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

  • 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… ...
    13 hours 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… ...
    16 hours 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… ...
    2 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
    2 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… ...
    2 days ago
  • The latest equal pay case – Go the Midwives
    ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 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… ...
    3 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
    3 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… ...
    3 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… ...
    3 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.… ...
    3 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… ...
    6 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… ...
    6 days 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… ...
    7 days 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… ...
    7 days 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… ...
    7 days 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… ...
    7 days 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… ...
    7 days 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… ...
    7 days 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. ...
    1 week 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… ...
    1 week 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… ...
    1 week 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… ...
    1 week 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… ...
    1 week 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
  • Housing NZ must immediately move family
    Housing New Zealand must immediately move a Glen Innes family whose son contracted serious and potentially fatal health problems from the appalling condition of their state house, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Te Ao Marama Wensor and community workers… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • No understanding of the value of overseas investment
     The Government has now admitted it has absolutely no idea of the actual value of foreign investment in New Zealand, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “It is crucial that the Government starts to understand just what this overseas… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another bridges bribe from Simon Bridges
    Simon Bridges is embroiled in another bridges-for-votes controversy after admitting funding for a replacement bridge in Queenstown is “very much about… the 2017 election”, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Transport Minister is today reported as telling Queenstown locals… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Saudi tender process reeks of SkyCity approach
    The tender process for the $6m investment in a Saudi sheep farm reeks like the SkyCity convention centre deal and once again contravenes the government’s own procurement rules, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker. “The $6m contract… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Maori Party should stand up for workers
    The Government’s proposed Health and Safety Reform Bill does not go far enough to protect those in specific industries with the highest rates of workplace deaths, says Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “We are told that Maori workers are more… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must explain budget blowout
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell must explain a budget blow out at Te Puni Kokiri, after the organisation spent more than 2.5 million dollars over their budget for contractors, says Labour’s Associate Māori Development spokesperson Peeni Henare.  “For the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Successful effort to raise the issue of GE trees in proposed standard
    Many thousands of people submitted on the proposed National Environmental Standard –  Plantation Forestry (NES-PF).  A vast majority of the public submissions were particularly focussed on the NES having included GE trees in its mandate. People want these provisions removed,… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Fair Share Friday – Thoughts and Reflections
    As part of our Fair Share  campaign, Green MPs have been doing a series of visits to community groups across the country to have conversations about inequality in New Zealand and what communities are experiencing on the ground. I visited… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere