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The Standard

And now for the real news…

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, March 21st, 2014 - 14 comments
Categories: class war, economy, housing, Maori Issues, pasifika, poverty, prisons, same old national, welfare - Tags:

So we allegedly have a “rockstar economy” with NZ’s economy coming out of the recession and everything looking pretty rosy?  Well, that’s the NAct news that too often gets repeated by journalists in the mainstream media (MSM).  So let’s hear it for another chorus of “there is no depression in New Zealand”.”

Indeed! If you look a bit closer, at the actual lives of people on the lowest incomes, as told by those who know them. Budgeting and other organisations providing support where they can, provide a picture that is far from rosy.  Some of this does get reported in the MSM – but it’s too often buried amidst all the bread and circuses, smoke and mirrors of the MSM.

stop robbing poor to feast rich

Here’s a couple of the stories from the last week.  A Demographia survey finds that too many Kiwis are unable to afford adequate amounts of food, putting them in “absolute” poverty.  Simon Collins (who very often does excellent articles on social security and other social issues) reports today in the NZ Herald:

A global survey has found that one in every six Kiwis ran out of money for food in 2011-12 – more than in all except eight other developed nations.

The shock finding contrasts with other data in an annual survey by the Paris-based OECD that put New Zealand near the top of the 34 developed countries on social indicators such as people’s perceived health status and employment rates, and above average on relative poverty.

But experts said the key finding on food money reflected genuine “absolute” poverty caused by NZ’s low real incomes and high housing costs.

Collins reports on NZ agencies that confirm there is no let up in those seeking help for problems caused by poverty: Child Poverty Action, Auckland City Mission, the Salvation Army, South Auckland Christian foodbank.

And the Demographia findings are supported by data from NZ’s Household Survey, although the later shows some easing over the last year – the measure indicates poverty rose under the current government, but is now returning to pre 2007 levels – levels that still indicate high levels of poverty:

The NZ figure matches Statistics NZ’s annual household economic survey which asks people if they have not enough, just enough, enough or more than enough money to meet “everyday needs for such things as accommodation, food, clothing and other necessities”. Those who said “not enough” rose from 16.2 per cent in 2007 to 18.5 per cent in 2010, but fell to 17.6 per cent in 2011, 16.6 per cent in 2012 and 14 per cent last year.

Nevertheless, the government is continuing its war on the poor, with a report today of the removal of funding for the Problem Gambling Foundation. Adam Bennett quotes Trevor Mallard on the reasons for the removal of the funding, as posted by Polity, and re-posted on The Standard.

Maori and Pacific communities are over represented in low income statistics and related issues. Simon Collins’ article yesterday is the final part of the NZ Herald’s 4 part series on closing the (ethnic) gaps.  However, the article does present some smoke and mirrors with its framing. It begins saying intermarriage is causing ethnic gaps to close.

The second half of the article then reports that, in fact, ethnic gaps are not closing as indicated by socioeconomic measures.

This series has […]

also found that on the economic measures of income, employment and welfare dependency, people whose ethnicities include Maori and Pacific have done consistently worse than Europeans and Asians.

[..]

In fact the employment and welfare gaps between Maori and Europeans in particular have widened, as the equalising forces in health and education have been trumped by more powerful forces worsening economic inequality: globalisation, deunionisation, tax and welfare changes, and technological shifts that have lifted demand for skilled workers and reduced demand for the unskilled.

Today’s final batch of figures shows that this widening inequality translates into a measurably worsening quality of life for Maori in particular, and for Pacific people too on some measures.

My bold.

Collins then focuses on the prison stats, showing that Maori men are over-represented in the prison population.  He states that this reflects discrimination by police and the judiciary systems, as well as inequalities in income, employment and education.  This becomes a vicious cycle with many Maori (and to a lesser extent) Pacific women left to look after households and children alone while the men are in  prison.

So there you have it – to repeat Collins’ statement about the powerful underlying pressures that are maintaining ethnic inequalities:

powerful forces worsening economic inequality: globalisation, deunionisation, tax and welfare changes, and technological shifts that have lifted demand for skilled workers and reduced demand for the unskilled.

This is the sort of reporting that should be foregrounded more in the MSM, rather than buried in places within articles that too few people attend to. These are powerful forces that have real impacts on real people: things that can be (at least partly) be countered by a truly left wing government.

National government state house sales Tamaki Housing Group

14 comments on “And now for the real news…”

  1. Tracey 1

    You mean the Nats are lying?

    At best this economy and its leader are trying to impersonate a rockstar economy, or in Key’s case get a photo-op with one.

    Maybe the simplest election billboard campaign would be to photoshop pictures of all the Cabinet Ministers who have been caught in lies and put “Pants on Fire on… (insert date/dates)

    All together in one billboard…

    • aerobubble 1.1

      Isn’t there a danger. That returning interest rates to a more normal rate is by no means a reflection of a rock star economy, especially when paid for by tax cuts and government running up debt. It will just leave citizens with the false sense they can go out and spend. Already the US-EU is threatening Russia economy with sanctions… …a rock star economy is a promise Key can’t and isnt delivering on.

  2. Augustus 2

    They might actually have a point with the “rockstar” meme. Some of the greatest stars, measured in sales and idolatry, got their status long after their death. Jim Morrison, Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Keith Moon, John Bonham spring to mind. After years of self-abuse and a complete lack of discipline, they wound up dead. Good analogy right there.

  3. vto 3

    You need the track Karol….

    heads in the sand

    such a kiwi tradition

  4. Good post karol. As I noted yesterday from that Collins article

    The Ministry of Justice says 20 per cent of Maori men who turn 39 this year were imprisoned before they turned 35, 4.2 times the non-Maori rate. Corrections Department research says this may partly reflect discrimination by police and the justice system, but primarily reflects socio-economic conditions such as family breakdown, leaving school early and unemployment.

    The process is self-perpetuating because imprisonment itself helps to break up families, disrupts education and makes it extremely difficult to get a job after leaving jail.

    I struggle to get my head around these shocking statistics – 1 in 5 – in any decent society that would be a source of shame and utmost endeavor to change. Yes it a consequence of poverty and associated ills but it is also an area that generates further deprivation as the quote points to.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Let’s call it for what it is, shall we MM. An oppressive, partly racist, heartless method of social and political control. It is a full on front in the class warfare that many in NZ society denies even exists.

      • marty mars 4.1.1

        Yep and not partly racist either – it is oppression of those most disadvantaged and it is relentless with the grinder destroying lives and the futures of people daily. I agree it is also class warfare because those oppressors want an underclass and they want despondency and they want their full weight on the heel of the throat. Why? Capitalism insists upon it.

        • RedLogix 4.1.1.1

          I know that we don’t always interpret racism through the same lens marty, but on this we are on the same page. These stats are absolutely shameful. They make me angry and despairing by turns.

          I’ve seen this madness close up and personal. It’s the interwoven cycles of disadvantage, marginalisation, poverty, violence, abuse and trauma that buggers me. I’m just astounded just how resilient most people are in the face of it; I’d never survive their lives 10 minutes.

          The other element which feeds into these numbers is the indication of a shockingly high rate of brain trauma that some recent NZ research uncovered in our prisons.

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/9335492/Most-prison-inmates-have-brain-injuries

          Googling on ‘brain injury prison population’ comes up with a whole bunch of similar results.

          Yes it a consequence of poverty and associated ills but it is also an area that generates further deprivation as the quote points to.

          QFT

          • marty mars 4.1.1.1.1

            Yes red I agree with you. Sometimes an issue, or the effects on people from oppression, cut through our individual filters and binds us, in opposition to it, as left – and when that happens we realise the real reason we believe in left principles – it is because we believe in people and because the injustice some people have to live with is intolerable to us. We fight it as we can, when we find it, and we won’t stop doing that, in small or large ways, until the injustice is gone.

  5. geoff 5

    I hope the rockstar economy bites National on the arse.

    The media will be going on and on about how great the economy is but all us ‘punters’ are going to be just as poor, if not poorer.

    Add in higher power bills and mortgage repayments and the contrast between ‘brighter future’ bullshit and John Key’s neolib reality will get blindingly stark.

  6. jepenseque 6

    So we are below 2007 levels achieved under the previous govt, with a clear downtrend in place and this stat is used to attack National?

  7. The Real Matthew 7

    This writer could do with expanding his reading to David Farrar’s Kiwiblog.

    Instead of replying on anecdotal evidence David deals with the hard facts. Unfortunately for the writer the hard facts don’t back up the ideology being spouted here.

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2014/03/behind_the_headline.html

    • Murray Olsen 7.1

      Matthew gets the prize for funniest post of the century. The only thing Farrar has in common with facts is that they both start with the same two letters, fa – also used in sweet fa.

    • karol 7.2

      Maybe you should read my post, TRM. And then explain why you perfer DPF’s post to mine, rather than taking other people’s words as the final say on the issue.

      My post also mentions other surveys/data such as the OEDC one and the Household survey and contrasts the results.

      What DPF doesn’t take into account, but is mentioned in my post, is that these surveys measure slightly different things. Food poverty and the Household Survey cover things that are absolute necessities. The OEDC rankings that NZ did well on were more to do with things like employment rate, relative poverty, and selected health measures – not the focus of absolute poverty, like struggling to eat – sometimes going without.

      Then DPF mentions at the end of the post, that yes, some people in N are doing it tough – kind of an afterthought – or maybe some weak ass covering by DPF.

      Edit: What does this mean?

      Instead of replying on anecdotal evidence David deals with the hard facts.

      ermmmm… what anecdotal evidence have I used? Are you talking about reports from agencies that work with those in poverty? DO you think they don’t keep records of the work they do? And, what – you don’t want to hear about the hardships of people in poverty? Just reduce them to statistics?

      I also supported that with evidence from the surveys as mentioned above.

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    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    4 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    5 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    5 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    5 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    5 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    5 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    5 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    6 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    6 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    6 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    6 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    6 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    7 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago

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