2 Jun 2021

Pensioner on reality of relying on NZ Super

From The Panel, 4:47 pm on 2 June 2021

Tauranga woman Lyn Haines has lived in her caravan for over a decade. With a shortage of pensioner flats, it's a tough but affordable option, she says.

Lyn Haines in her caravan

Lyn Haines in her caravan Photo: via SunLive

Lyn bought her caravan in 2010 had has been living in it since.

“If I was to rent here in Tauranga I’d be faced with a $500 a week rental bill and that would not include power and water and food and all the budget things that come after rent.”

There is a long waiting list for a pensioner flat in Tauranga, she says.

“You have to wait for someone to pass away, and the list is so long, there are hundreds of people in this area who are homeless.”

Living in a caravan is not easy, she says.

"It’s a very small space, it’s not big and it’s not modern and I don’t have a bathroom onboard, so I have to use ablutions and it can get quite dismal when it’s bad weather.”

When it’s cold she layers up.

"I’m very lucky that I’m a layered merino lady, and I just wear everything that I know will keep me warm in the colder times.”

Lyn has electricity in the caravan.

“If I get cold in the night I just reach over and switch the heater on and make a cup of tea.”

Not everyone from the baby boomer generation has managed to retire in comfort, she says.

“I don’t have any assets except for an aging car and an aging caravan and myself.”

She is not prepared to be dumped in a “dingy, cold, mouldy bedsit.”

Her ideal home would be sunny and warm with a little outdoor patio garden where she could “potter about".