web analytics

And now for the real news…

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, March 21st, 2014 - 14 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


History

14 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


History

  • Student debt cracks the billion mark
    New figures showing that student loan defaulters have now clocked over $1 billion in debt highlights National's failure to combat spiralling student loan debt, Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. "Threatening to arrest returning student loan borrowers at the ...
    5 hours ago
  • Foreign Students just a commodity to National
    National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi has confirmed that his party sees international students as nothing more than a commodity, says Labour's Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. "Mr Bakshi’s appalling comparison of some students to 'faulty fridges' that should be returned to ...
    22 hours ago
  • Tolley’s spin on Education spend doesn’t add up
    National’s spin about school funding won’t wash with parents who are paying more and more of the cost of their kids’ education every year, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “All the spin in the world can’t hide the fact ...
    1 day ago
  • National not facing up to export challenge
    “The latest export data from Statistics New Zealand paints a picture of an economy which is not paying its way in the world, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Exports fell 9% - led by milk powder exports falling to ...
    1 day ago
  • Correction over Talley’s statement
    Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway has been advised by AFFCO Ltd that AFFCO is not advertising for staff in the Manawatu through MSD as stated in a press statement released earlier today.  “I have been advised by AFFCO that ...
    4 days ago
  • Minister, cut your losses – withdraw this doomed Bill
    Local Government Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga’s request for a five month extension on the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) is an admission that the Bill is fundamentally flawed, says Labour’s Local Government Spokesperson ...
    4 days ago
  • Coleman’s cuts create crisis
    Mental health services in New Zealand are in a state of crisis with Youthline saying that calls for extreme depression doubled last year, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.  “About 150 young Kiwis are missing out on help ...
    4 days ago
  • Government helping Talley’s to break workers
    The Ministry for Social Development appears to be assisting Talley’s-Affco replace experienced workers effectively locked out by the company, say Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni and Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “MSD is advertising for meat processing workers for ...
    4 days ago
  • Electives lag due to $1.7 billion hole
    The lag in hip and knee replacements is a direct consequence of the Government’s $1.7 billion underfunding of health, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.  “A comprehensive study by the University of Otago says that the rate of ...
    4 days ago
  • Speech to Master Builders’ Constructive conference
    Today’s all about being Constructive. And that is good because I believe there is a hunger out there for positive solutions. We must be able to believe there can be a better future. ...
    4 days ago
  • Māori Party housing plan complete failure
    The Māori Party’s housing plan to put more Māori into more homes has been a complete failure with fewer than five loans granted per year, says Labour’s Maori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    5 days ago
  • Fund IRD better to go after tax avoiders
    National’s Tax Working Group used the following graph (p30) in 2010 as part of their justification to cut the top tax rate. The big peaks around the top tax threshold were evidence of a suspiciously high number of taxpayers ...
    GreensBy robert.ashe
    5 days ago
  • Pasifika youth ignored by the Government
    The Adolescent Health Research Group’s new report on the wellbeing of young Pacific people shines a spotlight on the Government’s failure  to deliver any “brighter future” for them, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Their research shows ...
    5 days ago
  • Police in the provinces are dissatisfied
    Police in the cities of Gisborne, Napier and Hastings are a lot more unhappy than their big city cousins says Labour’s Police Spokesman Stuart Nash.     “In fact the top four districts for enjoyable work within NZ Police are ...
    5 days ago
  • Govt action needed after Wheeler holds
    The Reserve Bank Governor’s warning that “excessive house price inflation” is posing a risk to financial stability puts the pressure back on the Government to take action to address the housing crisis, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Graeme Wheeler’s ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister confirms – new ministry only about abuse
    ...
    6 days ago
  • Silver Ferns Farms decision a tragedy
    The rubber stamping by the Overseas Investment Office of the Shanghai Maling buyout of Silver Fern Farms is a sorry day for the once proud New Zealand meat sector, says Labour’s spokesperson for Primary Industries, Damien O’Connor.  “Generations of Kiwis ...
    6 days ago
  • Benching Nick Smith first step to Kermadec solution
    Side-lining Nick Smith must be the first step in sorting out the Government's Kermadec debacle, says Labour's Fisheries Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “Last week Labour called for Nick Smith to be removed from further negotiations with Te Ohu Kaimoana over the ...
    7 days ago
  • Parents, schools, teachers oppose bulk funding
    Overwhelming opposition to the National Government’s school bulk funding proposal is unsurprising and Hekia Parata should now unequivocally rule out proceeding with the idea, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Bulk funding could only lead to bigger class sizes or ...
    1 week ago
  • MBIE gives up on enforcing the law
      The Government must provide labour inspectors with the resources they need to enforce basic employment law after reports that MBIE is only prosecuting the worst cases, says Labour’s Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway.  “Today’s news that MBIE ...
    1 week ago
  • West Coast population declines amid bleak economic forecast
    Despite the country experiencing record population growth, the number of people living in the West Coast fell, highlighting struggles in the region from low commodity prices and a poor economic forecast, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “The latest ...
    1 week ago
  • Recovery roadblocks cause for concern
    Strong pressure on mental health services, a flagging local economy and widespread issues with dodgy earthquake repairs are all causes for concern for people in Canterbury according to a new survey, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Today the CDHB’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Motel purchase must not kick people onto the street
    The Government’s purchase of a South Auckland motel to house the homeless must come with a promise that the current long term tenants will not be kicked out onto the streets, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It is bizarre ...
    1 week ago
  • Not everyone singing along to so-called rock star economy
    The Westpac McDermott Miller Confidence Survey shows there is serious unease about the economy’s ability to deliver benefits to many New Zealanders, despite the Government trumpeting headline figures, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “According to this survey a significantly ...
    1 week ago
  • Youth no better off under National’s “guarantee”
    John Key’s Youth Guarantee is such a spectacular failure that those who undertake the programme are more likely to end up on a benefit and less likely to end up in full-time employment than those who don’t, Leader of the ...
    1 week ago
  • More low-skilled students becoming residents
    New figures showing international students now make up nearly 40 per cent of all principal applicants approved for New Zealand residency and that their skill level has fallen dramatically, are further evidence that National’s immigration system is broken, says Labour’s ...
    1 week ago
  • 35% of offshore speculators paying no tax
    Offshore investors are aggressively exploiting tax breaks to pay no tax on their rental properties according to IRD data released by Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “35% of offshore investors are paying no tax on their properties, and are pocketing ...
    1 week ago
  • Friday fish dump stinks
    This government has dumped bad news on a Friday to try to avoid political scrutiny in Parliament, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • OECD report card: National must try harder
    The OECD report on education shows there’s much more to be done for young Kiwis, Labour’s education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kermadec stoush shows Maori Party double-standards
    The Māori Party’s reaction to the trampled Treaty rights and the Government’s lack of consultation on the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary reeks of the same arrogant mismanagement of the unpopular Maori land reforms, Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Flawed fish dumping calls
    The finding that MPI failed to properly enforce the law even when it had evidence of fish dumping seriously damages the trust and credibility of the Ministry, the industry and this Government, Labour's Fisheries Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sidestepping Smith should be side-lined
    Nick Smith's arrogance and disrespect towards Māori is putting the future of the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary at risk and he needs to excuse himself from further negotiations with Te Ohu Kaimoana, Labour's Fisheries spokesperson Rino Tirikatene says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must respond to cash for jobs scam
    Urgent Government action is required to halt  the emerging cash-for-jobs immigration scandal that is taking hold in New Zealand says Labour’s Immigration Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway.  “Stories of rogue immigration agents scamming thousands of dollars from migrant workers are just further ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government dragging its feet on surgical mesh
    Jonathan Coleman is dragging his feet over any action to protect New Zealanders from more disasters with surgical mesh, says Health Spokesperson Annette King.  “The Government’s pathetic response is to claim all will be fixed by a new regime to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s baby number app goes gangbusters
    An interactive tool that celebrates Labour’s achievements in health over the decades has become an online hit, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Since the tool was launched last night, 18 thousand people have used it to find their baby ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Real disposable income falls in last three months
    Kiwis are working harder than ever but real disposable income per person fell in the last quarter thanks to record population increases, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson said. ‘In Budget 2016 the National Government said that what mattered most for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Baby number app celebrates Labour achievements
    Labour has launched an interactive tool that allows New Zealanders to take a look back at our achievements in health over the decades, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Today is the 78th anniversary of the Social Security Act 1938, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Legal experts unpick Māori land reforms
    One of New Zealand’s top law firms has joined the chorus of legal experts heavily critical of the controversial Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill, adding more weight to the evidence that the reforms fall well beneath the robust legal standards ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Industries most reliant on immigration worst offenders
    The industries most reliant on immigration are the worst offenders when it comes to meeting their most basic employment obligations, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway.  “The industries that are most reliant on immigration are Hospitality, Administration, Agriculture, Forestry and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time to remove law that discriminates against sole parents
    It’s time to repeal a harmful law that sanctions those who do not name the other parent of their child, Labour’s Social Development Spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Every week, 17,000 children are missing out because their sole parent is being ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government handling of Kermadecs threatens Treaty rights
    ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister should give Police Minister some backbone
    The Prime Minister should condemn the ridiculously light sentence given to Nikolas Delegat for seriously assaulting a police woman, Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government listens to Labour on family violence
    Labour is pleased the Government has finally acted on strengthening a range of measures against family violence, says Labour’s spokesperson on Family Violence Poto Williams.  “Some of the latest changes including a new family violence offence of non-fatal strangulation is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must rethink paying for police checks
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams.  “National’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seven months for families in cars to be housed
    Disturbing new figures show it is now taking the Ministry of Social Development an average of seven months to house families who are living in cars, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “John Key made a song and dance ...
    2 weeks ago
  • North Korea test must be condemned
    The nuclear test by North Korea that registered 5.3 on the Richter scale needs to be condemned, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “This test, coming hard on the heels of a missile launch a few days ago, shows ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Tribe footing the bill for Maori Party?
     Waikato-Tainui deserve committed representation, yet the President of the Maori Party is muddying the waters by confusing the core business of the tribe with party politics, says Labour’s Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta.  “The only way to fix this growing negative ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Schools set to lose millions
    Schools will start 2017 grappling with a $7.8 million funding cut, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Hekia Parata has been adamant changes to the way our schools are funded would see them better off. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • 70% of families in cold, damp homes powerless to fix them
    Shocking new figures out today show 70 per cent of the families living in cold, damp homes are powerless to make improvements because they are in rental properties, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The 2016 Household Incomes Report highlights ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Wealth inequality at record levels
    The housing crisis is making inequality worse, with housing costs in New Zealand now way out of proportion for those on the lowest incomes, according to the 2016 Household Incomes Report, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Most New Zealanders ...
    3 weeks ago


History


History


History