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LETTERS: ‘People need to speak up!’

Wednesday 13 April 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Opinion

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LETTERS: ‘People need  to speak up!’

Dear Editor, I have had two conversations with two different people this week who tested positive for Covid but did not isolate or report themselves to Te Marae Ora.

When I asked them why not, both had very similar stories to tell. One in particular: their entire family was in isolation, except this one person who was needed to get food and supplies to them.

This person was also needed to run the family market stall on Saturday, because with everyone in isolation this was their only source of income. I said, “But you would have got the wage subsidy, right?”. Their reply was that they had tried and tried. And tried! They have a solid business and always pay their taxes. They were badly affected by the border closures. But after months and months of wrangling and back and forth with RMD (Revenue Management Division), they gave up. They said RMD was treating them like they were liars, and making things very difficult for them. In the interests of self-preservation and sanity the business owners gave up. They are going to NZ to work … their resources here are exhausted and there is no more money to borrow from family and friends.

We all know people who have waited for months and months for their wage subsidies. Hardworking people that are struggling to make ends meet and who are entitled to help. They meet the guidelines set for assistance. We all know someone with a story where they are made to feel uncomfortable to the point of being dishonest by public service officials acting like they are doing these people a favour. I wonder how many more people are suffering in silence for fear of not getting their entitlement. People need to speak up!

I’m sure it doesn't need to be pointed out that these public service officials are on full pay. They are by all accounts looked after very well by their employer, our government. I even heard a story of a department being given $600 each to go and stock up before Omicron hit! What a sweet luxury.

The public service has developed a laconic and arrogant approach to their role. Happily, not going to work because there’s nothing to do or some reportedly closing their offices and not bothering to tell anyone. Seemingly unrestrained. Of course, this criticism doesn’t apply to those at the coal face of public health and safety.

Workers and their families are leaving and many won’t come back. Now we have special airfares for workers to fly direct from Fiji to replace Cook Islanders who have left.

Our public needs to have a vocal response that’s louder and clearer and broader than that of the Chamber of Commerce or the Tourism Council.

Everything seems to be upside down. The private and public sectors have become distinctly different citizens. And we shouldn’t be, because we are all in the same community. There has been a lot said about how much the government has spent to support the private sector through the pandemic. This is our money, it is not the government’s.

This money has come from everyone, and it is not some government largesse, which the government (it seems) might like us to think. It’s the government’s role to manage our resources properly.

Our public service needs to be doing just that.

#Weareinthistogether

(Name and address supplied)

Call for regulator

I read with interest the letter regarding our major communication supplier. All these monopolies need to be regulated. Another one that needs controlling is Air New Zealand. One-way airfares over Easter is $800 to $900 – this is appalling. So, from eggs, communications to airline travel it appears that the Government is totally unconcerned. Too busy looking at the manganese nodules on the seafloor.

Waiting on Jetstar

(Name and address supplied)