Fluff and a Jab

Written By: - Date published: 12:50 pm, June 16th, 2011 - 16 comments
Categories: poverty - Tags:

Fluff and a Jab

Written by The Jackal

Green Party MP Metiria Turei asked some very important questions of John Key in Parliament today. Once again, the Prime Minister wasn’t there so Bill English tried to answer for the absentee leader.

In one particular answer given by the flailing Bill English, he said that the Government was helping to reduce the huge divide between the haves and have-nots ie disparity by improving immunisation and the Green’s inspired home insulation scheme. He must be joking!

National totally fails to understand that immunisation and home insulation doesn’t help the some 20% of New Zealand children living in poverty much at all. Their “plan” doesn’t help the 19% of young Kiwi parents who are unable to pay their electricity bills. Insulation isn’t much good if you can’t afford to purchase electricity to heat your home, if you are able to afford the exorbitant rent to begin with.

National’s plan doesn’t help the 38% of families postponing or putting off visits to the dentist for their children, which has led to this countries atrocious oral health. While the two things Bill English mentioned are commendable in their own right, they don’t help to ensure children are getting the basics like proper food and shelter. On the contrary, National’s policies have made the divide between rich and poor far greater than ever before.

1 in 5 New Zealand children currently live in poverty due to the policies of successive New Zealand governments. This is an unacceptable figure considering the extreme wealth held by a few elitists in this country.

What National fails to comprehend is that increasing GST and the cost of living while reducing welfare and real wages hurts… adding a few numbers to the bank accounts of the already wealthy means nothing in the real world, it helps a few people to be even richer while many more go without. That’s not the kind of New Zealand I want to live in.

The most rapid rises in income inequality occurred between the late 1980s and early 1990s. Using both the Before and After Housing Cost measures, the Gini Coefficient declined slightly between 2001-2007, a decline which is attributed to the impact of Labours Working for Families Package. Income inequality again started to rise between 2007-2009. National will gut WFF if they get a second term in Government, mark my words.

Income Inequality in New Zealand: Gini Coefficient for 1984-2009.

According to social researchers, the gap between rich and poor can lead to a raft of societal problems. National’s answer to the causative effects from impoverishment and disparity is equally pathetic! Build more jails to subdue the resentment. What kind of answer is that?

Likewise they have no answer to the fact that it takes 5.3 times the average annual salary to pay for a house in this country, putting home ownership out of reach of most New Zealander’s. We’re tenants in our own country, or worse yet incarcerated. That’s the Governments answer to the social dysfunction they’ve created in the first place… Further repression of the masses.

Bill English goes on to say that the huge difference between the rich and poor of New Zealand can be attributed to a few farmers owning multimillion dollar farms. What a load of rubbish! Most large farms are owned by organisations. Besides, New Zealander’s haven’t purchased more farms recently to push up the United Nations rating.

Like many right wing nut jobs he chooses to try to deny that there’s a significant problem. Blaming the increase in disparity on a few rich farmers (who pay on average less tax than a retired couple) is not acceptable. How the hell are we going to find solutions when our supposed leaders don’t even acknowledge that there’s a problem?

The United Nations found that New Zealand is one of the worst performers in the developed world when it comes to the income gap between rich and poor. So what is National’s plan to fix the underlying poverty that destroys many peoples families and lives in this country? Bill English says “insulating some houses and immunisation.” National’s plan is pathetic at best and will utterly fail to rectify what is a significant problem for New Zealand. But what else is new?

16 comments on “Fluff and a Jab”

  1. ianupnorth 1

    See http://www.rwjf.org/files/research/thepoorpaymore2009.pdf – yes I know it isn’t Kiwi, but the picture is exactly the same.

    Just consider the first two strategies they suggest

    Raise the Economic Status of the Poor by—
    Increasing the Minimum Wage
    Extending Coverage and Improving Usability of the Earned Income Tax Credit
    Ensuring Access to High Quality Child Care

    Invest in Early Childhood and in Education by–
    Investing in Early Learning Opportunities
    Ensuring Continuity of Educational Opportunity to Increase Graduation Rates
    Increasing Availability of Education, Training, and Employment Programs for Poor Adults
    The insulation scheme is a real opportunity missed; we have lots of people needing training, we have lots of natural resources (e.g. sunshine, wind, etc), so we should be leading the world in renewable strategies and investing in our future, not looking at coal out of the ground as a saviour.

  2. Nick K 2

    According to social researchers, the gap between rich and poor can lead to a raft of societal problems.

    I’ve never believed that on its own. For example, if the poorest person in society was worth a million, but the richest was worth a billion (Ceteris paribus), how does that lead to a societal problem?

    So there are a raft of other factors that influence this, not only the perceived “gap”.

    • ianupnorth 2.1

      Read the above report; if you are in poverty there is a stigma; if you are poor you generally live in an area that has less; the teachers and schools are often worse, so your educational attainment in likely to be reduced. if you live in a poor area you are less likely to have access to quality food, quality services, etc.
      When you add these up together the cards are very heavily stacked. You could also try google and search ‘the inverse care law’ – by a Dr. Tudor-Hart from the 70’s – it isn’t rocket science, but this government refuses to accept the proof.
      Another interesting piece is the Black Report….

      • ianmac 2.1.1

        ianupnorth :”the teachers and schools are often worse.”
        Cannot agree with that. The teachers in poorer schools are usually very dedicated and tell me that the kids appreciate what is done for them whereas in so called good schools, the kids are often smug, hard to motivate, and easily bored, often because they have been indulged and already experienced the gifts of abundance. The results from such schools appear to be good but often from a background of privilege rather than hard work
        Otherwise agree with what you say and with the pointers from the Jackal.

        • fabregas4


          I was, I humbly state, a well regarded teacher on the North Shore. I moved up north to carry on what I decided to do when I entered teaching – make a real difference. Now I am a well regarded teacher in Northland. Teachers aren’t better or worse up here – they have tougher jobs in some instances that is all. Please stop staying things that aren’t in any way true.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      I’ve never believed that on its own.

      No, what you’re actually doing is denying reality. The research doesn’t fit your world view and so you try to discredit it.

      As for your example, if the poorest person was “worth a million” then what you’re really talking about is massive inflation that has left money essentially worthless (which it is anyway).

    • Colonial Viper 2.3

      Socioeconomic disparity is largely relative in nature.

      Someone at a firm on $150K a year will always feel disadvantaged or “making do” if he hangs out with the partners who are all on <$1M p.a.

      Of course he will still be able to provide the necessities of life for himself – which is not the case for many of the actual poor in NZ today.

  3. ianupnorth 3

    OK, I’ll stand corrected, however, it goes without saying that some schools, particularly in rural areas, continue to struggle with recruiting teachers, with limited access to resources that say town schools have (IT, books, competition for sports, Kapa Haka, etc, food,finance, services, etc).
    The attainment rates of a decile 1 school are often quite different from a decile 10 – I guess that’s the point I was making.
    Plus there is the issue of food security and quality of housing – similarly these are problems in rural and/or deprived communities.

  4. rosy 4

    Bill English goes on to say that the huge difference between the rich and poor of New Zealand can be attributed to a few farmers owning multimillion dollar farms.

    That’s interesting… he understands higher averages in terms of his misleading statement about farms affecting housing costs, but not when he’s talking about the average wage rising on the back large income increases for high earners.

  5. jackal 5

    The questioning was about inequality, not just housing costs. Although that is a significant factor. Your highlighting the fact that National Politicians often like to pick and choose what facts to believe and present. Bill English clearly blamed inequality on rich farmers in this instance. We could also ascribe the negative dynamic to overpaid politicians as well.

    It’s not particularly helpful of him to just say inequality only exists because there’s extremely rich people in New Zealand. As Metiria pointed out; 10% of the population owns 500 times more than the poorest 10%, but inequality predominantly exists because there are really really poor people. Bill English is just trying to deny that the problem exists.

  6. feijoa 6

    My understanding is that in terms of crime, it is not poverty per se which is the cause, but the gap between rich and poor, which is associated with a high crime rate. I believe this is well researched, but cannot tell you by who. So to aim for a fairer society sounds good to me

  7. wawot 7

    “…putting home ownership out of reach of most New Zealander’s”

    According to the last census 67% of homes were owned by their occupants. Therefore home ownership is not out of reach of “most New Zealander’s”.

    In 1936 half of the houses were owned by their occupants – presumably then 1935 was the last time you could honestly say home ownership was “out of reach of most New Zealander’s”

    • jackal 7.1

      That’s a very simple deduction process you’re using there wawot. Median yearly income for all people from all sources for the June 2010 quarter was $27,508.

      The average house price this year is $429,249. If you’re trying to say that a person can afford to purchase a house on an income of $27,508 per year you’re clearly mistaken. Most Kiwi’s cannot afford to purchase a house these days, it is very different to saying Kiwi’s don’t own houses. New Zealander’s owning their own homes has been falling because of the negative impacts from the housing bubble and speculation, not to mention the Governments failure to remedy the problem.

      Another interesting fact is that the median weekly income from all sources for females was $426, and $675 for males in 2010. Would you like some sexism with that?

    • jackal 7.2

      The last census done in 2006 found that 54.5% of houses were owned or partially owned by their occupants btw. Where did you get the 67% from? I’m not privy to the percentage of New Zealand residents who own those houses and how many are owned by foreigners residing in this country. However the “out of reach” part of the statement implies that I’m talking about Kiwi’s that don’t already own a house. Perhaps I should have made that clearer.

  8. ZeeBop 8

    Rampant proto fascism that was all too accepted and condoned under Labour (who pushed to the right leaving National with no where to go but further right) is now a huge weight around National neck. Its joyous to seen the cockroaches run around trying to find darkness. They even had to wheel out Douglas to say something astonishingly stupid, that in any other Democracy would have demanded he provide his analysis, explain how something that hasn’t happen yet should abolish existing law and improvise an already naturally marginalized group further. But to cap it off its pretty damn obvious that a kid who learns his dads trade, should be able to command the full wages. And that a young athlete who is capable of out performing a manual job compared to a forty year old should receive at least the same wages.

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