Its school holidays once again, kids get a break from school, teachers get a break from kids. But every school holiday an other rather elite group of employees get a break away from their work place…and they are politicians, elected and list get the same breaks as do school kids. So people like the Prime Minister can fly off to one of his holiday homes, this year its Singapore rather than Hawaii where his real home is. Oh he’s got one in Auckland too, he sort of has to have one in his electorate and he got another in Wellington where he spends Tuesdays and Wednesdays when Parliament is sitting, yes I know that parliament also sits on a Thursday but he rarely attends on a Thursday.
But there are another group of people who dread school holidays, they are the Mum’s and Dad’s that each work, some at more than one job. School holidays mean stopping work, because they can’t afford child minders, or have no willing friends or relations to mind their children over the holiday periods.
Many have to take a huge relative cut in income, which can and does mean that they get into debt over these periods. Others have to find the extra money for petrol to transport their child each day to care. And those that can’t afford to pay for care or transport simply have to leave their children for long periods at home on their own. And those are dangerous and risky periods for all involved.
Of course there are some mum’s who can afford to stay home and look after their children, because one person earns enough to support a family, but there are less and less of them now days, no employer pays more to those who are married or have children. Some have employers with whom they have reached agreement to allow the individual to stay home over the holiday period, but those employers too grow less each year.
While the concept of a living wage sends shivers down the spine of Fairfax business editor Maria Slade who can’t seem to understand that a living wage is about as low as one can go so that one is just one short step from poverty. She just can not seem the grasp the reality of life in NZ today for those earning the minimum wage of $13.75 per hour and just what an increase to $18.50 could and would mean to those in that situation. She admits she is no trade unionist…she doesn’t need to admit it for its obvious for all to see…
Once upon a time school holidays were welcomed by all, wages were such that they were looked forward to with a true sense of pleasure by all. Today only those who can afford to cope with the extra expense can do so, good whanau and family can help. But we as a society and community to can and must also help. So if you can assist please do so, in any way you can, if the government won't help maybe we can shame then into changing their behaviour.