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Children’s Commissioner’s report due

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, August 28th, 2012 - 91 comments
Categories: child welfare, class war, poverty - Tags: ,

Today the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group (EAG) report will be released, apparently. In anticipation of this Tim Watkin and Bomber have posts on the poverty issue:

http://www.tumeke.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/the-death-of-nz-egalitarianism.html

Figures released on Thursday show 21% of children now living in poverty, median household incomes fell 3% while the richest amongst us had their salaries soar leading us to having the highest levels of inequality on record.

How much did the wealthy gain? The average increase in 2011 for executives was $28, 311. That pay rise is more than a minimum wage worker earns in a year, and it get’s better for CEO’s. In 2011 our richest bosses earned on average 22.5 times more than the workers working for them.

Borrowed tax cuts for the wealthy, forcing beneficiaries back to work when there are no jobs, higher unemployment, weaker unions, cut backs to public services and higher GST all have social consequences and we are now seeing the terrible harvest from those social consequences.

This indicates the scale of the problem and the raft of changes that need to be made to provide any significant improvement for NZ’s children.

Watkin offers some possible actions that he guesses might be in the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group report.

http://www.pundit.co.nz/content/solutions-to-child-poverty-easy-as-123#comments

First, the group will call for a Warrant of Fitness for landlords.

Second, it’ll call for meals to be provided more widely in schools.
…Third, the EAG is expected to call for some form of long-term and universal state assistance for kids – maybe a Universal Child Benefit, or some money every week for every child born. Until 1991 we had such a thing – a Family Benefit. That went in the Bolger/Richardson years.

I think the first (rental property WOFs) would be hardest to implement. But this and the other two would go some way to alleviating the immediate dire situation. The UCB would have the longest, most far reaching impact, followed by the meals at school.

But, until the vast levels of inequality are reduced, Watkin’s steps will just be a life raft, not a sustainable destination.

— Carol

Update: The report is out, read it here, a summary here.

91 comments on “Children’s Commissioner’s report due”

  1. insider 1

    Building WoFs would be an absolute political nightmare and logistically near impossible. Look how hard and expensive dealing with visibly damaged buildings in Chch is and multiply that across the country. Labour had a big push on it about 7 years ago and it went nowhere.

    It will be electoral poison. First it will be imposing yet another significant cost on homeowners or tenants, then it could effectively devalue a large chunk of the housing stock (see how Labour runs from CGT on houses for a lesson), then there will be all the appeals from people saying that the assessment is wrong, and then a whole lot of houses rented on the black market or withdrawn from the rental market.

    • Shane Gallagher 1.1

      Impossible? Like having WoFs for every car in the country?

      The financial payback would be huge in health care savings alone (ignoring the common decency/ethical behaviour and basic compassion factors). If you are renting a property you will have the local council inspect it and give it a rating, make insulation and adequate efficient heating mandatory etc. If you want to make some money off something like a rental property then you need to have it at a decent standard that does not make the occupants chronically ill. There is a phone app developed here in Dunedin which allows students to give star ratings on star ratings on flats and it has seen a marked improvement in the standard of flats offered. Kind of like the star ratings you get on trademe – crowd-sourced honesty and reputation.

      Imagine if this was a food product, where you actually made a huge number of people ill every year – sometimes ending their lives prematurely – and see how long you would stay in business.

      This would also reward good landlords (and there are some out there!) who look after their houses and their tenants.

      • insider 1.1.1

        If there is a phone app already in place and you say it has made a marked difference, why bother with all the bureucracy and cost that would surround a WOF? The market appears to be working…

        The big difference with a car is that I can take to a centralised place, there are plenty of them, and the standards are well established. So tell me what would be involved in a building WOF, what the standard would be, how you’d check it was relevant, how you’d confirm a house would meet it, who would do the work, what training would they need, how long would one take, how much would it cost, what rights would homeowners have to challenge the assessment, what period is acceptable for these to be done? There are over 400k rental households in NZ. Ever tried getting a council officer out to do a proper assessment of your property for rating purposes?

        • McFlock 1.1.1.1

          For the same reason cars need wofs, even though some car manufacturers advertise their safety test results.      
               
          Your questions are just standard delaying tactics, and were probably brought out be second hand car dealers when WoFs were initially considered. Now we have the infrastructure to support them, developed because people had to do it.
                   
          Same goes for rental property WoFs. With a bonus being that there’d be greater capacity to assess buildings after a natural disaster, because we’d have more of the people on the ground already trained and able to do the basic checks. 

          • insider 1.1.1.1.1

            To get a wee bit pernickity, cars are mechanical devices, prone to failure, and move at high speeds in crowded areas controlled by fallible people so the risk to life and limb are very real. Houses are very different in terms of risk. So using the same approach to completely different risks is not sensible. It also got a lot of attention around 2005 and it went nowhere for very good reasons.

            So flogging a dead horse slogan could be worse than doing nothing because it could divert resources into poorly thought out approaches, so that everyone pats themselves on the back saying ‘solved that problem’ we don’t have to think about it, but ignoring the real issues.

            And your bonus benefit is really wishful thinking because the skill around assessing an existing building may or may not easily transfer, we just don’t know (though in Chch untrained 19 year olds apparantly could assess buildings for EQC so your skilled workforce actually may be overrated) and those kind of disasters occur rarely – the last one was Napier and I’m not sure much worthwhile widespread knowledge came from that in terms of professional skills applied in Christchurch.

            • McFlock 1.1.1.1.1.1

              The same broad approach can be applied reasonably to the same broad situation:
              1) identify the most common causes of death/illness/injury associated with the item;
              2) develop a list of minimum requirements to mitigate those causes;
              3) develop quick and efficient tests and inspections to identify any failure to meet those minimums;
              4) develop core competencies in administering those tests and inspections;
              5) develop training and certification frameworks for inspectors.
                      
              I’d also point out that inexperienced building inspectors might not have been the optimum choice for, e.g., the CTV building. But then if the residential building inspection industry were as large as the WoF industry, who knows if that would have been the situation?
                 
                   
                   
              Again, I can’t help but visualise you a few decades ago saying “oh, it would be so difficult and pointless to inspect every single car”. It sounds like a big task if it’s not been done before. But the funny thing about societies is that big tasks can become routine.

              • insider

                I think cars is a silly comparison, but as you keep using it. We have six monthly car checks at huge national cost yet have poorer road safety performance than say Australia that doesn;t have them. According to your model, we should be much safer.

                What you’ve left out of your list is whether the policy actually does any good and is cost effective compared to other options. Shane’s already said that an app has done more for rental quality in months than no end of campaigns over years. That might not work for all circumstances, but compared to the cost and complexity of a building WOF it’s a no brainer.

                And I think you are vastly understating the complexity of this, and contradicting yourself. How would you quickly and efficiently test such things as whether a roof is leaking or not, or condensation builds up or not, or if a house is draughty or mildew prone? These are the issues commonly discussed with building WOFs. These cannot be quick and easy tests. If they are they are, I’d suggest they are not meaningful and window dressing at great cost, ultimately to the renter many of whom won’t want or need a BWOF. It may sound simple but it is actually a huge hammer to crack a relatively small egg (and it may end up seriously injuring teh chicken!).

                • McFlock

                  lol.
                         
                  Your first paragraph is nonsensical – road safety is a lot more complex than just the safety of the car. But of course the specifics of the analogy are irrelevant to its efficacy.
                       
                  Your second paragraph is closer to the bone, notwithstanding your exaggeration of Shane’s statement. Perhaps you should read the report and look at their justifications for recommending regulation?
                             
                  Tell me something, if you buy a house now, a smart purchaser gets an inspection done, yes? To look for, among other things, leaks, quality of insulation, mould, and so on, with additional work included? How much would those inspections cost / how long would they take if only those flags necessary for healthy habitation over the next year or two were included, as opposed to also doing longer term structural issues, fence-line/encroachment surveys  and planning compliance?
                           
                  You’re  looking for problems in the minutae of possible implementations. All a bit much for:
                  “The current regulatory arrangements are inadequate and have not been amended since 1947.
                  The government should ensure all rental accommodation (both social housing and private rentals) meets minimum health and safety standards, according to a Warrant of Fitness”.
                   

                  • insider

                    Building/moisture inspections are around $500 up. I saw a moisture check alone for $350.
                    The local council charge their building inspectors out at $150 an hour. I can’t imagine you would do it in any time less if you are doing an effective job, like checking the roof is sound. It’s nearly $200 just to check a log burner. Plus their travel, plus their admin charge for filing the paperwork of $98 and any reporting time. So there’s your starting point. Scale may offer some benefits though.

                    Then, because you are talking about a regulated response, it will require a formal documentation process and standards, compliance checking, a registry of checks and checkers, people to manage the system, all of which have to be paid for in addition to those actually doing the inspection work. When I get a building check done, that person only reports to me and I wear none of that in their charges.

                    ” The government should ensure all rental accommodation (both social housing and private rentals) meets minimum health and safety standards, according to a Warrant of Fitness”.

                    Yes it;s so easy to say, just rolls off the tongue. But that’s another $150-200m on the country’s compliance bill. And much of that will deliver next to nothing in terms of outcomes. But it makes you feel good and like you’ve made a difference and it’s only rich pricks paying it.

                    • McFlock

                      But if I’m a landlord, I’m not responsible for paying the country’s compliance bill. Just my own.
                             
                      Let’s say $500 – yes, there is more processing to be done, but there’s also a larger economy of scale. And most of it could be cross-checked off the currently existing bonds infrastructure.
                      How often for a house? Every couple of years? Every year? That’s $10/w off a rent that might be $300-600p.w. But I’m not sure insulation needs checking as often as for leaks or heating system working properly.
                             
                      You’re not exactly bringing tears to my eyes with the oppressive cost of the scheme.
                            

                    • Tracey

                      What’s easy is for home owner’s, with prodding from BCA and TA’s, and government, install monitoring devices in their homes or ALL new home shave them installed for the cost of about $1500 per new home. The devices are permanent and can be read every six months, giving the most accurate (but not foolproof) record of moisture levels inside walls of any product on the market.

                      Owners need to understand that ALL homes leak, that all homes are degenerating over time. They require maintenance and repair. So use permanent probes, it monitors the moisture inside the walls AND alerts the home owner early to possible defects before major damage, and before the ten year limitation runs out. A builde ris happier to come back to fix a non functioning flashing for $150 than wait 9 years 9 months and get sued for a reclad.

                      The products are there and available but the DBH (now MOBIE) and the so-called plethora of Building experts don’t want to get off the gravy train of leaky home claims. Credit where it’s due, Auckland Council recognised, and still recognises, the use of these permanent probes as a VERY USEFUL measure in houses.

                      Once installed you can read them every season with your own meter ($300) or get a company to do it and log the date ($125 per reading visit). It’s not alot for a very valuable asset…

            • mike e 1.1.1.1.1.2

              free market approach well why not just send the bill from the doctor or hospital to the slum lord.Why should the rest of us investors workers taxpayers have to subsidize slum landlords

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.1.3

              To get a wee bit pernickity, cars are mechanical devices, prone to failure…

              So are houses which is why the WOF being suggested for rental properties.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.2

          The big difference with a car is that I can take to a centralised place, there are plenty of them, and the standards are well established.

          Oh noes, the house doesn’t move so we’ll have to send out the inspectors rather than taking the house to them. /sarc

          As for standards, well, I suggest these ones as a place to start. Easy to measure as well – just requires a camera or three. Probably want to measure moisture in the house as well. Would also be necessary to make that the minimum requirement for new houses which would be good as it would save us lots.

          what rights would homeowners have to challenge the assessment

          Why should they have any? I certainly don’t have any when I take my car for an inspection.

          There are over 400k rental households in NZ.

          and there’s millions of cars which indicates that you don’t actually have a point.

          Ever tried getting a council officer out to do a proper assessment of your property for rating purposes?

          Yes, it was easy – rung the council and made an appointment.

          • fatty 1.1.1.2.1

            True, it probably would be quite easy to set up a checklist to be marked off.
            The obvious downside of such a policy is that it would create jobs, which goes against National’s encouragement of unemployment.

      • insider 1.1.2

        “Imagine if this was a food product, where you actually made a huge number of people ill every year – sometimes ending their lives prematurely – and see how long you would stay in business. ”

        Tobacco? Dairy produce? Fast food? Chicken? Valentines?

    • fatty 1.2

      “Building WoFs would be an absolute political nightmare and logistically near impossible”

      A political nightmare?…you mean our two centrist parties won’t do it for fear of pissing off greedy people?…No surprise there – Nat/Lab have been pandering to the poverty producers for the past 30 years.

      “it could effectively devalue a large chunk of the housing stock”

      good, lets do it.

      • insider 1.2.1

        Ahh the unadulterated voice of the envy driven left. People who may have saved and sacrificed are just greedies, assumed slum lords, their work sacrificed at the swipe of a resentful pen. Way to win friends and influence people

        • Mr Burns 1.2.1.1

          Yes I have saved and scrimped and sacrificed the health of my employees in amassing my fortune. But there is no need to compliment me by calling me a greedy or a slum lord. And who needs friends if your bank account balance is big enough?

        • mike e 1.2.1.2

          Outsiser spreading cynicism,
          It can’t be fixed unless its free market.
          BS the market has failed ‘miserably’ for those on the bottom.
          Our future taxpayers are not going to be paying much tax as their lifes outcomes are being wasted by under achievement due to circumstances, (ie the oecds highest child poverty rate) you envy that.
          Its a wasted resource.Other countries take a more positive course by improving housing education and health.
          So when you are well into your retirement you will have to pay more tax to cover the lack of action thats leading more children into poverty up from 14% to 21% under National .
          A $6 billion a year drag on the economy has become an $ 8 billion a year problem!

          • vto 1.2.1.2.1

            ” the market has failed ‘miserably’ for those on the bottom”

            mike e, the market hasn’t just failed for those at the bottom, it has failed for most everyone, as the actions of the National Party government attest. Examples;

            1. Banks requiring taxpayer support.
            2. Farmers requiring taxpayer money for their business.
            3. The NZX requiring taxpayer electricity companies to improve their performance.
            4. Chch central city rebuild – free market last seen booted out from Brownlees office.

            You watch – one day soon those who fanatically endorse the free market approach will have to eat humble pie and admit it doesn’t work in the form they have been advocating. This is evidenced by their own actions, as above.

            Although if there is a free market adherant around these Standard parts please feel free to explain why the market approach was not adopted in the above examples.

            useless

            • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.2.1.1

              This is evidenced by their own actions, as above.

              Just remember: the failure of a bank is not necessarily a failure of the fraud. The executives often get to walk away with all their fat pay and bonus packages, even though they were predicated on fraud.

        • fatty 1.2.1.3

          “Ahh the unadulterated voice of the envy driven left”

          An envy accusation…yawn. How predictable, did Bill O’Reilly teach you that one?
          Its got nothing to do with envy, its to do with who holds power and what they do with it. Those with excessive resources take away the freedom of those without.
          Are you familiar with Sen’s Capability Approach?…there are 3 key points – functionings, capabilities and agency. Most people in NZ have functionings (to various degrees), but we do not all possess the capability….as a result many people’s agency is limited. The problem in NZ is that housing inequality oppresses the capabilities of people, and therefore their freedom. Freedom of choice, freedom from preventable illness, freedom from human rights violations. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capability_approach
          Your assumption that I am envious is a result of your inability to think beyond binary logic / Fox News idioms. This simplistic assumption suggests that since a person points out poverty/inequality, they are therefore envious. You are wrong. Our unequal resource distribution deprives people of their capabilities so they cannot access the functions which are available to them…as a result, agency and freedom is denied. I am not envious that people have been ‘successful’ in filling their lives with consumer goods…they can chase their empty dream to their grave for all I care. But when their actions affect other people’s agency or health, then it becomes morally indefensible.
          The current housing crisis is a result of political ideology. I find it disturbing that a policy that would protect the health of the poor is considered envious.

          • insider 1.2.1.3.1

            Oh gosh a tired fox news reference. how predictable.

            Yep there was just no sign of envy in your sweeping genralisation around the “fear of pissing off greedy people” and “‘…devalue a large chunk of the housing stock’…’good let’s do it'”. None at all. It was all about righting inequality…yeah sure

            A building WOF IMO is oversimplistic and any form of effective one likely politically very difficult. It will be a very poor plaster to cover your concerns about poverty. But hey, it’s a great slogan so let’s go do it

            • fatty 1.2.1.3.1.1

              “Oh gosh a tired fox news reference. how predictable.”

              You get a few of those do you?

              “Yep there was just no sign of envy in your sweeping genralisation around the “fear of pissing off greedy people” and “‘…devalue a large chunk of the housing stock’…’good let’s do it’”. None at all. It was all about righting inequality…yeah sure”

              Of course I was referring to inequality/poverty, and I explained quite clearly why its an empathetic, not envious viewpoint, but you have ignored that and replied with a tui billboard-like response…despite existing evidence, I think you could possibly do better than that, have another go.
              National’s and Labour’s policies avoid pissing off greedy people…I don’t see this as an envious statement, just logic. For National its more ideologically related, so not so much an ‘avoidance’…they wear it as a badge of honour. For Labour its more as an attempt at vote grabbing and ideological indecision, Labour are a disgrace, both are as immoral as each other.
              Do you not consider our housing crisis to be central to our inequality/poverty?…cause I do. Our houses are way overpriced, and unequally owned. And our economy is unsustainable because of it, devaluing housing will help to reduce inequality (slightly).

              “A building WOF IMO is oversimplistic and any form of effective one likely politically very difficult. It will be a very poor plaster to cover your concerns about poverty”

              That I agree with, it will just plaster over poverty and achieve little, but considering our past 30 years, and the current greed based ideology of our purple party (Lab/Nats), we can’t expect much more than policies such as this. To really reduce poverty we would need far more changes than a WOF for housing…we need major changes.
              The fact that it is ‘politically difficult’ is not a reason why it shouldn’t be done, instead, it is a reason why it won’t be done…because Nat/Lab pander to the greedy. We Kiwis keep voting to travel on the road to stupidville. Sometimes we drive the red car, sometimes the blue car…but its always the same road

              • insider

                If it truly were concern driven I’d expect it to be a bit more nuanced than ‘all landlords are basthards and let’s screw them for the hell of it’. I think you could have tried harder. We can keep playing this game for a while if you like. Do you really believe that all landlords are greedy? Some might be. Most are just your neighbours or your friends’ mums and dads.

                Housing affordability is complex and its not universal – Auckland is not NZ. Rents similarly are unsustainable because they often don’t cover the cost of capital and running costs. Are your concerns about inequality extended to owners susidising the renter?

                Polictical acceptability is a major factor in a democracy, like it or not. I suspect any WOF will be so weak as to not be much chop as a result. the current insulation scheme does very little in terms of improving liveability, and I doubt much more by way of intervention could be done under a WOF without huge ructions. When they looked at housing in Dunedin they found that wealthy houses were just as cold and damp as poor houses, and insulating them made little difference, so the house quality-health link is quite complex.

                • fatty

                  “If it truly were concern driven I’d expect it to be a bit more nuanced than ‘all landlords are basthards and let’s screw them for the hell of it’.”

                  I never said that, or anything close to that…My perspective stems from power, and the use of power, read my comment again and read the wiki link – http://thestandard.org.nz/childrens-commissioners-report-due/comment-page-1/#comment-514065

                  “Do you really believe that all landlords are greedy?”

                  Since shelter is a human need, and a human right, then I do consider many landlords to be greedy. To buy up property so that others cannot appears greedy to me.

                  “Are your concerns about inequality extended to owners susidising the renter?”

                  I don’t really understand this question, are you suggesting that if the rent doesn’t cover the mortgage, then the homeowner is subsidising the renter?

                  “When they looked at housing in Dunedin they found that wealthy houses were just as cold and damp as poor houses, and insulating them made little difference, so the house quality-health link is quite complex.”

                  Sounds a bit odd…do you have a link for that? Be interesting to see who came up with that

                  • insider

                    RE the link. Otago University has an energy and housing group. I’m pretty sure it was a presentation by PRof Bob Lloyd but I can’t find it – it was a conference speech as opposed to a research paper, but it mayhave been based on his study of Dunedin houses. Sorry, I have tried to find it again but no luck. All I could refind was this

                    “The HEEP study (BRANZ 2003) and our own study of public housing (Lloyd and Shen 2004), however, made it clear that houses in Dunedin are not heated adequately and that temperatures considerably lower than World Health Organization recommended levels are routinely experienced at all income levels. “http://www.physics.otago.ac.nz/eman/hew/elocal/enzhousing.html#

                    • fatty

                      OK, well, thats completely different to what you were claiming.

                    • McFlock

                      lol

                    • insider

                      Well you may have missed it was a paraphrase and never suggested it was a full replacement. If you want some more from Bob, which kind of reinforces that a building WOF may not do what you think it might.

                      “However, according to our own work on indoor temperatures in public housing, the strategies to combat the problem of high space heating costs by housing insulation upgrades (targeted on mainly introducing ceiling and under floor insulation) do not seem to be producing improvements in indoor temperatures sufficient to satisfy health criteria. This later study of ours shows that in the southern part of the South Island of New Zealand, at least, many state-owned houses still exhibit temperatures seriously below World Health Organization recommended levels. Improving the thermal standard of houses is, therefore, difficult, especially in terms of retrofitting existing houses. In addition, research completed by Gabrielle Davie, a student associated with the Wellington School of Medicine, found that the level of seasonal mortality in New Zealand has not declined over the 20 years from 1980 to 2000, despite the introduction of thermal building standards requiring mandatory insulation levels, in all homes built after 1978.

                      http://www.physics.otago.ac.nz/eman/hew/econtacts/articlefuelpoverty.html

                    • McFlock

                      same article:
                      “Thus, after considering and rejecting price control on energy supply and realising the difficulties and time that will be needed to improve the housing stock, at least in the short to medium term, we are left with the final policy alternative, that of selective subsidies. This strategy has the advantage that it could be targeted at low-income householders and could be specifically related to the climate zone and the thermal condition of the housing occupied. Finally, it is thought that the relatively low-cost strategy of providing information to vulnerable groups, especially the elderly, about the health aspects of exposure to low temperature environments, has not been attacked aggressively enough by any New Zealand government health initiatives.
                      ” 
                      Question:looking at your comment ” When they looked at housing in Dunedin they found that wealthy houses were just as cold and damp as poor houses, and insulating them made little difference, so the house quality-health link is quite complex. “, if wealthy houses in dunners are indeed “as cold and damp as poor houses”, why would targeting at low income houses be an advantage?
                              
                      I think that you read “rich houses are cold and damp, too” and conflated it to “rich houses are as  cold and damp as poor houses”. 
                              
                      After all, if there’s no sociodemographic trend, there’s no explanation and no problem – it’s just what happens when you live in dunners. And if housing stock improvements haven’t led to WHO minimum temps in 30 years, then we don’t need to do nuffin – such as look at whether heating costs have increased in the same period of time.
                       

                    • insider

                      Here’s what bob Lloyd said “The rich are as cold as the poor” slide 13 at http://www2.physics.otago.ac.nz/eman/research/warmhomes.pdf

                      Question:looking at your comment ” When they looked at housing in Dunedin they found that wealthy houses were just as cold and damp as poor houses, and insulating them made little difference, so the house quality-health link is quite complex. ”, if wealthy houses in dunners are indeed “as cold and damp as poor houses”, why would targeting at low income houses be an advantage?

                      The paper this came from was about fuel poverty – not something usually an issue for the rich. It shows that the rich are happy with colder homes.And one of the reasons an across the board bwof is unnecessary. Better to use the $150m it might cost on far more targeted programmes for those in need. Why does the contrarian below have to have the cost of such a thing put onto his rent?

                    • McFlock

                      Yes, quoting the BRANZ HEEP nation-wide report. 400 houses over the entire country, wasn’t it? 
                         
                      I’d be intrigued to see whether the richer households go somewhere sunny for a couple of weeks in winter. Maybe that’s how they’re “happier” in a cold home in the middle of winter?
                         
                      So not Dunedin focused, no mention of damp, no mention of before/after household retrofitting, and so on. Your throw away comment is still worthless.
                           
                      BTW, it’s fair that Contrarian’s landlord pays the minor cost of ensuring they’re not slumlords. Or should tenants be forced into the false economy of cheap rent and large fuel costs?

                • mike e

                  outslider just do nothing typical. Make excuses thats the rights policy!

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Do you really believe that all landlords are greedy?

                  Rentier behaviour is always greedy and immoral and I don’t care if they’re my neighbours or friends or family doing it. It’s some people trying to get a free life which always costs others.

                  • “Rentier behaviour is always greedy and immoral ”

                    Bullshit. I live in a house owned by a woman who works in Africa (not sure which country at the moment – she moves around) for the UN and has done for many years. She owns a house which I rent from her.

                    identify the immoral and greedy aspect here. 

            • mike e 1.2.1.3.1.2

              outsider Don brashes productivity commission rated housing affordability as the No1 priority in getting NZ’s productivity up.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.4

          Ahh the unadulterated voice of the envy driven left.

          It’s not envy but disgust that some people think that they’re entitled to a massive income with no responsibility.

        • Tracey 1.2.1.5

          the leaky home travesty (completely man-made) was predominantly affected the house value sof the middle and upper classes of NZ, so not sure how that fits with your view that trying to ensure such stuff doesn’t happen again is envy of the left…

          People need to understand that “leaky homes” are all homes, to a greater or lesser extent, and just because people can’t see behind those walls doesn’t mean that fungi arent growing… including stachybotrus (sp). Builders, designers, manufacturers, Branz, BCA’s, TA’s and MOBIE all know what is probably going on behind the walls, it’s the people living in the house that don’t.

          So, google permanent moisture probes and see how close and affordable the solution is, and why not subsidise it like insulation… once more demand for these things, the price will come down… BUT TA’s and BCA’s don’t want them in homes before the ten year limitation because people might sue them, builders, on the whole wont recommend them, Prendos advises against them for reasons not associated with logic but rather their business model and a misunderstanding of how the use of such probes would sustain their model rather than break it… and so on.

      • Carol 1.2.2

        I think the WOF is the most difficult of the 3 solutions that Watkin highlighted:

        He seems to have got it right as the report is now out:

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7562604/Give-parents-child-payment-poverty-report

        But I think for a WOF to work there needs to be a prior policy to increase the amount of affordable housing at a WOF standard. The WOF could be introduced with the new housing.

        I also think there should be some way of keeping WOFed housing at a level affordable to all.

        The improvement in housing also needs to be done at the same time as decreasing the wealth/income gap. A universal child benefit would go some way towards that. But there also needs to be a focus on improving incomes and jobs paying a living wage and decreasing the over-the-top incomes of those at the top of the income hierarchy.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.2.1

          I also think there should be some way of keeping WOFed housing at a level affordable to all.

          That’s easy – the government builds thousands upon thousands of houses and rents them out to any one on an as need basis at 25% of household income.

          • TheContrarian 1.2.2.1.1

            “Rentier behaviour is always greedy and immoral”
            DTB

            “the government builds thousands upon thousands of houses and rents them out to any one on an as need basis ”
            DTB

            Hmmmm……
             

            • felix 1.2.2.1.1.1

              You may have missed the last bit of the sentence “at 25% of household income.”

              Not sure how you missed it, it’s right after the bit you quoted.

              Weird.

              • So not all rentier behaviour is immoral and greedy then.

                • felix

                  Depends how you define “rentier.”

                  Under the broadest possible definition (which would be something like ‘charging any amount of rent for the use of anything’) then yeah.

                  However I assume (and I may be wrong) that Draco was using the term in it’s more commonly used sense, which relates to charging rent in a parasitic and exploitative way with little or no concern for anything other that the private gain of the owner.

                  “Rentier” in its most common usage has negative connotations that “renting” doesn’t necessarily carry, in the same way that “profiteering” is used to describe parasitic and exploitative behaviour whereas “profiting” doesn’t necessarily. (Although I’m sure Draco will say that it does, or should 😉 )

                  edit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rentier_capitalism

                  Often the term rentier capitalism is used with the connotation that it is a form of parasitism or a decadent form of capitalism.

                  • I guess Draco will need to define what he means in a more specific fashion. I was using it in a broad manner to relate to landlords charging rent.

                    I don’t know what my landlord does with the rent money she receives but she is far, the price is right and when something goes wrong it is fixed with little fuss. 

                    I do not consider this greedy or immoral. 

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Anything over and above what is required for maintenance. The state “renting” out at 25% of household income is like taxes – some people pay less, some more but overall the maintenance is paid. If the 25% more than covers maintenance then I would be looking at decreasing it.

                      In this light private ownership is always rentier behaviour as they want (in fact need) to cover maintenance, the cost of the residence and make a profit.

                    • Well my current rental situation is fair, the price is good (and we were able to negotiate the price we paid) and the property is well maintained.

                      This is neither greedy or immoral.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Yes it is* but you just don’t want to believe it is. This is probably because of the culture of legalised theft (Anglo-Saxon capitalism) that you were raised in. People really do have difficulty seeing the bad within their own culture.

                      * You’re paying for somebody else to buy a house and make a profit at the same time.

                    • My landlord works for the UN development program and works overseas. They have this property which they want to keep and come home to. In the meantime I lease it from them. The rent is cheap, the house maintained and the landlords reasonable and approachable.

                      You have yet to explain what is immoral.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Having an income that is a result of someone else’s work that requires little or no work on their part. Essentially, being paid far in excess of what the related work that they’re doing is worth.

                    • “Having an income that is a result of someone else’s work that requires little or no work on their part. ”

                      But you said it was OK for people to receive money for doing little or no work back on 22 August. Remember when I you  asked you if it was OK for people who can work but don’t to receive a benefit?
                      You said that was fine.

                      Yet when I pay my landlord a reasonable rent and she provides a safe, well maintained property that is immoral?

                      You have yet to explain what is immoral. And secondly what should my landlord do with her house while she is working overseas? Sell it and come back to NZ with nowhere to live? Let me live in her house for free?

                      “Essentially, being paid far in excess of what the related work that they’re doing is worth.”

                      My rent is cheap and the profit my landlord makes, when rates and maintenance costs are taken into account, will be very sparse indeed.You can’t make any claim to her “being paid far in excess” when you have no idea of what the situation is.

                      So, where is the immorality, Draco?
                      hint: it isn’t you that is the arbitrator of morality.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.2.2.1.1.2

              Although I’d much prefer it I also think that people, ATM, won’t accept zero rent and those houses/flats will have to be maintained and rates paid. Once we get to a resource based democratic economy we could probably go to a zero rent model.

              • Carol

                I like that the Child Commissioner’s Report covers both short and long term housing needs, and states that their is an urgent need to begin improving and increasing the housing stock, with accommodation that is healthy and affordable.

                The report talks about social housing:

                Click to access FINAL_Issues_and_Options_Paper.pdf

                Increase the supply and quality of social housing

                Social housing refers to housing that is provided based on assessed financial and social need, at subsidised rates, and with active tenancy management. Social housing can include rental housing or home ownership support to individuals or families. In New Zealand, social housing is provided by the Government (69,000 properties managed by HNZC), local government (with around 14,000 units) and community housing providers (around 5,000 units).

                Social housing can directly mitigate the effects of child poverty and is of critical importance for many low-income families. Demand for social housing significantly exceeds supply. Increasing the number of social housing units should be a high priority for the Government. This is a longterm commitment and would require a considerable capital investment over an extended period of time.

                In our view, the Government needs to address the serious undersupply of social housing by taking immediate action to increase the number of social and affordable houses and their proportion of the total housing stock.

  2. captain Hook 2

    Oh well it will get 5 minutes on 9-noone sandwiched between some pap music and a vapid gamine whining and then put back in the box until next year.

    • Carol 2.1

      Shearer had a sound clip about it on the RNZ news in the last hour or so. It was a response to Paula Benefit’s drug testing beneficiaries (re) announcement.

      Shearer said this drug testing stuff was just a rehash of previous announcements, and a cynical attempt to distract from the Child Commissioner’s report.

      I see there are some related questions from opposition parties coming up today in today’s Question Time… so I’ll be interested to see how that goes, and if it gets a mention on tonight’s 6pm TV news.

  3. js 3

    The universal child benefit is a great idea – like the old family benefit.

  4. Dr Terry 4

    There is nothing concerning child poverty that the Government did not already know well. Calling for this report was unnecessary, probably a stalling tactic. This government does not like children (or youth) and those living in poverty they like least of all. What have they to gain from helping non-voters? The government only thinks in terms of what it can extract from every situation – otherwise why bother?

    • Carol 4.1

      Well, if nothing else it highlights NAct’s inaction on poverty and enables other parties to state what their priorities would be.

      For instance, I see on Scoop the report is the centre-piece tonight, and there’s statements and press releases from opposition parties and other agencies.

      http://www.scoop.co.nz/

      At the moment, Shearer’s statement from this evening is the centre-piece. He’s berating Key for his performance on the issue in Parliament today, saying Key doesn’t take child poverty seriously:

      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1208/S00423/john-key-in-denial-over-kiwis-in-hardship.htm

      John Key in denial over Kiwis in hardship
      Tuesday, 28 August 2012, 5:16 pm
      Press Release: New Zealand Government

      David
      SHEARER
      Labour Leader
      28 August 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
      John Key in denial over Kiwis in hardship

      The number of Kiwi children living in poverty has grown significantly under John Key’s watch but rather than acknowledging the problem, the Prime Minister would rather play the fool in Parliament, says Labour Leader David Shearer.

      “John Key’s flippant response to this crisis is disappointing. He refuses to accept the findings of several reports showing the gap between the rich and poor is the widest it has ever been, that inequality is rising and the number of children living in hardship is up to 21%.

      Meanwhile Key has called the recommendation to return to a universal child benefit “dopey”.

      http://news.google.co.nz/news/more?pz=1&cf=all&ncl=dY51fjbYU651hGMMm0UDUuz72GCMM&topic=h

      Key dismisses payment for all parents as ‘dopey’
      TVNZ – ‎1 hour ago‎

      I imagine the report isn’t telling you anything you don’t know, Dr T.

      But I had a flick through it this evening, and I like that it is very comprehensive, covering education, health, housing, employment etc, and sets both short and long term goals.

      http://www.occ.org.nz/publications/child_poverty

      Click to access FINAL_Issues_and_Options_Paper.pdf

      E.g. From the “executive Summary”

      In summary, we argue that New Zealand needs a standard approach to measuring child poverty.For each of the specific measures of poverty we have proposed, we have identified short-term and longer-term targets for reducing poverty. These entail cuts in child poverty rates of at least 30 to 50 percent by 2022. We have also proposed a comprehensive series of child-poverty reduction indicators. These are designed to supplement the Government

  5. captain hook 5

    yeah.
    they need all the money they can get so they can leave NZ at the end of their term and become non-entities in London.

  6. fnjckg 6

    Ah DTB, always the voice of understanding.

    What appear to be, newly graduated wannabee Rights, dipping their toes into the threads
    (Hammer th’ Scots)

  7. gobsmacked 7

    It was the lead item on Campbell Live.

    It’s the opposition’s job to make the running on this. The Greens have been doing well, but there’s really no point going on like a boring broken record about the MSM. If the Leader of the Opposition talks about something else in his speeches, then the media will report that something else instead.

    What Labour really needed was a heavyweight independent report focusing on poverty. Well, now they’ve got it (more than one in recent weeks, in fact). They should seize it and use it. Not for a day or two, but week in, week out. Every chance. Every sound bite. Every day.

    (this strategy advice is free – and it’s better than the paid sh*t you’ve been listening to, David).

    • Anne 7.1

      +1 !!

    • Carol 7.2

      Actually, I’ve seen a lot from Labour on this today, including a press release tonight from Shearer, that I linked to above at 4.1

      Other parties have been onto it as well.

      And I heard a good piece on the RNZ- National’s Panel while driving this evening, from a spokeswoman at KidsCan – she was talking about how successful some of their programmes have been in providing food for hungry school children. She said it’s helped make school feel like a stable and secure place for them, and this has helped improve school attendance.

      • gobsmacked 7.2.1

        Yes, there’s been a lot from Labour today, and there were good questions in the House.

        But that all disappears into thin air if it’s not followed up. Building a narrative takes time, and Labour have failed to stick to one strong story since Shearer became leader. Hence the “we don’t know what he/his party stands for” line that you hear from the voters.

        • Carol 7.2.1.1

          Agreed on the need to consistently build a coherent narrative – and also to tell it in a snappy and engaging way.

      • bad12 7.2.2

        For around 3 million bucks a year they could ensure all the kids in the targeted schools got breakfast and something for lunch as well…

      • Mary 7.2.3

        Nobody can deny the postitive outcomes for kids that these programmes bring. But the need for them is caused by government having abandoned the poor. Just accepting there’s a need without more is playing into government’s agenda of pushing responsibility away from government to what is essentially private charity. Food banks are already seen as a legitimate part of our social welfare system. Benefits haven’t increased in real terms since the cuts in 1991 and wages remain low. The more we rely on charity to fill the gaps the less hope there is of fixing things.

  8. Blue 8

    I can hardly believe the state of NZ sometimes. 25% of children living in poverty. That’s a quarter of all our kids. 1 in 4.

    And nobody gives a fuck. Seriously.

    There are no crusading editorials from the Herald, who are more interested in pushing to be able to publish league tables so they can make money off the middle class parents desperate to avoid all those poor kids.

    There is no voter backlash, demanding action. The only thing they want action on is bashing beneficiaries.

    We have a real classy PM, who dismisses a report compiled by a panel of experts as ‘dopey’.

    From the Herald:

    “Its members include AUT accounting expert James Prescott, Major Campbell Roberts of the Salvation Army, Professor Ritchie Poulton of the Dunedin School of Medicine and Philippa Howden-Chapman, a public health expert.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10830083

    But oh, no, the Wall Street currency trader and part-time Hawaii resident John Key knows better than any and all experts you care to name. Doesn’t need to do any research, just give a sneering verdict in ten seconds.

    What do people imagine will happen to this country when one quarter of our kids are growing up in poverty? Seriously, what do you imagine the future will be like when there is such a massive waste of human potential going on?

    Have a serious think about education, health, crime and the economy and think what is going to happen if one quarter of our kids grow up in poverty. I’m at the point where I’d advise people to get on a plane right now and get the fuck outta here.

    • McFlock 8.1

      And only a year or two back it was 20%. 
      At this rate, in the next election campaign we’ll be talking 1 in 3 kids in poverty. 

    • Carol 8.2

      Yes, Key’s a disgrace! And ditto the MSM who don’t attempt to hold him to account.

      Universal Child Benefit isn’t “dopey”. The thing about universal benefits are that they save in admin – prevents all that means testing, form filling, checking that only the people who are entitled to it get the benefit.

      For families that don’t need money for their children, they are assured of it anyway, but lose it at the other end through paying higher taxes. And it sends a message that the country cares about its children.

      This way, all children have money allocated to them.

      • mike e 8.2.1

        +270,000 carol
        -$6billion a year in costs of leaving the problem unsolved.
        Short sighted f/wit Conmankey.

        • mike 8.2.1.1

          He’s not short-sighted, it’s just not his problem. Conman? Definitely. F/wit? Yes.

    • gobsmacked 8.3

      The “drug testing for bludgers” distraction worked. Shamefully, but predictably.

      That’s why Labour have to keep talking about poverty. Bennett’s sideshows will get diminishing returns. There’s only so many meaningless recycled stunts.

      There’s countless ways to do this … challenge Bennett to a public debate, then hold one anyway when she doesn’t turn up. Get the Labour caucus to live on the minimum wage for a week. And so on.

      Labour only need the will, the focus, the energy, the smarts, the sheer determination. I don’t think they’ve got it, but I’d love them to prove me wrong.

    • Mary 8.4

      And government accepts every word from its “expert” bunch the Welfare Working Group, claiming it’s objective, unbiased research. Fucking liars.

  9. Adrian 9

    The house WOF thing is simple, same as a car, you can’t sell it if it doesn’t have one, or if you do buy it “as is” you can’t rent it until it complies.

    • mike e 9.1

      And if the landlord can’t make a profit it will be sold on the market to a young family taking the bubble out of the housing market.

  10. bad12 10

    What an ugly little man that Slippery little Shyster really is, i watched this sniveling little apology of a Statesman we have as our Prime Minister on the Parliament TV tonight,

    Pinned upon the issue of child poverty by the Greens Metiria Turei all’s He could do is lament in a plaintive whine that children of parents couldn’t have the ‘in work tax subsidy’ if they didn’t have a job,

    The slithering little snake knows the economy which He is in charge of managing is short 200,000 employment positions and STILL the Slippery little Charlatan cries the same lament,

    By the look and sound of the Government Benches today even they have little stomach for listening to the ongoing litany of lies emanating from the lips of that used-car-salesman…

  11. Tracey 11

    Not a peep out of Mr Dunne on this report yet, and the implications for the “family” he claims to be so supportive of

  12. Tracey 12

    I don’t have children, never will. Have recently informally adopted an 18 year old boy. Am by no means an expert in parenting.

    However I can see the benefit to ensuring all children are housed in warm dry shelters, with three healthy meals, and with parents who love them and support them. I also see that it’s not always possible, especially when two parents have to work shifts to pay their bills. If Mr Key wants to target, then he should fucking well get on with the targetting. To say not targetting is dopey as though that is an answer tot he problem is shallow and mischievious.

    All the information is available, through Inland Revenue, through Husing NZ through every bloody agency. Now, the $120m being paid to the brokers et al for these asset sales, how could that be better targetted to needy children???

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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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  • Right to legal representation in Family Court restored today
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  • Speech by the Minister of Defence to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs
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  • Statement on passage of national security law for Hong Kong
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