20% of Kiwis too poor to die | The Jackal

6 May 2012

20% of Kiwis too poor to die

Today, stuff.co.nz reported:

Nearly one in five Kiwis is now too poor to die.

About 20 per cent of New Zealanders die so poor that their families need assistance to bury or cremate them.

Department of Work and Income statistics show in the 12 months to the end of March, 5473 funeral grants were made, totalling $9.8 million.

The most recent Statistics New Zealand death data shows 30,080 people died here in 2011, compared to 29,110 in the year to the end of March 2010.

Those figures show 18 in every 100 people die unable to pay to bury or cremate themselves, and the growing population means the number of funeral grants is rising.

Another sign of John Keys brighter future. Unlike many other indicators of poverty, funeral costs aren't something the government can simply ignore. They risk a complete breakdown of the social fabric if they do.

Funeral Directors' Association president Eion McKinnon said the maximum grant of $1959 was well short of even the cost of many burial plots, particularly in cities.

Costs on top of the plot included a casket, perpetual maintenance and interment fees, while funeral directors' fees and hiring chapels and putting up headstone were additional.

In most cases the grant was likely to pay only for a proportion of the cost of burial. "There's no real average cost for a funeral, and even the range of funeral costs is difficult to assess," McKinnon said.

The article goes on to talk about people getting into debt to pay for funeral costs, which is a clear indication that National has failed as a government.

Having 20% of the population no longer able to afford a burial is unacceptable and John Key should feel highly ashamed for what National's austerity has caused this country and its people.