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Children in poverty

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 am, December 15th, 2010 - 207 comments
Categories: families, leadership, national, poverty - Tags:

Under the last Labour government, child poverty was finally, too slowly, but encouragingly, starting to fall. April 2008:

Child poverty rate falling in NZ

Child poverty is finally on the way down in two of the three rich countries where it increased the most in the 1980s and 90s – Britain and New Zealand….

July 2008:

Children lifted out of poverty

… The Government’s Working for Families boost to low- and middle-income families with dependent children is a major factor – Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson said it was a key driver behind the survey finding that 130,000 children had been lifted out of poverty. More people in paid work was the other reason. …

Fast forward to now, and we’re going backwards again:

Warning: Income disparities impact on child wellbeing

“The overall picture painted by the updated 2010 Children’s Social Health Monitor is deeply concerning” said Dennis McKinlay, UNICEF NZ executive director. The 2010 Children’s Social Health Monitor (CSHM) released today at the Dunedin School of Medicine points out large disparities in child health status with children in families most affected by the economic downturn and dependent on benefits especially vulnerable. …

“That so many of our children are admitted to hospital for illnesses associated with socio-economic deprivation is a wake up call for all New Zealanders” he said “Almost 2000 more in 2009 than in 2007. Protecting all children during their vital, vulnerable years of growth is the means of building a better future for both the individual and for society.

Paula Bennett needs to front up:

Poverty hits children’s health levels

Children’s health is suffering because of the recession, with a “concerning” report revealing a rise in hospital admissions and prompting the children’s commissioner to call for urgent action from the Government.

Last year, 2000 more children were admitted to hospital with poverty-related illnesses than during 2007-08. These included admissions for respiratory problems, infectious diseases, and other conditions with links to poor housing and economic hardship – and could have been prevented if children were taken to see a doctor earlier.

… Social Development Minister Paula Bennett was unavailable for comment yesterday. …

It would be easy to start playing the blame game with this shocking trend. But in this post I want to look forward instead of back. My question to the National government is simple. What are you going to do to reverse this trend and lift children out of poverty? It’s your watch. What are you going to do?

207 comments on “Children in poverty ”

  1. higherstandard 1

    “But in this post I want to look forward instead of back.”

    Good for you I agree wholeheartedly.

    How about these thoughts for a start.

    1. Identify and increase assistance to those families in need by significantly lowering the levels at which WFF kicks in.

    2. Make the assistance relevant and targeted towards the kids health and education – thinking food stamps and the like and yes I know there would be blackmarket issues etc but surely with our it savvy population and retailers it’s possible.

    3. Make immunisation compulsory.

    4. Get the economy going.

    5. Feed the kids in schools

    • Craig Glen Eden 1.1

      Forget immunisation as for making it compulsory this is NZ not Nazi Germany.

      Before you start drug pushing for international drug companies at which the tax payer fronts up with money for pseudo science, lets stick with your other ideas, just making sure kids have good food ( fruit, veges and good proteins and fats) , good dry/warm housing conditions and Mum or Dad have a job that they can make ends meet with.
      The other thing that helps kids ( socially and mentally )which the state can do is of coarse a safe learning environment at school.

      Lets not give millions of Dollars to some bloody foreign drug company we could spend the money on these other things and get way better results.

      • higherstandard 1.1.1

        oh dear “vaccination” pseudo science !……….. walks away slowly.

        • Lanthanide

          My thoughts exactly.

          Vaccinations are clearly a sham; hardly any kids die of measles, mumps and rubella any more, so continuing to give our kids the MMR vaccination is clearly a waste of money.

          • Colonial Viper

            Have people already forgotten how they spent hundreds of millions on the MeNZ B vaccine here, and then right at the end of the programme they told parents and doctors – whoops we were wrong it doesn’t last when you give it to babies.

            “Ah well there’s a bunch of money gone up in smoke, thanks for letting us do the treatment trials on your infants though!”

            They experimented on NZ children. They did not know that the vaccination would not work on young children. But they went ahead and delivered the treatment anyway with a reassuring grin and a smile.

            You want to get people healthier, make sure their incomes and their housing is adequate. Do not gift tax payers money to big pharma for no good reason.

            Lanth: polio vax is the true waste of money. The disease does not exist in people or in the wild any more in NZ.

            • mcflock

              Science isn’t perfect – there will always be one or two programmes that foul up. Out of dozens. But at least it does have a feedback loop with reality, unlike some of the more interesting comments about vaccines.

              As for polio, NZ has a large tourist and immigrant population. We also have the great OE. These two characteristics mean we need to be protected not only from native illnesses, but also from more virulent exotic illnesses that we might be exposed to, either directly or through contact with travelling people. It would suck for NZ to be the weak link that stalled a global eradication programme – although it would help us achieve official membership of the Third World Club.

              • Colonial Viper

                Science isn’t perfect – there will always be one or two programmes that foul up. Out of dozens.

                You’ll notice that for MeNZ B the programme fouled up because scientific, clinical and policy leaders rationalised breaking their own rules: they gave treatment to young children in a mass programme when there was no evidence that lasting benefit would result. All the while giving GPs and parents the opposite impression – that it would provide safe and effective protection from meningitis over years (turned out to be a few months).

                Now I would consider this a basic breach of bio-ethics, and of patient rights to clear and accurate information. Especially when plenty of people (activitists and campaigners) were pointing out the gaps in knowledge from the start.

                As for the idea that its only one or two programmes which foul up out of dozens – OK, I’ll give that to you but the MeNZ B programme was a very large one in terms of both scale and funding.

                • Bunji

                  The benefit may not last, but it did break the ongoing epidemic of Meningitis that had been in the country for some time. So it almost certainly saved quite a few lives.

                  And polio’s a pretty easy, cheap and very safe vaccination – i’d rather have it even if I don’t go to India or Nigeria, or bump into the wrong Indian or Nigerian on their travels…

                • NickS


                  Shit happens, and given the significant mortality and disability rates of meningococcus and the initial data pointing towards it working, it was a bet worth taking. That and skimming over the relevant stuff that turns up in google scholar suggests that regular dosing was needed for infants for it to maintain immunological memory:

                  Of course, you’re more than welcome to look through the literature yourself and provide evidence that MeNZB shouldn’t have been used. And if need be, leave a url of the paper here and I’ll see if the uni library has access to it.

                  And this one might be worth starting with:

              • Lanthanide

                We recently had a post on here about how NZ has the highest rates of rheumatic fever in the developed world.

                Lets stop the polio vaccinations and see if we can lead the world in that too!

      • luva 1.1.2

        riiiiiight, because good food, dry housing and Mum having a good job are all going to save Little Jonny getting Measles, Mumps and all those other third world diseases that immunisation has all but eradicated in New Zealand.

        • Craig Glen Eden

          Measles Mumps, Rubella, Polio, TB have not been eradicated and they never will be not in NZ not in the World. The greatest improvement to health last century was sanitation followed by antibiotics ( these have down side though to). Infact luva having good food( water) and housing for the worlds children would make way more difference than any and all vaccines.

          If you think the science used is solid think again, these companies are driven to get the latest drug/ vaccine onto the market and they really don’t care for long term trials as they are to costly the scientists are paid to present facts/ stats that support the drugs/vaccines use.
          Some drugs/vaccines are helpful others are a total waste of time. Paracetamol use to be considered safe no side effects especially when taken at the recommended dose for weight.

          Now we know it lowers the immune system and increases the likely hood of asthma.
          So before you start smart arse comments HS and LUVA you may want to do some learning on the topic talk to someone like DR Bruce Lipton PHD or others. To give a drug company millions for a virus for human papiloma virus as an example was almost a total waste of money, money that would have been way better spent in other areas.

          • higherstandard

            Craig I have probably forgotten more about immunology and general medicine than you’ll ever know.

            Vaccination for a host of different diseases is one of the most cost effective and clinically effective interventions known to medical science – anyone who believes otherwise has little knowledge of either history or medicine.

            oh and is that Bruce Lipton who lists his current affiliation as Immunology (New Zealand College of Chiropractic, Auckland)

            • NickS

              Too bad your knowledge and abilities to understand immunology aren’t carried over to your critical thinking and trolling skills 😛

              Also, if you want resources for cluebatting the anti-vaccer’s:

              And science based medicine are pretty good.

            • Craig Glen Eden

              The stuff you learnt and was taught was probably based on the same pseudo science used to promote many vaccines so what you forgot is probably not that important

              “oh and is that Bruce Lipton who lists his current affiliation as Immunology (New Zealand College of Chiropractic, Auckland)” yup that would be him

              1966-1971 Ph.D. in Developmental Cell Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. Thesis Title: Myogenesis in Cell Culture: An ultrastructural study. Mentor: Dr. I.R. Konigsberg.

              Biological Stain Commission Fellow, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.

              1972-1973 Department of Health, Education and Welfare Post-doctoral Trainee, Department of Zoology, University of Texas, Austin, TX. Mentor: Dr. Antone G. Jacobson.

              1973-1979 Assistant Professor of Anatomy, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, Madison, WI.

              1979-1982 Associate Professor of Anatomy, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, Madison, WI.

              1983-1986 Professor of Anatomy, St. George’s University School of Medicine, University Centre, Grenada (West Indies).

              1987-1988 Senior Research Associate, American Health Assistance Foundation Grant (awarded to Dr. Theodore Hollis), Department of Biology, Penn State University, University Park, PA.

              • NickS

                The stuff you learnt and was taught was probably based on the same pseudo science used to promote many vaccines so what you forgot is probably not that important




                That’s no different from telling someone who learnt and forgot quite a bit about evolutionary biology that all they learnt was pseudoscience that promotes the materialist, anti-biblical evil of evolution. Basically, at a proper university, the material you learn in the sciences comes from the literature, and while not all that material is perfect, or totally correct, what it generally is is rigorously empirical or well critiqued. Particularly on the fringes of a field, where new info is forever coming to light.

                Thus in order then to say that what someone learnt was pseudoscience, you’d need to show that the underlying literature is completely wrong. And unless immunology has radically changed in the last 3 or so years, how anitbodies are produced and how populations of antibody producing B cells are selected, and how that selection process fucks up to lead to autoimmune diseases is fairly well understood. So much so, we can produce antibody based enzymes for various experimental and “just because it’s fucking awesome” reasons, and mass-produce antigen specific antibodies for various tests and even potential medicines.

                So, evidence please. Because otherwise you’re just as full of shit as other types of denialists.

            • Colonial Viper

              Vaccination for a host of different diseases is one of the most cost effective and clinically effective interventions known to medical science

              No doubt – I agree with you 100%. I do sometimes wish they would spend just as much on getting clean water and sewerage facilities into these areas though.

              US$100M for vaccines, no problem. Money for securing potable water sources – !?

              • higherstandard

                I don’t know how much has been spent on getting clean water and sanitation facilities into the developing world – I suspect it’s a fairly large figure and may be larger than the cost of WHO/UN efforts to vaccinate in the developing world – I’d be interested to see the figures.

                • Macro

                  One of the main problems with providing clean water is that much of it has been privatised. Coca cola, pepsi and the main French water Utility are the main “owners” of water rights in many developing countries.
                  More info can be found here :

                  • NickS

                    Yeap, and it generally leads to massive increases in prices and worse services, and until the World Bank and IMF stop being shit heads on privatising natural monopolies and basic civil infrastructure it will continue. And it doesn’t help either that a combination of local political stupidity and the ghosts of the cold war lead to major corruption issues that lead often to mismanagement as well.

          • NickS

            Not this bullshit again.

            While dodgy crap does exist, the main issues with more modern vaccines are finding a protein sequence specific to the pathogen that’s easy to produce, stabilise and for the immune system to recognise. Thought his applies mainly to pathogens which tend to hide from the immune system, or have high levels of mutation in surface proteins, making older vaccine methods a bit difficult. Particularly when the antigens are covered by variable sugar polymers…

            The methods used with older vaccines, such as weakened strains of pathogens (live vaccines) and dead pathogens or particular proteins from a pathogen’s cell wall/membrane/protein coat work quite well. Particularly when combined with adjuvants which stimulate a immune response, and allow for less antigen per dose. And while some may claim teh adjuvants are teh evil, the dosage is generally so tiny that the impacts are limited to activating the immune system only. But suffice to say, without vaccines we’d still be dealing with epidemics of polio, measles, rubella, etc. As for them being major money spinners, funnily enough the amount of money that goes into R&D is tightly controlled and in the EU and US generally heavily funded by the government, such that the actual profit margins are crap and new drugs are a far better economic bet.

            Also, you seem to ignore teh FDA and EU stuff to do with trials showing vaccine efficaciousness before any are allowed onto the market, which sinks numerous experimental vaccines.

            As for Bruce Lipton, lol-fucking-wat? I sense a deep case of woo with that one, more so given he’s associated with the deep woo of chiropractic medicine. That and the whole “mind altering teh DNA” thing, without any backing peer reviewed research makes me even more suspicious that he was anything sane to say about vaccines and drugs.

            • Craig Glen Eden

              The FDA oh please how many drugs have they thought were safe but have now taken them off the market, because contrary to initial studies (supplied by the drug company), evidential proof showed they were harmful.Thalidomide, Reductil blabla

              Thanks for the acknowledgement “While dodgy crap does exist,”

              I do take your point though about some drugs/ vaccines being cost effective/ and safer than the real risk of a disease in some circumstances. This is true. But as you have acknowledgement “While dodgy crap does exist,” Their are and have been problems and their will most likely continue to be problems in my view.

              My original issue is however is with

              H/S “3. Make immunisation compulsory. ”

              No Government( certainly no left wing Government) should make any health care compulsory on a individual ( especially children) what ever the belief at the time and no matter how good the science says it is. Thankfully this is already covered in human rights law (Cant remember the clause I use to be able to speal it off but lost it with some pseudo science stuff I learnt in the 80s

              • NickS

                The FDA oh please how many drugs have they thought were safe but have now taken them off the market, because contrary to initial studies (supplied by the drug company), evidential proof showed they were harmful.Thalidomide, Reductil blabla

                The Stupid, It Burns.

                Might possibly the ratio of crap to safe be a better idea? Because I’d hypothesise that the crap drugs will only constitute less than 5% of all drugs passed by the FDA. Then there’s the medical and biochem/molecular biology community that deals with drug and vaccine R&D and have provided fairly robust criticism, and more so after the fun and games with Vioxx etc. Though a journal of negative results really is needed, and if I had my way all private drug R&D would be folded into an independent SOE like entity with competing lines of internal research and a legal requirement to publish everything. But due to reality, legal requirements for drug companies to be fully open to agencies like the FDA and with restrictions on marketing drugs to doctors and the public might be a more palatable idea.

                That and the thalidomide problem was due not to the drug companies lying, but a methodological failure to take into account the fact thalidomide shifts freely between two different enantiomers in the human body, one of which was mutagenic, while the other reduced nausea, along with a belief at the time that small molecule drugs couldn’t cross the placenta.

                No Government( certainly no left wing Government) should make any health care compulsory on a individual ( especially children) what ever the belief at the time and no matter how good the science says it is. Thankfully this is already covered in human rights law (Cant remember the clause I use to be able to speal it off but lost it with some pseudo science stuff I learnt in the 80s

                And what about mine and other’s rights not to be exposed to viral and bacterial pathogens with significant negative impacts? This is an issue where the needs of the many come into conflict with individuals choices, and I strongly see ideology and pseudo-scientific reasons for not vaccinating as exposing others to needless, easily avoidable risks. An issue which I merrily suggest putting in place a system of fines for idiots who don’t bother getting vaccinated and then end up introducing or spreading vaccine preventable pathogens in order to recoup the government costs of dealing with outbreaks.

                Particularly as we already fine and cluebat drunk drivers who treat the rights of others as far less important than their own perceived right to get drunk and drive.

                Also, I severely doubt you have any idea wtf pseudo-science is, but please feel free to provide your definition.

                • KJT

                  Failing to immunise is child abuse. If not your child then one of their friends who cannot be vaccinated because of an autoimmune or other disorder.

      • M 1.1.3

        I have seen documentaries where doctors working in the third world have said that arguing over immunisation is a non-event. One doctor said, “If the objectors came to a third world country and saw the death and devastation that not immunising a child does they would not just walk to their doctor with their child but would pick the child up and run.”

        I realise that some people because of auto-immune problems cannot be immunised but if most children are then herd immunity is conferred to those unable to be immunised.

        For my money I’d rather immunise than worry myself to death that every sore throat my child had could be the beginning of diphtheria which would be a terrible way to die or never allow a child the fun of playing in the dirt in case tetanus was picked up from the soil.

      • Shane Gallagher 1.1.4

        Yes Craig – that’s what got rid of smallpox, polio, TB, etc. – fresh fruit.

        Oh dear…

        • Colonial Viper

          How many doses of polio vaccine are required by a child in a third world country who is severely malnourished and lacking in clean water, before protection is obtained? 6? 8? 10? Sometimes protective levels of antibodies cannot be generated at all because the child’s immune system is to ill-resourced to create a sufficient immune reaction.

          Compare that with how many are required to achieve protection in a first world country with a healthy child. 3 doses usually does amply and 4 seals the deal.

          In other words, despite your cynical comment about fruit, both macro and micro nutritional status is crucial for healthy normal immune function.

          And by the way Shane, NZ children get TB, its not been eradicated its primarily a disease of poverty i.e. bad living conditions and bad nutrition.

          • KJT

            TB was largely eradicated in NZ (Almost to the stage we could stop immunising), until we had a lot of twits who refused to immunise their kids plus immigrants from countries without enough immunisation.

        • Craig Glen Eden

          Heard of Scurvy Shane?

          • NickS

            Except people who aren’t suffering from scurvy still get ill or can suffer from immune system issues (hello depression) from other illness that make them open to infections.

          • Shane Gallagher

            Er – scurvy is a result of malnutrition – you cannot get a vaccination for it.

            I am slagging off your attitude to vaccinations, not to good food. Everyone needs good food – but the healthiest diet in the world will not immunize you to polio, smallpox or measles etc.
            I am annoyed by this concept that vaccinations are somehow a big pharma conspiracy. It stands next to anti-biotics as one of the biggest miracles of modern medicine.

            None of you are arguing the same point – poor diets and living conditions cause disease and this is a disgrace in a modern society. When I arrived here I was appalled by the housing here and still am. Let alone that in a country blessed with such a bounty of food that children suffer from malnutrition.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Don’t you think that it’s a little strange that, in a country that grows enough food to feed tens of millions of people, there are people that can’t afford to buy food?

      • higherstandard 1.2.1

        Strange no, disgraceful yes.

        • Macro

          Couldn’t agree more – it is disgraceful.
          You started the discussion above HS with some very pertinent suggestions. It got sidetracked on the vaccination issue.
          But perhaps the most fundamental reason for the increasing child poverty is that, with the current govt programme of reducing govt spending and increasing tax breaks to the well off , income inequality has increased in NZ in the past two years to such an extent, that it is now beginning to show up in the statistics that we are currently discussing. I think this is the point that Draco was making. NZ has a GDP sufficient for all people to enjoy a good standard of living, unfortunately the income is spread so disproportionately that we have an increasing number of families living in “relative poverty” with all the social ills and poor health outcomes that that entails. And the ironical thing about it all is that even the more well off suffer along with it. As a society it does us no good for the rich to get richer and to have an increasing number of poor. Regretfully that appears to be the agenda of the right.

    • NickS 1.3

      1. Identify and increase assistance to those families in need by significantly lowering the levels at which WFF kicks in.

      A good idea, though making the first $5000 (or more) tax free could also have a similar impact.

      2. Make the assistance relevant and targeted towards the kids health and education – thinking food stamps and the like and yes I know there would be blackmarket issues etc but surely with our it savvy population and retailers it’s possible.

      Or we could just provide much better subsidies for health care for school kids and adults on low incomes and finally address the underfunding of the primary and secondary education system that leads to fairly large school “donations” 😛

      3. Make immunisation compulsory.

      Fuck yes. But, there’s likely going to be high court cases involved with this, and education campaigns may prove much less costly in the long term to achieve a vaccination rate of 90% plus to provide herd immunity. Soft enforcement, such as publicly funded schools making it compulsory for students and staff to vaccinated for health reasons might be much more workable, but could result in further clustering of outbreaks, although that already happens to some extent given the rise of private schools that cater to the anti-vaccer crowd. And does make it slightly easier to find those who are potentially ill.

      4. Get the economy going.

      Good luck with that, Labour’s shift towards neoliberalism and the overall shift in public perceptions and opinions makes even soft Keynesian economic prods prone to msm bullshit and combined with China constantly keeping it’s currency low and it’s wages artificially low, plus WTO rules, it makes it difficult to get non-extractive industries online and profitable. Not that it’s impossible, it just requires a bit more work…

      5. Feed the kids in schools

      Hell yes, particularly if it can be made part of NCEA foodtech, in which high school students work for credits (+ pay of course) to help do the food. And though while it could be done on the cheap and provide pretty tasty, non crap food, the cost of it is still going to cause political issues. On top of the whole “parental and personal choice” meme fun-time and other stuff.

    • Vicky32 1.4

      Food stamps and compulsory immunisation – sigh!
      You already know the problem with food stamps, you admit that.
      One of my best friends live in the UK, he has a son with serious disabilities which were exacerbated by immunisation!
      Immunisation is by and large a good thing, but not for all people in all cases. It absolutely should not be compulsory.

      • higherstandard 1.4.1

        Let me clarify – compulsory unless there is a valid medical reason not to immunise.

        Our immunisation rates in some areas and amongst certain ethnic groups is a national disgrace.

        And re food stamps yep there will certainly be problems but what we’re doing at the moment is not working we need to try (or at least investigate) doing things differently

  2. Jenny 2

    The question should be what can anybody do?

    Is there anything we can do?

    Or nothing?

    Is, as the monetarists claim, child poverty and poverty in general, inevitable?

    Are there no solutions?

    Are the apologists for the market right, when they blame feckless parents, rather than any failure in public policy?

    The Nats have no plans to deal with this problem, that’s obvious. In fact their planning direction is to increase child poverty, to the benefit of their rich patrons.

    So. Let us see the concrete plans for eradicating this problem, from all contenders for government.

    Let us see if there is any alternative being offered by any of them.

    And what those alternatives are.

    Maybe Marty G from the Labour corner, might like to argue that we could ameliorate child poverty if we cut the pension for the older people?

    Could we also hear from the supporters of the Greens and the Maori Party, or even New Zealand First, on what they think should be done, to erradicate child poverty?

    (I think we can forget about asking Peter Dunne, for his plan, as like the Nats he has no interest in this problem.)

    • lprent 2.1

      You don’t need Marty to argue that, and incidentially I don’t think Marty is a Labour member or that he would argue that position (as a actual Labour member I wouldn’t).. There was an article in this herald this morning arguing pretty much that point – no link as I’m on the bus.

      As the local self-appointed party affiliation assessor, perhaps you should examine that work to determine who that autho supports.

      • Jenny 2.1.1

        Is this the one Lynne?

        I thought this report could have done with a bit more back story.

        Who is this person?

        Who appointed her?

        What are her qualifications for this role?

        Who asked her to do this review?

        How much did it cost?

        capcha – “pointed” as in questions.

        • lprent

          This one

          Our society takes better care of our elderly than we do of our young. The message is the same across health and welfare; young people, particularly young brown boys, miss out. The harsh reality is that spending on young people is a better investment for the nation than spending on old people – where we invest our meagre savings is really important to future economic well being

    • Richard 2.2

      I don’t think anyone should be particularly surprised that during a period of global recession child poverty has increased relative to a period of boom (2008).

      Anyway, since the answer that this blog wants to child poverty is, “spend more money at the problem”, I think it’s important to emphasise that child poverty is an extremely difficult problem to solve; it’s a combination of a whole bunch of inter-linked social and economic factors. There’s little point taxing the productive sector more highly if the money you redistribute isn’t actually ultimately spent on the children, and preventing welfare dependency is a genuine concern looking at the long term.

      • r0b 2.2.1

        Sorry Richard if there was an answer in there I missed it. What would be your answer to the problem please?

        • jcuknz

          I think he was saying ‘do nothing’ because the problem will solve itself as the economy improves. I wonder if it will to the degree we have known in the past … so that is no solution.
          I remember as a child during WWII being given cod liver oil capsules at boarding school to try and counteract diet deficiencies caused by rationing. So an intermediate action could be to provide funds at the control of the medical profession, or whoever are the first to see the problem, to provide help, maybe food stamps targeted to healthy foods, to avoid re-occurrences.? [ I also remember getting milk in third pint bottles]

          • r0b

            I think he was saying ‘do nothing’ because the problem will solve itself as the economy improves.

            Does that answer satisfy you?

            Quite apart from the fact there doesn’t seem to be a plan to improve the economy other than “wait and hope”.

            • jcuknz

              You must be biased against me ROB from our past disagreements … I was merely providing a possible explanation not supporting the statement.
              Instead of clipping the bit which appeals to you, include the whole of the next sentence which points out that I do not consider that a viable position to take.
              I follow on with examples from the past and a suggestion which you choose to ignore as you decide to knock me … wake up! to the fact that I’m a socialist at heart too …. though I do not go along blindly with all the crap that is written here, or on Kiwiblog for that matter…

              • r0b

                You must be biased against me ROB from our past disagreements …

                Umm – no. I have past disagreements with far too many people to hold on to biases!

                But it’s true that I didn’t read your comment properly, and I responded in haste, so apologies for that.

      • ron 2.2.2

        I would have though that “more money” was an appropriate response to poverty – which is after all a lack of – um – money.

        It fascinates me that in this market driven world it’s ok to spend money sending private business people overseas to build trading relationships, bailing out weather stricken farmers, paying for visits from international heads of state and movie moguls, helping insolvent private companies fix their mining disasters and train staff for private companies but not ok to spend money to feed our kids.

        • Draco T Bastard

          But poverty is caused by an incorrect distribution of wealth – far too much of it goes to the few who don’t actually need it and don’t earn it.

          • Colonial Viper

            Need has been replaced by greed.

            The ego driven “keeping up with the joneses” is now applied on a global scale. People who want to get closer to Gates/Murdoch/Soros level wealth.

            A high income tax on anything earnt over 10x ($260K p.a.) and also over 50x the NZ median wage ($1.3M p.a.), and a significant estate tax on anything over $2M in net assets should level the playing field.

            Monies gained to go into a tax free lower income bracket, and also reinvested into the economy.

            It might encourage talent, drive and initiative into areas of our society other than the increasing of capital wealth for the few.

      • Colonial Viper 2.2.3

        I think in a time of global recession the top 1-2% of the population has done very damn well thank you.

        And that’s the key. If you have a tonne of families living off minimal benefits, or on the minimum wage to begin with, they have little room to absorb the shocks of a down turn, a layoff, an accident or other injury.

        If we want resilient communities – ones where adults *and* children can get along with good lives and not be vulnerable to external shocks, we have make sure that community links are strong, that people can get good jobs and that those jobs have good pay.

        By the way BS to suggestions that the Govt can’t do anything about high unemployment, its just the NAT Govt who can’t because of a) their neoliberal ideology and b) they are clueless.

        You want jobs, how about buying $30M of trains from NZ’ers instead of the Chinese, and then go on from there.

  3. Speaking as an acknowledged unashamed supporter of the Labour Party we do have a plan. Annette King gave a very well received speech at the recent conference on the subject. Her speech is at http://www.labour.org.nz/news/speech-putting-children-first

    Working for families was extraordinarily successful at bring the working poor out of poverty. The one problem with it was that the children of beneficiaries missed out.

    And to Richard above who said the answer that this blog wants to child poverty is, “spend more money at the problem”, well I am afraid that money is by definition the solution to poverty.

    • Shane Gallagher 3.1

      I agree it is money – but the actual problem is income inequality and not absolute poverty levels… which answers those bloody RWNJs when they say “When I was a snotty nosed kid and we had nothing we were happy and worked hard…” Well that is probably because everyone was poor back then and society was much more equal.
      And the great thing is that we have nice scientists and doctors proving empirically what we lefties knew in our hearts and souls all along was right…

      • Olwyn 3.1.1

        Recently Marty G put up an alternative budget and noted that the problem lay less with the wage gap than with the wealth gap. What people had when those RWNJs were growing up was security both in employment and housing, so while they had less consumer items (some of which were not yet invented), they did have a modest wealth base upon which a life could be built. We readily link poverty with crime, but I do not think we pay enough attention to the fact that the absence of life-building conditions and tools forms a big part of that link – it prevents people both from forming stable relationships and developing practical rationality, while keeping them in a permanent state of low level stress. While agree that money plays a large part in the alleviation of poverty, so too do conditions. Also, while I agree with Mickey savage about WFF lifting many out of poverty, I think that a tax free threshold is a better idea, because it does not carry with it the risk of debt when one’s income goes up a little. Hence it offers greater freedom from anxiety.

    • Jenny 3.2

      Well Micky that certainly was an awful lot of waffle, to announce only one concrete course of pending action from Labour.

      “We will be announcing more comprehensive policy in due course.”

      Annette King

      I find it hard to believe that this speech was well received, or things are much worse than I thought in Labour.

      Personally, I can’t wait till Labour releases their policies on child poverty, and I would have thought there would have been a few more in Labour who were a bit impatient as well.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        Well Micky that certainly was an awful lot of waffle, to announce only one concrete course of pending action from Labour.

        You know, we, Labour, have dozens of people (in Wellington and in ordinary branches) working on issues directly and indirectly related to child poverty, working with groups in the community, to understanding the current situation and what might be done to sort it out.

        Now are you going to be part of the problem or are you going to be part of the solution? Because unlike the NATs (Michael Woodhouse for instance) our party members and our MPs are taking this issue very seriously.

        Why don’t you choose to be part of the solution and instead of making snide comments go down to your local branch of the Labour party and give them your ideas and your thoughts on what needs to be done with child poverty. Then do the same for your nearest Labour MP.

        Personally, I can’t wait till Labour releases their policies on child poverty, and I would have thought there would have been a few more in Labour who were a bit impatient as well.

        Yeah don’t just sit back there, this is not a spectator sport, get going and contribute to the formation of the policy like I am doing and many others are doing.

      • mickysavage 3.2.2

        Waffle? Jenny you mean like

        “We are proposing a 6 year Agenda for Change because too often policies are dominated by a 3 year election cycle or a raft of pilot programmes, put in place to test yet another idea before it’s discarded. Good policy often fails to flourish through lack of political commitment and continuity.”

        Or “overall strategic plan which requires a whole-of-government approach and well integrated service delivery.”

        Or how about the reduction of “duplication of services, the silo-provision of services and huge gaps in services through which too many children fall. Labour also wants to support programmes built upon cultural strengths, accountable to their communities and achieving strong outcomes.”

        What about the proposal for legislated targets to eradicate child poverty in New Zealand and access to Parenting Programmes for all New Zealand families.

        Or to cap it off how about this on benefit levels:

        “Current benefit arrangements (in particular the DPB) doesn’t (sic) do what is needed, it doesn’t provide adequately for the children affected, their needs and development, especially in long term benefit families. It doesn’t provide either an adequate income or a pathway through the transition back to stability, education and good paid work. The costs of this are clear …”

        I thought the policy direction has been clearly signalled by her speech. I would not describe it as “waffle”.

        • Jenny

          “Current benefit arrangements (in particular the DPB) doesn’t (sic) do what is needed, it doesn’t provide adequately for the children affected, their needs and development, especially in long term benefit families. It doesn’t provide either an adequate income or a pathway through the transition back to stability, education and good paid work. The costs of this are clear …”

          Yes, but what are Labour going to do about it?

          Legislating targets to eradicate child poverty in New Zealand is pointless unless you can point to how these targets could be achieved.

          It would be like legislating against cancer without devising any strategy to prevent it, and crossing you fingers hoping that cancer knows it’s illegal.

          Such a strategy is bound to fail.

          Micky, a lot of Annettes speech, like the above paragraph you quoted, describes the problem but doesn’t provide any solutions.

          As I say waffle. Preaching to the choir, we all know this stuff.

          Micky, even you would have to admit, you managed to cut out a hell of lot of Annette King’s speech, with out losing anything.

          But the one solid policy direction that King proposed that made me uneasy, though I wasn’t going to comment on it, until you brought it up. Was Annette King’s desire to seek an across parliament accord on welfare.

          “We are proposing a 6 year Agenda for Change because too often policies are dominated by a 3 year election cycle or a raft of pilot programmes, put in place to test yet another idea before it’s discarded. Good policy often fails to flourish through lack of political commitment and continuity.”

          An “overall strategic plan which requires a whole-of-government approach and well integrated service delivery.”

          A cross party consensus worked out by the major parties in parliament (often behind closed doors) has usually spelt bad news for beneficiaries and their children.

          Usually manifested in public as, we all agree, “There is no alternative”.

          I could be wrong, but because her expression of this idea of cross party unity is so vague. To me, Annette King could be expressing a desire for a consensus around the idea, that if we are forced to get stuck in to beneficiaries, while we are in government, that we have a, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, agreement in place, to avoid being to heavily criticised for it, from the other side of the house.

          I could be wrong. Maybe Annette King is expressing desire for an across party agreement with the left leaning parties in parliament around a common set of policies that they could all agree on, that excludes the ‘right’ side of the house.

          Obviously this “whole government approach” or “overall strategic plan”, as Annette King calls it, would have to be around some agreed too, bottom line policies amongst the signatories that they could all agree on.

          I wait with keen interest to hear what Labour thinks these bottom line principles for welfare should be.

          If these bottom line principles for a “whole government approach” are never made clear, or kept hidden from the general public, then I feel I have the right to be sceptical.

          Because we all know that National and ACT will never agree to protecting social provision at current levels.

          National in fact have signalled that they mean to cut back social provision in their second term.

          Could Labour be seeking a consensus on this?

          As Annette King said:

          “We will be announcing more comprehensive policy in due course.”

          It will be interesting to see what it is. And who she wants to make deals with.

          Hopefully my worst fears will not be realised.

          • just saying

            I read this too when King first made this speech.
            I’d probably be a lot more pro-labour if I read MSM rather than their actual speeches and press releases on Scoop.
            If Labour wins in 2011, and frankly I’ve pretty much resigned myself to how highly unlikely that is, it will be an administion to the right of the previous Labour government, and the poorest and most vulnerable will have their rights and standards of living further eroded IMO. I’d love to be proved wrong but sadly Labour has been completely consistent thus far.

  4. Shane Gallagher 4

    Here is the Green “Mind the Gap” scheme – this is aimed at poverty alleviation in general but I think you will be able to see how it would help children as well; One thing I would like to see as well is getting rid of secondary tax rate for those with dependent children and raising the income level for everyone so that they can afford to feed, house and clothe themselves and have this income level independently assessed by recognised experts so that it doesn’t become a political football.

    Fair tax
    Solution 1: A tax-free $10,000
    Solution 2: A comprehensive capital gains tax (except on family homes)

    Addressing energy poverty
    Solution 3: Progressive electricity prices

    Income support
    Solution 4: In-Work Tax Credits for all low income families with dependent kids
    Solution 5: Reinstate a discretionary Special Benefit

    Solution 6: 6,000 new state houses in the next three years
    Solution 7: Investment in community housing
    Solution 8: Secure long-term rental tenure

    • Jenny 4.1

      Great stuff Shane, Keep up the good work Greens.

      Now let’s hear from the rest.

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      Shane – will there be PAYE increases in other income tax brackets (and will there be new brackets) to compensate for the loss of revenue from the tax-free $10K? I think the answer should be yes. What is the Green’s position?

      Energy poverty in NZ is a major issue. Goff has committed to no longer using Government electricity assets as a revenue gathering activity for the Crown.

      The Green housing policy is in line with Labour values – but Labour has not released its formal targets yet. However there is clear acknowledgement in the Labour camp that HNZ needs to do more and deliver more.

      So – what is the Green’s economic policy on economic growth and growing the tax base which will allow these promises to be delivered? Labour and Green could potentially see eye to eye on a CGT, what else.

      • Shane Gallagher 4.2.1

        The Greens official policy looks like this;

        effective tax rates are as follows by 2011:
        0% for $0-$10,000
        19% for $10,001 to $42,500,
        33% from $42,501 to $80,00
        39% from $80,001.
        # Ensure beneficiaries receive the benefits of the proposed changes by passing tax cuts on to those on benefits and adjusting benefit abatement rates.

        With regard to work and tax:
        # Move to full employment – rejecting the ideological stance that we need structural unemployment to keep wage inflation down
        # Increase the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour and ensure it cannot fall below 66% of the average wage.
        # Shift tax from work and enterprise onto pollution and wasted resources

        With regard to growth – there is no direct policy from what I understand – there is so much policy on the website it is bloody hard to keep up! BUT saying that the general feeling is that we need to move away from growth to a sustainable zero growth model to build the economy. Remember growth was a means to improve standards of living and was never intended to be a goal in and of itself – but it has mutated into one.

        • burt

          Shift that 39% from $80K to about $150K and index it annually to inflation and that almost sounds like an acceptable progressive (policy of envy) tax regime.

          I particularly like the 0% threshold for low earners, has ACT policy written all over it.

        • Lanthanide

          Based on those numbers, anyone earning less than $44,323 gets a tax cut, and anyone earning more pays more tax. Obviously the biggest tax increase is on those >$80k.

          For my salary, under the Green’s plan I’m still paying less than under the 2007 tax system, ie although I pay more stay, it still doesn’t gobble up all of the taxcuts from National and Labour.

        • Colonial Viper

          Shane, thx for the detail.

          Do you think that the Greens would consider a top income bracket set at 10x the NZ median income? That is at ~$260,000 p.a.? Should be at 49% or 59%. I raise issues of more progressive taxation around Labour from time to time but peeps seem nervous talking about new taxes (a bit less so these days admittedly).

    • Draco T Bastard 4.3

      One thing I would like to see as well is getting rid of secondary tax rate for those with dependent children…

      You do realise that if a tax return is filled in the “Secondary Tax” is effectively removed don’t you?

      • Colonial Viper 4.3.1

        Yeah but a lot of people need the money from a second job when they earn it, to pay the bills which are due, not at the end of the tax year when its a bit useless.

        • Shane Gallagher

          Thanks CV for answering!
          Most people don’t have second jobs for fun – they are doing it to make ends meet. I think it is just an unnecessary hassle I reckon.

          • burt

            A flat tax rate and welfare policies designed to ensure a minimum income would solve that problem as well but wouldn’t create tens of thousands of public service jobs to administer the exceptions and special case scenarios. Just saying.

            • Vicky32

              Creating public service jobs would be a good thing! (Especially as Key and his minions have got rid of upwards of 2000 of them just this year, purely for ideological reasons!)

        • Descendant Of Smith

          In which case they can apply for a special tax rate and have IRD assess this based on their total estimated earnings for the year.

          The reason you cannot have two incomes on Primary is that tax rebates are built into the PAYE tables e.g. low income earners rebates.

          If you had two $10,000 incomes one is from $0 to $10,000 and the second is from $10,000 to $20,000. The first will pay less PAYE in IRD’s tax tables than the second because if $10,000 was your only income then you would not need to pay as much tax.

          If you are consistently getting a refund at the end of the year a special tax rate may be the way to go.

          • Shane Gallagher

            Ah – thank you for that clarification… I learn so much on here!

          • Draco T Bastard

            Yeah, PAYE sux. I’m actually starting to think that it involves a lot of double taxation (something that has been specifically prevented for “investors”) but that’s going to take some more thought.

            • burt


              The only way to make PAYE simple and accurate in every calculation is to either have a single tax rate starting at the first dollar earned OR have full accurate up to date tax history information available for each and every calculation. We have neither so yes the PAYE system is pretty inaccurate when earnings fluctuate.

      • NickS 4.3.2


        Although it would be better if IRD didn’t have a secondary tax rate in the first place.

        • Draco T Bastard

          And @burt

          The present tax system was designed in the 1960s when personal computers and fast network connections weren’t in existence. With today’s technology we could get rid of:

          1) Provisional Tax
          2) Secondary tax rate

          Pretty sure there’ll be a major complaint from the right and probably from a lot on the left when all financial transactions are routed through IRD.

          • Lanthanide

            I’d rather not have the entire countries financial system reliant on a single point of failure. Not to mention security problems with this, and the fact that it simply isn’t even remotely practical to do what you’re implying.

            • Colonial Viper

              well lets not write the idea off quite yet, systems like SWIFT and Visa do quite well as central hubs processing tens of millions of transactions a day.

              I’d rather not have the entire countries financial system reliant on a single point of failure.

              Fair enough but you may not realise that banks share many of the same networks and the same data processing facilities anyway to save costs. E.g. the ATM may have a different bank brand name on the front, but will share certain network and processing systems common to all ATM’s in this country.

              Further, redundancy and safeguards can always be built in.

    • big bruv 4.4

      “Solution 4: In-Work Tax Credits for all low income families with dependent kids”

      AKA Working for families for dole bludgers and DPB slappers.

  5. Blinglish responds :

    In line with my strong catholic faith, no better espoused in this verse…

    Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God

    …it is my belief that these little tykes would be better off in heaven so i’m just doing my bit to ensure they get there faster without having to endure a lifetime of suffering

    for no greater love hath Bill than to lay down the lives of others kids for his own sake !!!

    • higherstandard 5.1

      Quite sad that a post which aspired to finding ideas and solutions has descended into ridicule and cant.

      I suppose it’s almost impossible to take the politics and bigotry out of a political blog.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Glad you are taking the holier position, I guess the NATs need to do something worthwhile on a subject like Child Poverty.

      • lprent 5.1.2

        Quite sad that a post which aspired to finding ideas and solutions has descended into ridicule and cant.

        That wasn’t what the post said

        It would be easy to start playing the blame game with this shocking trend. But in this post I want to look forward instead of back. My question to the National government is simple. What are you going to do to reverse this trend and lift children out of poverty? It’s your watch. What are you going to do?

        So you’re the National party are you?

        The “ridicule and cant” you perceive is probably also as a result of your misinterpretation of what the post was about.

        • higherstandard

          “It would be easy to start playing the blame game with this shocking trend. But in this post I want to look forward instead of back. ”

          and here from r0b

          Children in poverty

          “Sorry Richard if there was an answer in there I missed it. What would be your answer to the problem please?”

          A number of commenters have posited ideas but most of the trolls can only supply the usual abuse and party political rhetoric which while entertaining and amusing doesn’t do much else.

      • Bored 5.1.3

        A truly lower standard response from somebody who probably lives their life by another Biblical line To those that have will be given, to those that do not have will be taken away

    • M 5.2

      LOL Polly – strong Catholic faith indeed, more like strong RWNJ creed.

      Child poverty will improve when people are on livable wages/benefits, have decent housing and there is actually some work to go around – something NACT is allergic to.

      One thing concerns me though is when parents have habits like smoking and drinking which cut into money for essentials – not advocating that these should never occur but they can increase the misery of children who do not have any power over how parents spend money at the shop.

      Maybe a weekly food allowance could be loaded on to a debit card to pay for food at the supermarket but with the condition that alcohol or tobacco products cannot be bought. I know families where the kids do miss out because mum is smoking and drinking a lot, maybe to cope with the stress and lack of power in her life – not judging, just observing as I’ve not led a blameless life either – and think some ring fenced money for food and other essentials like soap, toilet paper and soap powder could give the kids a break.

      • Shane Gallagher 5.2.1

        A few years ago a friend of mine (an engineer) thought he had a very elegant solution to this particular problem – food rations! Every person got food rations – bought for them by the govt and they were given out at local “shops”. The diet would be nutritionally balanced and you could choose between different fruits, veges, meat, dairy etc. but within the nutritional guidelines. It would cost a lot less as there would be no need for supermarkets and the govt would buy direct from the suppliers in bulk and reduce costs and guarantee prices to producers.
        You could then buy extras out of your wages at local delis etc.
        It would ensure a healthy diet for all and save the country money which could then be spent on other things. It would also remove that huge area of stress – worrying about feeding your family. So stressed out addicted parents would not be able to make those bad decisions – and I am not going to make moral judgements – those are usually made by people who have never experienced life at the sharp harsh end.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          Food vouchers always seem appealing in theory but how do you adjust that healthy prescribed diet for someone who like me has an allergic reaction to eggs, or someone who requires a gluten free diet, or someone who has a reduced number of nerve endings in their bowel and as a result is limited to certain foods, or is allergic to nuts, or ………

          You then put families with children with disabilities through a whole lot of other hurdles and end up with people arguing with food nazis in shops who would invariably convey their own preferences and so on.

          In the left / right debate this idea usually comes from right wingers who don’t want to be told what to do and profess to detest the nanny state but of course wish the far more hazardous paternal state inflicted on the poor.

          The truth is most parents are fine and responsible and poor diet is more likely to result from lack of income and aspects such as high levels of salt and sugar in food. If we seriously wanted to do something about diet then making the recommendations that were in the draft WHO report some years back as to maximum sugar levels in food (the maximum was taken out in the final report as a result of pressure from the sugar companies) a requirement in NZ would do more than any such measure.

  6. Descendant Of Smith 6

    1. Increase benefit rates – at a minimum putting back the $20-00 per week that was cut and reduce the need for people to apply for supplementary type assistance
    2. Instead of WFF re-instate a Universal Family Benefit so that all NZer’s can be supported in raising their children
    3. Increase State Housing in the short-term by building new houses but in the long term by buying up baby boomer housing as they sell off their homes and the bottom drops out of the market. One solution may be for the state to build new retirement flats close to supermarkets and bus routes and swap these for three and four bedroom homes that are no longer needed. This would then provide adequate housing for families.
    4. Stop castigating young people and sole parents and further diminishing their self worth. Treat parenting as a positive experience to be supported.e
    5. Offer free tubal ligation through the health system for those who wish to access this
    6. Make a concerted effort to create / develop jobs for young women – we’re pretty good in this country at coming up with schemes for young men e.g. fencing, shearing, boot-camps, etc but not so good at considering options for young women and are somehow surprised when their transition from child to adult is via having children rather than work.
    7. Make it not OK for men to father children and bugger off taking no responsibility. Pay for genetic testing if necessary to identify the fathers and have them make their contribution to any state assistance
    8. Increase the minimum wage to get closer to a level where someone can support a family on one income.
    9. Make a concerted effort to have at least 50% of GDP paid out in wages and salaries rather than in profit. This may mean ensuring that those who currently avoid tax are pursued rigorously.
    10. Build creche facilities in schools so teenage parents can continue their education. Fund the schools to provide both pre and after school care.
    11. Provide Plunket care for all first mothers for the first three months and longer if needed.

  7. burt 7

    WFF… yes a policy that pays benefits to people earning up to about $140,000 / year – that is a policy designed to lift children from poverty and make sure they have the essentials like the 32-gb iPod rather than the 2-gb no brand MP3 player…

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      burt don’t worry, frak all people earn over $100K p.a. in this country (2% or less).

      50% earn less than $26500 p.a. And that is where most of the benefit of WFF goes.

      Now lets talk about the tax cuts. 42% of the benefit went to the top 10% of income earners. But that’s NAT for you.

      • big bruv 7.1.1

        Shock horror!

        The top 10% got to keep more of their own money……

        Not forgetting that these people still pay more tax than those below them on the ladder.

        • Colonial Viper

          Its NOT THEIR MONEY it is OURS. That’s why employers cannot use or give PAYE money away. It BELONGS TO THE CROWN. And the wealthy need to pay more, in some cases much more, not less.

          Enrich the rich, we know, we know.

          • higherstandard

            I’d suggest that the only money that is “ours” in the sense you’re talking about is the money that is paid out in taxpayer dollars to the private/public sector.

            To argue that all money in the economy is “ours” or “the governments” is a small step away from all goods, land, etc is “ours” or “the governments” and if you really want to go down that route it’s probably best if you arm yourself now because there would be blood running in the streets.

            • big bruv

              The government has no money, the money they hand out (90% of which is wasted) belongs to the tax payer.

            • Bored

              HS, another lower standard analysis. I would suggest that why CV refers to the money as ours is that he (like myself) probably sees that the money has no actual owner except the society that agrees to existence and the utility of the note in question. That somebody can demand more of it due to their proximity and control of a transaction by dint of society agreeing to “property rights” is also debatable.

              You might also note should you take the time to read some history that extreme property rights tend to align with extreme reaction, often leading to “blood in the streets” as you put it. Property rights proponents tend to lose these events. Starving people seem to have a huge appetite for blood.

              • higherstandard

                Ah well as I’m sure you suspect I have a more mainstream view of money and property rights and therefore beg to differ – but it’d be an odd world if we agreed with each other all the time.

                Have a good day i’m back off to work – we can continue the discussion later if you like.

              • Colonial Viper

                I would suggest that why CV refers to the money as ours is that he (like myself) probably sees that the money has no actual owner except the society that agrees to existence and the utility of the note in question.

                Yep. Money is a common utility which should be used to facilitate both the common good and a common citizenship. money should be issued debt free by the Govt and not be created by the manufacture of interest bearing debt, which is what the private banks do now, and which creates the imperative to always drive up growth and consumption.

                And money should not be used as ingots building vast mountains of financial capital which typically end up serve only the few. In a highly capitalist economy mountains of financial capital tend to have the objective of creating more mountains of financial capital, and not facilitating the common good, nor facilitating a common citizenship.

                Sadly, quite the opposite.

                Plus its hard to ignore all the talent, time and effort which goes into this drive for capital growth, instead of going into building the common good, and a common citizenship.

          • Jeremy Harris

            The government doesn’t own me or my labour, savings and enterprise CV… Saying that all money in the country is OURS, i.e. the governments, means you view all NZ citizens as slaves to the government…

            The money we as individual citizens earn is the product our time and talent, it is ours, the government takes it through force and in an attempt to make this force more fair we get to vote for representatives who spend it, but it doesn’t belong to society, the government or “us”, that is communism and very dangerous mindset…

            • Bored

              Money is not enterprise, labour (and maybe not savings in the current financial climate)…..they are your contribution to the transaction to which the money applies. if the government owned them you would truly be a slave, the same as if you were so indentured to a corporate you would be their slave.

            • Pascal's bookie

              Nah. Property is a constructed right. All that means is that ‘who owns what’, is decided by a negotiated process.

              Not everyone will agree with the outcome, so some mechanism will arise for enforcing the decided outcome.

              This is true under anarchy, direct democracy, representative democracy or totalitarianism, though the mechanisms for negotiating and enforcing will obviously vary massively.

              It’s also true under communism, capitalism, or any other economic system you can think of, and here it is the decided upon definition of ‘who owns what’that will vary.

              • Colonial Viper

                Not well known, but private property rights were extremely important at the beginning of the original communist governments of China and USS – more private property went into the legal ownership of commoners than ever before when the communists took power.

            • Colonial Viper

              The money we as individual citizens earn is the product our time and talent, it is ours, the government takes it through force

              Interesting that you say this Jeremy but then seem to happily accept that capitalists employ people, and will take away large chunks of the economic value their employees produce with their “time and talent”, giving back only a little in return.

              In return the capitalist will pay their employee (or contractor) only a small share of the economic value that they generate. As little as they think that employee (or contractor) will tolerate, and ideally not one penny more, the capitalist keeping the rest of the economic value for themselves.

              So you as a worker have just been thieved from, yeah? A large chunk of the economic productivity of your time and effort have just gone to someone else, yeah? But I perceive that you will happily accept the theft in this case, when it is theft done upon you not by the Government but by the capitalist. And not directly of money from your pay packet, but of economic value produced by your talent and time.

              • Jeremy Harris

                Judging by your last two comments you are a fully fledged Communist now..?

                • Colonial Viper

                  Not really Jeremy, I am playing devils advocate at the moment more than anything else.

                  You’ll find that I’m actually quite a fan of private sector innovation, incentivisation and profit generation. In many, but not all, market areas.

                  I do think that Fonterra, the old Wool Board etc. are prime examples of how co-operative or centrally co-ordinated models of commercial activity can be very advantageous in specific applications.

                  Also I do think that in our society we have to look at ways of motivating people to build more than just financial capital, and to use financial capital in ways other than to just build more financial capital. Social and environmental capital are both very important.

                  • Jeremy Harris

                    As you know I’m a fan of Co-ops…

                    Also I do think that in our society we have to look at ways of motivating people to build more than just financial capital, and to use financial capital in ways other than to just build more financial capital. Social and environmental capital are both very important.

                    I think most people want a moral society and a healthy environment… As usual though the gulf is between whether one believes government is the best way to achieve these ends…

                    I’ll happily admit our current monetary system and parts of our corporate structure don’t help on either front, which I’m sure we’ll agree on, and that government interventions, monopolies and regulations don’t help either, which we probably wont agree on…

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Well, to the extent that some govt regulation and oversight is needed to ensure a free and fair market, we might agree on that as well Jeremy.

                      Companies and corporates are always going to try and “corner” the market if they can. Or, they should, because being a monopolistic provider (even if not strictly a monopoloy) is always going to be the most beneficial market position to be in.

                      But its not necessarily going to be the most beneficial position for the rest of society to be in.

                      Also one other area we might agree on is the concept of “too big to fail”. Nothing must ever be too big to fail. If a private sector company fraks up, it should be able to fail, and to fail without threatening to take a huge chunk of our economy down with it (or to threaten to do so if tax payers do not rush in to bail it out).

                    • Jeremy Harris

                      I’ll happily admit our current monetary system and parts of our corporate structure don’t help on either front, which I’m sure we’ll agree on, and that government interventions, monopolies and regulations don’t help either, which we probably wont agree on…

                      Government regulation to entry in an industry make it more likely this will happen, it simply raises the barriers to entry and makes it harder for small entities to compete…

                      I wasn’t really talking about corporate monopolies, was talking more about externalising costs and company directors and CEOs not having enough direct responsibility for corporate failures…

                      I always find it curious that “lefties” hate corporate monopolies so much, recognise that it leads to poor service and poor economic results, yet so happily endorse government monopolies as though the elimination of a profit motive somehow cures these issues…

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I always find it curious that “lefties” hate corporate monopolies so much, recognise that it leads to poor service and poor economic results, yet so happily endorse government monopolies as though the elimination of a profit motive somehow cures these issues…

                      Government monopolies can be run to be just as financially extractive from the population as a private sector monopoly. That is true.

                      But an underlying assumption is that Government will run its monopoly primarily for the benefit of all 4.4 million NZ’ers, not primarily for the benefit of just 50 major shareholders, executive managers and directors.

                      To my mind that difference will materially impact every decision and every strategy the two different types of organisations utilise.

        • felix

          Not forgetting that you don’t pay your bills at all. Pay up, bludger.

        • KJT

          They get to keep more of the money earned by the productivity of people that actually do the things that earn the money,.

          It works like this.
          I will supply the wheat. You supply the rest, you make the ingredients, make the pizza and then if you are really good and work hard I will give you 1/10 of the Pizza. Then I expect you to pay 1/3 of your 1/10 pizza as taxes while I pay 1/10 of my 9/10 pizza as it is in a trust or tax dodge.

    • bbfloyd 7.2

      burt.. you’re starting to sound bitter… is it possible you have started to realise that you have backed a pup all this time?

    • Shane Gallagher 7.3

      As a single dad WFF was the only thing that allowed me to pay my bills at the end of every month. And no I don’t drink or smoke and have very little spare cash to spend on things like new clothes – most of what I buy comes from the charity shops – and I am in what is jokingly called a very middle class job.
      The real problem here is that salaries are just too low – most people are paid terribly – especially compared to Europe or Australia. I honestly do not know how most people survive on the crap wages they earn.

      • Colonial Viper 7.3.1

        Agreed. NZ needs 200,000 more jobs paying between $20-25/hr.

        Incomes for ordinary people need to increase. Cutting taxes only hides the fact that the Govt does not know how to – or want to – do this in any meaningful way.

        Under NAT leadership: expect zero.

        • big bruv


          Did Labour provide 200,000 real jobs paying between $20-25 an hour?

          Didn’t think so.

          • Colonial Viper

            big bruv – NAT campaigned on closing the gaps with Australia and they are in power now.

            Refer to Labour/Clark/Cullen’s economic history if you like, things like much lower unemployment and many years of Govt surpluses for instance.

            Further, Labour of today has got a plan and a focus on encouraging a highly diversified high value added economy. The kind of economy where we don’t outsourced skilled good paying jobs to Chinese rail companies when NZ workers should be entrusted with the work.

            • MrSmith

              What’s up with the Chinese railway wagons Colornial, something smells bad! Key,Wong,Shipley China and 29 million worth of wagons.

  8. Draco T Bastard 9

    Universal Income

    Make sure every man, woman and child has enough income to live well right from the start and adjust taxes to suit. There should be no poverty in a well functioning society.

    • big bruv 9.1

      Nothing in that about people working for a living Draco.

      Would work be optional in your socialist paradise?

      • felix 9.1.1

        Or you could just run up debts and refuse to pay them. That’d be ok, right bludge?

        • mickysavage

          Bruv you should pay up. Otherwise every time you abuse people as being bludgers we will all think that you are a fine one to talk. Bludger. How does it feel by the way to be called a bludger?

          • mcflock

            Bruv isn’t a bludger – he’s a property developer: he made an arbitrary gamble to continue the illusion of self promotion, and when it fell through he either argues absurdities as to how he doesn’t really owe any money, or he simply ignores his creditors.

      • KJT 9.1.2

        It is already optional for the rich!

        The fact that many still work shows that having more money for not working doesn’t stop most people from working.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.3

        Isn’t the usual RWNJ argument that paying people is enough to get them working? And I most definitely allowed for people to work and to get paid for doing so.

  9. bbfloyd 10

    As long as we have political leaders who insist on making money, and it’s acquisition the main priority for society, we will never really get to the core of our main problems.. namely the lack of true social networks that ensure the kind of education that would give people the tools required to be able to bring up children in a mature, and responsible manner.

    it seems obvious to me that our dependence on, and obsession with financial solutions ignores the fact that, without entrenched social values, we don’t have a strong enough society to deal sensibly with issues as they arise.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      As long as we have political leaders who insist on making money, and it’s acquisition the main priority for society, …

      As long as we have those then we are going to have a sick society. Specifically, one that happens to be psychopathic.

  10. big bruv 11


    If there are children living in poverty in NZ then their parents should be prosecuted for failing to provide the necessities of life.

    There is no excuse for a children to be hungry, no excuse for a child with a medical condition to go untreated.

    If the low life parents will not feed or care for their kids then stop paying the parents, replace all cash benefits with vouchers.

    • burt 11.1

      And how will that encourage them to vote Labour ?

      • Descendant Of Smith 11.1.1

        It won’t and isn’t intended to but potentially with state support they could survive long enough to be educated, not have to leave school at 14 or younger to provide an income for the family – man they could even potentially become a National Prime Minister and turn their back on giving others the same support and opportunities that they and their parent(s) were given – you know they can be a self made man and do it all by their little lonesomes.

    • Bored 11.2

      BB, you normally talk shit, but what you are saying here goes well beyond offensive. You are a moron. And you dont , as Felix points out, pay your way.

      • big bruv 11.2.1

        In what way is it offensive?

        NZ has a generous benefit system (one of the reasons we are in the poo) even the long term bludgers are paid enough to care for their kids.

        Perhaps if their parents gave up smoking and booze they may be able to feed their kids, hell, imagine how much better life would be if they………got a job!

        • Colonial Viper

          NZ has a generous benefit system (one of the reasons we are in the poo)

          Nope. The welfare state is one reason we are a civilised western nation which looks after its citizens in good times and in bad.

          The reason we are in the poo is because this country is being run by a bunch of winner takes all capitalists who are happy to push costs on to the poor so they can take more themselves.

          And tell me where these 160,000 jobs are for people to get, the ones Bill and John said they would create with their aggressively growing economy?

          • big bruv


            Just down the road from me is a rather large business (a national chain), they have been advertising two vacancies for the last ten days.

            There are jobs out there Viper, a large percentage of the people on the dole do not want them, they are happy for the tax payer to fund their lifestyle and the left are happy for them to remain there just as long as they vote Labour.

            The welfare state IS the problem.

            • r0b

              the left are happy for them to remain there just as long as they vote Labour.

              Which is why unemployment reached record 30 year lows under Labour, of course.

              • big bruv

                Lol..are you really going to claim that the Labour gov’t was responsible for the world wide economic boom?

                Ten years of the best economic environment in living memory and all of it squandered by Labour.

                By the way r0b, care to remind us how many people were “transferred” from the dole to the sickness and invalids benefit under Labour?

                There are jobs out there r0b, all people have to do is get off their ass and find them.

                [lprent: The site has covered this bullshit lie about benefits a number of times previously.
                Try here.

                So which was it this time, your inability to read, your inability to deal with numbers, or your addiction to the big bruv’s big lie? I treat the last one as evidence of trolling and the other two as a failure coming out of the education system.

                Of course you could offer up some evidence to support your assertion – but you’re not exactly known to be interested in providing evidence to support your claims*.

                * you are good at welching on paying up your bets though. ]

                • Pascal's bookie

                  This is the daftest shiit I’ve seen in a while.

                  The ‘boom’ meant jobs were available, and what we saw was that people took them.


                  The boom forced people into work by magic, when they would rather be on the dole, then there was a bust and everyone used that as an excuse to, ahm, force their employer to lay them off.

        • KJT

          Generous benefit system my arse.
          Try living on no other income but a sickness benefit for many months.
          Especially with 3 children when your wife cannot work because she has to look after a handicapped kid. For which you get a generous extra $75 a fortnight.

          Meanwhile your mortgage and all your other costs are piling up because you cannot pay them.

          Get a job? What jobs? 20 000 unemployed kids in Northland.

    • r0b 11.3

      bludger bruv and burt. No solutions, just political trolling. Thanks so much guys.

      • Bored 11.3.1

        I dont really care about the baiting and crap these non entities spout, it really only pisses me off when they make offensive statements such as calling the parents of children in poverty “low life” without taking the effort to build a case to that effect. Its the same scum behavoir as habitually kicking the dog.

      • big bruv 11.3.2


        Vouchers are the solution.

        • Draco T Bastard

          No, taxing the psychopathic capitalists far more is the solution.

          Well, one solution, the better one is to get rid of capitalism and replace it with a better system. One that adequately distributes the wealth of the renewable resource base then we’d end up with a sustainable and healthy society.

        • r0b

          Tell us more bruv. What sort of vouchers?

        • KJT

          As the children of the wealthy use far more than their share of resources the solution is to make breeding illegal for anyone with over 2 million worth of assets.

          • burt

            Yes the true agenda of social engineering to create a mythical classless society is never far from the surface in lefty-land.

            • Descendant Of Smith

              Actually I would argue the denial of class and the notion of a classless society is a right wing perspective. The notion that every single person can start from nothing and become a multi-millionaire, the notion that advantage doesn’t exist, and so on and so on.

              I know class exists from being treated like a second class citizen – you know being a scholarship kid at a boarding school, at being told I shouldn’t be marrying above my station – I was only the son of a railway worker after all, from after leaving school to being offered jobs purely on the basis of the boarding school I went to – no questions asked, from seeing the advantage that schools with wealthy parents have for resources over low decile public schools and so on and so on.

              The supposed classless society is a right wing construct – what the left (and this country previously set out to do) try to do is to mitigate the effects of class and have an egalitarian outlook

              The language used by many of the right here to denigrate ordinary everyday people illustrates just how they perceive themselves as a class above the rest.

              I’ve always noticed that sexual mores explain a lot about class – the well off get to sow their wild oats, have mistresses, and move in and out of relationships, etc while castigating the working class for doing the same – cause you know they are supposed to be monogamous.

              I suppose Burt ultimately you speak the truth on this one – there are classes in this society and it is mythical to believe that there is not.

        • Armchair Critic

          All of us are already paid with vouchers – they read “This note is legal tender for […] dollars”
          You want a more restrictive type of voucher? Multiple classes of means of exchange? Sounds kind of inefficient.
          Is it your authoritarian streak that wants to tell people how to spend money and restrict their freedom to decide for themselves how to live their lives? Perhaps the idea of company towns appeals?

      • burt 11.3.3

        Poor rOb, tell us again how you think Muldoon style high taxes and intervention is the answer. You really learnt a lot from your favourite politician, even how to just abuse people who disagree with your “I’m always right” view of yourself.

  11. George D 12

    I got a question for Labour MPs. All of them.

    When will you sit down for a coffee with Susan StJohn?

    Labour refused to acknowledge the grounded critiques of the Child Poverty Action Group for the entire time they were in power, and appear to be ignoring them now. Until I hear that Phil Goff and Annette King are meeting StJohn, I’m going to assume that they’re the same people who left hundreds of thousands of children in dire situations, and presided over a large and stagnating underclass – the same social malaise that made people feel uncomfortable with the direction NZ was going in, and left NZ vulnerable to the false prophet of smileandwavehopechangeyoucanbelievein.

    • burt 12.1

      Excellent question.

    • George D

      David Craig who has been heavily involved in the Child Poverty Action Group with Susan St John is a member of Labour’s policy council is also heavily involved in the formulation of the policy in this area. He was critical that Labour did not do more and when I saw him at conference he was beaming from ear to ear.

      Labour is not ignoring the CPAC. Annette King said the following:

      “Current benefit arrangements (in particular the DPB) doesn’t (sic) do what is needed, it doesn’t provide adequately for the children affected, their needs and development, especially in long term benefit families. It doesn’t provide either an adequate income or a pathway through the transition back to stability, education and good paid work. The costs of this are clear …”

      Cups of coffee and discussions are happening.

      Burt. When did you care about poor children? And why do you think it was a good question? If you had a choice benefits would be abolished, not increased.

      • burt 12.2.1


        I’ll take the questions one at a time so hopefully next time you google of background facts having clear simple sound bites might make it easier for you to check the stuff you make up.

        When did you care about poor children?

        Since I was, in the NZ context, one myself. Growing up in what is now a decile 2 neighbourhood. Since I first started sponsoring kids (plural) that really do live in poverty in countries with no welfare.

        And why do you think it was a good question?

        It was a good question because CPAG had a lot to say about WFF, if you had put as much effort into finding quotes I have made about child poverty as you did finding a quote from a Labour person that supported the CPAG position you wouldn’t have needed to ask that question.

        If you had a choice benefits would be abolished, not increased.

        Utter bollix, you can produce better spin to denigrate than that. I have spoken volumes on tax and benefits on this site. Quote away to support your outrageous attack.

      • burt 12.2.2


        This is a ‘link on the standard’ I found, it might help you understand my position.

        Out of interest mickysavage, was that you commenting as ‘savage’ in that thread?

        Do you remember the court case?

      • George D 12.2.3

        Let me know when the policy changes. King’s response as minister was to wave away the MSD report which showed a quarter of NZ kids in poverty.

  12. randal 13

    this government is not going to do anything about the poor.
    they are desperately afraid of them and slipping back into the poverty they recently oozed out of.
    this government is a government of manques parvenus upstarts bullys and inheritors.
    unfortunately they know how to lay on al the weasel words without actually doing anything so we have to keep on them because there are some things only governments can do but they wont do it.

  13. randal 14

    my apologies for not reading all the posts especially the one from big bruv.
    his attitude is the bully one.
    if and it is a big if he really is an employer then he is just using this space to frighten people and cow them into not speaking up about their wages and conditions.
    he wants everyone afraid so they will accept lower wages if they can be properly browbeaten.

  14. Deadly_NZ 15

    As if Parents did not have enough to worry about this happens


    Wasn’t there a govt department to keep an eye on things that cold be dangerous before they got released to the shelves?

    Oh thats right it probably is now so under funded as to be useless thanks John & Bill

  15. big bruv 16

    “he wants everyone afraid so they will accept lower wages if they can be properly browbeaten.”

    Hmmm, strange, I was once banned from here for putting words in the mouth of another contributor…oh well….

    What “he” wants is for our governments to stop funding bludgers, to stop paying slappers to breed, to stop wasting my tax dollars and to stop using my money to bribe voters (WFF and interest free student loans)

    [lprent: That is an opinion about your opinions. I ban people when they say that someone said something when they didn’t say any such thing – usually when they rephrase a statement. The key thing here is that randal didn’t say that you’d said it, didn’t frame it in quotes and attribute it to you, and didn’t say do an assertion something like – “so what X is saying is.. ” followed by something that they didn’t say or even imply. ]

  16. jcuknz 17

    The answer to poverty is of course more money .. the question is how do we organize it.
    At the same time it seems obvious to me that we have to reduce demand on resources, usually these days imports, without undue affect to our exports. With that we have to find an answer to the downsizing of our retail sector that would bring and looking after in a meaningful way the shop workers made redundant

    I remember back just two decades, which was after Rogernomics arrived by a decade, that if you earnt $50,000 pa you were in the top 5%.
    But then we had Jennycide and Ruthanasia and our society went to custard. With the poor being pushed down and the rich got richer and continued in that direction despite nine years of Labour government. Can we trust either lot to get it right?. Could well be we need a further to the left party to ginger up Labour as ACT and Maori are doing to National today.

    With the problems facing the country and on the horizon we simply must have a socialist government with gumption, absent it seems from today’s Labour, to get things right in a responsible manner. They had nine years to start getting it right and just sat on their hands apart from a few little measures, some of which appeared good but long-term are themselves problems such a WFF. Labour have to bite the bullet and appreciate it is not good for the country that a majority of people are beneficiaries.. There has to be a better way to get the money into the hands of those who need it without government hand-outs. It may get a few votes, the right think that is the case, but it is a strong inhibition of finding different and better ways.

    • Jeremy Harris 17.1

      The answer to poverty is of course more money

      It isn’t that simple, families whose income comes from work and is the same as the income a beneficiary family recieves have far better stats on child poverty…

      It is a problem that affects many areas, education, employment, culture… Employment is the key and that cannot be lower than 3% in our current monetary system and with minimum wages…

      • Descendant Of Smith 17.1.1

        Given the benefit rate is nowhere near the minimum wage what you have said makes no sense. Where are these mythical people who get the same on benefit as from working?

        Gross DPB is $314-17 per week, married unemployment is $361-48 per week and someone single under 25 gets $144-59.

        The current minimum wage is $12-75 per hour. Forty hours work comes to $510-00 per week. Even at 30 hours which some would argue is full-time work the gross income is $382-50 per week.

        What in effect you are propounding is stats for non-existent people. Even at the highest benefit rate which is for for a married couple they are $150-00 per week better off working – a sole parent almost $200-00 per week – and more of course if the employer pays more than minimum wage.

        Remember too that these days supplementary payments such as Accommodation Supplement are available to all low income earners not just those on benefit and also that there is additional WFF assistance through IRD for families not on a benefit but on a low income.

        As many people are finding out life on a benefit isn’t what many right-wing pundits like to convey. It’s a struggle and working people should be thankful they are not there.

      • SPC 17.1.2

        That’s a lie Jeremy Harris.

        Before WFF we had children in working families in poverty – they went out of poverty, not because they learnt to be better parents, but once they had more income.

        Today there is no equivalence (if there ever was) as the above post has already explained – and this is why child poverty remains only amongst those on benefits – for now increases in child poverty appear to be only because more are on benefits. Thanks to WFF, otherwise things would be worse.

      • Jeremy Harris 17.1.3

        There are people on the DPB who recieve, accomodation supplements, the DPB, and payments per number of children… I’ve helped do budgets for people on benefits and benefit packages and the minimum wage supporting a family…

        A single mother with three children receiving such payments gets more a week than a father or mother on the minimum wage, with a partner and three kids at home gets after travelling expenses and WFF…

        • just saying

          Except that fictious working family gets the same supplements and add-ons, so they are still ahead (courtesy of tax-payers subsidising underpaying employers).

        • Jeremy Harris

          They don’t and many don’t claim…

          • Descendant Of Smith

            Which ones can’t they get Jeremy? Accommodation Supplement, Disability Allowance, Temporary Additional Support, non-recoverable food payments, recoverable assistance for emergency needs – these are all available subject to the same income and asset testing as people on benefit.

            In some cases it’s more generous than for some people on say unemployment because the Invalids Benefit rates are used.

            Here try these income limits off the Work and Income website:

            Gross annual income limit

            Single,16 – 17 years $23,059.92
            Single, 18+ years $26,503.36
            Married, civil union or de facto couple (with or without children) $38,494.04
            Sole parent, 1 child $32,159.92
            Sole parent, 2+ children $33,882.16

            $510-00 per week (40 hours at the minimum wage) is equal to $26,520-00. Someone with kids would certainly qualify.

            I hope you advised those ones who didn’t apply to do so.

            Of course you could extend the right wing mantra to them couldn’t you – there’s enough jobs out there and all they need to do is get off their backside and get a better paying job. There’s no excuse really to be in a minimum wage low paying job.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          Ahhh so you’ve moved the goalposts to try and fit your argument – you’re now deducting expenses from the income.

          So it’s not that they receive more income it’s that they may have more expenses. Of course they also may not.

          Apples and oranges.

        • KJT

          Rubbish. The mum on the DPB still gets less than someone working full time on the minimum wage. Are you saying though that bringing up future taxpayers and minimum wage slaves for the elite is not productive work.


          There are people getting thousands a year on money from trust funds, they have not earned.
          Not to mention living in houses and driving cars owned by the trust which are effectively non-taxed income and benefits.

          Who are the bludgers??

          • Jeremy Harris

            @DoS, I advised everyone to claw as much tax back as they can…

            The simple fact of the matter is there are families who are supported by a single worker on the minimum wage, who for whatever reason; whether it be greater expenses related to travel (in some centre transport eats up 16% of household income) or that they aren’t claiming all they are entitled to, that earn less than families on benefits and related payments…

            I’ve completed budgets for these people, so while you may not want to believe it’s true, you can believe I’m lying if you want, the simple matter is it is fact…

            Bringing it back to my original point: Children with parents in employment even if they recieve very low salary have better child poverty stats than families of similar income without…

            • Descendant Of Smith

              No you originally stated the following:

              The answer to poverty is of course more money

              It isn’t that simple, families whose income comes from work and is the same as the income a beneficiary family receives.

              I’ve done both advocacy work and budget advice in the past and understand both systems.. I’ve never come across a case where the income from benefit is the same as income from working full-time. It just can’t happen. For a sole parent the cross-over is at about 20 – 22 hours work.

              I challenged that notion, as did others, and then you altered your argument by factoring in outgoings.

              It would be interesting too how your advice to claw as much tax back as possible affected wage and salary earners – clawing back tax – a negative use of language when helping someone – usually applies to people who are self employed or who have business income. wage and salary earners are a different category as there is not a lot they can do with their tax.

              A business is of course an asset and businesses tend to get supported by IRD and the tax system rather than the benefit system – though in recent years aspects such as Community Services Card, Child Care Subsidy and Family Tax credits have been accessible for those who are self-employed.

              If your advice didn’t include accessing entitlements – as opposed to just clawing back tax – I’m not sure how you were helping them. Hope ideology didn’t get in the way of helping.

              Best advice I gave someone one day was to sell their car and move to a house across the road from where they worked. This not only reduced her costs but meant that she was close to town and on call for causal work when people rung in sick. Within six months she was debt free and saving – it took a change of thinking as well – everyone else told her she needed a car to get to work.

              At the end of the day a low income is a low income and it seems a shame that you have empathy for working people on low incomes but very little for people on benefit on even lower incomes.

              The point you’re making seems to be – well I might not have much money either but because I’m working I’m better off than you are – just what we need a pissing contest to the bottom.

        • SPC

          How great would the travelling expenses have to be for that to be true?

          Care to state how much the travel cost would have to be?

          • Jeremy Harris

            In Auckland travel expenses average 16% of household income, those at the lower level are below average so it usually makes up a larger percentage…

            One budget I did was for a family where the mother lived in Onehunga and worked in Waitakere, she caught three buses to work and back home totalling $8.70 each way and was on the minimum wage, so it left her and her family every week (excluding taxes):

            ($12.75 x 40) – ($8.70 x 10) = $423

            It is even more expense for families with a single parent working who have a car when WoF, Reg and sometimes insurance are included…

            Beneficiaries aren’t without travel costs of course but they are usually much less…

            So in answer I’d say a worker has to be earning about 10% more minimum to be ahead after travel expenses… Of course travel expenses aren’t the only work related cost; safety boots, dress clothes, etc…

  17. Descendant Of Smith 19

    Hmmmm by a strange co-incidence this morning in the Herald:


    • Vicky32 19.1

      A very odd story! No evidence, just assertion, I notice.

    • Jeremy Harris 19.2

      Better not hold my breath waiting for an apology, eh..?

      • SPC 19.2.1

        It’s not clear how many hours they were working.

        But Work and Income doubted they would receive only $20 LESS on a benefit.

        And the recruitment agency guy said they must be including travel expenses – to be as close as $20 less on the benefits than on the job.

        You claimed 1 – people were on more on benefits – not true

        You claimed 2 – that after travel expenses people were better off on benefits – not true.

        And no I am not holding my breath.

      • Jeremy Harris 19.2.2

        You’re splitting hairs, $20 extra is a small incentive for 40 hours of labour…

        • SPC

          No you are, particularly when the cited $20 a week figure is disputed by others and we do not even know how many hours they worked. It could be only 25-30 hours.

          If so, the gap between the basic benefit $198 a week (over 25 even less under 25) and 30 hours at the minimum wage after tax is c$330 is about $130. Maximum transport costs would be up to $10 each way (usually half that or less) – in that extreme situation sure there may be only the $30 gain from work.

          As someone has pointed out, then they should consider moving closer to where they work, (or sharing travel costs – car pool).

          Possibly the government should organise car pooling for low wage workers to encourage beneficiaries to work/part of welfare reform – energy efficient/lowers road congestion.

          Otherwise – increase the minimum wage for all work, or work less than 35 hours per week, to $15 per hour.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          To quote from the article:

          The agency said a three-child family living in Mangere with two parents on benefits would receive $750 a week. If one of the parents worked 30 hours in a casual $15-an-hour job, they would receive $826, and $923 for working 40 hours.

          That’s clearly not $20-00 per week difference.

          Even in your example above you come to $423-00 for working (not including any additional support they may be entitled to) less transport versus (let’s assume a sole parent cause it’s lower than a married couple) $314-17. That still makes the women working better off financially by $108-00 per week.

          As both parties can get additional assistance for accommodation and health costs the women working is still better off because she can also get Family Tax Credits.

          You simply can’t get the maths to work this way – I mean benefits were cut by $20-00 per week because wages were dropping so much. That has never been reinstated – much to Labours disgrace.

          It’s only when you take expenditure into account e.g. a high mortgage – do you get some parity with money left over to pay for food and electricity, and so on.

          May be you should help out a few beneficiaries with their budgets and you might see how little most of them have.

          • Jeremy Harris

            May be you should help out a few beneficiaries with their budgets and you might see how little most of them have.

            I have and do, more than those in work in fact, I’ve been in plenty of kitchen’s with nothing but an empty fridge…

            This really is a pedantic argument, a person on the benefit claiming all entitlements can be earning the same (or more) than a person on the minimum wage who doesn’t especially when all the various expenses are included…

            To say that all 2,000,000 people working have more income after core essentials for child poverty allievation than the 330,000 people on benefits is just flat out wrong, I know because I’ve seen the income and expenditure documentation and sat at these people’s tables… You may not like it but it is the truth…

            All a sidetrack from my original point, that child poverty is in no small part an employment issue…

            • SPC

              You remind me of someone called photonz who posts on froblog – never able to provide evidence to back up the claim that people on benefits are getting more than those working – because this is not true.

              To bring in nonsense like the person “could be on minimum wage AND not claiming entitlements and so after deducting tax and transport costs from working might be getting no more or little more than a beneficiary – well IF that were actually true its solved easily enough A, just claim the entitlements.

              It is a fact that child poverty is now regarded as confined to children of beneficiaries – whereas before WFF this was not so. It is now essentially a beneficiary issue – those working in the field say this – you appear to be unique in claiming otherwise.

              The link to employment is

              1. lack of jobs
              2. lack of affordable child care for sole parents or couples needing a second income
              3. lack of support for sole parents with children to get into training positions (ex TIA and cutting training places)
              4. need to increase the minimum wage to $15 (as places upward pressure on jobs above the minimum level) and keep indexing WFF (for most anyway).

              • Jeremy Harris

                SPC, the debate we are having here is because I said that people with a parent working recieving the same amount of money as a family on benefits have better poverty statistics… The debate has since been over whether this is happening or even possible, it is I’ve seen it, I’ve held the documentation proving it… If you don’t want to believe me that’s fine, that’s your right, but this reached pointlessness a while ago…

            • Colonial Viper

              To say that all 2,000,000 people working have more income after core essentials for child poverty allievation than the 330,000 people on benefits is just flat out wrong,

              Look I don’t care for your odd phrasing there, it seems like a statistical dodge. Why worry about the 2% tails on either side of the benefits receipt bell curve, its just small money. Most people have a pathetic income on the benefit. A fraction compared to 40 hours work @ $13/hr.

              And lets say you’ve reviewed 50 budgets this year Jeremy, well that’s 0.015% of the population of beneficiaries, it seems to me that it barely qualifies you to make sweeping generalisations on the topic.

              IMO the focus needs to be on those who make hundreds of thousands or millions a year but legally reclass that income and end up paying tax as if they only made $20-30K per year. To me they are the bludgers free riding the system. (Yes I know, the Right Wing has a tendency to admire those kinds of bludgers as being smart not lazy, an altogether different class).

              And finally if we want to greatly reduce the number of people on benefits (and improve the structure of our society at the same time) we need to create 200,000 jobs which pay between $20-25/hr. Crowing about jobs which pay the minimum wage is a waste of time (cycleway anyone?). We don’t more minimum or near minimum wage jobs in this country.

              NZ business and political leaders better get their shit together. If it wasn’t for Australia acting as an unemployment safety valve for this country we would likely have 16-17% unemployment.

              • Jeremy Harris

                Given your reasoning CV, polls would only be valid if they polled every voter…

                • Colonial Viper

                  I dunno if thats true, I remember something vague from inferential stats 101 about appropriate randomisation and sizing of samples taken from a population. (I am only assuming here that you did not use those techniques)

                  • just saying

                    I got 50 percent. And I suspect it was scaled-up.

                    Anyways, putting aside the ridiculously small sample size, this is the antitheis of a ‘random’ sample.

                    Personally, I think Jeremy is telling porkies to try and win an argument, and I hope he has enough integrity to feel embarrassed.

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