web analytics
The Standard

Poverty Watch 12

Written By: - Date published: 8:36 am, November 17th, 2012 - 11 comments
Categories: national, poverty - Tags:

Welcome to Poverty watch, a weekly update on the National government’s lack of response to the urgent and growing issue of poverty in NZ. A lot of background issues and links are set out in Poverty Watch one two and three.

This week, it’s obvious really but it still needs saying, who bears the brunt of the Nats’ diversionary beneficiary bashing tactics? Kids, of course:

Children bear brunt of welfare changes – poverty group

New Zealand’s most vulnerable children are bearing the brunt of the Government’s punitive sanctions against beneficiaries, with sole parents making up the majority of those with children having their benefits cut, says Child Poverty Action Group.

Figures obtained by the lobby group under the Official Information Act show since the Government’s first tranche of welfare reforms were introduced in July 2010, 377 beneficiaries with dependent children faced sanctions on their benefits.

… A breakdown of the figures from Work and Income show that from July 2010 until August this year, 234 solo parents had their benefits cut, along with 129 on the unemployment benefit who had dependent children. A further eight on unemployment benefit training and seven on the sickness benefit with dependent children also faced sanctions. In 84 cases the youngest child in the family was younger than five and in 63 cases the benefit cut lasted more than four weeks.

Child Poverty Action Group’s director Michael O’Brien said benefit levels provided a subsistence level of support at best. “These children almost certainly lead very impoverished lives already. We know poverty can have life-long consequences on children’s health, education and well-being.” The Government had failed to consider the needs of vulnerable children in its “ideological zeal for work at any cost”, he said.

Even in purely economic terms it’s short term stupid thinking at its worst.

You may recall form last week’s Poverty Watch that Peter Dunne betrayed his election promise to “actively support policy measures that reduce income inequality” by voting down Metiria Turei’s Income Tax (Universalisation of In-work Tax Credit) Amendment Bill. On the defensive he blustered his usual waffly excuses. And now he’s been called on it:

Child Poverty Action challenges Peter Dunne to solve child poverty

Child Poverty Action Group says an obvious way to alleviate child poverty is to give more family assistance to families on benefits, many of whom cannot provide adequately for the needs of their children. A cost effective and fair way to do this would be to add the In Work tax credit to the Family tax credit so that all children in low income families are treated the same.

But this simple, cost effective solution was rejected by Peter Dunne last week. His vote determined the outcome of the Green’s Income Tax (Universalisation of In-Work Tax Credit) Amendment Bill. His lack of support meant the bill was defeated 61 to 60.

In explaining his position, Peter Dunne said on Morning Report (7th November) ‘there are other ways’ of dealing with child and family poverty.

CPAG spokesperson Associate Professor St John said, “That places a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of Peter Dunne. He belongs to a party that is supposed to care about families and pledged during the last election to fight for a reduction in inequality. It is time for him to show us the concrete steps he would take, rather than invoking imaginary packages of assistance from WINZ that have no substance.” …

“We are particularly critical of Mr Dunne’s choice to support a narrow view of the In Work Tax Credit as a work incentive, ignoring its central purpose to alleviate child poverty. What, Mr Dunne, is the way forward to reduce child poverty?”

OK Peter – the responsibility is yours. Time to front up.

Poverty Watch always ends with the following list, the National government’s response to rising poverty in NZ:

• National has not yet set any target for reducing poverty
• ?

11 comments on “Poverty Watch 12”

  1. Dr Terry 1

    To put it quite bluntly, Dunne (in particular) and National as an entity effectively voted IN FAVOUR of keeping little children in poverty (sometimes meaning starvation) – after all, it will save money for the government. This is a crime against our most precious and vulnerable citizens. Yet ever so many of those “nice people” (who quite likely attend their churches) continue to support such a ruling body.

    • Rogue Trooper 1.1

      I been witness recently to a general focus on “material prosperity” and an abandoning of the “two greatest commandments” across much of what passes for “christianity” in Aotearoa New Zealand Doc.
      It appears the West has lost it’s way; maybe even the typical “selective” glance at a work like

      “Living the Word, Resisting the World: The Life and Thought of Jacques Ellul.” Paternoster Press, 2002
      might help turn their gaze in the right direction; probably not.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Increasing poverty increases the competition for jobs which drives wages down and profits for the few up. National is in full support of this result and thus they work to increase poverty.

  2. aerobubble 2

    Poverty alleviation requires that the left consistently and forcefully make the case that National economic policies don’t just create and sustain poverty but push middle income NZ into poverty.
    The problem with Labour is they forgot that welfare is not a hand up, or a hand out, but directly a middle class jobs scam (sorry scheme), then indirectly lowers the cost of hiring people, making sure they are healthier, that they don’t become vectors for disease, that they have money to stimulate housing, retail, etc. i.e. a sane economy integrates income redistribution.

    Yesterday, Key’s economic watchdog clams victory in catching a ponsi scheme. Only 10 million was recovered. The left should be all over this story. How is it competent for a watchdog to catch a Ponsi scheme when its run its course? when the once middle income NZ investor has lost everything? When Key promised to clean up the financial system not three years ago. When Key has removed the deposit guarantee scheme! Does the left need to be gifted a more acute example of National failures! We need investment, we need middle NZ to keep their investment savings in NZ, and they would be fools to, since its now obvious the establishment want them to move their funds to Australia (or some other economy with deposit guarantees) due to the high dollar, and will not
    help our own business sector grow. Its a triple wammy for exporters, not only are they pushing farmers to remain raw exporters, but they are inhibiting growth in exports by not fairly taxing housing with a CGT, and then they undermine and shift the risks onto small investors who would be fool not to remove their money from NZ to other economies.

    How can Labour not manage to make the case, that National want to push middle NZ into poverty and then bash them as losers? Growing poverty is the whole basis of neo-liberalism, that’s what trickle down mean, it means gushing flows of cash to the already wealthiest. Geez, already, put the fear back into politics, that National don’t give a damn about the NZ economy, and you thought you were well off, but some massive Ponsi scheme wipes your relative out and you have to start putting your own hand in your own pocket?

    The only reason that you might not jump on the story is that it would, should, have been obvious that the investment company was not in the original deposit guarantee scheme, and those who realized early would have jumped removing the funds and thus forced the Ponsi scheme into its final death throw. Personally I believe anyone who invested should return the profits over the time of the fraud back to the liquidator to be divided evenly by all and so take some of the incentive to leave early rather than dob in and save the loss to most investors.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Unemployment benefits the wealthy

    In short, if you didn’t already know, NZ’s monetary policy relies on certain levels of unemployment. Any government that is unwilling to change our monetary policy, then is lying through their teeth when they assert that their objective is full employment or high employment. Bold claim, I know, but instead of looking at why we have this spike in unemployment I was more interested in the role of unemployment in our economy so this post is a brief and probably over-simplistic look at monetary policy in NZ.

    It is simplistic but it’s also generally right. We have high unemployment in NZ to keep wages down and the result of that is increasing poverty.

  4. rosy 4

    An article in the Guardian by Deborah Orr on the attempts to redefine child poverty in terms of indicators rather than income comes to the conclusion that if parents are poor then their children are poor. Go figure – the big question is why moral conservatives and neo-liberals cannot see that.

    Child poverty is not a stand-alone problem with its own solution, no matter how you define it. It’s a grim, self-perpetuating consequence of adult poverty, just as it always has been.

    Also, some points based on Ian Duncan Smith’s attempted re-definition that includes worklessness, educational failure, family breakdown, problem debt and poor health. Rather than 60% of the median income (which as the sole measure has perversely reduced child poverty in the UK as work income for the working poor has reduced due to the government’s failure to deal with the fallout from the GFC – worth noting for NZ in the not to distant future debates on whether National has seen people move out of poverty).

    … the poorer you are, the higher the interest rates your loans attract, and the more difficult it becomes to summon up the motivation to pay them off. Problem debt is caused by problem lenders, who make a fortune out of poverty even as they perpetuate it. A crackdown on those who exploit poverty in this egregious fashion is long overdue.

    A lifetime of in-work poverty is actually not much more attractive than a lifetime of out-of-work poverty. It’s all very well banging on about self-respect, but low pay is all about lack of respect. It says the time of some people is of barely any worth.
    ——————–
    Asking people to respect themselves while defending the right of employers to treat them without respect is, to say the least, a mixed message. Low wages don’t motivate people. As long as renting a decent family home – let alone buying one – remains out of reach, or as long as paying today’s food or energy bills – never mind saving for the future – seems like an impossible task, then self-respect is hard.
    ——————-
    Mass child poverty is the consequence of denying whole swaths of people the ability to envisage a more affluent and secure future. That’s the important thing to understand.

    The trouble is with Dunne and Dunnokeyo is that they see poverty as a moral failure and sell a social and economic line that is not inclusive of the poor. In their world it’s not a case of how much the poor should get from the State, but whether they should get anything at all.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Go figure – the big question is why moral conservatives and neo-liberals cannot see that.

      They don’t want to because then they’d have to accept that they’re part of the problem.

    • Bramble 5.1

      A conversation overheard last week….A wee boy telling his teacher why he had no lunch, and he had not had breakfast or dinner the previous night either .”We were waiting for Dad to come home from the pub with fish and chips for dinner, but he never came and we waited up sooo late. He hadn’t given any money to mum for food” The school fed him breakfast and lunch, and no they dont have breakfast or lunch clubs as they TRY to make parents responsible and care for their children. The person responsible for that little boy’s situation was his father, not the government.

  5. End Poverty Im sick of hearing about it 6

    Would it be rude of me to suggest that any kids in this highly “mythical” realm of poverty (Under $100k H/Hold income, that Turei dreamed up FG sake) can thank their parents for being bad with money and other life choices?
    I’ve made my choices – I own a house and have brought up 3 kids (who are now all working) on an income way less than that. However I did listen at school and I do make a point to go to work every day, which I think may make some difference. Harsh? Well no one ever offered me a handout, so thank god, have never relied on one. I for one, am sick of hearing the bleating, stacked with made up numbers from would be rulers who are slow and shallow thinkers. Bramble’s comment above gets my vote.
    The parents need the finger pointed at them and shamed – not the rest of New Zealand for the neglect shown by a handful. The Greens and Labour, both grinding this to death are doing zero, apart from reinforcing this victim mentality on those who lap it up and have the time to dwell on how shitty everything is – instead of focusing on how much better it’d be if they made a change. Maybe tomorrow though, ay?

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Green Aoraki Newsletter September 2015
    Attachmentsseptember2015_web.pdf - 2.64 MB ...
    8 hours ago
  • Rough-Shod Approach to Iwi Housing
      "The Governments rough-shod approach to social housing in Auckland has forced the Minister to clarify and uphold his Treaty Settlement obligations to Ngati Whatua and Waikato-Tainui," says Labours Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.   “While it's a positive undertaking… ...
    13 hours ago
  • More housing humiliation for Nick Smith
    Nick Smith has been completely humiliated once again – this time by Ngāti Whātua who have used his blunders to their full advantage to extract an excellent deal for Aucklanders that the minister would never have developed himself, Labour’s Housing… ...
    14 hours ago
  • PM must stop making excuses for offensive MP
    John Key must stop dismissing the highly offensive behaviour of his Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson and publically reprimand him, Labour’s spokesperson for Woman Sue Moroney says. “Maurice Williamson’s behaviour at an Eagle Technology dinner was completely unacceptable. ...
    15 hours ago
  • Charter application skew assists rich American
    The Government has skewed the latest round of charter school applications to assist an American millionaire’s goal of ‘revolutionising” New Zealand’s education system, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. ACT Leader David Seymour and Ngāi Tahu’s Sir Mark Solomon in… ...
    16 hours ago
  • Key’s refugee response at odds with Kiwi traditions
    John Key’s response to the current refugee crisis is out of step with New Zealand’s tradition of pulling its weight internationally, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 1999, under a National Government, New Zealand accepted more than 400… ...
    18 hours ago
  • Coromandel rallies against the TPPA
    On Wednesday, John Key visited the southern Coromandel area with local National MP Scott Simpson and was challenged by citizens who spontaneously organised protests against the Government position on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). I went down to Waihi… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    18 hours ago
  • John Key: where is your conscience?
    The Prime Minister’s refusal to raise the refugee quota in the face of an international humanitarian crisis shows a lack of empathy and moral leadership, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “There are times in politics when you are faced with… ...
    19 hours ago
  • Report highlights National’s poor funding decisions
    The Government’s poor coordination between its transport strategy and the needs of the regions has been highlighted in a new report by Local Government New Zealand, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Local Government was forced to write its Mobilising… ...
    2 days ago
  • Government wakes up to Opotiki Harbour
    John Key is expected to finally announce Government support next week for the Opotiki Harbour development, says Labour Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. "While it is astonishing that it has taken seven years for the Government to commit to this… ...
    2 days ago
  • New figures show speculators rampant
    New figures released by the Reserve Bank show there’s been an explosion in mortgage lending with most of the growth going to property investors, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Reserve Bank data shows mortgage lending was up 6 per… ...
    3 days ago
  • Spring is here – not pollen your leg
    It’s the first day of spring, and many people will be thinking about getting stuck into the weeds in the garden ready for planting. This year September is also Bee Aware Month. While there is a lack of movement from… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    3 days ago
  • Government must do more to help global refugee crisis
    John Key must urgently increase our refugee quota and let New Zealand play its part in helping address the tragic humanitarian crisis unfolding around the world, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The refugee crisis in countries like Lebanon and Austria… ...
    3 days ago
  • The latest equal pay case – Go the Midwives
    ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Key’s threat to veto premature
    John Key’s threat that he might use a financial veto against the Bill that will introduce 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave is premature and based on inflated costings, says the bill’s sponsor, Labour ‘s Sue Moroney.  “The Government keeps saying… ...
    4 days ago
  • Reflections on the plastic bag tour
    After a marathon public tour around New Zealand that took me to 29 different places around New Zealand from the far north of Kaitaia to the deep south of Invercargill to talk about phasing out plastic bag use, I wanted… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    4 days ago
  • Labour celebrates Tongan language and diversity
    Tongan Language Week is a timely reminder of the importance and beauty of our Pacific culture, identity and language in New Zealand, says our first Tongan born, Tongan speaking MP Jenny Salesa.  The theme for Tongan Language Week in 2015… ...
    4 days ago
  • Privatising CYF about ideology not care
    John Key’s suggestions today that Child Youth and Family could be privatized will be a terrifying thought for New Zealanders already dealing with the mess created in private prisons and plans to sell our state houses to Australians, Opposition Leader… ...
    4 days ago
  • Govt must make most of Jetstar competition
    Government agencies should pledge to always buy “the best fare of the day” to maximise competition between Jetstar and Air New Zealand and ensure savings for taxpayers while boosting services to regional New Zealand, Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Phil Twyford says.… ...
    4 days ago
  • Time for inquiry into petrol margins
    It’s time for an inquiry into petrol companies as margins are once again at the high levels that prompted concerns late last year, says Labour's Energy Spokesperson Stuart Nash. "Over the December January holiday period, petrol importer margins jumped to… ...
    7 days ago
  • More talk as Auckland congestion worsens
    The main impact of the Government’s agreement with Auckland Council today will be simply to delay still further decisions needed to relieve the city’s traffic congestion, says Labour’s Auckland Issues Spokesperson, Phil Goff. “Government has been aware for more than… ...
    1 week ago
  • Serco inquiry extended
    A two month delay to the Government investigation into prison fight clubs shows the extent of problems within the Serco circus, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “My office received a tsunami of complaints so I’m not surprised the terms… ...
    1 week ago
  • Truck Shops ignore consumer laws
    A damning Commerce Commission report out today highlights the failure of the Government to protect poor and vulnerable families from unscrupulous truck shops, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson David Shearer. “The report found that 31 out of 32 firms it… ...
    1 week ago
  • Taihoa at Ihumatao says Labour
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has called on the Government to rethink its controversial Special Housing Area in Māngere. Auckland Council is today meeting to discuss the development which borders the Otuataua Stonefield Historic Reserve. This project is to get… ...
    1 week ago
  • Figures suggest National deliberately excluded farming
    Figures showing the dairy industry would be categorised as high risk if there were a further five severe injuries within a year, strongly suggests National designed its flawed system to deliberately exclude farming, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bleak report on the state of our children
    A damning conclusion by the Children’s Commissioner today that ‘we don’t know if children are better off as a result of state intervention, but the indications are not good’ should make fixing CYFs a top priority for this Government, says… ...
    1 week ago
  • Dodgy data used to justify axing KiwiSaver kickstart
    National’s agenda to run down KiwiSaver has become even clearer from a scathing critique of the Government’s justification for axing the $1000 kickstart, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Since National came to power they have not only continually undermined… ...
    1 week ago
  • Unsecure website risks Ashley MoBIEson hack
    Experts have raised security concerns that vulnerabilities in MoBIE’s half million-dollar website could lead to a possible Ashley Maddison-style hack, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “The real issue here is not what data is immediately available, but what… ...
    1 week ago
  • Democracy still the loser in Canterbury
    The Government has demonstrated once again how arrogant and out of touch it is in denying Cantabrians the same democratic rights as the rest of the country, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Environment Canterbury Bill which has been… ...
    1 week ago
  • Waiver cost still a mystery
    The Government still has no idea what it’s going to cost community and voluntary groups to get a waiver from the fees police will charge to carry out checks on their staff and volunteers, says Labour’s Community and Voluntary spokesperson… ...
    1 week ago
  • China exports fall 27 per cent in a year
    Exports to China have fallen by 27 per cent over the last 12 months - showing that the looming economic slowdown should have been expected by the Government, says Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark. “The Chinese economic slowdown should… ...
    1 week ago
  • National should support all families for 26 weeks
    Families with multiple babies, and those born prematurely or with disabilities, are the winners from moves to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks but the Government must give all babies the same head start in life, Labour’s spokesperson for… ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s health and safety shambles puts school camps at risk
    Reports that schools are considering scrapping student camps and tearing out playgrounds highlights just how badly National has managed its health and safety reforms, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Schools have been left completely in the dark about the… ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s asset stripping agenda hits schools
    National’s fire-sale of school houses and land is short-sighted, mean-spirited, and will have huge unintended consequences that we will pay for in years to come, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. Documents obtained by Labour show the Ministry of Education… ...
    1 week ago
  • Takahe massacre supposed to get all New Zealanders involved in conservation
    The Minister’s claim that a  botched cull of one of New Zealand’s rarest birds was a way of getting all New Zealanders involved in conservation is offensive and ludicrous, Labour’s conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson says.  “An email from Minister Maggie… ...
    1 week ago
  • Serco circus rolls on with revelations of fight club practice
    Further revelations that a Serco prison guard was coaching inmates on fight club techniques confirms a fully independent inquiry needs to take place, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The Minister’s statement today that a guard was coaching sparring techniques… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government targets put ahead of students’ education
    The Government must urgently reassess the way it sets NCEA targets after a new report found they are forcing schools to “credit farm” and are undermining the qualification, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “A PPTA report released today says… ...
    1 week ago
  • ER patients in corridors as health cuts bite
    Patients are being forced to wait for hours on beds in corridors as cash strapped hospitals struggle to keep up with budget cuts, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “People coming to the emergency room and being forced to wait… ...
    1 week ago
  • Not too late to fix Health and Safety for New Zealand’s workers
    The Government and its minor party supporters are showing an arrogant disregard for workers’ lives by not agreeing to a cross-party solution to the botched Health and Safety bill, Opposition leader Andrew Little says. “Yesterday I wrote to the Prime… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Council of Infrastructure Development
    Tēnā Kotou Katoa. Thank you so much for having me along to speak today. Can I begin by acknowledging John Rae, the President, and Stephen Selwood, the chief executive of the Council for Infrastructure Development. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Reserve Bank points finger at Govt inaction
    In scathing criticism of the Government’s inaction, the Reserve Bank says Auckland housing supply is growing nowhere near fast enough to make a dent the housing shortage, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Reserve Bank deputy governor Grant Spencer today… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Chickens come home to roost on climate change
    The Government’s gutting of the Emissions Trading Scheme has caused foresters to leave and emissions to rise, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods. “The release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Facts and Figures Report for 2014 on the ETS… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Website adds to long list of big spends at MBIE
    The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s $560,000 outlay on its new website is further evidence of excessive spending by Steven Joyce on his pet project super ministry, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says.  “Hot on the heels of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Brownlee warned over EQC repairs but ignored them
    Gerry Brownlee was warned that EQC’s underfloor repairs weren’t being done properly by industry experts, the cross party working group and in public but he arrogantly ignored them all, says Labour’s Earthquake Commission spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.  “Today’s apology and commitment… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Serco wants in on state house sell off
    The Government must keep scandal plagued outsourcing company Serco away from our state housing after their disastrous record running Mt Eden prison, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Today it has emerged that at the same time Serco was under… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Come clean on Pasifika education centre
    Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iinga needs to come clean and tell the Pasifika communities if he’s working to save the Pasifika Education Centre or shut it down, Labour’s Pasifika spokesperson Su’a William Sio says.  “I’m gutted the Pasifika Education Centre funding… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for NZTA to work on alternatives to flyover
    The High Court decision rejecting the New Zealand Transport Agency’s attempts to build the Basin Reserve flyover must now mean that NZTA finally works with the community on other options for transport solutions in Wellington, Grant Robertson and Annette King… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Shiny new system leads to record truancy
    Record high truancy rates shows the Government’s much-vaunted new attendance system is an abysmal failure, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Data released today shows truancy rates have spiked more than 15 per cent in 2014 and are now at… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Woodhouse wrong about quarries
      The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse was wrong yesterday when he said limestone quarries were covered by the farcical Health and Safety legislation, says Labour’s Associate Labour spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “He said he ‘understood’ limestone quarries… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taxpayers money spent on culling one of our rarest birds
    It beggars belief that four endangered takahe were killed by incompetent cullers contracted to the Department of Conservation and the Minister must explain this wanton destruction, says Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It must not be forgotten that there are only… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere