This article makes me intensely angry. It is not about poverty but poor parenting.
Sueanna claims that she did not have the money to pay for the medication for her child and could not get her to the doctors because they didn’t have a car. My kids have asthma too and the Ventolin inhaler they have is free and doctors visits are free for under thirteens, so cost should not have been a barrier to this child not having medicine. It’s possible Ventolin didn’t work for her and she had to be on something different which isn’t funded by Pharmac and maybe that did cost $20 but to say she couldn’t get to the doctor because she didn’t have a car? She’s from Glen Innes. They have access to public transport. I have a friend who works as a public health nurse and part of her job is taking sick kids who don’t have transport to hospital appointments so I’m sure there would have been either a service or friend who could have got her to the doctor. An Uber or taxi would have been cheaper than letting her get sick enough for an ambulance Maybe she didn’t even need to see a doctor, my son had epilepsy and when his meds ran out I just needed to ring the doctors and they could fax the script to the chemist. Once a year he needed to be seen and that was for blood tests as the meds can have a side effect for his liver so we needed yearly blood tests, but for asthma maybe the doctor could just do a script and fax it to the chemist of their choice, then anyone could pick this up for them. Letting it get to a point that she needed an ambulance to hospital is just insane. That is a life threatening situation. Some people need an ambulance despite taking the meds as it is not working but not taking the medicine puts a strain on an already overstretched system, complete irresponsible. And the cost of an ambulance is $60, and it says she was going every month. It would have been cheaper to get her to the doctor and get treated than paying a monthly ambulance fee when the condition becomes life threatening. Just disgraceful that they didn’t help her get better. You can also avoid the ambulance fee by being a St Johns supporter. It’s $80 for a family http://www.stjohn.org.nz/Support-us/Join-our-Supporter-Scheme/. I’m a member and we renew it each year, even if I don’t need an ambulance it’s a charity I want to support. You never know when you are going to need an ambulance to help you. When you don’t give your child their medication and they have asthma it is pretty much a given that they will need an ambulance. Neither asthma or eczema are poverty illnesses – anyone can have them. In general they can be controlled with medication, if you bother to pick it up and take it. Often there are certain food triggers, for me it was dairy and egg. So when my eczema or asthma were playing up I advoided these foods. Just being sensible helps a lot with some conditions for most people, of course others have severe cases and won’t be able to avoid hospital no matter what they do.
The families income is more than $250. 2 adults and 6 kids, they would definitely be getting an accommodation supplement on that or have a State house. That’s at least an extra $500 per week, most likely more, Glen Innes is central Auckland and they need a big house. So at an absolute minimum it’s $750 per week. That’s $39,000 that the NZ taxpayer is paying, not including the additional health costs incurred by them not taking their medication.
Dad couldn’t work after injuring his back and then after four years off work he hurt his ankle – and why can’t mum work? Yes, there is 6 kids to look after, but dad isn’t working so he can do that. It doesn’t say how bad his back is but it wouldn’t need to be that bad to stop him working as a furniture remover however he might be able to have a job less physical – bus driver, call centre worker – I know at the call centre I used to work at we had standing desks for those with back problems, maybe he needed to consider a career change. And if he injured his back at work then he would have been getting ACC which would be more than the $250 a week sickness benefit. Minimum wage is $15.25. So assuming minimum wage if he was a full time worker he would have been earning $610 per week, so 80% of $610 is $488 – that almost double what they say they are getting, so this just isn’t adding up. Incidentally, even if he hadn’t been injured, that is not enough to have 6 kids, they live the way they do because they choose to have 6 kids rather than stopping at a number they can afford.
The fact that they haven’t needed the ambulance for three years since they started taking their medicine just goes to show how dangerous it was choosing not to give the child her meds as this would have kept her healthy. They put her life in danger.
The government are already giving so much to these people, in some countries people get no help. The minimum dontation to Variety is $45 per month. This is what I pay to World Vision for my sponsored child in Cambodia. This money gives him an education (which we take for granted here), is funding the village to have clean water, toilets and sanitation (again, something all NZer have), to teach them how to grow their own food and to manage their own farms – it works with the community to become self sustainable. The children who are sponsored by World Vision are in poverty. NZ citizens get sufficient money to survive from the government and we have so many opportunities here. Some people don’t know how lucky they have it.