I’m angry. And reading Chris Hipkin’s post below has just made it worse. Not at Chris of course, but at the cost of economic insecurity to humanity which Walter Nash talked about.
I spent this afternoon doorknocking in South Dunedin, one of the poorest and most densely populated parts of our country. People are insecure and afraid. They either have jobs that don’t pay much and they haven’t had a pay rise for a long time, or they are unemployed and can’t find jobs. They can’t make ends meet. They don’t turn their heaters on.
One family said “we can’t afford to eat meat. We used to be able to”. A lot of families said we don’t know what to do when the GST goes up. Tax cuts mean nothing.
Everything is more expensive. And they feel they are being made to pay. One woman, a sole parent with three teenagers told me she wants to work but can’t find work. “There is no work”. And she said she was being made to feel guilty for being on a benefit when there was no work anyway.
She is afraid for her kids getting jobs and being exploited through the 90 day law that means an employer can sack someone (often young people) in the first 90 days of a job. She joined the Labour Party today. Had never even thought about it til I turned up on her doorstep.
As Chris writes below (thanks Chris) Walter Nash said: “Men and women are not free to develop their own souls, to express their own individual personalities, to contribute according to their individual capacities to the world’s cultural inheritance – they are not free to do any of these things so long as the fact and fear of economic insecurity confronts them. Only when this fear is removed do they become in the fullest sense of the term a free people.
This country is becoming more and more economically insecure. What’s this government doing? Nothing but making their lives harder and making them more afraid. I’m angry.
Update: I’m so angry, I missed out the bits about the number of elderly people I personally encountered today (and they are constantly contacting my office) who are confronting losing their hour and a half per week of home help. Doing a bit of housework, preparing some meals, helping with some of the chores aorund the house they can no longer do. God help us that these elderly citizens who have contributed to our country, have paid taxes, went through the Great Depression, brought us all up and now they get treated like this at the end of their lives. Do the math! Helping people stay in their homes and lead a live with value is actually more cost effective than taking away their independence and requiring them to be put into a home. Not taking into account the human rights and human dignity aspect. I think you can tell I’m angry.