web analytics

And now for the real news…

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, March 21st, 2014 - 15 comments
Categories: class war, economy, housing, Maori Issues, pasifika, poverty, prisons, same old national, welfare - Tags:

So we allegedly have a “rockstar economy” with NZ’s economy coming out of the recession and everything looking pretty rosy?  Well, that’s the NAct news that too often gets repeated by journalists in the mainstream media (MSM).  So let’s hear it for another chorus of “there is no depression in New Zealand”.”

Indeed! If you look a bit closer, at the actual lives of people on the lowest incomes, as told by those who know them. Budgeting and other organisations providing support where they can, provide a picture that is far from rosy.  Some of this does get reported in the MSM – but it’s too often buried amidst all the bread and circuses, smoke and mirrors of the MSM.

stop robbing poor to feast rich

Here’s a couple of the stories from the last week.  A Demographia survey finds that too many Kiwis are unable to afford adequate amounts of food, putting them in “absolute” poverty.  Simon Collins (who very often does excellent articles on social security and other social issues) reports today in the NZ Herald:

A global survey has found that one in every six Kiwis ran out of money for food in 2011-12 – more than in all except eight other developed nations.

The shock finding contrasts with other data in an annual survey by the Paris-based OECD that put New Zealand near the top of the 34 developed countries on social indicators such as people’s perceived health status and employment rates, and above average on relative poverty.

But experts said the key finding on food money reflected genuine “absolute” poverty caused by NZ’s low real incomes and high housing costs.

Collins reports on NZ agencies that confirm there is no let up in those seeking help for problems caused by poverty: Child Poverty Action, Auckland City Mission, the Salvation Army, South Auckland Christian foodbank.

And the Demographia findings are supported by data from NZ’s Household Survey, although the later shows some easing over the last year – the measure indicates poverty rose under the current government, but is now returning to pre 2007 levels – levels that still indicate high levels of poverty:

The NZ figure matches Statistics NZ’s annual household economic survey which asks people if they have not enough, just enough, enough or more than enough money to meet “everyday needs for such things as accommodation, food, clothing and other necessities”. Those who said “not enough” rose from 16.2 per cent in 2007 to 18.5 per cent in 2010, but fell to 17.6 per cent in 2011, 16.6 per cent in 2012 and 14 per cent last year.

Nevertheless, the government is continuing its war on the poor, with a report today of the removal of funding for the Problem Gambling Foundation. Adam Bennett quotes Trevor Mallard on the reasons for the removal of the funding, as posted by Polity, and re-posted on The Standard.

Maori and Pacific communities are over represented in low income statistics and related issues. Simon Collins’ article yesterday is the final part of the NZ Herald’s 4 part series on closing the (ethnic) gaps.  However, the article does present some smoke and mirrors with its framing. It begins saying intermarriage is causing ethnic gaps to close.

The second half of the article then reports that, in fact, ethnic gaps are not closing as indicated by socioeconomic measures.

This series has […]

also found that on the economic measures of income, employment and welfare dependency, people whose ethnicities include Maori and Pacific have done consistently worse than Europeans and Asians.

[..]

In fact the employment and welfare gaps between Maori and Europeans in particular have widened, as the equalising forces in health and education have been trumped by more powerful forces worsening economic inequality: globalisation, deunionisation, tax and welfare changes, and technological shifts that have lifted demand for skilled workers and reduced demand for the unskilled.

Today’s final batch of figures shows that this widening inequality translates into a measurably worsening quality of life for Maori in particular, and for Pacific people too on some measures.

My bold.

Collins then focuses on the prison stats, showing that Maori men are over-represented in the prison population.  He states that this reflects discrimination by police and the judiciary systems, as well as inequalities in income, employment and education.  This becomes a vicious cycle with many Maori (and to a lesser extent) Pacific women left to look after households and children alone while the men are in  prison.

So there you have it – to repeat Collins’ statement about the powerful underlying pressures that are maintaining ethnic inequalities:

powerful forces worsening economic inequality: globalisation, deunionisation, tax and welfare changes, and technological shifts that have lifted demand for skilled workers and reduced demand for the unskilled.

This is the sort of reporting that should be foregrounded more in the MSM, rather than buried in places within articles that too few people attend to. These are powerful forces that have real impacts on real people: things that can be (at least partly) be countered by a truly left wing government.

National government state house sales Tamaki Housing Group

15 comments on “And now for the real news… ”

  1. Tracey 1

    You mean the Nats are lying?

    At best this economy and its leader are trying to impersonate a rockstar economy, or in Key’s case get a photo-op with one.

    Maybe the simplest election billboard campaign would be to photoshop pictures of all the Cabinet Ministers who have been caught in lies and put “Pants on Fire on… (insert date/dates)

    All together in one billboard…

    • aerobubble 1.1

      Isn’t there a danger. That returning interest rates to a more normal rate is by no means a reflection of a rock star economy, especially when paid for by tax cuts and government running up debt. It will just leave citizens with the false sense they can go out and spend. Already the US-EU is threatening Russia economy with sanctions… …a rock star economy is a promise Key can’t and isnt delivering on.

  2. Augustus 2

    They might actually have a point with the “rockstar” meme. Some of the greatest stars, measured in sales and idolatry, got their status long after their death. Jim Morrison, Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Keith Moon, John Bonham spring to mind. After years of self-abuse and a complete lack of discipline, they wound up dead. Good analogy right there.

  3. vto 3

    You need the track Karol….

    heads in the sand

    such a kiwi tradition

  4. Good post karol. As I noted yesterday from that Collins article

    The Ministry of Justice says 20 per cent of Maori men who turn 39 this year were imprisoned before they turned 35, 4.2 times the non-Maori rate. Corrections Department research says this may partly reflect discrimination by police and the justice system, but primarily reflects socio-economic conditions such as family breakdown, leaving school early and unemployment.

    The process is self-perpetuating because imprisonment itself helps to break up families, disrupts education and makes it extremely difficult to get a job after leaving jail.

    I struggle to get my head around these shocking statistics – 1 in 5 – in any decent society that would be a source of shame and utmost endeavor to change. Yes it a consequence of poverty and associated ills but it is also an area that generates further deprivation as the quote points to.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Let’s call it for what it is, shall we MM. An oppressive, partly racist, heartless method of social and political control. It is a full on front in the class warfare that many in NZ society denies even exists.

      • marty mars 4.1.1

        Yep and not partly racist either – it is oppression of those most disadvantaged and it is relentless with the grinder destroying lives and the futures of people daily. I agree it is also class warfare because those oppressors want an underclass and they want despondency and they want their full weight on the heel of the throat. Why? Capitalism insists upon it.

        • RedLogix 4.1.1.1

          I know that we don’t always interpret racism through the same lens marty, but on this we are on the same page. These stats are absolutely shameful. They make me angry and despairing by turns.

          I’ve seen this madness close up and personal. It’s the interwoven cycles of disadvantage, marginalisation, poverty, violence, abuse and trauma that buggers me. I’m just astounded just how resilient most people are in the face of it; I’d never survive their lives 10 minutes.

          The other element which feeds into these numbers is the indication of a shockingly high rate of brain trauma that some recent NZ research uncovered in our prisons.

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/9335492/Most-prison-inmates-have-brain-injuries

          Googling on ‘brain injury prison population’ comes up with a whole bunch of similar results.

          Yes it a consequence of poverty and associated ills but it is also an area that generates further deprivation as the quote points to.

          QFT

          • marty mars 4.1.1.1.1

            Yes red I agree with you. Sometimes an issue, or the effects on people from oppression, cut through our individual filters and binds us, in opposition to it, as left – and when that happens we realise the real reason we believe in left principles – it is because we believe in people and because the injustice some people have to live with is intolerable to us. We fight it as we can, when we find it, and we won’t stop doing that, in small or large ways, until the injustice is gone.

  5. geoff 5

    I hope the rockstar economy bites National on the arse.

    The media will be going on and on about how great the economy is but all us ‘punters’ are going to be just as poor, if not poorer.

    Add in higher power bills and mortgage repayments and the contrast between ‘brighter future’ bullshit and John Key’s neolib reality will get blindingly stark.

  6. jepenseque 6

    So we are below 2007 levels achieved under the previous govt, with a clear downtrend in place and this stat is used to attack National?

  7. The Real Matthew 7

    This writer could do with expanding his reading to David Farrar’s Kiwiblog.

    Instead of replying on anecdotal evidence David deals with the hard facts. Unfortunately for the writer the hard facts don’t back up the ideology being spouted here.

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2014/03/behind_the_headline.html

    • Murray Olsen 7.1

      Matthew gets the prize for funniest post of the century. The only thing Farrar has in common with facts is that they both start with the same two letters, fa – also used in sweet fa.

    • karol 7.2

      Maybe you should read my post, TRM. And then explain why you perfer DPF’s post to mine, rather than taking other people’s words as the final say on the issue.

      My post also mentions other surveys/data such as the OEDC one and the Household survey and contrasts the results.

      What DPF doesn’t take into account, but is mentioned in my post, is that these surveys measure slightly different things. Food poverty and the Household Survey cover things that are absolute necessities. The OEDC rankings that NZ did well on were more to do with things like employment rate, relative poverty, and selected health measures – not the focus of absolute poverty, like struggling to eat – sometimes going without.

      Then DPF mentions at the end of the post, that yes, some people in N are doing it tough – kind of an afterthought – or maybe some weak ass covering by DPF.

      Edit: What does this mean?

      Instead of replying on anecdotal evidence David deals with the hard facts.

      ermmmm… what anecdotal evidence have I used? Are you talking about reports from agencies that work with those in poverty? DO you think they don’t keep records of the work they do? And, what – you don’t want to hear about the hardships of people in poverty? Just reduce them to statistics?

      I also supported that with evidence from the surveys as mentioned above.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Project protects jobs and nature
    A Waitomo-based Jobs for Nature project will keep up to ten people employed in the village as the tourism sector recovers post Covid-19 Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “This $500,000 project will save ten local jobs by deploying workers from Discover Waitomo into nature-based jobs. They will be undertaking local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Minister Shaw speaks with U.S. Presidential Envoy John Kerry
    Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw spoke yesterday with President Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. “I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak with Mr. Kerry this morning about the urgency with which our governments must confront the climate emergency. I am grateful to him and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today announced three diplomatic appointments: Alana Hudson as Ambassador to Poland John Riley as Consul-General to Hong Kong Stephen Wong as Consul-General to Shanghai   Poland “New Zealand’s relationship with Poland is built on enduring personal, economic and historical connections. Poland is also an important ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Major redevelopment of Wainuiomata High School underway
    Work begins today at Wainuiomata High School to ensure buildings and teaching spaces are fit for purpose, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. The Minister joined principal Janette Melrose and board chair Lynda Koia to kick off demolition for the project, which is worth close to $40 million, as the site ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • New expert group appointed to advise Government on Oranga Tamariki
    A skilled and experienced group of people have been named as the newly established Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board by Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis today. The Board will provide independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children across three key areas of Oranga Tamariki: relationships with families, whānau, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • COVID-19 vaccine slated for possible approval next week
    The green light for New Zealand’s first COVID-19 vaccine could be granted in just over a week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today. “We’re making swift progress towards vaccinating New Zealanders against the virus, but we’re also absolutely committed to ensuring the vaccines are safe and effective,” Jacinda Ardern said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New ACC Board members announced.
    The Minister for ACC is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to join the Board of ACC on 1 February 2021. “All three bring diverse skills and experience to provide strong governance oversight to lead the direction of ACC” said Hon Carmel Sepuloni. Bella Takiari-Brame from Hamilton ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Economic boost for Southland marae
    The Government is investing $9 million to upgrade a significant community facility in Invercargill, creating economic stimulus and jobs, Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson and Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene have announced.  The grant for Waihōpai Rūnaka Inc to make improvements to Murihiku Marae comes from the $3 billion set ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago