Increases to fuel tax will make life more restrictive

A Guest Post

I am totally dependent on my super. This year I have developed a nasty illness that will require major surgery soon, Last month, even with the government subsidy, my drugs cost $57. My new diet required for my new illness is more expensive and I cannot avoid those extra costs. I have had to use a taxi service when discharged from hospital several times last month at a cost of $17 a time. Fortunately I am a member of St John Ambulance so my trips to hospital are free. When one is discharged from hospital one is referred to the care of your GP. Now I am lucky in that I am a member of a Hauora, so that only costs me $18 a visit. But two to three visits a month add up.  

Because of my illness I can no longer do the part time work that made it possible to pay those extra bills. This month I have had to stop my Sky so have missed cricket, and my battery charger stopped functioning. I now had no access to my phone and I couldn’t charge my Kindle either. I didn’t have the $15 for a new charger. Nor could I afford the groceries, or the rubbish bags to put out the rubbish. I am eating what is in my pantry and fridge, and a very eclectic mix that is. I have $2.20 in my purse and no other money. I live month by month and if I have no more medical costs I should come clear the month after next. But I don’t know what is going to happen healthwise as I require very major high-risk surgery which will take place in the next month or two. This will have some extra costs when I come out of hospital such as easily digested food, medications and I have no idea yet whether I will have to pay for my medical colostomy bags if they are required. Furthermore my driving to and from doctors, hospitals is dictated by when I had the last pain medication. You cannot drive on morphine. So every trip needs careful planning.

I know this sounds like whinging and it isn’t meant to, because in fact I am so grateful to be living in New Zealand with all the help that I do get. I get the most amazing hospital care which we should be very proud of instead of constantly complaining. I am fortunate that my drugs that keep me alive only cost me about $150 a year unlike some countries where you pay many thousands of dollars. The DHB provides me with some weekly domestic help and WINZ pays for someone to mow my lawns.

My neighbours feed my cat when I go into hospital and send over pressies of cake and things from time to time. I love their support and care.

I have no family available to provide support, either financially or physically.

I get really angry when politicians say “it will only cost a cup of coffee a week”! I can’t even afford a cheap cup of Nescafe at home some weeks.

I had planned for the future by buying a house close to the city on a bus route with a dairy handy and a good hospital What I didn’t expect was that I would not be able to walk up the short hill to the bus stop! And if they keep putting the price of petrol up I will be really stuck.

There are of course complex reasons why I have limited financial reserves, and that is a long story which I am not going into here. But most of us have lives that are complicated and in fact it can just be a matter of timing as to whether things work out for us or don’t. I have been seriously ill for nearly half my life, which has meant my earning capacity over my life has in fact been half that of well people. And it has been a struggle to get a roof over my head, but I have that, thank God.

So is it anyone’s fault? The fault is the overspending of government on failed or badly designed projects. Of giving money away to buy votes. Who raise taxes without watching the implications of what they are doing. The lack of government understanding of cause and effect is scary. The current dishonesty that is verging on corruption is so sad. And those of us who are living on very little deeply resent the misuse of our money over the years.

What can be done? Less waste! That is the key. I know of one very large multibillion dollar business where the CEO signed every cheque however small, and queried them so he understood the need for the spending and the staff only asked for things if they could justify them clearly without squirming. He pulled the business through the GFC where a lot of his competitors went broke. This government’s total lack of understanding of business and basic economics is going to be catastrophic for those of us who have illnesses, are aging, or have had a bit of bad luck along the way. We can run out of fat in our system and cannot squeeze the lemon for more juice.

So yes, the extra tax on petrol will matter. It will make our life more restrictive. Just imagine, no books to read because you cant afford to buy a charger to charge Kindle, and the cell phone, or the petrol to go to the book sale to buy more books, or indeed the few cents for recycled books. No cricket because you have given up sky. Surreptitiously putting your rubbish in someone else’s bin because you have no money for rubbish bags. And cannot afford more data on your cell phone – which has run out of battery anyway. Of eating banana bread for breakfast lunch and tea because you had over ripe bananas and flour to make the bread and no money for another loaf of white bread.

So, am I sorry for myself? A little bit. But I know I live in the best place in the world with friends and it will get easier after surgery and I get the pain under control and need less meds.

For those of you with good health, count your blessings. Take care of yourself and those around you.


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A guest post submitted to Whaleoil and edited by Whaleoil staff.

Guest Post content does not necessarily reflect the views of the site or its editor. Guest Post content is offered for discussion and for alternative points of view.

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