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Child poverty – it’s not choice

Written By: - Date published: 10:35 am, December 15th, 2015 - 172 comments
Categories: accountability, class war, poverty - Tags: , , ,

As widely reported this morning:

Child poverty on the rise in New Zealand again – report

The latest annual Child Poverty Monitor report has found 305,000 children in 2014 were living in poverty, a 17 per cent rise from 2013’s 260,000.

After taking into account housing costs, that figure is the highest it has been since 2005 and reverses the trend of the last few years.

2005 was the year that the last Labour government introduced Working For Families, and sent child poverty on a downward trend for a few years.

The statistics are also significantly worse compared to decades ago, with 29 per cent of children now in poverty, compared to just 15 per cent in 1984.

“No matter how you measure poverty, everything points to things being far tougher than they were 30 years ago. That’s not right in a country like ours and it’s not fair,” Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills said.

Thank you neoliberal reforms. From The Herald:

Nearly one in three New Zealand children ‘living in poverty’

“Child poverty – it’s not choice.” That’s the message that outgoing Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills wants to spread through social media in a challenge to Government policy.

His latest annual Child Poverty Monitor, out today, says children living in households earning below 60 per cent of the median household income after housing costs, have almost doubled from 15 per cent of all children in 1984 to 29 per cent last year. Children hospitalised with poverty-related illnesses more than doubled in the 1990s and have increased further in the recent recession.

Political scientist Dr Bryce Edwards said the message was “a beautiful contrast” with Prime Minister John Key’s claim in 2011 that “anyone on a benefit actually has a lifestyle choice”.

“It has a double meaning,” he said. “It’s not ‘choice’, meaning it’s not a good thing. It’s also not the children’s choice.”

See #itsnotchoice, follow the Child Poverty Monitor on Twitter, Facebook or the web. In this the seventh year of the Brighter Future…


172 comments on “Child poverty – it’s not choice ”

  1. Paul 1

    The people who voted this government in a year ago knew this would be a consequence of their re-election.
    They do not have the excuse of ignorance for their action.

    They are selfish, greedy and contemptible.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Let’ be real here.

      Under Helen Clark’s Labour Government, child poverty kept increasing in NZ, at the same rate as the Ruthanasia years.

      And even before Key’s new government had a chance to make any difference to the country, child poverty rates were exploding.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        I’ll state it even more bluntly – Labour is a political party concerned for the top 50% of society.

        The fifth Labour Government mouthed concerns about child poverty but these statistics show that not only did it not do anything to reduce the number of children living in poverty from Ruthanasia days – but in fact it spent 3 terms in Government carrying out the kind of market driven economics which continued to worsen child poverty in NZ.

        • McFlock

          yes dear.

          And you campaigned for them.

          • Richard Christie

            And you campaigned for them.

            Presumably in the hope he might be able to turn them around from within.


            • Leftie

              Yeah right… Tui Ad.

              • Colonial Viper

                What do middle class professionals like McFlock give a damn?

                He swears black and blue that he is data driven and evidenced based – yet when faced with the facts of Labour’s appallingly dishonest performance around child poverty – he just shrugs and makes a joke of it.

                Labour kept NZ child poverty increasing at the same rate as the Ruth Richardson National government, while making life a bit more comfortable for those stationed above the lowest rungs of NZ society.

                And that’s the NZ Labour Party.

                • McFlock

                  You said “Under Helen Clark’s Labour Government, child poverty kept increasing in NZ, at the same rate as the Ruthanasia years.”

                  That is not the case. But rather than look more closely at a chart and thinking about why a line between two datapoints twenty years apart might be straight, and maybe even ask what happened to the points in between, once again you couldn’t resist shitting on the Labour party.

                  Slow clap there, Neo.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    It’s a dishonest chart, not my problem.

                    Happy to say that the data you point to shows the 5th Labour Government merely maintained child poverty at Ruthanasia levels, with a dip midway through their 3rd term.

                    Child poverty today under Key’s government is comparable to the first two terms of the Clark government.

                    • McFlock

                      yes dear. Labour are awful.

                      BTW, that “dip” seems to coincide with your loathed working-for-families that came in in 2004, but that must just be coincidence.

                • Pat

                  thats not quite true…the main damage was done by the “mother of all budgets” (National) which essentially there has been no recovery from, although the graph from the 2013 link does show a slight reduction towards the end of the Clark admin, probably aligned with the increases in FS provision….since then pretty much static

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Just pointing out that Labour is not going to do anything significant for child poverty next time around either – how can they, they believe in the same monetary and economic orthodoxy as National.

                    • Leaving aside your inability to read charts, CV, I think you made a small though significant grammatical error. You wrote ‘they’ when you meant ‘we’.

                    • Pat

                      agreed they didn’t make monumental changes to the stats, and consequently the lives of many facing those problems and society as a whole BUT they did make some improvement and thats more than the current lot, and not the disaster implemented by Richardson, Shipley and co

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Pat – a can give credit for a bit better than abysmal, but its going to be limited.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I think you made a small though significant grammatical error. You wrote ‘they’ when you meant ‘we’.

                      nah, the elite leadership clique in Labour can wear all the blame, especially the 1%’ers and the 2%’ers who are paid to run the show.

                    • Pat

                      I (and my family) would have been included in those stats at various times over the previous 30 years and I know which regime I prefer…yes the Clark gov stuck with the neolib religion but they made a way better fist of it…and its days are numbered.

                    • a bit nuremburgy isn’t it cv – you know, “not my fault guv”

                    • actually I would like to withdraw that comment and apologise to you for writing it cv.

                    • Nick Morris

                      Well, Colonial, can you think back that far?

                      As Pat said, the main damage was done by The Richardson cuts. But under Labour we were enjoying a period of economic expansion. Their first task had to be to put the country in a healthy fiscal situation after years of trickle down idiocy. We can thank that choice for the fact that we did not go out the back door after the earthquake or the GFC. It wasn’t mere good fortune.

                      The second thing they had to do was to help the working poor with families.

                      The third was to take a step towards cheaper education by making study debt more affordable (study was available in those days to DPB recipients and adult learner generally).

                      The next thing was to build literally thousands of State houses. (This was more than a decade ago. Seven years of Nat neglect have taken their toll on upkeep).

                      The next thing was to start a fund to help pay our Superannuation blow out.

                      The next thing was to introduce a carbon market to encourage sustainable production.

                      Next, savings had to be encouraged (compare the incentives then with now); (I wasn’t too keen on this one as it seemed to not be available to the poorer citizens, but we can’t agree with everything).

                      The point is, this was during a period of relatively low unemployment and with plenty of opportunities. The problems started later. Appropriate policies one day may be folly another.

                      It is ludicrous to judge the Clark administration by the issues of an entirely different set of circumstances.

                      How many of the above actions should they not have performed?

                • lurgee

                  What do middle class professionals like McFlock give a damn?

                  Ahahahahahahaha. Sorry, what do you do for a living again?

                  • McFlock

                    hush we’re not allowed to say things like that.

                    Frankly my mum would be proud to hear I’m a middle class professional, like teachers, social workers, medics and allied professionals.

                    Although no “middle class professional” could ever do as much to change the country as a permanently-frustrated demagogue.

  2. McFlock 2

    And this is taking a toll on children’s health: while deaths from injury and SUDI are continuing their decline, deaths and hospitalisations from medical conditions are on the rise. Breathing conditions topping the list of causes of both deaths and hospitalisations.


    • tracey 2.1

      I note Dr Nikki Turner suggests one measure is the rise of hospitalisations for preventable diseases.

      Tolley seems comfy with where thing sare at pointing to those drops in numbers of benefits as a sign that they are doing their bit. Of course were they to be clearly state where those people have gone, it would back their assertion and allay the suspicion some are being forced into further hardships.

  3. acrophobic 3

    The median household income stat is a nonsense for measuring poverty. With average incomes rising, those on fixed (lower) incomes will naturally be more likely to fall into this data set, whether they are worse off or not. What is true is that inflation is close to zero, interest rates are close to record lows, and beneficiaries are about to receive a real increase in income for the first time in 30 years. There is more to do, as a society, to alleviate hardship, but parroting misleading data about poverty is not going to assist.

    • McFlock 3.1

      Yes, focus on one particular measure of poverty, that way nobody will notice the dead babies you’re trying to hide.

    • tracey 3.2

      The MPs go pretty useful pay rises. Higher than $25 a week I think.

      The rise of children presenting at hospitals with preventable diseases might be a better indicator. What are your suggestions for short term solutions to that?

      “parroting misleading data about poverty is not going to assist.”

      And you’ve emailed Tolley, Bennett and Key and asked them to stop it, right?

    • greywarshark 3.3

      The first real increase in benefits for 30 years. Really? When did you last go to school and face an examination on what you have remembered, and how to apply your knowledge?

      The $25 rise does not go to all, those who receive it will find it swallowed up by inflation and price rises in the particular sectors that impact on beneficiaries.

      You are misnamed, you are agoraphobic – from the truth and the reality of life for those not in advantaged positions in our society.

      Google – Agoraphobia (ag-uh-ruh-FOE-be-uh) is a type of anxiety disorder
      in which you fear and often avoid places or situations
      that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.

      • acrophobic 3.3.1

        “The first real increase in benefits for 30 years. Really?”

        Yes. “A $790 million package to lift children out of poverty will see benefits rise beyond inflation for the first time in 30 years, but it won’t come for free.” http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/68742199/budget-2015-benefits-rise-in-bid-to-tackle-child-poverty

        “The $25 rise does not go to all, those who receive it will find it swallowed up by inflation and price rises in the particular sectors that impact on beneficiaries.”

        No, this rise is “beyond the rate of inflation”. “Beyond”. Inflation is very, very low in NZ, and has been for some years. This is a real increase, targeted to those most in need.

        • greywarshark

          The point I made about inflation being a rough standard for measuring value movement stands. Housing is affected by an inflation far higher than the CPI
          and while I understand there are different ways of assessing inflation as to how it affects different people, I wonder if there is one that specifically looks at the spending and price changes of beneficiaries and low-income people’s needs.
          You seem full of information, can you say what items are counted in the beneficiaries’ basket?

          • acrophobic

            By whom? If you’re asking my view, then I would say you would need to take into account the following:

            1. Benefit levels over time.
            2. The CPI, and it’s relationship to the above.
            3. Housing costs (including, specifically, house prices, interest rates and rentals).

            Another factor is the extent of benefit dependency for each household.

            Everyone’s circumstances are different, and I am certainly not in the camp that labels all beneficiaries with negative epithets. One answer to hardship is self determination, which comes with higher levels of employment (naturally I accept not all can work). What I find curious is the barrage of criticism against the current Govt, who have raised the real value of benefits for the first time in 30 years, maintained the welfare system despite a GFC, and kept interest and cost of living increases far lower than the last Labour government did.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Self determination trumps recession every time. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate goes up.

              Just another oxymoronic paradox the Right will fail to notice.

            • Gael

              And gave us $9b debt … ta very much..

    • weka 3.4

      “The median household income stat is a nonsense for measuring poverty. With average incomes rising, those on fixed (lower) incomes will naturally be more likely to fall into this data set, whether they are worse off or not. What is true is that inflation is close to zero, interest rates are close to record lows, and beneficiaries are about to receive a real increase in income for the first time in 30 years. There is more to do, as a society, to alleviate hardship, but parroting misleading data about poverty is not going to assist.”

      Not all beneficiaries are getting a rise in income, and housing and other core living costs continue to rise. We will also need to accommodate the cumulative effect of those 30 years (including intergenerationally) in order to get people out of poverty. The increase will certainly be welcome to those that get it, but let’s not pretend that this government or yourself actually cares if that gets them out of poverty or not (otherwise you’d not be using misleading data like the select benefit rise).

      • acrophobic 3.4.1

        “Thursday’s package is expected to affect about 110,000 families, with 190,000 children, living in the most severe hardship.”


        The increase is widespread and targeted. Just as income redistribution should be.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Personally I’m far more in favour of pre-distribution: give workers more power to negotiate higher pay (like union members get). Jail bad employers.

          That’ll help.

        • weka

          National cut all benefits by something like $20 in 1990. Plus Labour removed needs dependent hardship benefit (seeing as you are all about targeting). The new $25 increase to beneficiaries with children resets benefits to the poverty line. You are a fool if you think this lifts people out of poverty.

    • Richard@Down South 3.5

      You forget that the CPI is a terrible measure of inflation… it uses aggregate’s and doesn’t take into account large spikes (especially regionally) in food, rent (especially in Auckland/Christchurch), power, and it also uses items which people tend to buy infrequently when they only need (toasters, refrigerators, TV’s, lawn mowers, prams), carpets, garden hoses etc

      Who cares that its 20% cheaper than a year ago to buy a $3000 TV, when peoples rent went up 20%, and their power 10%, and the real cost of veges for the last year went up 25% (% values for increases pulled out of the air for example, but you get what I mean)

      Someone who is only paying rent, living week to week, buying food, and getting the minimum wage or slightly above, isn’t too concerned with whether a hose or toaster is cheaper to buy than it was a year ago

    • Korero Pono 3.6

      @ acrophobic, when you say that “beneficiaries are about to receive a real increase in income for the first time in 30 years”, a little known fact about this so-called increase will mean that a number of beneficiaries may not actually see this extra $25 per week, particularly those with the greatest need. See http://www.cpag.org.nz/news/?m=201505 . For example those receiving Temporary Additional Support will lose the equivalent amount of TAS making them no better off. For a lot of beneficiaries this increase is probably going to be like taking the wrapping off a present, only to discover it is an empty box…another slap in the face for those who need a real increase, not just the pretend one that makes this Government look good.

  4. Lanthanide 4

    As long as the definition of poverty is using a relative measure, the right and the general public at large are going to keep saying “this isn’t relevant, it’s not real poverty”.

    So, the people who are advocating that child poverty is a problem, need to come up with a new measure. Until they do, they’re just going to waste a huge amount of their time trying to defend the statistic, instead of getting anything done.

    The guy on the radio this morning was defending to Guyon Espiner why he was using that particular measure of poverty, and in his defense said “it doesn’t matter what measure you use, they all show an increase in poverty”. Great, so why don’t you use a different measure that won’t come under the same dreary attacks each time?

    Tilting at windmills might seem like you’re achieving something, but in reality you aren’t.

    • McFlock 4.1

      The thing is that no single measure will do. Relative measures show the place in that society. Material hardship lists the degree of enforced wants. GINI shows the disparity, but is a blunt tool. P80/20 is useful, but has similar drawbacks.

      But the thing is that having one measure for poverty is like having one measure for the weather. A balmy temperature can be comfortable with sun, but cause hypothermia in cloudy rain. A cloudless sky might be nice in winter, but the sun beating down on you in summer is not fun.

      What we do know is that there are strong correlations between being “relatively” poor and dying young, and plausible biomedical explanations as to why this might be (e.g. housing quality, overcrowding).

      • tracey 4.1.1

        Apparently we need a slide rule.

      • Bob 4.1.2

        “What we do know is that there are strong correlations between being “relatively” poor and dying young, and plausible biomedical explanations as to why this might be (e.g. housing quality, overcrowding).”
        Pull out those stats and push them in public then. They are stats that will actually hit home, rather than “relative poverty” stats that people scoff at when we are constantly hit with adverts for Red Cross, Unicef, World Vision, Child Fund etc that show children in absolute poverty, not relative poverty.

        Lanth is correct, as long as the relative poverty measure is used there will always be push-back on the stats rather than help to prevent the often shocking outcomes for these children.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          There will always be push back from right-wingers no matter what measure is used. They lost the slavery debate, the human rights debate (after a world war), the science debate, the economics debate: don’t expect them to give this up without a fight.

        • McFlock

          They are published.

          You simply choose to avoid them.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            McFlock your link doesn’t work for me. This one does.

          • Bob

            Broken link, but even if it worked why aren’t these stats Child Poverty Monitor group push to back their cause?
            Please point out where I said I avoid them? I simply pointed out the stats they use are not making an impact, mainly because they are using a measure that means nothing to the majority of people, and they are easily dismissed.

            Look at Rheumatic Fever as an example, a disease almost exclusive to those living in poverty. When the stats were presented that show Rheumatic fever was on the increase under this government they were forced to actually do something about it https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/rheumatic-fever-rates-drop-24-cent

            • Draco T Bastard

              I simply pointed out the stats they use are not making an impact, mainly because they are using a measure that means nothing to the majority of people, and they are easily dismissed.

              And there you went and did exactly what I said RWNJs do. Ignored the stats to focus on the measurement.

              • Bob

                Draco, have you read this thread at all? Start from that RWNJ Lanthanide and work your way down before commenting.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  So, that would mean that you don’t have a rebuttal to the fact that RWNJs always try to deflect from the stats.

            • McFlock

              Yes, when dragged kicking and screaming and offered a cheap, focussed solution on a plate, the nats will work to reduce a problem highly associated with poverty.

              They will never work to solve the major cause of that and many other problems, though: poverty itself.

              • Bob

                So let’s stop for a second and ask, is that better or worse than what they were doing when hit only with ‘Relative Poverty’ for the first 5 or 6 years in office?
                Yes it is shit, yes it is inadequate, but when hit with actual facts not some imaginary line (I grew up in relative poverty in the 80’s by these standards) they are actually forced to act. That is the point.
                When Labour is back in power feel free to go back to relative poverty as a measure, but beating your head against a brick wall and wondering why its still not moving is possibly not the best way to approach the issue with the current government.

                • McFlock

                  They have never “only” been hit with “relative” poverty.

                  They have also had all during that time the fact that the most deprived quintile in the country are many times more likely than the wealthiest quintiole to have their children be hospitalised or die not just from rheumatic fever, but also asthma/wheeze, pneumonia, gastoenteritis, SUDI, skin infections, etc etc etc.

                  Each and every year these reports are released. Each and every year you tories start the debate afresh. And you never fix the cause of the damned problem.

                  At least Lab5 made some moderate improvement, and I suspect that the rheumatic fever intervention was in the pipeline before national were elected.

                  But you know what? Poverty is an obvious problem to solve. Give the poorest people more money. Then they won’t be poor.

                  This is the bit where you fuck up the math and argue that the proportion of kids in poverty can’t be changed because you don’t understand how “below 50% median” works.

                  • Bob

                    “Poverty is an obvious problem to solve. Give the poorest people more money. Then they won’t be poor.”
                    That is bullshit and simplistic, are you saying that everyone who was poor then won lotto are suddenly wealthy for the rest of their lives?

                    “This is the bit where you fuck up the math and argue that the proportion of kids in poverty can’t be changed because you don’t understand how “below 50% median” works.”
                    This is the bit where the maths is fucked, if the worlds median wage stayed where it is, but the median wage in NZ shot up to $1m/year, anyone earning $400k/year would be in ‘relative poverty’ while driving their new Porsche. That is the extreme example of what the current stats actually show on a global basis: http://www.globalrichlist.com/ the NZ median wage is $68,600, so anyone on under $41,060 is in relative poverty. So if I earn $41,000 a year and have a child, I am in the top 2% of earners globally but my child is in relative poverty.
                    Can you not see why relative poverty doesn’t get political traction????

                    • McFlock

                      I recall trying to buy groceries in a really rich town hours from anywhere. Much more expensive than in a really poor town hours down the road.

                      That’s why relative poverty matters. That’s why babies in the poorest quintile in New Zealand are 2.3 to 3.4 times more likely to die in their first year of life than a rich baby. In NZ. Yes, someone in an incredibly poor nation is even more likely to die before their first birthday. But we are in New Zealand. We can change this with our votes.

                      You can quibble about the methodology all you want, but the dead babies are brutally honest.

                    • BM

                      How much of that is because Mum’s a druggie or a piss head?

                    • Paul

                      Can’t believe you quibble over this rather than showing concern about the deprivation existing in this country.
                      I guess, if you do that, you can absolve yourself of any responsibility for the levels of inequality and hardship.

                    • BM

                      Stop being so gullible

                      Sure there’s case of genuine poverty in NZ, there’s also a fuckload of cases where people are just doing dumb, stupid self harming shit and getting away with it, because do-gooders like yourself let them get away with it.

                      The key to sorting this poverty issue is to sort out the genuine cases from the ones that just need a good kick up the arse.

                      This no- fault approach to ‘poverty’ causes a hell of a lot more harm than what it solves.

                    • Tricledrown []

                      BM the govt this govt did some research on drug use by beneficiaries, what they found was only 2% were found to test positive the rest of the population including Benes where 10% were tested positive so with Benes on 2% the rest must be doing more than 10%.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      BM wants to punish the unemployed for recessions. Can anyone think of a good reason BM should not be punished for such egregious hate speech?

        • Draco T Bastard

          Pull out those stats and push them in public then.

          It has been done but the RWNJs focus only on the relative bit so that they can deny the actual problems that they’re causing.

          • Bob

            Here you go, here is another ‘Relative Poverty’ calculator based on global incomes: http://www.globalrichlist.com/
            Spoiler alert, full time work on the NZ minimum wage would put you in the top 4.52% of earners globally each year.

            This is why focusing on the issues associated with poverty is a far better idea than pushing ‘relative poverty’ when you have a government that has shown they are not interested in acting. Relative poverty is too easy to dismiss.

            • McFlock

              Well, some of us are focusing on the dead babies that result from the relative poverty here in NZ, given that we are in a closer position to do something about it.

              But have fun with your googling. Whatever lets you sleep at night…

              • Bob

                Exactly!!!! That what I have been saying the whole time!!!! Focus on preventing these deaths, focus on preventing the 3rd world illnesses, this is where you can get the current government to actually fucking do something!!!

                You are not focusing on dead babies, you are busy focusing on using bullshit stats, but hey, feel free to keep telling yourself talking about ‘relative poverty’ is actually doing something to help your cause. Whatever lets you sleep at night…

                • McFlock

                  You have cherry picked one condition which was easily screened. Anything with a needle or a swab we can do, because it’s quick and easy. Pneumonia, respiratory tract infections, skin infections, assaults… those require changes to housing and crowding and better food and clothing and socioeconomic stress and alienation. Those can only be sorted by addressing relative poverty.

                  Edit: hang on, wtf do you mean “your cause”? Shouldn’t keeping babies alive be “our” cause? Careful, your moral compass is showing…

                  • Bob

                    Pneumonia and respiratory tract infections are generally from poor housing, push stats on these specifically and offer rental WOF and continuation of the Greens HeatSmart program (https://home.greens.org.nz/heatsmart). Offer help into solar schemes like this one for people in state houses or on benefits: http://www.solarcity.co.nz/residential/pricing/
                    Push the great work of KidsCan, start a nationwide campaign for Businesses to support one child for every 5 employees (equivalent of $3/month per employee for business), push it using the same media time they are currently wasting with ‘relative poverty’ stats: https://www.kidscan.org.nz/get-involved/support-a-child?gclid=Cj0KEQiA7rmzBRDezri2r6bz1qYBEiQAg-YEtlZUocm_tEJl6XAMJkUPTRxdvCOTXJQQ3j7syNlYlu8aAhZx8P8HAQ
                    Push the extension of Breakfast in Schools to now also be Lunch in Schools.

                    What I am saying is the Child Poverty Monitor group are wasting the media exposure they are getting on stats that do not resonate. If they used this exposure on the above, all of a sudden all kids could have shoes, raincoats, food, basic hygiene products, warm dry houses and their parents would have a lower cost of living.
                    It won’t fix the underlying issue, but it will do a hell of a lot more for children in poverty than ‘relative poverty’ reports.

                    By the way, the ‘your cause’ was aimed at the Child Poverty Monitor group, not you specifically, and while yes, it is all of our cause, they are far better placed to implement this stuff than I am.

                    • McFlock

                      Poor housing, lived in by poor people.

                      As you say, all of those things (and more) are being done. All the OCC is doing is pointing out that all of these problems are related by one common factor that’s evaluated by a number of measures. As much as you want to avoid it, the relative poverty measure does affect housing, and food, and health.

                      It’s all well and good to ask for private sponsorship to treat the symptoms, but someone needs to point out that it does nothing to address the root cause.

    • tracey 4.2

      You mean like the doctor who uses the emasure of an increase in hospitalisations for preventable diseases?

      • Lanthanide 4.2.1

        But the headline statistic is always the relative poverty measure.

        Stop using it as the headline statistic.

        • McFlock

          It’s a clear measure.

          That’s what they want for headlines.

          • Lanthanide

            A clear measure that the majority of the public appear not to trust. So stop using it.

            • McFlock

              “the majority”.

              Personally, I suspect that any measure which falls short of perfection will face an onslaught of criticism from the tories who want to poison it in the public’s eye. And no measure is perfect.

              So might as well stick with the same measure to avoid the other kind of denial, which is “see, they changed the measure! They shifted the goalposts, they don’t know what they’re doing” as well as picking holes with bullshit hypotheticals in the new poverty measure.

              • Lanthanide

                Then a better defense against these dreary attacks must be thought up, because the current approach is not working.

                Something has to change to get the public to accept the reality of the situation.

                • McFlock

                  I did quite like John Oliver’s quip a while back that “the poverty line is a bit like the age of consent: if you feel the need to parse exactly where it is, the chances are that you’ve already done something very, very wrong” 🙂

                  The thing is that we have only what we have. If someone comes up with a much better model, or a much better defence, that’s awesome. But until then, we simply need to keep slogging along. And even after we get better tools for the argument, we’ll still face constant lies and harassment from tories and the people the tories have fooled.

    • Hi Lanthanide,

      I can see your point in terms of the rhetorical problem but a relative measure of poverty is probably the most sensible measure.

      ‘Absolute poverty’ measures depend upon some subjective judgment of a ‘bag of goods and services’ people need to ‘get by’. Yet some people’s estimation of the size of that bag is that anything over and above starvation level subsistence is ‘not’ poverty.

      By that ‘absolute’ measure there’s very little poverty globally (except during famines). Anyone who has more than that is, therefore, not in absolute poverty.

      By contrast, relative measures make the plausible assumption that each society organises itself around the economic reality of the general level of income and wealth (e.g., in terms of the amount of technology one needs to own to carry out employment, the prices of housing, the market prices of food, etc.).

      In ‘richer’ market economies prices will be higher and more goods and services will be required to do the essential aspects of any life (e.g., travel to work, clothe oneself, have shelter, etc.). Note I said ‘essential’, not discretionary.

      The extent that a measure of ‘absolute poverty’ in, say, New Zealand would be ‘sensible’ in relation to this reality is the extent to which it, too, will be subject to the same criticisms as made of any relative measure. That is, critics will simply say that the calculation of ‘absolute poverty’ is too generous and so ‘invents’ poverty when there is none.

      The rhetorical problem that (any) measures of poverty face is simply the fact that some people don’t believe there is any poverty in New Zealand so the ‘true’ measure would be zero.

    • greywarshark 4.4

      One indicator used to be amount paid for housing being no more than one-third of income. Now it is about half of income.

      Using indicators would give a reasonable picture of someone’s standard of living.
      Tick boxes –
      Housing percentage of weekly income. .25 .33 .50
      How many live at your place on a regular basis. (No action will be taken against you if you have more than regulations.)
      Do your children have to bus to school?
      Are you able to buy, or wish to buy cheaper bus concession tickets?
      (Often the poor have to scratch up money on a daily basis, and can’t afford or don’t want concession tickets which can get lost, or stolen.)
      How much do you spend on food a week on average.
      Do you have amounts owing with your doctor or chemist?
      Do you have prescriptions that you can’t afford to get filled?
      Can you afford to buy new school clothes?
      Can you attend school second hand uniform sales?

      That sort of thing sorts out the situation? Any social worker worth their salt would be able to put pertinent things as prime markers on the list.

  5. RedLogix 5

    Get over it. In many parts of the world it’s perfectly normal and accepted that you will have some people shitting on solid gold toilets, just metres away from others huddled in the most wretched misery.

    This is what an increasing number of New Zealanders believe in and is now totally entrenched into our social system. Child poverty will only continue to get worse and everyone will continue to vote for it … because it is a consequence of their beliefs they are happy to live with.

    And if you think I’m being extreme, consider how this has been an issue for a very long time now and no-one has done a thing to change it.

    • shorts 5.1

      from one extreme to another only takes political will and public pressure – the culture of greed will come falling down sooner than later

      just not soon enough for those who actually put people before “stuff”

  6. BM 6

    So any family with a household income less than 50k or is it $42k? is in poverty

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      A single person sharing a flat living in Auckland on an income of $50K pa has to make a lot of compromises to their lifestyle. And that’s without having to pay for school fees or uniforms.

      Let alone a family of 2 adults and 2 kids.

      • BM 6.1.1

        What about working for families ?

        Is that included in this poverty measure?

        • McFlock

          go fucking ask the MSD. They compiled the household poverty stats:

          2. Perry, B., Household incomes in New Zealand: Trends in indicators of inequality and hardship 1982 to 2014, 2015, Ministry of Social Development,: Wellington

          Go on, work really hard to find minor methodological debating points so that you can look the other way as children die. We’re not here to enable you to sell your soul – do the hard yards yourself.

        • Colonial Viper

          Working for Families was never designed to help the worst off in NZ society – beneficiary families and those in precarious zero hour employment.

    • McFlock 6.2

      See the tory shill dissemble and derail using subtle misunderstandings: the poverty measure used was proportion of median in after housing costs, not before housing costs.

      In reality many families just at the poverty line would have to feed, clothe, educate, transport, and medically treat their family on half to two thirds of that, if not less.

      Now we get into a debate about how some monk with an attached lifestyle block can live like a king and support their family on the smell of an oily rag…

      • BM 6.2.1

        I’m actually curious.

        Is 50k and less now considered poverty?
        Does this house hold income include WWF or accommodation supplement.

        I noticed you replied above, you seem to be involved in this stuff so I thought you know off the top of your head.

  7. john 7

    How many of these poor..
    1. Have a car less than 10 years old?
    2. Subscribe to sky TV?
    3. Smoke?
    4. Drink alcohol?
    5. Eat take away (other than cheap fish and chips) more than once a week?
    6. Have the internet and therefore computers a home?…more than one in the house.
    7. Cell phones?…more than one in the house.
    8 Gaming machines eg X-Box etc?
    9. Play the pokies?
    10. Have gone on a holiday in the past year?
    11.Bought toys etc for their kids…other than special occasions (birthdays and Christmas)?
    12. Bought new stuff by borrowing money, instead of 2nd hand and paid cash?
    13. Spent money on junk food, ready meals etc, instead of groceries?
    etc etc
    If you say yes to more than 3 of these..you are not poor….you..yes YOU are a spend thrift and are not acting responsibly……because even many rich folks would not answer yes to more than half of the above, and they have the money.

    • john your ignorance is astounding but expected – did you read this bit

      “Children hospitalised with poverty-related illnesses more than doubled in the 1990s and have increased further in the recent recession.”

      what do you think it means?

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        john is a fan of the nanny state

        He also thinks that poor people should live like ascetics

        Then he has the gall to talk about spending money irresponsibly – look at John Key and his flag referendum John – it seems like the rich bastards love to spend other peoples money irresponsibly all the time – and then act like moral paragons when they are anything but.

        You shite.

      • acrophobic 7.1.2

        It could mean that John is at least partly right, and that these children are the victims of poor choices by their parents.

        • McFlock

          Well, let’s assume that every single child living in poverty is a victim of poor parental choices. It’s false and stupid, but let’s take it as an absurd given for the sake of discussion.

          How do you believe the problem of children living in poverty and hardship should be addressed?

          • acrophobic

            1. I don’t believe the premise. That’s why I said ‘partly.
            2. A number of ways. Some would benefit from having life coaches or mentors. Some need a circuit breaker, a generational alarm, which is why I give my time voluntarily in the education sector. Some need more cash…simple… which is why I supported WFF and now support the benefit increase. But, and I say this with sadness, some simply need to stop breeding.

            • McFlock

              So social workers (paid mentors) and cash. I agree.

              Why sterilisation, if life coaches and cash are provided?

              • acrophobic

                Who mentioned sterilisation?

                • McFlock

                  oh, sorry, you’re going to stop people “breeding” without sterilisation.

                  Promise rings, perhaps? How will you help the kids born after their parents were told to “stop breeding”?

                  • acrophobic

                    Who said we were going to “stop people breeding”. I said “some simply need to stop breeding”. Or don’t you understand personal responsibility and choice?

                    • McFlock

                      So we’re back to my question that was framed under the assumption of poor parental choices:

                      How do you believe the problem of children living in poverty and hardship should be addressed?

                      Round and round and round you go…

                      When parents make what you feel are “poor choices”, what will you do to stop the children suffering?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      personal responsibility and choice 🙄

                      And there it is.

                      You exhibit none of the former. Just saying.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      don’t you understand personal responsibility and choice?

                      We understand them perfectly well. You exhibit none of the former, and the latter is little more than a vicious lie.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  You did. Oh, of course, shrinking violet, you’re too polite to come out and say it directly, and your “breeding” dogwhistle reads loud and clear.

                  • acrophobic

                    You really need to get some comprehension lessons.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      You really need to stop letting long dead zombie arguments eat your brain. Perhaps it’s toxoplasma…I wonder if it’ll turn out there’s a toxoplasmic amygdala syndrome…

                  • acrophobic

                    You really need to get some comprehension lessons.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              It is sad, isn’t it – the complete lack of anything approaching an imagination – the mindless repetition of long dead zombie drivel where understanding and thought belong.

              I read that mindless bigotry is closely related to the size of the amygdala, so be careful what you wish for, eugenics advocates.

            • marty mars

              ‘breeding’ – anyone using that word for people, especially poor people, shows to me what scum they are. You can tie up your flowery comments with a nice ribbon but the nastiness underneath seeps through.

            • Korero Pono

              @ acrophobic

              1 If you don’t believe in the premise, why did you say it?
              2 How would some ‘benefit from having life coaches or mentors’?

              What ‘circuit breaker…generational alarm’ do these people need?
              Why should ‘some simply…stop breeding’?
              How does giving your ‘time voluntary in the education sector’ help poor people?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          It’s a lie that comforts you. That’s what it’s for: your security blankie.

        • Paul

          It’s the new troll on the block.
          Still waiting for those climate Science sources, btw…..

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2

      And that was a spokesman for “International Year of the Hate Speech”, a subsidiary of the Victim Blaming Ghouls thinktank.

    • McFlock 7.3

      all those damned parents who live in their uninsulated garages with their kids just so they can pay for skytv, trips to disneyland, and gamble all their money away. Sumfink must be done! /sarc

    • maui 7.4

      I’m going to make an assumption that you don’t know any poor people or actually know what their spending habits are and why they make certain choices. I would doubt you have any intention of finding out either, it may crush your whole belief system.

      • john 7.4.1

        Assuming will definitely make an ass out you.
        Been a worse position myself, having had none of those things on the list.
        When able had to “sell” 2 weeks annual leave to my boss to pay debts…when you only got 3 weeks.
        Sold the TV, and the VCR (at the time) lived on mince and spuds……NO not a Monty Python sketch!!! Real life!!!
        So when I see supposed poor people belly aching, I remember the mid 90’s, and I remember paying 19% interest on the mortgage in the 80’s…no money for much else.
        Then come tell me all about the poor hard done by people, traveling to Aussie for holidays, eating at Maccers, having computers at home…..a near new car etc etc …it is you who have no idea of anything resembling the real world or real hardship!!!

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          These people – they exist in your mind, and this is why children on Earth have to die? Because of some gobshite dribbling down your mind?


        • McFlock

          Well, I’ll tell you about a friend of mine.
          She has two kids and a vege garden.
          She hasn’t had a drink in months, she doesn’t smoke or gamble for money (plays for chips at home some times), or have Sky, or go to maccas. She’s working towards a qualification to get a career because the old one didn’t pan out. She’s survived abusive relationships and serious illnesses.

          Her kids are usually fed.
          She… not so much.

          Sop when you rant about poor people not living like monks, I’ll assume you’re not talking about my friend and people like her. Because everything she has goes to her kids, and it’s still not enough.

          You’ve got your sob story. Thousands of others are living the same damned story today. What do you think should be done about that.

          • RedLogix

            Exactly. People like BM and john don’t think it’s poverty until they can see their ribs.

          • acrophobic

            Yes, I know people in similar positions. There are people in genuine need, which is why I find the exaggeration of the alleged ‘poverty’ numbers so disturbing.

        • RedLogix


          And at one point I could get all my belongings and assets – everything – into the boot of the company car. Another time I literally spent my last dollar going to see Jaws.

          But that wasn’t poverty. Nor was your situation, because you and I both had a way out. Both of us knew that with time and work we’d both get back on our feet. We knew we had enough privilege so that a lack of money was only ever going to be a temporary thing.

          But not so the 30% of children growing up with this. They don’t have the privilege of choice in this. And most of them will be stuck with it all their lives.

        • marty mars

          bullshit john – you are just making up your little story of hardship.

          • john

            Really Marty???
            This is only half the story the rest is about having to max out my mortgage AGAIN because Annette King couldn’t run a bath let alone the health dept….when I had to stump up for my wife’s 8 hour back surgery privately, because NO operations were being done!!!! She was on serious amounts of morphine every day, but dear old Annette, didn’t deem that as important.
            Following that, my wife was unable to work, inellegable for welfare and still required a second reconstruction Op (12 hours on the table) which only became available AFTER National won the election in 2008,

            • Colonial Viper

              fuck off mate, no sympathy for your sob stories.

            • marty mars

              do you even read the bullshit you write john?

              “having had none of those things on the list.”

              this is your list john

              “1. Have a car less than 10 years old?
              2. Subscribe to sky TV?
              3. Smoke?
              4. Drink alcohol?
              5. Eat take away (other than cheap fish and chips) more than once a week?
              6. Have the internet and therefore computers a home?…more than one in the house.
              7. Cell phones?…more than one in the house.
              8 Gaming machines eg X-Box etc?
              9. Play the pokies?
              10. Have gone on a holiday in the past year?
              11.Bought toys etc for their kids…other than special occasions (birthdays and Christmas)?
              12. Bought new stuff by borrowing money, instead of 2nd hand and paid cash?
              13. Spent money on junk food, ready meals etc, instead of groceries?
              etc etc”

              so you are saying that while putting another mortgage on your house and stumping up for private surgery you didn’t do any of your list???

              ahem – give it up

              btw I’m sorry that your wife had to have such a horrible op

            • ropata

              Are you one of those “poor rich” people with a million dollar house and feeling hard done by because you have a big mortgage??

              FFS mate there are thousands and thousands of hard working Kiwis who will *never* afford a house because you and your ilk keep voting FOR FJK’s housing bubble and AGAINST kiwi battlers

    • Paul 7.5

      Hate speech.

    • Korero Pono 7.6

      @ John – people such as yourself are typical of the mindset that blames the poor for being poor. If you had educated yourself even a little, then you would probably know that crap food is often cheaper than healthy food. That beneficiaries do not generally have the ability to save a little money to buy second hand goods and therefore have no choice but to access the easy credit, high interest rates that people such as yourself can avoid. If you are a beneficiary and something essential such as the fridge/washing machine/car breaks down, you generally don’t have the funds to fix it, let alone replace it. When the need is immediate you have to take whatever means come your way, even if you know that you will pay the price in future. But hey if you are poor it doesn’t pay to think too far ahead because today you are worried and stressed wondering if the loaf of bread, couple of tins of tomatoes and pasta will keep the kids fed until pay day. For some beneficiaries that may mean keeping the kids home from school for the day because you don’t have anything for their lunch other than the noodles that have to be cooked and can’t be cooked at school or you don’t have the gas to get them there and back (particularly relevant when school’s not in walking distance). You could try reading this http://thestandard.org.nz/the-mantra-of-poor-choices/ or this http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/21/linda-tirado-poverty-hand-to-mouth-extract?CMP=share_btn_fb to help you shift your thinking from your ignorant “let’s blame the poor for being poor” mentality, or as most people with your mindset, you can continue to perpetuate the systemic violence that poor people are subject to on a daily basis. And while you are contemplating just how ignorant you choose to be, ask yourself how many children have been admitted to hospital this week with preventable diseases caused by poverty, how many families are wondering this week which loan shark they should go to so that they can avoid the disappointment in their kids eyes on Christmas day. That five minutes of joy in your kids eyes on Christmas day may somehow make up for the last shitty 12 months that you have felt as parent because you couldn’t give your child what they needed.

      • Manuka AOR 7.6.1

        Yes, very, very true.

        “John” that you’re replying to is having a “Let them eat cake” moment — Or at least a “Let them eat mince and spuds” moment. He says it was so bad he had “mince and spuds”. Many, many times, kids I have known would have thought themselves rich to have had access to “mince and spuds” once a day.

        The gap in understanding is vast.

  8. Michael 8

    The trend line doesn’t show child poverty rates decreasing under the last Labour government, as claimed above. The CPAG litigation that went on and on through the courts at the end of that government’s time and the start of the next one’s demonstrated that Working For Families was a mean-spirited, deceitful crock of shit. If any future government wants to reduce child poverty – and I’m far from convinced that any political party currently in Parliament seriously does – it will have to reform our tax and incomes regimes. I suggest Universal Basic Income, funded by consumption taxes (especially carbon) and taxes on unearned wealth (capital gains and financial transactions) is an essential step in the right direction.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Yep, in some ways Labour continued Ruth Richardson’s appalling trends in growing child poverty.

    • I’d assumed that the graph was simply joining the dots between 1984 and 2008 without showing the data on child poverty in between those dates.

      And I thought that was done because of the comment about 1984 rates of child poverty compared to today’s rates.

      I’m pretty sure the ‘official’ stats did show a small decline after WFF (I can search out the data if you wish to check).

  9. Magisterium 9

    In other news, Labour Leader Andrew Little just got a $9000 payrise to $282,000 p/a.

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      Be good if Key could produce any evidence that he actually donates his salary, which has gone up by something like $13,500, to charity, like he said he would, eh?

      $13,500 could do quite a lot of good work for a lot of charities.

      • Magisterium 9.1.1

        I don’t care about John Key because rich prick gonna rich prick.

        Andrew Little on the other hand is supposed to be the leader of the Good Guys in parliament. All of whom just got pay rises.

        • te reo putake


          Not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.

          Magisterium would like us to think he doesn’t know how Parliamentary salaries are set.

  10. Coaster 10

    How many children live in housholds of extreme wealth?
    How many of those children have third world diseases?
    How many of those children go hungry, have holey clothes, and are naughty kids at school?

    A team is only as good as its worst member, if you focus on those at the bottom and help them become better it builds everyone up. If we pull everyone up and out of poverty it will help nz and the economy more than giving to the wealtyh.

    A good measure of poverty would be to ask teachers how often they see hungry kids with holey clothes and in trouble.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1

      Or empty lunchboxes.

      The wealth destroyers must be stopped; we’ve had a gutsful of “morbidity with a social gradient”, thanks Gabriel.

      (Perhaps think I am unfairly targeting poor Gabriel. Listen to his Morning Report recitation from the Sacred Book of Market before you judge.)

  11. The lost sheep 11

    Income defined Fixed line threshold poverty has increased by 14% since 2013, but the Material Hardship measure has decreased by 3% since 2012 (and 21% in 2011).

    Class, please discuss….

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1

      The material hardship index methodology changed in 2012-13, and as McFlock said above:

      See the tory shill dissemble and derail using subtle misunderstandings

  12. The lost sheep 12

    The material hardship index methodology changed in 2012-13

    No. The data base set changed, and….

    1. There is no on-going ELSI time series, but the MWI series begins from 2012–13. Because items are common to earlier and later datasets, Perry considers there is sufficient commonality to have a ‘good-enough’ index that will show the shape of the trend line from 2006–07 to 2013–14.

    So please do discuss the reason the two methods of measuring show a 17% variance?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      Sure: Tory shills will stoop to anything to avoid the issue, and especially to avoid taking action: attempting to find loose threads rather than considering the whole blanket is one of these strategies.

      It’s transparent, and just one of the reasons the words “tory” and “scum” go together.

      • The lost sheep 12.1.1

        ‘Bereft of a substantive retort, you rush to ad hominem attack. Why should I answer a point you have not convinced me of?.’

        Who said that? Oh, YOU did OAB!

        So now you’ve got the ad hominem out of the way, why not conform to your own standards and attempt a substantive retort to the point I raised?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          What’s ad hominem about pointing out that your strategy is to look for loose threads rather than examining the blanket? A substantive response that you don’t like. Oh noes!

          • The lost sheep

            No substantive answer, no further discussion OAB. You have set the standard, and from now on I am going to hold you personally accountable to it.

            For the record. I note that you are not willing to discuss the sections of the report covering Material Hardship. Obviously they don’t suit your bias.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Oh fine: your position is undermined by your own quote: “good enough” might itself explain a 17% discrepancy if the idea is to get one broad-brush measure to add into a range of metrics designed to arrive at a whole blanket.

              I note you don’t want to acknowledge the existence of the blanket at all.

              • The lost sheep

                “good enough” might itself explain a 17% discrepancy

                Do you dispute the academic skills of Perry OAB?
                Do you dispute the judgement of the reports authors in accepting there is ‘sufficient commonality to show the shape of the trend’?

                If so, please detail where exactly they have that wrong, and specifically, explain how it could be so wrong as to account for a 17% variation?

                And If you do think the report has this aspect wrong, why should we have confidence in anything the report details?

                But if you cannot disprove the data provided, please discuss the reasons ‘material hardship’ and ‘fixed line income threshold’ measures are heading in different directions with a large variation?

                • McFlock

                  heading in different directions

                  Income poverty: starts low in 2007, increases to max around 2010, lowers, last datapoint goes up.
                  material hardship: starts low in 2007, increases to max around 2011, lowers, last datapoint goes down.
                  See a pattern?

                  with a large variation

                  Because they measure different things.
                  Together, however, they show a pattern, and possibly a lag effect between increasing poverty and increasing material hardship.

                  • The lost sheep

                    See a pattern?

                    There is a pattern of sorts there McFlock, until you get to ‘last datapoint goes up’, and ‘last datapoint goes down’.
                    They are ‘variances’ surely?

                    And the graphs you reference clearly show the variance that OAB won’t address.
                    The income poverty threshold since 2007 peaked in 2010, dropped to a low in 2013, and has risen again sharply in 2014.
                    It at no stage did it dip below the 2007 level, and currently sits some 15% points above that level.

                    The Material Hardship level peaked in 2007, has been dropping steadily ever since, and in the last year has dropped below 2007 levels.

                    On what planet do the differences between the 2 graphs not represent a variance?

                    Because they measure different things.
                    Really? Thanks for pointing that out!
                    That will be why the report includes them both then. i.e. ‘A major issue when measuring child poverty relates to the use of household income as an indirect measure of living standards. The validity of this has been questioned, especially in relation to international comparisons.3 Sets of non-income measures (NIMs) have been developed to provide non-income based measures of living standards, and these are used to monitor material hardship in New Zealand and other countries including the UK, Ireland, Australia and Europe.’

                    Together, however, they show a pattern, and possibly a lag effect between increasing poverty and increasing material hardship.

                    As above McFlock, I don’t see that ‘pattern’. Please specify exactly what you think it is?
                    And can you provide some evidence for the idea of a ‘possible’ lag effect between the 2?
                    To be honest, that looks you are inventing a hypothetical phenomena in order to support your bias to me .

                    • McFlock

                      The Material Hardship level peaked in 2007, has been dropping steadily ever since, and in the last year has dropped below 2007 levels.

                      You might want to rewrite that bit. Or not.

                      So you see nothing in common between the shape of the curves from 2007 to 2014?

                      And if one curve peaks a data point before the other, it didn’t occur to you that an upswing in the last datapoint for the first curve might not be replicated until the following datapoint in the second curve?

                      Say, for example someone experiencing a reduced income might take a while to experience “material hardship” because they still have the possessions they bought when they were above the poverty line.

                      To be honest

                      I don’t believe you.

                    • The lost sheep

                      So you see nothing in common between the shape of the curves from 2007 to 2014?

                      As I have already clearly stated above, there is some sort of commonality, but to me the graphs have significant variances.
                      I specified those above, and I asked you to state exactly how you saw them as being part of a pattern?
                      All you have done is re-ask me whether I see something similar between the curves. That is not an substantive answer. Or any answer.

                      And if one curve peaks a data point before the other, it didn’t occur to you that an upswing in the last datapoint for the first curve might not be replicated until the following datapoint in the second curve? Say, for example someone experiencing a reduced income might take a while to experience “material hardship” because they still have the possessions they bought when they were above the poverty line.

                      I clearly asked you to provide ‘evidence’ for a hypothetical ‘lag’ phenomena that would explain the variance between the 2 measures.
                      Again McFlock, you have simply repeated your speculation that something ‘might be’ the case, and made no attempt to provide any evidence. That is not an answer.

                      Neither you nor OAB will honestly enter a substantive discussion on the Material Hardship areas of this report.
                      Why not eh?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Oh for goodness sake both of us have entered into it. You’re comparing two different measures and trying to make something of the fact that one is a “good enough” proxy for the other.

                      And it’s a transparent strategy that McFlock pinged BM for yesterday.

                      Care to say what you think the significance is?

                    • McFlock

                      the evidence is in the curves you pillock

                    • The lost sheep

                      @ McFlock
                      ‘the evidence is in the curves you pillock’

                      Twice now I have given you a specific, detailed reply to that.
                      I have specified my points relating to the ‘curve’.
                      And asked you to provide further specific discussion on those points.

                      And the only response you can make is to go back to ‘It’s in the curves’?

                      Are you incapable of taking a discussion past the most basic of concepts? or is this an area that ideology prevents you approaching honestly?

                      On ‘OAB’s rule’ I now have to withdraw from any further discussion with you.

                    • McFlock

                      Damned if I can make it any simpler for you: two datasets go in different directions on their last datapoint, but then their similar shapes are out of sync by a datapoint. “Lag” seems to be a solid possibility for consideration.

                      So fuck off then. I’m sure you’ve done enough to remove all thoughts of dead babies from your sleep.

                    • The lost sheep

                      I’ll take that as confirming you have no evidence to back your speculations. (Sorry but ‘a solid possibility for consideration’ is not evidence).
                      And that you are still not willing to respond to any of the very clear points i made.
                      And in the lack of a substantive argument you felt the need to resort to some crude abuse.

                      I will sleep very well thanks.

                    • McFlock

                      Moral vaccuums often do.

                      You wanted an explanation for the charts. The explanation I provided is consistent with the charts. The evidence is whether the charts match the explanation. Your obsessive failure to understand that is why abuse is just as productive as any other response people give you.

                • One Anonymous Bloke


                  No, not wrong, different measures.


                  No, not dispute, in fact I am relying on his statement.

                  If you’re too useless to understand the meaning in my first response I don’t see how re-iterating it is going to help you, and by the way, quoting one half of my response whilst ignoring the other half looks mendacious too.

                  Playing rhetorical games while babies die, What a piece of work you are.

                  • The lost sheep

                    The ‘OAB’ rule.
                    No substantive response. Why should I answer.

                    • McFlock

                      and yet you did.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I gave you a substantive response: “good enough” might itself explain a 17% discrepancy if the idea is to get one broad-brush measure to add into a range of metrics designed to arrive at a whole blanket.

                      What part of that are you having trouble with? The part where I don’t make the same assumptions as you?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Let me imagine for a moment where Sheep is going with this:

                      “The material hardship index is falling, and it is more accurate than the percentage of median income measure because reason”.

                      To which my response is “no, they are all threads in the same blanket. Why are you focusing on these two, and asking why they’re slightly different colours?”

                      Pay attention to the key points? Nah, point out the discrepancy between two different studies that are a “good enough” (nb: not “excellent” or “perfect” or even “good”) proxy for one another.

                    • The lost sheep


                      When I want you to be my spokesperson I’ll ask you.
                      Until then, please note that I have made none of the statements you attribute to me.

                      “I gave you a substantive response: “good enough” might itself explain a 17% discrepancy if the idea is to get one broad-brush measure to add into a range of metrics designed to arrive at a whole blanket.
                      What part of that are you having trouble with? The part where I don’t make the same assumptions as you?”

                      The part I have trouble with is that I did actually answer you at 11.25am above, but you made no answer at all to my reply.
                      If you are serious in your insistence we do respond to a point made?, then please go back to that, and make a substantive reply to each of the 5 counter points I make?

                      You’re comparing two different measures

                      It is incredibly tiresome the way you and McFlock endlessly repeat questions that have already been dealt with in thread.
                      Please go to my comment above at 1.45pm for the discussion on this particular point.

                      Care to say what you think the significance is?

                      Absolutely. I have no difficulty making substantive and honest replies on this topic.

                      ‘Income based measures of poverty’ have fluctuated since 2007, but currently are significantly higher than that benchmark.

                      The ‘Material Hardship’ measure since 2007 rose to a peak in 2011, but has been in steady decline since then, and is currently lower than the 2007 benchmark.

                      VERY crudely, I would suggest that this may indicate that since 2007 inequality is growing to some degree, at the same time as Material hardship is dropping.

                      More cautiously, I would reconfirm the clear message in the report.
                      Measuring Poverty and hardship is an extremely complex matter, and we should be careful not to draw simplistic conclusions based on mono-dimensional data and measures.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Measuring Poverty and hardship is an extremely complex matter, and we should be careful not to draw simplistic conclusions based on mono-dimensional data and measures.

                      It’s all a bit like the difference between individual threads and a blanket then 🙄

                      For practical purposes, I think I’ll pay more attention to the summary and conclusions than two individual studies that, despite their discrepancies, are a “good enough” proxy for one another, but that’s just me.

                    • The lost sheep

                      He he.
                      You mean you will ignore the bits that don’t suit your bias….

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      How can I do that? If I only read the summary and conclusions, I won’t even know about these alleged bits that don’t suit my bias.

                      On the other hand, I note the only thing you want to discuss is the thing that you believe suits yours*.


                      *it doesn’t.

  13. Ergo Robertina 13

    There has been too little analysis of WHY the relative measure increased by 17% in a single year, and the debate is just more of the same old tedious crap.
    Whether that one’s the ideal measure is beside the point.
    17% is the biggest increase in a single year since at least 2001, and probably the most significant shift since the early 90s.
    It could largely be due to the Auckland housing market where a lot of rents would have been hiked in 2014 (the year the report uses). This is creeping out into the regions where house prices are rising due to speculation, and needs to be controlled asap with rent controls.

    • McFlock 13.1

      Wouldn’t we see more substantial differences between the before and after housing cost numbers and proportions then?

      And the HES was every three years until 2009, so we don’t know how bouncy it was before then.

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