Dr David Clark is the Labour Candidate for Dunedin North. He has worked in shops, in a factory, as a Presbyterian Minister, as a University Tutor and as an analyst at the New Zealand Treasury. He currently runs a University Hall of Residence.
Red Alert readers will have noted several recent stories about the very real way in which cost of living increases are affecting middle income families. I’ve encountered a fair few in Dunedin in recent weeks with similar stories. Here’s one that stuck out for me when I was out door-knocking yesterday…
Bill and Maree (not their real names) live in their own home, and have worked hard to pay off much of their mortgage. Daughter Lisa?has recently turned 17 and is living at home with Bill and Maree. Son Darren has just finished University. Bill and Maree have always held down solid jobs and bring in an average income. This has generally been enough. They were however impressed last election by John Key’s promise of tax cuts and ‘a brighter future’, and placed their vote with him.
But things have not turned out as hoped. Prices have risen and risen, and bills are getting harder to pay. The tax-cuts they were expecting haven’t lived up to expectations. And then Lisa fell pregnant. It wasn’t planned, but she’s determined to be a good mother.? Bill and Maree want to support her, but they’re fearful they won’t be able to provide all that is needed for the new addition to the household. Having worked hard consistently down through the years, they went down to WINZ with Lisa to see what support is available. Nothing: unless Lisa is estranged from the family. Not until she’s 18.
Bill and Maree are feeling hard done by. Having worked hard and paid taxes all of their lives, they were?expecting a little bit extra from Mr Key. Instead, they’re seeing seriously rich New Zealanders enjoy the big big tax cuts, while they don’t have quite enough to make ends meet. And then, to make matters worse, when they need a bit of help, they’re realising that’s not there either.
Bill and Maree are disillusioned. They’re changing their vote. But on top of their disappointment about Mr Key’s failure to deliver them a brighter future, they’ve another concern. It’s the future of their kids. Not only are they worried about their daughter: their son Darren?is wanting to settle down too.?
Darren’s just finished a degree and has been offered a very good job in Dunedin. But his partner’s pregnant, and they’re concerned about the cuts to Working For Families. With a student loan and the cuts to Working For Families, they too will struggle to make ends meet. Darren’s mates are telling him to move to Oz. One of them has already, and he’s earning nearly three times as much doing the same job.?
This story echoes others I’ve encountered in recent weeks.??
Many ‘swing’ voters feel disillusioned with the Government that they voted in last time.? Some say the jury is still out, and they want to give Key another chance. Others are sick of him.