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Think the only people who can get ahead under the current government are the already fabulously wealthy? Think again.
Think the only people who can get ahead under the current government are the already fabulously wealthy? Think again.

PoliticsMay 23, 2024

Need a side hustle in these tough times? Here are your National-approved options

Think the only people who can get ahead under the current government are the already fabulously wealthy? Think again.
Think the only people who can get ahead under the current government are the already fabulously wealthy? Think again.

Getting by in a cost of living crisis is easier than you think. Just open a mine (plus five other brilliant ideas). 

Like all times, it’s a bad time to be poor. Food is expensive. Rents continue to rise. My local second-hand stores are now selling Anko clothing for more than it costs new at Kmart. And who can blame them? They’ve got power bills to pay. People across the country are tightening their belts, and people without belts are mooning their neighbours. 

The government, a cynic might argue, is doing both. It’s reinstated interest deductibility for landlords at a cost of almost $3 billion over four years. It’s also ramping up new benefit sanctions, and overseen changes to disability funding purchasing rules.

If ever you needed a second, third or fourth job, now’s probably the time to get one. With unemployment rising, however, the job market is getting increasingly tough – so tough that we are now officially In A Recession. How’s that for a Facebook Relationship Status option?

Just as adversity builds character, though, constraints breed creativity. While we’re all holding out for those sweet, sweet tax cuts, here are some alternative side-hustles that the government’s recent changes have turned into real, solid money-makers.

For a start: mining. Yes, it’s a capital-intensive endeavour to get off the ground (underground?), but if the fast-track approvals bill is passed in its current form, it’ll be easier to open a mine. “Shouldn’t I be worried about the environmental impacts?” you might ask, to which I say: don’t bother. Loads of other people are already freaking out about the fast-track legislation, so they can do it on your behalf. Maybe even as you pollute their water.

If you’re less into natural resources and more into the humanities, you could set up a charter school. You’d get access to government funding, but you wouldn’t have to do anything annoying like try to find qualified teachers in a shortage, or implement the new curriculum. You’d even be exempt from enforcing the cellphone ban. Best of all, though, you’d be able to choose your own hours of operation, to align it with, say, getting the students some on-the-job experience. In your mine. Or maybe a farm.

Farming is hard work. Early starts, late finishes, rough weather, and the ire of inner-city wankers like me who want it all: brie cheese, and the continuation of the rural-urban divide. Rather than muck in, I say, muck out. Out out: get into the live animal export business. Yes, you’ll have to maintain very “high standards” of animal welfare, but thankfully, those standards don’t exist yet, and you could inform their design. Then, my advice to you: keep your eyes on the prize. It’s all big returns and smooth sailing when you avoid another Gulf Livestock 1 disaster.

Speaking of disasters, carpe diem. With the repeal of smokefree legislation under urgency earlier this year, but tobacco prices up, now’s a great time to make a move into lobbying. It might turn you into a bit of a social pariah, what with the cancer stuff, but it could also be a really useful stepping stone into politics. 

An Australian study released last year, for instance, found that around half of people involved in tobacco lobbying held positions in Australian governments before or after working for the tobacco industry. But we don’t need the Aussies to tell us that: we can just look at our own Chris Bishop.

Still nothing of interest? As a self-professed ideas woman, I must confess that I, too, am better suited to life in an office. With all the public sector job cuts, you might feel that those cushy-desk-job days are over, but fear not. While the Ministry of Education has proposed cutting 755 positions, prime minster Chris Luxon has also indicated that there is a need for consultants to help advise teachers on NCEA changes (the ones that you don’t have to worry about in your charter school).

The returns from this wouldn’t be as good as what you could make from exploiting the health and future of our animals, people and country. Generally, consultants get paid way more than government employees, though, and so your new wages could you help you on your way to the real Kiwi Dream: a property portfolio as extensive as the PM’s.

Keep going!