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Government report card: poverty, jobs, housing – FAIL!

Written By: - Date published: 8:34 am, February 13th, 2013 - 20 comments
Categories: child welfare, class war, cost of living, education, equality, housing, jobs, Metiria Turei, national/act government, poverty, tax, workers' rights - Tags:

The Salavation Army “State of the Nation” report is out today, and, as Metiria Turei says, it makes depressing reading.  It confirms what many of us have been seeing and discussing for a few years now. Kate Chapman says on Stuff,

The Government is not doing enough to reduce child poverty, create jobs or improve housing affordability, the Salvation Army says.

In its state of the nation report released today, it rates the improvements made in housing, social hazards, crime and punishment, employment, and children’s lives.

Despite some success in reducing the crime rate and increasing participation rates in early childhood education, the report found a “making-do, getting-by sentiment in some vital areas of social policy and human need”.

Salvation Army spokesman Major Campbell Roberts said the findings showed New Zealand had not learnt from history and did not have the right leadership to overcome the problems.

“This is not to denounce the current or recent set of political and civic leaders. Rather, it is a reflection that we get the leaders we deserve.”

With almost 300,000 people jobless and 150,000 others moving to Australia since 2007, alarm bells should be ringing, Major Roberts said.

Instead the Government remained focused on reducing its deficit and opposed to increasing taxes.

The destructive government policies, and cuts to the taxes of the wealthy, while increasing the burdens of those on low incomes have particularly hit the children of the poor very hard:

Child poverty, youth unemployment, and housing had suffered and “more tax dollars” were needed to fund solutions.

The report found child poverty rates were static over the last year and violent offences towards children increased by 84 per cent in the five years to July 2012.

It also showed a widening gap between achievement rates of students in low-decile schools and those in richer areas.

Between 2010 and 2011 the achievement gap between the poorest three deciles and wealthiest three deciles increased to 31.6 per cent, despite a fall in the achievement rate at the top decile schools.

Inequality was also growing between workers, with those in well- paid work and secure housing getting a pay increase while the picture for those in low-paying jobs was “less attractive”.

The housing market was increasingly about the “haves” and “have nots”, the Salvation Army said.

“Government’s response to these difficulties has been token at best.”

Kate Chapman summarises with a Report Card:

Teenage pregnancy A

Early childhood education B

Infant mortality B

Housing related debt C+

Drug related crime C+

Wages and incomes C+

Children at risk C+

Benefits and pensions C

Living costs and food poverty C

Alcohol C Gambling C

Housing affordability C-

Children and violence D

Educational achievement D

Child poverty D

Employment and unemployment D

Housing availability D

20 comments on “Government report card: poverty, jobs, housing – FAIL!”

  1. just saying 1

    Wages and incomes C+

    Children at risk C+

    Benefits and pensions C

    Living costs and food poverty C

    The report gives these areas pass grades?

    Ms Chapman appears to be praising with faint damnation.

    • I don’t “get” these “report card” figures either?
      They don’t appear to tally.
      Is the “report card” part of the Salvation Armies report or simply the reporter’s way of reporting the information?
      A category such as “Living costs and food poverty” gets a C, when “Employment and unemployment” a D, doesn’t tally. If employment levels are appalling, then why is this not reflected in the living costs, which must be getting harder for more people to meet?

      • just saying 1.1.1

        I assume Chapman is editorialising – on behalf of the government.

        I can’t imagine the Sallies awarding the goverment an overall pass.

  2. AC 2

    Performance pay for politicians would fix this disgusting report card. I’m guessing there would be some homeless MPs. After all one size should fit all. Good enough for teachers, then good enough for politicians. They should live by what they preach.

    • erentz 2.1

      No it wouldn’t because that assumes that pay is linked to performance, and that lack of qualifications isn’t aproblem. While it may be possible to make a case that in the private sector (note “possible”), performance and pay are linked, it’s a different story in parliament. We elect people, and do absolutely no vetting of their competence, their background, their capability to do these jobs. In fact we’re quite often very good at taking the most competent people and sidelining them because they’re not friendly enough or political enough or for whatever other meaningless reason.

  3. Afewknowthetruth 3

    NZ is holding up remarkably well considering we have entered the Age of Consequences, the Age of Declining Oil Extraction, the Age of Currency Wars and Global Financial Fraud, and are progressing through the Reversal of the Industrial Revolution: most other ‘developed’ nations are in a far worse state than NZ …. the notable exception being Australia, which is busily engaged in digging up the place and selling it as fast as possible to any bidder…… and paying the horrendous environmental price involved in doing so.

    The inevitable drop in standard of living of 80+% that will occur over the next decade or so will be difficult for many to cope with. However, there could be an improvement in the quality of life, provided we can keep the psychotic sociopaths from taking over completely and setting up some kind of feudal system, as has been their tendency since the first empire emerged on this planet about 8,000 years ago. And provided Abrupt Climate Change doesn’t come too abruptly.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Dude this is like the most positive upbeat thing you’ve written for weeks (months?). And I happen to agree with you. The sociopaths must be identified and prevented from exercising power and authority. There are a few around…

    • Rogue Trooper 3.2


  4. xtasy 4

    The Salvation Army “State of the Nation Report” does indeed make very depressive reading to me and most, but it is a great, realistic “counter balance” to the “State of the Nation Speech” by our grand leader “Mr Slippery (Slope)”.

    Now think of the “Sallies” whatever you want, but they are doing great work at the coal face of “welfare” and “support for the needy”. I myself have on two occasions used their valued and appreciated help in the form of food parcels. Their volunteer and paid workers are faced everyday with the costs of the policies that have been followed by not just this incompetent, indifferent and arrogant government we have in place right now, it has also been followed by other governments before, and yes, they were NOT all National led governments.

    I am very, very, very depressed also, after having listened to and later watched the speech that Labour social welfare spokesperson Jacinda Ardern held as part of the “Prime Minister’s Statement Debate” in Parliament yesterday afternoon.

    Here she goes again, I thought, and it must now be absolutely clear, where she and her party stand on welfare, when she most clearly states towards the end of her speech: “Welfare reform is about work first!” She swiftly added “about creating work”, but it almost appears that that additional comment may not have been part of her script.

    See and hear her speech for yourselves:


    Putting her bits of stumbling and mumbling over some of her words (a disorder that appears to be contageous now), I read out of it all, that she did not just offer some fair and reasonable criticism about the government’s welfare reforms and general policies for youth and workers, she made clear references about the importance of work above all else, she spoke of the unemployed being the “taxpayers of tomorrow”, she criticised that even under National the numbers on Sickness Benefit, Invalid’s Benefit, and DPB are still going up (my available figures are a bit contradictory in part).

    She claimed that Labour would be focusing on getting people into work, without hurting kids, which is fair enough, as that should always be borne in mind as a priority (not harming children).

    But honestly, I can only interpret her range of stated criticism as resembling not true criticism at measures forcing sick and disabled into work by applying unreasonable, extreme, draconian work testing, by pushing them to look for work, but instead she is primarily just repeating ideas that work is ultimately the solution for all.

    Hence again, the “Sickness Benefit Roofpainter” tale by Labour’s leader comes to mind.

    No wonder none of my many previous questions on welfare have been answered – and will not be answered.

    Also have I contact to others, who launched a highly interesting Official Information Act request months ago late last year, and MSD have after two requests for extensions of time to reply still not fronted up with information that should shed light on what happened over recent years. They did fail to respond by the third deadline, and now it is before the Ombudsman, so I hear.

    I see and hear nothing but contempt towards beneficiaries and their interests, and the “C” that has been given to “benefits and pensions” in the report discussed here, should actually be a firm “D-“.

    The only parties (in Parliament) that deliver sincere and convincing comments on this are the Greens and Mana.

  5. Mary 5

    Jacinda Ardern’s comments on RNZ sounded okay on the face of things, but as usual still had that hypocritical ring given Labour’s failure to even acknowledge their nasty and destructive welfare policies of the Clark era let alone apologise and say categorically that they made a mistake and will never go down that road again.

  6. Fortran 6

    Jacinda has been a great disappointment to what promise she had.
    Perhaps in time she will improve – but to have her on the front bench is suspect, as she needs to be more forthright and better prepared.
    Perhaps her priorities need a review from the likes of Grant Robertson.

    • Mary 6.1

      I think she’s already well briefed by Grant Robertson. “Jacinda, just talk in general terms about how bad the Nats are. Don’t ever talk about what we’ll do, and especially don’t talk about any of the nasty things we did to the Social Security Act between 1999 and 2008, including how we abolished the special benefit without warning by slipping into a budget bill under urgency. And about that 2007 amendment Bill, just act as if it doesn’t exist. We can’t talk about any of this at all because while we still believe wholeheartedly in all of those horrible things we did we can’t admit that now because we’re going to continue decimating the benefit system when we’re in government again, whenever that might be. Remember, we can never talk about this or warn people about it. You want to know why? Well, Jacinda, it’s because we’re the Labour Party, for heaven’s sake!! Okay? Got it now?”

  7. tarkwin 7

    I have always donated to the Sallies because I believe in what they do and the fact they have always been non political. I will be reviewing this in the light of this “report”.

    • xtasy 7.1


      So are you suggesting the “Sallies” have presented a politically one-sided report on this? If so, how can you justify such suspicion in that case?

      As far as I know, they are non-political, and they are also strong on following their ethical approaches, so they do not strike me as perhaps “left wing” or so.

      But I must believe you have some ideas and are developing your views on things.

  8. …the report found a “making-do, getting-by sentiment in some vital areas of social policy and human need”.

    “Nothing turns out to be so oppressive and unjust as a feeble government.”
    ― Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

    Salvation Army spokesman Major Campbell Roberts said the findings showed New Zealand had not learnt from history and did not have the right leadership to overcome the problems.

    “This is not to denounce the current or recent set of political and civic leaders. Rather, it is a reflection that we get the leaders we deserve.”

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
    ― Edmund Burke

    Good words to read from the Salvation Army

    Thank you Karol, and The Salvation Army.

  9. Johninsg 9

    “The Government is not doing enough to … create jobs”

    Umm, news @ 4:59pm today:

    “Contact Energy to cut more than 100 jobs”

    “The looming job cuts at Contact follow this month’s announcements 192 jobs at Summit Wool Spinners in Oamaru will be lost and about 200 workers at Mainzeal will be laid off in the wake of the construction firm’s receivership.”


    Oh dear oh dear oh dear : – |

    There is no alternative.

  10. RedBaronCV 10

    I do not see why teenage pregnancies get an A. Does she think the “slut letters” are a good idea?
    You know the ones where the line of reasoning goes:
    your mother is on the DPB
    therefore she is a slut,
    as her daughter you too will be a slut
    and therefore we are going to write a letter offering a 16 year old female access to contraception.

    If this is really such a “good idea” then I imagine there will be positve support from the NACT’s, and a small community grant, so that some well meaning organisation can write to all 16 year olds giving contraceptive advice and the names and costs of the nearest providers.
    How would they feel if their daughter received such a letter or their son but hey it’s only women who are to “blame”.

    Given that this is a policy with virtually “zero” economic costs either way, where is the condemnation from other parties.

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