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Boots Theory: Numbers are meaningless when families are living in cars

Written By: - Date published: 10:59 am, October 5th, 2014 - 137 comments
Categories: cost of living, Economy, employment, housing, jobs, Media, minimum wage, poverty - Tags: , , , , , , , ,

(Originally posted at Boots Theory. You can follow Stephanie on Twitter.)

Housing affordability was an issue in the election – but the discussion was derailed by arguments about the intricacies of capital gains tax and exactly how many hundreds of thousands of dollars constitutes “affordable” house prices.

This is the real story, which is now getting some post-election coverage in the Herald.

Salvation Army Manukau community ministries director Pam Hughes said some families were now paying more than 70 per cent of their incomes on rent, but could not keep up payments and came to her service in crisis.

“We are seeing an increase in families in vehicles. Families in cars have been increasing over the last three or four months, simply because there isn’t enough affordable accommodation for them,” she said.

The Tuuu family – mum, dad and their six children – have been living in a van for a week because they cannot find a house. …

Tamasailau Tuuu, his wife and their children, aged from 15 to 3-months-old, were doubling up with another couple and their three children in a three-bedroom house after their landlord sold their own rented home in Clendon, South Auckland, two months ago. But their friends asked them to move out.

“She was worried about her tenancy, and the neighbours were complaining about my baby crying at night, and the house was overcrowded and her kids needed their own privacy,” Mrs Tuuu explained.

That’s right – before they had to start living in their car, the eight members of the Tuuu family were sharing a three-bedroomed house with five other people.

Tamasailau Tuuu is a fulltime worker.

Meanwhile, on the Herald’s economy pages, it’s all about the numbers, and how “there’s something for everyone” in a recent Statistics NZ report on income:

A defender of the status quo can point to a 6.2 per cent rise in the average household income from all sources over the year to June 2014. A critic of the status quo can point to a rise of 1.7 per cent in median hourly earnings for wage and salary earners over the same period, or just 0.1 per cent after adjusting for inflation. The year before median hourly earnings had risen 3.5 per cent.

There is an interesting discussion to be had about the way numbers can be used (or manipulated) one way or another depending on the argument you’re pushing. In the run-up to the election, National were trotting out numbers all over the place – more tertiary students than ever before (don’t mention population growth)! Wages the highest they’ve ever been (ignore inflation)!

But there’s something obscene about the way the economic story gets framed: the figures on a page, the points on an index, the number of dollars someone can swap for a number of different-coloured dollars.

I’m sure the following statement will raise sneers; the right love to paint the left as silly ingenues who don’t understand big, serious economics. But I cannot comprehend a worldview which says “all is well, for the numbers tell us so” while families are living in cars, workers are losing their jobs, and children are dying from preventable diseases.

More and more people I know – comparatively well-off people – have being speaking out post-election about setting up automatic payments to charity organisations, or emailing journalists who write stories like the one above to offer direct assistance to the people whose plight makes it into the media. It’s a compassionate response. It does some real good. But it’s also a sign that we have fundamentally failed as a society.

Private charity isn’t even an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff. It’s a bandaid over a gaping wound. It can’t even begin to cover the damage caused by the decades-long erosion of our social welfare system. It does nothing to prevent that damage from happening in the first place. The only thing that does is a strong social welfare system, which treats people in need with dignity and respect, instead of suspicion, and is motivated by real success – not the numbers of people the Minister can claim “have moved off benefits”.

When we only talk about economic numbers and measure our success in percentage points and turnover, we erase people. And when we can’t even make sure every person has a home and can feed their kids, those numbers are meaningless, and continuing to use them is a crime.

137 comments on “Boots Theory: Numbers are meaningless when families are living in cars ”

  1. vto 1

    Yep, there is a dearth of humanity in our political and social discourse at the moment and it is getting worse. In evidence, see the support for John Key.

  2. cogito 2

    Good article. However, the discussion too often gets framed in terms of large Polynesian families living in South Auckland.

    • Paul 2.1

      Mind the Gap by Bryan Bruce and Nigel Latta’s the Haves and Have Nots focuses on a variety of folk struggling in Key’s NZ.
      Too many NZers willing to turn away.
      47% of voters selfishly put their own tax cuts and GST gains above the need of The poor and vulnerable.

      • Maui 2.1.1

        The election is tailor made for middle-class new zealand. They all vote, the have-nots are to worried about trying to survive.

      • Hanswurst 2.1.2

        Perversely, it would seem that many voters (wittingly or unwittingly) put other people’s tax cuts and GST gains above the need of the poor and vulnerable.

  3. b waghorn 3

    That article turned up on my face book and one of the comments from a Maori falla was ‘but they are still pumping out kids’ every one has a right to have children but surely birth control education must be part of breaking the cycle.

    • “still pumping out kids” is such a compassionate way to talk about human beings. 🙄

      I fully support having better education and access to contraception for people who choose it, but it would be lovely if we could just talk about the rights of children to be warm, safe and healthy without implying that poor people should be forced to make the reproductive choices we’re comfortable with.

      • Richard 3.1.1

        Access to contraception is widely and freely available. This is a western democracy not Albania.

        One thing I have learned in my life so far is to never mess with a ladies ovaries.

        We are all different with different dreams and mums quite frankly have dreams of two kids, and dreams of many and big families. I for one will never interrupt any womans dreams of her family.

        just saying some things seem to off limits.

        • BM

          When you expect tax payers to pick up the tab, that’s when it becomes an issue.

          • Draco T Bastard

            When a society fails to support their people having children is when that society has moved onto the path of its own destruction.

          • jeff

            just like ACT party and United get a big hand out from {fuck John Key} that’s when it becomes a tax payer issue issue.

        • Access to contraception is widely and freely available.

          It really, really isn’t. And if it were, it would still be incredibly gross to force people to take it just because you don’t like their choices.

          • BM

            So you have no problem with people breeding and popping out kids that they can’t afford and then expecting the tax payer to supply them with the money to raise their children.

            Why is that?

            • blue leopard

              If the people who can afford it don’t do it, then maybe the people who do want children should be valued for the service to society that they are providing?

              There seems to be something very wrong with a society that ‘disallows’ those that want something as fundamental as having children from doing so.

              Where money is increasingly becoming the measure for whether someone is valued or not – perhaps those raising children should be paid as much as those in the financial sector – both roles are are important to our society as it is organized right now.

              Shouldn’t raising children be as valued as calculating the daily exchange rate?

              Just playing around with ideas here, what do you think?

              • BM

                With people living a lot longer combined with the greater competition for available jobs and the diminishing supply of natural resources I think a lot more thought needs to go into population control.

                Last thing we need is women popping out kids because they have no other purpose in their lives.

                • blue leopard

                  With people living a lot longer combined with the greater competition for available jobs and the diminishing supply of natural resources I think a lot more thought needs to go into population control

                  If that is so, then why do we continue to allow immigration?

                  Last thing we need is women popping out kids because they have no other purpose in their lives.

                  This sentence implies that having the aim to have children is not a great one. Lots of people will claim it is their greatest joy. So you are aiming at a society that debars something that many claim to be up there with their most fulfilling and joyous experiences.

                  • BM

                    Unless you have something to offer NZ in the way of skills or money then you shouldn’t be allowed to immigrate to NZ.

                    Why we have a quota for Islanders is crazy beyond belief.

                    As for the people should be allowed to do whatever they want because they get joy from it.
                    Sure, just don’t expect others to pay for your “fun”.

                    • blue leopard

                      I didn’t say people “should be allowed to do whatever they want”.

                      I was commenting that there is a problem with a society that debars some from something that (a) many people will state is their most fulfilling and joyous experience and (b) that raising children needs to be valued as providing a service to society.

                      If you take these two factors into account, then you have to question a society that is pivoted in such a manner that this activity is as good as debarred for some. It is that way because some people are advantaged and others are disadvantaged by the way things are organized. It is this way because of systemic failure.

                      So why not fix the problem rather than spending time whinging about those who are affected -disadvantaged and suffering – the most from this systemic failure?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yes, don’t expect others to pay for your pollution, your gambling businesses, your corruption. Now you’ve set the benchmark of hate let’s apply it to you first.

                    • blue leopard

                      That is a very salient point, OAB

                    • Murray Olsen

                      Do you pay to spread your racist hate via this blog, Bloody Moran? Why should a bigoted hateful thing like you expect others to pay for your views to be propagated?

              • MrV

                The other side of that coin however is that many people do want kids, just feel that they can’t afford to start a family at this particular time, so maybe wait a few years to save, get a suitable house etc.
                At the same time these people are expected to pay for those who have many more kids than they can afford.

                Where is the fairness in that?

                • BM

                  I think this is what really rankles people and leads to all the bene hate.

                  • blue leopard

                    People need to be more grateful for their fortunate circumstances and less judgemental about others who are not so fortunate.

                    People who hold such views have no idea what this does to communty spirit and how it alienates and creates more problems.

                    We are losing a lot of good things in this country because people are so fixated on judging and putting down those who are less fortunate than themselves.

                    I really don’t know why those who are comfortable want to spend so much time on cupidity and resentment toward those who aren’t!

                    It truly makes no sense to me.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    The hate is already there, nourished by the low-IQ and low levels of contact with out-groups.

                    Right wingers are motivated by hate, that’s the problem.

                    • blue leopard

                      It is starting to look that way and this is not good for our country 🙁

                    • MrV

                      Full of hyperbole aren’t we? “motivated by hate”, what does that even mean?
                      Just as offensive as me saying left-wingers are motivated by spending other peoples money on themselves.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Your hate speech is offensive, certainly, and it’s the misery you cause that counts. Scum like you, blaming misfortune on the unfortunate, don’t deserve oxygen let alone democracy.

                      Shall we read the list of deaths from preventable infectious diseases together?

                    • infused

                      lol. oab lecturing on hate speech. ironic.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I respond aggressively to callous bigotry, and you?

                      Deny and exacerbate it.

                • blue leopard

                  @ MrV

                  If you are in a position to save and afford to have children, you are actually in fortunate circumstances. Why would you not simply be thankful that you are?

                  Why would you not see that is unfair that there are some in this country that if financial concerns were the sole criteria for having children, they would have to not have children.

                  It is due to poor society organization, after-all, that there are some that are so much poorer than others.

                  • MrV

                    I’m not saying people shouldn’t have kids – far from it. But you must accept that some people have too many kids.
                    I’m all for taxpayer support for people in hardship, however if they are up to child #5, the question needs to be asked why they aren’t helping themselves?
                    You can insult all you like but this is how many people view it.

                    • blue leopard


                      I actually was taking your comments seriously and making every attempt to word my response politely and not be rude, so please point out where I insulted you?

                      You actually are implying that some people shouldn’t have children, perhaps this isn’t deliberate on your part and is just that you don’t realise quite how badly paid some jobs are in New Zealand in relation to costs?

                      I am quite certain that there are many people in New Zealand who really don’t realise the increased difficulty in social mobility in this country and assume that it is as easy as it once was. Sadly they then judge those that are struggling and get nasty toward them and this only compounds the problem.

                      This lack of awareness is because certain people in this country haven’t been in poor circumstances, and don’t realise the variety of government policies introduced over successive years that are making it increasingly difficult to get out of poverty traps for a lot of New Zealanders, because it hasn’t affected them directly.

                      If only people would start listening and educating themselves so they would realise these difficulties exist and are increasing and we might actually get a government elected who would improve conditions for all.

                    • anker

                      I was one of five kids, back in the day when people (even those on the lowest wages) earned enough to support five kids and the state built good state houses to grow up in.

                    • blue leopard

                      @ Anker,

                      It is so sad the direction this country has gone in 🙁

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  The fairness is that despite your disgusting attitudes, you are still allowed to live in New Zealand. It’s a mistake: you deserve far worse.

                  • Richard

                    on behalf of OAB

                    HA, did you hear that slap folks I thought Taupo just erupted.


            • Richard


              Did I say that or are you putting words in my mouth. I said freedom of choice.

              I said it was somewhere I would not like to go.

              As for the poster who said contraception is not widely available. Every town has a chemist, Men can buy condoms there and in a lot of pub toilets..well there are dispensers in UK pubs n clubs.

              Plus any woman can go to their Dr can they not.

              Or are Dr’s not widely available. Are chemists a figment of my imagination.

              @BM educate. Don’t legislate.

      • b waghorn 3.1.2

        i certainly am not advocating any of the rubbish bm and his mates are posting . I just think church’s need to stop with the anti contraception garbage , educate people about good choices and blokes need to grow some and get the snip

      • Psycho Milt 3.1.3

        “still pumping out kids” is such a compassionate way to talk about human beings.

        No, it’s a realistic way to talk about human beings, who are after all human beings, not rabbits, and can reasonably be expected to apply their brains to their circumstances. No compassion is due to people who’ve produced six children – the last thing this planet needs is exponential population growth among humans. If these six children are suffering, their parents get first place on the list of culprits.

    • mpledger 3.2

      But they were financially secure when they had the children. It was when their house they rented was sold that their lives fell apart.

      And they have income, the father is working full time. It’s a pretty poor state of things if a family can’t afford to rent a three bedroom house on one full time income.

  4. b waghorn 4

    I agree the kids should ‘t suffer but politicians need to no what voters think

  5. Harry 5

    Why should my dads taxes pay for these people’s house. I’m 10 years old and my dad is saving for a house.

    • Richard 5.1

      Admin? He’s ten?

      • fender 5.1.1

        Comments are judged on content rather than the age of the commenter, even “BM” who seems younger than “Harry” is allowed to comment.

        I just hope Harry and his dad get to live in their own house before either of them reach retirement age.

        • Richard

          Like a parent I’m just concerned he’s

          A found the Standard
          B commented on a topic over his head
          C doesn’t need to be concerned about this sort of thing yet
          D Hasn’t the worldy experience to judge the ins and outs of poverty or the issue
          E is probably a mischevious 50 year old national party supporter causing trouble
          F Should be asking his dad to explain it not us.
          G just don’t like kids they tend to write horrible crap when someone tells them off, online, being an IT engineer in the past.
          H He’s 10 I mean that’s not even teenage yet.
          I hasn’t his dad told him not to talk to strangers
          J I think I’ve made up enough concerns now as to why I asked for an Admin to make a decision on a ten year old posting here.

          K now I’ve made my points if it’s ok for kids to join in serious debates where robust discussions are tolerated and encouraged, I think i’ll leave the Standard as I will not sit idly by or condone a ten year old reading swear words and adult conversations he should not be listening too. When I was growing up I was off to bed when the adults talk got adult. Call me old fashioned but principles are principles.

          • Richies McClaw

            You’re quite the killjoy aren’t you. There are far worse things out there in the internet than a political discussion on the standard. I was first interested in politics when i was his age. I was reading and comprehending political science journals around the time i was 12. Maybe you shouldn’t assume that he doesn’t have the ability to understand and reason as you don’t know anything about him. As for the swear words, they are just words, you underestimate the kinds of things that kids hear and know these days. Hiding kids away from the language isn’t teaching them anything, teaching them to be polite and respectful is the key.

    • Tautoko Viper 5.2

      Harry, if it was your mum and dad that couldn’t afford to rent or buy a house and if you and your family had to live in a car or someone else’s garage, how would you feel about no one helping you out by helping your family get into a house?
      Life is about sharing and helping others less fortunate than yourself.

    • blue leopard 5.3

      @ Harry,

      Because your dad, like all of us, would benefit from living in a country where everyone gets their basic living needs met.

      This country has enough resources for all people living in it, there is something wrong that some people can’t afford their basic living costs.

      Distribution is required to ensure that the rich don’t just keep getting richer at the expense of everyone else.

      • Olwyn 5.3.1

        everyone gets their basic living needs met

        If, at the beginning of this experiment with the “market economy” we had made substantive human rights, such as the right to earn a living and the right to secure dwelling, non-negotiable, with the level of commitment that was shown on the nuclear ships issue, we would not now be in this mess. Such a stance would have posed an obstacle that drove other policies and actions down different paths than those that have been taken. For example, if you don’t want to pay taxes to keep people, then you must employ people. If you want to employ people, you must do something productive, etc.

        At the moment, with the media vilification of Cunliffe, the promotion of Stuart Nash, and the continuous meddling in the business of left-wing parties by right wing activists, I fear that we will end up with no one to tackle these problems who has access to the levers by which they can be tackled effectively.

        • blue leopard

          “…with the level of commitment that was shown on the nuclear ships issue, we would not now be in this mess.”

          +100 Basically that is the crux of the matter.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.4

      1. Those taxes would also help you and you family get a house
      2. Back many years ago the government made low interest mortgages available to first home buyers. This means of supporting people was removed so that a few people could make more profit from private banks.

    • infused 5.5

      Man. Do you guys get trolled this easily?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.6

      Harry, the level of poverty in any society is a choice that society makes.

      Citizenship comes with responsibilities as well as rights.

      This isn’t an abstract political game: we know exactly what happens when society doesn’t care for its weakest citizens, and to put it bluntly in the narrow terms in which you frame your question, that costs more.

      Read some history.

  6. Dialey 6

    No sex, no booze, no smokes, nothing that gives simple pleasure to the down and outs – that’s what I feel the Nacts and their supporters believe, going from many of their comments in public fora. And the logical extension of such thought: eugenics – and we all know where that leads.

    • Murray Olsen 6.1

      I don’t think they’ll go for eugenics. They like having the poor around, and the poorer and more desperate the better. They want a country like Brazil was, where an ugly fuckwit can get laid for buying someone the equivalent of a sausage roll. They want to be able to get their car washed for $2, or their house cleaned for $5. That makes them feel even more superior.

  7. adam 7

    I think this is the issue that should be shedding labour party supporters like droves. They have proven themselves to nothing more than wet liberals on this issue. When John A Lee, Mickey Savage, Harry Holland and other addressed this issue, they built houses to kept working people alive, and ultimately offered them hope.

    Now we see a whole lot of hot air, and no traction. Yes the Tories are worse – in their fantasy land of market solutions. And many of that ilk show utter contempt to religious views – ahh the irony.

  8. Foreign waka 8

    Large families are part of the social structure in the pacific and also some Asian countries. The idea is that children start earning money early with schooling taking a backseat. Girls are married off to the highest bidder. Whilst this might not be true for all the cultural undercurrent still plays a role. NZ does not accommodate that kind of infrastructure (or does it?). Hence cultures collide.
    I belief we need to make sure that every child is educated and has an opportunity to use their full potential to achieve. This is the only way to brake the cycle. Naturally, housing is part of the equation and some form of reassurance that children have a home should be the aim of any civilized society. This has less to do with left, right or double cross stitch but everything with human decency.

    • cogito 8.1

      There should be incentives around assisted resettlement in the Pacific Islands for families with large numbers of kids and/or who are unable to find suitable housing/work. They should be encouraged to return to their home countries, with the help of a resettlement grant.

      • Foreign waka 8.1.1

        Hmm…. this is a tempting argument when fear of the future is overwhelming. Belief me, I am as human as the next person looking for simplistic solutions.
        When I step back and focus on trying to look at solution that really will make a difference, it always comes back to education.
        Most of the Islands and poor Asian countries do not have the infrastructure and/or political will to accommodate talent. Coupled with a very outdated approach to gender it just adds to the already very thin spread of ladies in the executive.
        To break the cycle and provide the means for change that carries through we need to learn to share. It’s difficult to convince the NZ public that poor people who are perceived to be a drain on the social purse should be assisted. In the end this is when the monkey jumps into the water – so to speak. Are we prepared to put the money where the mouth is? It is basically a humanitarian action. I may add that this is valid for any person in such a situation. NZ will most likely benefit to have the same people who have taken up opportunities establish the business connections NZ needs today and in the future. We just need to stop being greedy.

      • adam 8.1.2

        cogito, sneezed up a cropper.

        I say keep the pacifica at least they know what honour and respect mean. Oh and other concepts like family and equality. That one above seems to have lost it with some seriously fruit cake ideas they be espousing. How about we all chip in for an airfare to the Ukraine, so you can join your loopy brothers in arms.

        • cogito


          What utter BS.

          You have not provided one single reason why the idea is unfair, unworkable or unwise.

          • BM

            I think it’s a great idea.
            Give them a couple of years worth of bene payments, they’d live like kings back in the islands.

            The simpler island life style would probably suit them so much better as well.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Oh look, a National Party representative spewing racist hate. Situation normal.

            • Foreign Waka

              There is a difference between simplicity and being simple. Sending people back to the islands is an intolerant and shortsighted way of looking at the issues at hand. NZ has a political agreement with many of the island nations and is therefore also obliged to assist. As for the human equation, it will not eliminate the underlying causes of the problem that a section of NZlanders, that is growing in numbers with every year is experiencing day after day. Were not talking about beneficiaries but people who work 3 jobs to make end meet and/or retirees who cannot afford adequate care, dying undignified deaths. This is not something that can’t be swept away with simple statements. History shows us that societies with out of balance dynamic is something that can be observed when societies are dying.

            • Richard

              If your not a Maoriori, perhaps we can all chip in to give you a plane flight back to the UK then. Or the islands if your a Maori.

              Don’t forget we are ALL immigrants to this fine country. It was not populated until the 1600’s roughly

              • Murray Olsen

                The Moriori were not an earlier people who arrived in Aotearoa before Maori. This theory was debunked years ago. Kupe is thought to have arrived around 925 and Maori had inhabited the whole of Aotearoa within the next few centuries. Where does your date of 1600 come from?

                • Richard

                  Oh from an article about a found early canoe up northland, carbon dated around 1500 1600 from the corking. Latter canoes were dugout style but due to the construction it was a mixed type indicating a construction based on an island style where tree’s were not as big and they had to plank them. I made a connection. My ignorance thanks for the head up .

                  I stand corrected.

            • anker

              BM @ That must be what JK meant when he talked about a brighter future…………now I see. RAther than try and solve social issues and create a decent society, ship ’em out!

            • anker

              BM @ That must be what JK meant when he talked about a brighter future…………now I see. RAther than try and solve social issues and create a decent society, ship ’em out!

          • anker

            Umm………..then prey what do you do with Pakeha and Maori in the same position? I.e those on pathetically low wages, trying to find housing when there has been a massive market failure of providing decent homes?

            • blue leopard

              Send ’em to an island and preferably one that is sinking due to the lifestyles those who want them deported and whom support policies that cause wage disparity, live.

              (A firing squad would be cheaper – but not as easy an idea to sell, methinks.)

              • Richard

                I almost read that wrong Blue leopard. I had to re read it to get what your saying. Carefully on the grammer mate.

                as in clarify who the em is your referring too

                • blue leopard

                  My comment is in response to Anker’s comment. Who do you think ’em is referring to?

                • blue leopard

                  There ain’t nuthink wrong with having to read one of my comments twice, the more you read, the better you understand the subtly and depth contained within them.

                  One should be able to work out who the ’em is by looking at whose comment I was responding to. This was to Anker’s comment, which contained a question, so it should have been clear that I was kindly responding to that question.

                  Perhaps I should have put an /irony or /sarc tag on, but sometimes, when a comment’s tone is so obvious, I leave it to the reader’s intelligence to work it out.

                  Responding by correcting grammar grammatically incorrectly is rather a dull thing to do, I suggest in the future, you think of something more witty.

                  Summary: could do better, try harder next time.

      • weka 8.1.3

        “This has less to do with left, right or double cross stitch but everything with human decency.”

        Might want to tell the right that. And the neoliberals.

        • Foreign Waka

          Human decency is something that is thought and passed on like a cultural attitude. NZ by and large used to be quite good at that. What has changed? And whatever has changed seem to being so overbearing now?
          Its easy to say that it is all the rich people – these days anybody who is not on some form of benefit seem to be rich- but isn’t it so that the traditions have changed? That many of the customs such as curtsey, charity and good will has been transformed to a hierarchical structure that does not follow the traditions of equality but follows a political pattern last observed when monarchies reigned and tribal traditions mix with it so well? Are we going backwards?

          • weka

            I’m not saying that it’s all the rich. Plenty of neoliberals across the board (the rich get special mention of course, because of their privilege and power).

            We are 3 decades in from the 80s. There is a cultural entrenchment now that will be very hard to reverse. Yes, we are going backwards.

      • Richard 8.1.4


        Racism much. When the sea rises and wipes out whole islands with tidal surges and massive storms, you’ll be donating to support all those you helped return to the islands won’t you. You’ll be on board the Herc dropping of medical and food supplies to the dying and survivors.

        Sure you will. I’m alright jack stuff everyone else scenario is it.

        • cogito


          I was suggesting a voluntary programme for those who wished to take it up.
          Your comment is entirely lacking in balance, rationality and intelligence.

          If you were living in a car with six kids, I bet you would jump at the opportunity for a fresh start, closer to family, and with some transitional support.

          This is not a stupid idea. The only likely limiting factor would be the high numbers of people who would probably want to take advantage of the programme, which would outstrip the ability of the Islands to absorb them!

          • Richard

            and every rights group on the planet would be hating on you for being a perceived racist. Every opposed media outlet would roast your , sounds like huts.

            Sometimes it’s not about policy, and the motives for it your thinking, it’s about how it can be used against you. You’d be lucky not to be crucified, if you were in power with god himself at the helm.

            • cogito

              The ones who should be crucified are WINZ for stopping people’s benefits when they go back to see family in the Islands.

              • Richard

                Relativity mate, I went to Albania to see family whilst on Invalids, they carried on paying my IB for the month I was away. There’s a common sense time limit before it stops and hey I figured at that time it was about spot on.

                Um I think it may have changed a little on the time limit but from experience if your ok in manners, and the Winz persons reasonable, you have a good and justified reason for travelling there is no issue.

                It’s not the rules, life is about attitudes when dealing with government employee’s treat them with respect they are reasonable with you. A lot of people dig their own graves if you know what I mean.

                Educate them don’t ostracise them.

      • Murray Olsen 8.1.5

        South Africa used to do something like that, but they didn’t have any islands handy. They sent surplus workers to bantustans instead.
        I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t you go and live somewhere else?

        • cogito

          @Murray arrogant Olsen

          I’ve got a better idea – you give these people a roof in your house.

  9. Blue 9

    I was going to post this link when the post-election brouhaha died down:


    It’s a great read for those who keep banging on about ‘poor choices’ etc. to justify their lack of basic human decency.

  10. Andrew Welsh 10

    Some people live in cars and some people live in Castles, some people earn millions and some earn nothing, some people die young and some die old, welcome to the real world that has been around since the year dot.

    • Chooky 10.1

      yup….and unless everyone is given a chance and hope in a civil society …ie affordable housing, work opportunities , education equality of opportunity ….the have nots will eventually turn on those who denied them their rights as human beings

      …and that is also a surety of the “real world” that you talk about “since the year dot” ..or as history shows it is not pretty

    • Foreign waka 10.2

      Yes, and with ignorance will stay at year dot and wont move. As with any living things; if it ain’t moving it’s dead.

    • anker 10.3

      Andrew Walsh @ 10 Except NZ in the 1960’s -70’s was a decent place ie. more egalitarian. Those were much better times.

      I grew up in a “poor” family, but we had a warm dry house and food, good health care and a great education.

  11. coaster 11

    Its a shame some of the homeless couldnt relocate to areas where there are cheap houses. There are places on the west coast where houses are closer to 100k , sadly theres no work. Alot of these problems seem to exist only in auckland and christchurch.

    • adam 11.1

      Where there is some work, but no houses.

      • MrV 11.1.1

        Now we are getting somewhere away from the bile spewed above:
        For answers we must consider.

        a) Local & Central govt policies for the last 30yrs have caused rampant housing speculation by stifiling supply.
        b) Nature of the tax system, ie taxing the common mans income and business profits but not speculative capital returns and blatant rent seeking or transaction costs.
        c) Current monetary policy, and the underlying assumption of 2% inflation as benign (hint it isn’t)

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          It will never happen as long as your dog whistle smears have currency.

          • MrV

            No, it will never happen whilst you believe in pointing the finger at people, accusing them of being motivated by hate, whilst thinking your poo is pure white.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Exhibit a: Pointing the finger at people

              Exhibit b: these people are expected to pay for those who have many more kids than they can afford.

              Where is the fairness in that?

              Yes, I’m afraid it’s true, here we have yet another snivelling hypocrite who hates on people then whines at getting smacked down.

              They shouldn’t be allowed to breed.

    • Richard 11.2

      There’s a place called Tokoroa and other towns nearby. Houses are down to 55k, Central Nth Island, all within 1 hour of 3 major cities. Rotorua, Taupo, Hamilton, Work everywhere.

      Quite attractive if correctly promoted.

      Publicity campaign would put a real dent in the housing problem and first home buyer problems in Auckland real fast. Sometimes I get the feeling vested interest are keeping the status quo for ulterior motives of a financially sinister nature. 😉

      I am not a conspiratorial theorist, it just crossed my mind.

  12. Foreign Waka 12

    Why is everybody concentrating on the “problem” of the poor and not on the manufactured situations created by the wealthy? Scared? No courage? What?

  13. Redelusion 13

    chooky equal opportunity does not mean equal outcome

    Where does state responsibility end, if it takes 250k to raise a child, you are on minimum wage, you understand house prices are not cheap in auckland, why in gods name do you have 6 kids, You have through your own decisions sentenced yourself and your family to poverty. No state has the resources to simply accomodate this poor decision making, no matter how generous. As this family are on minimum wage, they should be looking at the provinces, one they will find housing cheaper and two as they are on minimum wage there will be no real wage differential thus they will be better off form a dispoable income perspective. sitting around in a car waiting for the state to solve their problem is a dead end street

    • Chooky 13.1

      @ Redelusion “equal opportunity does not mean equal outcome”…who said this?…this is beside the point

      Every New Zealand child deserves a warm house to live in, parents who have employment for a reasonable standard of living, free high quality state education including tertiary education

      ( there will still be differences in outcome but at least it will be a more egalitarian society with more equal opportunity)

      Other countries can do this…why cant we?…in New Zealand we used to do this as anker has pointed out

      Instead we have overseas speculators buying up scarce New Zealand housing stock and raising the price of housing so it is unaffordable for Young New Zealanders. We have state education being underfunded and run down and increasingly privatised. We have tertiary education where young New Zealanders are forced into tens of thousands of dollars of debt even for a basic degree ..We have very bright young New Zealanders barred from postgraduate degrees because their parents arent wealthy enough to support them and they cant even get a student loan for postgrad studies. We have people on inadequate wages to support their children and rents and good food

      ….(we have desperate people living in cars and sheds…and they would not be there if the state was committed to helping them…we need state houses and not new motorways)

    • weka 13.2

      some things you haven’t taken into consideration –

      family and other social support available where they currently live

      less jobs in the provinces

      can’t afford to move

      contraceptive failure

      cultural differences in the value of children

      they were renting, lost their home when the landlord sold it, and now due to the housing crisis in Auckland they can’t find something they can afford. Paying 70% of your income on rent is a housing problem, not a family size problem.

      • Scott1 13.2.1

        If they are already in the car they could just drive it out to the provinces a. And tell their boss he isn’t paying enough. At the moment they seem to be effectively subsidising an employer who is underpaying them (if he isn’t paying enough to allow a family to live in the area that he needs them to live in). People have to start making those sorts of choices to force the wages up and relieve housing pressure in the absence of other changes).

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          If they are living in the car fuel costs might just be an issue, and it’s entirely possible the car has no rego or warrant.

          You’ll find employment policy is the government’s responsibility, your fantasy of rational actors in a free market is a fantasy: the evidence is in.

          • weka

            Plus what are they supposed to live on while they look for a new job?

            “your fantasy of rational actors in a free market is a fantasy:”

            Pity that imagination can’t be used to think through real life circumstances, but I guess that’s what happens when ideology trumps reality (aka fantasy).

  14. mike 14

    So who in their right mind with no expectation of more than an average wage has 6 kids. I stopped at 4 because new i wouldnt be able to support more, so why should I have to support someone too stupid to work this out!

  15. Cave Johnson 15

    I’ve been thinking about the CGT in relation to rentals.
    It could reduce the rental stock, to the temporary advantage of first home buyers, and to the long term disadvantage of renters (those who cannot muster a deposit).
    It could cause a slump in house building.
    It could make it harder for a bach owner to sell their bach and buy another one of the same value, since significant capital is lost due to real estate fees and CGT, which does seem to interfere with personal freedom to some extent.
    I’ve never aspired to own a rental, despite urging from some folks, partly because of the way people delightedly tell me their tenants are paying their mortgage for them.
    The nett effect partly depends what you spend the revenue on.
    If you were going to introduce it I expect it would be best to bring it in at a very low rate initially so as to minimise disruption. e.g. 5%.
    But my view for now is that a financial transaction tax would be better.

    • Scott1 15.1

      All taxes cause distortions. If the selling of the bach is seen as an interference with your personal freedom consider the extreme interference you experience every time you buy something with GST on it or pay PAYE.

      The question of house building comes down in part to what the bottle neck is for development. I think it is probably about suitable land being opened up and to an extent administrative hurdles for building but probably not return on capital. Businesses are probably likely to undervalue capital gains compared to other costs a thy would be risk adverse and they can offset expenses against those gains.
      So in the hypothetical scenario where company tax rates dropped on the sector and cgt went up the sector would probably significantly increase building as a result.

      Financial transaction taxes are an issue because thy could distort at very low levels due to the efficiency of the financial market. even a tiny tax might cause big distortions..

  16. Brutus Iscariot 16

    Flags should be raised for both the Left and Right by an article like this, particularly honing in on the family with six children who are finding themselves struggling.

    The Right will be concerned because of the fiscal drag it can impose on the rest of society, when parents are unable to provide for their children and thus the state is required to step in.

    The Left, particularly the Green left, should be aghast at this due to principles of sustainability. It is a truism that the planet’s capability of sustaining compound growth of both population and pollution output simply is extremely close to reaching its limits.

    Children that are born into our society should receive every opportunity to become happy and productive/enlightened citizens. To be honest though, in the 21st century, having six children is a crime against humanity. Parties from across the spectrum MUST come together to find ways to discourage and prevent this.

    • karol 16.1

      The best way to reduce the number of children people have is to eliminate poverty – there’s a pattern that has occurred across history. People in poverty tend to have more children than those who don’t.

      • Brutus Iscariot 16.1.1

        That’s circular though. Children produce poverty produce more children produce more poverty. In that sense you will always be chasing your tail.

        The economy could also collapse for extrinsic reasons (e.g resource shortages, conflict) and at that point you could have MORE people in poverty.

        If you want to short-circuit that process somewhere, the easiest point is the number of kids people have.

        • karol

          Mate, the reality is, the underlying factors are poverty. Blaming the victims for and expecting them to change, when the underlying conditions don’t is futile, nasty and unnecessary.

          Give everyone a living income, and see things improve. That’s the shortest and most effective route to change.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Futile, nasty, unnecessary, and sadistic. Once authoritarians get a taste for hurting people, they can’t stop.

            • Brutus Iscariot

              Viewing everyone as a victim strips them of their agency.

              Isn’t that approach quite authoritarian?

              EDIT: one person’s living income is another person’s poverty. As a DINKY i require far less to live on than someone with a family. The question is how to reconcile this?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                If I were viewing everyone as a victim you’d have a point. I’m not: I’m viewing you as a sadist, intent on doing harm for your own satisfaction.

                The way to reconcile this is to diminish and undermine your influence by any means necessary.

                • Brutus Iscariot

                  Alrighty then…

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    I suppose you might simply be a malevolent busybody, unwittingly revealing your anti-social need to judge and rule the lives of others.

                    Or perhaps just a whining wingnut, exploring another way to pack a sad at having to pay your taxes.

                    So long as your fact-free drivel has political currency however it’s best to assume you’re a sadist.

        • Foreign Waka

          OK, there are very few families with 6 kids to start with. It has also been researched at ad nauseam that the better off the parents the less children are born. In fact, this is a great concern in developed countries as at the current birth rate will not even be enough to replace the current population. This in turn will lead to impoverishment and …….. yes, you guessed it – more kids. Isn’t nature a funny thing?

  17. Wensleydale 17

    And in other news, Alex Swney has just been charged with millions of dollars worth of tax evasion. Those rich people, eh? They could be abseiling down a mountain of cash all day long, and they’re still after just that little bit more…

    “Bastard IRD! I could afford a second Porsche if I didn’t have to pay sodding taxes!”

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