.

    Just think, we could be in northern Japan.  No home, no job, no food, no water, no electricity and no reliable information about the radiation level.     


    • RedLogix 18.1

      Yes … that is so very much the truth.

      7 billion of us on the planet, and most especially those of us in the developed world… are almost literally tar babies.

    • Tangled up in blue 18.2

      Sorry folks, cheap oil is over

      I heard you the tenth time.

      • RedLogix 18.2.1

        Now what about having a long hard think about what it means.
        I’m not trying to be snarky here. We are after all in this together, and there will be no liferafts.

        • Mac1

          ‘We are after all in this together, and there will be no liferafts.”

          Chilling thought, Redlogix. Both parts of that statement, on thinking about it.

          Considering the ‘no liferafts’ bit, though. I think there are many who think we don’t need liferafts, others who think that there are life-rafts but just need to be invented, others who think this does not apply to them, through wealth, connections or blinkers and others who think that the liferaft will be for the Righteous at the Rapture.

          As for the first bit, ” all in this together.” Considering the above list of possible responses in the second bit worries me about that all these people are in it with me.

          There is another response- I’m getting old and it won’t apply to me. I’ll be dead so ‘carpe’ the old ‘diem’ while we may. 

          Time indeed for a long hard think.

          • Draco T Bastard

            I happen to think that NZ is one of the life-rafts. We can maintain a good living standard for everyone but we need to get rid of some peoples over-inflated sense of self-worth. In the coming world reality we cannot afford the rich the same way that the peasants of the Middle Ages couldn’t afford the aristocrats and eventually had a revolution because of them.

            • Colonial Viper

              A good standard of living for everyone would have been possible if we had spent the last 20 years pouring GDP and effort into getting ready for the nearing future, including reducing our addiction to cheap oil.
              But we haven’t, and the best case now is going to be a bit of a bumpy and at times mildly unpleasant decline for almost everyone.  However i agree with you that NZ is the place to be for this little trip.

    • todd 18.3

      The particular argument that our lifestyles must change for the worst when in fact they just need to change is relevant. There are alternatives to oil, the only reason our lifestyles would change dramatically would be if we are forced to change instead of choosing to do so.

      The comparison to other countries within your argument Afewknowthetruth, might be effective in highlighting certain dynamics, but it cannot disregard the post as outlined above in regard to New Zealand; the reason Maree is finding things difficult has little to do with your posed scenarios and everything to do with a failing Government and its restrictive policies.
      The excessive power bill is because of deregulation and part privatisation in that sector, the food costs heaps because there are lots of middlemen and companies that have no or little competition, traveling costs lots because the Government has not implemented alternatives to fossil fuel, the rent costs lots because of speculation and the benefit does not cover costs because of run away inflation. All of these dynamics contribute to the poverty trap and point at consecutive Governments inadequacy in looking after all New Zealand inhabitants.
      We should not allow any of our citizens to be restricted in such a way that they or their children are financially inhibited from living in a healthy home, with warmth, health care, good food and the ability to socialize in a normal fashion. We as a country are wealthy enough for this target to be realized. The current belief that an underclass is desirable and in some way not preventable when it has clearly been manufactured is something I strongly disagree with.

      • RedLogix 18.3.1

        I think both your points are valid… in different time frames.
        There is no doubt that the neo-liberal revolution of the last 30 years has enshrined greed, inequality and the ruthless rape of the natural world… in ways that has deprived many ordinary people of a better life… both materially and socially.
        But equally there underlies this the deeper more ominous truth that AFKTT is telling us about our immediate future. I don’t think one story excludes the other.

    • HC 18.4

      To ‘Afewknowthetruth’: You are right with the situation re oil. What you are talking about is going to affect us all once that scenario will become reality. We are here talking about now and the difference between people on benefits and people still in work. Some frown on beneficiaries for living a too wasteful life, not making enough efforts to use the resources offered more sensibly and for in some cases relying too much on state support.
      Others – mostly on benefits now, or having been there in the past, know the reality of living on a benefit.
      We sadly live in a run down economy with comparatively lower wages than in most countries we like to compare ourselves with.
      Of course there are many people on this planet much worse off. Yet is it not fair to give heed to people in NZ worse off than the “average” income earner?
      As long as we have a government that gives tax breaks that only really benefit the top earners, as long as we have a government not making many efforts to create a more developed economy with value added production, more use of alternative energies, more investment in public transport, more investment in future science and technologies, then we have every right to complain and also lament the low wages, low benefits and difficult circumstances people have to live under.
      I share your doomsday scenario to some degree, but we cannot compare our present situation with that in the 1930’s. We have more advanced technologies and can now use alternative energies. That will not solve all the problems, and I am sure that having a private motorcar will become a luxury for most again.
      We need public transport in cities and heavily invest in sustainable technologies and energy generation. As long as we have the means to do so, we must do this NOW!
      The scarcer resources will become, the more expensive it will be to do those things in future.
      Does National have that foresight? NO!

    • Draco T Bastard 18.5

      That means  a drastic drop in the standard of living and lots of walking and cycling.

      This is true but it doesn’t mean that we have to go back to the bad old days of the 1930s or even the dark ages. In the 1930s we could produce enough food to feed everyone (we were a food exporting country then as well) but the capitalist socio-economic system prevented us from doing so.

  19. Blue 19

    Did anyone who is telling her to sell her car or questioning her petrol costs actually read the article linked to in the post?
    She lives in Glenfield (on the North Shore) and her specialist for her medical condition is in Papakura (at the very southern end of South Auckland).
    Do you have any idea how much it costs to take buses from Glenfield to Papakura? I will save you the trouble of looking it up – it costs $13.50 one way, so for a return trip it is $27.
    The fine she got was not for speeding, it was because she sold a car and the buyer did not register the change of ownership.
    Her rent is in arrears because one of her children started secondary school and needed a school uniform.
    As for the ‘buy some blankets/sweaters to save power’ argument – she only owns two sets of clothing – two tops and two pairs of pants. Very few of the posters on here could ever have experienced that level of poverty.
    Wouldn’t you all just love to trade places with her and live the good life on the DPB?

    • RobC 19.1

      Blue, given the sicko replies to this thread it’s safe to assume not a large percentage have bothered to read the Herald articles.

      ASW: intelligence 😀

    • Jasper 19.2

      I read the article, but the one thing about the car story struck me as odd..
      The police are usually more than lenient in letting you off your speeding fine you get due to registration ownership changes not happening if:
      1) You have the details of the person you sold the car to
      2) You request a photo of the speed camera shot (if it was a speed camera ticket)
      3) You have proof that you were nowhere near where the speeding occurred.
      Its pretty easy to get off a speeding ticket. The fact she didn’t bother trying makes me a bit snarky.
      As for the rest – yes, tightfisted landlords, abusive ex, medical maladies galore do make me see her plight. However, I don’t see why she couldn’t have taken out a 21 day work order to get the landlord to sort out the plumbing issues. Unless she did and it wasn’t put in the article.
      It makes me wonder whether or not we should start educating the staff at WINZ/Community Link in actually helping people with their full circumstances. It might lead to a country where people actually understand their rights.

      • QoT 19.2.1

        “Its pretty easy to get off a speeding ticket when you have the time and resources and energy to do so and are lucky enough to get the “lenient” cops. The fact she didn’t bother trying wasn’t able to for reasons no one can psychically determine makes me a bit snarky judgemental.”
        Fixed it for you.
        Aaaaand edited for HTML fail.

        • Jasper

          It’s not so much the lenient cops, except the fact that the speed camera photos have excellent hi-res photos of the drivers, and their locations are identified in the pink letters one is received to inform of a speeding infringement.
          It’s not as if she has to expend a great deal of time or effort to deny her innocence. It only took me around 2 hours total over 3 months to have the speeding tickets transferred to the new owner of the car when the same situation happened to me.
          Except in my case I couldn’t register the new owner until the following day what with them picking the car up after 5pm, and managing to get three camera tickets overnight.
          Of course, this wonderful piece of investigative journalism puts up a lot of other questions that any person who is au fait with their rights and responsibilities would choose to query, but are simply not answered such as:
          Why didn’t she register the new owner herself on one of her trips to the shops? I’m sure there’d be an AA, VTNZ, NZ Post or similar around her supermarket.
          Hence why the need to actually push ahead with the integration of CAB into WINZ offices so that people can actually get a full service and assistance when issues like these occur when they’re on a benefit.
          I know that many on a benefit wouldn’t have the first clue of where to go for help when it comes to their rights for a lot of issues.

          • Daveosaurus

            “Why didn’t she register the new owner herself on one of her trips to the shops?”

            Because the new owner has to be the one that does the transfer. At least that’s what I was told by the post office when I sold a vehicle (at that time in pieces in a workshop) to a new owner who slacked around so much that I kept on getting registration bills for it (after its registration hold expired).

            • Draco T Bastard

              There’s two actions. One done by the seller and one done by the buyer. The part done by the seller is to inform the authorities that the car has been sold. The buyer does the ownership transfer. If she had done the part she had to then there shouldn’t have been any difficulty in transferring the ticket. Of course, it’s a bureaucracy and they can make the simplest of jobs hard.

              • sean

                I call bullshit on that one.  I just sold my car second hand and the buyer did the transfer online without needing any of my input whatsoever.
                Two weeks later I got a notice from Land Transport informing me of the change.

  20. Draco T Bastard 20

    The Undeserving Poor

    Some things never change. The rich have always claimed that their good fortune is a recognition of and reward for their superior virtue – with the inevitable corollary that the poor have no one to blame but themselves.

    Sounds a lot like the BS that the RWNJs are spouting off in this thread.

    • chris73 20.1

      I’ve asked twice and you still haven’t answered. Is this because you’re stupid (you do vote NACT so that’s a high possibility) or are you purposefully disregarding the question as it proves that you were just repeating lines given to you by Crosby/Textor and National?
      WTF are you so keen to throw more money away?

      You did see the that the reply button was missing so I couldn’t reply

      My answer is this: just because you say it doesn’t work doesn’t mean squat, thats just your opinion
      My opinion is if winz makes her jump through hoops well she better start jumping

      • Colonial Viper 20.1.1

        My opinion is if winz makes her jump through hoops well she better start jumping

        Of course, because there are few things in life better than humiliating weak marginalised beneficiaries eh? And if the beneficiary happens to be a bludging legs wide open slapper type with kids to a couple of different guys, then it goes double coz it serves her right, right?

        Figured out where you were coming from ages ago mate.

        • chris73

          Please point out to me where I mentioned her kids
          Oh please give me a break, everybody has to jump through hoops because lifes not easy for anyone (except maybe list MPs)
          She wants the help then she needs to do what WINZ wants her to do
          But actually I’m curious, do you lefties think the amount shes getting is a pittance?

      • Draco T Bastard 20.1.2

        My answer is this: just because you say it doesn’t work doesn’t mean squat, thats just your opinion

        No it’s not my opinion. It says it very clearly in the article that she has gone and got budgetary advice. This is fact unless you’re calling the reporter a liar.

        My opinion is if winz makes her jump through hoops well she better start jumping

        Well, I’m glad to know that throwing money away is a RWNJs preferred method of lowering taxes.

        • chris73

          Work and Income head Mike Smith said last night that the mother had received four hardship grants since September but her debts appeared to be still growing.
          “We have asked [her] more than once to meet with us to work on a budget and agree some reasonable steps towards managing her finances. We want to help [her] live within her means, to break out of the debt cycle,” he said. “To date, [she] has refused to discuss her budget and costs with us.”
          I’m sure she got budgeting advice but she didn’t get it from where she needs it (as evidenced above)

          • McFlock

            She doesn’t need their “advice” – she got the money anyway.

            Which kind’ve illustrates how arbitrary their controls are – it’s just hoop-jumping so that a few % fail to clear the hoops first time and W&I are seen to “save money”. By doing folk out of their (often statutory) entitlements.

  21. HC 21

    Apart from WINZ keeping and enforcing a list of “no go areas” for beneficaries to move to – due to lower chances of getting a job in “cheaper” regions – they also expect people to fill out a form and basically “apply” for a letter stating that a person has no more entitlements for food grants!
    Many food banks do now ask for a letter from WINZ before they even consider helping out with needed food.
    So how humiliating is such an experience of first having to go and fill out a form at WINZ, then get questioned and get given a letter and eventually going to a Salvation Army or other food bank to ask for food.
    There they also ask for forms to be completed by the way!
    A country where we export the best and most of your large amount of fruits, vegetables, milk powder and meat overseas could and should do better than this. But as I have seen by reading some posts in this thread, some do not get it and rather keep on frowning on beneficiaries, whilst being themselves grumpy about their lot as a consumer facing higher prices, rents and else.
    It is a sad state of affairs in NZ.

  22. Shaz47 22

    This is so sad; so many people have not got a clue what this woman is living through.  Most importantly she will be living looking over her shoulder wondering if her X is there.  She will be always ready to pack the kids and car if he should turn up.  She will have a terrible renting history because she would have moved over night each time her X shows up, losing her bond, so will only be able to rent dumps with leaking hot water cylinders.  The ‘car’ maybe is what will save their lives, her accommodation will be damp dirty and quite likely ridden with all sorts of bad bacteria causing harm to her and her children.  This is an excellent example of the cost of being poor.  The cost that people living is stable homes that are well insulated and dry can never understand.  Each time she moves she will need to reconnect the power which is not cheap.  There is so much she should do but cannot.  Yes wins should help but not by making it harder but by offering her information or better still maybe sending someone to her home to evaluate her living condition and champion her cause with police, in relation to ways to keep her X away.  This could be by way of court orders or just throwing him in jail.  This person could make the landlord responsible for the upkeep of his rentals, and just be an advocate for her.  This sort of constructive help is worth so much and you never know it may result in her and her children becoming well and moving out of this destructive cycle.  It would mean freeing up cash allowing her to survive and grow.  This also mean she feels supported, not out there on her own.

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