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Sunday, January 03, 2010

More sympathy 

As part of our ongoing series offering free financial advice, a couple of stories have caught my eye lately. One case is particularly deserving of sympathy, and the other at least merits serious consideration for contesting a point of principle, but you really have to question the budgeting going on here:

Case 1: A young mother stricken with cancer finds Work & Income unwilling or unable to help her out with the costs of clothing her child. A fucking terrible situation you wouldn't wish on anyone ... but exacerbated by a pre-existing grant from said government agency of $920 "for a fridge and a washing machine." Hmm, I was in the top income tax bracket in Auckland and couldn't afford a new fridge or washing machine after I'd bought a house. So I got them off Trademe for $110 and $75 respectively. And the washing machine is still working fine four years later (touch wood). If working people can't afford new white-ware (not that I was complaining), how can non-working ones expect it? Honestly, there's nothing wrong with second-hand goods - that's what Trademe is for. Find a relative with a van, truck or SUV and you can pick them up for free. By all means the taxpayer should advance the money for secondhand goods, but I see no need for new ones.

Case 2: A beneficiary battles Work and Income through an internal appeals process, and then the courts, over two years regarding a $50 jumper and a $140 pair of shoes, arguing that the cost shouldn't be met through a repayable grant. I admire the balls on the guy, and I see the point of principle he's arguing. But ... later in the article "Act MP Dr Muriel Newman" [sic - that would be long-time former ACT MP Muriel Newman (or perhaps they're actually quoting current ACT MP Heather Roy), these right wing women are all the same eh?] is quoted as saying "People can go to an op shop and get a pair of shoes for $5 and he's definitely chosen not to take that path." And as much as it pains me to say it, she's quite right.

There's plenty of times when I've been working and had to forego luxuries like new clothes, new shoes, and new white-ware. I also had dial-up internet and no cell phone for years. It didn't occur to me to complain about it (much), although I did complain bitterly about having to drink cheap beer.

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$62000 a year. Plenty to get by on, they're just not that smart.


$295 spare per week. Enough to get by (and eat MacDonalds for breakfast by the looks). No dramas, people get that when they start a business. Yearly income boosted by what they can claim back, they just have to budget well until that comes in.


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