web analytics

Poverty Watch 44

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 am, August 17th, 2013 - 3 comments
Categories: national, poverty - Tags:

Two weeks ago the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) released, in two parts, a report into the links between poverty and child abuse (Part 1 pdf, Part 2 pdf). I covered Part 1 last week, today for Part 2.

This document is called “Child abuse: an analysis of Child Youth and Family data”. Early in the introduction we get this assessment of the National government’s policies to date:

The current National government has made a strong commitment to highlighting and addressing the plight of ‘vulnerable’ New Zealand children. The 2011 Green Paper on Vulnerable Children (New Zealand Government, 2011) (hereafter ‘Green Paper’) sought public submissions on dealing with child abuse. The Green Paper was criticised by many organisations working with children for its narrow focus (Caritas New Zealand, 2012; Child Poverty Action Group, 2012; UNICEF NZ, 2012) and its focus on dealing with child abuse by re-prioritising existing spending on social services. Based on public feedback on the Green Paper, the government produced the White Paper (New Zealand Government, 2012c) (hereafter ‘White Paper’). The White Paper failed to reflect the many submissions received that noted the role of poverty and deprivation in child maltreatment and neglect (New Zealand Government, 2012b). The White Paper included a Children’s Action Plan (New Zealand Government, 2012a) that had little to do with preventing the abuse of children but was more pre-occupied with identifying and tracking “high-risk adults and offenders” and workforce training and development.

In contrast to this narrow focus, here is CPAG’s position:

Two key points emerge from the large body of literature and research into child abuse: firstly that child maltreatment and neglect are associated with poverty, an association that cuts across individual and community characteristics; and secondly that child maltreatment and neglect occurs within a dynamic matrix of individual stresses and capabilities, changing household circumstances, and the wider family/whānau, communities and neighbourhoods (Wynd, 2013). This complexity means it is difficult to identify at-risk children reliably, and to design programmes that work to protect children. Indeed, accurately identifying at-risk children and designing programmes that are effective at protecting children in the long-term remains the Holy Grail of child abuse research.

This paper explores the association between poverty and deprivation and child maltreatment and neglect in New Zealand, as reflected in the data available from Child, Youth and Family (CYF). … The paper proceeds as follows: a discussion of the aims and methodology of the research including the strengths and weaknesses of the study; the results of the study; a discussion of the results and their implications; and finally a conclusion and some thoughts on areas of further New Zealand- based research.

I’ll skip the brief chapter on aims and methodology. The results section is organised as follows:

3.1 Substantiations by type: A breakdown of the “substantiated” cases of abuse by type. Emotional abuse dominates (over 10,000 cases per year) with Neglect second (around 4,000), then Physical (over 2,000), then Sexual (over 1,000)

3.2 Proportion of notifications resulting in substantiation: This section looks at the proportion of notifications that resulted in substantiated claims of abuse (typically 20 to 30%) broken down by year and region.

3.3 Proportion of 0-17 year olds who were victims of abuse: Shows the proportion of children who are the victims of substantiated abuse, broken down by region, from Papakura (4%) to far North (over 2%). This regional analysis was one of the few aspects of the report that attracted any mainstream media attention.

3.4 Rate of substantiated abuse findings and proportion of young people: No strong result here but “a higher proportion of young people in the population may be a factor in child abuse”.

3.5 Benefit uptake: This section correlated rates of substantiated cases of abuse with proportion of beneficiaries over various regions. There was no statistically significant effect. This is probably the most politically fraught data, so a brief quote:

The weak [not statistically significant] relationship between benefit receipt and child abuse may be no more than a reflection of the impact of the low incomes of benefit recipients (Perry, 2007). The data here shows no evidence of an association between benefit receipt and distinct substantiated rates of child abuse.

3.6 Ethnicity: The data collected had “shortcomings” so this brief section notes only that, as anyone familiar with the racial dimensions of poverty and race in NZ, that compared to Pakeha, Maori are overrepresented, with Pacific and Asian / Other more mixed.

Finishing with just a couple of quick quotes from the conclusion:

The data presented in this paper lends support to the proposition that higher rates of child abuse are associated with socioeconomic deprivation. This relationship is not conclusive in part because there is significant diversity within many site offices. However, the inclusion in the list of less diverse areas such as Clendon and Whakatane (which includes the low-income districts of Kawerau and Opotiki) strengthens the case. Conversely, the more affluent areas of Wellington City, Takapuna, and parts of Christchurch/Canterbury have far lower rates of substantiated abuse.

Of some surprise was the broad – although not definitive – finding that higher rates of child abuse appear to be linked to a younger population structure. Also surprising given the assumptions behind much current social policy was the finding that benefit income does not appear to be related to rates of child abuse.

Overall, even a cursory examination of the New Zealand data such as that presented here suggests that dealing effectively with child abuse will entail paying a great deal more attention to socioeconomic deprivation than has been the case so far. …

As I said at the end of last week’s post – we have all the studies and evidence that we need. Time to stop wringing our hands over the national shame of our child abuse and poverty rates. Time to stop ignoring and marginalising the poor. Time to address the real problems. Can Labour lead the way?


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.

3 comments on “Poverty Watch 44”

  1. red blooded 1

    Just imagine the clamour that would have been made if there had been a strong correlation found between benefits as income rather than lack if adequate income. Paula Bennett would have been in attack mode (& so would many other commentators).

    One wonders what the effects of halving the incomes of those judged not to be actively seeking work will be. Golly, more extreme poverty = more likelihood of..? Shameful.

  2. xtasy 2

    Those who abuse the disowned, downtrodden, dis-entitled, marginalised, exploited, shunned, shamed and persecuted parents, by blaming them for failing to be “responsible”, to feed, clothe and house their kids warmly and safely, while they are being denied the opportunity and support to earn sufficient through safe employment, or otherwise through sufficient welfare support, and then even intimidate them that they will be punished for failing “social obligations”, they are the greatest child abusers out there.

    One such child abuser would be Paula Bennett, as the Minister for Social Development, with the ultimate responsibility for her portfolio and her Ministry, and the departments that are administered under it.

    For every finger that is pointed at the alleged, blamed culprit, or suspect, there are at least three fingers at the same hand pointing directly back to the person who stretches out that finger.

    So dear Paula, you there in Henderson, at other times in the Beehive, sit down, do some reflecting, and perhaps let the penny drop. Perhaps look back in time, and remember the days you were there?

    The longer you are in your powerful role, the more you are losing touch with where you came from. Shame on you and your “leaders” in MSD, of whom I know, that you are the ones that ultimately think out and design the policies that you present us. They are thought out by their very own policy and planning departments!

    • +1 Xtasy, especially the first paragraph.

      The parallel between negative attitudes political parties encourage in the population toward those in less fortunate circumstances and ‘family violence’ are so blatant it is hard to see how they can be ignored.

      I’ve had enough of this crap.

      Humans are intelligent and good hearted when they make a bit of effort in that direction. Any effort, other than in that direction is a counterproductive complete waste of time. Its time we all worked that out and moved on from the ever-decreasing circles we are being led into.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • How to earn ‘good’ returns on your KiwiSaver
    The National Government admitted last week that it will not be taking any responsibility for KiwiSaver funds that invest in cluster bomb, landmine, and nuclear weapons manufacturers. New Zealanders care deeply about whether or not their money is being used ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    1 hour ago
  • Disability sector is in a ‘slow burning crisis’
    Disability advocates say the sector is in crisis and broken, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “A roundtable at Parliament organised by the Labour Party, heard today how National has left disability services chronically underfunded. ...
    20 hours ago
  • NZ fisheries depend on the environment – they should protect it
    The attitude of the fishing industry and the National Government to our oceans, and the life within it, still amazes me. Like many New Zealanders, I find it perplexing that an industry which depends entirely on the long-term health of ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    21 hours ago
  • Bigger is not always better with local government reform
    I have written previously about the overwhelming opposition expressed by local councils and community members to the latest Local Government reforms.  The Select Committee heard more submissions this week, specifically about some of the unintended consequences that may arise from ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    21 hours ago
  • Labour calls for state of emergency on homelessness
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is calling on the Government to declare a state of emergency over the nation’s homelessness crisis. “There are 42,000 people homeless and living in severe housing stress while the National Government behaves like a possum ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour calls for state of emergency on homelessness
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is calling on the Government to declare a state of emergency over the nation’s homelessness crisis. “There are 42,000 people homeless and living in severe housing stress while the National Government behaves like a possum ...
    2 days ago
  • Government must review state sector retirement investment
    The State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme has no business investing in companies which manufacture cluster bombs, anti-personnel mines and nuclear weapons, Labour MP and Parliamentarians for Global Action executive member Su’a William Sio says. “I endorse the call made by the ...
    3 days ago
  • Councils shouldn’t rush into Easter Trading
    City and district councils must ensure they don’t rush into trading on Easter Sunday ahead of local body elections next month, Labour’s Pacific Islands Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio says. “This decision must be taken seriously and only after extensive ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister can’t wash hands of illegal KiwiSaver investments
    The Minister responsible for appointing default KiwiSaver providers should take responsibility for ensuring they act legally, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The National Government has now had confirmed what they were told more than a week ago – that ...
    3 days ago
  • Fixing our broken economy
    Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists). Regardless of the debate around its meaning, neo-liberal is a useful descriptor for the general ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    4 days ago
  • Fixing our broken economy
    Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists). Regardless of the debate around its meaning, neo-liberal is a useful descriptor for the general ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    4 days ago
  • Government railroading Maori Land Bill through
    Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell seems determined to railroad his Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill through despite the large number of submitters in opposition to the bill, says MP Meka Whaitiri, whose Ikaroa-Rāwhiti electorate contains nearly 30 per cent ...
    4 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • Government turns a blind eye to struggling sole parents
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley’s claims that her Government’s work with sole parents is her biggest success are in tatters after a major increase in homelessness amongst that group, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “Anne Tolley is seriously ...
    4 days ago
  • Time has come for state apology on abuse
    Labour is today calling on the Government to issue an apology for historic abuse in state institutions. Speaking after the launch of Elizabeth Stanley’s book “The Road to Hell; state violence against Children in Post-war New Zealand”, Labour’s Justice spokesperson ...
    4 days ago
  • It’s OK to have a few slaves, just not too many? Minimum wage loophole hasn’t gone away
    New Zealand still needs legislation to ensure adult New Zealanders are not exploited by being taken on as contractors for less than the equivalent of the minimum wage, says Labour list MP David Parker.  “My Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment ...
    4 days ago
  • Lessons from the Future of Work Commission: Building Wealth from the Ground Up
    Good morning, and thank you for attending today’s Future of Work Seminar here in Wellington. I want to particularly acknowledge Beth Houston who has spent many hours pulling together the programme for today’s event, and to Olivier and the staff ...
    4 days ago
  • Cooking 4 Change at the Auckland City Mission
    On Tuesday evening I participated in the launch of the ‘Cooking 4 Change’ recipe book, which Metiria and I both contributed our favourite recipes to. Along with Dick Frizzell, Trelise Cooper, Tiki Taane, Erin Simpson, Jono & Ben, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a couple ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    5 days ago
  • Cooking 4 Change at the Auckland City Mission
    On Tuesday evening I participated in the launch of the ‘Cooking 4 Change’ recipe book, which Metiria and I both contributed our favourite recipes to. Along with Dick Frizzell, Trelise Cooper, Tiki Taane, Erin Simpson, Jono & Ben, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a couple ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    5 days ago
  • Backbencher Matt’s Bill is a Doocey
    The latest National Member’s Bill pulled from the ballot is yet another waste of Parliament’s time and shows the Government’s contempt for the House and the public with much more important issues needing debate, says Labour’s Shadow Leader of the ...
    5 days ago
  • Gun laws creaking under the strain
     Questions have to be asked  after surprising revelations at the Law and Order Select Committee about the police and their ability to manage the gun problem in New Zealand, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “The lack of resources is ...
    5 days ago
  • Most homeless are working poor – Otago Uni
    The finding by Otago University researcher Dr Kate Amore that most homeless people are in work or study is one of the most shocking aspects of the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Social service agencies report many ...
    5 days ago
  • Māori seats entrenched by Tirikatene Bill
    National and the Māori Party need to support my member’s Bill which is designed to entrench the Māori electorate seats in Parliament, Labour’s Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene says. “Under the Electoral Act the provisions establishing the general electorates ...
    5 days ago
  • Trade dumping bill could hurt NZ industries
    The Commerce Select Committee is currently hearing submissions on the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Bill. This bill worries me. I flagged some major concerns during its first reading.   I am now reading submissions from NZ Steel, ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    6 days ago
  • Just 8 per cent of work visas for skills shortages
    Just 16,000 – or 8 per cent – of the 209,000 work visas issued last year were for occupations for which there is an identified skills shortage, says Labour Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The overwhelming majority of the record number ...
    6 days ago
  • Hard won agreement shouldn’t be thrown away
    The Government should ignore talk across the Tasman about doing away with the labelling of GM free products, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “Labelling of genetically modified products was a hard won agreement in 2001 by Australian and the ...
    6 days ago
  • National’s privatisation Trojan horse
     The National government is using the need to modernise the school system as a Trojan horse for privatisation and an end to free public education as we know it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There is no doubt that ...
    6 days ago
  • Shameless land-banking ads show need for crackdown
    The fact that more than 300 sections are shamelessly being advertised on Trade Me as land-banking opportunities during a housing crisis shows the need for a crackdown on property speculators, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Of the 328 ...
    6 days ago
  • Standard and Poor’s warning of housing crisis impact on banks
    The National Government’s failure to address the housing crisis is leading to dire warnings from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s about the impact on the strength of the economy and New Zealand banks, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Standard ...
    6 days ago
  • Ihumatao needs action not sympathy
    The Petition of Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) calling on Parliament to revoke Special Housing Area 62 in order to protect the Ihumatao Peninsula and Stonefields, has fallen on deaf ears, says the Labour MP for Mangere Su’a William Sio.  ...
    6 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Student visa fraud & exploitation must stop
    The Government must act immediately to end fraud and exploitation of international students that threatens to damage New Zealand’s reputation, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. ...
    7 days ago
  • Government needs to show leadership in reviewing monetary policy
    The Reserve Bank’s struggles to meet its inflation target, the rising exchange rate and the continued housing crisis shows current monetary policy needs to be reviewed - with amendments to the policy targets agreement a bare minimum, says Labour’s Finance ...
    7 days ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Slash and burn of special education support
    Slashing the support for school age children with special needs is no way to fund earlier intervention, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “National’s latest plan to slash funding for children with special needs over the age of 7 in ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s Pasifika MPs must have free vote
      Pacific people will not take kindly to the Government whipping their Pacific MPs to vote in favour of a  Bill that will allow Sunday trading  at Easter, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “We are seeing ...
    1 week ago
  • Maritime Crimes Bill – balancing security and free speech
    Parliament is currently considering the Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill, which would bring New Zealand up to date with current international rules about maritime security. The debate around the Bill reflects two valid issues: legitimate counter-terrorism measures and the right to ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    2 weeks ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    2 weeks ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    2 weeks ago
  • Teachers’ low wages at the centre of shortages
      Figures that show teachers’ wages have grown the slowest of all occupations is at the heart of the current teacher shortage, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  In the latest Labour Cost Index, education professionals saw their wages grow ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government’s Tax Law undermines common law principles
    A tax amendment being snuck in under the radar allows changes to tax issues to be driven through by the Government without Parliamentary scrutiny, says Labour’s Revenue spokesman Stuart Nash. “The amendment allows any part of the Tax Administration Act ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government slippery about caption funding
      The Government has refused to apologise for taking the credit for funding Olympic Games captioning when the National Foundation for the Deaf  was responsible, says Labour’s spokesperson on Disability Issues Poto Williams.  “This shameful act of grandstanding by Ministers ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Default KiwiSaver investments should be reviewed
    The investments of the default KiwiSaver providers should be reviewed to make sure they are in line with New Zealanders’ values and expectations, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Most New Zealanders would be appalled that their KiwiSaver funds are ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New ministry should look after all children
    The Government has today shunned well founded pleas by experts not to call its new agency the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Labour’s Spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says.  “Well respected organisations and individuals such as Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratification okay but we need action
    Today’s decision to ratify the Paris agreement on Climate Change by the end of the year is all well and good but where is the plan, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Government’s failure to plan is planning ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere