READER REPORT:

Job cuts: Can't afford to keep working

RICHARD CRUICE
Last updated 05:00 23/04/2013

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We've asked our readers to tell us how they've been affected by job cuts across New Zealand. Richard Cruice wonders if he'd be better off without a job.

My story is a little different: I'm working full time, but I'm wondering if I'd be better off unemployed.

It's not because my employer is bad, but because the environment created by our government leaves very little benefit to working in exchange for the 40-plus hours it consumes every week.

To find work I need to live in a town where I can't afford to own a house. I could buy a house in a low employment town and afford the mortgage on the dole easier than I afford my rent now while working.

Last year I got a pay rise of less than CPI because of the "state of the economy", despite acing and exceeding every KPI offered.

I have not been late for my job in two years and have taken one sick day in this time. I regularly work 10-plus hours overtime/week to get the work done. I am an asset to my employer and this is acknowledged by them, however, the economy doesn't allow me a reasonable standard of living for this effort.

We eat processed crap because I can't afford better. This country ships all the best stuff overseas while we get charged inflated world prices for the leftovers. I dream of eating organic, but that's not realistic in this economic environment.

I consider fines a part of my weekly budget because the Justice Department lets me pay at $10 per week - this is cheaper than paying warrant, rego and parking in advance. It's actually easier not to bother with these and just accept I'll be paying $10 per week for the rest of my life than try and squeeze the money to drive legally. (No car is not an option as I need it for work).

I'm looking forward to April 1 when my student loan repayments go up from 10 per cent to 12 per cent and they take an extra 1 per cent for Kiwisaver. This feels like the breaking point. Perhaps it's time to go on strike; withdrawing my services as an employee and a taxpayer until such time as the political and economical climate in this country benefits the worker over the corporation.

I could buy a house with a nice big backyard in a town with zero employment opportunities. I could use my newfound 40-plus hours each week to grow all the food my family needs healthily and organically.

I could sell the car with no job to drive to and live happily under the payment threshold for student loan. Once I used my Kiwisaver as a house deposit, there would be no need to continue contributing, so I could spend the rest of my life on "contribution holiday".

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Some will read this and be angered by my attitude. This is to miss the point: To go on working harder, longer and in constant fear that yours will be the next job to be made redundant is the far greater danger to society. Only when the drain of unemployed, retired and striking workers overwhelms the tax contribution of those perpetuating the system, can change begin.


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- Stuff

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