tatjna (tatjna) wrote,

In which I go off on a tangent

Some of you might remember how last year the IRD in their infinite wisdom miscalculated my Working For Families thingy, using an income from manymany years ago to produce a figure that almost exactly matched my supposed Child Support entitlement.

You might also remember that because these figures matched so closely, I thought I was getting Child Support and thought nothing of it until several months later when I got suspicious, rang them and discovered that I'd been paid $1000 more than I was supposed to be (while not actually having received ANY Child Support), and so I got the payments stopped and coped without it.

So this morning I'm noseying around on the IRD website, which is a kind of self-torturing activity I engage in sometimes to see if I'll actually get any Child Support this month. I decided to see how my Working For Families entitlement was doing against the debt.

Nothing had changed. As of April, I apparently owe IRD $907.00. So, I rang them up.

Apparently, because my income has increased and because my Child Support calculation for this year (which they also ballsed up but then fixed after I called them) has also increased by the princely sum of $5 a month, I'm no longer eligible for Working For Families. Never mind that of the $3000 I was supposed to get in Child Support last year I only received about half of it, and of the $2000 I have been supposed to get this year, again I've only received about $900. The WFF is calculated on projected income, so they assume I'll get the full amount and this makes me ineligible.

Which means that there's been nothing going against this debt. Just like the original WFF mistake, and just like the Child Support calculation mistake, if I hadn't called them, nobody would be any the wiser.

On the upside, they aren't charging me interest on this - that won't happen unless the debt is still outstanding in February next year. This is some comfort, as it gives me time to budget for a sudden unexpected $907 debt. It's also a comfort that I'm earning an income that makes me ineligible for WFF - even though I could use the money, it shows an overall outlook of 'pretty damn good actually'.

However, I'd like to take a moment to point out to the world at large that the best case scenario with IRD is 'all care, NO responsibility'. They do the maths, if it's wrong they won't notice unless you tell them. And if you don't notice either, you get SURPRISE!DEBT! For which they are legally entitled to charge you interest. If you notice and tell them, you still get the debt but it might not be as big.

So it's in your own best interests to register on the IRD site to keep an eye on your stuff, taxwise. Because while it's their job to be fair (and I have to say that in most cases I've found them to be pretty fair), it does not seem to be in their job description to be accurate, and they seem to lack the checks and balances that show up the myriad of errors that occur within the system until it's far too late for it to be easy for your average Joe Blow to pay it back.

Just as an indication, I have not had a single dealing with the IRD since The Kid came to live with me, in which the calculations have been accurate. Not one. Every time, I've ended up on the phone, trying to find out why they think I'm unemployed, why my income has been calculated as $19,000 a year, why my Child Support entitlement has plummeted even though nothing's changed.. the list goes on.

A word of warning - keep an eye on your stuff. They make a LOT of mistakes and you end up paying for them.

Meanwhile, Oh noes! Raves! Seems there's an attempt to counter the current of anti-drugwar, pro-evidence based policy sentiment that's rising in the world. The problem? No real drug scares lately. The mephadrone thing turned out to be all bullshit, LSD and MDMA have been ethics approved for research using human subjects again, and countries like Portugal and Mexico* are trying new ways of dealing with drugs, ways that don't involve unsubstantiated blanket prohibition.

So what do we need? SCARE THE WHITE PEOPLE! Yes folks, it's your clean, white, middle class sons and daughters at these orgies of sex and drugs, destroying the nation's morality with their hugging and that terrible 'techno' music that we don't understand the appeal of that is um.. repetitive and therefore EVIL! You see, if we can make you think drugs turn nice white kids into morally bankrupt degenerates, it'll be so much easier for us to convince you those brown people are poor, unemployed and crime-stricken not because of our crappy policies and institutionalised racism, but because they deserve their marginalisation because they use drugs! Duh.

News flash: there would have to be one hell of a lot of MDMA (WAY more than your average 16-year-old could afford) in a bottle of water for anyone to get brain damage from drinking it, never mind that it would make the water taste nauseatingly bad. In fact, I can't think of any recreational drug used at dance parties that is likely to cause brain damage in that way, without also causing intoxication that would render the user incapable of continuing to drink. I wonder if she had hyponatraemia (electrolyte loss caused by drinking too much water, which became associated with ecstasy after drug war propaganda told people they could die of dehydration if they took it, causing folks to overdrink in fear). But of course, the article doesn't say, it just blames ecstasy and dance parties.

For those that can't view the video, the the article accompanying it is here. The comments on the vid are worth reading though, especially the one by Christopher Reed.

* Recommendations by the Law Commission in New Zealand indicate a move towards this approach too, but our current government have stated they will not consider it. Says something about our government, IMO.
Tags: drug war propaganda, ird have the dumb, won't anybody think of the children
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