Child Poverty in New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 8:21 am, December 8th, 2013 - 212 comments
Categories: child abuse, national, paula bennett, poverty, same old national - Tags:

child poverty a national disgrace

The Herald on Sunday is reporting today on some worrying trends in child poverty in Aotearoa.

The Government has been very careful not to properly measure the problem.  The formerly proud to be a westie Minister Paula Bennett has joked in Parliament about how there is not an official measure for child poverty.

The new Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills could see that the failure to properly measure such an important statistic was crazy.  To show how bizarre the Government’s approach to the issue is his application for funding of research into the area was declined.  So he did something unusual.  He approached a private trust for funding so that the research could be completed.  And the results are due out tomorrow and it sounds like they will be deeply concerning.

As stated in the Herald on Sunday editorial this morning:

A cynic might suggest it sometimes suits the Government to have no reliable measure of the problems facing the nation. If ministers can’t quantify a problem, then neither can their opponents.

Dr Russell Wills, Bennett’s appointment as Children’s Commissioner, was refused permission to measure and monitor child poverty and its impact on health and social wellbeing. So, displaying admirable enterprise for someone on the public payroll, he bypassed the Government and went to the charitable JR McKenzie Trust for $525,000 funding for the project.

The result, to be published tomorrow, is a truly independent measure of this blight on New Zealand society.

The first Child Poverty Monitor will graphically illustrate how children are spending longer periods in severe deprivation than previously recognised. The outcomes include a 12 per cent upturn in hospital admissions for children’s illnesses that are associated with poverty and over-crowding.

In a related article the HOS  reported on a shocking increase in the number of children being admitted to Hospital with third world diseases.  The article states:

Wills’ report is expected to reveal a 12 per cent rise from 2007 to 2011 in hospital admissions for poverty-related illnesses such as acute bronchiolitis, gastroenteritis, asthma, acute upper respiratory infections and skin infections.

Most New Zealanders will find the numbers of children affected by disease shocking … but for those of us working clinically with families in poverty it is not surprising.”

Wills also works as a paediatrician in Hawke’s Bay. He said hospital wards were now full of poor, sick children every month of the year – not just in winter. There was no longer a “summer lull” in diseases.

“I do see parents who have made bad choices but most families on the hospital wards with sick children are spending their very small income very carefully,” he said. “You don’t get 10 to 12 people living in a two-bedroom house because they want to.” The Government lacked “a plan” to reduce child poverty.

In the same article Kevin Hague commented on the recommendation of the Public Health Advisory Committee for the Government to set targets to reduce child poverty made in 2009.

Nothing has happened to that recommendation.  They don’t want to look bad.”

And in a further article the HOS reported on a computer glitch that has meant the data that the Government has been collecting has been compromised and has underreported child abuse notifications.  The computer programme apparently did not take into account cases for a particular month where the data was entered more than 2 days after the end of the month.

The combined effect is distressing.  The Government is refusing to measure some data and the data that it does collect has been compromised.  And meantime more and more kids are showing signs of living in third world conditions in Aotearoa while Bennett and co refuse to accept there is a problem.

Paula Bennett and the entire National Government should be hanging their heads in shame.

The final word should be left to the writer of the excellent editorial in today’s HOS.

Child poverty should not exist in this country. Blaming parents is pointless. No child should be left under-nourished or shivering in an uninsulated house. No child should suffer the preventable diseases of poverty. New Zealand can afford to rescue its most vulnerable citizens from neglect and abuse.

The Children’s Commissioner is right to give us this reality check for Christmas.

212 comments on “Child Poverty in New Zealand ”

    • RedLogix 1.1

      I’ve sat here for a while thinking what to say r0b. But sometimes despair is the correct response.

      Because just on the other side of despair is a certain clarity….

    • lprent 1.2

      The legacy of all of the National governments I’ve watched I’m afraid.

      I’ve heard good things about the Holyoake government But I wasn’t old enough to observe it politically. At least Labour don’t screw up to this kind of monumental scale.

      Just think of the costs from this kind of early neglect over the whole lifetime of a person. It is classic short term penny pinching and a massive long-term cost from it.

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.1

        Although NATs are far worse, this is not a NATs vs LAB issue.

        Where is the full employment policy. Why are benefits not at an even minimally livable level. How were housing costs, power etc. allowed to climb so high.

        • Tracey 1.2.1.1

          CV (Tat Lo)

          I have a serious question, not mocking you or even being sarcastic.

          Given your stance on many issues and your underlying belief about the foundation of a fair and equitable economic system, can you really stay with Labour and will they embrace your ideas? It seems to be more than just a tnsion between your views and basic Labour policy.

      • Macro 1.2.2

        “I’ve heard good things about the Holyoake government”

        The best voice in the House!! Ho Ho Ho!

    • Rogue Trooper 1.3

      This is appropriate r0b

  1. Arfamo 2

    +1. Nothing more need be said I reckon. The CC’s report will no doubt make very interesting reading. And then it will be buried by pollies and mainstream media as quickly as possible I imagine.

  2. amirite 3

    ”New Zealand can afford to rescue its most vulnerable citizens from neglect and abuse.” yet more parent-blaming again even though such people make a very small percentage in the overall picture.
    It comes to the simple fact: there’s just not enough money those families are earning or receiving in benefits to make ends meet.

  3. One Anonymous Knucklehead 4

    What is the best solution to the National Party?

    Education? Wingnuts are as thick as pigshit so it’s doubtful education would help.

    Ethics? Don’t make me laugh, they haven’t got one.

    Empathy? They lack the cognitive ability to see things through another person’s eyes.

    No, appeals to reason and facts will not avail us. Emotional appeals may make a difference, but in the meantime these scum will just kill more children.

    New Zealand needs a solution.

    • RedLogix 4.1

      Step 1: Break up the corporate media oligopoly.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Step 2: Re-establish true public broadcasting journalism on TVNZ and RNZ. Use that to pressure all commercial news providers to lift their game.

        • Marksman 4.1.1.1

          You are so right CV,this is the number 1 reason that things have got so bad.In the kingdom of the blind,the one eyed man is king.

          • Tracey 4.1.1.1.1

            +1

            • Arfamo 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Step 3. Make parliamentarians choose either a parliamentary pension or national superannuation, but not both, make them for the same amount, and make the qualifying age and other eligibility criteria the same.

              • RedBaronCV

                Save money by getting MP’s to catch the airport flyer in to parliament (or the #11 from Seatoun it’s only a short walk) and mix with the voters.

                • Colonial Viper

                  What 120 MPs spend on taxis is an irrelevant distraction.

                  Let’s think big structural, societal levers. The Right Wing thinks big. Given the chance, they will be willing to remake the entire electoral system, education system, health system, tax system, media and broadcasting. What does the Left want to do?

                  Take taxi chits off MPs?

                  • RedLogix

                    Without wanting to derail what has so far been a usefully concrete discussion into abstractions, I’m prompted to quote a comment Puddlegum made a while back and which has rather stuck in my mind since:

                    “how are you going to “remove the capitalists’ machine guns” without changing anyone’s mind?”

                    Mind’s change because circumstances change. They are not isolated, monadic devices calculating the world in some fume-like, immaterial dimension. They are in and of the world.

                    In politics, if you want to change attitudes change circumstances. That’s what Roger Douglas did back in the 80s and, lo and behold, attitudes have changed – ‘we’re all neoliberal now’.

                    It’s also why people change their attitudes when they change their jobs – suddenly being a manager is not such a terrible thing when you become a manager, rather than being dominated by a manager.

                    Mind’s are just our means of navigating circumstances. Change circumstances; change minds.

                    And, yes, minds (of others) are circumstances for a mind – what we say to each other and indicate through our behaviour can alter how someone else reacts. But that’s still not because we have ‘changed their mind’ or ‘changed their attitude’ – it’s because we have changed the circumstances within which their minds have to navigate.

                    http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-29112013/#comment-737674

                    People’s minds change because their circumstances change. That should be the gold standard here, what circumstances are we going to change that will liberate people’s emotional enslavement to the death machine we call an economy?

                    Recall Walter Nash’s famous line; “The came in their rags to vote us in, and they came in their automobiles to vote us out”. Now while that First Labour govt could perhaps take an ironic pride in the economic achievement implicit in that line; clearly that alone was not a sufficient change in circumstance.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Now while that First Labour govt could perhaps take an ironic pride in the economic achievement implicit in that line; clearly that alone was not a sufficient change in circumstance.

                      That’s because they didn’t really change the circumstances – society was still capitalist.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      Thanks RL.

                  • RedBaronCV

                    You are quite right CV (although I was thinking of crown cars not shared cabs.)

                    The left needs to go for the big structural whammy’s that the right does plus a left version of moving the goal posts with a thousand small cuts.

                    But I think that gestures, even if not this one, do count as the tip of the iceberg that can be seen. Removing anything that smacks of large income earning privilege as opposed to “man of the people” stuff gives voters an “emotional tag” to attach to the big underlying changes.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I definitely agree with you that symbolism is important. It is worthwhile picking the right things to raise as symbols, though, as the danger is that they are otherwise interpreted as empty gestures.

                    • RedLogix

                      Moreover I think RB has a deeper point.

                      Jared Diamond identified ‘the social and physical isolation of the ruling classes’ as one of the most telling pre-cursors to collapse.

                      Those sodding BMW’s have their place – mostly in the parking garage. They’re not good for anyone’s spiritual health.

                      You are both correct – the big structural stuff is essential but ordinary people will judge by how the left conducts itself in it’s ordinary day to day actions

                      That’s why Labour can get tripped up with stupid little expense ‘scandals’ while Key’s crowd of crims can get away with shoveling hundreds of millions into their mates pockets.

                • Lloyd

                  This is a reason the a quick railway line from the airport to the existing Wellington Railway Station should be built. Such a service would be quicker than both the flyer and a government limousine, and would attract MPs onto public transport where they might be exposed to the realities of life for the middle of the road New Zealander, and possibly to those worse off.

          • Rogue Trooper 4.1.1.1.2

            on the Marksman

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.2

          I’d put that as step three with step 2 being: Stop the private banks creating money and have it as the sole providence of the government.

  4. ianmac 5

    I guess it suits National agendas to turn a blind eye to politically troubling information.
    But listen you starving sick kids.
    The Government will Balance the Books.
    There now. That cheer you up?

  5. Marksman 6

    Yeah,Ho Ho bloody Ho.I hope this cabinet thinks about this while their sipping their g and ts at the bach this summer.I doubt it somehow.The word for today is Despair.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      I hope this cabinet thinks about this while their sipping their g and ts at the bach this summer.

      Unless it’s to find some way to make it all go away, they won’t.

  6. Pascal's bookie 7

    I wondered why Bennett was so visibly pissed off during QT this week when being questioned by Adern.

  7. Wayne 8

    Well I do think this is going to be quite an issue for the election, linking in with the inequality theme.

    So what would I do:

    Build 20,000 state houses over the next 3 years – the current numbers , either owned or rented by Housing NZ, would seem to be too low. One of the key issues is where they are built, since I suspect a lot of disadvantage is in places like rural Northland. But the goal is to look after the children, so I guess the houses need to be built where the people live.

    Free breakfasts/lunches in all Decile 1 to 5 schools.

    Free doctors visits up for all children up to age 12 (I realize this is not targeted, but some things should not be).

    Expand nurses in schools. I know this programme already exists but it is clearly not enough.

    I am sure there are other things that could be done like WOF for all rental properties, but those are my 4 big things.

    I would also change the tax system to have 5 rates (15%, 20%, 25%, 30% and 35%). Top rate cuts in at $150,000. Essentially the goal is to get an extra $1 to 2 billion revenue to pay for the above. The thresholds between each rate should reflect that, but in my view the average wage (around $45,000) should not have a higher rate than 20%. This is currently achieved, and there is general consensus on this.

    What I would not do is increase general welfare benefits, since it brings them too close to typical wage levels and distorts incentive. I also think that the current programmes encouraging training for work are highly desirable. However, on the immediate issue it is better, in my view, to focus on things that will make a tangible difference to the children. And housing, meals at schools and medical care are surely the key issues that will make an immediate difference.

    • mickysavage 8.1

      I am with you part of the way Wayne. But isn’t there something wrong when the average wage is so low that being on a benefit may “distort incentive” presuming this does occur? What are the structural matters that prevent the country’s resources being distributed more equitably?

      • Anne 8.1.1

        He’s halfway back to Labour mickysavage

        What I would not do is increase general welfare benefits, since it brings them too close to typical wage levels and distorts incentive.

        I believe that to be theoretical poppycock Wayne.

        Having been there back in the 90s and knowing plenty of others who have fallen on tough times in recent decades, I know that the greatest desire of all of them is to return to the workforce and re-establish for themselves a sense of worth and mental well-being. Why do National led governments insist on lumping all beneficiaries in the “lazy good for nothing bludgers” basket? I guess it’s because it is a false meme that has played well with a certain section of the population, and that is more important than making a genuine attempt to fix the problem of unemployment and poverty.

        And please don’t mention the dreadful woman, Paula Bennett in this context because she is a major part of the problem. She makes soporific noises about wanting to help beneficiaries when all the time she is… dragging the ladders from under them or undermining them with negative language and operational reforms bordering on threats and intimidation. Her modus operandi is only matched by Hekia Parata.

        • Dumrse 8.1.1.1

          She’s dragging the ladders out from under the absolute bludgers that shouldn’t be in receipt of a benefit, you know the ones, those that are too lazy to get off their arses and get a job.

          • Macro 8.1.1.1.1

            You really are a dumb arse!
            What a waste of space…

          • Anne 8.1.1.1.2

            Yeah Dumarse I know what you mean. Like those solo Mums who were getting themselves educated at night school so they could get a decent job and go off the benefit. Bennie Basher – who used the same service to educate herself so she could get a good job – pulled the ladder up from under them. Peer envy I reckon – didn’t want others like herself to make the grade. When two of them stood up to her and complained she had destroyed their chances of bettering themselves, she arranged for their personal files to be placed in the public arena.

            “Don’t you dare mess with me or else I’ll finish you for good” she was saying to them.

            You may be impressed by such bully girl behaviour. Most find it disgusting and reprehensible.

          • Tracey 8.1.1.1.3

            like she was you mean?

            • Anne 8.1.1.1.3.1

              And still is Tracey – even if she has learned to be more subtle about it. A lesson in life I had to learn the hard way… leopards rarely change their spots.

          • Naki Man 8.1.1.1.4

            Well said

    • RedLogix 8.2

      Wayne. Those are all good solid traditional left-wing ideas. They would help, they would make a difference for a while.

      Then inevitably the electoral cycle swings again and we finish up having this same conversation in another 9 or 12 years time.

      Free doctors visits up for all children up to age 12 (I realize this is not targeted, but some things should not be).

      Indeed. Universal Superannuation virtually eliminated poverty among our elderly. Before the First Labour govt and the introduction of pensions, our history in this respect was appalling. It was not uncommon for old men to simply die of exposure and neglect on the hillsides around Wellington.

      Yet because we treat children as the ‘property’ of their parents, we have this astonishing blind spot around their suffering. We hide them behind their parents, who themselves were most likely brought up in the same poverty. And we just go on blaming them as an excuse to never break the cycle.

      But I’d suggest you come very close to a bigger truth when you say that some things should not be targeted. I agree. Indeed if you look closer at the reasons why we do target and the distortions it inevitably produces … I eventually concluded that most things should not be targeted.

      • KJT 8.2.1

        If we look towards the recent past, we would do well to remember:
        After 30 years of Neo-liberal madness, what are now considered radical left wing ideas, like looking after our children, were once generally accepted by National, as well as Labour, Governments.

      • Wayne 8.2.2

        RedLogix,

        I know a number of commenters have seen my proposals as solid leftwing ideas. But in fact they can be just as easily implemented by a centre right (as opposed to right) government as they could by a centre left government.

        None of of them undermine in any significant way the free market economy (in which I am a true believer). There are plenty of free market economies that have either some or all of these proposals. As a simple example, PM John Howard never reduced the top Aussie tax rate of 45%, though he certainly pushed up the threshold.

        I simply see these proposals as the right thing to do in order to deal with the serious and real issue of child poverty. And I think the solution starts with housing. I do not think the current accommodation supplement is sufficient. It works well for a lot of people, but not for everyone. State houses have a guaranteed minimum level of quality, and essentially rent for $100 pw. Solve the housing issue for the most vulnerable, and you simultaneously solve a whole lot of other problems.

        It seems to me to be well within our capacity to deal with this issue. Yes, it does mean govt, as a proportion of GDP, becomes a little larger, maybe by 1 to 2%. But that will lift it to 35% of GDP, which is hardly at stifling European levels.

        And I am pretty certain that Dr Paul Hutchinson, National MP for Hunua, whose Health Select Committee has done a recent report on child poverty, would largely endorse these proposals. And I know that report is largely Paul’s work.

        • QoT 8.2.2.1

          But in fact they can be just as easily implemented by a centre right (as opposed to right) government as they could by a centre left government.

          The reason they can’t by the current lot (and yes, by some previous Labour-led governments too) actually has nothing to do with the bare-bones ideology involved. It’s because the government has justified everything it does by saying that those on the bottom deserve to be there because they’re lazy and don’t deserve help.

        • KJT 8.2.2.2

          Wayne has highlighted the point that many things decent people, on either sides of the political divide, took for granted pre 1984, like looking after the poor and vulnerable, are now considered “extreme” left wing.

          And, That a UBI is not the only option for reducing poverty.

          Initiatives such as increased state housing, free medical care and other support are easier to do, and find cross party support, both politically and economically short term.

          Even Bennett is finding it hard to find support, from left and right, for policies which impoverish children further.

    • dv 8.3

      AND add a universal first 20k tax free and adjust the tax rate and thresholds appropriately.

    • Tracey 8.4

      I agree with much of what you say. However is it just lack of incentive that prevents some people working, or are there actually not enough jobs to go round. Do you have reason to believe that governments (of any persuasion) actually believe that full employment is either impossible or at economic odds with their particular thinking?

      I would also add rape prevention education programmes because they are more than just “dont rape” messages they are about respecting sexual partners, potential sexual partners, and many other life skills crucial for all members of our society.

      • Colonial Viper 8.4.1

        Rape education/prevention programmes are just another example of work which needs to be done, and could employ dozens of extra people up and down the country.

        There is plenty of ‘work’ which needs to be done, it’s just that we seem wholly unable to take that work and structure it into paying ‘jobs.’

        There is no need for NZ to have an unemployment or poverty problem.

        • Flip 8.4.1.1

          Two reasons I think

          1. Economists are so indoctrinated the only way they can value anything is via a market. No market no value. This reduces what income earning jobs exist.

          2. Capital currently receives a greater return than labour. The balance of reward has gone too far towards capital. Returns on investment need to be greater to labour than capital. Shift the income distribution. If labour is valued more highly it would be rewarded better and more jobs would be created.

          So would say a socialist. Labour seems awfully quiet on the topic. Any socialists present? Do they not understand this? If they would like some help I’ve got time. Is there some reluctance to create this kind of policy because of spooky capital?

          • Colonial Viper 8.4.1.1.1

            interesting how the power elite insists on maintaining “confidence” (of the financial markets and capitalists) but the confidence of labour and of communities is of no import.

        • RedLogix 8.4.1.2

          Another way of putting this CV.

          If we pay people to do what we value them to do – then logically unemployment is really nothing but a poverty of values.

          • Colonial Viper 8.4.1.2.1

            Good observation. Chris Hedges would say that all of our values have been gradually replaced by corporate consumer values over the last 50 years.

            And for a left wing which regularly trashes those who believe in religion and tradition, and instead takes it’s values from intellectual abstractions – can this “poverty of values” be a surprise.

            • RedLogix 8.4.1.2.1.1

              And for a left wing which regularly trashes those who believe in religion and tradition, and instead takes it’s values from intellectual abstractions – can this “poverty of values” be a surprise.

              No. It should not be. Many on the left keep forgetting that the first Labour Party meetings were often held in Methodist Church halls. And I suspect that therein lies the reason why you and I find ourselves so very often sailing close down the same tack CV.

              Many, many people much smarter than me have spent their lives attempting to derive an ethical code from intellectual abstractions. While their work is often interesting and intriguing – it never seems to get much traction in the wider world.

              Yet the essence of the fundamental ethical principles required for the modern world can be easily summarised.

              • Tracey

                All of those would work well even if you left out the words religion or religious.

                Have you ever read a book by Ernst Becker called Denial of Death RL?

          • Flip 8.4.1.2.2

            Like the logic. RedLogix.

            There are outstanding humanist values that can be promoted and perhaps added to the education syllabus. As a culture we are reluctant to talk about and evaluate values. Not all values are of equivalent quality and some are just wrong and immoral. Some schools have taught values but they tend to be private.
            If educated in values then perhaps child poverty and abuse can be reduced. That is not to say that better income would not help but it is not the whole answer.
            Personal problems are not solved with money they are solved via personal improvement which comes from the person who has a reason to make the improvement from inside themselves. Tough to do and costly but necessary if we are to break the cycle of poverty and improve the quality of society.

            • Tracey 8.4.1.2.2.1

              I think this is partly because values and morals have been seen as the domain of religion and so the state wants it out of education. Just a thought. I have met a very small number of religious folks that believe that without religion, a belief in God, one will never act ethically. I stress a very small number.

              I teach ethics over too short a period as part of my course. Use a great series from Harvard.

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBdfcR-8hEY

          • Tracey 8.4.1.2.3

            Marilyn Waring was writing ground breaking stuff about placing a value (in economic terms) on unpaid work and so on 30 years ago…

      • Molly 8.4.2

        NEF (New Economics Foundation) have some good reports on the case for shorter working weeks.

        Read “21 hours” a while ago, but the idea is along the lines of: Jobs are distributed more widely, people have the opportunity for healthier work/life balance and time for valuable (but unpaid work) if they are interested.

    • KJT 8.5

      Good God Wayne. Is there a closet socialist trying to get out.

      I think we agree on the above except for welfare cuts being an incentive to work.

      In the 70’s, and early 80’s, when the unemployment payment was relatively much higher than it is now, most people chose to work. A Prime Minister claimed, famously, that he knew all the unemployed by name.
      The same thing happened in the only large scale experiment with a UI. Basically only students and young mothers chose not to take on “work”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mincome

      We already know how to remove poverty. We have achieved just that, successfully and cheaply, in New Zealand, for the old.

      Time to extend it to our children!

      • RedLogix 8.5.1

        KJT. That Mincome link. Wow. Simply wow –

        Here am I having banged on about the UBI concept to the point of boring everyone to tears – and I had no idea that someone had actually tried it.

        I’m both stunned and a little embarrassed.

        • KJT 8.5.1.1

          A bit more mindfood.

          http://overtheedgenewspaper.ca/mincome-a-possibility-in-switzerland/
          http://public.econ.duke.edu/~erw/197/forget-cea%20%282%29.pdf

          Note, one of the advocates of a UI or tax credit for low incomes, wait for it,

          was

          Milton Friedman.

          • Rogue Trooper 8.5.1.1.1

            selective reading by the proselytes .

          • greywarbler 8.5.1.1.2

            Milton Friedman – or freed man? Have I been dismissing him as a blackguard all this time when actually he was trying to find a better way with UI?

            Here’s me thinking he was a freed man from taxes and worry about how to make a living and instead aiming higher, to emulate John D Rockefeller?

            John D. Rockefeller is the richest American who ever lived. At the time of his death in 1937, Rockefeller was worth the equivalent of $340 billion in today’s dollars. His company Standard Oil dominated American Oil production and was eventually broken up by The US Government for being a monopoly. Standard Oil was broken into smaller companies that you probably recognize today: Amoco, Chevron Conoco, and ExxonMobil. Rockefeller was the first American to ever have a net worth over $1 billion.

            That’s the sort of man that Milton Friedman could help.

            • Marksman 8.5.1.1.2.1

              Lets also remember,there was no income tax in the US untill the early 1900s.Rockefeller and his mates were cracking it.

            • KJT 8.5.1.1.2.2

              Wondered how he expected to pay for a UI given his opposition to “big” Government and support for unregulated “free market’s”.

              Though like all Neo-libs he was all for regulation that increased the ability of the wealthy to make more.

              Cognitive dissonance however, seems to be common Neo-Liberal trait.

      • Flip 8.5.2

        I like the idea of a Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) so did some quick numbers.

        For 2013 the population over 18 yrs is estimated at 3,369,500. If you say a GAI of $20K that gives $67.39 billion spend. In that year social security, welfare and super payments were $23.019 billion. A gap of $44.371 billion to come from somewhere.

        The total tax take was about $61.955 billion in 2012 so short of $5.435 billion roughly if you throw all the tax at the GAI which you can’t.

        Great idea just need to figure how to fund it.

        • RedLogix 8.5.2.1

          A good question. The conventional answer is here.

          If you poke your nose down the rabbit hole a bit you can start to look at the fundamental nature of money.

          A little deeper deeper in and you realise that the your question is predicated on the myths and assumptions of capitalism itself.

          In reality if I was to get anywhere near implementing such a system I would prefer to see it introduced gradually over a period of at least a decade. There would be many deep and fundamental adjustments that a GAI or UBIO would provoke.

        • Flip 8.5.2.2

          Ignore the other post as I failed to take account of people who did not need $20K GAI. In 2011 about 1,499,940 people earned over $30K. This would reduce the total cost. I picked $30K as I allow $10K above GAI to make it worth going to work.

        • James Thrace 8.5.2.3

          Why would you want to work this out on total figures of population?

          The GAI is only for those not earning the arbitrary limit of $20,000, so only around 250,000 people, giving it a $5bn spend.

          Never mind the fact that administration costs and associated WINZ bureaucracy would be greatly reduced so in the end, GAI appears to actually save money.

          • KJT 8.5.2.3.1

            Lower health costs, less welfare administration costs, lower number of criminals and crimes, simplified tax system.

            Not to mention all those extra good little consumers to expand the economy. and the tax base.

            Some of the more intelligent capitalists are already wondering who are going to buy their goods, if most people have either no job or a very low paid one. The Henry Ford dilemma.

            Then there is the Aussie yacht manufacturer who shifted production to Thailand, and now complains he has no customers. Thai workers on $10 a day, do not buy yachts.

          • KJT 8.5.2.3.2

            You may want to look at your sums, and assumptions, a bit more.

            A UI, initially, extended to children only, is of course much cheaper. We have done it in the past. The family benefit.

        • KJT 8.5.2.4

          We have enough resources within New Zealand to do it easily.

          The problem is the current financial paradigm makes it difficult to get those resources to their proper place. Supporting New Zealanders, not overseas owners and a few very wealthy people.

    • greywarbler 8.6

      Wayne
      Bottom tax rate of 15% is still too high, make it 10% and bring GST down to 10%. The low income people are paying on a rough estimate then 20% and that is plenty for contribution from small pickings. My belief is that everyone should be paying taxes at a rate that is fair for their income then they can hold their heads up and say We Are Taxpayers so Don’t treat us as low-lifes – they can defend themselves from that with pride.

      Actually 20% for combination income tax and gst is still onerous for the low income bracket but better than 15% income and GST of 15/%.

      And what is needed is for government to buy from NZ, to stop bleeding us and building a current account deficit. Give us our work back!!!!!! Instead of playing Financial Giants Striding the Planet Like a Colossus. And going for cheap, and getting fleeced. Spend money in and on NZ and we can get some golden fleece back on our backs! And there will be a positive flow into the government funds.

    • Murray Olsen 8.7

      It’s a real sign of the times when an ex member of our main right wing party can make policy prescriptions that David Parker, a spokesman for the rejuvenated red heart of Labour, would probably find fiscally irresponsible and impossible. I did have some small hope for Cunliffe, but the inertia is too great and the original foundations rusted away to an extent that cannot be repaired.

  8. Will@Welly 9

    I actually agree with Paula-suck-it-in-Bennett, there can be no official measure for child poverty in New Zealand. To have one is to admit that there is child poverty in New Zealand. And we all know that is never going to happen with the Tories and their allies.
    All we can do is gather the evidence and present it to them, but we know they are not listening. This is a Government that is overseeing that wanton destruction of a once proud nation.

    • Tracey 9.1

      but her leader can measure a “breadline” cos he says many kiwis not in kiwisaver are not there cos they live below the breadline.

  9. Blue 10

    The Herald is disgusting – they pretend to give a crap about child poverty but they are the first to publish beneficiary-done-wrong! articles to play to the prejudices of their audience.

    Every time you think there might be some shift in the public mood, out comes another headline ‘Beneficiary living in million dollar state house!’ ‘Beneficiary defrauds WINZ!’ ‘Top ten longest-ever dole bludgers!’ etc. allowing people to believe that the most extreme cases are the norm and that all beneficiaries are like this.

    Whatever progress was going to be made evaporates and we’re back where the Herald wants us – eating up stories about welfare ‘reform’ and cutesy profiles of that bouncy, Wild Westie Paula Bennett.

  10. red blooded 11

    All of your suggestions have merit, Wayne. Of course, they all have gaps, too. For example, plenty of poor kids go to schools that are above Decile 5. This is particularly true in the smaller centres, where the population is not large enough for each suburb to have its own school and a mix of kids from all kinds of backgrounds go to the same few schools.

    I have a few other suggestions to add to the mix:
    1) Dump the 90 Days Act. It pisses on the poor, the young and the disadvantaged. There is no excuse for it.
    2) Dump Youth Rates. (See above.)
    3) Provide more assistance for kids with special learning needs, including decent reading and numeracy recovery programmes and state funding of tests for learning disabilities like dyslexia. It is appalling that the vast majority of reader-writer assistance in high schools goes to pupils in decile 9 or 10 schools. Parents with less money can’t afford the tests (which cost hundreds of dollars) and their kids’ learning is limited by lack of specialist assistance and basic interventions like reader-writers in exams.
    4) Reinstate adult education funding. Prioritise programmes that can help people finish qualifications or upskill themselves in areas like budgeting or first aid.
    5) Increase funding for school programmes aimed at transition to work.
    6) The scheme aimed at controlling power prices has potential to make a difference.
    7) Increase the minimum wage.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 11.1

      8) Set a maximum wage.
      9) Make the passing of laws without supporting evidence a criminal offence.

      • Arfamo 11.1.1

        It’s easy enough to find or manufacture “supporting evidence”. The problem is defining what kind of evidence is a valid justification.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 11.1.1.1

          Sure it’s easy: the National Party couldn’t exist otherwise. What I’m saying is that when we catch them at it they should go to jail.

          • Arfamo 11.1.1.1.1

            But you can’t catch them at it. Every NZ government has an entire army of public servants on which its Ministers can, and do, immediately place the blame for providing the evidence that is false or wrong.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 11.1.1.1.1.1

              I expect that jail time would be a disincentive to any party that practices to deceive. After all, what is perjury? Is Parliament not a court?

              • Arfamo

                Is Parliament not a court?

                Fuck me sideways. Are you serious? Is The Speaker a wise & impartial judge?

                Our Parliament is a freaking sandpit. And a polluted one at that. I actually seriously think it’s beyond redemption.

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  So, we’re agreed that there are systemic problems in our Parliamentary system that allow perjury to go unchecked.

                  It costs the country at least as much as the problems the Serious Fraud Office was established to confront.

                  Perhaps there is (far) too little judicial review of government policy, although I note with pleasure that ACC have lost their court battle with evidence-based psychiatry.

                  In any event, the certainty of jail time would have given even Sir Roger Douglas pause for thought, no?

                  • Arfamo

                    There are systemic problems in our Parliamentary system that make it an unhelpful and undesirable form of government for this country. Full stop. The fact that Roger Douglas is a free man is simply one of the many symptoms that helped diagnose the problem.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      Right. The worst possible system blah bla…

                      Since all the other ones are worse I think it’s better to make changes incremental rather than wholesale. I also think some of our representatives need more “guidance” as to what constitutes evidence…like the possibility of going to jail for perjury on suspicion of being John Key.

                    • Arfamo

                      No, it’s not the worst possible system OAK. Our particular version of Parliamentary democracy just hasn’t worked for the majority of our citizens. I don’t know what changes would be better, but it’s very clear that any change that would reduce the many benefits our current parliamentarians all enjoy but don’t deserve, and that their constituents do not get, will never be made, because none of them will vote for such change.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      The full quote goes “the worst possible system apart from all the other ones…”

                      Hence the “blah bla…”

                      And I disagree. Change is inevitable. There was a time not that long ago when the majority of our representatives denied women the vote, or defamed Nelson Mandela as a terrorist, or refused to measure child poverty, or regarded National Party membership as something to be tolerated.

                    • Arfamo

                      I won’t be investing in tumbrils futures for quite some time yet. Although I hope it will be a worthwhile investment some day.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      at this rate, it’s the guillotine manufacturers who are going to get the market spike.

    • bad12 11.2

      8) There needs be a full and frank admission form across the political spectrum that the Neo-Liberal Free Market will not provide full employment,

      It is the continual ‘get a job’ mantra which allows for the beneficiary class to be so woefully treated both in monetary terms and in terms of how they are portrayed as members of society,

      Having said that, it is obvious that the political class have no intentions of doing anything remedial about child neglect/abuse/poverty,(and all 3 are linked),that involves more than tossing the odd handful of crumbs off of the laden table of those who ‘have’ in our society,

      When, and only when, the middle class is made aware of and directs the political parties that middle class essentially controls to ensure such poverty no longer exists could we expect movement across the political spectrum to ensure that no child lives an impoverished life, which in essence means that nothing, until such time as entire families dressed in rags are sleeping in the doorways of our major cities, will occur of substance to raise these children and their families out of such abject poverty,

      A ‘ray of light’ could be said to be contained in ‘Wayne’s’ comment above, and if a party member i would suggest that ‘Wayne’ begin the process of raising His/Her concerns from the well written comment above within the particular party,(at the risk of becoming a total pariah i might add),

      Hone Harawira says it best when the ‘views’ of some about His ‘feed the kids Bill’ currently lurking somewhere within the Parliaments machinations are expressed, ”Where will we get the money from tho” is the usual lament says Hone pointing out that when we send the Army into a place like Afghanistan the ‘cost’ never gets a mention,

      Of course i would add to what Hone has to say by pointing out that a country willing to send it’s Army into a country tens of thousands of kilometers away on a whim of ‘political friendship’ to murder the children of that country wouldn’t give the merest sniff of a shit about the fate of the poorest children in it’s own…

    • Wayne 11.3

      Quite a lot of which I would agree with.

      However, I note you started with the 90 day Act. I was the author of that, and I think that it has been shown to be a success. It has opened up opportunity. So that is one I do not agree with.

      NZ was the only OECD country that did not have a trial period in its employment law. I chose 90 days because it was the most moderate time frame among the OECD. Most countries have 6 months or a year.

      I thought that over time it would become an accepted part of the IR landscape. Well, not yet, but if the Nats get in for another 3 years it probably will. On the other hand if Labour gets in they will repeal it, but I suspect they may come up with an alternative that goes some way to deal with the issue (but perhaps not, given the hostility that Helen Kelly has to it).

      • RedLogix 11.3.1

        The problem is not so much the ‘trial period’ Wayne – but the lack of rules or fair process around it.

      • QoT 11.3.2

        It has opened up opportunity.

        What opportunities has it opened up which weren’t already there under the previous law, which allowed trial periods but gave workers their basic rights to be treated fairly?

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 11.3.2.1

          It’s provided opportunity for the National Party’s clients to further drive wages down and helped the strong prey on the weak, and we see the results in their ongoing war on New Zealand’s people, values and interests.

      • miravox 11.3.3

        “I note you started with the 90 day Act. I was the author of that, and I think that it has been shown to be a success”

        I wonder if you can show where it has been shown to be a success?

        As for 90 days being a moderate time-frame, it is exactly the opposite (with the exception of some easily learned jobs) – just enough time for a new employee to be brought in for a short-term contract and let go, and not nearly long enough for employees to prove their worth or establish a fit with the company culture. 12-months would have been fairer but that’s a problem with an agenda based on economic cost rather than social cost – short-termism.

        The previous law was doing the job well enough for a 90-day trial period to weed out the people who good businesses found were no up to the job. Your 90-day version just made it easy to sack people who might be good, but chose lousy companies to work for.

  11. Naki Man 12

    There is no child poverty in new Zealand just useless lazy parents and far to much welfare.
    Dum arse parents that want the state to feed there kids. If you cant feed them don’t breed them.
    Truth is it only cost about $2 for breakfast. Some useless parents want there kids to go hungry
    so they can have money for sky tv smokes piss and cell phones.

    • bad12 12.1

      Pathetic comment of the week award goes here, with a slow hand clap for being able to use a computer keyboard with an obviously dead head…

      • Arfamo 12.1.1

        +1

        Also

        Their kids, not there kids
        Dumb, not dum
        Can’t, not cant (which actually means hypocritical and sanctimonious talk, typically of a moral, religious, or political nature)
        It only costs, not it only cost
        Meet the comma -> ,

        Back2 skool 4U aye?

        • Will@Welly 12.1.1.1

          Well said, bad12 & Arfamo. + 1. Suspect Naki Man is former colleague/class mate of Key or Joyce or some such other “noble” Tory inbred. Obviously early protege of National Standards.

    • Macro 12.2

      Here is what the Herald Editorial writer had to say on the matter:

      “Child poverty should not exist in this country. Blaming parents is pointless. No child should be left under-nourished or shivering in an uninsulated house. No child should suffer the preventable diseases of poverty. New Zealand can afford to rescue its most vulnerable citizens from neglect and abuse.”

      And your idiotic response?

      “There is no child poverty in new Zealand just useless lazy parents and far to much welfare”

      So $2 for breakfast..right!. and lunch and dinner and clothing and heating and transport to and from school and….

      You are aware that there are now 48,000 more unemployed since 2008…

      That includes parents who were working and are now not.. but still have children.

      You really don’t think to much do you?

      Maybe the economic travesty that is NAct hasn’t affected you too much, I can’t say it has effected me too much either, but that doesn’t give you the right to not be aware of the burgeoning crisis of child poverty that is now occurring in NZ.

    • @ Naki Man – I guess by burying your head in the sand and engaging in judgemental victim-blaming, you feel justified in shrugging your shoulders and not feeling responsible for being part of the problem.

      Naki Man, I’ve no idea if you really believe the trip that you’ve been posting here – but assuming you do, you exhibit all the symptoms of psychopathy. A lack of empathy with others, first and foremost.

      Just remember one thing as you keep telling yourself “there is no child poverty in new Zealand just useless lazy parents” – kids have no choice which family they are born into. Even someone with a blighted social conscience like yours must be able to comprehend that one, simple truth.

  12. adam 13

    The state always goes for option A) plausible denial.

    If they think they can get away with they will – and quite frankly they been getting away with a lot – so what one more little thing. (note: drippings of sarcasm here)

    Until there is a major rupture which fundamentally changes how business is done – then this is how business is done.

    Keep thinking voting will change anything and this is what you deserve; feel ashamed, feel ripped off, feel as if your powerless. Because that is the outcome of toleration of neo-liberalism and the false belief this sick puppy can be reformed. It is a nasty beast which feeds off the weak, the poor and the helpless. And all the time what’s left of the middle classes consumer there way to happiness, at the end of a bottle or a pipe – take your poison.

    Don’t cry a river – do something – anything. Join a credit union, leave your bank.

    Go here http://www.garalperovitz.com/ and try some of the ideas. This is not working. End the madness.

  13. Naki Man 14

    what was wrong with that comment?

    • bad12 14.1

      Not only a dead head i would suggest, but suffering paranoid delusions as well…

      • RedLogix 14.1.1

        I thought it was a fine example of Poe’s Law in action… with a little touch of the Sunday Horrors.

        • Rogue Trooper 14.1.1.1

          to paraphrase Alan Morgan- “Any sufficiently advanced tr00l is indistinguishable from a genuine ‘truther’.”

    • Arfamo 14.2

      what was wrong with that comment?

      Grammatically, quite a lot, as I explained beneath it.
      Content-wise, nothing. It was immediately apparent from it that all else from you will probably also not be worth reading for anything other than more examples of the failure of the education system.

  14. Bill 15

    Am I alone in thinking that the term ‘child poverty’ is kind of misleading and a distraction? Poverty generally refers to financial standing – and children have never had any of that. I mean, the term almost suggests that if kids were given more pocket money then they’d be fine.

    It also suggests that it’s legitimate to settle for secondary or oblique references to the fucked and deteriorating financial position of many, many adults who are somehow meant to provide material well being to their children from an empty pot….and allows for them (the parents) to be blamed on the grounds of being remiss.

    Better that, I guess, than a direct and focused debate on the inevitably misanthropic consequences of market economics running alongside the deliberate and politically motivated running down of health services and housing and general welfare provisioning. We’re good people thinking of the children afterall. And we can tinker a solution, yes?

    edit – read some comments after submitting and heartened to see that some others are of a similar persuasion 🙂

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      +1

      the point being that the power elite don’t care about poverty, adult or child.

    • Rogue Trooper 15.2

      “We’re caught in a [developmental] trap
      ( some Family background )
      and we can’t build our dreams, on Suspicious Minds.
      all indications point to the leverage of education, yet, what’s that the trees are saying?
      -20% non-achieving tail
      -cuts to early childhood funding
      -cuts to adult education
      -recent PISA falls…
      -children falling asleep in classes; nutrition and social media implicated.

      “whispering grass, don’t tell the trees, ’cause the trees don’t want to know.”.

    • Draco T Bastard 15.3

      +1000

  15. Naki Man 16

    You spoon fed socialist losers think that throwing money at a problem will make it go away. These parents will always be poor. More money will not change that.

    • Arfamo 16.1

      Move along please. You can’t stand here dressed like that.

    • Macro 16.2

      So you admit there is a problem…
      So what then, would your solution be?
      Remember it must NOT cost anything. Well more to the point – it must not cost YOU anything. Which really says more about you than anything, doesn’t it.
      Loser.

    • Colonial Viper 16.3

      Why should some people earn a million dollars a year from society, but as a society we let hundreds of thousands go hungry?

      Don’t you believe in social and economic justice?

      • dv 16.3.1

        >>Why should some people earn a million dollars a year from society

        Why should some people EXTRACT a million dollars a year from society

    • RedLogix 16.4

      Naki

      I invite you to read this thread little more carefully. There is a lot more to this conversation here than simply ‘throwing money at the problem’.

      In their current circumstances I agree that: “These parents will always be poor.” I agree that the reasons why they are poor run a lot deeper than just a lack of money.

      For much of the last seven years I lived right next door to these people. I’ve held back from exploiting their stories here just because I could – but I could relate to you things that would make your ears bleed. (And be routine stuff for your average social worker or cop.)

      I know that just throwing money at them rarely changes much. I know that a rare few find their own inner strength to escape under their own steam, but most cannot or are just not that lucky. These people have been shit-magnets all their lives and that doesn’t change unless they can change their circumstances dramatically.

      It’s why so many poorer Kiwis have done so well for themselves by moving to Australia.

      And I agree that many have been so abused, drugged, suffered brain-trauma (90% of prison inmates have a head injury), malnourished or just plain beaten down that it’s a long hard, uncertain job to turn that around for them. But you might want to consider how we could change things for their kids….

    • KJT 16.5

      The same people were not poor in the 70’s. They were building roads, dams and houses, planting trees, making clothes and eating from their own gardens. Ask yourself, what changed?

      • Naki Man 16.5.1

        What has changed? House’s are a lot bigger and have far more electrical appliances
        people want to have more toys, There was no DPB when I was a kid, we had bugger all but there was always food on the table. there is no excuse for not feeding clothing and keeping your kids warm

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 16.5.1.1

          No-one made any excuses. I recommend remedial English Comprehension 101 for your problem.

        • Tracey 16.5.1.2

          well, if you were ok, everyone else must be. Glad you cleare dit up.

          Mr Key conceded last week that many people live below “the breadline”. His words.

          • Naki Man 16.5.1.2.1

            Well then we should just print lots of money for everyone, it works for Wussel and the Gweens. Lets just have a minimum wage of $50 per hour and massive unemployment

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 16.5.1.2.1.2

              Naki Man swallowed the lie that the Greens proposed that we should print money. The poor fuckwit is too stupid to check what the actual policy proposal was, and now looks like a parrot who ate some shit and is now coughing it up.

              I bet the moran won’t even blame the source of the lie for making them look like a dupe.

              What a tool. We need better wingnuts.

              • Arfamo

                Naki Man is just pulling everyone’s tits for a laugh. Probably a bored Young Nat or an old Nat pretending to be one. I’ll come back later and see if anyone’s woken up and left him to peter out.

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  So you’re saying that Naki Man is fully aware that their comments have no basis in fact, but makes them anyway, because of a purported constituency of similarly well-informed jokers who promote these indistinguishable-from-the-effects-of-a-civil-war-hate-based-policies for fun?

                  Subtle.

                  • Arfamo

                    No. You’re saying that. I’m saying Naki Man is just pulling everyone’s tits for a laugh, and that now I’ve come back for a look it seems he’s pulled the tits he wanted to, got bored, petered out, and gone away.

                • Lloyd

                  Arfamo, I think you are wrong.

                  I think Naki man believes what he is writing. I know several of my fellow workers who parrot similar lines. These fellow workers who complain of their financial circumstances and the difficulties they see for their children in getting a home in the future still believe they shouldn’t vote Labour because Labour will bring back the welfare state,”and look where that has got us”. A spiel about dole bludgers then ensures. I pity my fellow workers who cannot see that the circumstances that keep the most dependent in our society on the ropes are the same circumstances that keep them awake worrying about their kids futures – and that the cause for almost all those circumstances is neo-liberal policies of both past Labour and the present government.

                  They still believe all the TINA arguments. They can’t remember the New Zealand of the 1970’2 where those beneficiaries of today were then reasonably paid workers at the freezing works or wharf.

                  The sad thing is they don’t realise that taking care of the poorest children will directly benefit everyone in our society. The poor spend the money they receive so any benefit quickly goes on to stimulate the economy, Keeping kids healthy removes reservoirs of disease in our society, meaning we individually are less likely to get a disease. Keeping the poorest fed and cased for means we are less likely to find the poor stealing from us. Making sure poor kids are well educated means they might be able to earn enough money to support our superannuation payments when we are old. And educating kids and making sure they can hear the teacher reduces the chance that those kids will end up in a life of crime and therefore means that we won’t have to pay the huge costs of keeping them in prison.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    In the old days the union movement amongst others would be providing political economic education for these workers.

                    That doesn’t happen now. These days such workers get their political economic education from the MSM, Radio Live etc. And even Labour says we can’t afford this, we can’t afford that. And National are excellent are playing to widespread prejudices – divide and conquer. So sad yes; but not sure anything different can be expected given the current circumstances.

            • Colonial Viper 16.5.1.2.1.3

              Well then we should just print lots of money for everyone, it works for Wussel and the Gweens. Lets just have a minimum wage of $50 per hour and massive unemployment

              1) First, do you accept that all the major central banks of the world (the Fed, BoJ, BoE, ECB, etc.) are ‘printing money’ on a large scale?

              2) Why would anyone set a minimum wage which is 3x a living wage?

              3) Do you accept that a minimum wage is absolutely necessary to prevent businesses driving wages down to a dollar an hour?

        • Macro 16.5.1.3

          and almost 100% employment
          and a decent benefit if you happened to become unemployed.
          and state housing at affordable rentals,
          and a child allowance
          and wages that were more equitable than they are today.

          You live in the past you stupid man – wake up we are now beset with the tyranny of 3 decades of neo-liberal stupidity, and things are VASTLY different from the 1960’s

        • KJT 16.5.1.4

          If you were a kid about the same time as me, there was a universal family benefit that was enough money to keep a child.

          And a senior shop assistants wage was enough to keep a family.

    • @ Nake Man

      Neither will doing nothing to address the problem.

      • Naki Man 16.6.1

        I did not say people chucked in there jobs. Have you heard of the global financial crisis?
        Some people just don’t want to work and are on welfare as a lifestyle choice
        I have met people that wont work because they don’t want to pay back there student loans

        • Arfamo 16.6.1.1

          Really? How many of them have you met exactly? And did they tell you this or did your amazing powers of deduction render such a discussion unnecessary?

        • Tracey 16.6.1.2

          “Some people just don’t want to work and are on welfare as a lifestyle choice”

          How many?

          What percentage of those on benefits?

          can you link to any facts to support your view, as opposed to what you “think” based on what some politicians want you to think?

          Here’s a link to some facts, not opinions on the matter.

          http://werewolf.co.nz/2011/02/ten-myths-about-welfare/

          1. Anyone who wants to get off welfare can get a job.

          No, they can’t. In the last two months of 2010, the number of people receiving the dole rose by 4,536 to 67,084, and rose again in January to 68, 087. The number of people out of work stands at 158,000. One in three of the people currently on the dole were over 40 years of age – and many of them suffer from age discrimination in the job market. (There were 112,865 people on a domestic purposes benefit at the end of December, 85,105 on an invalid’s benefit and 59,988 on a sickness benefit.)

          As one would expect, the dole numbers have risen steeply since the recession began. In the mid 2000s, dole numbers had shrunk to around 17,000 – one quarter of the current number, and solid proof that the problem is not a lack of motivation and/or of strong incentives. The vast majority of people want to work. The history of the last ten years in particular shows that when jobs exist, people work. Conversely, no amount of self-motivation by a solo parent will create a job at her local supermarket when they are laying off staff.

          It is a very odd situation. The same politicians who have been unable to manage an economy so that it employs people, are now blaming people for not finding jobs that do not exist. Nothing in this process is directly about reducing or alleviating poverty. It is mainly about reducing costs by making it harder for families to access the assistance they need in adversity – and this is being done in part at least, to make up for the revenue given away in last year’s tax cuts. It is part of the wealth transfer from the poorer to wealthier members of New Zealand society occurring on the government’s watch.

        • Frank Macskasy 16.6.1.3

          I did not say people chucked in there jobs. Have you heard of the global financial crisis?

          Naki Man – whilst you refer to the Global Financial Crisis as a response – you don’t seem to make the connection between the Crisis; the resultant Recession; and the destruction of jobs and collapse of companies.

          Because in the next cyber-breath, you still default to beneficiary-blaming;

          …Some people just don’t want to work and are on welfare as a lifestyle choice
          I have met people that wont work because they don’t want to pay back there student loans

          Aside from the fact that your suggestion is sheer lunacy that that someone went to University; spent several years getting a degree; accrued a student debt – all to go on the benefit to receive $196 a week (net) to avoid repaying that debt?!?!

          Do you realise how goddamn fucked up that suggestion is?!?!

          Do you even think through the implications of your line of thought and arguments?!?!

          Try again.

    • Will@Welly 16.7

      “These parents will always be poor.” – Well, Naki Man, such pertinent insights, obviously an inside finance man, maybe even a Finance Minister masquerading as a simple Taranaki farmer. Money never solves any issues does it, unless you happen to be rich.

    • Ad 16.8

      Taranaki is exceedingly lucky to have had wise governance for some time. I’m sure you’re aware of this.

      1. When the Bolger government required the sale of regional banks 25 years ago, the TSB refused and stayed locally owned. This has enabled really high circulation of local capital to local people and business employing locvals – so little interest gets sucked out of the region, and so much donor and lending capital ends up back in ‘naki hands.

      2. When the Council sold the Contact Energy shares, the fund formed and remained within public sector hands for the benefit of the Council and its citizens – and it has grown and grown. In fact grown to the point where New Plymouth ratepayers can can see their rates stabilize and even lower.

      Both sterling examples of Taranaki’s “socialist losers” “throwing money at a problem”, where local money is changing the community positively, and where there’s a comparatively low level of poverty in the regional around New Plymouth as a result.

      Individuals almost never alter poverty as a whole. Only a smart public sector has the combination of scale and time needed to really tilt poverty. Luckily you’re on the right site for getting educated on this.

    • @ Naki Man –

      Unemployment in January 2008 was 3.4% (78,000). By October 2012 it had reached 7.3% (173,000).

      (Analysis tools:
      http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/unemployment-rate
      http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/unemployed-persons)

      So are you seriously telling us that 95,000 people decided to chuck in their jobs and go on the dole to receive the princely sum of $196 a week, nett?

      Be careful how you answer that – supporters of neo-liberalism already have a poor rep for rational responses. Mindless prejudice and cliches don’t cut it. I trust you can offer us an insight as to where 95,000 jobs went?

  16. Naki Man 17

    Yes there is a problem but calling it child poverty is crap. I already pay plenty of tax to support these people. More money will not help them. We get paid well where I work, there are people who
    are millionaires and some who rent a house and have very little. Some people will always struggle
    I guess life and budgeting skills, good health, no gambling, drugs not much piss is part of the solution

    • RedLogix 17.1

      Very well, but you will find around here that just making the same assertions over and over is not a conversation. Actually that’s true on most blogs.

      The general idea is that you read the thread and what other people are saying, think about it a bit – and then address what they are saying.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 17.1.1

        He’s said it three times now, this poor excuse for a Bellman.

        I always wonder whether they believe the lies and hate speech they spew out, or whether they’re just too fucking stupid to understand the issues involved. I think Naki Man falls into the latter category.

        • KJT 17.1.1.1

          Often just uncomprehending/unthinking, or badly informed.

          I find if I describe individual cases to even the most rabid right winger, they answer, “we should be helping that person more, but what about these people?”
          Then they go on to recount one of the ten welfare myths.
          http://werewolf.co.nz/2011/02/ten-myths-about-welfare/
          Of course it is more comfortable to believe in the myths, than admitting the truth, that we can get to pay a few dollars less tax, by keeping thousands of children in poverty.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 17.1.1.1.1

            I think Naki Man just wants to wear a uniform and drive one of the trucks.

      • lprent 17.1.2

        And if you don’t then a moderator gets annoyed and terminates your ability to leave comments…

    • so..naki man..

      ..how do those countries that have the least/minimal child poverty…

      ..how do they do this..?

      ..d’yareckon..?

      ..and you do know a definition of ‘poverty’ is not having enough money for a basic standard of living..?

      ..so however you look at it..

      ..contrary to what you say..

      ..’more money’ will help them..

      ..in fact..for any ‘solution’ not involving ‘more money’…

      ..that will just bring you back to the deeply cynical justifications/lies of bennett..

      ..and no real changes/improvements..

      ..and of course..this attitude you express is partly yet another manifestation of the nine years of brainwashing under labour..

      ..that there are ‘good/deserving-poor children’..and ‘bad/undeserving-poor children’..

      ..which involved a labour govt turning their backs on those poorest..cutting their incomes..and added insult to injury with all those tory-hectoring labour ministers..and clark..

      ..who peddled this poison..

      ..and of course this all climaxed with ‘working for (some) families’..eh..?

      ..you are just spouting that same old labour-neo-lib bullshit..

      ..that stuff that so/too many who still stare out at us from the labour benches..

      ..peddled for those nine long years..

      ..and what i still not have heard them resile from..let alone apologise for..

      ..phillip ure..

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 17.2.1

        Nah, Naki Man wasn’t brainwashed: Labour certainly encouraged his cretinous hatred, but he seems a bit of a Titford to me: he wants to start building “work” “camps”: all he lacks is the authority.

        • KJT 17.2.1.1

          Naki doesn’t realise how lucky he was to be born in New Zealand.

          Where we support everyone.

          Rather than a country where people with his level of comprehension, live in cardboard boxes on the street.

          • Arfamo 17.2.1.1.1

            I see nothing in Naki Man’s comments that even warrants discussion. Why not let him or her just flame away until he or she gets bored and goes away?

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 17.2.1.1.1.1

              For the same reason that I’d intervene to stop someone being beaten. When a bully steps forward the best thing to do is step forward first, to confront the bully and see to it that they answer for their behaviour. Telling the loser lefties what for is all part of that Titford character, that born-to-rule arrogance.

              There was a time when I had difficulty understanding the contempt with which older hands would refer to “scabs”.

              • Arfamo

                Fair enough. But Naki Man seems pretty clearly the type who you can hit over the head with a brick numerous times to get them to see reason and they carry on ranting regardless, completely unaware the brick has by now pushed their head into their sternum.

    • McFlock 17.3

      Here’s the funny thing about poverty:

      If you give enough money to poor people, it DOES solve their poverty problem!

    • @ Naki Man – “More money will not help them.”

      Is that why Key gave two tax cuts in 2009 and 2010 to the top income earners in this country?

  17. Ad 18

    A development to watch for is NZ Treasury’s “Social Development Bonds”.

    These are Treasury bonds where there’s a social provider who gets the principal to carry out the social development, and there’s a risk taker (the bond-holder) who gets a premium. But the bond holder gets the premium only on successful completion of the social development outputs by the provider.

    The essence of this is that the state outsources risk for social development (or “poverty” if you like) as a whole.

    This is under active discussion with the major donor trusts and Treasury right now.

    • just saying 18.1

      God, what a nightmare.

      So the social agencies that are supposed to help pick up the losers of this cruel capitalist game, have to pick the best-off losers to help – those with the most personal resources already – in order to satisfy their shareholders and procure future “investors” – in order to have any resources to help anyone at all. That and fiddle the numbers

      Sounds very familiar….

  18. Ad 19

    An interesting initiative that occurred in the UK a couple of years ago is the state passing legislation about long-dormant bank accounts.

    UK banks were creaming interest and asset-worthiness from many many accounts dormant for decades ie those with no apparent beneficiaries, long dead or vanished. Banks were able to register them as assets on their books.

    UK banks had no legitimacy to the benefits of having those accounts. So the state passed legislation that those accounts dormant for over 15 years were effectively appropriated by the state into an utterly massive multi-billion pound fund.

    The fund is dedicated to social development with the third sector.

    Would probably take a bold government to do that here, but (I understand) it really motivates the social development third sector.

  19. tricledrown 20

    Naki
    Our prime minister was the product of you can’ t feed em etc
    He was also the product of the anti poverty policies of the first labour govt.
    Relative poverty has just as bad effects as abject poverty.
    Jobs are going to be harder to comeby new technology and cheap slave labour in developing countries.
    We need a less damaging abatement system especially as the future is going to be more about casual part time work.
    Most people who use the unemployment benefit are only on it for a short time.
    Naki by labeling all beneficiries you are just a nasty bully.
    I beieve their are nicer ways to improve our communities than ignorant short sighted nasty bullying.

  20. Fisiani 21

    How many children are actually wealthy? I suspect not many other than a few budding teenage entrepreneurs perhaps. Childhood wealth should surely be a good thing if childhood poverty is deemed to be a bad thing.
    Children in families that do have not much disposable income is a more accurate term than the emotive term childhood poverty which is somewhat meaningless.
    Children in families on intergenerational benefits are obviously most at risk. Thank goodness the government is getting tens of thousands off benefits and into work. Thank goodness the 90 day right to prove yourself law is allowing employers to give beneficiaries with children a chance to earn a decent living. Freeing children from welfare is the real key to helping children and Paula Bennett is investing millions to emancipate the people of New Zealand (for that is the name of our country rather than the Pakeha School Journal inspired name Aotearoa see Michael King -The Penguin History of New Zealand )

    • KJT 21.1

      The right to be a total slave to a poor and incompetent, employers whims for 89 days law, before they sack you for another employee that they can abuse with impunity, knowing that your only other choice is a 13 week stand down, with no money, if you quit sooner.

      Almost worse than the McD merry go around, where they take on a WINZ subsidised employee, then cut their hours as soon as the subsidy runs out, so they have to leave and make room for another subsidised employee.

      Or the part time employee rort, where an employer sets the hours and the call requirements so that the employee cannot take another “casual” job, but the employer never gives them full time hours. Which is what the POAL wharfies were fighting against.

      Already picked up the pieces, in the form of suicidal teenagers, after several rounds of this shit.

      No wonder why some give up on the idea of work altogether.

      Employers already had options for, fair, trials. I’ve had potential employees myself on “work experience” from training centres, and for mutually agreed trails. My best apprentice was an ex burgler and gang member, by the way.

      The training centre trainees, your only obligation is to help them build their work skills, while you can assess their capability, FFS. What more do you need?

      If you can’t assess an employee in a few weeks, or train them to do the job you want, then I suggest you should be looking at your own management skills.
      Contrary to some incompetent managers and supervisors belief, most people want to do a good job and do work they can take pride in.

      Lastly. The 90 day trial restricts labour mobility, the last thing employers really need.
      Employees that have had enough of the job, and want to move on, stay put because of the insecurity for the first 90 days of a new job. You get people, who hate the job, coasting along, instead of looking for another.

      • Rogue Trooper 21.1.1

        been eating your spinach too; you oughta busk ’em right in the mush.(“That’s all I can stands cuz I can’t stands n’more”).

    • Flip 21.2

      @Fsiani

      ‘Thank goodness the government is getting tens of thousands off benefits and into work.’ Sure numbers are being forced off the benefit but how do you know they are going into work. Is that work improving the quality life for their children? I think without an appropriate research there may be some conclusion jumping.

      I agree the 90-day rule allows employers to take a risk and it is working out for some. There are some who are also abusing the rule and workers and until their is an appropriate balance then it is not a ‘success’.

    • KJT 21.3

      Fizzer. I know a great many teenagers who the Government got, “Off” benefits.

      Including several who live in our basement, on and off, cleaning out all the baked beans in our fridge.

      Applying along with thousands of others for non-existent jobs while WINZ staff keep inventing petty reasons to keep them off the rolls.

      Occasionally getting apart time Mcjobs that are not enough to live on, but again gives WINZ an excuse to get them off the welfare roll.

      They haven’t moved “off” into jobs. They have moved off onto living, as best they can, on friends or family, if they have any.

      There are no bloody jobs to move “off” to!

  21. The new Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills could see that the failure to properly measure such an important statistic was crazy.

    Actually, what’s crazy here is that we’ve spent 40 years actively encouraging the production of children in an environment that’s likely to result in child poverty, neglect and abuse, and now we’re wringing our hands about increasing child poverty, neglect and abuse. Uh, duh-uh.

    The reason Bennett’s “beneficiary-bashing” is so popular is that most voters are rational enough to figure out that doing something to discourage the production of children in dodgy environments makes sense and upping the financial incentives for such production would not. The inability or unwilingness to recognise that will be a major shortcoming of the next Labour government.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 22.1

      “Makes sense”.

      Only to authoritarian dupes.

      • Psycho Milt 22.1.1

        You’re chuffed at 40 years of increase in the proportion of parents and children totally dependent on state authorities, but I’m the authoritarian – makes as much sense as anything else you post here, I guess.

        • McFlock 22.1.1.1

          40 years?

          …because we didn’t have child poverty before the DPB?

          why do you think it was introduced?

          • Psycho Milt 22.1.1.1.1

            …because we didn’t have child poverty before the DPB?

            We did, yes. But it’s been increasing, apparently – didn’t you read the post?

            why do you think it was introduced?

            Not so that we could build up a significant proportion of children of being raised by sole parents on benefits, I’m pretty sure.

            • Arfamo 22.1.1.1.1.1

              I have a niece whose chosen lifestyle includes having children she intends to raise on the benefit with a part-time, non-live-in boyfriend-cum-dad who presumably meets her other needs on as required basis. I disapprove and no longer have anything to do with her – it’s all about what she wants and not about what a child needs.

              I don’t know how she’ll get on with the more stringent job search requirements but she’s just had another child so I guess that puts that problem off for another year or so. She struggles financially and bludges off her parents and charities to do it. But as for how many others choose to do this, and whether it’s really that big a problem, who knows? We never seem to see any actual statistics on the matter.

              • KJT

                Stats NZ has the numbers.

                If you look at the total numbers of young mothers, on the DPB, if breeding for a living is a lifestyle choice, then it is not a popular one!

                If it is, then the answer is to give young women better choices.

                If most of your peers are either on the dole or participating in the “McD merry go round” then “breeding for a living” may look like a good option.

                • Arfamo

                  Well, KJT, this lady simply only “wants to be a mum” and always has done, and doesn’t care about who will fund her choice of “career”. Most of her peers and all of her sisters are not on the dole and have no such aspirations – this is a decidedly upper middle class family. I’ll check out what Stats NZ has by way of numbers. I doubt that she is typical of the usual profile, but who knows. Numbers alone don’t tell us much. But if there was no DPB, perhaps she wouldn’t have chosen this option.

                  • KJT

                    There will always be a few people who abuse the system, like Bill English.

                    Or a friends ex. She has to pack a lunch when her children visit their dad, even though he is a millionaire. He has never paid child support either.

                    It is no reason, though, to stop welfare for the majority, who are in genuine need. Including the children of the woman, in question.

                    • Arfamo

                      The DPB was meant for women like your friend’s ex. It wasn’t meant for women like my niece. Frankly she is simply using the fact she’s had them and that having been brought into the world they need to be fed and clothed, housed and educated to force someone else to pay for her lifestyle choice. Personally I think she is suffering a long-standing personality disorder and that her kids will stand a good chance of being dysfunctional and bitter when they hit their teens.

                      She is one of those who cause others in genuine need from abandonment to be penalised and vilified by this government.

                    • KJT

                      There will always be a few who take advantage.

                      We can afford the few millions lost through the small proportion of welfare recipients that do so.

                      We cannot afford the billions lost through those at the top end, who will not pay their share, despite having most of our wealth.

                    • KJT

                      There will always be a few who take advantage.

                      We can afford the few millions lost through the small proportion of welfare recipients that do so.

                      We cannot afford the billions lost through those at the top end, who will not pay their share, despite having most of our wealth.

                      And. Sorry. Poor wording. It is the friend who was on the DPB.
                      Now working as a Teacher, after bringing up two boys with no help from their father..
                      Her ex, is the wealthy bludger who went off with another woman..

            • KJT 22.1.1.1.1.2

              I hate to burst your bubble, but, the statistically typical women on the DPB, have reasonably well off ex husbands who hide their income to avoid paying child support, are middle aged and had the children while thinking they were in a secure relationship and/or employment.
              They are most often women who have had to leave a relationship because of violence, divorce or because the husband has found a younger version.

              The hords of over-breeding teenage mums taking over the world is a product of the fevered imaginations of some middle aged men. I suspect the ones who were not popular with the girls at high school..

            • McFlock 22.1.1.1.1.3

              The big spike in child poverty was in 1991.
              Not when the dpb was introduced.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 22.1.1.2

          “Chuffed” – citation needed.

          And yes, authoritarian, victim blaming, as though the poverty is caused by the actions of the poor – their “bad choices”. Right wing drivel by any other name.

    • Flip 22.2

      @Physco Milt
      You’ll need to explain how we have ‘actively encouraging the production of children’. I hadn’t noticed it. I thought it has been about contraception and abortion education and planned parenting. The only thing that has been encouraged is growth. That does come from children but birth rates in NZ have declined. I won’t bother with the rest of your ‘point’ as it depends on a false assertion.

      • Psycho Milt 22.2.1

        I probably wouldn’t have to explain it if you’d read the whole clause, which is “encouraging the production of children in an environment that’s likely to result in child poverty, neglect and abuse.” That has nothing to do with birth rates or population growth.

        • KJT 22.2.1.1

          Surely then, the answer is to change the environment.

          If the Psycho Milts of this world were really concerned about poor children they would be advocating the surest method of ensuring children are not born into poverty. Eradicating poverty!

          And, if they were really concerned about a high number of births to poor women they would be advocating the one proven method of lowering birth rates of poor women. Increasing the wealth, status and choices available to young women.

          • Psycho Milt 22.2.1.1.1

            …the surest method of ensuring children are not born into poverty. Eradicating poverty!

            Brilliant! I suggest we do this as soon as we’ve finished ensuring people don’t suffer illness by eradicating illness.

            Surely then, the answer is to change the environment.

            Exactly. We need to change the environment in which people without the means, ability or inclination to raise children are paid to produce them. The question is, how do we do that while still satisfying the original purpose of the DPB?

            ..if they were really concerned about a high number of births to poor women they would be advocating the one proven method of lowering birth rates of poor women. Increasing the wealth, status and choices available to young women.

            Worth a try. Let’s see – we could offer stuff like, oh I dunno – maybe state housing, a public health system, a social welfare system, a public education system, subsidised contraception. I’m sure if the government just cared enough and was brave enough to implement those things, this problem would quickly solve itself – oh, wait…

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 22.2.1.2

          This has nothing to do with birth rates and population growth, and everything to do with victim blaming and cant. Plus what KJT said.

        • Flip 22.2.1.3

          Picked up on the word ‘actively’ in your original post which you left out of the second. I could not understand how the government had actively encouraged the production of children.

          I agree it is an irresponsible choice to have children when you cannot afford them or to obtain a benefit but some people are. The poor do not have the monopoly on irresponsibility just fewer choices about how to be irresponsible and no money to cover it up.

          Perhaps some education in values and responsibility would be more useful.

    • miravox 22.3

      What’s crazy here is that we’ve spent 40 years actively encouraging the production of substandard or unaffordable housing and the reduction of wages, education and employment to such an extent that four out of 10 children who are living in poverty are in families with (a) working parent(s).

      Stressed, poor and over-extended parents increase the likelihood of neglect and abuse. The inability or unwillingness to recognise this will see the demise of the current National government.

  22. Philj 23

    Xox

    Naki,
    For your own good, I suggest you hold on to your money really tightly, just in case…

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    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections Now in his ninth year as prime minister, Justin Trudeau has sought to position Canada as a global climate leader, touting one of the world’s highest taxes on carbon pollution, clean fuel regulations, and clean technology tax credits. Yet Canada’s per-person climate pollution remains stubbornly ...
    3 days ago
  • Untold back-stories: the little things media don't tell us but which are nevertheless pertinent
    ..Thanks for reading Frankly Speaking ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.In an article entitled "School donations continue to yield millions of dollars for wealthier schools" on RNZ's website on 19 February, Data journalist Farah Hancock reported on the fees ("donations") that (some) schools were ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Untold back-stories: the little things media don't tell us but which are nevertheless pertinent
    ..Thanks for reading Frankly Speaking ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.In an article entitled "School donations continue to yield millions of dollars for wealthier schools" on RNZ's website on 19 February, Data journalist Farah Hancock reported on the fees ("donations") that (some) schools were ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Efeso Collins – Gone Too Soon.
    My wife’s breathing was heavy beside me as I woke this morning, still dark. Yesterday, and it’s awful news, came crashing into my head and I lay there quietly crying.Thinking of Efeso’s family and loved ones. Of so many people who knew him and were devastated by the shocking news. ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • Efeso Collins spoke in Parliament only yesterday on bill which will regulate social workers (and vot...
    Buzz from the Beehive Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and other party leaders have been paying tribute to Green MP Fa’anānā Efeso Collins, who collapsed and died during a ChildFund charity run in central Auckland this morning, . The event, near Britomart, was to support local communities in the Pacific. Collins, ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    4 days ago
  • This is corrupt
    Earlier in the month, a panel of "independent" experts in Wellington produced recommendations for the future of housing in the city, and they were a bit shit, opposing intensification and protecting the property values of existing homeowners. Its since emerged that they engaged in some pretty motivated reasoning on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Efeso Collins
    God, life can be cruel sometimes can’t it?If only everyone was like him. He was so very warm, so very generous, so very considerate, so very decent. Plenty of people have those qualities but I can think of hardly anyone I've met who had them as richly as he did.Let me ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • CHRIS TROTTER:  Is applying “tough love” to a “fragile” nation the right answer?
      The Question Christopher Luxon Needs To Ask –  And Answer:  How was it possible for a nation of barely three million citizens to create and maintain an infrastructure that functioned, schools and universities that turned out well-educated and enterprising citizens, a health system that kept its people healthy, and a ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • DON BRASH: Is an independent foreign policy really feasible?
    Don Brash writes – A week or so ago, Helen Clark and I argued that New Zealand would be nuts to abandon the independent foreign policy which has been a characteristic of New Zealand life for most of the last 40 years, a policy which has seen us ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • YVONNE VAN DONGEN: So proud
    Ratepayers might well ask why they are subsidising people who peddle the lie that it is possible to be born in the wrong body and people can change sex. The preponderance of events advertising as ‘queer’ is a gender ideology red flag. Yvonne Van Dongen writes –  It ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • S&P slams new Govt's council finance vacuum
    Wellington Water workers attempt to resolve a burst water main. Councils are facing continuing uncertainty over how to pay to repair and expand infrastructure. The Wellington Regional Council was one of those downgraded. File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has downgraded the outlooks for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Resigns.
    Yesterday the man that I admire most in NZ politics called time.Around the middle of yesterday news began to filter out. People were posting unconfirmed reports that Grant Robertson was taking a new role as Vice-Chancellor at Otago Uni. Within an hour it became clear that he was indeed retiring ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Auckland’s City Rail Link will fail immediately… in the best possible way
    This post was originally published on Linked In by Nicolas Reid. It is republished here with permission. Here’s the thing: the City Rail Link is almost certainly going to be overcapacity from day one, with crowding on the trains at peak times. In the simple terms of popular transport ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    4 days ago
  • You can’t always get what you want
    Grant Robertson is leaving Parliament for two new careers, having been frustrated and blocked from achieving some of his biggest political ambitions. So, he is returning to Dunedin, and, unusually for a former finance minister, with seemingly no ambitions to enter the business world. Instead, he will become Vice Chancellor ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • At a glance – Was Greenland really green in the past?
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    5 days ago
  • Sharp-elbowed and loving it
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    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Sharp-elbowed and loving it
    It doesn't seem to take a lot to persuade someone who feels they work their guts out that in fact no one is working as hard as me.It doesn't seem to take a lot to persuade someone who knows somebody taking the welfare system for a ride that they’re all ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Then why did she do it?
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Is Applying “Tough Love” To A “Fragile” Nation The Right Answer?
    The Question Christopher Luxon Needs To Ask –  And Answer: How was it possible for a nation of barely three million citizens to create and maintain an infrastructure that functioned, schools and universities that turned out well-educated and enterprising citizens, a health system that kept its people healthy, and a workforce ...
    5 days ago
  • The limits to realism.
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    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • UNSOCIAL MEDIA – Following the Trolls
    From TODAY FM archives — Wilhelmina Shrimpton and Simon Morrow take a deep dive into trolling and cyberbullying. From the high profile to the general public, Kiwis across all walks of life are being targeted, and some are paying the ultimate price. So what drives us to troll, who is ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    5 days ago
  • Govt prescribes stiff medicine for some beneficiaries while easing access to drugs containing pseudo...
    Buzz from the Beehive One of two new announcements on the government’s official website  – given plenty of publicity by the mainstream media over the past 24 hours – has been pitched as the first steps in a “reset” of the welfare system.  Stiff medicine for beneficiaries, in effect. The ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    5 days ago
  • We’re not as fragile or as lazy as Luxon says
    Luxon says his government is one that is “prepared to make those hard decisions”. File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has adopted the language of Ruth Richardson before her 1991 ‘Mother of All Budgets’ in arguing for benefit sanctions to bolster the Government finances, which ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Talking over the Silence.
    Please open the doorNothing is different, we've been here beforePacing these hallsTrying to talk over the silenceIf I was to describe what I do, or at least the way it sometimes feels, then talking over the silence wouldn’t be a bad way to do so.Not that there aren’t other voices ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • LINDSAY MITCHELL: National needs to go further
    Lindsay Mitchell writes – In today’s State of the Nation speech Christopher Luxon talked repeatedly about getting young people off welfare. It seems that National has devised a traffic light system which will use increasing levels of sanctions – welfare deductions – when beneficiaries fail to meet their ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on National spreading panic about the economy
    It is a political strategy as old as time. Scare the public with tales of disaster and stampede them into supporting your ideological agenda because they believe There Is No Alternative. Yet, if the NZ economy truly is as “fragile” as PM Christopher Luxon says it is… Then how come ...
    5 days ago
  • The promise of passive house design
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Sarah Wesseler Imagine a home so efficient that it could be heated with a hair dryer. That’s the promise of a passive house, a design standard that’s becoming increasingly popular in the architecture community for its benefits to occupants and the climate. ...
    5 days ago
  • Deep in the Uncanny Valley of AI
    Hi,Before we get started, some very big fun Webworm news. I am launching a new journalism fund called Big Worm Farm!A really great thing that’s happened with Webworm over the last four years is that it’s grown. That’s great for a few reasons.Firstly — it means the work here gets ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • Introducing: Big Worm Farm
    Hi,I’m excited to tell you about Big Worm Farm.Put simply, the main aim of Big Worm Farm is to support investigative journalists from around the world to be able to devote dedicated time to research and report on a specific story, to be published on Webworm.The stories will capture the ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • Why Massey is broke
    The Tertiary Education Commission has named the two universities it says are at high risk financially. They are Massey and Victoria. The Commission appeared before Parliament’s Education Select Committee yesterday and offered a revealing and rare insight into the complex world of university economics. Its Briefing to the Incoming Minister ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • You keep Luxin' when you oughta be thruthin'
    Christopher Luxon’s campaign to win last year's election continued yesterday with a speech.Channelling possibly Bruce Willis in Die Hard, he was all, I'm not going to dress it up, I'm going to level with you guys: the state of the nation is fragile.The thing he’s maybe missing is that it ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • The PM spoke of the need for tough choices – and then opted to beat a retreat when gays and Gaza a...
    Buzz from the Beehive The PM’s State of the Nation speech – according to a Newshub headline – was a ‘buffet of buzzwords’ and full of ‘nonsense’. Fair to say, the quoted words were attributed to Opposition politicians, who were unlikely to say the speech was visionary and inspiring: PM ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    6 days ago
  • Keynesian Wisdom.
    When the facts change, I change my mind - what do you do, sir?John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946)This posting is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    6 days ago
  • BRIAN EASTON: Puffing policy
    Public policy towards tobacco consumption remains politically sensitive. Brian Easton writes – In 1983, a young researcher was told by a medium-level Treasury official that Treasury policy was to abandon excise duties on tobacco. The senior Treasury economist that I consulted, famed for his commonsense, snorted ‘we ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago
  • Is 2.8% per year population growth too much?
    TL;DR: The Government is reviewing migration settings that produced 2.8% population growth last year and is looking at a longer-term strategy of matching population growth to the ‘absorbtive capacity’ of Aotearoa-NZ’s infrastructure.Our population grew last year at its fastest rate since 1947, when large numbers of troops returning from World ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Tough Choices & Tough Love.
    I've been trying to hurt youI've been holding you tightI've been learning to love youAm I doing it right?How are you still breathingWith my hands all over your heart?How do we start healingIf we can't keep out the dark?Yesterday the Prime Minister delivered his State of the Nation, for no ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Will the 2024 RLTP be yet another debacle?
    A couple of years ago, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport found themselves in court over the 2021 Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP). A non-profit alliance for transport decarbonisation, All Aboard Aotearoa, argued that among other factors, the RLTP was unlawful because it failed to give effect to the 2021 Government ...
    6 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #07
    A listing of 31 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, Feb 11, 2024 thru Sat, Feb 17, 2024. Story of the week Based on mission alignment, our Story of the Week is certainly Can we be inoculated against climate ...
    7 days ago
  • Immigration Issues.
    Help is comingI heard a whisperWhite caps turningThe breath of summerA distant drummingAnd liar birds callingEscape the anguish of our pastAnd prayOne of the major challenges of the the 21st century will be the mass migration of human beings around our globe.Some seeking economic opportunities, others fleeing repressive regimes, war ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Trust us, we know what we’re doing
    The best trick the National Party ever pulled was to fabricate their reputation as the responsible ones.This would be the National Party that denied us the New Zealand Superannuation Scheme that—Brian Gaynor wrote back in 2007would be worth more than $240 billion today and would have transformed the New Zealand ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • The Left’s Timidity
    It is not just Karl Marx – even the most enthusiastic supporters of the market economy (not least Adam Smith) will concede that its normal operation inevitably leads to a concentration of wealth in relatively few hands. Some, at least, of these enthusiasts will accept that such a concentration is ...
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    1 week ago
  • OLIVER HARTWICH: Absurd – NZ courts can now decide on climate change
    Oliver Hartwich writes – The World Justice Project ranks New Zealand 7th out of 142 countries on its ‘Rule of Law Index’, narrowly ahead of Australia’s 13th place. However, Australia still has hope – if only because of a recent decision by the Supreme Court of New Zealand. The ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    1 week ago
  • Still waiting on that turnaround
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past week’s editions.Friday: Week in review, quiz style2. Shane Jones’ demeanour in mocking and deriding climate activists can be observed in what other realm of human behaviour?a. Gleeful little boys pulling wings off fliesb. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Can we be inoculated against climate misinformation? Yes – if we prebunk rather than debunk
    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article written by Christian Turney, University of Technology Sydney and Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge and first published on February 14, 2024. Adrien Demers/Shutterstock Last year, the world experienced the hottest day ...
    1 week ago
  • Mihi Forbes and the great Atlas conspiracy
    Graham Adams writes — Last week, Mihingarangi Forbes made an extraordinary claim while interviewing David Seymour on Mata Reports, a taxpayer-funded current affairs programme which, she says, looks at events through an “indigenous lens”. She asked him about Act’s links to the Atlas Network, which fosters connections between centre-right ...
    Point of OrderBy gadams1000
    1 week ago
  • Puffing Policy
    Public policy towards tobacco consumption remains politically sensitive. In 1983, a young researcher was told by a medium-level Treasury official that Treasury policy was to abandon excise duties on tobacco. The senior Treasury economist that I consulted, famed for his commonsense, snorted ‘we need the money’. He explained that no-excise-duty ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago

  • Government backs police to crackdown on gangs
    The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell.  “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase. At the same time, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Northland’s new Kāeo Bridge officially open
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed the official opening of the new State Highway 10 (SH10) Kāeo Bridge, which will improve safety and traffic flow for people heading to and from the Far North. “This is an important piece of infrastructure for the Northland region that will help members of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Dry weather triggers extra support for farmers and growers across the top of the South Island
    The coalition Government is providing support for farmers and growers as dry conditions worsen across the top of the South Island. “Conditions on the ground across the Marlborough, Tasman, and Nelson districts are now extremely dry and likely to get worse in the coming months,” Agriculture Minister Todd McClay said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Trade Minister heads to Abu Dhabi for key WTO negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay travels to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) today, to take up his role as Vice Chair of the negotiations. The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body within the WTO and meets every ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Appointment round for King’s Counsel announced
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced an appointment round for King’s Counsel will take place in 2024. Appointments of King’s Counsel are made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Attorney-General and with the concurrence of the Chief Justice. The Governor-General retains the discretion to appoint King’s Counsel in recognition ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Retiring Chief of Navy thanked for his service
    Defence Minister Judith Collins has thanked the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, for his service as he retires from the Royal New Zealand Navy after 37 years. Rear Admiral Proctor will retire on 16 May to take up an employment opportunity in Australia.  “I would like to thank ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Indonesian Vice President to visit New Zealand
    Indonesia’s Vice President Ma’ruf Amin will visit New Zealand next week, the first here by an Indonesian leader since 2018, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has announced. “New Zealand and Indonesia have a strong partnership,” Mr Peters says.  “The Vice President’s visit is an opportunity to discuss how we can strengthen ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government boost to fight against caulerpa
    The battle to contain the fast-spreading exotic caulerpa seaweed has today received a $5 million boost to accelerate the development of removal techniques, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The time is now to really lean in and build on the work of Biosecurity New Zealand, mana whenua, communities and local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister attending Australian data, digital meeting
    Minister for Digitising Government Judith Collins is in Sydney to attend the first Data and Digital Ministers’ Meeting of 2024.  “This is a great opportunity to connect with our Australian counterparts and identify how we can work together on digital transformation,” Ms Collins says.   “Both our nations are looking into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Appointments to Antarctica New Zealand Board
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has appointed Leon Grice and Heather Simpson to serve on the Antarctica New Zealand board.  “Since taking office, the Coalition Government has become concerned about the direction of the Scott Base Redevelopment Project,” Mr Peters says.  “It is vital that Antarctica New Zealand has the right ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Strengthening the Single Economic Market
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis has met with Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers to discuss the opportunities to lower business costs and increase the ease with which businesses and people can operate across the Tasman.     “I have met with Treasurer Chalmers and shared our new Government’s ambitious economic goals, our plans ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government to address business payment practices
    The Government will repeal the Business Payment Practices Act 2023, Small Business and Manufacturing Minister Andrew Bayly announced today. “There is a major problem with large market players imposing long payment terms and routinely paying invoices late. “However, the Business Payment Practices Act is not an effective solution and would ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Greater focus on work will reduce child poverty
    Worsening child poverty rates support the Coalition Government’s focus on reducing the cost of living and getting people into work, Child Poverty Reduction Minister Louise Upston says. Figures released by Stats NZ today show child poverty rates have increased, with the rising cost of living, driven by inflation, making it ...
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    3 days ago
  • NZ announces new support for Ukraine
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Judith Collins have marked two years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by announcing further support and sanctions, and extending our military assistance. “Russia launched its illegal, full-scale invasion of Ukraine, in blatant violation of international law, including the UN Charter,” Mr Peters says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Finance Minister to meet Australian Treasurer
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis will travel to Australia today to meet her Australian counterpart, Treasurer Jim Chalmers.    “New Zealand and Australia have an incredibly strong trade and investment relationship. The Closer Economic Relations and Single Economic Market are powerful engines for growth on both sides of the Tasman.     “I will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • PM shocked and saddened at death of Efeso Collins
    “I am truly shocked and saddened at the news of Efeso Collins’ sudden death,” Prime Minister Christopher Luxon says. “Efeso was a good man, always friendly and kind, and a true champion and advocate for his Samoan and South Auckland communities. “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go to his family, ...
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    4 days ago
  • Greater support for social workers
    The Coalition Government is enhancing the professionalism of the social work sector and supporting the vulnerable people who rely on them, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says.  The Social Workers Registration Legislation Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament today. It amends the Social Workers Registration Legislation ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government delivers greater freedom and choice for sick New Zealanders
    The coalition government is delivering on its commitment to making principled decisions by getting rid of red tape that doesn’t make sense and allowing sick New Zealanders greater freedom and choice to purchase effective cold and flu medicines. A bill amending the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is being introduced, and changes to the Medicines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government begins reset of welfare system
    The Coalition Government is taking early action to curb the surge in welfare dependency that occurred under the previous government by setting out its expectations around employment and the use of benefit sanctions, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. In 2017, 60,588 sanctions were applied to beneficiaries who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • State of the Nation
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora, good morning, talofa, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, da jia hao, namaste, sat sri akal, assalamu alaikum. Thank you for coming to my first State of the Nation as Prime Minister. Thank you for coming to a speech where I don’t just ...
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    1 week ago
  • West Coast tourism attractions officially open
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will attend the official opening of two highly anticipated tourism projects on the West Coast today – Pike29 Memorial Track, dedicated to the memory of the Pike River miners, and Pounamu Pathway. “The Pike29 Memorial Track is a way to remember and honour the men ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Independent ferry service advisory group in place
    Appointments to the Ministerial Advisory Group tasked with providing independent advice and assurance on the future of KiwiRail’s inter-island ferry service have been made, State Owned Enterprises Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “It’s important for New Zealand that KiwiRail is focused on ensuring safe, resilient, and reliable ferry services over the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Joint statement from the Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
    The Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand today issued the following statement on reports of Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah. We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah.   A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic. About 1.5 million Palestinians ...
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    1 week ago
  • Govt will deliver on expanded breast screening
    The coalition Government has made the first steps in delivering on its promise to  extend free breast screening to women aged 70-74, Health Minister Shane Reti says. “As part of the 100 day plan, the Government has now met with officials and discussed what is needed in order for the ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government announces woolshed roadshows in support of sheep farmers
    The Government celebrates National Lamb Day (15 February 24) and congratulates sheep farmers on the high-quality products they continue to produce. Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament this week to mark the anniversary of the first frozen lamb exports that left ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech: Address to the NZ Economics Forum
    It’s great to be back at the New Zealand Economics Forum. I would like to acknowledge everyone here today for your expertise and contribution, especially the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Head of the Waikato Management School, economists, students and experts alike. A year has passed since I was last before you, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government tackling high construction costs
    The Government is focused on reducing sky-high construction costs to make it more affordable to build a home, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says.  Stats NZ data shows the cost of building a house has increased by 41 per cent since 2019, making housing even more unaffordable for Kiwi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Three Waters legislation repealed
    The Coalition Government’s legislative plan to address longstanding issues with local water infrastructure and service delivery took an important step today, with the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing our Local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Cost of living support for beneficiary households
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to ease the cost-of-living by increasing main benefit rates in line with inflation and ensuring the Minimum Family Tax Credit threshold remains aligned with this change, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. The Social Security (Benefits Adjustment) and Income Tax ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government announces agriculture delegations to better support Primary sector
    The coalition Government has announced ministerial delegations to support key areas across the Primary sector to deliver for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced today. “I will be supported in my roles as Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Hunting and Fishing, by three Associate ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Waikato MoU reinforces Govt’s commitment to increase NZ doctors
    The Government has taken an important step forward in addressing a critical shortage of New Zealand-trained doctors, with today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a third medical school, Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti has announced.  “Today’s signing by the Ministry of Health and the University of Waikato ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Speech – Lunar New Year 2024
    Annyeonghaseyo, greetings and welcome all. It is my pleasure as the Minister for Ethnic Communities to welcome you to the first Lunar New Year Event in Parliament. Thank you to our emcees for greeting us in the different languages that represent the many cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • More funding to Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti
    Urgent work to clean-up cyclone-affected regions will continue, thanks to a $63 million boost from the Government for sediment and debris removal in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.                                                                                                   The funding will help local councils continue urgent work removing and disposing of sediment and debris left from Cyclone Gabrielle.   “This additional ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Budget will be delivered on 30 May
    Plans to deliver tax relief to hard-working New Zealanders, rebuild business confidence and restore the Crown’s finances to order will be unveiled on 30 May, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says. The plans will be announced in the Budget which is currently being developed by Ministers.  “The last government’s mismanagement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government advances Local Water Done Well
    The Coalition Government is continuing work to restore council ownership and control of water assets by repealing Three Waters and appointing a Technical Advisory Group to provide expert advice on the implementation of Local Water Done Well, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “The Government will pass a bill to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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