READER REPORT:

Fixing the economy: A nation of have-nots

RUSSELL THOMPSON
Last updated 05:00 11/02/2013

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The bottom line is that New Zealand is a nation of the haves and have-nots, mostly have-nots it seems.

The average wage is less than $38,000, according to Statistics New Zealand. Most people are earning less than that. We work hard, we work long hours, yet we cannot keep up with rising rents and rising house prices.

My standard of living has dropped substantially since the late 90s. Back then I had savings, a superannuation scheme, a flash car and money to burn.

These days I struggle to put food on the table or have money left the day before pay day. I only earn $6000 more per year than I did in 1999, despite having two well-paying jobs and a frugal lifestyle.

Why is this so? The cost of housing is astronomical, over half of my wage goes on rent for a modest bungalow on the poor side of town.

Petrol costs over $70 per week, just to get to and from work. I would love to take public transport, but it would take me over two hours to get to work.

Nowadays I have no life, no meals out, no holidays overseas and no new clothes. All these things are out of my reach.

The way I see it, the price of housing needs to come down, petrol needs to come down and food prices need to come down so people actually have money to spend to grow the economy.

KiwiSaver needs to be compulsory. We need to get rid of ACC and make health insurance compulsory for all.

I know there are genuine people on benefits, but many I know are unemployable and not capable of working. They can go to Work and Income to get money, but working people have no such options, we have to struggle along as best we can, all the time getting poorer.

Higher wages, lower costs, working smarter not harder, and ensuring those with benefits deserve them, is the way to fix New Zealand.


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