Beneficiary mum has an epiphany

Harry Pearl reports

A 9-year-old’s comment about how “cool” it was to be on a benefit has changed a Huntly woman’s life.

Until six months ago, Judy Wilson was one of about 80,000 sole parents in New Zealand receiving a benefit.

She was devoted to raising her six children but, in her own words, she was also drinking, smoking, and not doing “anything”.

And she had been for close to 20 years.

Yikes.  How did she react?  

“It was my nine-year-old that said, ‘It’s cool being on the benefit because you’ve been on it for so long, eh, mum. I’m going to go on the benefit too’.”

Wilson, 43, said she was “shocked” to think her circumstances would have such influence on her daughter, and the comments jolted her into action.

She started a six-week course at WINZ in order to pick up new skills and followed it up with another, more specific course, in caregiver training for about eight weeks.

Since July, she’s been working at Kimihia Home and Hospital in Huntly.

Fan bloody tastic.

First, credit to Stuff for doing a positive beneficiary story and not using them as cannon fodder to beat the government around the ears with.

Second, well done Judy for taking personal responsibility for your own life.

Third – she received training on the tax payers’ tab.  Excellent.

Fourth – no whining how she is now only earning $2 more than on the benefit. Judy has found her pride!

People who get on a benefit as youths spend an average 18.9 years, costing $239,000.

At a glance, it’s been a similar story for Wilson. She had her first child at 20 and moved from Auckland back to her hometown Huntly, alone.

Her partner and father of her children stayed in Auckland, where Wilson had spent most of her teenage years.

She moved in with her nan, who needed care, and over the next 20 years gave birth to Tia Huia, Raiatea and Rangi Taiki, Marama and Wati o te aroha.

The children visited their father for holidays and he paid child support, but raising the children – who are now aged between 2 and 23 – fell overwhelmingly to Wilson.

Although there were intermittent periods of work, each time she was pregnant she returned to the DPB.

There is still a question about why the state should be supporting DPB life stylers.    To them the DPB isn’t a safety net, it is a genuine lifestyle choice.

That should be made less attractive as we can’t count on all the other “Judys” to be jolted into self-respect by their own children.


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  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    Oh no, oh no – Wait for the horse woman to scream how this Government is forcing “young mums” into menial jobs to save welfare budget and how Labour will be sympathetic…..

    • Kopua Cowboy

      Never fear, the great saviour Curryleaf will raise the wage to $18.40 and soon we will all have a new BMW in the driveway

      • steve and monique

        Labour need to use that ABBA song as their theme song, “Money, money money”

  • steve and monique

    Good on her. It took the face of a child to make her move. Guess there might be some hope out there for a few more to have a epiphany .

  • Chancey

    Brilliant – she may only earn a couple of dollars more but she has stepped out of the poverty trap, and saved her kids as well

  • Toryboy

    Yes all credit to this woman if she is attempting to get a job and do something worthwhile.

  • blokeintakapuna

    Well done to her. Just goes to prove that unemployment, even in Huntly for a solo mum largely unemployed for 2 Decades… Is really only a matter of attitude.

    That will really throw a spanner in the narrative L&G try and push…

    • Kopua Cowboy

      See, if National behaved like Labour they’d be shoving her in front of cameras and saying, “What’s YOUR excuse?”

      • FredFrog

        However, National know just how damaging that would be – to her and to others who may be thinking about getting off their arses too.

  • Brian of Mt Wellington

    Good for her but there are still a shit load blowing their benefit on booze and pokies and then having nothing left to feed their kids so go back to winz in Huntly and get more. There are only a few drinking places in Huntly that have pokies and one I know (from the horses mouth) is making a shit load of money from grog and pokies. I am not surprised kids are going to school hungry and without shoes, its atrocious and WINZ must know whats going on because its a small town where some don’t care what they talk about. Huntly cant be the only small town that this happens in, its just one I know about.

    • Dick Brown

      Although what Brian says is correct I can’t help but place the blame firmly on the people who acted as the enablers in placing pokie machines in the community in the first place.

      And this problem isn’t limited to Huntly; successive governments have continued to let this poverty trap remain under the guise of ‘Community Development Funds Distribution’ when all it is is a faux tax on the companies that run the machines.

      You set up a Devil’s playground you have to expect a few demons to shit on your slide.

      • Kopua Cowboy

        Sir, I feel humbled to have experienced such an excellent metaphor. Good on ya, mate.

        • Bunswalla

          Except there’s no devil and there are no demons. It’s just people blaming poor decisions on an imaginary bad guy. Makes it easier to face when it’s not your fault, aye?

  • Dick Brown

    She must be pretty good because the Kimihia rest home in Huntly is a top drawer operator.

  • br

    Awesome :-) Yeah and nice one Stuff to report a positive story…we need more like this

  • philbest

    I have a lot of sympathy for the policy that is followed in some countries, where the bottom tax bracket of zero, goes up to a higher level, to make it more worthwhile than $2 per week for people who will get off a benefit.

  • Toryboy

    I have often wondered about Huntly; there it is smack bang in the middle of one of the most prosperous regions in the country and yet has vast numbers of people on benefits.
    If a company announced it was setting up shop in Huntly and was seeking 500 staff – would any of the lazy slobs actually apply to work there? (I genuinely doubt it)

    • Dick Brown

      Maybe if those assholes running the local coal company down here got their shit together rather than ruining a perfectly good operation that provided 200 jobs that are now gone because of them.

      • Dick Brown

        And also if Tainui had got their shit together by distributing profits directly to their shareholders rather than suck up to a gormless King and hold onto funds for personal gains there would be millions more in the local economy .

        • Dick Brown

          Oh yes, I hate everybody.

        • Bunswalla

          Tainui did get their shit together, and they don’t hold onto funds for personal gain.

          • Dick Brown

            Hahaha, yeah, ok.

    • Brian of Mt Wellington

      You are correct about who would turn up to a job because most of them are lazy slobs. The ones that do turn up are usually so hopeless that they should have just stayed home. The odd one that looks employable then falls over because of their criminal record. You need honest people nowadays when a business involves handling lots of cash. Not much to pick from in the end, oops I meant to say they are the ones sent by winz.

  • island time

    It is a great story about someone regaining their self belief and dignity. Well done Stuff!!

  • conwaycaptain

    Well done that Lady!!!

  • Eiselmann

    Used to work front line at Winz south Auckland from 86 to 99 suffice it to say there are women like this Judy who have a moment of clarity and it changes their lives, recall one woman ,40, 6 kids never worked a day in her life, when she accompanied her eldest daughter to apply for the DBP she suddenly realised her then 18 year old daughter was repeating all the mistakes she had made. It took five years but she became a teacher, the last I heard (in 2007 ) was that she was still teaching thou nearing retirement , her daughter had a long term job as a Baker and her youngest son had joined the Army..none of the six kids were on a benefit. SO it can happen, it does happen , beneficiaries change their lives but they have to choose to.
    Sadly one of the last people I interviewed was the granddaughter of one of the first women I interviewed, all three generations of women were on DPB and hadn’t worked a day in their lives and the thing is, all three woman saw the benefit as a genuine career choice
    So congrats Judy for doing what you needed to do , you have given not just your kids but your grandkids at least a chance, if they end up long term beneficiaries you won’t have lead them there.

  • Col

    Injection, or what ever no money if you don’t.

  • ozbob68

    Forget care-work. this woman should be offered a job as a motivational speaker! I hope she gets stopped in the street and congratulated constantly now this article has appeared.

  • thor42

    Dear Sir Cullen’s Sidekick – this woman is perfectly able to work. Why was it that Labour, in all their nine years in power, *did not make her work*?

    I’ll bet that there are tens of thousands more like her on the benefit too. No doubt Labour will just leave them there and use them as vote-fodder.

  • AnonWgtn

    I would be really delighted if this attitude lasts more that 4 weeks.

  • Steve (North Shore)

    Make this woman Mayor of Auckland. She woke up and wants to do something for herself and family