Kerre “party girl” McIvor fears retirement and poverty

Occasionally, when I pick up the tab for younger colleagues or friends, they remonstrate with me. “No, no,” they say. “Let’s divide the bill equally.”

“Leave it,” I say. “It’s a form of compulsory saving. When I’m old and living in a council flat and sharing cat food with my moggy for dinner, pay me back then.”

I’m only half joking. The thought of being old and poor terrifies me – but only now that I’m getting older.

When I started work at 17, I didn’t give retirement a thought. I’d only just started my working life. I was more concerned about getting through my probationary period as a reporter and surviving on the pittance I was paid, than about planning for life in my 60s and 70s.

When I decided it was time to woman up to my responsibilities, I was lucky to land a great job. The Irishman and I gave up the drink and devoted ourselves to paying off the mortgage as quickly as possible.

As much as it pained me, the bulk of our combined salary went on eye-wateringly dull things like mortgage repayments and income protection and insurance.

When you have family to look after and you finally accept that one day you may indeed be old, you do what’s right and sensible.

But even now, I have no idea how to plan for the retirement I want. My dad died at 60. My maternal grandmother lived until 99 and my mother shows every sign of following suit. Read more »

Rodney Hide on who is reponsible for the so-called homeless

Rodney Hide’s column in NBR is on the so-called homeless and the dodgy and wonky statistics used to support claims of increasing homelessness in New Zealand.

New Zealand has a problem but it isn’t homelessness.

It began with Labour calling on TV to highlight the plight of the homeless and producing a total dud.

Labour promised the cameras 17 poor people, with some living in a tent on a front lawn. Instead, an industrious homeowner was busy renovating and using the tent for furniture and materials. His only upset was the journos arriving to film, gawk and gasp at his promised plight.

Labour have been collecting hard luck stories to pimp to the media and that was one they never did the research on. They are doing the same thing with Police.

Next was the shock-horror headline of one-in-a-hundred homeless Kiwis. This was a University of Otago study produced by running the census data through an algorithm. The results don’t pass the “let’s-think-about-this-for-a-minute” test. One percent of Kiwis homeless. Really?

Turns out the five of us spent 2014 homeless and didn’t even know. That year we were “LAMAH” – meaning we were suffering a “Lack of Access to Minimally Adequate Housing.”

We were in very temporary accommodation (tick), our usual address (tick), our income was below the Jensen Equivalised Annual (gross) Family income (tick), we were severely overcrowded, suffering first a two-bedroom, then a three-bedroom deficit once wee boy was born (tick, tick).    Read more »

If you are retired and don’t own your home, you’re the cause of your own housing crisis

Is there no limit to the amount of stupid Newshub will show as they push and pimp the so-called housing crisis?

New research is showing older people who are forced to rent may be suffering poorer health outcomes compared with those who own, and live, in their own homes.

The Massey University study is highlighting the societal impact New Zealand’s housing crisis is having, particularly in the larger centres where unaffordability is growing.

Ninety-two-year-old Shirley Wright is not who you’d expect to be in a flatting situation, but living with 12 others, she couldn’t be happier.

“It’s much better living in an environment when you’re older than living alone because when you live alone you imagine all sorts of things,” Ms Wright says.

Ms Wright lives in Auckland’s Abbeyfield House. It’s a charity-run, shared accommodation and there are 15 around the country where volunteers help with the day-to-day running.   Read more »

This is not a hard luck story, it is a story of utter stupidity

The left-wing are all aghast at the story about the mother of eight living in motels and racking up massive debts.

Apparently it is the government’s uncaring policies and the fault of them for this woman’s poverty predicament.

Simon Maude reported:

An Auckland woman and her eight children living in a one-bedroom motel unit have racked up a $78,000 debt with Work and Income for their “emergency housing” costs.


The Auckland woman with the $78,000 debt said she was evicted from her Housing New Zealand house after it was found to be contaminated with methamphetamine. Despite being cleared of drugs by a CYF investigation, the woman said she was blacklisted by Housing NZ, forcing the family into emergency accommodation.

The woman and her family have now been staying in motels for 10 months and have racked up a debt of $78,000 in emergency housing money.

Her partner and her eight children – ranging from ages 11 to five months – have been staying in a one-bedroom motel in Mangere.

It was their third motel and she has given birth to two children while living in the motels.   Read more »


Going to jail because you don’t live within cellphone coverage

…it was in the Hamilton District Court that I first saw the difference between coming from a family with money and influence and coming from a family that was dysfunctional and impoverished of spirit.

A young man was in the dock – he was charged with assault, resisting arrest, offensive language – the usual offences a young man clocks up when he’s mad with the drink.I knew him as an acquaintance.

I wasn’t surprised to see him in the dock but I was certainly taken aback by his spruced-up appearance. His hair was cut, he was freshly shaved, his tatts were covered by an expensive new suit and he was being represented by a fancy lawyer.

His parents, respectable business people, were in the front row to support their black sheep of a son.

I listened, astonished, as the lawyer painted this aggressive oik as a brilliant young man, a flower of New Zealand youth, whose enormous potential would be blighted by a conviction.

Imagine the loss to the country should this extraordinary human being be denied the opportunity to flourish – on and on the lawyer went, certainly earning his exorbitant hourly rate. Sure enough, the young man was discharged without conviction. Read more »

From the mouth of one who’s been there: “most people CHOOSE to live in a car”

Rim Ihaka’s unwarranted and unregistered Nissan Maxima was his only home for six months.

Set up in an Auckland park, there was a radio, DVDs and a portable DVD player in the front seat. The back seat housed pots and pans, a little cooker, a loaf of bread and his blankets. His clothes filled the boot, while towels over the windows kept the light out at night.

The 40-year-old – who moved to Auckland three years ago seeking work – had been forced to live in his car in the park since November, after struggling to stay employed.

He told RNZ News he tried to get help from Work and Income, but had to go through a stand down period.

“I just ended up stuck in a rut. I couldn’t do anything because I had no money so I had to start looking at ways to make money and it just got hard.”

With nowhere to go he parked up at Bruce Pulman Park, where he had seen people in cars.

There he found a community, with up to nine car loads parked together for safety each night, and four or five people banding together for meals. Read more »

Don’t let the facts get in the way of a pimped story

The Media party, working  in complicity with the Labour party are really pimping out housing stories.

Andrew Little hasn’t quite declared a crisis but he has said a crisis is close.

But is there really an over-crowding issue. John Campbell has been stalking the streets of South Auckland along with his other media pals rocking up to houses where inveterate breeders are moaning about their predicament so surely over-crowding must be an issue…right?


The government via the Ministry of Health commissioned a study in 2014 based on census data regarding over-crowding.

The statistics, you know hard data not manufactured cry-babies found by a political party says that over-crowding is reducing.

overcrowding Read more »

Nobody is forced to live in a car; they have clearly chosen to do it

The Media party, and Newshub in particular, are still pimping the housing crisis.

On Saturday morning The Nation (yes them) pimped a couple living in their car.

They are called the hidden homeless.

They’re a growing number of working families being forced to live in vehicles due to being unable to afford Auckland’s soaring rent prices.

According to figures collated by the Salvation Army, rent for three-bedroom homes increased in Auckland by 25 percent from 2010 to 2015.

For Marie and her two young children, her car has been her home for two months.

“It’s like they’re shut away from society, really like I’ve hidden them away for society. They have nothing we’re just here 24/7.”

Her partner’s not here — he’s busy at his fulltime job. However his take home pay of $600 a week can’t match south Auckland rentals demanding $500 and more.   Read more »

Public Service Announcement: Help sponsor a KidsCan child

A first-hand account of what it’s really like for families living in hardship in New Zealand as they send their kids back to school.

KidsCan visited the Waikato with Tristram Clayton and saw Kihikihi School, which is waiting for their support. Mum, Renee Hei Hei, and School Principal, Andy Morgan, talked about the challenges of hungry tummies and making a little money stretch a long way for their kids. They also visited a current KidsCan partner school, Waihi Central School, and spoke with the principal about how KidsCan is helping the school and their kids focus on the important stuff – their education.   Read more »


Where are all the benefit babies born?

Lindsay Mitchell has been doing some research on where all the benefit babies are being born.

Unsurprisingly bludgers beget bludgers…and it’s growing.

Every year I track how many benefit babies there are relative to the total births. Being a ‘benefit baby’ means relying on a parent or caregiver’s benefit  by the the end of their birth year. Most will become reliant nearer to their birth date rather than first birthday. Many will go on to experience long-term deprivation.

This year I asked for a  breakdown by Work and Income Service Centre. That was provided. Then I asked the Ministry of Health for District Health Board birth data for 2015. They very quickly obliged without an OIA. Credit to them.

It was then straight forward to place each service centre in a DHB  and calculate the percentage of babies in each district that would be benefit-dependent before their first birthday.

Where the benefit babies are born

Read more »