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Another attempt to minimise the significance of poverty

Written By: - Date published: 7:06 am, January 21st, 2016 - 164 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, class war, equality, poverty - Tags: , , , ,

Hot on the heals of the (re)publication of Jamie White’s nonsense (there is no poverty in NZ), yesterday we had right-wing “think-tank” (i.e. lobbyist group) The New Zealand Initiaitve burst into print with a more sophisticated attempt to minimise the significance of poverty:

Truth on poverty lies amid wealth of statistics

There is no poverty in New Zealand because the poor are not living in slums. Some people in so-called poverty even have cars and ovens.

Wrong right out of the gate – more below.

Whether you agree or disagree with the above statement, you are right. And with that same kind of reasoning, Jamie Whyte’s recent opinion piece – that there is no poverty in New Zealand – is not wrong.

Not technically, anyway. Poverty in New Zealand can mean nearly anything the commentator wants it to mean. After all, there is no formal definition (though international organisations and agencies have advocated their own). …

And away we go into a discussion of different measures of poverty and how terribly confusing it all is. While acknowledging that there is some real poverty here the overall message is that it is minimal, largely a matter of definitions, and that “poverty campaigners” are “screaming” hyperbolicly.

Well OK then. Wrong on many counts. While we don’t have big and obvious slums in NZ (yet), we do have slum conditions:
Housing NZ to look into slum claims
The slums of Jebson Pl
Slum warning over Auckland CBD
Minister vows to hold slumlords to account
Anger over ‘slum landlord’ Government
Research finds pockets of extreme poverty
And we also have the problems associated with “third world” poverty:
Third world diseases affecting NZ children, says doctor
Findings on disease rate ‘a disgrace’
Shock look at NZ’s child poverty
Poverty blamed for leap in infectious disease admissions
Disease figures a national ’embarrassment’
Auckland homelessness: Rough sleepers tally doubles
Demand high at Auckland City Mission
Hamilton plan to ban rough sleeping
and so on and on and on.

The measurement of poverty is an interesting issue to be sure – see for example this discussion on absolute and relative poverty, this on why median incomes are used in relative measures. And we do have absolute measures such as the deprivation index (e.g. here, here) and the European measure mentioned here.

But.

But the debate over definitions is also a distraction. We’re arguing over what poverty is instead of getting on and doing something about it. By an amazing coincidence this happens to suit the Nats perfectly. They have repeatedly refused to introduce an official measure of poverty so that they can’t be held to account over it. They are well aware of measures of inequality (relative) and hardship (absolute). And they are well aware of the importance of monitoring and goals for effecting change, e.g. when it comes to beneficiary bashing:

Mr English said the valuation [of benefit costs] was an important “performance tool” and would change the behaviour of the Government by forcing it to confront the long-term issue rather than accepting it was an unavoidable cost. … “When you take a long-term model, there’s no place to hide.”

If measures leave you no place to hide, then avoid inconvenient measures:

Yesterday Prime Minister John Key also ruled out new legislation which would set out an official measure of child poverty and require the Government to set a target to reduce it. That legislation was considered a critical “first step” by the Children’s Commissioner Expert Advisory Panel.

The pure hypocrisy of this refusal (giggle!) is something to behold.

Anyway, long story short, the Nats refuse to set up an official measure of poverty because (1) they don’t want to be held account for making no progress, and (2) the obvious solution to poverty doesn’t suit them at all:

Giving cash to the poor is the best way to fix poverty

“Unconditional Cash Transfers work better than almost anyone would have expected. They dent the stereotype of poor people as inherently feckless and ignorant”.

Consequently Key, English, Bennett and the rest will be pretty pleased if we the people waste heaps of time arguing about definitions of poverty instead of putting pressure on them to, you know, get their fingers out and actually do something about it.

164 comments on “Another attempt to minimise the significance of poverty”

  1. Michael 1

    Great analysis there, Anthony Robins that shows the Right’s War Against the Poor for the vicious, deceitful lies that it is.

  2. grumpystilskin 2

    I often wonder how someone like Bennett, who had a hand from the state when they needed it, justify their current actions to themselves.
    Of all people she should be standing up for our less fortunate, unless of course, she knows that she was gaming the system and assumes everyone else is?
    Has anyone looked into her past situation to fact check?
    Just wondering..

    • Wensleydale 2.1

      I suspect it’s surprisingly easy when you’re on the pig’s back and you’ve successfully exorcised both your conscience and any sort of moral responsibility.

  3. Puckish Rogue 3

    Just thought you’d like to read the next sentence:

    “But conditional cash transfers still seem to work better when the poor face an array of problems beyond just a shortage of capital.”

    http://www.economist.com/news/international/21588385-giving-money-directly-poor-people-works-surprisingly-well-it-cannot-deal

    • Korero Pono 3.1

      The article also says:

      ““This scheme has a condition: applicants must submit a business plan. But it highlights the virtues of no-strings grants (UCTs). They work when lack of money is the main problem. The people who do best are those with the least to start with (in Uganda, that especially means poor women). In such conditions, the schemes provide better returns than job-training programmes that mainstream aid agencies favour. Remarkably, they even do better than secondary education, which pushes up wages in poor countries by 10-15% for each extra year of schooling. This may be because recipients know what they need better than donors do—a core advantage of no-strings schemes. They also outscore conditional transfers, because some families eligible for these fail to meet the conditions through no fault of their own (if they live too far from a school, for instance)”.

      CCT assume people can’t be trusted to spend money wisely. UCT assume people “know what they need better than donors do” – interesting when dealing with the ‘root causes of poverty’, there is certainly contention about what these cause are, right?

      • acrophobic 3.1.1

        The ‘article’ was about the third world, Kerero. That’s why you can quote the Uganda example. It is being misrepresented by the left.

        • Korero Pono 3.1.1.1

          @acro, you really are an ignorant louse, we have had this debate on another thread, which included reference to another study, which you conveniently ignored and continued on your ‘but this is the third world context’ bullshit. When other studies in a ‘first’ world context confirm that UCT are effective in creating immediate change, without other interventions being involved. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/18/what-happens-when-the-poor-receive-a-stipend/?_r=0 – you are a waste of time and space so are your lies and propaganda.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.1.1

            It’s because all his lies and propaganda are unoriginal: like a curious miscegenation between a parrot and a sponge, poor Acro can only absorb and repeat information, with zero actual processing in the interim.

            But this is the modern wingnut way: since so many of their deeply held reckons rely on false narratives, what’s left but to repeat them over and over? Thinking about them involves fact checking, and the truth is such a disappointment.

            We need better wingnuts. What would you give for a righty pundit with the wit of PJ O’Rourke, for instance, compared to the feet of clay we get around here. Even Hooton can barely conceal his disgust.

            • acrophobic 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Oh just more ad-hominem. Still no argument or facts.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                In fact, my criticism is related to your behaviours, not your person. If I wanted to attack you personally I’d turn up at your workplace.

                • Korero Pono

                  If I wanted to defend poor people in a more practical manner, I would also turn up at acro’s workplace – or as acro prefers to call it the place where they invest their time and assess the poor.

                • acrophobic

                  No, it’s good old fashioned ad-hominem. Tired and unoriginal.

          • acrophobic 3.1.1.1.2

            Yes we have had this debate before, and you ran off with your tail between your legs.

            The author of THIS blog post has selectively (and dishonestly) misrepresented the conclusions of the Economist.

            The author of THIS blog post has made no reference to any other study.

            That is blatant dishonesty, and I will continue to call bs on it and your ludicrous defence of it.

            • Korero Pono 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Acro, why do you tell so many lies and think so much of yourself that you seem to think that your level of ‘debate’ can force anyone to run away. Your mendacious personality at work again I see. Given your attitude to poor people, your high opinion of yourself, your mendacity and/or your inability to comprehend language and information, you are a complete waste of space and time.

              Given all of these problems you have, you should not be allowed within hairs breath of any poor people or their families, you should not be in a position of power over any of them because you have no boundaries and your attitude is one of the most backward, self-serving, pompous attitudes I have come across from any person who professes to work with vulnerable families. If, in my line of work, I came across anyone like you working with vulnerable families, I would ensure your ‘investment’ in and ‘assessment’ of said families was brought to an immediate end.

              Your response to this post will be the same predictable diatribe that you spout in all your posts, you do not have anything to say beyond your rote learned bigoted lines. I wonder how much the Natz pay for that kind of dumb arse?

              • acrophobic

                Korero in some ways I envy the world you live in. It is one where you can simply throw personal abuse at anyone you disagree with, where you can studiously avoid confronting counter factuals to your naive world view, and where the solution to everything is bigger and bigger government. But I live in a world where real, evidence based solutions count, in business and social settings. Carry on with your deluded world view, if it really makes you feel better.

                • Stuart Munro

                  If real evidence based solutions counted in your world you’d be sedated.

                  • acrophobic

                    They do count. That’s what I work with every day in a whole range of activities from the business I run to the social work I do. The lala land people like Korero live in has thankfully been consigned to history.

            • r0b 3.1.1.1.2.2

              The author of THIS blog post has selectively (and dishonestly) misrepresented the conclusions of the Economist.

              Bollocks.

              I didn’t refer to a study by The Economist. I referred to an article on Stuff. It cites data from North Carolina and Norway, as well as The Economist. It draws conclusions about the poor in NZ, not me.

              You want to try and whine about the conclusions, go whine to Stuff.

              • acrophobic

                You didn’t ‘refer’ to a Stuff article, you quoted directly from it. The Morgan article has been widely exposed for the misrepresentation, yet you used it without the full quote. That is either dishonest or incompetent.

                • r0b

                  You didn’t ‘refer’ to a Stuff article, you quoted directly from it.

                  I’d love to know what you think the difference is. Oh no – wait – no I wouldn’t.

                  I’m quoting from a piece on Stuff which draws on several sources, and you’re now telling repeated lies what I’m saying. Take a week off. Bye!

    • acrophobic 3.2

      The repetition of misrepresentation of the economist piece is a record of the dishonesty of the left.

      And they needed worry. Capitalism is actually reducing poverty globally.

      ‘Capitalism, not Oxfam, is defeating poverty”
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/greenpolitics/developingworld/12106587/Capitalism-not-Oxfam-is-defeating-poverty.html

      “This is a story that is not told very often, but it is none the less the story of our age: globalisation is spreading ideas, medicine and wealth, forcing down inequality and bringing the world closer together. With enough capitalism, poverty might become history after all.”
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/greenpolitics/developingworld/12068973/This-year-take-heart-Capitalism-is-saving-the-world.html

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1

        Capitalism always increases poverty – as Piketty proved.

        • acrophobic 3.2.1.1

          So you didn’t read the Telegraph pieces then?

          • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1.1

            I read the research – rather than the delusional opinion pieces.

            • acrophobic 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Great, so you’ve changed your mind then.

              • Chris

                Do you ever get tired of being a disingenuous fuck? Or are you just really stupid?

                • McFlock

                  I personally reckon that acro thinks that they’re a genius being disingenuous, but doesn’t realise just how stupid they really are.

                    • acrophobic

                      Well done, Chris, McF and Draco. You’ve all managed to totally avoid debating the issue.

                    • McFlock

                      The issue in the post is how tories prevaricate on issues that don’t directly benefit their paymasters, not to get sucked in to your prevarication. But you and PR and the other tories here do copiously provide examples of prevarication.

                      Many examples fall somewhere into this regular pattern:

                      First it doesn’t exist
                      Secondly, it might exist but we don’t really know what it is
                      Thirdly, we don’t know how to define it
                      Fourthly, we don’t know how to count it
                      Fifthly, we can’t count it accurately (choose level of accuracy of convenience
                      Sixthly, it has no bad repercussions
                      Seventhly, we can’t do anything about it
                      Eighthly: repeat tactics one to six but in relation to “bad” and then “repercussions”
                      ninethly, repeat items one through seven conceding that it might have existed, been defined, been measured, had repercussions, and we might have been able to do something about it then, but none of that applies now because all the affected people have died. Must have been Labour’s fault.

                      And your personal favourite is to pepper basic math, logic, and language mistakes throughout your deposits on bullshit mountain.

                    • acrophobic

                      “The issue in the post is how tories prevaricate on issues that don’t directly benefit their paymasters, not to get sucked in to your prevarication.”

                      And therefore isn’t it ironical that the author used a highly dishonest tactic (misrepresentation by omission) to make that point?

                    • McFlock

                      Did you just accuse the author of lying?

          • Anno1701 3.2.1.1.2

            the “tory-graph” , what a joke……

            you may as well be quoting the daily mail or sun….

        • acrophobic 3.2.1.2

          “After referring back to the original data sources, the investigation found numerous mistakes in Prof Piketty’s work: simple fat-finger errors of transcription; suboptimal averaging techniques; multiple unexplained adjustments to the numbers; data entries with no sourcing, unexplained use of different time periods and inconsistent uses of source data. Together, the flawed data produce long historical trends on wealth inequality that appear more comprehensive than the source data allows, providing spurious support to Prof Piketty’s conclusion that the “central contradiction of capitalism” is the inexorable concentration of wealth among the richest individuals. Once the data are cleaned and simplified the European results do not show any tendency towards rising wealth inequality after 1970.”

          http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c9ce1a54-e281-11e3-89fd-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3xp11c5Eg

          The Picketty research was a shambles.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.2.1

            The Piketty debate in the business media

            Forbes contributor Scott Winship defended Piketty and called the FT’s analysis “blown out of proportion”:

            My initial assessment from Friday is mostly unchanged. The Financial Times blew the data issues it identified out of proportion. Giles discovered a couple of clear errors and a number of adjustments that look questionable but have barely any impact on Piketty’s charts. Much of his critique could have been consigned to a footnote to the effect that he uncovered other mistakes and questionable choices that do not actually change Piketty’s results. Giles’s post is written in a way that makes you think the alleged problems with Piketty’s data are more legion than they are. And he’s made some errors himself along the way.

            The FT article was, quite simply, lies.

            • acrophobic 3.2.1.2.1.1

              Are, no. Winship has since published this “Even without taking the safety net into account, poverty is lower than it was at its pre-welfare-reform peak in 1993.” http://www.economics21.org/category/author/scott-winship.

              But more than that, Picketty’s analysis has been picked apart on several fronts. Here’s another one “http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-03-27/piketty-s-three-big-mistakes-in-inequality-analysis”.

              He simply got it wrong.

              • Draco T Bastard

                That one’s even worse than the previous kettle of lies.

              • Stuart Munro

                I’m really very impressed – I never thought I’d find anyone dumb enough to misspell ‘ah’.

              • fisiani

                Thank you for your thoughtful comments Acrophobic. They show that you are not swayed by emotion but are rational. If you expect posters to acknowledge your proof you will however be sadly disappointed. If proof does not fit their distorted lens then they will resort to ad hominem abuse. You can claim that the sun always rises in the East and they will call it a capitalist conspiracy. Do not despair. There are more lurkers than posters. Your efforts prevent an echo chamber. Keep up the good work,

                • McFlock

                  Get a room, you deranged bovine faecalphiliacs.

                  Issuing nothing but fart sounds and duck quacks gets in the way of debate, rather than being some sort of public service.

                  The only vague service you two provide is being examples of the lying, dissembling and low-grade bullshit that the powerful employ in order to keep the facts as far as possible from public view.

                  Your tory playbook is:
                  dead cat
                  dead cat
                  dying cat
                  oh, that’s a skunk
                  small bottle of cat-bollock extract
                  dead cat
                  and then, finally, ‘oh gosh, why are you all so rude, there’s wrong on both sides but you guys use bad language’.

                • acrophobic

                  Thank you. I am inspired by the level of self destruction amongst the left here, and the almost rapid ad-hominem. It really is a laugh a minute.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  If you expect posters to acknowledge your proof you will however be sadly disappointed.

                  He hasn’t posted any proof – only deluded opinions that reinforce his own delusional beliefs.

                  • Macro

                    He hasn’t posted any proof – only deluded opinions that reinforce his own delusional beliefs.

                    QFT
                    Reckons and references to “The Telegraph” or “Daily Mail” do not an argument make.

  4. Molly 4

    Poverty shows itself in a number of ways – most particularly in the lack of options you have to spend the income you do receive.

    Note to Jamie Whyte, you don’t have to be without oven or cars to have a paucity of choices:

    eg:
    1. Do you take the children to the doctor when they are unwell – or – do you care for them at home with the knowledge that is likely something that will heal by itself – but with the concern that it is not?
    2. Do you pay the registration or WOF on the car knowing that you will be travelling through an area that is often targeted by the police for these things – or – do you pay the electricity bill, knowing that if you don’t you will be charged another 20% for missing the due date?
    3. When the dentist mentions nonchalantly that your child needs braces – but don’t worry you can pay it off in instalments of $300/month for two years – do you think “Oh Yay,” or “damn – where is that going to come from?”. You have to remind your child when they visit not to accept any products from the dentist while they are there, else you will be charged $8 again for a $3 tooth floss you can get at Pak ‘n’ Save.
    4. Car travel is curtailed – in part because you are mindful of unnecessary contributions to climate change, but also because petrol is budgeted, ergo so are trips away from home, even if the activity itself is free.
    5. There is no cushion in the budget so precautionary maintenance, and unexpected household expenses can throw the finances off indefinitely.
    6. The news that your partner may have to go to Australia for two days for work makes you realise that you will have to apply for a fasttrack passport – and there goes another $300 that you don’t have.
    7. The cost of insurance for your household and cars becomes a significant chunk of your outgoings, but you cannot see how you would ever manage to get back on track without it. Health insurance is completely out of consideration, but unlike a couple of business owners who you know who bring in well over $100K you are not entitled to a community services card.
    8. Savings are impossible. You just try to manage to keep within your overdraft.

    These are all personal experiences. I expect they are true for many others, and while I consider our family fortunate that we manage to juggle finances still to fit, there are many times when we come close to not managing. Definitely amongst the precariat.

    And we are thankfully under no other stresses such as ill health, unemployment, addiction or external family issues. That would be a particularly bleak place to be.

    FWIW – housing is our biggest expense. And while we own a modest home (110m2) on a rural block, we have not traded to get there, and do not have the wish to contribute to the speculative property market in Auckland. We have children who will inherit the results of that madness.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      +1

      • greywarshark 4.1.1

        Well said Molly. The biggest pity of it is that similar points could have been made in 1990, 1991, 1992……..and on. However pointing out the bleeding obvious will not register on someone in those special dark glasses with polaroid-adjusted lens so they screen out facts that can’t be otherwise ignored.

    • weka 4.2

      Very good explanation Molly.

  5. fisiani 5

    There is no Right Wing War against the Poor in New Zealand. Such hyperbole shows a complete misunderstanding of reality. I can assure you that Bill English is a) certainly not Right Wing and b) very concerned to help the poor.
    The difference in thinking come down to the Left wing handout ‘solution’ and the Centre’s hand-up solution.
    National knows that generational beneficiary status is appallingly bad for everyone and the welfare reforms are aimed at freeing people from the tyranny of such welfare. These reforms are working and whilst many have been assisted into the workforce there are many more who need further assistance which will be given.
    A good example of such compassion is the proposal to assist families with relocation costs to enable them to escape living in expensive Auckland and find accommodation and employment opportunities and a great part of New Zealand to live in.
    National is the Party that actually works for the Poor.

    • Korero Pono 5.1

      What utter bullshit

      • fisiani 5.1.1

        Would you expand on your scatological comment and care to explain why you consider my erudite comments to be manure? I have carefully perused my comments and do not resile from a single sentence. My words are self evident truth or do you live in some alternative reality? Care to point out any error in fact?

        • mother-ridden 5.1.1.1

          pompous much?

        • McFlock 5.1.1.2

          “Erudite” means “having or showing great knowledge or learning”.

          Parroting nact propaganda lines regardless of reality requires neither knowledge nor learning. Just enough conceit to shamelessly call yourself “erudite”.

        • Stuart Munro 5.1.1.3

          If something is self-evident you don’t need to say it, moron.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2

      National is the Party that actually works for the Poor.

      Perhaps this is so: they just aren’t very good at it, and invariably contrive to increase poverty.

    • acrophobic 5.3

      Well said.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.3.1

        Water is dry. Fire is cold. These reforms are working.

          • framu 5.3.1.1.1

            im finding it hard to see how either of those articles proves the claims made

            there is no proof that i have seen – and yes i could have missed it – can you point out where the claim is proven?

              • framu

                “The brighter global picture is the result of international and national aid and development projects investing in schools, health clinics, housing, infrastructure and improved access to water. The UN also pointed to trade as being a key factor which was improving conditions in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. These improvements have not been picked up in the past when poverty has been measured strictly in income terms without taking into account other factors – health, education and living standards”

                “Kim said that further reductions in poverty rates would come from evidence-based approaches, including: broad-based growth that generates sufficient income-earning opportunities; investing in people’s development prospects through improving the coverage and quality of education, health, sanitation, and protecting the poor and vulnerable against sudden risks of unemployment, hunger, illness, drought and other calamities. These measures, he said, would also greatly boost shared prosperity, improving the welfare of the least well-off in every country. ”

                you should really read the links first – there are quite clear caveats to the question of capitalism reducing poverty

                • BM

                  A put that link in as balance.

                  I know the guardian is a screamingly lefty rag who would down play capitalism as much as they could, but as they said trade is a (should be the) key factor.

                  Which is repeated by Bono, who’s been at the coal face of poverty efforts for a long time

                  • framu

                    well of course trade is a factor – thats kind of how people make money

                    but to say that globalised trade, in the current orthodoxy, is the panacea for poverty isnt true by a long shot – its is part of the mix.

                    kind of like how the economy is only one part (albeit an important part) of a functioning society

                    (and bono is really only an authority on avoiding paying tax in ireland – but that just my opinion of course 🙂 )

                  • Pat

                    you’re citing Bono????

            • acrophobic 5.3.1.1.1.2

              1. Reduction of disease
              “Earlier this month, the United Nations announced that malaria’s global death toll has more than halved since the turn of the century, saving six million lives.”
              “It’s the first year in history, for example, that no wild polio cases have been reported in the continent; a disease that used to strike and often paralyse 350,000 children a year is now almost extinct. Aids infections have halved over the past 15 years. The recent eradication of Ebola in Sierra Leone is only the latest triumph in Africa’s war against the kinds of diseases that have kept so many countries on their knees for so long.”

              2. Reduction of rates of malnutrition
              “Earlier this month, the United Nations announced that malaria’s global death toll has more than halved since the turn of the century, saving six million lives.”

              3. Reduction in extreme poverty and child mortality.
              “The stunning truth about Congo is that it has almost halved its extreme poverty rate in 10 years. In fact, across the world, poverty rates and child mortality rates have halved since 1990.”

              4. Increasing participation in education.
              “Back then, only 52 per cent of children in sub-Saharan Africa went to primary school. Now, 80 per cent do – and the number is rising.”

              The reasons?

              “While overseas support has been crucial and highly effective in the struggle, the strongest force pushing back disease in the continent is capitalism; trade still brings in far more money than aid.”

              The tide of mis-information spread by the left about capitalism is turning.

              • framu

                you know that that isnt proof?

                its just a series of quotes and a summary claim, and the claim doesnt show causation or prove anything

                • acrophobic

                  Denial. And not the river in Egypt.

                  • framu

                    then rid me of my doubts by proving the claim

                    or do you dispute the fact that a single sentence claim in a newspaper with no links or refs to back itself up, isnt proof of anything other than an opinion held by who ever wrote it?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      But but but that’s how facts are made: a wingnut says something, then they all parrot it to one another, and then it becomes a fact.

                    • acrophobic

                      The proof is in the articles I cited. I even summarised it for you.

                    • framu

                      acro – “The proof is in the articles I cited. I even summarised it for you.”

                      me – “its just a series of quotes and a summary claim, and the claim doesnt show causation or prove anything”

                      let me repeat that last bit – “the claim doesnt show causation or prove anything”

                      whats exactly is wrong with your language skills?

                      look – treat me as if im thick (i know you want to) and explain how what you posted proves something, anything

                      consider it a challenge

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                While we’re citing the UN, why not expose Acrophobic’s witless hypocrisy while we’re at it.

                I note that polio and other infectious diseases have been eradicated using the tools of Epidemiology. Watch in amazement, as Acrophobic denies Epidemiological findings relating to inequality and poverty, while simultaneously pretending that the virtues of mixed economies can be accurately be described as “Capitalism” because Polio.

                “That’s the problem with hypocrites, they don’t know when they’re lying.”

                • acrophobic

                  Oh and I wonder who’s funding that epidemiology? Capitalism.

                  “While overseas support has been crucial and highly effective in the struggle, the strongest force pushing back disease in the continent is capitalism; trade still brings in far more money than aid.”

    • Stuart Munro 5.4

      Yes it’s more of a pogrom than a war. No Geneva convention.

    • Molly 5.5

      “A good example of such compassion is the proposal to assist families with relocation costs to enable them to escape living in expensive Auckland and find accommodation and employment opportunities and a great part of New Zealand to live in.”

      The reason for this “largess” is to enable the easier sale of Auckland state housing stock to be sold off in large numbers. Pure and simple.

      The loss of proximity to what social and community support networks that are likely to exist, often results in even greater poverty further down the line. Both in financial terms and in terms of quality of life.

      Those “hand-ups” you talk about often have electric buzzers in the palms.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.6

      There is no Right Wing War against the Poor in New Zealand.

      Yes there is which this government attacks on the poor while subsiding the rich shows.

      I can assure you that Bill English is a) certainly not Right Wing and b) very concerned to help the poor.

      Your assurance isn’t worth anything as Bill English has been leading the War on the Poor.

      The difference in thinking come down to the Left wing handout ‘solution’ and the Centre’s hand-up solution.

      What hand up solution are you talking about? Being a student has become harder in National’s War on the Poor.

      National knows that generational beneficiary status is appallingly bad for everyone and the welfare reforms are aimed at freeing people from the tyranny of such welfare.

      1. We only have people on unemployment benefits because the government runs policies that ensure a high unemployment so as to keep wages down and profits up.
      2. National’s welfare reforms are aimed at creating even more poverty so that businesses can lower wages even further and National can cut taxes the rich – again.

      A good example of such compassion is the proposal to assist families with relocation costs to enable them to escape living in expensive Auckland and find accommodation and employment opportunities and a great part of New Zealand to live in.

      The offer for relocation money was only for single people and it simply wasn’t enough to cover the expense of moving thus making sure that nobody would move. I’m sure that National understood that latter bit so that they could then turn round and say that no one took them up on their offer.

  6. Wayne 6

    The article failed (at least for me) to provide a meaningful definition of poverty in New Zealand. I am not a fan of the percentage of median incomes measure. As Whyte indicated if our income all doubled and this is the prime measure then just as many people would remain in poverty as before the doubling.

    But it is possible (and I am sure I have seen it from the Children’s Commissioner) to have a material deprivation measure. That is if children are missing out on an aggregate of a range of things (bedrooms, fruit per day, more than one pair of shoes, raincoat, average temperature of the house, etc), then they would be considered to be living in poverty.

    With an agreed measure then we would know how best to combat poverty. Obviously the govt has a pretty good idea of these things, hence food in schools in Decile one to three schools.

    But really we should not be having arguments about how many people are in poverty. We should be able to have a reasonably agreed definition about that.

    The real debate should be what do we do about it. For instance would more State houses with income related rents be the single best thing that could be done. I suspect it has got to be high on the list,

    • Stuart Munro 6.1

      The article didn’t even try to decide what poverty is – but a government with a burgeoning homeless population on the streets cannot lie about poverty indefinitely.

    • framu 6.2

      ” As Whyte indicated if our income all doubled and this is the prime measure then just as many people would remain in poverty as before the doubling.”

      and what happens to the buying power of the dollar in that hypothetical?

      for you of all people to attempt that one wayne is an insult to everyones intelligence – even yours.

      • greywarshark 6.2.1

        Dishonest economists and RW dissemblers like Whyte like to talk hypothetically such as this – about income doubling and people still remaining in poverty. NZ does not even have a set poverty line. Talking hypothetically about hypothetical possibilities is the sort of thing that ACT is good at.

        After all they introduced this neo lib on the basis that if the country acted in this new mode, old, tired, inefficient businesses and labour practices would open the way to a new, vibrant economy! We see it so vibrant that most of NZ is out of work, or under-employed, on the breadline, and dependent on borrowing as they try to afford the baubles of the vibrant economy which caters to the comfortable and wealthy. John Key might say: ‘I’m comfortable about that’.
        http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/john_key.html
        http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/07/28/a-critical-deconstruction-of-john-key-whats-behind-the-facade/

        ACT the party that led NZ to poverty, along with National Party bled NZ almost to death, and they haven’t finished with us yet. These are not hating people, they are people who hold themselves apart and distant, feeling superior to the mass of humanity..

      • Muttonbird 6.2.2

        I wondered that also. For me it was the weakest part of Whyte’s argument and Wayne Mapp has quoted it!

        How can one magically double everyone’s income without also necessarily doubling the cost of living?

        • Stuart Munro 6.2.2.1

          Gnat economics – their solution to poverty is to reduce social welfare payments to zero and then double them whenever there’s a complaint.

    • Ad 6.3

      Reverse National’s tax cuts for the rich from their first term, and instead give those tax cuts to those in the lowest levels of income.

      National have done a good job increasing social welfare payments, and have also raised the minimum wage.

      English is building the headroom for more tax cuts in 2017. They should go to the people for whom $10 a week means the most.

      It’s not enough because it’s not working.

      • Sacha 6.3.1

        “National have done a good job increasing social welfare payments” – which have not even started yet, and will be clawed back by increased work obligations in many cases. But yes, at least they did that much after Labour did nothing about it.

    • Anne 6.4

      Obviously the govt has a pretty good idea of these things, hence food in schools in Decile one to three schools.

      You know Wayne I choke a bit when I read about the govt action to alleviate the effects of ‘childhood deprivation’. Don’t get me wrong I’m glad they’re doing something, but I haven’t forgotten the howls of rage when the Clark govt. wanted to introduce a nutritious lunch package in lower decile schools. Yes, they also wanted to remove the obese-inducing food that was available in many schools – a move to be applauded. Apparently it’s OK if the Nats do it, but not when Labour tried to do it.

      “It’s the responsibility of the parents not the schools” shouted the NActs from one end of the country to the other.

      Oh, and btw once it was normal practice to have lunch provided in state schools. I remember my mother being on school lunch duty when I was a kid. Sure, it was a long time ago ( 🙁 ), but its interesting how many times these things come around again.

      • alwyn 6.4.1

        Can you tell me when these things occurred.
        “Clark govt. wanted to introduce a nutritious lunch package in lower decile schools”
        I know they proposed control on what food would be available, and the Labour Party proposed such a scheme in 2014 or 2015, long after Clark had gone but I don’t remember her Government proposing free or subsidised lunches which is what you seem to be saying.

        ” it was normal practice to have lunch provided in state schools” I wasn’t aware that this was ever the case in New Zealand schools, at least in my lifetime. Can you tell me when and where this occurred?

        • Anne 6.4.1.1

          Just because you didn’t experience something doesn’t mean it didn’t happen alwyn. You have to accept you don’t know everything. It was a scheme presumably started during the first Labour govt, and continued through to around the late 50s. After that I don’t know if it still existed- suspect not.

          • alwyn 6.4.1.1.1

            I quite happily accept I don’t know everything Anne. There is the corollary. Just because someone says something happened doesn’t mean it did.
            So far I have been totally unable to find anything that indicates that such a scheme of lunches being provided by the state in schools existed, either in the Savage/Fraser or Clark administrations.
            Wiki lists all sorts of things, including a horseback allowance but doesn’t mention meals.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Labour_Government_of_New_Zealand#Education
            They did supply free milk of course.
            I would love to know whether your claim is really true.
            Are you sure that it happened, and can you pin it, and the one about the Clark Government, down with a reference. It would seem that something of that magnitude would have been mentioned before a mention of “horseback allowance” if it really happened.

            • Anne 6.4.1.1.1.1

              The answer is NO. Can’t be bothered. “Horseback allowance”? Haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.

              1. The primary school I attended had a school lunch programme. I know it wasn’t the only school to have such a programme. There was no decile streaming in my day so don’t know how widespread the programme was. Whether it was run by an outside organisation or the schools were subsidised… wouldn’t have a clue. Probably the latter.

              2. The Clark government proposal in 2008 was never implemented because the voters chose to vote them out of office – something to do with voter over-reaction to Labour policies aided and abetted by dirty political politics and a partisan media.

              That was the point of my comment. The Nats and the media kicked up an almighty stink when Labour tried to address the problem of the under-privileged (undemocratic/communism they shouted) but it’s OK when the Nats at last choose to do something about it – 8 years later and not nearly enough.

              • alwyn

                What a shame. It sounded quite fascinating and I would love to have found out about something like that.
                I will resist being quite as harsh as a warning lprent gave to someone named “amy” on 8 January

                “Making assertions of fact without backing them with some substantial links or at least explaining where your source of knowledge is is tantamount to being viewed as just another lying bullshit artist. You are liable to be treated as such by other commenters”

                • Anne

                  Listen to who is talking! Your inferences and snide comments are rarely ‘substantiated with links’ to back up your case.

                  My “assertions” alwyn are based on my experiences and the knowledge gained form them. I object to your inference I make things up, but then that is the rather puerile object of the exercise…

                  Case closed.

                  • alwyn

                    The problem is that children’s memories are fallible, at least according to what I have read. So I gather, are adult’s memories about what happened in their childhood. They become convinced that something happened even though their is no evidence of the event occurring.
                    Look at the Peter Ellis case in Christchurch. Do you really think that Ellis got justice? Do you really think that the evidence given had any connection to reality? The events described at his trial don’t appear, at least in many people’s views to have happened.
                    People’s memories don’t seem to have that much connection to what really happened, and different people appear to have entirely different memories of the same event.

    • Sacha 6.5

      “if our income all doubled”

      = if everyone’s income increased equally. That’s exactly the point of using a median rather than an average.

  7. Pat 7

    “The real debate should be what do we do about it. For instance would more State houses with income related rents be the single best thing that could be done. I suspect it has got to be high on the list,”

    and then we look at National”s policy on state housing and its record the past seven years…..the two somehow fail to marry

    • Ad 7.1

      This lot have had long enough and should be thrown out.
      For most people, things have got worse not better.

      • Pat 7.1.1

        a most bizarre statement from an ex minister from the current national government in light of their actions (or inactions)..one almost wonders if he knows what party he belongs to.

      • Wayne 7.1.2

        Ad,

        Your statement is no more than an assertion, and an incorrect one at that.

        For most people since the end of the GFC (around late 2010) things have got better. Wages and salaries have been outpacing inflation for some years now. Unemployment is in the 5 to 6% range. The percentage of the available workforce actually employed is as high as it has ever been. Welfare rolls are well down.

        Your statement is typical of the beliefs of many on this site who simply cannot understand why National keeps getting re-elected and maintains (according to polls) around 50% support.

        I would say the principal reason is that you and many others on this site have factually incorrect views of what is happening in the economy. You have a wrong belief that most people are worse off, when in fact the opposite is true.

        So when you are wrong on such a fundamental thing, it is not surprising that you (and many others on the Left) are unable to understand why the government has maintained its popularity, and then to work out the means of defeating the National Party.

        • Pat 7.1.2.1

          of course a participation rate of 76% has nothing to do with that….the 24% of non participant are probably all too busy on SKI holidays or putting together entrepreneurial deals to vote no doubt

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.2.2

          For most people since the end of the GFC (around late 2010) things have got better.

          Nope. For the rich thing are getting better. For everyone else things are stagnating or going backwards.

          You know as well as I do that averages can hide the truth.

          • Wayne 7.1.2.2.1

            Draco,

            You are incorrect. Across the board, wages have been going up faster than inflation. Average annual wage increases have been between 2 and 3%. I am sure you will be able to find some wages that haven’t gone up as much, but the great majority have done so. These figures are not really distorted in meaningful sense by CEO increases. There aren’t enough people in that group to skew the stats.

            And this increase in wages and salaries is very clearly reflected in the increased retail sales, not just in high end stores but in virtually all stores.

            Where you are correct is that benefits (with the exception of NS which is tied to wage increases) have only been increasing in line with inflation. So relatively beneficiaries have not done as well as wage earners. This was a key reason for the upcoming $25 increase.

            But most people of working age are not dependent on benefits, other than WFF.

            As I say in my view it is this misunderstanding that results in many on the Left having a factually incorrect view of the state of the economy, and thus a misunderstanding as to why John Key keeps succeeding.

            But if you want to believe that most people are worse off (or at least no better off), well I guess you are entitled to do so.

            • framu 7.1.2.2.1.1

              how does the govt measure an across the board increase/decrease?

              • Wayne

                framu,

                The State Services Commission needs to know what is happening in the private sector to determine the appropriate level of pay increases in the govt sector. This is especially important for those groups such as teachers, police officers and other large groups where there are uniform pay increases by way of salary steps.

                Many state servants (policy analysts and administrators) in the Ministries are on individual contracts. However, teachers, police, most health professionals, NZDF, Corrections are all paid on published salary schedules, which are negotiated under State Services supervision. The scales cover nearly 200,000 employees across these sectors.

                Because of the size of govt, State Services cannot afford to take a random approach.

                • framu

                  cmon wayne – you didnt answer the question at all

                  how do we get a total picture of wage growth? Whats the process, the formula (because we dont ask everyone if they got a pay rise do we)

                  it has something to do with averages doesnt it

                  • Wayne

                    Well, obviously SSC takes into account of the material published by Stats NZ, but they also are pretty aware of the pay settlements by the larger employers such as the banks, Air NZ. Fonterra, etc.

                    • framu

                      why are you going on about the SSC?

                      im talking about “across the board wage growth” and how we get to being able to make a claim in that regard

                      so far the only formula i can see for talking such a figure is by using some sort of averaged result. Could easily be wrong of course

                      so – by what method or formula (or link) do you get to be able to claim an across the board increase?

                    • Descendant Of Sssmith

                      Well only for the bosses and himself apparently.

                      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11372944

                      “Labour’s state services spokesman, Kris Faafoi, said that while chief executives were getting pay increases of almost 3 per cent on average, the average core public sector worker got an average hourly increase of just 1 per cent.”

                      “His own pay, however, which is set by the Remuneration Authority, rose by 8 per cent.

                      A number of other public sector bosses, including the Treasury’s Gabriel Makhlouf, were also paid 8 per cent more but that was due to one-off payments related to a change in the period over which their performance-based pay is calculated.”

            • Draco T Bastard 7.1.2.2.1.2

              Figure 4.

              Auckland’s house price boom over the past five years has dominated the New Zealand housing market and the distribution of New Zealanders’ wealth in housing. The benefits of this increase in wealth have gone to perhaps only 20% of adult New Zealanders, while the economic settings which result from this house price inflation are endured by all New Zealanders.

              Other comparisons of the trends in wages received by the best paid and worst paid workers offer an opposing picture, however.

              Against such increases, welfare beneficiaries – excluding those receiving New Zealand Superannuation – have lost ground as benefit levels are indexed against inflation. Effectively benefits remain at the arbitrary levels determined by the benefit cuts of 1991 creating in effect
              a class of citizens of around 500,000 people who do not get the benefits of economic growth shared by the remaining four million New Zealanders

              Over all result, most people are worse off than what they were in the 1990s mostly because of what National have done to the economy.

              • Wayne

                Framu,
                The point I am making is that the average also reflects what is happening with most wages. It is not heavily distorted by a few large increases at the top end.
                The point about SSC and the big state settlements is that they reflect what is typical in the private sector. The SSC does not just get the Stats NZ averages and say that is good enough to justify say a 2% increase for literally hundreds of thousands of state employees. They do their own due diligence.
                However, if you want to go along with the Left meme (at least on this site) that most people are worse off (since the GFC ended late 2010) under National, then go ahead.

                • framu

                  so – no way to claim an across the board figure that doesnt rely on averages.

                  thanks

                  was that so hard for you to say?

                  you should know damn well that averages arent accurate for anything other than an average – eg: compare median and average wage in nz

                  just how dishonest are you?

                • Macro

                  Wayne – the average certainly does not reflect what is happening with most wages.
                  It is one of three measures of central tendency commonly used, but is in fact the least valuable in reflecting the movement of the whole group (as it can be highly skewed by outliers and scores at the top range) Scores at the bottom have always been there, but as scores at the top have no bounds they move the mean upwards – sometimes quite dramatically. The mean (or average) therefore, does not reflect the reality for the majority. If you really wanted to show what was happening with most wages – you would use the mode. But as a the largest group of people have an income of well under $30k and that has remained static for some years – that would not reflect well on just how “well” the NZ economy is performing would it?
                  http://www.inequality.org.nz/understand/#!prettyPhoto/-1/

            • Stuart Munro 7.1.2.2.1.3

              If you were trying to be honest you’d talk about median wages. No fear of that of course.

        • Anne 7.1.2.3

          …it is not surprising that you (and many others on the Left) are unable to understand why the government has maintained its popularity, and then to work out the means of defeating the National Party.

          I know amnesia is a serious condition but just to give you are helping hand:

          It was/is a strategy called Dirty Politics that allowed the right wing coalition govt. led by National to squeak back into office by the skin of their teeth.

  8. Grant 8

    Please don’t publish this comment, I don’t wish to detract from the essence of the article but it really niggles me to see the use of Healed instead of heeled.
    Cheers buddy.

  9. If we need an accurate definition of poverty, why don’t we, y’know, ask the poor? They’re actually not hard to find in NZ and their opinions aren’t academic. John Key found some in 2008, but he may have stopped looking since then.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10468960/Aroha-of-McGehan-Close-flees-NZ

  10. Sabine 10

    they don’t live in slums, just slummy houses……
    they have ovens, and no electricity to run them or food to cook on them……
    they have Car!!, without a wof, regos, no threat on the tires and no money for gasoline.

    I feel much better now that it has all been explained.

  11. fisiani 11

    This thread really shows the twisted distortions of the Left.
    Every effort by National to continue their excellent progress on alleviating poverty is attacked as some assault on the poor.
    National knows that if we grow the economy we can help the poor. So why do the Left and the Greens in particular choose to stymie growth in virtually every sector of the economy?
    National knows that long term welfare is toxic and destructive of both body and spirit. Why do the Left want to keep people in this appalling toxicity and yet try to claim to be their champions?
    National knows that we need more houses. Why do the Left restrict land for houses and impose restrictions on building?
    National knows what helps and is daily working to transform the lives of the poor despite the constant carping of the Left.

    • Chris 11.1

      “National knows that long term welfare is toxic and destructive of both body and spirit.”

      It doesn’t have to be and hasn’t always been. It’s the neo-liberal right’s demolition of welfare, in terms of both levels and attitudes towards it, that’s done this. The benefit cuts in 1991, the mandate for which Labour handed to National on a plate, was accompanied with removal from DSW’s mission statement all reference to “participation in the community”. Welfare isn’t about that anymore but it used to be. This was followed by all manners of demonisation that’s brought about so much disdain towards benefits and beneficiaries we’ve now got an even poorer group of people that choose not to receive a benefit. This group now accept life as being about long bouts of no income, running from casual job to casual job, having no time to give to their children or partner, and bagging anyone who has the temerity to be on a benefit “for doing nothing”. When marriages break up or kids are bashed or killed or their kids start going to jail the government says “don’t blame poverty for this, there’s plenty of help available. Our welfare system is one of the best in the world.”

      Really? The message we get from the right is “you don’t want to be on a benefit because it’s toxic and destructive of both body and spirit, so don’t even bother trying to get one because it’s bad for you and if you do try to get one we still won’t give it to you because it’s toxic and destructive of both body and spirit (but our welfare system is still the best in the world).”

    • Stuart Munro 11.2

      National doesn’t know much, but you it seems know even less. But your faith is touching – unfortunately, your team in divine affairs considers faith to be a vice.

    • stever 11.3

      “National knows that long term welfare is toxic and destructive of both body and spirit.”

      Do they? Super annuitants, for example?

    • The Other Mike 11.4

      Still full of shit you are Fisi spouting usual dogma.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2013-06-03/for-fighting-poverty-cash-is-surprisingly-effective

      PS: How come you have so much time to troll here? You work? Or get paid by Crosby Textor to try to (pointlessy) grab a vote or two for your Hawaaian prince? That is work?

      Just askin…

  12. DH 12

    “Giving cash to the poor is the best way to fix poverty”

    I disagree entirely with this. The recurring theme of the last 30 years has been just that; giving lower income people more money. The money never actually fixes anything, within a very short space of time they’re worse off than before.

    IMO we’re forgetting history. We seem to have forgotten just why state houses were necessary. They’re still needed now for exactly the same reasons.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      The recurring theme of the last 30 years has been just that; giving lower income people more money.

      No it hasn’t. If anything, it’s been about taking money from the poor starting with the adding of GST, the MOAB which cut beneficiaries income and then ever increasing GST.

      IMO we’re forgetting history.

      Yes we are. We’re forgetting that when you leave how society operates to the oligarchs then poverty increases and, finally, society collapses.

      • DH 12.1.1

        Sorry Draco but we have been giving the poor more money. Even the dole is more than it used to be.

        The core problem really is quite obvious. Inflation for the poor is higher than their income growth. If they had zero inflation they’d be incrementally better off with every increase in income.

        Clearly the problem has to be addressed at both ends for any solution to be successful. The state must work to increase their incomes while also holding their inflation. It’s a waste of time otherwise, just a dog chasing its tail.

        It’s also obvious that housing inflation hurts the poor more than anyone else because they pay more of their income on housing than anyone else. That’s the inflation that needs to be halted… killed stone dead. The state has the power to do that.

        • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.1

          Even the dole is more than it used to be.

          No it’s not. It’s less than what it was, in real terms, than it was before National cut all benefits in 1991. IIRC, DoS has linked to the figures somewhere. Essentially, inflation and increases in GST has eaten it up same as with all the other poor.

          • DH 12.1.1.1.1

            “Essentially, inflation and increases in GST has eaten it up same as with all the other poor.”

            Er, Draco…. that’s my argument.

            The crux of it is that simply giving the poor more money just leads to their costs increasing by an even greater amount. Increase the housing supplement for struggling Auckland renters and their landlords will be only too delighted to put their rents up further. Their inflation must also be targeted.

            • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.1.1.1

              that’s my argument.

              You said: The recurring theme of the last 30 years has been just that; giving lower income people more money.

              Which isn’t born out by the actual figures. Beneficiaries have been getting less because the increases haven’t kept up with inflation. For them to have more they would have had to have in increase after inflation. And that’s not even taking into account GST rises.

              Their inflation must also be targeted.

              Actually, the bludgers must be targeted. The rentiers who put the rent up as soon as the poor have more money and thus keeping the poor destitute. The only way to do that is to make it so that people can’t benefit from owning assets such as houses and shares.

              • DH

                Who are you to say people shouldn’t benefit from owning assets Draco. That’s a pretty arrogant position to take.

                And you’re dancing on the head of a pin. I said they were given more money. I didn’t say they were given more inflation-adjusted money. I simply said they were given more money. And they were.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Who are you to say people shouldn’t benefit from owning assets

                  Somebody who’s applied logic to the problems we have and come to the inescapable conclusion that rentier behaviour, otherwise known as capitalism, is the problem. It’s a problem that’s been known about for centuries though.

                  That’s a pretty arrogant position to take.

                  It is merely the truth.

                  I said they were given more money. I didn’t say they were given more inflation-adjusted money. I simply said they were given more money. And they were.

                  Actually, the answer is no they weren’t. There’s a reason why economists use the term real dollars. But you already knew that and so now you’re just being disingenuous.

                  • DH

                    What’s your game here Draco? Are you just being a dick or can you truly not follow what I’ve said?

                    If I wanted to talk about ‘real dollars’ I would have talked about real dollars and used those words. I didn’t so why the fuck are you accusing me of being disingenuous when it’s you that’s trying to change the subject.

                    the comment I posted about said this;

                    “Giving cash to the poor is the best way to fix poverty”

                    Does that mention real dollars?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      After inflation beneficiaries do not have more. Once you include the rise in GST they actually have less. This is contrary to what you said.

                      Sure, they have a higher nominal amount but that doesn’t mean anything in real terms. You’re trying to say that because they have more in nominal terms then we’ve been giving them more but this is not true and you know it.

                      The inflation would have happened without the increase to beneficiaries. In fact, IMO, it would have happened even if wages hadn’t gone up because sales would have decreased.

                    • DH

                      Are you from some weird parallel reverse universe Draco? I don’t think you’ve interpreted correctly a single thing I’ve said

                      I know I’m not Shakespeare but, fuck, my sentence construction isn’t that bad. I give up, the floor is yours….

            • Chris 12.1.1.1.1.2

              How does the increased dollar value of benefits lead to beneficiaries’ costs increasing if those dollar value increases are still not increasing in real terms?

              • DH

                It’s called cause & effect Chris. You must have been introduced to Newtons third law at school. It’s a bit like that. Nothing happens in a vacuum.

                Give people more money and what will they do? They’ll spend it won’t they. And when more money gets spent in the economy, without a supporting increase in GDP, we tend to get increased inflation. Cause & effect.

                Give the poor more money, and do nothing to address the inevitable inflation, and the goods & services they spend their money on will go up in price. They’ll end up back where they started only worse off because the Govt takes a cut of their increase through tax.

                The ‘real money’ Draco rabbits on about is a moving target, actions taken today affect how much money will be worth tomorrow.

                • Chris

                  Your analysis is way too simplistic to be applied to increases in benefit levels. We’re talking about those on the lowest incomes so traditional notions of ‘choice’ and the ‘market’ are skewed and artificial. Your reliance on concepts relating to physics to make your point highlights this even more. Factors peculiar to benefits, benefit levels, choices the poor tend to make etc include the fact that basic benefit rates aren’t tied to the cost of living. They used to be but this ended some time in the 1970s. The cuts in 1991 were on top of this so in real terms the base figure any annual CPI increase lifts doesn’t equate to spare money that’ll add to the increase in inflation in ways someone fixated on economics 101 may think. There’s also ways that the increase in the rate of a particular benefit will affect the rate of other benefits the same individual receives. Basic benefit rate increases can, at times, for example, decrease the accommodation supplement. Any increase to any benefit will decrease temporary additional support (if the person was lucky enough to be getting it despite being entitled). Other benefits increase only when the cost they relate to increases because of the reimbursement aspect to that particular benefit – there’s been a benefit increase but only because of the increased cost to the individual so no spare money. On top of this again tax credits over the last few years have affected benefit rates more and more whereas this wasn’t so much the case previously. Then there are those who’re entitled to a benefit but who aren’t receiving it which makes it likely that when the benefit is received or income goes up including from the annual CPI increase concepts of how spare money affects inflation aren’t quite the same, and often go right out the window.

                  The upshot is that things just ain’t that simple when you’re talking about those on the bones of their arse.

            • millsy 12.1.1.1.1.3

              DH is correct in that sense.

              Say we increased benefits by $50 tomorrow, after the Standard contributors sieze power in a revolution.

              The landlords will go hmmmmm if they have an extra $50, then they can afford a bit more rent, so they jack it up by $60. So the poor are effectively $10 worse off.

              • DH

                Thank you millsy, at least someone can follow a simple paragraph or two.

              • Descendant Of Sssmith

                While many would (just like the wankers who increased their rents in Christchurch because they could or that one who happily posted here that he rented a small apartment in chch so he could rent his house out at exorbitant prices) there are also many landlords who wouldn’t.

                There are also many (shrinking rapidly) people in state housing who wouldn’t incur massive rent increases.

                Many, many would be better off and I’m sure there’s the potential to curb excessive rents – rent commission perhaps or even a rent freeze if rent is already over a certain amount.

              • Descendant Of Sssmith

                Nah that’s too theoretical. Some landlords will increase rent, some will not. Some local businesses will benefit from the extra, some will get in less debt and so on.

                Beneficiaries are actually a small part of the economic equation and most people are only on benefit for short periods.

                NZS (which has much more permanency) has has lots of increases and we’ve haven’t seen massive inflation, tax cuts meant working people had more money – much more than what a benefit increase would be and we haven’t seen massive inflation.

                Why increases to the poorest would increase inflation when even larger increases in income to the middle haven’t is non-nonsensical and totally illogical.

          • Descendant Of Sssmith 12.1.1.1.2

            Here’s a few comparisons:

            Average wage including overtime, allowances etc and for those years where measured more than once the last figure of the year (which is always the highest). Yearbook data used apart from 2015 which is off the stats website.

            I’ve also used the last and highest benefit rate for the year for those years that had multiple increases.

            BTW One of these things is not like the other and it’s easy to see why I think males aged 20-24 have been the most disadvantaged by successive governments. If they received the 31% they got in 1976 they’d get $319-61 per week. Funnily enough just under the NZS rate.

            Most of you won’t remember either that benefits were indexed to CPI and increased two to three times a year in line with CPI.

            No jobs and reducing benefit rates and the increasing taking of incomes by predatory landlords creates poverty. Anything else is wishful thinking and victim blaming.

            2015 $1031.00
            2009 $935.76
            1990 $529.98
            1986 $411.71
            1976 $106.66

            Unemployed person 20-24 benefit rate and %age of average wage

            2015 $175.10 (17%)
            2009 $158.65 (17%)
            1990 $143.57 (27%)
            1986 $116.05 (28%)
            1976 $33.20 (31%)

            Sole parent one child benefit rate and %age of average wage

            2015 $300.98 (29%)
            2009 $272.7 (29%)
            1990 $249.14 (47%)
            1986 $185.76 (45%)
            1976 $52.32 (49%)

            NZS and %age of average wage

            2015 $374.53 (36%)
            2009 $310.95 (33%)
            1990 $172.86 (33%)
            1986 $120.24 (29%)
            1976 $33.20 (31%)

            • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1.2.1

              Thanks for the analysis, mate.

              “Most of you won’t remember either that benefits were indexed to CPI and increased two to three times a year in line with CPI.”

              I’m sure Labour will be happy to introduce this again. right.

              • Descendant Of Sssmith

                Maybe they could campaign on increasing the benefit rates to the same percentage of the average wage as when John Key’s mother was getting one to raise Mr Key.

                Someone should pick through all the year books and graph the rates back in time against the average wage and post it up. I’m surprised it hasn’t been done previously.

    • Chris 12.2

      The recurring theme over the past 30 years is to give less money, not more. That’s why there’s more poverty, both in seriousness and numbers of people. The right-wing neo-liberal bullshitters like Shipley, Bennett, Tolley et all spew out total levels of spending on benefits to make it look like “spending more” doesn’t work, but levels individuals receive have dwindled to a point where people cannot afford to live. The consequences of this are mindbogglingly immense.

    • Tautuhi 12.3

      Creating jobs would be a good start for the Tories?

    • Lloyd 12.4

      The neo-liberal theme of the last 30 years has been to give the poorest in any economy less money.
      The ultimate outcome has been the GFC.

      If the poor have money an economy will keep spinning. Giving money to the poor keeps the economy going. An healthy economy will mean that businesses that supply things the poorer people need, and have money for, will do well. Capitalists that supply those people will do well. Those capitalists are then beneficiaries. Giving money to beneficiaries is a sensible way to stimulate an economy.

      If your poor are too poor your economy falters. Keeping the rich, rich, doesn’t matter.

      Neo-liberals don’t seem to understand these obvious facts.

      Bill English definitely doesn’t.

      If Bill English doesn’t believe he is right-wing he has been hypnotised by the National party propaganda that the party is “middle-of-the road”. His political driving is so American, you wouldn’t want to meet him on a winding road.

  13. Grim 13

    Poverty is vulnerability, something both the left and right promote.

    The current system doesn’t allow for change, if any party was serious about implementing change, they would setup alternate systems;

    trial societies, but we don’t see that do we,

    and why is that?

  14. millsy 14

    On a Facebook group a belong to, a women said that she has $23 left of her benefit after she pays her rent. One would then presume that $20 would go on power, and the 3 would buy 1 buckets of noodles.

    If that isnt poverty, I dont know what is.

  15. linda 15

    i am sick of right wing fuckers time for the pitch forks and riots

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