Pensioner forced to live in caravan

Lynette in front of her home. Photo: RNZ / Brad White.

A pensioner living in the Bay of Plenty says she has no choice but to live in a caravan at a campground, because the pension is not enough to live on.

Lynette Haines, 69, is single and doesn't own a home - she receives $390 a week through superannuation.

The cheapest liveable rentals available in Tauranga cost around $300 a week, which Lynette says would leave her just $90 for essentials, healthcare, and food.

She instead lives in a 3.3 metre caravan - just long enough for an average man to lie down arms stretched overhead - at a campground for $154 a week.

"OK, I could go out tomorrow and rent a little place and hand all my income over to the landlord, but that means I've got nothing left for dental care, healthcare, keeping tyres on the car, keeping the warrant and registration going, putting food on the table.

Grey Power National President Tom O'Connor says there are countless pensioners in New Zealand "who are by any measure living in poverty".

"Sadly there's not a lot [she can do]," says Tom.

"You can't live in a wait list. We have people living in dire straits in this country and that's an indictment on a succession of governments that have allowed it to happen."

Lynette is on the Housing New Zealand wait list.

The Ministry of Social Development says she is a high priority, but one bedroom places in Tauranga are "hard to come by".

-RNZ/Zac Fleming, Checkpoint Producer




Posted on 16-09-2017 18:07 | By Minib

I feel sorry for Lynette as we don't really know the circumstances behind her living in a caravan,but I can see how tough it must be.$390.20 a week is not a lot of money when rents are so high, so she is in a a bit of a predicament, the hope is she can get pensioner housing care off the Tauranga City.Goodluck Lynette for the future

Poor management

Posted on 16-09-2017 14:23 | By Fonzie

There will always be people who need assistance and private enterprise cannot provide accommodation for these people especially when faced with the rising house prices in recent years The poor management comes in when politicians cant see what is happening ,dont manage the resources they have They allow people with a sense of entitlement to rip off the system like that party coleader Are we going to see any charges laid for that? Every time some wealthy person buys their citizenship and builds a mansion they suck up huge resources and tradespeople that could be better utilised on houses that people could actually live in instead of holiday in qccasionally Vacant absentee owner houses ,the coastline and other areas are littered with them This and many other reasons for the situation we are in


Posted on 16-09-2017 12:17 | By Colleen Spiro

begesch Thank you for having the compassion to have empathy....crikey, most of these people are SO JUDGEMENTAL.

It's all so easy...

Posted on 15-09-2017 20:08 | By morepork

...when you have a warm place to type your posts to SunLive and food in the fridge. We don't know what Lynette's background is or the circumstances that brought her to where she finds herself. BUT EVEN IF IT IS ENTIRELY HER OWN FAULT, she still needs help, just like thousands of other Kiwis. Nobody gets everything right all the time. As a society we should be prepared to help each other out and withold the judgemental comments that really don't improve the situation. I expect no less from Dropkick (Maildrop) because I suspect he wasn't born here, but those of us who were, can feel for people like Lynette and maybe do something practical to ease the lot of people like her. Deciding it is a self-inflicted wound so you don't need to worry about it, is just cowardice and convenience, even if that IS the case.


Posted on 15-09-2017 18:04 | By lpm67

Dont be too hasty to judge, before I was married I couldnt get a mortgage as the multiple bank managers wold say things like "girlie, wait till your married" (I was 27 that time...not a girl), and this was quite typical, also keep in mind that most female dominated jobs pay minimum wage, so it can be difficult to save a a male I dont think you can even begin to understand what a woman of her generation had to put up with and how that often stops these woman from being able to look after themselves into retirement. Now please dont get me wrong, I dont know this lady's specific circumstances or life story but I do know what I went through so I know not to judge or make assumptions. I also dont want to offend you, as a man you wouldnt have experienced these things,notyourfault.

Get The circustances

Posted on 15-09-2017 17:54 | By roseh

I own my own home and have been on my own for 10years.We saved as much as we could and I was still working on call at seventy.But circumstances we run into mainly doing for a termanilly ill daughter and work accident to my husband before his retirement Took a chunk of what we had put away and now it's hard.So don't make judgment on people untill you know there circumstances.And we all can't keep working some of us due to injury.

Its a shame!

Posted on 15-09-2017 16:34 | By Corwen

My 74yo Uncle who has had a stroke and uses a mobility scooter lives in a caravan, but by choice. He only gets the pension but loves his life style.


Posted on 15-09-2017 15:08 | By Border Patrol

...can be unpredictable. All best plans and intentions can sometimes be for nothing if illness, death of a spouse or any other unexpected curveball life throws at you happens. Good luck finding a home Lynette.

So what is the solution then?

Posted on 15-09-2017 14:53 | By jed

Why did she not save money and buy a house when they were cheap? My brother flitted through life to now, really enjoying himself.Met lots of wonderful people in his journeys and even his wife. But, he never really worked.... now cannot afford a house and is facing a hard life. Now he is whining for free money (not interested in a loan, he wants a gift). So , mum really wants to please him and offers to give him money.So why did i bother to ever work? This ladies life needs to be scrutinised before one can make a judgement either way.

@ maildrop

Posted on 15-09-2017 13:48 | By MISS ADVENTURE

True and agree, however circumstances can affect much. separation, then raising kids etc can mean that all goes to support the family so nothing left when retire. Whatever the actual reasons I agree with Murray G, Councils particularly are in a good position to have land available and consent and build small/minimal cost housing. One bedroom bed sits etc to accomodate those who need. The market determines what commercial do, in end result they always are there to make a profit else they dont survive or in fact why bother. So agencies must fill that gap. I believe bth WBOPDC and TCC are looking at off lading the flats housing etc that they own, same as Housing NZ have already done.

Sad sad, those negative comments

Posted on 15-09-2017 13:46 | By begesch

I'm really saddened by those negative comments, does any of you 'better knower' have a clue what Lynette has done in her life? How her circumstances have forced her to live in a caravan? I have no clue, and I'm happy it's not spread all over the news paper all the same. Negative comments wont help her, nor anyone else who is in this situation. Please, at least have the decency to sound like you're compassionate instead of criticising without knowing the background.

More to it

Posted on 15-09-2017 12:12 | By maildrop

What has she done all her life? Worked? Saved? You tend to get out what you put in.

To many penioners?

Posted on 15-09-2017 11:46 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Maybe the returement age should be lifted to 70? Obviously no home of her own, cant afford to rent (VERY Obvious) so no options left but a caravan or something similar.

Shared facilities, private living, a Council / Housing Corp option?

Posted on 15-09-2017 10:49 | By Murray.Guy

The private sector has a range of options for retirement living that understandably is out of the reach of many such as Lynette.Seems to me that an elder housing provider such as the Tauranga City Council, Accessible Housing, Housing Corp, might be best positioned to meet this need with the provision of independent living with shared facilities. Maybe to the extent of meal support and health services as changing circumstances and health needs arise. Clearly significant cost efficiency could be achieved and past on to the occupiers, and at no direct subsidy by the ratepayer.

Tip of the iceberg

Posted on 15-09-2017 09:39 | By Border Patrol

We have politicians focussing on poverty in this country, but it seems to be targeted at families and children (as it should). However there is a big problem out there with superannuation not being enough to live on due to large rent increases. Not all of the elderly are rolling in assets regardless of what is portrayed in the media. The sell up of pensioner housing is also a concern, the elderly should be able to have peace of mind that they are going to be able to afford to have a roof over their heads.


Posted on 15-09-2017 09:33 | By Sandra77

Hopefully this will make people aware they need to save for their retirement - she must have been aware of that - maybe she could get a part time job..$390 a week is good - both my parents receive super but they also both still work.


Posted on 15-09-2017 09:18 | By Rumz

Lynnette could choose to share a house with other people in similar situations thereby sharing the costs

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