This article makes my blood boil. It starts off talking about how for some mums Mother’s Day isn’t about special breakfasts and pampering and that for some mums it is just another day to scrape by. This woman just got art from her kids for Mother’s Day. That is the best gift. The kids took the time to create something for their mum. Incidentally, it is exactly what I got for Mother’s Day too and it is exactly what I wanted. However, I don’t begrudge the mums who did get pampered for Mother’s Day, good for them. I hate that this article is trying to put down the pampering because I don’t believe in being jealous of what others have, I believe that if you see something you want then you should use this desire to get it by focusing and pushing yourself to chase after that dream. I wish the woman in this article could have the same belief because at this point she is doing nothing to better her situation and is, along with the Auckland Action Against Poverty Group (AAPG), blaming the government.
This woman’s situation is not the government’s fault, yet AAPG are protesting the government instead of helping her find solutions to her situation. The government is giving her $550 Jobseeker allowance and this full amount goes on her rent. It’s expensive living in Auckland. The government recently offered people up to $3,000 to get out of Auckland, and given the article says that the kids don’t get Christmas presents you can assume that this woman isn’t getting any family support so there is no reason for her to stay in the most expensive city in the country spending a big part of her benefit putting a roof over her families head http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11645668, she could simply take up this offer and have her rent drop by $200 a week by moving to a cheaper city. She is also getting a family tax credit of $350 per week, so that brings her weekly income up to $900, that’s $46,800 a year that the NZ government, so the hard working NZ taxpayer, is paying to this family. That is a real blessing, yet they are still going to go and protest to the government. Despite the $46,800 had out that they are getting they are living off food parcels. Something is very wrong here and that something is clearly obvious when you look at the breakdown of how she spends her benefit.
$179 of her taxpayer funded weekly gift goes on debt. It doesn’t say how she accumulated her debt but the NZ taxpayer is funding her choice to take on debt. The money is supposed to feed, clothe, house and keep warm her family, not pay debts. The other thing that she is wasting money on is fuel, so there is a high probability that the debt is for a car loan. She cannot afford a car. Cars require insurance, WOF, registration, maintenance, fuel – cars guzzle money. A car is a necessity if you are working and it is how you get an income but a car is a luxury if it isn’t an essential for work. Let’s be honest, when you have 6 kids you are not looking for work, caring for six kids is a full-time job. She needs to get rid of the car. The only three things I can see that she needs a car for, since she is not working, would be getting her kids to school – they can walk to school. Living in Manurewa there would definitely be schools walking distance, if not (which is extremely unlikely as this is a suburb in Auckland), could they not walk to a friends house and get a lift? Getting groceries – well at the moment she isn’t getting groceries, she is getting food parcels so she’s not needing the car for the shopping, and going to the doctor when her kids get sick, which would be such a rare occurrence so surely someone could lend her a car or a taxi would still be cheaper than an on-call car, so how is she spending $40 per week on fuel? I spend less than $40 per week on fuel yet we have several activities we drive to so where is she driving to when she has no money to spend when she goes places? This story isn’t adding up. Get rid of the car, this might get rid of the debt if that is what the debt is for, or at least part of it, she might still have money to pay off for the car because of depreciation so the car is worth more than the loan, but this will still cut her costs significantly and will eventually have her out of debt. If the debt is not a car debt then she could look at following an option on from this website http://www.ird.govt.nz/yoursituation-ind/debt/bankruptcy.html I don’t agree with people getting away without paying their debts but if this is a case of her applying for retail debt that she clearly couldn’t afford, yet the lending companies agreed to lend to her anyway, then it’s partly their own fault if they don’t get their money back. So she has loads of options to get out of her financial situation on the living within her means side of the equation, how about the expanding her means side.
You are allowed to earn an extra $100 per week on top of your benefit before your benefit is affected. https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/on-a-benefit/tell-us/income/wages/deduction-tables/jobseeker-support-sole-parent.html. So if AAPG want to help her, the best course of action would be for them to assist her by looking after her kids so she can go out and work to earn the extra $100. The minimum wage in NZ is $15.25, so she only needs to work 6 and a half hours a week or less if she earns more than the minimum wage, that isn’t many hours. In fact, the NZ government is probably prepared to pay her child care costs in order for her to work these 6 hours, or even more hours http://www.youthservice.govt.nz/documents/for-providers/gcap-quick-facts.pdf. It makes more sense to support her working as eventually as the kids grow up, working will be easier for her so having a part time job now gives her some work experience so she is not starting on the bottom rung of the ladder when her children grow up. At the moment we have so many jobs in NZ that we are importing unskilled labour to fill the jobs. If AAPG put their efforts into helping her find work and into assisting her with childcare it would be far more beneficial than protesting the government who are already spending the equivalent of the average income in NZ on her family already (for medium NZ income see: https://www.careers.govt.nz/jobs-database/whats-happening-in-the-job-market/who-earns-what/. It is really unfair to ask for more when some people are working a 40 hour week to earn what she gets not working, plus those who have to work to earn their money are also spending a lot of their time traveling to and from work and have to pay for their transport, and as discussed above, if they need a car for their job they have a big expense just to have their job so personally I think the NZ government/taxpayer are being very generous. They say if you give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime. The problem is we keep giving people fish and then acting surprised that they never are able to catch their own fish, we need to teach them how to provide for themselves and this needs to happen or else her 17 year old child will follow in her footsteps.
At 17 I was working. At 17 I had been working, and saving, for two years. I was lucky, my parents didn’t need my money, so I didn’t have to pay board until after I graduated university because my parents wanted to support my learning and help me save for a house. You would think living in this dire situation that the 17 year old would be motivated to get a job – the article doesn’t say he has, but it doesn’t say he hasn’t either. I was working 16 hours a week when I was 17. NZ does have a starting out wage for youth, which is 12.20, so it is possible that this is what they would start on, but you are only on this for 6 months, so if we take the number of hours I worked at his age, 16, and use this as the wage he would earn, he would be getting $195.20 for his first 6 months of work and then going up to $244 before tax after 6 months of working. Would it not be fair for him to contribute half his salary to his mum considering the family cannot afford food? Instead of protesting, AAPG should be helping him find an after school job.
And now the most obvious thing, 6 kids is expensive. She created this mess. The government didn’t choose for her to have 6 kids. In fact, the government actually gives her incredibly cheap contraceptive care because she is a beneficiary, $5. Yes, that’s right. If you have a Community Services Card, and she would as a beneficiary be entitled to one, it would cost her $5 to be seen at family planning and for many contraceptives, there would be no other charge http://www.familyplanning.org.nz/clinics/fees#CSC. So the NZ government actively discourages people on benefits to have children by hugely subsiding their care. So she definitely can’t blame the government here. The person she could blame is dad, or dads, where is he in this story anyway? He isn’t paying for the kids, he isn’t giving them birthday and Christmas presents, is he dead? And if dead, would the grandparents not step up and help out in this area. Where is the family support? I would love 6 kids but kids are expensive and time-consuming. I believe having 6 kids would mean my kids would miss out because I wouldn’t have the money to spend on them or the time to spend individually with them so I stopped at 5 (well, never say never, right?). It’s a personal choice. She chose to keep having kids when she clearly couldn’t afford them and to me, that is child abuse. If AAPG want to protest, protest at the house of the children’s father (or fathers) or the grandparents, the NZ taxpayer is already doing their bit, it is time for this mum to sort her life out. For her son to step up and get a job and pay some money towards the house (yes, I feel sorry for him being put in this position but it is better than living the way they are, begging for food) and for the family to be stepping forward. Because whilst it is true, “It takes a village to raise a child”, every member of the village needs to step up. And what I’m seeing here is the NZ government and the NZ taxpayer stepping up whilst mum, dad and family do nothing – come on, step up and contribute. We all have to play our part and if we all expected others to pay for everything like these people do, the country would be an absolute mess. The safety net of a benefit is meant for those who are too sick to work or have to care for sick family not to just choose to live off by living beyond your means. If she had the 6 kids she could afford and then something happened, like the dad dying, then that would be more understandable, but it doesn’t say that and I’m sure if that was the situation you would be leading with the explanation of how you got yourself into this situation.
Happy Mother’s Day everyone. Mother’s Day is about reflecting on being the best mum you can be and by that I mean providing for them financially and emotionally. Quite frankly the mum in this story simply doesn’t deserve any pampering for Mother’s Day because she has failed her children and they deserve better. She won’t get any better when protesters reinforce her failures and ask the government to pay for her mistakes, she won’t even try to make changes to improve the life of her family whilst these groups say her behaviour is okay and this is extremely sad for the victims of this story, her children.