Breakfast host on The Hits, columnist for nzherald.co.nz Life & Style.

Polly Gillespie: I'll admit it, I'm not poor

At the bank I chat to a good guy who probably wants to kick my butt for having as much financial sense as a demented version of Imelda Marcos. Photo / Supplied
At the bank I chat to a good guy who probably wants to kick my butt for having as much financial sense as a demented version of Imelda Marcos. Photo / Supplied

I'm not poor. I admit it. I'm not poor. I'm middle class. I owe more than I own, and I've made more money than my parents, or theirs.

I am lucky. When I go to the bank I go up to the 14th floor and chat to a good guy who probably wants to kick my butt for having as much financial sense as a demented version of Imelda Marcos. But he helps me balance my accounts and attempts to encourage me to save money. My Dad didn't have that kind of relationship with the bank. My mum certainly does not either.

So the government is freeing up more land to build houses. Who will buy the land? Developers, I imagine. Developers will buy the land and build more McMansions for the McMiddle class to McPurchase.

I get it. It's a business. But where do the poor fit in? Apparently there are lots of vacant houses in Auckland right now. So it's not that there are no houses to rent. It's that there are no houses to rent that average earners and the poor can afford.

What do I know, sitting on my rented couch in my rented inner-city apartment. I know I have a wonderful mother living in a house I own. (By own I mean I'm mortgaged up to the eyeballs.) And I'm not sure how to continue housing her because paying a big mortgage and rent is crippling me. It's not sustainable. But I have options. I'm a middle class, working woman with options.

What options are there for people with no deposit? Or worse, no job or prospect of one. Where does that leave the widowed mother-of-four with no insurance pay out? Where does it leave people who can't afford to eat if they pay rent?

When the government allows land to be developed, who gets the land? The same people who already have land? Probably. I wonder what happens next.

It's all a bit like a game of Monopoly where one player has all the orange, yellow, red and green properties. It makes the game very hard for anyone else to play. It's normally about now that several players swear and throw the board off the table in protest - my sister was notorious for this - in a kind of "anti-monopoly revolution".

- NZME.

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Breakfast host on The Hits, columnist for nzherald.co.nz Life & Style.

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