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Child poverty has been monitored – now what?

Written By: - Date published: 7:05 am, December 18th, 2015 - 104 comments
Categories: class war, cost of living, discrimination, minimum wage, poverty, quality of life, Social issues, welfare - Tags:

So now we know how child poverty was affected by the Global Financial Crisis.
Our tory friends have taken their annual two-pronged approach, with distraction arguments about whether individual poverty measures measure poverty and the old stereotype that poor people are poor because they do drugs (wrong), and smoke and drink to excess (wrong-h/t:LostSheep). Arguing that less than half of beneficiaries aren’t the “deserving poor” still means that we are letting down tens or hundreds of thousands of thoroughly deserving NZ citizens. But whatever helps tories avoid thinking about the kids (“victims of “parental choices” or not), I guess.

Well, income poverty is one measure, and material hardship is another. Both say something is wrong with our peaceful, productive land. So do our child health stats, and our housing affordability stats. The data which goes back to the fourth Labour government shows the strategic rot in our society began with them and Ruthenasia, and the GFC was a shorter term spike in the overall wasteland.

So, what would be some normal human ways to address this situation?

The Office of the Children’s Commission has come up with some ideas, including microfinancing and making child poverty a legislated issue with targets to address.
A rental housing “Warrant of Fitness” is gaining traction as an idea, with the Greens pushing it quite strongly. This might not address poverty as such, but it could well lower the worst health consequences of poverty – similarly targeted medical interventions for Rheumatic fever and jabs for anything that can be vaccinated against can help those at the bottom (while leaving “the bottom” where it is).
General benefit increases to pre-1991 levels would be good, and a living wage would help the working-poor who remain after Working For Families did its bit.

But is the focus on child poverty too narrow? Can we rely on single adults experiencing a sort of “collateral assistance” while we pander to the tory desire to focus only on the “deserving poor”? Focusing on child poverty enables us to bypass most of the “poor choices” brigade, but does it come at the cost of leaving people behind when successes occur, and would it even make it harder to help those people once child poverty is sorted (we can but dream)?

I’ll be watching the Finnish experiment with Universal Basic Income carefully. Even if it eventually falls short of a true UBI, it promises to be a significant step towards addressing the long term issues of labour and capital in a post-industrialial world.

McFlock

104 comments on “Child poverty has been monitored – now what?”

  1. Now what? Make working for a living actually pay for a living, then make sure those who are able to work don’t get much of a choice in the matter. Once you’ve got those two things covered, a more generous social welfare system for those temporarily or permanently unable to work is a doddle. Unfortunately, the current government is enthusiastic about the second item but actively opposed to the first, and Labour is generally useless at either one, so we’re fucked.

    • Nic the NZer 1.1

      If there are not enough jobs available then how will your not giving people a choice about having one go? At present the country doesn’t produce enough jobs, that’s a big part of the underlying issue here.

      • Sabine 1.1.1

        There are enough jobs that need doing, building houses, staffing hospitals, schools, early childhood centres, staffing the police, building and maintaining infrastructure.
        There is ample opportunity to create jobs, however there is an unwillingness to pay for the jobs to get done. And that is the issue.

        AS for the not giving people no choice about taking a job, that is already happening. But then, lets again blame unemployed people for being unemployed. It must’ave’been’them’lazy’ones that created the 6.something% unemployment in the first place. Nothing to do with downsizing, and increasing the salaries of say Fonterra CEO or the likes and increasing shareholder value on the back of those that do the jobs.

        Lucky really that victim blaming is so du jour.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1

          +1

        • Coffee Connoisseur 1.1.1.2

          We need to understand the root cause of our problem is system related.

          Capitalism ensures a flow of money upwards towards capital. i.e the system by its very nature makes the rich richer. This is coupled with a monetary system that is based on debt. So in short the only way to get people out of poverty is to introduce more money into the system.

          The only way that this can happen is by increasing debt. Thats worth saying again The only way to increase the money supply (which needs to happen to pull people out of poverty) is through introducing more debt to the system. This forces people to work to pay that debt back. When you account for the technology we have in society and understand that through better use of that technology only 40% of people in society would actually need to work… when you take that into account, It becomes clear that the system we have is just another form of slavery.
          Hell even the hours worked are the same as Black slavery in the US. If this wasn’t bad enough having to introduce more debt into society makes the debt larger for each new generation. So in other words whilst we continue with this, It will be worse for your children than it was for you and worse for their children than it was for them.

          Now as if that wasn’t enough the central pillar of the Capitalist system is profit. Profit is generated through the extraction of resources before they are turned into products marketed and sold. The reality is that the system doesn’t just aim for a wee bit of profit here and there, no it will always aim for maximum profit. Maximum profit requires Maximum Resources. So in order to achieve that outcome maximum profit requires the extraction of maximum resources this is why we have the environmentl destruction we have and Under the current system all three go hand in hand. Maximum profit = Maximum resource use = environmental destruction. So the reality is you can’t fix climate change under Capitalism. All the incentives work in the opposite direction. As an example if you want peace and I’m sure most do. How do we realistically expect to achieve that when weapons manufacturers make profits in the billions and have lobbyests in the government buildings of our so called allies?

          The only other way to maximise profit is to reduce costs. The highest cost is that of Labour so we automate peoples jobs. 40% of current jobs are set to be automated in the next 10 years. Then what? People are already struggling to afford the basics.

          What is our solution at that point to ensure people can access the essential items that they need. Any other time such a scenario has occured, it has led to civil unrest and system collapse.
          We have a few choices.
          A: Kill off a large part of the worlds population so that there are jobs for those that are left and you can leave the current form of enslavement in place.

          B:You can return to a socialist model which again leaves the current enslavement in place but redistributes wealth so people can afford to buy the things they need. Remember that in a democracy you will always have a section of the public who will vote against having things taken from them. It helps to understand the principle of ‘Loss Aversion’ when it comes to this The profit motive is still there and as such so is the endless extraction of resources for profit and the environmental destruction that comes with it.

          Or C: you can introduce an alternative to the debt based monetary system such as one using crypto currency that can be used to enable people to obtain the things they need and want WITHOUT needing to introduce more debt, You can also use it to transition to a new system (most likely a sharing economy or gifting economy such as RBE which makes use of automation for the benefit of every individual in society instead of just a select few. Do this and not only will people need to work far less (try 3 day weeks and 4 day weekends) but work will become less and less overtime as more tasks can be automated. most importantly people will have what is most important in life back. TIME.
          Whats more you will have a tool to eliminate poverty altogether. Thats all poverty, not just child poverty.

          How can we as first world countries say we truly value human rights when the very system we have doesn’t by its design enable basic human rights for everyone?

          It really depends on the sort of life we’d like to live and the type of world we want our kids to grow up in and the sort of future we want them to have.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.2.1

            As an example if you want peace and I’m sure most do. How do we realistically expect to achieve that when weapons manufacturers make profits in the billions and have lobbyests in the government buildings of our so called allies?

            The weapons manufacturers have lobbyists in the government buildings of our bloody government.

            Lobbying needs to be banned. Nobody should have more say over a countries legislation just because they can afford to pay people to always be in the politicians face making noise.

            A. Which of course won’t work as the amount of work available is only a proportion of the total population.
            B. Which is what we tried from 1930s through to the 1970s. The capitalists fucked it up at the time and then drove us back towards the 19th century and earlier
            C. /real-monetary-reform/

            • Coffee Connoisseur 1.1.1.2.1.1

              As is often the case I find myself in agreement with you.
              I would however avoid banking altogether with the implementation of a UBI but would instead set up a seperate system along side it using App based mobile wallet technology signed up to using Real me.
              Then have a regular weekly amount added into the account.
              I would explore having a use it or lose it model to ensure that people do use it and become used to that as a system
              In my view it needs to be set up in a way that helps move us away from the current system altogether and makes it more difficult to return to.

        • Nic the NZer 1.1.1.3

          Yes, as you rightly point out the government (because who else can) has a reluctance to create sufficient spending for everybody (who wants a job) to find a job. This is the underlying issue with trying to get people off benefits when there are not enough jobs to go around, it fundamentally can never succeed.

      • Psycho Milt 1.1.2

        If there are not enough jobs available then how will your not giving people a choice about having one go?

        It also pre-supposes a government that doesn’t regard a certain percentage of unemployment as being good for the economy – again, the Nats are never going to be that government, but any plan to deal with poverty has to have as item one on the agenda “if the government is a right-wing one, replace it with one that isn’t.”

        • McFlock 1.1.2.1

          I suspect the correct order: cart vs horse would be to remove the structural unemployment and see just how bad a problem the ‘don’t wanna work’ issue really is. It could well be so small that trying to address it is more trouble than it’s worth.

          Definitely agree on the living wage, though.

          • weka 1.1.2.1.1

            Yep. There’s another issue too, which is how many jobs that capitalism deems necessary only get workers because people would be destitute otherwise? This is one reason I’m keen to see what a UBI and living wage does. We might see a bunch of useless jobs disappear and some jobs that are unpleasant or difficult have to be revamped to make them attractive. In that sense I disagree with PM’s stick approach. I suspect people having the choice of working less (or subsisting on a UBI and not doing paid work at all) would have a beneficial effect on society.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.2.1.1.1

              The Mincome experiment had a few people (a couple of percent, from memory) choosing study over work: I don’t think there was any increase in what people might call idleness.

        • Tracey 1.1.2.2

          Doesn’t the Reserve Bank kind of operate within a framework that requires some level of unemployment? Or is that a myth I am foolishly repeating?

          • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.2.1

            Doesn’t the Reserve Bank kind of operate within a framework that requires some level of unemployment?

            Having high unemployment is government policy and has been since the 4th Labour government. The 5th Labour government brought it down not by changing policy but by actively encouraging massive increases in private debt which, of course, fuelled the GFC of 2k8.

          • McFlock 1.1.2.2.2

            Not directly, but lots of economic models include a Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment (NAIRU). Reserve Bank wants inflation between bounds agreed with the govt, e.g. 0-3%, or 0-4%, can’t remember what it is at the moment.

            The NAIRU is based on the idea that if everyone has jobs, there’s a shortage of unemployed people for new jobs, so the supply shortage drives up wages. People then buy more, and that drives up consumer goods demand. So retailers raise their prices. So workers demand more and get it because there is a shortage of unemployed people to low-ball the offer, and it becomes an accelerating cycle. Calculating an exact value for NAIRU is complex, and depends on essentially economic religion. Economists are really good at caluclating it after the fact with amazing accuracy, but prediction? lolz.

            Anyway, what happens is the Reserve Bank sees the economy start to heat up, and makes a guess abour what the increased activity will do to inflation. So they raise interest rates so borrowing money is more expensive, so startup costs increase, so new jobs are prevented, so unemployment is maintained at an artificially high rate.

            And the country remains fucked, and we still blame people for not finding a job.

            • Tracey 1.1.2.2.2.1

              Thanks guys

            • Nic the NZer 1.1.2.2.2.2

              This is pretty good description, but “Economists are really good at caluclating it after the fact with amazing accuracy,” Well no.

              This rather optimistic treasury paper says that the NAIRU estimate is purportedly accurate to around 2.6% of unemployment, at 95% confidence. This means that 1 in 20 years the NAIRU will actually be more than 2.6% off their estimates. That is fundamentally useless for policy purposes.

              http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2004/04-10/03.htm

              The NAIRU itself is un-observable, its an estimate of a rate at which something is supposed to happen (inflation should purportedly accelerate) but is only defined in the ‘Long term’ (short term economic statistics do not support the NAIRU hypothesis). The long term is a time period where ‘everything is held stable’ apart from the changes in the variable of interest to the model (in this case a relationship between unemployment and inflation). When the time period is defined in this way it can never be measured because in the actual economy all kinds of things change all the time.

              A good working hypothesis seems to be that there is no NAIRU, it simply doesn’t exist. Note its different from the inflation barrier, so this is not to say that there is not inflationary level of spending, just that it can’t be simply correlated with the unemployment rate.

              There is also an important question, can monetary policy (tweeking interest rates) actually provide full employment or control prices. If you look at a recent history of the NZ economy you will note that the housing marked does not appear to have been constrained by significantly higher interest rates and neither do the low present interest rates appear to be leading to low unemployment. It seems monetary policy can not do the job by itself and should probably be paired with fiscal policy in some way or its just not up to the task.

    • miravox 1.2

      Nice post McFlock.

      Yes, the focus on child poverty is too narrow. It seems clear to me that the focus on child poverty is because:
      1. children are deserving poor
      2. as a PR exercise you’d be pretty heartless to deny these little humans health, education and well-being.

      However, as some of the comments in the last few days have shown – number 2 hasn’t worked out and there are even a few who think number 1 is irrelevant to the spending priorities of government.

      imo the public are weary of the focus on child poverty, and maybe it’s time to broaden poverty discussions to how difficult it is for people in all walks of life to provide for themselves. And to identify where those difficulties are, and what it means at different stages of life and for specific populations.

      Whether through structural or cyclical or policy constraints there are too many people who don’t have an adequate income or reasonable ways of providing that for themselves. Some of these people have dependent kids, others struggle alone.

      • miravox 1.2.1

        Edit:
        I appreciate your comments so much more PM when you’re dealing with the big picture rather than picking on the particular…

        I agree entirely with making work pay for a living. I think there is at times a fine balance between identifying those who are able to work but don’t, and those who are temporarily unable to work. And then there’s policy focus that affects how many jobs are available in a given economic climate, and where those jobs are (functionally and geographically).

        Government can have a huge impact on the positive futures for people who want to work, but in the main it refuses to take up this challenge.

      • BM 1.2.2

        A lot of people don’t have an adequate income for the life they want or expect.
        This is a major issue and the reason so many are in the shit, money wise.

        Champagne tastes on a beer salary.

        • miravox 1.2.2.1

          You can only be talking about the people who earn enough to obtain bank credit for their champagne tastes.

          There’s another bunch out there with beer tastes who are on less than a beer salary. They don’t earn enough for the bank to give them a loan to fix the washing machine.

          • BM 1.2.2.1.1

            imo the public are weary of the focus on child poverty, and maybe it’s time to broaden poverty discussions to how difficult it is for people in all walks of life to provide for themselves. And to identify where those difficulties are, and what it means at different stages of life and for specific populations.

            I was replying to this part of your post.

            It’s a big reason why talk of poverty gets no where as a fair chunk of working people are struggling to pay the bills.

            Unfortunately a lot of it is self inflicted, many people completely lack the will power to live within budget, too many flash shiny things to buy.

            • miravox 1.2.2.1.1.1

              And I was replying to this bit in your post:

              “Champagne tastes on a beer salary”

              Yes, I know there are well-paid people who live beyond their means. I was talking about the too many people don’t get paid enough to buy a household appliance that they can keep in good working order – nevermind the champagne.

              That’s if they can afford of the place they’re live in in the first place without packing a few friends or family in to share the rent. Or if they haven’t been hit up by a needy relative (with partner and kid) for the spare bedroom. Or if they’re not still living at the mum and dad hotel way after finishing their education.

            • Tracey 1.2.2.1.1.2

              Unfortunately not a lot of it is self inflicted, many people completely lack the intelligence to withstand the myths that get fed to them that people who do not earn enough money do not have the will power to live within budget, too many flash shiny things to buy.

              FIFY

              Happy to read your sources for the original stament though, rather thna

              everyone knows..

            • b waghorn 1.2.2.1.1.3

              “”too many flash shiny things to buy.””
              The only way to stop that is to ban credit for anything under the size of a house, I can’t see the band of robbers in government wearing that one.

              • BM

                Yeah it’s rather easy to get a credit card.
                Plus every year most banks send you a offer to further add to your credit card limit.

                Very easy to accept and go further and further into debt until you end up struggling to pay the minimum amount to cover the interest let alone actually paying the debt off.

                • McFlock

                  yep. But when there’s no food in the fridge or your kid needs a raincoat, they’re pretty tempting.

                  • b waghorn

                    Absolutely it would be tempting but letting banks shops and scum bag loan sharks fill the gaps for those on low incomse is as bad as doing nothing about lifting incomes.

                    • McFlock

                      Damned straight. Those shop trucks that prey on poor areas are worse than parasites.

                      The credit industry needs a revamp, that’s for sure.

                    • weka

                      Theoretically if WINZ was doing its job properly, people could approach them for assistance to get their washing machine fixed. That was the point of the social welfare net, was it not?

                    • b waghorn

                      Don’t know much about how winz works , but we need to face the fact that people do make poor choices for a variety of reasons,
                      l’m of the belief that leaderership means protecting the vulnerable ,this survival of the fittest scheme we live under is bullshit.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The credit industry needs a revamp, that’s for sure

                      A living wage etc. would destroy a large portion of the market without having to spend a cent on enforcement 😀

                    • weka

                      WINZ routinely denies people assistance. That plus Labour killing the hardship grant that was needs based means that more people need to borrow money. Benefits are deliberately set at a rate that is to low. In that context it’s pretty irrelevant the mistakes that people make because even the people able to avoid mistakes still struggle and no-one is immune to bad luck (despite what the libertarians think).

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      @b waghorn

                      we need to face the fact

                      Nope, you must provide evidence (not your reckons or anecdata) that “poor choices” are in any way connected to the level of poverty, and in the meantime get out of the way of the available solutions.

                    • weka

                      I don’t think b said that (you’re filling in with your interpretation). I also don’t see them getting in the way of solutions, at least no more than hardarse commenters on ts ;-p

            • Tracey 1.2.2.1.1.4

              “Unfortunately a lot it is inflicted by people seemingly not intelligent enough to reject the myths they are fed that poor people simply lack the will power to live within budget, too many flash shiny things to buy.”

              FIFY

              Now, educate yourself, read an expert. And if you want to refute it, provide your evidence not your “I think” and “everyone knows” version of reality.

              http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/68712886/debunking-the-child-poverty-myths

        • maui 1.2.2.2

          Yeah they shouldn’t expect to be able to pay the bills each week or fill lunchboxes with enough food. Brainless moron.

        • McFlock 1.2.2.3

          “A lot of people” don’t have enough money to give their kids the basics. They’re the focus of the post, not your tory wet dreams.

      • McFlock 1.2.3

        Regarding number 2 not working out, I think it’s more a question of degree. Even most of the comments in the past few days have fallen shy of explicitly stating their true beliefs – e.g. when referring to “stopping people from breeding” they back away from the only practical ways society can achieve that goal (forced sterilisation). They much prefer to focus on undeserving parents so nobody notices they’ve swept the needy kids under the rug.

        If we contrast that with attitudes to adult homeless people, where business owners publicly campaign for draconian measures against freedom of movement and assault them with cold water in winter, I think that focusing on child poverty does avoid much of the base viciousness.

        • miravox 1.2.3.1

          I don’t disagree with what you say, but it’s a function of a political party to frame attitudes, to win over the public (literally) to its interpretation of a political, social, economic, environmental or whatever else issues.

          In this, we all know that the NAct sections of the two leading parties have produced the framing of ‘personal responsibility’ and ‘choices’. It’s up to others to get a bit of traction on systemic causes of homelessness and poverty. I thought Helen Kelly and unions like Unite were working incredibly well in producing an alternative narrative that resonated with the wider public. I hope achievement can be extended well into the political narrative with talk around the outcomes of no jobs, low pay, insane housing policies etc, etc.

          Yes, the child poverty focus does avoid much of the viciousness, but not as many people are ‘hearing’ the refrain anymore. It’s been all said (in the short news feed attention span), they’re just hearing variations on a theme that they already believe is individual in cause and outcome.

          In PR terms how to ‘freshen’ the message (sorry kids, you’re just not interesting anymore) is a problem. Maybe broadening the subject to include the poverty in the wider community with bring a greater understanding of the issues.

      • weka 1.2.4

        Yes, the focus on child poverty is too narrow. It seems clear to me that the focus on child poverty is because:
        1. children are deserving poor
        2. as a PR exercise you’d be pretty heartless to deny these little humans health, education and well-being.

        3. the left believe they can get away with focussing on poverty so long as they don’t talk about adults. Kind of like the deserving poor, but deserves a mention of its own.

        We only have to look at how the chronically ill and mentally ill in NZ get treated once they are unable to work to see how fucked up we are. Even if some people want to not help people on the dole, there is really no reason for abandoning people on subsitence medical benefits. (and still fuck you David Shearer).

        Interesting points you make about whether it’s time to broaden out the poverty conversation again. I wonder if we should be also talking about the non-financial aspects eg for many if you live on your own and are too unwell to work there is a poverty of energy and time as well as money. Or, people who are forced to move to get jobs then lose their family supports and social networks, which creates another kind of poverty that isn’t always solvable.

        • miravox 1.2.4.1

          ” I wonder if we should be also talking about the non-financial aspects “

          Yes, it’s the non-financial aspects of living that include the need to be part of a community, to have social networks and family support are what is being broken down in the pursuit of economic wealth.

          To me, the financial and non-financial aspects of poverty are where the ‘Precariat’ and the ‘Underclass’ intersect.

          These are the ‘big issues’. I believe they are solvable, just not under the economics-based political system we have. Over the years puddleglum has written regularly about the need for people to be part of social world and the neo-liberal dogma is actively breaking this world, leaving people without the support structures they need to flourish as human beings. A quick search gives e.gs. here and here

          Clearly some people do very well in this fracturing. The mantra of ‘personal responsibility’ for ‘poor choices’ flows quite easily when seeing that some can make it in a changing environment. What isn’t acknowledged is that people who have ‘made it’ economically either haven’t had support structures removed, (or they’ve been adequately replaced), had a bit of a lucky streak or are pretty ruthless and individualistic in their outlook. The reverse is often the case for those who fall into poverty.

          Also, the damage to communities because they are not economically viable, can also mean that these communities are no longer able to provide the support an individual needs, for example, the ill, the disabled and even kids.

  2. Penny Bright 2

    In my considered opinion, if there weren’t billion$ of dollars going to the ‘undeserving rich’ on ‘corporate welfare’ – there would be plenty of money for ‘social welfare’.

    Seen this?

    Thursday, 3 November 2011, 5:28 pm

    PRESS RELEASE: Independent Candidate for Epsom Penny Bright:

    “How many billion$ of public monies could be saved by ‘CUTTING OUT THE CONTRACTORS’?

    3 November 2011

    Where’s National’s ‘corporate welfare’ reform?

    Which of the maor political parties are pushing for ‘corporate welfare’ reform and shrinking the long-term dependency of the private sector on our public monies?

    Where is the ‘devilish detail’ at both local and central government level – which shows EXACTLY where our public rates and taxes are being spent on private sector consultants and contractors?

    Why aren’t the names of the consultant(s)/ contrators(s) – the scope, term and value of these contracts, published in Council or central government Annual Reports – so this information on the spending of OUR public monies is available for public scrutiny?

    Where are the publicly-available ‘Registers of Interests’ for those local government elected representatives, and staff responsible for property and procurement, in order to help guard against possible ‘conflicts of interest’ between those who ‘give’ the contracts and those who ‘get’ the contracts?

    Where’s the ‘transparency’?

    …….”

    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    • savenz 2.1

      +1 – Penny – I agree focus on reducing corporate welfare to offset social welfare!!

      Welfare should be for the poor not the rich!!!!

    • Rosemary McDonald 2.2

      me too…+ 1 Penny.

      How many jobs in NZ are funded through taxes and rates?

      How many of those taxes and rates are paid to high end ‘consultants”?

      How many more jobs (at a living wage, of course) could be created if those consultants were paid much, much less?

      More folk working. More much needed work gets done.

      Good luck with the mayoral pitch Penny.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      Yep, simply brining government service back in house would like decrease the cost of those services by ~10% as private profit is removed from cost. That extra cost could then be used to pay living wages to those employed.

  3. Detrie 3

    The Finnish system does have some merit. Think of the levels and costs of the bureaucracy that is done away with. i.e. Abolish the entire welfare system in its totality and just give every citizen just enough to scrape by each month. Why not?

    Additionally focusing more on tax fraud could see a net gain in terms of costs. But the other unique issue here is the Auckland housing market. Even the Unions are against any weighting of income just because you live in one of the most costly cities on earth. I fear there will always be a good case found to maintain the status quo.

    • The Chairman 3.1

      “Think of the levels and costs of the bureaucracy that is done away with.”

      Indeed. The CEO of the of Ministry of Social Development is on $500,000 plus annually alone.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        Maximum income should be set at 100 to 150 k. That $350k to $400k could be used to employ more people to do necessary jobs such as building/installing all the renewable energy infrastructure that we need.

        As I say, the rich are the problem.

        • The Chairman 3.1.1.1

          Pay structures require to be reassessed. The answer to income disparity lays within.

          Setting a maximum income will result in some having to take a pay cut. To overcome this, we should be looking at restoring the balance through pay increases going forward.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.1

            Your saying that after we balance income disparity to some small degree that we would then have to increase increase income disparity?

    • weka 3.2

      “Think of the levels and costs of the bureaucracy that is done away with”

      The Forbes article reckons that the cost of administering welfare in the US could instead supply a UBI of $10,000/yr.

  4. gsays 4

    thanks mc flock,
    now we have more info what do we do with it?
    to these eyes the ubi is a great way to help undo equality.
    all citizens getting an income, regardless of their circumstances.

    for any tories reading, it enables all to participate in their reverred market.
    this can be funded by a financial transaction tax.
    (we might need some new accountants in treasury as apparently for the current ones removing gst on fresh fruit and veges/unprocessed food is too difficult).

    enables some to help with community initiatives, building resilience and lifting people up.
    the guy standing lecture earlier this year was a great outline of the benefits of a ubi.
    his example of an area in india was illuminating.
    especially for empowering women.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      this can be funded by a financial transaction tax.
      (we might need some new accountants in treasury as apparently for the current ones removing gst on fresh fruit and veges/unprocessed food is too difficult).

      A financial transaction tax needs to be done via computer as manual systems are too easy to rort which is one of the reasons why we need a cashless society.

    • McFlock 4.2

      I still have reservations about a UBI: the known cost is huge, but the savings in admin costs strike me as a bit of hand-waving, as is whether an FTT would come anywhere near the cost of a UBI.

      One reason I’ll be interested in what the Finland experience will be.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1

        I still have reservations about a UBI: the known cost is huge

        So, you’re saying that we can’t afford our population?

        Yes, that is what complaining about the costs a UBI is actually doing.

        Keeping people out of poverty and in a reasonable living standard is what the economy is for. A UBI would define that reasonable minimum living standard. If we can’t afford that reasonable living standard for everyone then something is not right.

        • McFlock 4.2.1.1

          So, you’re saying that we can’t afford our population?

          Yes, that is what complaining about the costs a UBI is actually doing.

          Nope. At worst it’s saying that we can’t necessarily afford to pay for our population twice over, the first directly through the capitalist system and the second via government payments to every citizen.

          $20,000 per year for 4,000,000 people is, all together now, $80,000,000,000. Per year. In addition to the 2 million-odd workers earning an average of $50k and that’s another $100,000,000,000 or so. So that’s three quarters of the current NZ GDP simply in payment to citizent, not any retail or manufacturing activity whatsoever.

          Now, it might work if some of the hand-waving turns out to be vaguely accurate. Or it might be the quickest economic collapse since the Weimar republic. The Finnish experiment will give us a practical demonstration of which way it’s likely to go.

          • weka 4.2.1.1.1

            Why are you rating it via the GDP?

            Again I have to emphasis the version I’ve presented is not complete. There is plenty of room to debate the numbers I’ve used for this example. With roughly 3m adults in this country the UBI at $10k pa adds up to $30b pa. With the average income at $45k over roughly 2 m wage and salary earners the 40% flat tax rate adds up to $38b… so the numbers do potentially add up. I would suggest the rest of govt expenditure could be funded from existing GST and Company Tax and a widened tax base…especially a Financial Transfer Tax (FTT) and a moderate CGT.

            Universal Income Revisited

            • McFlock 4.2.1.1.1.1

              As a measure of comparison based on what the economy currently does.

              Yes, if we ignore children and choose an amount below the (already insufficient) current benefit levels, and provide additional hand-waving, it might be affordable.

              But then again, it might not.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1.2

            And there you’re making the same mistake that the RWNJs do – seeing the payments solely as a cost rather than as part of the process that is the economy. It’s going out but it will also be coming back in via taxes.

            Sure, the taxes will all have to be adjusted but that could be done after the introduction of the UBI as we get a better understanding of what’s being used and thus what needs to be taxed.

            • McFlock 4.2.1.1.2.1

              Yes, “at worst” my point was that even after “adjusting” the tax system to an unknown degree, doubling financial transfers to households might not mathematically add up as a good thing for the economy.

              My middle-ground point is that a UBI is a Fucking Big Change To The Economy(tm).

              A FBCTTE(tm) might have extremely positive effects, but might also have some unpredicted catastrophic effects.

              So therefore I would like to know more about the likely repercussions of that FBCTTE(tm) using real-world experience rather than handwaving and chucking the RWNJ label at anyone who hesitates in the slightest.

              The French tried that last bit, it didn’t work out so good.

          • The Chairman 4.2.1.1.3

            “So that’s three quarters of the current NZ GDP simply in payment to citizent, not any retail or manufacturing activity whatsoever”

            What comes around goes around. Payments to citizens ultimately ends up being spent in retail and manufacturing, adding to our GDP and tax take.

  5. Tracey 5

    Thanks so much for this McFlock. Greatly appreciated.

    When we crow about being the 9th best place in the world to live, it’s as though some see that as a reason to ignore or villify those who suffer. Just because no one is scavanging in our tips yet, to find breakfast, can’t be the true measure of our collective success, surely?

    • Even when we finally do get people scavenging the tips, ACT fans will still be claiming there’s no poverty here because country X has lower-quality tips. And they’ll still used to have lived in’t shoebox in’t middle o’t road and still turned out alright.

  6. Congratulations on the post McFlock – good stuff.

    I think the focus on child poverty is correct and can be encompassed within a wider concern, and actions, on all individuals and groups afflicted by poverty.

    • Olwyn 6.1

      I think the focus on child poverty is correct and can be encompassed within a wider concern, and actions…

      Not sure I agree. When you look at all this government has done to make people poorer and keep them that way, (GST increase, undermining union bargaining ability, increased restrictions on benefits and state housing, etc, etc) then that is the matrix into which child poverty is drawn. Key’s “drugs” remark yesterday has already been followed on Morning Report with a “problem gambling among Maori- story, with much clucking about the booze outlets and pokie machines in poor areas.

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/201783374/maori-problem-gamblers-still-too-high

      It is by taking on the wider concern of low wages, inadequate housing, etc, that we have a chance of shifting the matrix. Child poverty, taken on its own within the current one, raises the risk of stolen-generation style solutions, or anything else that will keep the poverty but save face on the child front.

      • Tracey 6.1.1

        national Governments will NEVER address issues such as child poverty because

        1. children dont vote
        2. parent sof poor children don’t vote National

        They only ever do enough to seem like they have some compassion.

        Opponents, imo, need to start framing the issue differently.

        In a previous life when I was a lawyer, and I was addressing a jury or even a Judge (sometimes) I would frame things in the following way

        “it would be foolish to think… x, y or z”

        No one wishes to be thought of as stupid or foolish….

        So, Opponents need to start assuming compassion is an importan taspect of kiwis lives.

        Only the uncaring would deny….

        I know all compassionate people would agree

        and always use examples that are not marginal…

        the disabled at birth
        the diasbled by illlness or accident
        those who have suddenly lost a job
        those who…

        and so on.

        It is always in the framing. Appeal to people’s better natures cos they all have one.

        Most of us are only a redundancy letter away from needing the support of our families, our friends, or the state… no matter how well we plan, or how hard we work.

        And no one wants to admit to being a cold hard bastard….

  7. savenz 7

    First thing for housing should be addressing migration, if there are 60,000 migrants coming in, who is paying for and where are the extra 60,000 houses, jobs, health care increase, roading, transport and social welfare?

    The whole system of immigration needs radical reform in the country. The migrants themselves are angry with being lured to NZ and then not being able to exist on our low wages and poor standards of living. In many cases they do not even need to have a job here while getting a work visa and then find they can’t get one, and end up on social welfare of working at Bunnings on minimum wages! Does not sound like a dream outcome to me. Some of the long term skills shortages are bizarre – chefs for example – is it really important to our economy to have more indian or Thai chiefs? Likewise being able to invest in property while our government pretends they doesn’t want Kiwis to become tenants in their own country? Then reform the RMA so that polluters and the rich can run roughshod over everyone else while destroying our heritage from culling ancient Kauri trees to bottling our water to polluting our waterways and in real terms being climate change polluters with an estimate 96% increase from 1990 levels! (Ofcourse reforming the RMA is to create the ‘affordable houses’ for the jobless migrants coming in, sarc)

    http://e2nz.org/introduction/

    Migrants should be told the truth, NZ is a neoliberal wonderland, that exploits it’s people, only cares about what overseas people think as some sort of marketing, logo campaign and encourages immigration so that it appears we are still coping as a economy while borrowing massive debts so they have more excuses to privatise and asset strip our country for their mates.

    • greywarshark 7.1

      Chefs. It is a job done by a person. That is good. We need more people in work.
      It is a job that makes things from ingredients and sells them. That is business, that is value added, that results in money exchanged into the economy. That is making food, an essential in our lives.

      And particularly there are tourists who are the base of our second or third industry. They need food. They gather and chat in cafes and bars and restaurants. We depend on them as one of our few money earners in the country. (I think that lprent said that technology services is about second.) So we need more chefs, and with chefs go kitchenhands and waiters, so they are real ‘job creators’.

      George Orwell wrote down and out in Paris and London, and it wasn’t a tale of good living when he was a kitchenhand. But it was a living. And he gave a tip on how to get away from a boarding house when you’ve lost your job and can’t pay back rent. You lower your bag on a long rope out of the window to a mate, and then you can walk out as normal. The crooks at the top call it theft and criminal, the people at the bottom call it survival. Those at the top structure the economy so that it favours them and devil takes the hindmost, (the people who are not in their milieu or able to scramble up there).

      So lets have more chefs, more food carts, more eating out at affordable prices as well as catering for the comfortable pussies, which makes more food preparation on the premises with locals doing the jobs.

  8. The Chairman 8

    A Warrant of Fitness for rental housing (when rental demand is growing and supply is lacking) will lead to the related Warrant of Fitness costs being passed on.

    The consequence of such will leave tenants with less to heat their newly warranted homes, questioning the notion of expected health benefits.

    • McFlock 8.1

      although if demand is growing and supply is lacking, the costs will go up anyway.

      But yes, we need more homes in the market, too – Labour had a plan for that, ISTR.

      • The Chairman 8.1.1

        “Although if demand is growing and supply is lacking, the costs will go up anyway.”

        Indeed, compounding the problem.

        Therefore, we shouldn’t make the mistake of putting the cart before the horse.

        The supply issue needs to be addressed first. Doing so will also assist in providing more quality homes.

        • McFlock 8.1.1.1

          How much would a rental WoF coast? If the cost is relatively trivial per home, it will have a trivial effect on rental price, even if supply cost dictates price.

          • Rosemary McDonald 8.1.1.1.1

            Or…the rent could be frozen.

            And, it would be illegal to increase the rent solely because $$$ had been spent by the landlord in order to get the house up to a standard fit for human habitation.

            Please…there are ways to do this without negative impacts on those least able to sustain further blows.

            It should be illegal to rent out an unhealthy house. Illegal.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Or the government could simply do its job and maintain social housing at an appropriate level, which might “accidentally” teach National Party slumlords a lesson in market forces 😀

              • savenz

                Unless someone has a plan to build 60,000 houses per year to house the new entrants to NZ who have not paid any taxes here yet, maybe stop immigration or limit it to a criteria that actually works for the people of NZ, and since there are not enough jobs for locals or immigrants and immigration is being used to keep wages down, maybe ponder that idea.

                It seems crazy to me, the idea that it is ok to allow 60,000 migrants in when there is not enough jobs or houses or social spend on the existing locals and then somehow a warrant of fitness is supposed on existing rentals solves the problem or rent freeze???

                You can freeze rents as long as you like (but some of the migrants don’t bother renting the houses at all so not sure that will help, more like cause a more massive shortage of rentals) or have a WOF, apparently 90% of those failed the test so that means that 90% of existing rentals will be removed off the market? Those tenants already being evicted for failure to pay rent will not be able to find a place ever.

                No matter what, these ideas will cause a more massive rental shortage.

                In addition, a major problem for damp cold homes is that tenants can’t afford the power to run the heat pumps because their wages are so low and power is so high!

                Around the world, to rent a detached house with garage and garden in a major city costs more than NZ. It is NZ wages that are the problem in most cases for employed tenants and for those unemployed the lack of state houses!

                In addition houses in NZ are often larger (and in Auckland the building consents are for larger and larger houses, they are not building places that can be rented because they cost $800k plus and tenants can only afford about $600 a week or less on their wages, so the maths does not work at all). In short the current houses being built are for wealthier owner occupiers in most instances, not rentals at all.

                In Europe and other places people live in well designed apartments which are much smaller and also easier to heat. Often families have a bach or summer house which they retreat to in the weekends and holidays. There are also much tighter RMA laws and so people are not able to build houses or apartments that block out sun and light to neighbours as in NZ.

                Remember the apartment buildings in Auckland that were built directly in the path of other blocks so that they basically were looking into a wall. That just would never happen in civilised cities, but in Auckland the planners will grant anything and then shrug their shoulders. Aucklander’s have to live in these for 50 years or more!

                In Sweden, where it is practically impossible to rent a place, as rent freezes mean tenants can’t afford to move and those entering the city are unable to find a place to live as there are not enough rentals.

                • McFlock

                  30,000 building consents a year at the moment.
                  And not every one will be for dwellings, but not every migrant will need a separate dwelling. Some will flat, others will live live together as families. Interesting dip from the GFC.

                  • savenz

                    @McFlock – and are their 60,000 new jobs being created by the government?

                    Shouldn’t their be a social responsibility to help those born in NZ or current residents first and have jobs for them to take first?

                    That is supposed to be how immigration policy works, i.e. migrants take jobs that Kiwis can’t fill – not as a government device to keep wages low and job insecurity high for people living in the country.

                    BTW – I’m not blaming migrants for this, I am blaming government policy!

                    • McFlock

                      Migrants are no more a resource burden than the children of the poor.

                      Many of them will gain points from providing skillsets that are in short supply, anyway.

                • miravox

                  “In Sweden, where it is practically impossible to rent a place”

                  You can add the increase in tenants purchasing their rental properties in the 1990s and beyond and a lack of new builds of affordable housing as arguably having more impact on Sweden’s housing supply than rent freezes. As it is, for varying reasons the ‘market’ hasn’t provided and it’s back to the State and “active housing policies” for Sweden. The mismatch in population needs and the houses developers want to build will also be addressed.

                  Our goal is 250,000 homes by 2020. The focus should be on sustainable homes that are available for people with ordinary incomes

            • The Chairman 8.1.1.1.1.2

              Numerous factors contribute to rent increases, thus freezing rents wouldn’t be practicable.

              You say there are ways to do this without negative impacts on those least able to sustain further blows, overlooking the fact that a number of landlords are also least able to sustain further blows.

              Not all landlords are fat cats.

              Tenants generally opt for poorer quality homes due to the lower rents. Making these homes illegal will rob tenants of that cheaper option.

          • The Chairman 8.1.1.1.2

            The initial outlay (bringing homes up to scratch) could be quite substantive.

            On top of that there is ongoing maintenance costs along with ongoing inspection costs.

            The estimated cost of a rental WOF inspection ranges from $350 to $700 annually.

            Considering the negative health impacts seem to stem from the inability of tenants to cover heating cost, even a trivial increase will have a major impact.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    4 mistakes showing Key is clueless on dealing with poverty

    The Prime Minister’s response to the increase in children living below the poverty line was incorrect and completely contradictory. On the one hand he dismissed the rise of child poverty as a result of parents not working, and in particular singled out drug dependency as a problem. Both of these statements are incorrect according to the Government’s own statistics. On the other hand he pointed to the case of Jonah Lomu’s kids as being a special case – for some reason those poor boys are deserving of help whereas the other 305,000 are not.

    Blunder #1: Poverty is due to people not working
    Blunder #2: The answer to poverty is work
    Blunder #3: People are on benefits because of drugs
    Blunder #4: Some people are deserving of help and others aren’t
    The situation facing Jonah Lomu’s boys is certainly sad.

    But why doesn’t the Prime Minister show the same empathy to the 305,000 other children growing up in poverty? They haven’t chosen the situation they are in. Indeed, neither have many of the parents that are living in poverty and trying to raise their kids.

  10. weka 10

    What? 421 words. Is this introduction, McFlock?

    (well done though, back to have a read later 🙂 )

    • McFlock 10.1

      This was me basically pretending that I was writing a list of bullet points for one slide in a powerpoint presentation.

      Evade, assess, execute… adapt and overcome… all that jazz 🙂

  11. savenz 11

    Stopping corporate tax dodging might help child poverty…

    Let us see what is happening in OZ

    “More than one-third of the largest public companies and multinational entities paid no tax in Australia in the most recent financial year on record, according to the first transparency report published by the Australian Taxation Office.

    Tax transparency: search the full list of 1,539 companies
    Read more
    Qantas Airways was the company with the highest total income that paid no tax, followed by a subsidiary of mining group Glencore (GHP 104 160 689 Pty Ltd), ExxonMobil Australia and Lend Lease. These companies reported a taxable income of zero, despite having incomes in billions of dollars during 2013-14.

    The ATO data release covers Australian public companies and foreign entities, public and private, with total annual incomes of $100m or more. This was the category of businesses the Coalition did not seek to shield in the recent political dispute over tax transparency for Australian private companies.

    Of the 1,539 individual entities listed in the ATO report, 579 (or 37.6%) paid no tax, and 920 (62.4%) paid some tax in 2013-14.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/dec/17/ato-report-shows-nearly-600-big-companies-paid-no-tax-in-2013-14?CMP=share_btn_fb

  12. In Vino 12

    I’ve been away all day, just read it all. Thanks to all (except maybe that BM troll) – one of the most interesting threads in a long time.

    It annoys me that the right-wingers bash beneficiaries and in doing so divert attention from the fact of their low-wage economy. They still manage to push the idea that you can start on an ridiculously low wage (which they themselves would decline to work for), then, by virtuous, industrious self-application, rapidly work your way up to the level where you become an employer and can make that spurious claim of ‘creating wealth’. (What hypocritical cant!)

    We need to prove loudly that many of the poor are working bloody hard full-time and still unfairly rewarded, and unable to provide for the needs of their children.

    The low-wage economy is a low-performance one which cripples well-meaning parents, as well as diminishing overall demand for goods produced.

    We won’t see that in the MSM, will we?

  13. gsays 13

    great conversation.
    draco, i must admit hearing the backing signal when i read your cashless society comment.
    i cant put my finger on it (lack of control, you can have yr supply of $ stopped) but cashless gives me the heebees.

    mcflock, coffee and draco, y’all have clearly read/learnt more than me on this.
    re ubi it just feels kinda right, as least as an alternative.
    if not a stepping stone to a sharing or resource based economy.

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    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    5 days ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    6 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    6 days ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    6 days ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    6 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    6 days ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    7 days ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    7 days ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    1 week ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
    Together: In leading New Zealand through the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than allow herself to be guided by the spirit of collective sacrifice and co-operation that animated the New Zealanders of 80 years ago. Most Kiwis alive today have had no opportunity to prove their ...
    1 week ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
    It is said that generals fight the last war. In the case of the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) they had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s and they fought intelligently and successfully. Later their advice would be ignored in favour of the Austerians who ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    1 week ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
    Looking across the various arguments for/against the leading candidates to take the Democratic Nomination, you might honestly be very hard pressed to tell. There are a number of things that have now started happening since Amy Klobuchar and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg both threw the towel in and immediately (and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
    by Daphna Whitmore Abortion is no longer in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. The law reform passed yesterday and now abortion is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor. Many women’s groups and progressive people have campaigned for reform for decades. The women’s liberation movement and some ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • How to survive 14 days of self-isolation
    So you’ve recently returned from overseas, come into contact with someone who tested positive, got a bit of a dry cough yourself or perhaps just want to self isolate for 14 days to avoid other people who might have COVID-19. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get ...
    1 week ago
  • Abortion Legislation Bill passes third reading
    Some fave speeches:     ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    1 week ago
  • Why Leadership Matters – More Than Anything.
    Our Good Fortune: Precisely because she has never been an ideologue (she calls herself a “pragmatic idealist”) Jacinda Ardern has a political nimbleness and spontaneity which, when infused with her exceptional emotional intelligence, produces spectacular demonstrations of leadership. Jacinda's empathic political personality contrasts sharply with the less-than-sunny ways of her ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11, 2020
    1 week ago
  • 68-51
    The Abortion Legislation Bill has just passed its third reading, 68-51. NZ First MPs bailed because their referendum amendment didn't pass, but there were plenty of MPs to provide a majority without them. The bill is a long way from perfect - most significantly, it subjects pregnant people who need ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The ‘herd immunity’ route to fighting coronavirus is unethical and potentially dangerous
    As most of the world tries to suppress the coronavirus spread, some countries are going it alone – trying to manage the pandemic through so-called “herd immunity”. Herd immunity means letting a large number of people catch a disease, and hence develop immunity to it, to stop the virus spreading. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Eight new COVID-19 cases today. It’s no surprise when you look at some numbers
    So, as I sit at home with a very, very slight headache (i.e. not at work when I would otherwise be so), the now familiar figure of Ashley Bloomfield reports eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19  including two in Waikato. A surprise, given that we had just twelve yesterday? No. ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • The WINZ Paradox versus the new COVID-19 Reality: Get real people, seriously…
    Many who advocated for, and voted for, the current Coalition – particularly those who voted Labour and the Green Party – expected to see a sea change in the reality of social services. A real, deep change of attitude, approach of process through which the system negotiates the difficult and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • The Air New Zealand bailout
    Stuff reports that the government is going to have to throw $2 - 3 billion at Air new Zealand to get it through the pandemic. Good. While international routes are basicly closed, Air New Zealand is a strategic asset which is vital to our tourism industry, not to mentioning airfreight. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why NZ’s tough coronavirus travel rules are crucial to protecting lives at home and across the Pac...
    New Zealand’s border restrictions will come with significant job and business losses in the tourism sector, both at home and in the Pacific. But the new travel rules are absolutely necessary to protect the health of New Zealanders and people right across Pacific Islands, because New Zealand is a gateway ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The tiniest of teeth
    Back in early 2018, as a shoddy legal tactic to try and avoid the prisoner voting ban being formally declared inconsistent with the BORA by the Supreme Court, Justice Minister Andrew Little floated the idea of greater legal protection for human rights. When the Supreme Court case didn't go the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • One simple, common factor to success against COVID-19
    Professor Philip Hill and Associate Professor James Ussher Most infectious diseases have an Achilles heel, the secret is to find it. The question is if we don’t have a drug or a vaccine for COVID-19, is there something else we can do to beat it? Some people estimate that, without ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • National should isolate Simon Bridges
    The Coalition Governments $12.1 billion economic package to help combat the financial effects of COVID-19 was generally well received across the board, even amongst many business leaders who would normally be critical of a Labour led Government.However there was one glaringly obvious exception, Simon Bridges. The so-called leader of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • How testing for Covid-19 works
    With confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand up to 12, many influential people are writing open letters and opinion pieces and doing press conferences asking why we aren’t pulling out all the stops and testing thousands of people a day like they are in South Korea. The thing is, ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 weeks ago
  • The COVID-19 package and the limits of capitalism
    by Daphna Whitmore The willingness to put human life before business shows that sometimes capitalism is capable of suspending its relentless drive for profit. For a short time it can behave differently. Flatten the curve is the public health message since COVID-19 suddenly overwhelmed the hospital system in northern Italy. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Black April, May and June?
    Worldwide, the 1918 influenza epidemic – wrongly called ‘Spanish’ flu – lasted about two years. However, it lasted about six weeks in New Zealand (remembered as ‘Black November’, because the dead turned a purplish-black). It is thought about 7000 Pakeha died and 2,500 Maori. The population mortality rate was about ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID 19 has struck… as has a lot of terrible ineptitude from far too many
    In a world and a time when the worst off and most vulnerable have been asked, time and again, to foot the bill for the complete subjugating to the will of the 1% thanks to the GFC, at a point where the world as a whole is now seeing quite ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • What’s in the Coronavirus Package?
    With the economy already reeling from a crisis that’s barely begun, the Government today sought to provide reassurance to workers and businesses in the form of a massive phallic pun to insert much-needed cash into the private sector and help fight the looming pandemic. Here are the key components: $5.1 ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • I just had my benefit suspended during a fucking pandemic
    I am a member of the working poor and so still need state welfare to make rent. So I had booked an appointment for yesterday with my caseworker at Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) to apply for a transition to work grant. However the current health advice in New ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    2 weeks ago

  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
    Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has today announced the Government’s plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19. “Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it’s through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
    The Government and the hospitality industry have worked together to produce guidelines to assist with managing and reducing transmission of COVID-19, Health Minister David Clark announced today.  The guidelines developed between the Government, Hospitality New Zealand and SkyCity Entertainment Group, set out how the new restrictions on physical distancing and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
    Four stage Alert System for COVID-19 announced New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus Workplaces to implement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
    Kia ora koutou katoa I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders today to give you as much certainty and clarity as we can as we fight Covid-19. Over the past few weeks, the world has changed. And it has changed very quickly. In February it would have seemed unimaginable to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and Singapore commit to keeping supply and trade links open, including on essential goods and med...
    New Zealand and Singapore have jointly committed to keep supply chains open and to remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the commitment. “This is an important collective response, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
    JOINT MINISTERIAL STATEMENT BY SINGAPORE AND NEW ZEALAND AFFIRMING COMMITMENT TO ENSURING SUPPLY CHAIN CONNECTIVITY AMIDST THE COVID-19 SITUATION  The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis.  As part of our collective response to combat COVID-19, Singapore and New Zealand are committed to maintaining open and connected supply chains. We ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Transit between Australia and New Zealand
    Travel restrictions, closing our border to almost all travelers came into force from 23:59 on Thursday 19 March 2020 (NZDT).  All airlines were informed of these restrictions before they came into force. Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says “The transit of passengers between Australia and New Zealand has been agreed upon and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $100 million to redeploy workers
    The Government has allocated $100 million to help redeploy workers affected by the economic impact of COVID-19, with the hard-hit region of Gisborne-Tairāwhiti to be the first helped, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford, Forestry and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced today. Phil Twyford ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More support for wood processing
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is ramping up support for Tairāwhiti’s wood processing sector to bolster the region’s economy at a time of heightened uncertainty, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Following earlier announcements today of a regional support package for Tairāwhiti, Minister Jones has also announced a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt steps in to protect Air New Zealand
    The Coalition Government has stepped in to protect Air New Zealand with a significant financial deal that protects essential routes and allows the company to keep operating. The Government and Air New Zealand have agreed a debt funding agreement through commercial 24-month loan facilities of up to $900 million*. The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Stronger border measures to protect NZers from COVID-19
    The Government has taken further measures to protect New Zealanders from the COVID-19 virus, effectively stopping all people from boarding a plane to New Zealand from 11:59pm today, except for returning New Zealanders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.  New Zealanders’ partners, legal guardians or any dependent children travelling with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Action on indoor gatherings and events to protect public health
    The Government has reinforced its commitment to protecting the health of New Zealanders from COVID-19 through the cancellation of indoor events with more than 100 people.  “Protecting the health of New Zealanders is our number one priority, and that means we need to reduce the risks associated with large gatherings,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • New Zealanders advised not to travel overseas
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