Voting should be infamily money plan
Voting and money are inextricably linked. It’s why so many children live in such shameful conditions, and why so few superannuitants do.
Working on improving your family’s finances? It might be worth having a checklist. Insurance: check. KiwiSaver: check. Emergency cash fund: check. Making good use of our votes: Eh?
Yes, I mean to put the last one in there.
Enrichment and impoverishment by Government policy are a very real phenomenon in this land of ours, but not all of us are voting like we think so.
Individually, we do not have the money of, for example, a big business interest or a union to get the ear of politicians.
But we do have our votes, only many people aren’t using them, especially among many who depend on the Government most, including the unemployed and those on low incomes.
The last time Statistics New Zealand looked at family wealth and voting, it found 42 per cent of people aged 18 to 24 years didn’t
vote in the 2011 general election.
And, of those who said ‘‘they did not have enough money’’ for everyday needs, 28 per cent didn’t vote, while fewer than 12 per cent of people who had ‘‘more than enough money’’ didn’t vote. What’s more, 35 per cent of unemployed people didn’t vote.
The young, those on low incomes, and beneficiaries . . . three groups that have a lot to learn from another group dependent on the Government for their incomes – superannuitants.
In all, 94.8 per cent of over 65s voted in 2011.
It’s no surprise that the prime minister doesn’t want to muck with New Zealand Super.
Voting and money are inextricably linked.
It’s why so many children live in such shameful conditions, and why so few superannuitants do. It’s not because the old are more worthy of personal taxpayer support than the very young.
Local councils and central government enrich and impoverish with their policy decisions. If they over-extend themselves, people get poorer. Their policies can drive house prices and rents up, enriching some (homeowners) at the expense of others (everyone else).
Politicians take an interest in powerful voting electorates, as the over 65s know.
It’s good to be part of a group politicians want to please, or at least not anger.
I’m not advocating for anything here other than the power of voting, and its importance to an individual’s money life.
There’s another way the voices of those with less money are not being heard. They aren’t complaining. There was a report to MPs earlier this month, on how the Government watchdogs like the Commerce Commission, whose job it is to sniff out wrongdoing by the likes of loan sharks and mobile truck shops, are struggling to get the people who are most vulnerable (code for the poor) to tell them about what the bad guys are doing.
I suspect a toxic mix of shame, poor education, exhaustion, and a sense of powerlessness are all to blame. There’s too much suffering in silence.
So next time you are thinking about tidying up your money life, make sure that you are being heard by the politicians and the watchdogs.
A young woman demonstrates that voting is not hard.