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Hard work, ambition common traits

Opinion Piece

Re: Growth for who? March 8.

Unfortunately the world is the way it is, not how we might like it to be. That does not mean we should not strive to remove injustice and inequity.

I was born in Timaru, the youngest of three boys. My parents were what I have learned to call Pakeha and had been through the Depression and two world wars. My mother’s first fiance lies buried in France. So does one of my cousins, from the second war. The price of citizenship perhaps? Mum’s fiance was an immigrant (as we all are), from Peebles in Scotland. He is buried with the New Zealand silver fern on his headstone.

We grew up in a house where we were loved and wanted. However, it was also a house of “relative” poverty, in that each week’s wages had to do, with precious little to fall back on. When it rained, a line of basins and pots collected the drips from where the roof leaked. We did not have a car, and biked or walked everywhere. What we did get was three square meals a day, the Golden Rule, a strong moral code, the notion that hard work could lead to a change in circumstance, the value of educational qualifications and a strong sense of community in supporting those suffering through the things life always throws up, like job loss, death and sickness.

Let’s fast forward to young married folk, with kids, in a 1000 square foot special house and a mortgage, biking to work because you couldn’t afford a car, working long hours. All with the ambition of bettering yourself, in the hope your kids might have a better life.

Ultimately, you might be able to buy a second home as a rental, borrowing most of the money with a view to a capital gain. I see people are supposedly buying ex state houses and then charging market rents. Not all landlords are grasping, if that is the implication, just as not all tenants are shining examples of keeping to an agreement.

Being hard-working, resilient and having ambition is not particular to any group.

Ron Taylor