John Key was castigated in the left wing blogosphere for suggesting that the increase in people needing food parcels was due to issues of budgeting. It seems he was right. Not that the Herald would actually use the MacDoctor’s headline – they prefer:
And then they launch into a long story about a solo mum with fibromyalgia and three children (7, 13 and 17) who has had to escape an abusive relationship. So far so good – that is what the DPB was intended for (although I would have thought she would have been on the sickness benefit, rather than the DPB). The story gets lurid with the nasty National government refusing to provide this poor lady with food aid.
Only in paragraph ten do we learn that this woman is receiving $827.50 a week in various forms of government largesse. It is not until the end of the article that we learn that she has had four aid packages in the past six months and that she refuses to attend any budget meetings with WINZ.
The MacDoctor is fully aware that it is tough down at the lower end of the earning scale, but this woman is receiving the after tax equivalent of $56,000 per annum - well over the average wage! I personally know of at least two families (one of 4 and one of 5) who are managing on $10,000 less than this and are never short of food.
One is forced to conclude that this lady does indeed have a budgeting problem. Even a cursory glance at her budget shows that she is paying a lot of rent and using as much electricity as the MacDoctor household! One wonders if she truly needs a car (and one notes she does not budget for car maintenance – a flare-lit tip off that she can’t really afford a car).
It has been a very long time since I had to budget with a very small income, so I will not presume to give budgeting advice. However, it is clear to me that this lady needs help more in the form of the hard word on her budget rather than food aid. In the medium to long term at least.
She really can’t expect the taxpayer to keep bailing her out. I might be able to afford it, but my friends on their limited budgets can not. New Zealand as a country can no longer afford people who stand with their hands out the whole time and never take any responsibility for themselves.