• Brilliant Your Views comment…

    “Anyway, what sort of stupidity gives tax cuts to the wealthy instead of the lower paid, then asks that people hand their tax cuts over to the needy? Why didn’t the government target the tax cuts towards those in need?”

    Thank you, couldn’t have phrased it better myself.

    Thumbs up also to editingtheherald– nice take on John Key’s comments…. I totally agree with everything said there, but I have to disagree with him and everyone else who’s bashing Americans. Yeah, their housing bubble imploded and consequently sent the rest of the world’s economies down the loo, etc, but looking at the PEOPLE (not govt. or the corporations),  the American way of giving should be commended (and actually does exist, contrary to popular belief).

    From what I’ve observed, everyday Americans are pretty charitable. so many people in the PF blogosphere give money to charity/church. So many come on the MSN Money boards and tithes are a line in their budget – and most of the time they WILL NOT budge on that for whatever reason. Yet, they are in debt or can barely feed or house themselves but for some ridiculous reason insist on donating money they don’t have. That’s commitment. Whether it’s for religious reasons or whatever, the fact remains is that people are committed to giving part of their income away. Hell, so many people on the boards make their kids tithe out of their POCKET MONEY. I’ve never heard of anyone doing that. Ever.

    If you didn’t already know, the next round of tax cuts take place from 1 April. Those under $40k won’t get anything (or will only get at most $10 they say). The tax cuts are aimed at everyone ABOVE that income level. I doubt I’ll be receiving anything. BF got an extra $11 a week when the first round took place last year, but then he got made redundant. Key suggested Kiwis should donate their tax cuts to charity if they could afford to, citing the “American style” culture of giving/donating.

  • The end of the world, etc etc…

    I just  did a couple of online surveys – one was about banking (kinds of banks I’d like to use – not unlike another one I recently did on pharmacies and what kinds of pharmacies I’d like to see….) and one was about the economic situation.

    So, next time a story comes out on how everyone is all doom and gloom,  I’ll be one of those statistics.

    But BF made a good point. Had he not had his hours cut, and then been made redundant, we wouldn’t really be doing that bad. We wouldn’t be well off, but our situation wouldn’t really have been affected. Hardly anyone else we know has really been affected personally – not many we know have mortgages or been laid off, most everyone is studying and have kept their part time jobs, etc.

    Interest rates are now at 3pc – the lowest in history.

    Credit card/loan rates are still almost 20%. I wonder if there’s any point writing to BNZ to complain – BF’s loan is still at 18.2. Outrageous. But we live in NZ – doubt there’s much we can do, esp as it’s unsecured.

    If I don’t secure a job after graduation, I’ll be happy to keep doing what I’m doing; it’s pretty close. But we had a guy join our class this week who made us all a tad nervous. He finished his BCS last year (PR major). NO luck getting a job. Not many from the year did – they graduated straight into the plunge of the recession. Anyway, so he somehow wangled a last minute enrolment and is now studying with us.

    If he couldn’t get something in PR, what’s the odds for us journo students?

    Not to mention that most of us will probably end up in PR later in life – what’s going to happen when the entire media is made up of green fresh reporters who don’t know where the Seychelles are? (Found that out today – off the African coast near Kenya – looks absolutely stunning).

  • BF went into his old workplace this week, dropped off some stuff and picked up some stuff. His super expensive grinder wasn’t there. Luckily it’s named, and the boss knows it’s his and should be there somewhere…

    Apparently it’s dead there. No contracts, no work. Half of the staff were made redundant.

    Woop woop.

  • What a day….

    what a day it’s been.

    FINALLY, got my restricted licence…passed the test with a lovely instructor, who DIDN’T make me do a three point turn, but did make me reverse round a curve (which I totally flunked) and parallel park at the end.


    Far cry from the douche I had the first time, who belittled me, patronised me, and said my nervousness was NOT his problem and he couldn’t do anything about it. Fair enough, but he was the one who mentioned being nervous FIRST, why bring it up to make snide, pointless comments? He also (after telling me I wasn’t allowed to wear sunglasses) rudely asked if I minded him wearing his…refused to call out my name in the waiting room, like all the other instructors – obviously didn’t even want to attempt to pronounce a ‘foreign’ sounding name, and told me “you’re trying…you’re trying hard, and you’ve got some points, but we’ll see if you can keep them, if that’s enough to get through”.



    Anywho, after that brilliant start to the morning, popped into Work and Income with the bf. Turns out, seeing as I’ll be receiving student allowance (a whopping $183) and making maybe $150ish from work a week, Bf is INELIGIBLE for any assistance. No unemployment. Doesn’t matter, he could have nothing saved, be starving on the street, nope – my $330ish will just have to sustain us! Doesn’t matter that rent alone is $205, and the rest will just cover food – no transport, bills, clothing, emergencies, savings, debt repayments. Doesn’t matter we’ve been paying taxes. Even if I quit my measly job (which I wouldn’t, it’s an amazing foot in the door) he STILL wouldn’t be able to get unemployment. I’m sensing some disparity with their definition of unemployed here…

    What fucks me off most is that Studylink DO NOT recognise us as partners. It’s only a ‘relationship’ if you’re 24 or over (or 25?). Not so for WINZ. But wtf – they are both govt departments, why the different rules? Why such discrepancies? Get your shit together and get it straight, you can’t have it both ways. You need to align your policies. Obviously if he is to squeeze a cent out of them we’d have to break up or one of us move out and live separately. How fucked up is that?

    How am I supposed to support us on student allowance and my paltry earnings? I pointed this out, politely, to the receptionist. She shrugged. Repeated that she couldn’t help. Stopping work would not help. Jesus fecking Christ. BF’s brother and sister get money every week for their children. And they won’t give him a bleeding dollar; nevermind that he has been out there WORKING, contributing to our economy, and has now been made redundant.

    I read the other day that less that 800 people nationwide were receiving assistance under the ReStart package. I thought that was shockingly low. Not so, anymore. Not after this afternoon. And according to fellow Kiwis in strife on the TradeMe message boards, the unemployment figures are far higher than what’s been released.

    I plan to be writing to Minister of Social Development, Paula Bennett. This ‘policy’ is ridiculous.

  • Onwards and upwards

    BF finally got laid off, officially. The letter was sent almost two weeks ago, but to our old address. We got it today.
    I’m hoping we  will quality for the Restart package. I don’t know if we would qualify as our rent is low so we might not be eligible for the full accommodation supplement.

    He’s owed a little from his last day  or two of contracting, but the guy has seemingly done a runner.

    but we’ll see.

    I know I’ve been wanting this, closure, but it’s a bit of a shock as well – we weren’t quite expecting it to be quite this bad. I mean of course this was a huge possiblity, but we both, I think, held in the back of our minds that this was something to fall back on. that he could go back there – once everything was smoothed out and the new year turned over, things would go back to normal. But they seem to have halved their staff.

    The redundancy letter included two pay slips. the ‘one week’s notice paid out’ was holiday pay. They also started deducting his health insurance premiums from these, which they had been paying till now, and were supposed to; that’s the basic plan, where the employer pays the premium – FREE health insurance as they advertised it – too good to pass up!

    I need to try my best to support BF. It’s going to be a stressful enough, and expensive enough final year. Thankfully, my shorthand class has been moved to Monday, so no more six hours straight on Wednesday.

    Got to keep his spirits up, keep him motivated – don’t know how long it will take to find a job. I guess if nothing happens within a few months we should look at getting him into some sort of training. I have the Restart form and the extra help application form; just need to go get the unemployment one tomorrow.

    I can’t support us on a student allowance. There’s only so many hours i can work. But neither do I want to set him back by taking a totally crap job, unless it comes down to it. It’s pretty poor timing for our generation I think; has there been a worse time to start out in life recently?

    Well, unlike some we’re looking forward to turning 21 – we’ll be able to rent a car for road trips, find it easier to be considered for rental houses, hopefully lower insurance premiums, and generally get taken much more seriously in the real world.

    Onwards and upwards (??)

  • A parallel tax plan?


    Roger Douglas’s brainchild

    It’s a really interesting proposal. I don’t know jack about economics – just last year I learned that the OCR is the benchmark for interest rates and when it goes up, savers benefit and when it goes down, borrowers benefit (still, at least i know what it IS, which is more than I can say for others) – but on the surface it doesn’t sound that bad. Of course, I have no idea what paying for healthcare would cost. If it’s anything like over the in States, give me high taxes any day. I figure you’re responsible for your own retirement savings anyway. I guess the biggest worry for low income earners would be the lack of a welfare net. People like me don’t have a large EF to fall back on. There’s no safety net to catch us. And that’s a scary thought.

  • What the future may hold…

    With one month left before going back to uni, I’m hoping everything works out in terms of BF’s employment. IE, it continues, with minimal drama. I’m not liking him contracting, at least not this way. He’s at the mercy of someone who’s rather finicky and high maintenance at times, and hard to deal with. He’s also meant to be paying tax on his behalf, so I’m going to keep track of his hours to make sure he actually is deducting tax.

    I really would prefer if he was back at the old company, although we have no idea what’s going on and even how many people are still there. I wonder if his health insurance still covers him? The company seem to be still paying his premiums, so…

    In the meantime it’s paying down debt and socking some away in the EF.
    He really needs around 6000 as an EF for three months (well probably less as in such an event things like savings, fun, etc would be cut down). It’s such a large sum, and we’ve got a loooong way to go! I’m continuing to look after it all. He still has such a long way to go – although he is learning, and trying. Last week he didn’t have enough for gas as he wanted to enter a draw to win a 200k hotrod in the mall. I was pretty mad at him for that, but he felt extremely down about it for days and wanted to try again this week without messing it up. Managing cash is hard, but for some it’s even harder to manage plastic, and it’s proved to be so for him.

    I just don’t feel comfortable with this lack of security! I want things to be stable, and as much as that’s unlikely in this climate, I don’t care. It’s going to be a long, busy, stressful year for me, and worrying about paying the rent and bills is not something I wanna add to that load.

    Still, what can I do, apart from wait and see, and cross my fingers?

  • ReStart

    People have been complaining that the ReStart package leaves out those with “money in the bank” or “significant redundancy payments”. Excuse me, but since when is 25k an “insignificant amount”? Even after taxes, that is not chump change. I would not be turning up my nose at something like that. I believe the savings cut off was around $16k. Which I think is fair enough. I know that’s not a huge amount, but if you have 16k you can live off some of that for a little while. I know it will hurt, but that’s what you save your EF for, after all. (Bear in mind this is coming from a student with barely a quarter of that to her name)

    If you are important/wellpaid enough to end up with 25k or more in redundancy payouts, that’s not something to take lightly. Many of us wouldn’t get anything, or very little, so be grateful for what you have! Let’s say you end up with $17k after taxes. That’s enough for a couple of months. I tend not to look at the very top of my bank statement, the line that shows the total amount IN for the month and the total amount OUT. It shocks me to see that 6-8k passes through our account each month! Bear in mind that we pay the total rent for our house, $405, and so we get the rent from our two flatmates in every week. But it’s still so much more than I imagined, and so little of it stays in our account.

    Nonetheless, we have certainly cut back since the whole situation with BF’s employment, and $17k would have kept us going for awhile!

  • Wow!


    Holy crap. Hill Top is a bastion of Blockhouse Bay! All the affluent parents send their offspring there. (Didn’t realise it only had nine teachers….although it shouldn’t be that surprising given the fees there)

    I used to tutor two little boys who attended Hill Top and I was really impressed by what they learned. They also lived on my ex’s old street, which was a tad awkward for awhile – in fact the school is on that road too.

    And they reckon it’ll be a short recession….

  • My Laid-Off Life

    Seven NYers share their stories of redundancy.
    Check this one out: http://nymag.com/news/business/53153/index1.html

    He’s 24, still on his parents’ phone plan, had a car lease which his parents are paying for, expects they’ll also cover his rent, is worried what his GF will say about him staying at his parents’ if he gets a job out that way, “tries” to go job hunting but often decides to get out his Les Paul and pretend he’s John Mayer.

    Boy, when times are hard, the hard get going! Cars and guitars are luxuries you can’t afford. Sell the LP for whatever you can get. Maybe he can’t break the car lease but hopefully he’ll think twice before leasing in the future. While his GF has two jobs, he’s all: I’m applying for blue collar manufacturing jobs.

    Well I’ll tell you, it’s not something you can just step into. It takes time to get good at. There are apprenticeships in welding. You actually get qualified in welding; whether it’s specifically welding or general engineering. You can’t expect to walk in and start working. I know this because this is what my partner does. And it’s not as easy as some white collar professionals might think.

    It always bugs me that people automatically assume “manual” work is poorly paid and guys should get educated and get desk jobs and wear suits. I admit I still have vestiges of that stereotype in my head. But I’m learning. It takes years to gain the skills needed for many trade jobs. And they’re not always easy to come by. To get qualified takes years, and you have to find a place to get trained in, which is much, much harder than simply enrolling at uni. Good tradespeople make more than I will probably ever make in journalism, although they’ll probably have a shorter working life (and a harder life along the way). But I say, if you’re making a good honest living and you enjoy it, well everyone else can STFU.

    I cannot imagine the boy working a desk job or wearing shirts and ties, or even worse, SUITS to work! Frankly, some people were made to work inside an office (me) and some weren’t. He likes to be out and about, doesn’t like to be cooped up. He likes variety. And he’s good with his hands. He’s strong, coordinated, good at making things. He overheats far too easily and would not feel at home in a job where it’s really important to maintain an image. He’s too honest, too earthy, and would probably spend his days sweating it out under a collared shirt and loafers.

    Me on the other hand, I have a hankering to wear pencil skirts and tailored suit jackets to work.