“We won’t survive this government”

By   /   May 28, 2014  /   35 Comments

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Our wonderful government has taken an ordinary family and crushed it through the accumulated impact of the decisions of their various departments. We survived the earthquake and after three years the physical and psychological injuries are starting to heal. Unfortunately, we won’t survive this government.

JOhn Key - smug

This is a real story, in their own words, that appeared on Facebook a few months ago.  It deserves a wider audience.  This families plight highlights the pressure many families (particularly in Christchurch) are facing.

Hooray for our National Government!

Let me tell you just how well they have supported my family over the last twelve months.

We started off 2013 full of hope that finally things were going to get better. Our children were at new schools and beginning to recover from the trauma of being trapped in the CBD during the earthquake. Having lost our source of income as a result of the earthquake I retrained as a teacher. My husband and I both had teaching jobs. As a beginning teacher and teacher Aide our salaries were very low but at least we were earning.

Strike 1: We were earning but not receiving. Novopay! That wonderful new acquisition of our caring and intelligent government hit us hard. For months we were not paid properly or at all in my husband’s case. This meant that we quickly fell into debt as we had no income. Paying interest on the debt cost us thousands by the end of the year.

Strike 2: My job was a fixed term position for 1 year. That’s ok. I’m sure to find another one… except the government has closed so many Christchurch schools that even many experienced teachers are out of work. So no more jobs available. Way to go government! As if we haven’t suffered enough in Christchurch!

Strike 3: Thank goodness we have a welfare system to help us out in times of trouble. Our incredibly generous government has worked its magic on the welfare system too. Revamping it to make sure those nasty beneficiaries don’t eat into their coffers and mess up the budget surplus targets. So despite being unemployed I am ineligible for a benefit. The reason being that the $379.28 that my husband brings home each week during the school term (as a teacher aide he does not get paid for school holidays) is too much for me to qualify. We can claim an accommodation supplement of $120 per week.

Strike 4: $120 per week accommodation supplement doesn’t go very far in Christchurch thesedays. But if we lived in Auckland we could get more because housing is so much more expensive there. Really? A small 1960’s house with 2 1/2 bedrooms and no insulation is at least $450 a week in Christchurch. A search on Trademe revealed 68 3 bedroom houses available for rent in Auckland for $350 per week or less. There were no 3 bedroom houses for that price in Christchurch. Aah yes there is a housing shortage but the government will not increase the accommodation supplement or do anything to stop the profiteering of landlords. Or make resolving the housing shortage a priority.

Why? Who knows… it seems that people are not as important as those good old market forces – our friends supply and demand.

It is interesting to consider that during a similarly traumatic and destructive national emergency (World War 2), it was illegal to profiteer in this way. In fact in the UK, profiteering like this was akin to treason and carried the death penalty.

Strike 5: So, here we are. A family of two adults and two hungry teenagers and two cats living on $568.28 per week for 40 weeks of the year and $189 per week for the rest when you include our
family tax rebate. Our rent was $470 per week and it was costing $110 per week for my husband to commute to his job. In order to save money we have put the kids into the school where my husband works and moved close by. Our rent is now $450 per week and we are locked into it for the next twelve months. We signed the contract believing that we would be entitled to a benefit that would give me an income and believing that for $450 a week it would be insulated and safe if not beautiful.

We were wrong. We were unable to find anything cheaper despite searching for months. I had applied for a benefit in the first week of February after my previous employment contract ended.

Unfortunately, WINZ were having a tough few months and it took them until the 6th process my application. They declined it. If I had known that it would be declined I would not have signed the tenancy three weeks earlier.

Strike 6: Novopay strikes again! Novopay failed to pay me correctly at the end of my contract so I am still owed a week’s pay. Novopay refuse to talk to teachers and will only talk to the pay officer in the school. I notified the school over a month ago and they say that they have referred the matter to Novopay. Nothing more they can do. Novopay won’t talk to me so I can’t find out where my money is. Stalemate!

So as you can see our wonderful government has taken an ordinary family and crushed it through the accumulated impact of the decisions of their various departments. We survived the earthquake and after three years the physical and psychological injuries are starting to heal. Unfortunately, we won’t survive this government. I don’t know what I can possibly do to change my situation. I have tried every avenue I can think of. Years of hard work all for nothing.

It baffles me that such a government could ever be elected by reasonable people. But then I guess Hitler was elected too… I am sure there are well meaning people in the government somewhere but I wonder if they really appreciate the impact of the decisions that they make on ordinary people.

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35 Comments

  1. Tony… thank you for reposting that.

    This piece, to me, encapsulates why the Left must support the Mana-Internet Part co-operation. It is ordinary families like this who are suffering National’s “generosity”. We can afford the luxury of being “purer than pure” and “holier than thou”.

    It was truly awful to read. I will read this at least once a week, to motivate me (as if I needed motivation) to carry on the struggle.

    I will work damned hard to get rid of this government.

    • “We can afford the luxury of being “purer than pure” and “holier than thou” should read,

      We canNOT afford the luxury of being “purer than pure” and “holier than thou”.

      (Is the Edit function munted?)

    • lil says:

      Mana and Internet Party? You cannot be serious.

  2. F Vegas says:

    I worry that this story is not at all uncommon. Good luck, family! I hope things get better in Sept.

    • sarah says:

      alot of families not only in cc but everywhere are struggling to live it is horrible to see and us as new zealanders need to fight back and say its not ok as our children suffer homeless people were’nt as big as it is now its shocking because they can’t afford rent food and the etc its sad 🙁

  3. Sam Anderson says:

    Sadly and unfortunately this story is becoming all too common. We really do need to change things and quickly, before its too late for too many. This story makes me more ashamed of this country. What the hell is our Government doing to our people? It’s just disgusting.

  4. Could the family apply for a Temporary Assistance Grant? With no actual benefit coming into the family I’m guessing not. The Govt needs to increase the accomodation supplement to at least the Auckland rate & they need to do it NOW!

  5. Richard says:

    Novopay was a disaster. But to be fair, Christchurch has been saturated with teachers long before the earthquakes. Most new teachers consider relocating elsewhere to launch a teaching career. People need to be prepared to travel if they cannot find work in one particular city. No point blaming the government for not providing for your life choices of having kids and staying in one place unemployed.

    • david says:

      it’s strange that people say things like this still..should we all just up and leave our homes? where our families, friends and support network have and always will be.. yeah, some people can, but not all are capable of moving to a new city and making new friends and connections. it’s concerning that you can be so callous, not unlike our government.

    • Kingi says:

      Smug condescending bullshit comment

    • Richard says:
      May 28, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      Novopay was a disaster. But to be fair, Christchurch has been saturated with teachers long before the earthquakes. Most new teachers consider relocating elsewhere to launch a teaching career.

      Oh?!

      Pray tell, Richard, move where?

      Auckland?

      Wellington?

      Oh, plenty of affordable housing in those cities, I’m sure. (Note: sarcasm)

      Dunedin?

      Yes, affordable housing in Dunedin. But very few jobs.

      And… that’s about it.

      If you can come up with a helpful suggestion for families like the one above, don’t be shy in sharing it with us.

      Otherwise – take a hike, sunshine.

  6. Richard-at the risk of sounding defeatist,its not that cut and dried.Firstly,the cost of relocating to another city would be completely out of this family’s grasp-and I think one of the points this lady was trying to make was that the randomness of the governments’ policies are making ordinary hardworking families fragile and stressed,and it was out of their control-I’m sure before the greedy buggers came into power it was viable to have two children,and two cats.Are all National supporters as heartless ansd shallow as yourself?

  7. I don’t like John Keys politics ,I can deal with that with no problems.

    What I find unacceptable is the fact that John Key wouldn’t be in the position he is today ie. a millionaire with a mansion in America (Hawaii) and a mansion in New Zealand and $50 million in the bank,if it wasn’t for the fact that his mum was a beneficiary of Social Welfare and he was a recipient of a free University education.
    Then you have the like of Paula Bennett …

    These people think it was OK for them to benefit from Social Welfare but now nobody deserves what they relied on to get where they are today.

  8. Hannah says:

    I too am in a terrible financial situation, despite having no debt. I also have a serious, long term illness and two children. I work in minimum wage jobs as much as I possibly can to top up my ‘assisted living’ benefit to the point where we can survive. Why is this mother not working? Her children are teenagers, and even if they weren’t she could work between 9 and 3. Is working in supermarket or cafe too lowly for her? I used to be a successful writer but post quake lost my job and can’t leave Chch for various reasons. I feel for these people but I’m also angry that they are expecting a handout when I am working my butt off and having very little time and energy left over for my family. It sucks, but you do what you have to do!!!

    • LilaR says:

      Hannah, she is working. The article makes it clear that are both working as teachers, but, because of Novopay, her pay has been patchy and her husband’s non-existent for the past year.

      • Hannah says:

        No, she states she is unemployed due to school closures but can’t get a benefit. I risk my health and battle post quake PTSD and anxiety to make sure we eat and are warm. I can’t for the life of me understand why she doesn’t pick up some work. Any work.

        • Hannah says:
          May 28, 2014 at 10:26 pm

          No, she states she is unemployed due to school closures but can’t get a benefit. I risk my health and battle post quake PTSD and anxiety to make sure we eat and are warm. I can’t for the life of me understand why she doesn’t pick up some work. Any work.

          I can think of 147,000 reasons, Hannah. http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/HouseholdLabourForceSurvey_HOTPMar14qtr.aspx

          Honestly, Hannah, you make it all sound so simple. Why don’t people do “XYZ” and world peace will comer to all?!

          Tell us why you “risk my health and battle post quake PTSD and anxiety to make sure [you] eat and are warm “?

          And how do you know that your situation and the one related by Tony are so similar that you can provide ideal solutions?

          It is so easy to pontificate what people should do when you don’t walk in their shoes or live their lives.

          • Hannah says:

            I did a quick internet search three years ago and it was evident that traditionally ‘secure’ jobs like nursing and teaching would saturate the market and would be pointless to train in unless you lived outside of Chch. I looked into social work and spoke with social workers. There is a demand but you need a LOT of energy, and I simply don’t have that. We need to instigate a Universal Basic Income, we need to tax big business. We need to cease the pollution of our waterways and protect our environment. We need to police white collar crime and tax evasion. But for now, for survival, I, as a parent, found two jobs that accepted that I was both overqualified and physically disabled. It wasn’t hard. I am saying that work exists. It isn’t pretty work. It is lowly work. But my family comes first and I will put myself through hell for them because I have no other choice. I just think she could suck it up and help out. She’s missing one weeks pay. She’s unemployed. Life is hard. So get a shitty job and do what needs to be done until it gets better.

    • @ Hannah…

      *facepalm*

    • Andrew says:

      Do you think this is how things should be in NZ? Low population and plentiful resources we have, but you think you should just “suck it up” and accept the hand you’ve been dealt/dealt yourself?

      If all the people who were suffering from poverty in this country could unite and demand better, they’d get it, as they are the majority. Wake up.

  9. McChristchurch says:

    Nothing good ever came out of ACT-hijacked Labour in the 80’s, Ruth(Less) Richardson then and Key’s centre-right-right-right National now.

    Right-wing Tory policies of higher GST hits poorer families more than the rich. A flat tax of 20% (proposed by 1980-90 Douglas/Prebble who btw are rising again like Keynesian zombies – is there no killing these bastards) would benefit the rich. Jamie Whyte’s 17.5% flat tax will hurt poor and middle classes alike. How much would GST have to rise to, to fund 17.5% flat tax? 20%? 25% 30% – it’s a nightmare! Roll on 20 September – change can”t come soon enough –

    btw ….

    can you change the poll on the right of Daily Blog to reflect the Mana – Internet Party alliance – it makes my day to see a realistic Daily Blog poll – that shows a dominance of teh left, rather than the utter shite Colmar Brunton and MSM landline-based polls ….

  10. Hannah says:

    Please speed up the comment moderation. This is very ungainly 🙁

  11. sct says:

    NZ has become too expensive & all together too hard to live in. I have a job and work 65+hrs a week, leaving me little time to tend to personal relationships. I get paid a very small penance for the highly specialised & technical work I do. After high living costs have fleeced me, student loan, ACC, all the other shit (I do not get kiwi saver/paid public holidays etc), saving for anything is a pipe dream. There is no optimism for me or many of my colleagues in a similar position.

    I’m being forced to leave the country, along with a great many other skilled workers. Hopefully this doesn’t read as a straight up winge, but more a window into the average 20-30 something (or the next generation set to incur this mess) trying to ‘get by’ in NZ.

  12. […] If we needed  a clear example why the Left must take every opportunity to rid ourselves of this government, it is this piece, which I have republished from Tony Milne’s blogpost on The Daily Blog; […]

  13. McChristchurch says:

    Can you put a “none of the below” in as well, because it looks like GCSB, National’s moles and trolls have inserted a “none of the above” in below the left block….

    I knew nothing good would come out of Peter Dunne being a “willing seller to a willing buyer” of his vote

  14. Jenese says:

    This is so sad because it’s so typical if NZzzzz today the thing that gets me though is that within the law some where are laws on price fixing and profiteering …there are also rights and entitlements within the welfare system that are written in….somewhere …but few know where to find them and those whose job it is to ensure fairness are not looking …..the agenda of the nat party is the corporate global agenda …strange that a tiny nation with only 4 point something mil can experience the same big world problems as much bigger nations ….why because the corporate agenda is set ….seems we all need to join together and take class actions suites against various govt depts in order to get them to act within the law and to enforce our rights as laid down in the bill if rights and the
    IDHR

  15. Ian Williams says:

    Monday this week, EQC finally came around to do the scope of works on our home. I was the only person to apply for a building consent for EQ strengthening of a residential dwelling in Canterbury between 2000 and 2010. Three times EQC sent out engineers to assess out situation, only to establish that virtually all the damage to our property is from “Historical land settlement”. Yep, the land settled all right, right after it shook like hell and broke parts of my house.

    After a somewhat prosaic tirade at these tin-pot tyrants in hi-vis vests, it became plain that I would need my own engineers report…a snip at around $5000, or $2500 if you went to school with them, and of course it is not a problem if one can shake hands that special way that “brothers” do…then a rebuild is a mere formality…

    The really annoying part is to know that Fletchers was sold to Rothschild by Huge after the untimely, or timely, death of his brother, and it is the same crew who command our Reserve Bank, upon the board of witch (sic) sat one Huge Filcher, I mean Hugh Fletcher, who also has a seat on the Board of IAG and managed the sale of AMI to IAG with a Govt guarantee that has ballooned out to $450 million and counting, while meanwhile IAG is reporting record profits for its City of London owners and Quisling board members.

    But Huge is untouchable, his wife is the Chief Just Us, Ms Sian Elias! These are all matters of public record, and these aristo-cats have one half of Lake Sumner while and American water baron jhas the other. Don’t worry about the Yellow Peril strawman, we are being gobbled up by wealthy Yanks and Euros. Soon we will all know what it is like to be poor and brown in your own country as NZ becomes the Haiti of the South Pacific.

    ANSVAR, owned by a single beneficiary trust of the Church of England, headed for the safety of The City, so to keep as much cash in its coffers as possible…

    So, it is no wonder that folk in CHCH cannot get an even break?

    Now here is a funny story – well, I think it is funny. I have bizarre pixel perfect dreams which come true and I have premonitions, hence my EQ strengthening and trying to warn others of the coming quakes for ten years…

    One of my dreams was in 2011 of an aircraft, a Beech 1900 in Air NZ livery, crashing into what has become known as the Flocton Basin, after that the Right Wing had fallen off. In the dream I “knew” that several Nat MP’s were on board, including one particularly portly gent on the Port side who gets to watch the ground he scorned coming to meet him at terrifying speed…

    When a community gets pissed off enough, shit happens… politicians would do well to remember this fact and that their “Rule of Law” they hide behind cannot keep them from accountability to higher laws, which we are all subject too.

    The policy of government was aptly described by Hone Tomoana, member for Eastern Maori as “like an eel. You look at it in the water, it seems quite still and straight, but directly you seize it, it curves up, doubles and twists around you, and covers you with slime’ (Dick Scott, Ask that Mountain, p63).

    But then it could just be dream, I mean, who wants to see this creepy crew crash into Christchurch? Hopefully into an uninhabitable house?

  16. Murray Smith says:

    Not an isolated case by any means. We finally managed to extricate ourselves last January, despite a $25k cut in salary, the evaporation of our savings and health, and the disintegration of our family … except for the continuing regular 3 hour trips back to court hearings involving our old slumlord. The earthquakes were nothing compared to the human inspired exigency that accompanied them. Now for some reason I read this family’s plight and feel guilty.

  17. Matthew Molloy says:

    Your vote always counts when you do it with your feet: leave NZ like I did.

  18. Michael Gibson says:

    This story is all too true and is replicated in thousands of cases across the country. There will be many more cases, too, after 20 September, irrespective of which bunch of political actors occupy the Beehive. This is because the machinery of government is run by and for bureaucrats, which no one in the political class has the will to bring under control. National can, and does, control those parts of the bureaucracy that serve the interests of one percenters (eg MBIE, the corporate welfare agency), while it is utterly indifferent to the welfare of anyone else. Labour professes concern for the welfare of the middle and under classes but is either unwilling or unable to make the executive branch of government serve their needs. I believe most people have worked this out, which is why very few of them intend to vote this year.

  19. McChristchurch says:

    It’s corrupt collusion between National Party and EQC and Insurance companies that are delaying, denying, deconstructing insurance claims. National are more interested in showing a budget surplus (even after they have borrowed $60 billion) so are colluding with EQC and Insurance to delay claims, lower costs to the Balance of Payments and deny re-builds.

    There is NO agency that can mediate or advocate on behalf of people who signed up for insurance in good faith for full replacement, or return to new. Earthquake Services – Bryan Staples is leading the way against these lower than worm-snot insurance and Govt corporate and Govt robbers who re-neg and duck-shove claims to the point where they wear people down, to the point of leaving Chch , dying or accepting a fraction of the value of full replacement.

    The sooner that Internet-Mana, Greens and/or Labour sort out this fiasco, the better. The Left need to meet with Earthquake Services – Bryan Staples and Christchurch people, shattered by earthquakes, are being stuffed by Insurance Companies and National.

  20. Andrew says:

    “Hard times are here, and everywhere you go, it’s been much harder than I seen before, people are drifting, from door to door, can’t find no heaven, no matter where they go” Skip James circa 1930.

    Words from the Dustbowl times. Now, a basic lack of compassion in society is allowing this degree of suffering to occur in a nation blessed with low population and ample resources. The only reason, inequitable division of wealth (there is plenty for all if the sharing was better), brought about by NZ’s complete buy-in (social sell-out) to the global madness of unrestrained capitalism.

    Wake up New Zealand. Do you really want to go down this road? Do you really want non-resident international landlords running your slums? Do you want your kids begging in the streets, getting splashed by mud from the Mercedes of international gangsters, who are welcomed by our immigration department because they meet the prime criterion (look at the owner of Waiwera Hotpools nowdays).

    This government have shown their hand, and a more cynical, arrogant callous pack of bastards I don’t think we’ve seen in power. Time for a change guys.

  21. Fiona says:

    It is true that times are getting harder in NZ, and the welfare system is groaning at the seams. People are struggling all over NZ, and more and more assets are being bought by foreigners who take profits offshore. What we need to realise, however, is that it didn’t all happen on National’s most recent watch. There is research to show that this all stems back to the good old Rogernomics years, when we undertook a huge social experiment of free markets, low taxes and a ‘trickle down’ effect.
    There is a great documentary made recently by Bryan Bruce called Mind the Gap: Why most of us are poor.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/tv-radio/9074283/Mind-the-Gap-Why-most-of-us-are-poor
    or http://www.tv3.co.nz/INSIDE-NEW-ZEALAND-Mind-The-Gap/tabid/3692/articleID/94816/Default.aspx

  22. […] If we needed  a clear example why the Left must take every opportunity to rid ourselves of this government, it is this piece, which I have republished from Tony Milne’s blogpost on The Daily Blog; […]

  23. Susan St John says:

    Strike 3: Thank goodness we have a welfare system to help us out in times of trouble. Our incredibly generous government has worked its magic on the welfare system too. Revamping it to make sure those nasty beneficiaries don’t eat into their coffers and mess up the budget surplus targets. So despite being unemployed I am ineligible for a benefit. The reason being that the $379.28 that my husband brings home each week during the school term (as a teacher aide he does not get paid for school holidays) is too much for me to qualify.

    If you check out examples on the IRD website you will find that teacher aids are not eligible for the in work tax credit of $60 a week for their children in school holidays because they dont meet the hours of work required. How miserable is that? Why do the children suddenly need less? The welfare system and working for families is a total disgrace.