Sideswipe: April 26: Welcome to New Gayland

Saw this sign just a couple of hundred metres from Auckland Airport. It was by the bushes along George Bolt Memorial Drive.  Photo / Supplied
Saw this sign just a couple of hundred metres from Auckland Airport. It was by the bushes along George Bolt Memorial Drive. Photo / Supplied

Harsh truth of poverty
Often our opinions about poverty are formed from little personal experience. This month a reader who was shocked to see a group at a food hall waiting for other diners to leave, then eating their leftovers, attracted both sympathetic responses and finger wagging. One reader wrote: "There is no need for this disgusting scrounging behaviour. If we lived in a country where we had no welfare I could understand it ... there ain't no poverty in this country only lazy sloths with bad attitudes to life." Coming late to the discussion, this reader responded with her story: "You don't know the welfare system then," she replied. "I am a hard worker and have always been, but a few years ago due to a marriage split from an abusive husband I had to get out quick and needed welfare assistance to feed my children. I had to wait for three weeks for my first payment as this was the stand-down period set by the government at that time. Food banks would give only two food parcels before they started asking why I couldn't budget my money well enough to feed my children, it was so embarrassing to have to explain to strangers that I had no money coming in to feed them because their dad, who was the main bread earner at the time, was removed from our home by court order for threatening to kill my children and myself. I had a part-time job, but not enough money to fill the petrol tank or to pay for a babysitter to mind the children while I went to my job. So don't judge these people. They could have no other option.

If I had not had friends step in to help me I could have been doing the same."

Here is the news ... news is bad news
Acting, farming and news reporting rated as the worst jobs of 2013 in the US, because of low pay, high stress levels, poor career prospects and physical demands. Software engineering, financial planning, occupational therapy, and optometry were in the top 10, while dairy farming, acting, roofing and logging came bottom of the pile. A job as an actuary, which involves assessing risk probabilities often for insurance purposes, was considered the best job with an average income of US$91,211, and flexible work arrangements. News reporting, ranked 196 last year, was relegated to last place with a median salary of US$36,000, stressful work with deadlines, a high public profile and competition from social media and citizen journalists. (Source:

Picture this #1: Toilet humour. Ed writes: "Me and my mate Grant were leaving the ANZAC Day dawn service and walked past the 'Sensory Garden'. Looks like it would certainly get the sense going!"

Picture this #2: My Knitted Boyfriend...

Read this: Bike thief returns bike with an apology note...

Video: The new series of Masterchef Australia trots out every gender stereotype it could find for this ad...

Video: You do not need a pair of Trongs (chopsticks on steroids)...

Got a Sideswipe? Send your pictures, links and anecdotes to Ana at

- NZ Herald

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