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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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  • National’s Health and Safety Reform Bill: less safety and fewer rights at...
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions is embarking on a campaign to fight the changes that weaken the Health and Safety Reform bill. As part of the campaign the CTU has organised vigils with the display of 291 crosses… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    3 days ago
  • All options need to be put on meat sector table
    Farmers must be given every assurance that all potential risks have been considered before Silver Fern Farms opens its door to foreign equity, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The ongoing saga involving the meat sector and amalgamation has… ...
    3 days ago
  • Flag the referendum if 50% or more don’t vote
    Labour has moved to have the second flag referendum canned if the first attracts fewer than half the eligible number of voters, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “John Key has already wasted more than $8 million on his vanity project… ...
    3 days ago
  • 90,000 cars reclassified in botched ACC ratings
    New figures obtained by Labour show the ACC Minister’s botched motor vehicle levy system has resulted in 90,000 vehicles having to be reclassified so far – at a cost of $6 million, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Nikki Kaye’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • Brutal health cuts confirmed, crucial services suffer
    Chronic under-funding by National has seen the health budget slashed by $1.7 billion in just five years, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A report by Infometrics, commissioned by Labour, shows health funding has been cut in four of the… ...
    4 days ago
  • Meth ring under Serco’s nose
    The news that two Serco inmates have been arrested for helping to run a methamphetamine ring from prison should be the final straw and see their contract cancelled, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “National has stood by Serco despite… ...
    4 days ago
  • Ministers failing women and their own targets
    New figures showing just five Ministers have met the Government’s own reduced targets for appointing women to state sector boards is evidence National is failing Kiwi women, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The Ministry for Women’s 2015 Gender… ...
    4 days ago
  • Charges up for some as funding up for grabs
    A proposal being considered by the Government would see some people having to pay more for health care and district health boards forced to fight amongst themselves to fund regional health services, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Information leaked… ...
    5 days ago
  • Stop experimenting on kids
    The trouble with the Charter school model is that it is a publicly funded experiment on children. The National Government has consistently put its desire to open charter schools ahead of the safety of the children in them, ignoring repeated… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    5 days ago
  • Bank puts the squeeze on mid Canterbury farmers
    News that an unnamed bank in Ashburton has put a receiver on notice over financially vulnerable farmers will send a chill through rural New Zealand, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government needs to work with  New Zealand’s banks… ...
    5 days ago
  • Key is trading away New Zealand land and homes
    John Key yesterday admitted what National dishonestly refused to confirm in Parliament last week – he is trading away New Zealand’s right to control who buys our homes and land, says Opposition leader Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister must now… ...
    5 days ago
  • Razor gang takes scalpel to health
    Plans by the Government to take a scalpel to democratically elected health boards are deceitful and underhand, coming just months after an election during which they were never signalled, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Leaked documents reveals a radical… ...
    5 days ago
  • Spin lines show a department in chaos
    Corrections Spin Doctors sending their place holder lines to journalists instead of responding to serious allegations shows the scale of chaos at the department over the Serco scandal, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “As more and more serious allegations… ...
    1 week ago
  • Court ruling shows law should never have been passed
    A High Court ruling that a law banning prisoners from voting is inconsistent with a properly functioning democracy should be a wake-up call for the Government, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. In an unprecedented ruling Justice Paul Heath has… ...
    1 week ago
  • Judicial Review Gamble Pays Off for Problem Gambling Foundation
    Congratulations are due to the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGFNZ) who have won their legal case around how the Ministry of Health decided to award their contracts for problem gambling services to another service provider. Congratulations are due not just for… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Environmental Protection Agency appoints GE advocate as new CEO
    This week, the Environmental Protection Authority Amendment Bill passed its first reading in Parliament. The Bill puts protection of the environment into the core purpose of the Environmental Protection Authority. This month, Dr Allan Freeth, the former Chief Executive of… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Charanpreet Dhaliwal death demands genuine health and safety reform
    The killing of a security guard on his first night on the job is exactly the kind of incident that National’s watered-down health and safety bill won’t prevent, says Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford. The coronial inquest into 22-year-old Charanpreet… ...
    1 week ago
  • Arbitrary sanctions hit children hardest
    Increasing numbers of single parents are being penalised under a regime that is overly focussed on sanctions rather than getting more people into work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Figures, obtained through Parliamentary questions show 3000 more sanctions,… ...
    1 week ago
  • Hekia just won’t face the facts
    Hekia Parata’s decision to keep troubled Whangaruru Charter school open despite being presented with a catalogue of failure defies belief, goes against official advice and breaks a Government promise to close these schools if they were failing, says Labour’s Education… ...
    1 week ago
  • No more silent witnesses
    Yesterday I attended the launch of a new initiative developed by and for Asian, Middle eastern and African youth to support young people to name and get support if there is domestic violence at home. The impact on children of… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Minister must take responsibility for problem gambling debacle
    The Government’s handling of the Problem Gambling Foundation’s axing in a cost-cutting exercise has been ham-fisted and harmful to some of the most vulnerable people in society, Associate Health Labour spokesperson David Clark says.“Today’s court ruling overturning the axing of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour will not support TPP if it undermines NZ sovereignty
    The Labour Party will not support the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement unless key protections for New Zealanders are met, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.“Labour supports free trade. However, we will not support a TPP agreement that undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty. ...
    1 week ago
  • Coleman can’t ignore latest warnings
    Resident doctors have advised that a severe staffing shortage at North Shore Hospital is putting patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “They say a mismatch between staffing levels and patient workloads at North Shore has… ...
    1 week ago
  • ACC must remove barriers to appeals
    The Government must prioritise removing barriers to justice for ACC claimants following a damning report by Acclaim Otago, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “ACC Minister Nikki Kaye must urgently scrap her flawed plan to remove claimant’s right to redress… ...
    1 week ago
  • Six months’ paid parental leave back on the agenda
    Six months’ paid parental leave is back on the agenda and a step closer to reality for Kiwi parents after Labour’s new Member’s Bill was pulled from today’s ballot, the Bill’s sponsor and Labour MP Sue Moroney says. “My Bill… ...
    1 week ago
  • Sole parents at risk of having no income
    New requirements for sole parents to undertake a reapplication process after a year is likely to mean a large number will face benefit cancellations, but not because they have obtained work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Increasing numbers… ...
    1 week ago
  • Juking the Welfare Stats Again
    Last week the government’s major initiative to combat child poverty (a paltry $25 increase) was exposed for what it is, a lie. The Government, through the Budget this year, claims to be engaging in the child poverty debate, but instead,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • OCR rate cut a result of flagging economy
    The Reserve Bank's decision to cut the Official Cash Rate to 3 per cent shows there is no encore for the so-called 'rock star' economy, says Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.   "Today's interest rate cut comes off the back… ...
    1 week ago
  • Reboot to an innovation economy, an Internet economy and a clean economy
    In my short 33 years on this planet we’ve seen phenomenal technological, economic and social change, and it’s realistic to expect the next 33 will see even more, even faster change. You can see it in the non-descript warehouse near… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • Bill that puts the environment into the EPA passes first hurdle
    A Bill that puts the environment squarely into legislation governing the Environmental Protection Authority passed its first reading today, says Meka Whaitiri.  “I introduced this member’s bill as the current law doesn’t actually make protecting the environment a goal of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key’s KiwiSaver deception exposed
    KiwiSaver statistics released today expose John Key's claim that the cutting of the kickstart payment "will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver” to be duplicitous, says Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “Official… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minimum Wage Amendment Bill to protect contractors
    All New Zealanders should be treated fairly at work. Currently, the law allows non-employment relationships to be used to get around the minimum wage. This is unfair, says Labour MP David Parker. “The Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill, a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill raises bar to protect Kiwi farmland
    The Government’s rubber-stamping of every one of the nearly 400 applications from overseas investors to buy New Zealand farm land over the last three years proves tougher laws are needed, Labour MP Phil Goff says. “In the last term of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Costly flag referendum should be dumped
    John Key must ditch the flag referendum before any more taxpayer money is wasted, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Millions of dollars could be saved if the Prime Minister called a halt to this hugely expensive, and highly unpopular, vanity… ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats letting Serco off scot free
    Government members have prevented Parliament’s Law and Order select committee from getting answers out of a senior Serco director about the fight clubs being run at Mt Eden prisons, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “At today’s Law and Order… ...
    1 week ago

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