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3rd World New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 12:22 pm, November 21st, 2011 - 37 comments
Categories: health, poverty - Tags:

There’s an insidious little meme from the right going around: ‘our poverty rates aren’t so bad, look at India’. When did we start comparing ourselves to the 3rd world?

We should set the best countries as our benchmarks. The shame when, in a new doco, a Swedish doctor is shown images of some of the 25,000 Kiwi kids that get infections like rheumatic fever and scabies each year and says they haven’t seen such illness in Sweden since: “the 70s, maybe”.

5,000 more kids were admitted to hospital with avoidable conditions last year than in 2007.

We treat our kids like an expense, not an investment, and then we wonder why we have unhealthy, uneducated, unskilled adults and our country gets left behind.

We’re becoming a 3rd world country. And it’s 3rd world thinking that’s getting us there.

Only a vote for Labour, Greens, or Mana is going to get us the policies to attack poverty, which is holding our country back.

37 comments on “3rd World New Zealand ”

  1. Jackal 1

    I see that the elderly suicide rate is now the highest in ten years. This fits with our youth suicide rate, which is now the highest in the OECD.

    The sad truth of the matter is that when government’s fail, it’s always the young and infirm who bear the brunt. The data shows that National has completely failed New Zealand… their archaic policies and head in the sand mentality is entirely to blame for these shocking statistics.

    Whoever you vote for… don’t vote National.

    • uke 1.1

      Or ACT, who doubtless believe that suicide should be “deregulated” and left for the market to decide.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1

        Possibly already done.

        They said only one police officer has ever been assigned to investigate Rebecca’s disappearance. He flew in from Nassau in the Bahamas, 1,500 miles from the ship – just one man charged with conducting a forensic investigation and interviewing 3,000 passengers and crew. He took charge because the ship is registered in the Bahamas, for tax reasons.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.2

        Its free choice and individual responsibility after all

    • RedLogix 1.2

      The sad truth of the matter is that when government’s fail, it’s always the young and infirm who bear the brunt.

      My experience working in Russia for a short period some years back confirms this as absolutely, heartbreakingly true.

    • prism 1.3

      Jackal Just a thought. Some of the elderly suicides are because they want to go, they are not just killing themselves off in a fit of depression, they are old and have decided they have lived all the years they want. They are at present forced to adopt suicide in various ways because the government won’t pass the policy of allowing for a planned death which someone can choose when they wish.

      This could be limited to the over seventies and to anyone who is terminally ill or extremely disabled, with the safeguards for them of receiving counselling. The lack of backbone that parliament has in holding jealously to its law-making task yet not responding to a need in such an important private and public policy matter is causing great distress to many.

      • Roy 1.3.1

        Well said, prism. Why is it such a big deal to live as long as you possibly can, anyway? Our current policy is to drag out life whether the person whose life it is wants it dragged out or not, with no thought to whether the person considers quantity or quality of life to be most important.
        Suicide because of depression is tragic and avoidable no matter what the age of the person. But deciding to send yourself gently into that good night is not the same thing.

  2. Roy 2

    Something I find intensely frustrating, not to mention inexplicable, about NZ society is how much we as a society dislike children (other than our own) and teenagers (often apparently including our own, although not in my case, because I think my teenagers are fine young people and I’m very proud of them. That seems to be a very unusual view for a parent to hold of their teenagers.) while assuming that anyone with grey hair and wrinkles is wise, an ‘old dear’, and in need of protection and nurturing. It seems totally backwards to me. There is no period of life as important and as vulnerable as childhood (0 to puberty, so I’m including infancy there, and I’ll gladly include prenatal), and adolescence comes a close second. Yet as a society we resent, criticize and neglect those critical life stages, that have such an enormous influence on the physical, mental and social health of the adults those young people will become. On the other hand we fawn all over the elderly, who may be vulnerable, but on the other hand whatever we as a society do for the elderly isn’t going to change the legacy of the decades they’ve already lived, or make people who were stupid and/or nasty all their lives into wise ‘old dears’.
    I’ve lived for many years overseas, mostly in the US but also some time in Aussie and in the UK, and I think NZ’s rotten attitude to children and young people is definitely worse than in the US and Aussie, although maybe not the UK. At any rate, I think NZ society’s contempt for children is extremely harmful. Personally I would like to see national superannuation means-tested so that we stop forking money over to extremely wealthy retirees (and I know quite a few), and I would like to see a lot more effort put into improving the most critical years of the lives of the people who are our country’s future. Why do we spend so much love, attention and money on people who are soon to be part of our country’s past, rather than throwing resources into our country’s future?
    Rant over.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Why do we spend so much love, attention and money on people who are soon to be part of our country’s past, rather than throwing resources into our country’s future?

      Its because old people are very regular voters (before they die out), while children and young people don’t vote. So fuck’m.

      • Roy 2.1.1

        Yeah, I thought it might be that.
        Me, I do nicely out of Nat tax-cuts but vote with the future of my teens in mind. Eccentric, aren’t I?

    • Vicky32 2.2

      Personally I would like to see national superannuation means-tested so that we stop forking money over to extremely wealthy retirees (and I know quite a few), and I would like to see a lot more effort put into improving the most critical years of the lives of the people who are our country’s future. Why do we spend so much love, attention and money on people who are soon to be part of our country’s past, rather than throwing resources into our country’s future?

      Agreed! 🙂

  3. In Vino Veritas 3

    I wonder how many of them are in Northland? That’s the place where the proposed new motorway is going to – you know, the one that will make access easier and potentially increase economic growth in the area. Thats the motorway that the Labour Party and the ACC want to can to put in a senseless rail loop in Auckland central.

    • bbfloyd 3.1

      don’t be an ass Mcvittie….. i have travelled back and forth countless times to my hometown(dargaville), and all i can say is that it is a doddle compared to what it was like 15 years ago….. if this excuse for a government had any intention being sensible rather than play party politics over the issue of freight movement to and from northland, then there would already be work being done to provide a realistic rail link….

      but no…. we have to accept that northland is going to have even more heavy road traffic creating congestion, safety issues, and pollution…..not to mention the ongoing expense to every level of government maintaining and policing this new infrastructure…..

      that’s just what’s needed…. aucklands idiocy transferred to northland…… what was that about the defenition of insanity as “doing the same things over and over, and expecting a different outcome every time”?………

      same old same old stupid…stupid …stupid, tory reactionary pandering to vested interests over common sense…….

    • Ianupnorth 3.2

      That senseless rail loop will reduce CO emissions and improve peoples health – a far better investment than more tar seal – you need to do some reading mate!

    • Draco T Bastard 3.3

      That motorway has a B/C ratio of about 0.6, the rail loop has one between 4 and 6. And that’s at the delusional settings used for oil. In reality, the road has no value at all.

      • In Vino Veritas 3.3.1

        Draco, I believe we had the discussion around B\C’s quite some time ago, and it showed that you were using parts of the Saha report for your own ends. Read the conclusion as to justification for project acceptance or otherwise.

        • Draco T Bastard

          The Search
          One Article

          The table below, from an independent report into the BCR’s of the various RoNS projects, gives Puhoi-Wellsford a pretty low 0.4:

          Of course, you could take the NZTA guestimate of 0.7 to 1.2. Still doesn’t make it the Holiday Highway cost effective – especially when we run out of fuel to run cars in a few years.

    • Tiger Mountain 3.4

      Is it really necessary to be such a dick IVV? The compromise position which Greens and Labour have discussed is to split the Joyce Holiday Hiway budget in two.
      1. upgrade Northland state highways with extra passing bays and resurfacing in parts AND complete the Marsden Pt deep water port rail link.
      2. help fund the Supercity CBD rail loop

      I live in Northland and it is crap to say that anyone up here (apart from torys) gets upset about the Holiday Hiway description. A number of us want a committment to well maintained rail links and state highways improved as much as can be afforded. The luxury motorway you describe was never intended to reach the Far North anyway.

    • McFlock 3.5

      I almost looked it up for you – then I realised the info was publicly available, so you’re just trying to use dead children to justify the holiday highway. Ironic given that hundreds of kids a year are maimed or killed in traffic crashes.

    • mik e 3.6

      Mankey will be able to smile and wave at the peasants as he is driven in his limo to his holiday home.
      On the holiday highway thought he was trying to imitate berlusconi.
      Wrong musolini he had a highway built so he could go on holiday too.

  4. Olwyn 4

    IVV: you are side-stepping the issue. Whatever the value of this proposed motorway it is not a direct response to the well being of children, and there is no guarantee that more economic activity up North will improve the lives of the people who live there to any degree – sometimes the reverse proves true – costs go up while the conditions for the majority deteriorate.

  5. Roy 5

    According to the link, the doco seems to have been largely filmed in Porirua. So no, not Northland and nothing to do with the motorway. Nice try, IVV.

  6. Jono 6

    My dad died in 2004 and it was the consequences of a bout of rheumatic fever as a child in the depression that did it. In 1934 he caught the disease, which permanently damaged the mitral valve in his heart. The damage wasnt diagnosed until the 1980s and in 1990 he had valve repair. In 2000 a series of clots formed around the valve leading to a number of strokes. Dad never fully recovered and his left side became significantly weaker than his right and in 2004 he fell over while getting out of the car, broke his hip, and died of complications a week later.

    A world wide financial crisis sent millions into poverty and lead to a vast increase in preventable diseases like rheumatic fever which can have lifelong consequences and costs beyond the immediate illness. In 2011, as in the 1930s.

    All for a few cents in the dollar saved in taxes.

    • Vicky32 6.1

      “My dad died in 2004 and it was the consequences of a bout of rheumatic fever as a child in the depression that did it. In 1934 he caught the disease, which permanently damaged the mitral valve in his heart.”

      My aunt had the same thing happen to her, in England. She had rheumatic fever as a child, and died at 51, leaving four children – luckily her oldest daughter was married and able to bring up the youngest one…

    • joe90 6.2

      Same as Jono’s Dad my Mother in-law contracted rheumatic fever as a child and despite a new valve in the mid seventies which gave her another 15 years of well lived life she died in 1992 at 63 years of age.

      My normally even tempered SO is furious when she reads about the re-emergence of the rheumatic disease that robbed her of her Mum.

  7. Ianupnorth 7

    Hey, but on the radio Shonkey said they are building a better health service, increasing frontline staff and have recruited 2000 doctors and 8000 nurses. And they are building more operating theatres.
    Oh, that’s right, we need 10000 more staff to replace those that have moved to Aussie. 
    And operating theatres are simply the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. The preventative budget has been slashed, leaving all those 3rd world diseases to increase, as well as CVD, obesity, etc….

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      And operating theatres are simply the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

      Well, yes, but they’re a lot easier to sell when NAct decide to privatise the health system and they make more profit than preventing ill-health.

    • mik e 7.2

      There is a massive shortage of Doctors and especially surgeons in New Zealand right now and this government is hiding the figures the only way it will resolved is for govt spending to be increased so we can pay these professionals enough to come here and stay here !
      Ryall is spinning his way around the ever increasing problem bonding has been a failure

    • tc 7.3

      Did he provide any evidence for that claim ?
      Did he offset it with the doctors and nurses leaving the system for better money/conditions offshore ?
      Recycling Rick did that trick at EDS before he swanned back to TVNZ, took govt money for a job creation scheme whilst letting people go out the back door at the sametime.
      I could magic up some new employee numbers to, they don’t tend to get re-used so they always go up and hey presto look at all the new people I’ve employed.

    • Carol 7.4

      I believe MAct has cut back on health recovery services as well, including those covered by ACC. I get the impression that ACC case managers operate with a very high case load.

  8. ianmac 8

    Tony Riled constantly repeats the claim that he is doing so much better because the number of Elective Surgery is up- but maybe at the expense of the young’uns as above.
    This figure of 800 (nice round number) nurses, and 2000 doctors (nice round number) is a great effort especially as it takes 7 years to train a doctor. Local nurses are surprised since they are short staffed. Wonder where the proof is? Same for the 1500 more teachers trained. Wow. Takes 3 years to train a teacher.
    So John Key. Show me the figures. Show me the proof.

    • tc 8.1

      Elective and other sexy numbers are easily tweaked when you fund the private system to push more through, as the public system is geared toward emergency and priority based issues, thus the term elective.

      Which the privateers do gleefully (kachign-aling) till it goes wrong or there’s complications so they shunt the patient straight back to the public system who are built to deal with it.

      If we have an MSM of merit they’d uncovered this fallacy years ago when Egghead first flounced around with it.

  9. prism 9

    We treat our kids like an expense, not an investment, and then we wonder why we have unhealthy, uneducated, unskilled adults and our country gets left behind.
    We’re becoming a 3rd world country. And it’s 3rd world thinking that’s getting us there.

    Good points. Then as I keep saying ‘What about supporting and encouraging parents”. I’m sorry to be so repetitive and probably boring to many. But I believe that there is a lack in our treatment of families that undercuts our every effort to have good living standards and happy, achieving people across the board in this country.

    In the United States in poor communities it has been found that getting the parents on board so they got something from the process of working to improve their children was very effective. All I ever hear in New Zealand is concern about children, with little mention of the parents and caregivers they are attached to and need. It’s like the government trying to feed a horse by sticking hay up its rear. Go straight to the horse’s mouth and achieve the results wanted.

    Bring back discarded policies of families as first teachers. Help unemployed people assist their children’s learning by training them with short courses then giving them a small budget to work with the child. Turn this parental experience into a wage-earning apprenticeship and when poor people get a job as well as caring for children let them improve their situation by not cutting back sharply on their social welfare payments. And do this on a properly committed, monitored, respectful, and long-term program and see the positive results graph start to rise and then soar.

    • Roy 9.1

      Additional to this, I think it is important to remember that parenting in the higher primates, including chimpanzees, gorillas, orang-utans and humans, is NOT instinctive as it is in other mammals, but is 100% learned. With the nuclear family units and dislocation from the extended family that is common these days, parents have nobody to learn from. If their extended family is dysfunctional they have no other example to learn from. So teaching positive, beneficial parenting is essential.

      • prism 9.1.1

        Where has my comment gone? I typed it up submitted it got error message but wasn’t returned to my piece, just an empty window. Damn. I have already today been taken through the login and password thing and chosen a new password. But now my comment has been wiped. I’m off to bed. This tires me out.

  10. Good points, Zetetic…

    I have the strongest impression that New Zealanders are not just leaving because of higher wages in Australia. There has be more to it than that.

    Could it be that those leaving are seeking a better quality of life? Could it be that the free market reforms have created a “Me Society” where New Zealanders feel disconnected from our own country?

    Bryan Bruce’s sobering and thoughtful documentary “Inside NZ: Inside Child Poverty” suggests to me that twentyseven years of free market, user-pays, growing gaps between wealthy and Middle Classes and Poor, and growing underclass has created a sense of alienation and frustration.

    The irony is that John Key saying that – “I believe we’ve made some progress in so much that we have been closing that after-tax wage gap, we are building an economy that is now growing at a faster rate than Australia but it will take us some time to turn that around” – is not just unhelpful, but totally ignoring the root-cause of what has fractured our society.

    Here’s a clue: Money buys goods and services. It does not buy a sense of community.

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