GUEST BLOG: What happened when I spoke up for the rights of others

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A week ago out of sheer frustration I wrote a letter to the Prime Minister.  Frustration brought on by utter disillusionment and disgust at the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor, and the alarming growth of child poverty in this country.  Mainstream media reports a fantasy New Zealand where everyone is smiling and happy and spends summer at the beach.  John Key and his party deny that this poverty is real.  If any one of them were to step out of their bubble of luxury and remove their rose tinted glasses they would see that all over this country people are struggling every day.

I felt compelled to write this letter for the thousands of workers out there who find it increasingly more difficult to pay their bills and put food on the table.  The right wing of this Government can deny it all they like, but I know it to be true, I talk to these people every single day.  That letter lead on to a segment on Campbell Live entitled “the new working poor”.  I never for one minute expected a TV crew to knock on my door, but when they did I took the opportunity to speak up for people whose existence is being denied, and most of whom are just too worn down to speak out.  The backlash to this airing was astonishing, far beyond anything both I and Campbell Live had ever expected.

And so the hate campaign began.  Right wing trolls, many of which had clearly not read my letter or even watched the segment properly began to spew their venom at me and my family.  Our privacy was thoroughly breached as our personal details including our address, was splashed all over social media.  I was stunned by their entitlement to judge with little or no knowledge of my purpose in writing the letter, and the assumption that I was wanting a hand out, which is just not the case.  Neither did I appreciate their uninformed advice, especially those people telling us we shouldn’t have had our children if we couldn’t afford them.  I was surprised at the chasm between the left and the right, and the right’s complete lack of understanding or empathy, and their haste to judge without facts. These are people who attack from the anonymity of a keyboard.  Let’s call this what it really is, it is cowardly and bigoted attacks of the most venomous kind, it is hate, pure and simple. Where does that level of emotion come from?  It indicates something seriously wrong in a once moderate society. And when all is said and done it is our Government at fault here, not me.

I am wiser and stronger now, as this experience us has only served to fuel my fire to do more.  We also had the most incredible support from hundreds of like minded caring Kiwi’s out there who completely understood my point of view, and it is for those people that I will continue to stand up and speak out.

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Thanks to John Key and his National Government we now have a country divided.  The division is far wider than I had realised and there is so much more anger in our society than I ever anticipated.  Ultimately, we on the left have our spirit of community and our humour which is worth so much more than the acquisition of wealth. Anyway, this is just the beginning. Campbell Llive will be back at some point and I will prepare for round two.

 Samantha Anderson 

About me:
I am a 41 year old stay at home mum. I am married with two children and was born in the UK. I have lived here for 18 years and am a citizen.
I spent 3 years in the Royal Navy in the UK as an 18 to 21 year old. Followed by several years at South Yorkshire Police as a civilian. I have been sole charge in retail for 5 years, worked in supermarkets and later been a self employed distributor. My focus right now is trying to raise two happy and healthy children.

I love to read, I really enjoy watching cricket, and am currently passionate about getting involved to help with the growing social problems in this country especially poverty and youth suicide and the high rates we have here.

38 COMMENTS

  1. I, for one, admired your courage in speaking out. Those that have attacked you are mean spirited and have tunnel vision. They also probably live in la-la land. I wish you luck and thank you for raising very important issues, especially in election year. Just remember: there are a lot of people with you. Forget the haters 🙂

  2. Right wing trolls; a breed noted for their cowardice; redneck bigotry; and a propensity to show the “courage of their convictions” by hiding behind anonymous pseudonyms.

    After all, they don’t want to be attacked for their views, do they?

  3. I wouldn’t mind betting there is a close correlation between these haters and climate change deniers. There seems to be the same mentality involved in both cases.

      • That’s a cheap shot. I know plenty of christians who take Jesus’ example seriously. They are compassionate and caring people who do their best to be Good Samaritans. Foaming mouthed emotionally dead trolls are in my experience just are likely to be militant atheists

        Before you jump to conclusions I grew out of christianity at age 12, and spent years as a militant atheist, before mellowing into meditation and fuzzy agnosticism. But many in my family consider themselves christian, and although some of them are a bit redneck in some ways, only one has ever fallen into the neo-conservative stereotype you reference.

  4. Well done Samantha,
    The fact you were attacked is evidence yours is a story the right would like to silence.

    Always remember people only criticise others who do something!

  5. Samantha, I (we) admire your courage, but Key won’t even send a GNat back-bencher to listen to you. Instead the trolls of the right have been unleashed, and I urge you to try to ignore them. Judging by the star system on TDB lately, I fear one is in residence here, a nay-voter. Stay strong, you are supported by an unfortunately huge, growing number, that your letter represents. (My Left-wing pseudonym–down with Nats. Actually a penniless but skilled pensioner)

  6. this is the society lange/prebble/douglas/moore/bassett/ created, followed on with ever increasing zeal by richardson/birch/shipley and co. a whole generation and more of greed and no compassion/ the wannabe im alright jack society can directly attributed to these indivduals and their disciples not forgetting of course the likes of fay/ richwhite/myer/kerr/jones in the commercial sector, the pity is the likes of the 15yr old in 1984 and all coming into the workforce since have never experienced anything different, to them this is the norm. the ever receding rainbow and its pot of gold still lures then to run faster and and to hell with anything that gets in their way as they chase the illusion.

  7. Well someone had to speak up ….. you will be classed as a Rebel, Trouble Maker and a lot more ….. I have seen these kind of people at my work trying to control everyone ….. all I did was smile at them cos I knew I was helping my fellow workers as you are fighting for all the struggling people in New Zealand,

    Well done and we are all behind you

  8. People need to rethink the bs line “the world doesn’t owe you a living.”

    Actually, it does. We, our children did not make the society, the state, the mode of production controling our lives. If we were living in the jungle, where we were allowed to kill, take, eat, forgate do whatever we want – sure, I think the pat line would apply.

    But what we have is worse. A society that pretends to be about peace and democracy and equality, but is dominated by an increasingly venal and greedy elite that is cashing in, selling off all the trade offs that came with the division of labour, the compromises that said, “yes, we will accept you earnig more; we will give up our right to kill and do whatever we must to feed and defend our communities and families, because we cede those rights to the state in the knowledge it will ensure we no longe have to.”

    And the elite who have captured our state over the last 30 years have sold those protections away – those fundamental entitlements that were put in place to compensate for the inequities of the top-heavy system.

    Instead we have now “you don’t havea right to kids or a house, or to be free from debt to pay for food or electricity uless you can afford it” – like the individual has some control in this system over what is affordable in meeting the rising demands of cost and standard of living! Not while the govt is laissez faire, that’s for sure.

    Now we not only have “Let’s grow the pie”, but when the folk who get the ever-bigger slice of pie fall it’s “they’re too big to fail”.

    The lies about our economy and society are our real challenge to face, in the face of sneering entrenched elitists, the corprate echo chamber of privateeering politicians and wealth-seizers, including vast majority of the press. Banding together and opposing this, showing each other we are not alone, we’ll be the most hated people since the Springbok protests, but they are not leaving us any choice.

    • That’s an awesome analysis of the social situation, PB !!!! That would win you an A-Plus in a sociology essay at any university! Without using any jargon words, you have clearly explained exactly how the socio-political-economic forces have combined to strip us of our basic rights.

      • Still a bit blunt for a sosc course, and too true to get published by the media.

        Meanwhile Jane Clifton writes brain-dead establishment diatribes, and personal attacks on Martyn Bradbury and Dotcom, and is well paid for it.

  9. Good on you, for standing up to these haters. They feel threatened, because deep down they recognize that what you are saying is the truth, and, because they are bereft of ideas of how to mount a convincing counter-argument, all they can think of is to mount a personal attack.

    Please contiune to face them down, giving in to bullies never works, they have to be confronted and the truth of their disgusting actions exposed to the light of day.

  10. Good on you there. And of course that which you are seeing is happening to us in spades here in New Zealand. Its so wrong and so so sad on so many levels. It is the old “Divide and Rule” tactic used to get people to turn against each other. At the moment the kicking post is ‘the vulnerable and the poor” as if they weren’t struggling enough already!…..I have noticed that the middle class is even joining in in turning against against the poor… Hey but don’t think you are exempt Middle Class!!! – Next thing they will come for you!!! The 1% are manipulating everything in order to get more of everything for themselves!! Don’t Let them get away with making us heartless soulless society of people who know how to judge but who have forgotten how to Love…I always remember Mother Theresa saying ” If you judge people, you have no time to love them!”

  11. Thanks Samantha for being brave enough to bring up important issues. I too am stunned at the right wing venom. I guess with National setting the climate the nasties finally get to voice an opinion that in years gone by would have been considered as a hate crime.
    There is no doubt families are struggling really struggling today, more that ever .We have four children one working and three studying and we earn a decent amount of money and just make ends meet. it is beyond me to see how anyone earning less than $25-30 dollars an hour can pay for doctors bills, dental care, let alone school fees uniforms cars or transport clothing food rent or a morgage. Good on you Samantha

  12. Thank you Samantha. I read this blog to know that there are people who feel the same as me. When I read MSM or watch TV News I wonder where the beautiful NZ I grew up in has gone. I am shocked at the hate,ignorance and judgement that is directed to the working poor and beneficiaries in this country. Sorry to hear of the backlash to you and your family but I am a supporter of you. Keep it up.

  13. Sympathy Samantha. But keep up your advocacy. You are obviously successful from the reaction you have received.

  14. I saw your piece on Campbell Live, and admired you for being so brave. good on you. You are only speaking the truth

  15. Full support Samantha. Unfortunately you have come across one of the more frustrating things about NZ Life…..that is don’t rock the boat or stick your head above the parapet, and for heavens sake don’t have an opinion….especially if you weren’t born here.
    The Kiwi way is to try and sort this issues out without fuss behind closed doors, and produce some shoddy compromise.

    As I said – full support – the boat needs rocking and we need to able to speak out about what concerns us without being shouted down by those who think only their views count.

  16. The haters lash out because of one thing only; guilt.

    They can’t cope with the realisation that this is happening in our own society, and try to dismiss the reality of these problems by blaming the victims.

    It’s the old “she-wore-a-mini-skirt-so-deserved-to-be-raped” argument, but transferred to another problem confronting our nation.

    Not wantin g to deal with their guilt, they lash out, trying to punish you for saying things that tweak their conscience and guilt. And they don’t like the feeling. Not one bit.

    You’re a hero, Samantha. You have more respect from the community than the trolls (all anonymous of course) will ever muster in their own, sad lives…

  17. The venom behind the attacks is frightening. I’m sorry you’ve borne the brunt of their mindlessness Samantha.

    Those that have attacked you have lost all sense- it’s like they’ve joined the Key Cult in their inability to see and think for themselves.

    You’re not alone. These personal attacks happen when there is a “struggle” story in the papers- the invective comments toward the struggling person astound me in their ferocity.

  18. I wonder if you’ll get a real reply to your letter – as it’s an election year.

    Or will it be the standard ‘thank you for your letter’ followed by – silence?

  19. “…the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor, and the alarming growth of child poverty in this country. ”

    Samantha, Neither of these claims is borne out by the Household Economic Survey. Child poverty is dropping by every measure and the Gini co-efficient shows slightly declining inequality for at least a decade albeit after a big rise earlier.

    http://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/monitoring/household-incomes/index.html

    • No Lindsay, Samantha is 100% correct.

      You’re simply cherry picking information again – no doubt to try to make this incompetant government look “good”.

      The article you’ve linked to states clearly;

      17 Child poverty rates were flat from HES 2009 to 2012 on all standard measures. This is a good result in the circumstances (GFC, economic downturn), but rates are still high relative to other age groups (see #22), and relative to the 1980s when housing costs were lower relative to incomes

      Being “flat” is not the same as “dropping”.

      In fact, the Statistics NZ Household Economic Survey (HES) 1982–2012 clearly reports,

      In New Zealand during 1982–2012 income inequality, as measured by the P80/P20 ratio, was higher after adjusting for housing costs, as housing costs generally make up a greater proportion of household income for lower income than for higher income households.

      http://www.nzchildren.co.nz/income_inequality.php

      The very same Perry report states,

      During 2009–2011 however, the impact of the economic downturn and global financial crisis led to volatility in the index, with Perry noting that it may take one or two further surveys before the post-crisis inequality level becomes clear

      Meanwhile, a December 2013 University of Canterbury reports,

      Inequality continues to rise in New Zealand and many families will struggle to cope over the holidays, a University of Canterbury (UC) social research expert says.

      Dr Annabel Taylor says research shows that reliance on voluntary help is not nearly enough to help families that are struggling.

      “Foodbanks talk about the demand and the problem is that, in a low wage economy and a high comparative cost economy, people cannot keep up.

      “In regards to social issues over this holiday break, families that social workers and human services are working with will be struggling and often when things are not going well for families/whanau it is harder for them at this time because people see the media portrayals of materialism and happiness at this time of year.

      “This tends to bring into sharp focus the things a family cannot do for their children, for example, compared with many others.

      “Recent research has highlighted the growing income divide in New Zealand which has been worsening and this has not been helped by housing shortages in the Christchurch area and the ongoing stress and anxiety of dealing with insurance companies and the Earthquake Commission.

      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1312/S00299/inequality-keeps-rising-says-uc-social-research-expert.htm

      You can spin it all you like. I’ll simply keep correcting you.

  20. Wow, well done Samantha and family. That directness is a massive no no here in delusion land. It’s just not accepted by the general, ‘string the bludgers up and burn them’ nz public.

    Key is simply the latest puppet to dance to the deliberate globalist tune. We have no right to judge anyone, however you may take some comfort that when nz catches up with what’s going on around the globe, those tragic haters will soon know full well how what you describe feels?

    You still have many blessings, create a food garden. Your own land us a real asset in this way. Even if you rent you can do this.
    Society is totally out of whack, everything is skewed and deep down even the haters can feel it surely? Maybe not….
    Love and light from someone who has also stuck their head above the parapet – it’s a hell of a shock to be sure! Stay strong.

  21. This bad nasty behavior is what the two sewage factory operators Slater & Farrer encourage and cultivate.

    Looks like their ‘brown shirt ‘ blue voting readers are coming out to play

    And speaking of ‘brown shirts’ , 5 years of negative stereotypes and smearing of the poor by the National Govt has also generated animosity and hatred.

    Thats why stereotypes are dangerous and irresponsible.

    John Key being both greedy and Jewish should be more aware of this than most ……………….

  22. @ Lindsay: “Neither of these claims is borne out by the Household Economic Survey. Child poverty is dropping by every measure and the Gini co-efficient shows slightly declining inequality for at least a decade albeit after a big rise earlier.”

    This is what the HES report says (among other things) about income inequality:

    “The trend-line is flat. There is no evidence of any general rise or fall in income inequality since 2007.”

    And what it says (again, among other things) about child poverty:

    “In HES 2012, the child poverty rate was 21% using the after housing costs (AHC) 60% fixed line measure; 25% on the moving line AHC 60% measure; 16% on the more stringent 50% moving line measure. This is 170,000 to 270,000 children, depending on the measure.”

    Not too much to be joyous about, I’d have thought. But I suppose we can be grateful that things aren’t worse.

    With regard to Samantha’s comments, I’ll take a punt that those in poverty don’t have much – or perhaps any – sense that their situation is improving, or at least not deteriorating. And likely most of them won’t have the resources to enable them to read this report, and thus find out that they’re not really as badly off as they thought.

    In any event, it’d be cold comfort, as they scratch around to find the money for the power bill, school fees, clothes for the children. And so on….

  23. NZ is controlled by a little elite crew who have carved up NZ Assets for themselves and their families, this has been done by stealth and the stroke of a pen.

    The new logo for the Tories at the next election should be “greed is good”.

  24. Kia ora Samantha. I too admire the stance that you have taken. I hope everyone who has supported you showed the same level for Metiria last week. Much of what you have written applies to those who are courageous enough to speak out against racism as well. While both poverty and racism are denied by many society is even less willing to talk about racism.

    I have taken the liberty of re-wording your letter slightly and from the point of view of what happened when Metiria said “Racism”. I hope you don’t mind. It is in no way meant to belittle your experience but rather to provoke more thought and hopefully open more eyes to the issue. Poverty and racism make this world a very hard place for too many of our most vulnerable.

    “I felt compelled to take a stand for the thousands of Maori who find it increasingly more difficult to deal with racism today. The right wing of this Government can deny it all they like, but I know it to be true, I talk to these people every single day. The response to Anne Tolley lead to the usual media coverage. I am sure Metiria always expected the media to have a field day so I was glad she took the opportunity to speak up for people whose existence is being denied, and most of whom are just too worn down to speak out. The backlash to this airing was predictable.
    And so the hate campaign continues. Right wing trolls began to spew their venom at Metiria, and Maori. Their sense of entitlement to judge with little or no knowledge of her purpose in highlighting the issue is also predictable. We never appreciate their uninformed advice. I was not surprised at the chasm between the left and the right, and the right’s complete lack of understanding or empathy, and their haste to judge without facts. These are people who attack from the anonymity of a keyboard. Let’s call this what it really is, it is cowardly and bigoted attacks of the most venomous kind, it is hate, pure and simple. Where does that level of emotion come from? It indicates something seriously in our society. And when all is said and done it is our Government at fault here, not me.”

  25. Thank you , thank you, thank you Samantha, finally truth was told on mainstream tv. I noticed that your piece on Campbell live has been removed from TV3’s website, I found it on Scoop of all places. If people should want to view Samantha’s open letter to pm: The new working poor, you will find it there.

  26. You only have to visit the National Party websites Whale Slime & Kiwi Bog to get an idea of the venom held by National Party Voters.

  27. Much respect again Sam and Graeme. This ugliness was horrendous, but everyone is so proud of you standing up to those spineless assholes!

  28. I admired your courage for standing up for your beliefs when I saw the story on Campbell Live. Keep strong and remember that there are many in this country who support you and what you said.

  29. I’m hearted by how many people have responded positively to your post.
    As the late, great Pete Seeger said on DemocracyNow!, if enough of us keep tipping teaspoons of sand into the leaking basket at the high end of the see-saw, just possibly, we may be able to counteract the weight of the rocks on the see-saw’s other end.

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