Article by Mike Rolton

What is Premium Poor? These are the people on low incomes (Winz or Working poor) who pay a premium for all their basis needs, this means they live in ever decreasing circles of opportunity and ever increasing circles of debt.

1/ Power account: The prompt payment discount is a PC way of saying Penalty for those who miss the cut-off date and the Premium Poor will always miss the cut-off date in the winter, spiralling into further debt by adding an extra $30-$40 to the monthly account

2/ Bank Loans: Generally do not qualify with Trading Banks so forced to go to Finance Companies or Loan Sharks where they end up paying Premium on the interest rates. (i.e. borrowed $300.00 pay back $635.00) swimming with sharks will always be trouble and more debt. There is no way out.

3/ Car Purchase: The Premium Poor do not shop at a Mainstream Dealership (i.e. Toyota, Ford or Honda) they shop at second hand car yards where they have a deal for you, this car has only travelled 250,000km and only $6995, they are then Financed into a deal, so immediately they are paying a Premium on interest, therefore they end up paying twice for a car that is worthless once it is paid off.

4/ Housing: The Premium Poor generally live in draughty, damp houses with little or no insulation, poor curtains and no floor coverings. They therefore pay a Premium with their Health by developing serious health related issues that strain the New Zealand health system and in some cases the penalty is death.

These are just 4 examples of Premium Poor there are many more just as devastating that stop the Premium Poor from climbing that wall of loneliness, humiliation and despair. When I was growing up, New Zealand was called God zone or the Promised Land, it is no more.

We need to spend our country’s wealth wisely and become a compassionate Society if we are serious about reducing Poverty in New Zealand, we have a duty as New Zealander’s to remove this unbearable pain from the Premium Poor and let them enjoy the prosperity this Country has to offer. Let’s liberate our thinking and focus on Social Justice for all and ask ourselves the honest question is THIS THE NEW ZEALAND WE WANT?