The reality of poverty for parents
Thu, 27 Sep 2012 7:00p.m.
Many of you have asked us why we haven't talked to more families.
Well, we have, but many parents are reluctant to go on camera. They are often embarrassed, ashamed that they can't provide for their children.
It's a very hard thing to go on national television, and admit you're not coping.
Lachlan Forsyth reports on the financial realities facing some parents, and just how desperate things can get.
Watch the video.
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29/09/2012 4:24:06 p.m.
"But It's certainly NOT the fault of the parents either."
It is in so far as "Maori and Pacifica children make up half of the 230,000 children in povert *and* by 2020 they will make up 60% of children"--Anton Blank.
28/09/2012 5:23:30 p.m.
it was really cool for our school to be on campbell because i think we are the best school in the world
28/09/2012 1:24:29 p.m.
The problem was around when my children were at school and discussion has been for 20+ years and more.
We all agree - It's NOT the fault of the kids
But It's certainly NOT the fault of the parents either.
My husband left me with three children in 1988 and shame upon shame, I found myself needing state assistance to finish off my child rearing years.
Even then families around me that were able to feed their children and meet the needs had to be 2 income families. Single income families were struggling so of course anyone on a benefit were even more so.
By the time my youngest was 16, it had gotten substantially worse. In 2000 I was receiving $220 a fortnight. I had calculated menu's down to the cents (e.g. main meal – salad, potatoes and eggs: salad = half lettuce – 75c, carrot – 10c, tomato – 50c, cheese - $1, dressing 25c total $2.35; potatoes = 2 @ 15c each 30c; eggs = 2 @ 25c = 50c; total cost of meal $3.15) I tried to keep every meal less than $5 - meat was an absolute luxury.
Even with all this careful fragile budgeting, there was not enough, especially if something out of the blue happened, then it became do I pay rent OR power OR food.
We lived for 3 months once without power - we were lucky, we had a gas stove so could cook and boil water to sponge bath ourselves. We used candles and torches and a transistor radio.
It was summer - we were lucky.
The power bill was $120 and I was two weeks late paying (at the time if you didn’t pay by due date – 2 weeks later you were disconnected) so with disconnection and reconnection fees it became $260 - I went to social welfare and asked for help. After an hour lecture by a 22 year - who called me among many other things an incompetent bad mother was told NO it is more than the $200 we allow, so I wont give you anything – maybe you’ll learn a lesson! The only time in my life I felt like walking in front of a car was when I left that office that day.
We got through it, there were times I had to keep children at home because the only food I had to give them had to be cooked (porridge or stew if we were lucky) and it would take them to long to walk home at lunchtime.
Maybe it was my fault – maybe that girl was right, maybe some of you can live my life better to have given my kids a better chance – My eldest daughter became NZ Regional Manager of a large freighting company, my son an inspector for Queensland Fire, my youngest is in a long term stable relationship and a working Mum.
28/09/2012 1:15:46 p.m.
Moral Outrage wrote:
Shame, pride, dignity and fear. When the material things have all slipped out of your fingers, that is all you are left with. With the vile attitudes of some in this country to those fallen on hard times, it is no mystery why good parents would not put themselves and their children on the public stand to be pilloried. Try a read of the Sugar Bag Years and what parents had to do for their kids to survive in 1930s. People ate snails and seagulls while food bank operators stole the meat and sold it on the black market. Families fought over late granddad's thermals to cut down for the kids underwear. We are only one step away.
28/09/2012 10:07:45 a.m.
Oh i am sure that going tv and announcing you are a parent who doesnt/cant send their child to school with kai in the bellies, would be hard but id do it if there was a chance that someone could help me. perhaps those parents dont want to admit their mis manage their funds
28/09/2012 8:47:40 a.m.
The problem is education, has been and still is.We have the typical poverty attiude that money turns up weekly, and they spend it as quickly as it arrives and then are short till the next payment turns up. Spending it faster is also the crutch to claim your worse off than ones who spend less on the same incomes. Government departments do the same in their spending too, and if its not all spent they think it will be cut, so they do the worst job spending as possible to claim more next year.This is plain bad choices and lack of education to budget properly, live within a budget, and to live healthily within a budget.Why do pokies earn more in so-called poverty areas? Because they spend in those areas more on things like gambling/alcohol/drugs/HP/credit card interest/eating out/smokes than just about any other group of NZ including the so-called rich. By so-called poverty they then shift the blame from themselves to everyone else - just like addicts do.There are many people on as low incomes and lower who manage, and we should look at how they manage and what the so-called poverty can learn from them. Its generally pretty basic - budget, live within a budget etc. Nobody said it would be easy, but it is simple and simple enough that most of NZ manage doing it.Unexpected expenses? This is a general inadequate budgeting problem. I just spent $800 on the car this week and while expensive of $800, I knew I would need to spend money, so had allowed for it over 3+ years - so it was not unexpected or that expensive per week. In the same way, everyone on a budget needs to look not to spend every cent and ask for more, but spend less so they have a reserve left. This is how successful NZ manage even on the lowest incomes. If you spend everything your always going to come up short. You also need to budget thoroughly, not just the weekly expenses, like the tires on the car, even a car service so it runs properly, rates and insurance (paid weekly -> annually).
28/09/2012 6:00:51 a.m.
I would like to see an interview with Paula Bennett to answer some of the questions of why have our govt not done a damn thing to help nor have even said poverty exists in this country. How are we as a nation supposed to go forward with no policy in place to correct this. In 10 years when we all pay for the carnage at the bottom of the cliff from the wrecked lives due to inactivity by this govt will anyone remember we had a chance to act and Paula did nothing? I only hope this govt self implodes as it looks to be doing and we can start afresh with people that listen and act for the people. That work to anihilate poverty in our country with all political partys. Truly our national disgrace.
27/09/2012 10:31:58 p.m.
I remember helping at an outreach for parents in need and they didn't know better i.e putting tea/coke in their baby's bottle and these parents need to be taught from scratch how to budget, and what to feed their children as they have no idea.
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