Precarity: Uncertain, Insecure and Unequal Lives

The new publication, Precarity: Uncertain, Insecure and Unequal Lives in Aotearoa New Zealand has strong links to NPM's Whai Rawa research theme and ongong work, as well as a selection of our researchers and investigators, including Dr Bridgette Masters-Awatere, Dr Natasha Tassell Matamua, Dr Shiloh Groot, Dr Mohi Rua and Professor Darrin Hodgetts

The book looks at the day-to-day reality of life for those who are living life on the edge of sustainability - the precariat - who have to deal with barely adequate housing, lack of job security, and irregular income derived from multiple jobs and/or ongoing welfare and state assistance - however it also moves beyond the world of labour to identify and illustrate other forms of precarity in New Zealand, including the lack of opportunities for cultural expression and the struggle to be safe.

These are our most vulnerable citizens - the poor, unemployed, elderly, disabled, homeless, students, refugees – whose lives of uncertainty, dependency, powerlessness and insufficiency have been fueled by globalisation, the free market, neo-liberal politics and technological disruption.

Precarity focuses on this emerging class, not to further vilify it but rather to place its members’ lived experience in plain sight. As the editors say, ‘It is time that all New Zealander's understood the reality of what many of our citizens endure in the struggle to make ends meet and live dignified lives.’

In a recent interview with Radio New Zealand Professor Darrin Hodgetts commented that, “These are people who often rotate between benefits and paid employment and often juggle multiple jobs, so-called flexible jobs, they rely on welfare to fill in the holes in their budgets.

“They’re often accused of being at fault for the conditions in which they stand.”

And once you’re in the precariat class, you’re likely to stay there, he says.

“Their rights are stripped away from them and their life chances are steadily diminished.”

Buy the book from Massey University Press
Listen to interview with Professor Darrin Hodgetts interview on Radio New Zealand