web analytics
The Standard

Poverty Watch 17

Written By: - Date published: 8:08 am, February 2nd, 2013 - 6 comments
Categories: national, poverty - Tags:

Here we go with Poverty Watch for another year.

December 2012 saw the release of two important reports, the Children’s Social Health Monitor 2012 Update Report, and the Children’s Commisioner Expert Advisory Group’s report on Solutions to Child Poverty (EAG Report).  I hope to spend time over the next couple of weeks looking at each in turn.

Here’s the home page for the Children’s Social Health Monitor 2012 Update Report, with a pdf of the full report here.  The Introduction kicks off with the underlying truth which frames the issue of child poverty in NZ – poverty is a racial issue:

In New Zealand, there are currently large disparities in child health status, with Māori and Pacific children and those living in more deprived areas experiencing a disproportionate burden of morbidity and mortality…

Poverty is also an intergenerational issue – we don’t all get the same start or equal opportunities in life:

In New Zealand, children and young people living in more deprived areas experience significantly worse health outcomes across a range of measures (e.g. infant mortality, hospital admissions for infectious and respiratory diseases, non-accidental injuries) [1]. Growing up in a low income family also increases the risk of longer term negative outcomes, such as leaving school without formal qualifications and economic inactivity. …

In addition, the presence of social safety nets (e.g. free education and healthcare, unemployment benefits and others forms of income support) may buffer the effects of low family income, with social gradients in health being much less marked in countries with robust social security provisions [4].

These are the very social security provisions that the government is keen on dismantling.  Most of the rest of the introduction focusses on international and NZ evidence relating to the effects of the severity, duration, and prevalence of poverty on children.  It concludes as follows:

Thus while it is difficult to predict with any certainty the impact the current economic downturn will have on child health outcomes, the available evidence would suggest that one in five New Zealand children (see Children Reliant on Benefit Recipients section) are already exposed to low family incomes as a result of their parent’s benefit status, and that if unemployment remains at the levels seen during the 1990s, a similar number will spend at least five of their first seven years of life reliant on a beneficiary. Further, the Living Standards surveys suggest that New Zealand’s current benefit provisions will be unable to protect these children from severe or significant hardship, and that some of the adaptations families make in response to their inadequate resources may have detrimental health consequences for their children.

While Labour’s record of alleviating poverty is much better than National’s of increasing it, not even Labour dared to significantly increase these inadequate benefits in it’s last term.  It speaks to a failure of boldness on Labour’s part, and a meanness of spirit on the electorate’s, where the idea of increasing benefits is apparently unpopular.  What kind of country are we?

More from this report next time.


In other news – remember this from last year?

Warning on child poverty

The Government has ruled out another of the main recommendations in a major child poverty report – but the Maori Party has sent a warning it will make the Government’s life uncomfortable if it ignores the report.

In a rare step, the Maori Party yesterday held a press conference with all three of its MPs and called on National to look at all 78 recommendations in a new report by an expert panel working with the Children’s Commissioner. …

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said the child poverty report was part of the Maori Party’s support agreement with National and she did not expect National to simply brush the report aside.

Hey Maori Party – guess what – the government is ignoring the report, and they are ignoring you too.  What are you going to do about it?


Here’s the standard footnote. Poverty (and inequality) were falling (albeit too slowly) under the last Labour government.   Now they are on the rise again, in fact a Waikato University professor says that poverty is our biggest growth industry.

Before the last election Labour called for a cross party working group on poverty. Key turned the offer down.  Report after report after report has condemned the rate of poverty in this country, and called on the government to act. Meanwhile 40,000 kids are fed by charities and up to 80,000 are going to school hungry. National has responded with complete denial of the issues, saying that the government is already doing enough to help families feed their kids. Organisations working with the poor say that Key is in poverty ‘la la land’.

The Nats refuse to even measure the problem (though they certainly believe in measurement and goals when it suits them to bash beneficiaries). In a 2012 summary of the government’s targets and goals John Armstrong wrote: “Glaringly absent is a target for reducing child poverty”…

The costs of child poverty are in the range of $6-8 Billion per year, but the Nats refuse to spend the $2 Billion that would be needed to really make a difference. Even in purely economic terms National’s attitude makes no sense.

6 comments on “Poverty Watch 17”

  1. tracey 1

    Meanwhile, the liquidators of blue chip get paid but no money to sue directors so claimants go without

  2. xtasy 2

    I get depressed every time I see the post ‘Poverty Watch’.

    Yes, it is all appalling, and we know what the answers could be and should be, but do enough out there listen. Another post today is about “charity”, and I fear, too many in the public, fall for this approach like Campbell Live have presented. Give a bit, and do a bit, and it is all done. Sorry, that is not how it works.

    It must not be like going to a church and dropping a few coins into a donation box or bag!

    The rot sits deeper and real serious work and real changes are needed!

    Giving a donation and helping a disadvantaged child is OK in a way, of course, but should it ever come to this, that strangers have to step in, who just feel a bit of media generated “guilt” and sympathy?

    NZ is a very important, efficient food producer, so having kids go to school without breakfast and no shoes, that is unbelievable, for a country that wants to count itself to the “developed world”.

    The system needs changing, and that is where the government has responsibilities.

    But what we get from Bennett is condemnations, appeals, moral lecturing, and a social security reform bill, that will hit out at parents, and make kids suffer more, due to being exposed to new stressors, pressures and unfairness. Social obligations, drug testing, stopping benefits of people that have a warrant out for arrest.

    Whoa, this is insane. Why would WINZ or other MSD staff have to get involved in that, rather than do the work to help people to survive, get food and clothing and housing they need, do more to offer real jobs that pay a living wage, and offer more means to actually assist sick and disabled to get treatments and support they need.

    All this new Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill will do – is wave A GIANT STICK at the beneficiaries, that will also cause more harm to kids.

    Shame on this shit government, they are CRIMINALS, and the traitor Bennett is one of the biggest there!

    • r0b 2.1

      I get depressed every time I see the post ‘Poverty Watch’.

      Sorry xtasy.

      I get depressed writing them too.

      But I don’t want to let child poverty be “last year’s issue”.

      Because nothing has changed.

  3. Mike 3

    The health issues related to poverty aren’t from lack of access to healthcare as access to healthcare for the poor in this country is extremely good. I believe a study I read about (will try and remember what it was) which explained the biggest contributor to ill health amongst the poor is possibly stress. They explained that it is the stress from being poor (stressing about paying the rent, paying the bills, feeding the kids, getting a job, keeping the kids happy, etc,etc) which is the largest contributor to ill health amongst poor people.

    • McFlock 3.1

      It’s not one major issue – stress can compete with overcrowding, nutrition and access to healthcare for the “top contributor” award. Hell, they all work together.

      But the tautological truth is that poverty-related conditions are caused by inequality: relative poverty. That’s why symptomatic treatments alone (food in schools, increasing the vaccine schedule, improving access to primary healthcare) won’t cut it. Band-aids on a stomach wound.

      Poverty is caused by poor employment rights and representation (minimum wage, non-union members freeloading off collectives), high unemployment, poor education, weak or nonexistent safety nets, and government policies that put “warfare” into “social welfare”.

      And fuck the nacts who can sleep at night after inflicting that on millions of their citizens.

    • rosy 3.2

      It depends how you define healthcare access. Accessibility doesn’t just refer to geographic accessibility, transport options and cost.

      An example I’ve noted recently is if a family works temporary or other jobs without security of hours a trip or two to the GP for the kids is going to be put off as long as possible – both in terms of cost and in terms of keeping the hours up. A solution would be after hours services provided at the same cost as usual hours – without the trip to A&E or after hours clinics which are often further away.

      On top of that we’re beginning to see cuts in primary care funding for the most vulnerable. I’m not sure of the impact on poor kids, from these cuts but the impact on the poor generally will make a difference. As will increased prescription charges. Basically the poor are having access to primary care reduced so the government can quantify more surgical procedures listed in there ‘aren’t we good’ file.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

1 2 3 8

  • Tragedy must be impetus for better training
    The Police Minister needs to explain why unsworn and inadequately trained custody officers were put in a situation of caring for a medically unwell prisoner on a busy Saturday night, Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Commenting on an IPCA… ...
    1 day ago
  • Government must be more transparent on investor state clauses
    The Government must be more transparent around the draft investor state dispute settlements in the TPPA, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Labour is pro trade, and is proud of the FTA we negotiated with China, which… ...
    1 day ago
  • Protect university staff and student voices
    The Green Party believes ensuring student and staff representation on university councils is important. National recently passed a law reducing the size of university governance councils while increasing the proportion of the members nominated by, guess who… Steven Joyce. The… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 days ago
  • C’mon Nick what’s the truth on the RMA
     “Nick Smith has got to fess up and tell us what is happening to his much vaunted RMA reform, Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods says.  “With just a day and a half to go before the polls open in Northland,… ...
    2 days ago
  • SSC salaries sink National’s spending spin
    Massive pay rises at the State Services Commission prove National’s claims of clamping down on spending in the public sector are simply fantasy, Labour’s State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. “Salaries in this one department are almost $70,000 more than… ...
    2 days ago
  • We can fix Christchurch and keep our assets
    The Christchurch City Council is seeking public feedback on its proposed 10 year plan for Council revenue and spending. This is probably one of the most significant 10 year plans ever to be written by a local council because of… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 days ago
  • Epidemic of serious assaults in our prisons
    Labour wants stab proof vests and pepper spray for all corrections officers to keep them safe from the epidemic of serious prison assaults that are occurring around the country’s jails, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “There have been five… ...
    2 days ago
  • Listen to the locals Hekia!
    Minister Hekia Parata needs to understand what consultation is, Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “It means you have to listen to what people say in their submissions and then be able to demonstrate you have considered their views when… ...
    3 days ago
  • Thanking our caregivers
    Let’s celebrate and thank our caregivers. This week is caregivers’ week. It’s a chance to acknowledge the thousands of women, and occasional other person, who are caring for the elderly and disabled in our country. They hold people’s lives in… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Mana Post shop the best outcome for community
    Labour MP for Mana Kris Faafoi has welcomed the move to place the services from the Mana Post shop to a local small business. “This is the best outcome for the community we could ask for. All the vital services… ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour looks to put the tea back into entitlements
    Labour is moving to restore the rights of Kiwis to take tea and rest breaks, Leader Andrew Little says. “Within months of the Government’s Employment Relations Amendment Bill becoming law we are already seeing some of our largest companies, including… ...
    3 days ago
  • Desperate money grab to keep Ruataniwha afloat
    The Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company’s decision to borrow $4 million to keep the Ruataniwha project afloat is a case of throwing ratepayer’s good money after bad, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri and Napier MP Stuart Nash.   “This bridging… ...
    4 days ago
  • Roundup: UN finds it “probably” causes cancer
    At last the UN has spoken out against the widely-used weedkiller Roundup. The UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified glyphosate, the principle ingredient in Roundup, as a probable carcinogen. They also include as probable carcinogens the insecticides… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    4 days ago
  • Invermay petition delivered to Parliament
    Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark handed over a 12,450 signature Save Invermay petition to Dunedin South MP Clare Curran on the steps of Parliament today.  “The level of support that the petition has received across New Zealand is overwhelming,”… ...
    4 days ago
  • Redcliffs School closure plan wrong
    The Government’s proposal to consult on the closure of Redcliffs School not only goes against the best geotechnical advice, but more importantly goes against the best educational outcomes for Redcliffs children and the health of our community, Port Hills MP… ...
    4 days ago
  • Cotton On first to test the tea breaks law
    Australian corporate Cotton On, the first major business operating in New Zealand to exploit the new tea breaks law, could walk away from negotiations if it doesn’t get its own way, says Labour Party Labour Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway.  “Cotton… ...
    5 days ago
  • World water day: eight rivers in one day
    Our photo journey started by the Waioweka (also known as Waioeka) River which flows from Te Urewera to Opotiki, and is surrounded by beautiful forest. The water looked great! Kopeopeo Canal It contrasted greatly with the Kopeopeo Canal near Whakatane,… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    5 days ago
  • Council can stop Port’s encroachment on harbour
    As owner of the Port of Auckland, Council can stop the wharf extension and reclamation if it wants to, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Goff. ‘As owner the council is custodian of the port and harbour on behalf of… ...
    5 days ago
  • We all benefit when education meets everyone’s needs
    As Dyslexia week comes to a close,  Dyslexia NZ have reminded us that around 10% of our citizens are dyslexic and are entitled to better support. One of their strongest arguments is that failure to provide identification and support for… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    5 days ago
  • State house sell-off fiasco a gift for developers
    The Government’s property developer mates are the only people who can salvage National’s state house sell-off now the Salvation Army has torpedoed the policy, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Having been cynically used by the Government as the poster… ...
    5 days ago
  • National reinforces inequality in schools
    The National Government’s flagship programme Investing in Educational Success is clearly reinforcing inequality in the school system, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The analysis released today by the NZEI clearly shows schools in wealthier suburbs are the main beneficiaries… ...
    5 days ago
  • Big change starts small
    Today marks Race Relations Day in New Zealand. Race Relations Day coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  The United Nations General Assembly chose this day as it marks the day in 1960 when 69 peaceful… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Israel, Palestine and the question of statehood
    The knife-edge election in Israel complicates the Middle East situation, even more than usual. The Prime Minister-elect, Binyamin Netanyahu, is moving to form a government. Netanyahu has indicated that, during his term, a Palestinian state would not be established. That… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    1 week ago
  • Christchurch transport goes backwards
    The Green Party has a vision of a liveable, accessible Christchurch with a sense of identity and strong connected communities. Instead, 2013 census figures released by Statistics New Zealand reveal a fractured community, and tell a story of frustrated Christchurch commuters… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Super Fund should divest $140 million in high risk coal
    The Green Party is calling on the New Zealand Super Fund to divest their $140 million investment in coal companies that are vulnerable to becoming financially stranded according to a damning new report from Oxford University. The Smith School of… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    1 week ago
  • Learn to count with Mark Osborne: 0 + 1 = ?
    The adage about the first casualty of war being truth is one that might often be applied to the political battle for hearts and minds, and of course votes. A rather unfortunate example of this has been arriving in the… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    1 week ago
  • Is it still a safety net when the holes are this big?
    Over the last few weeks I’ve been wondering how safe our income support system is for people, especially those with cognitive or learning disabilities. I’ve been trying to support a young man who was severely injured in a workplace accident… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Pasifika – protecting the Pacific needed now more than ever.
    Over the weekend thousands of Aucklanders flocked to celebrate our city’s diverse Pacific communities and cultures at the annual Pasifika festival and the Greens were there to join them. The Pasifika festival has been held every year for 23… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Sounds Stakeholders Seek a Sustainable Future
    It was heartening to see a large number of people who care about the Marlborough Sounds come together at the Marlborough Marine Futures’ forum in Picton on March 8. Fellow Green MP Steffan Browning, who lives in Marlborough, and I… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Solid Energy, who will clean up the mess?
    What can you say? This state-owned coal miner is facing some very serious problems. They haven’t run a profit in years, have required two Government bailouts, laid-off more than 700 staff and look like they need a third injection of… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago

Removed at the request of The Daily Blog.
Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere