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Key is blaming child poverty on – wait for it – – drugs!

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, December 16th, 2015 - 206 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, john key, welfare - Tags: , , , , , ,

I don’t think that it’s possible for the depths of Key to surprise me any more, but this certainly came close:

John Key: Drug abuse major contributor to child poverty

John Key says drug dependency is a major contributor to New Zealand poverty.

The latest Child Poverty Monitor suggests poverty is much worse that it was in the 1980s.

He said issues like drug dependency were key factors that locked people out of the labour market and in poverty. …

There are just three teeny tiny problems with this nonsense:

(1) Beneficiaries aren’t using drugs in any substantial numbers. In fact, that Nats are even crowing about this:

Minister claims low drug result as victory

Drug testing of beneficiaries is turning up an extremely low number of results showing drug use – and a lot of missing information about the controversial policy.

Of the 8,001 beneficiaries sent for jobs requiring drug testing, only 22 tested positive to drug use or refused to take tests.

The low number of results has been greeted as a victory by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett, who says the policy is driving beneficiaries away from using drugs. …

(2) Participating in the “labour market” is no guarantee of escaping poverty. Welcome to the world of the working poor.

(3) Poverty is clearly a function of large scale economic forces (not individual choices like drug use). Poverty has increased hugely since the neoliberal economic reforms of the 80’s and 90’s. It fell slightly with the introduction of Working for Families. It is rising again under the Nats. In short – it’s the economy, stupid.

Key needs to stop trying to deflect from his government’s appalling record on child poverty. Stand up and take some action.


206 comments on “Key is blaming child poverty on – wait for it – – drugs! ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Obviously drug use has sky-rocketed since 2007/08.

    What is it about the National Party that makes people want to get completely munted?

    • North 1.1

      ‘Cos “munter” is John Key’s special word. And he hoots but mostly giggles at the impact of it. And squirms in his seat. Oh it is sad. To be a budding Joe Bjelke-Petersen sans the pumpkin scones.

      Actually…..things are getting quite mad.

    • North 2.1

      John Key …..who frankly with comment like this marks himself as scum. Irresponsible, lying scum at that.

      Sickeningly, Mora on RNZ this afternoon was just itching to impart some tolerable rationale to the lie and the necessarily implied demonisation of poor New Zealanders.

      Wonder how much this is to do with generating cover for the anticipated rise in unemployment numbers ?

      You wouldn’t raise your kid to behave like Key.

  2. vto 4

    The funny thing is that here in Christchurch it is the children of the rich who use the drugs, and the children of the rich who drink excessively. Go check the private schools.

    • shorts 4.1

      same everywhere to varying degrees of availability – the rich/middle classes can afford their pleasures… and rehab etc if need be

      This dog whistling so close to christmas makes me so angry – its like a early xmas kick in the guts for so many from our leader (huge number of swears at him)

      • Graeme 4.1.1

        It’s not so much dog whistling as kicking to touch. He’s got the media (and us) talking about drugs rather than the issue. Next Labour will the party for drug abusers, to go with the murders and rapists.

        He needs to be called out on this. Calmly, factually and succinctly.

        • shorts

          totally agree

          meanwhile one would also like a reasoned and informed debate on our drug laws – pushing the hard on drugs line as our international peers are waking up to the folly that was the war on drugs is as embarrassing as our stance on the environment (and education and well many things *sigh*)

        • Ruth

          Agreed, deflecting the issue once again, as with his ‘backing the rapists’ diatribe.

        • Detrie

          Clearly it is the economy, lack of jobs and/or good wages. Rent rises the last few years (esp for those in Auckland) a huge factor too. You pay the landlord first, electricity second and groceries third assuming there is any money left over.

          Still, why let ‘the facts’ given from your own Minister get in the way of political spin and the blaming others for your own ineptitude and unbridled selfishness – It’s the John Key way we’ve all come to expect.

          ref: http://bit.ly/lowdrugresult

    • Anno1701 4.2

      “The funny thing is that here in Christchurch it is the children of the rich who use the drugs”

      King’s College death may have involved drugs

      Prime Minister John Key’s son Max also attended the ball.


      • Neil 4.2.1

        They probably were using cocaine, which is to expensive for the average joe bloggs

      • plumington 4.2.2

        Drug testing for beneficiaries I wonder if that includes politians the greediest and most privileged beneficiaries of all
        That includes those on very healthy retirement benefits

    • rich the other 4.3

      Missing the point aren’t you .
      It’s not the kids who are responsible for child poverty . The parents are the ones who for whatever reason who aren’t coping .
      Not enough money , to many bills and yes DRUGS , I suspect we all know people who have this problem .
      !! Beneficiaries aren’t using drugs in any substantial numbers.!! , any research on this ??, if it’s only 20% that’s still a real problem and worth a mention .

      • Pasupial 4.3.1


        Follow the links from this NRT post:

        First, the hard stats: back in 2013, Key’s government started drug-testing beneficiaries (and making them pay for it). So, how many drug addicts did this programme uncover? Sweet fuck-all. In the first year of the programme, they tested almost 30,000 people – with just 47 positive results (another 74 people refused testing, which National regards as an admission of guilt rather than a proactive attitude towards personal privacy). So, that’s a positive rate of 0.16% (or, at most, 0.4%). And this is supposed to explain a third of all kiwi kids living in poverty.

        Or, we can look at the trend over time. In 1984, child poverty was 15%. Today, its 29%. John Key’s explanation for this is “drug addiction”. So where are the addicts? After all, an extra 14% kiwi kids living in poverty due to drug addiction should mean roughly an extra 14% kiwi parents (give or take) as addicts. That’s roughly one in seven – a huge number/ So, where are they? They should be clogging our courts, our streets, and (according to John Key, who thinks “drug addiction = joblessness”), our dole queues. But they’re not. And in fact, illicit drug offences have dropped over the past 20 years, from 24,417 in 1994 to 16,543 today (1984 figures are not available).


      • North 4.3.2

        You’ve read Pasupial at 4.3 Rich the Other ? Fine. Now apologise for your apologism.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.3.3

        “any research on this ??”

        Yes, it’s mentioned in the OP, under the bold type:

        Minister claims low drug result as victory…

        And still no-one will answer my question: you righties all claim unemployment and poverty are consequences of bad choices. Why does the National Party always manage to increase the number of bad choices people make.

        Look at the bad choice numbers from 2007 if you don’t believe me. What is it about National that makes people make more bad choices? Or was it the rich investment bankers who made the bad choices?

        Where is a wise wingnut who will explain it all to me?

    • tracey 4.4

      That’s different vto, cos they are rich. 😉

      I am sure no offspring of Key would ever use drugs….

    • Yep. Though not in Christchurch, but involving youth involved excessive drinking by students from quite wealthy families.


      Except that it is not just in Canterbury:


      Sorry, but whatever happened to personal responsibility?

  3. Sanctuary 5

    There has been a bit of talk lately about the need to do something about child poverty, I guess Curia has picked this up. John Key is a morally empty corporate sociopath, so the main idea he would get from Farrar’s polling on the issue isn’t that his government should actually do something about child poverty, it is that his popularity is vulnerable so he needs to double down on the dogwhistle.

  4. Kevin 6

    All he has done is reinforce a right-wing belief that will be seized upon by the believers and repeated ad nauseaum.

    Mission accomplished.

  5. vto 7

    So if Max Key takes drugs then why isn’t he in poverty?

    • emergency mike 7.1

      Exactly. See Dr Carl Hart who has well and truly debunked the idea that drugs cause people to become ‘stuck in poverty’. It’s the other way around, poverty causes people to drink more, smoke more, and do more of other drugs. These people are in stressful, demoralizing, unhappy situations, and seriously bored. Drinking or smoking weed provides some relief, and is usually done in a socially supportive setting. Plus they don’t see how refraining is going to do anything to change their economic situation. Moralizing judgement from multi-millionaire bankers probably isn’t much persuasive either.

      Also Dr Hart notes that rates of drug use in affluent parts of town are in some ways not really much less. Different (i.e. more expensive) tastes, but the well off are able to regulate their drug habits as they please. They don’t end up ‘stuck in poverty’. How much alcohol do our honourable MPs get through in a week I wonder?

      As the OP concludes, it’s not the drugs, it’s the economic context stupid.

      Meanwhile in Canada, new prime minister Justin Trudeau has reaffirmed his intention to legalize cannabis. And, “Apart from legalizing marijuana, the new government also plans to cut taxes for citizens with middle income as well as to provide higher child benefits to the needy, which would be financed by a tax increase on the wealthiest 1 percent of the population.” It’s funny how sanity looks so simple.


      But back in NZ we are stuck in the poverty of daily dog-whistle bullshit and dirty politics from a government that knows no other way to prop up their facade of competence in the face of failure and corruption in all departments.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1


      • ICD 7.1.2

        Living in poverty means first and foremost lack of money, if I’m not mistaken.

        So where then is the money coming from for drugs, smokes and alcohol? Spending what, in some cases, will be the last dollar on drugs, booze and cigarettes surely ain’t helping reducing poverty.

        • emergency mike

          “…surely ain’t helping reducing poverty.”

          Sure, but what it is temporarily reducing is stress, boredom, and unhappiness. These are human beings in demoralizing situations, not calculating robots. Your last dollar isn’t going to get you out of poverty.

          • ICD

            If you haven’t got much, then surely being wise as to what you spend your money on is the very first step in the right direction. The cost of cigarettes alone can be at least part of a meal.

            “Your last dollar isn’t going to get you out of poverty”. True, but then again, spending it isn’t going to help either, is it?

            A dollar here, a dollar there, every bit helps, surely.

            • McFlock

              A dollar here, a dollar there, every bit helps, surely.

              “Helps” what? Move up an income bracket? Not in the real world.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Poor people are morally inferior, eh. That’s why they make bad choices.

              Can you explain the increase in morally inferior people since 2007? Or is it that society has become more morally inferior?

              Being morally inferior decreases the chance of personal responsibility too, I expect. What a bind!

              Why does moral inferiority always increase when Bill English is finance minister?

            • emergency mike

              As I said, there is nothing untrue in what you are saying. But that’s simply not how human beings work.

              Take cigarettes, due to ever rising taxes the price is now so high that it’s extremely difficult for someone on a benefit to be a smoker. More and more people are trying harder to quit as a result, and that’s a good thing. But note that many are still smoking nonetheless. They know they could better use that money elsewhere, and they know what’s more, that it’s killing them. But they still do it. Alcohol and weed are comparatively cheap. But a regular habit adds up. What that says is that most people don’t make such decisions based on pure 1+1=2 rationality. There are other factors involved.

              The question under discussion here is whether such spending keeps people ‘stuck in poverty’. And I have pointed out that actual research has convincingly shown that such a view confuses correlation with causality. Many people in hard economic conditions make the conscious choice to use drugs. But they are not in those conditions because of that choice. Their economic situation is not about their drug use. Understanding this implicitly, they continue to make that choice.

              “If you haven’t got much, then surely being wise as to what you spend your money on is the very first step in the right direction.”

              True, but if you are depressed and can’t find a job and you get the chance to spend $20 on a tinnie, you are more likely to reason to yourself ‘If I don’t have much, then it doesn’t really make much difference what I spend it on.’ Such a purchase is not without value to such a person, think of it as self-medicating. It is typically shared with friends promoting a sense of solidarity. Friends who previously hung out and shared theirs with you when you were down. Walk a mile in their shoes before decrying the lack of wisdom involved in failing to put that $20 in the piggy bank instead like a well-disciplined Spartan.

              It’s funny actually, the torys often come here in climate change post, and make the argument that New Zealand shouldn’t bother about cutting our emissions, since we are such a small country it won’t make any difference. (Not that you have done that.) Yet these are usually the same people who tut-tut at a beneficiary daring to spend any money on chemical relief. As if their beer money could change their job situation if only it was redirected. Or that their choice is indicative of their undeserving nature.

              Cutting our emissions would make a small difference, but what’s the point if China and the US don’t do it too? And every little bit does help, but what’s the point if it’s not enough to change your economic situation? Clearly the two things are not the same, but the reasoning is, and that’s what you wanted to understand.

        • LilaR

          “Spending what, in some cases, will be the last dollar on drugs, booze and cigarettes surely ain’t helping reducing poverty.”
          Except, ICD, there’s absolutely NO evidence that this is what’s happening. Key is simply using his usual tactic of deflecting attention from the fact that the real cause of poverty is a lack of jobs and decent, liveable wages, and that that is almost entirely down to his govt and its policies.

          • ICD

            Jobs and wages aside just for the moment, and no, you won’t have me disagreeing with you on those being of utmost importance, but put that aside for the moment and answer me this.

            Mike states that “…poverty causes people to drink more, smoke more, and do more of other drugs” so it IS happening.

            So if I say that spending money on booze, smokes etc is probably not the best choice if one lives in poverty, even if I can and do fully appreciate why people resort to these, then yes, that might not be the answer some of us want to hear, but choices are just that, things we choose to do, not something we are forced to do. Personal responsibility is what appears to be missing from time to time. Forego some of that spend and put it on the table instead.

            Problem solved? Of course not, but a little step in the right direction.

            • McFlock

              And they’d still be in poverty.

              And apparently the majority beneficiaries don’t drink heavily or smoke or fail drug tests. Fixating on the few who do ignores the rest.

              Sure, “not drinking heavily” doesn’t mean “teetotal”, but what sort of bastard would begrudge someone having a beer in moderation?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              You seem like an intelligent enough sort, ICD.

              Perhaps you can explain to me why so many more people are making bad choices now than they were in 2007.

              Either that, or you could touch on why all the evidence that dependency is a symptom, not a cause, is wrong.

              If you do that, of course, you might also consider who first fed you the tired old line you’re running, and whether they really had your best interests at heart.

            • emergency mike

              “Mike states that … so it IS happening.”

              Lol thanks for that vote of confidence.

              I don’t really understand your argument. No has claimed that anyone is forced to take drugs. And no one who takes drug believes it to be a fine investment choice towards improving their job situation.

              You seem to be saying that some people spend more than they should on it. And if they spent a bit less on it, that would be better for them. And that personal responsibility is involved in this matter. These are bland truisms that don’t address the subject, that Key is using this to deflect blame for the failure of his government’s economic policy.

    • Stuart Munro 7.2

      someone has to sell them after all…

    • Neil 7.3

      Its ok for Max to use drugs, he’s part of the elite in society.

    • tracey 7.4

      If the rich take illegal drugs that’s different.

  6. ianmac 8

    Don’t ya get it? Because they use hundreds of dollars each week on drugs, they have nothing left for food so they are in poverty. Simple. Cut off the drug supply and those poverty stricken monsters will be rolling in so much cash they could buy several houses and sit back as landlords. Key has the key you see.

  7. Rosie 9

    “He said drug dependency locked people out of the labour market and kept them in poverty.”

    Wow. I had no idea my drug taking was keeping me in unemployment. Here’s me thinking it was too do with the lack of jobs. Duh!

    (For purposes of clarity, I don’t use drugs)

  8. Pat 10

    I read somewhere recently that an experiment using primates to currency trade achieved comparable results to the average trader…..may explain how Key made his money.

  9. Michael 11

    Labour’s hardly rushed to the defence of the lumpenproletariat has it? Could it be that the Party hierarchs secretly believe the same bullshit Key spouts, or are they too afraid to risk annoying a middle class that clearly does?

    • shorts 11.1

      seems the party that should care won’t for fear that the masses will punish them at the polling booth if they show they care too much about the poor – plus the sizeable number of still neo lib’s in labour

      Sure this is why the media et al only focus on poor children – as if their parents have a choice either and are somehow to blame for their predicament.. not only blame but deserve to be punished (and their kids too)

      prove me wrong Labour and stand up for everyone this country isn’t serving!!

    • Gangnam Style 11.2

      “Comments from the Prime Minister that child poverty and drug dependency go hand in hand only make me even more determined to stand up for our kids. Everyone should care that there’s 305,000 New Zealand children living in poverty, and tens of thousands of them are being admitted to hospitals each year with ghastly but easily preventable illnesses related to that.

      So let’s all take a moment over the Christmas break to think about what sort of country we are. Let’s work together to eradicate child poverty. As Martin Luther King ( yes, that’s a picture of him behind me) said: “There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we have the resources to get rid of it.”

      That’s why I’m happy to be involved in the ‪#‎itsnotchoice‬ campaign – a message that the Children’s Commissioner wants to spread through social media as a challenge to the Government.” – Andrew Little on Facebook just now

    • anon 11.3

      Er, actually Jacinda Ardern already has. http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/politics/pm-drug-dependency-a-major-contributor-to-nz-poverty/

      Labour’s spokesperson for children Jacinda Ardern is furious the Prime Minister has come out with such a statement at Christmas time, and is challenging him to produce the proof.

      “That is patently untrue, totally irresponsible and totally demeaning to the hundreds of thousands of families who are struggling but doing the very best by their children.”

      She said the comments are morally wrong.

      “I think one of the reasons that we continue to really struggle to make progress on this issue that I know New Zealanders care about is because we have from time to time people like John Key coming in and making false statements to try and detract people’s empathy away from these kids.”

      • Chris 11.3.1

        Yes, Labour is of course outraged, but it’s faux-outrage. Labour’s contribution to child poverty and poverty in general was huge. Labour die-hards love to remember WFF, but forget that the same legislation that introduced WFF under urgency abolished the special benefit which was replaced with Temporary Additional Support. Not only does TAS take WFF into account as income, remember that WFF is precisely that – a tax credit for those lucky enough to have a shit part-time job paying the minimum wage. On top of this there’s no special benefit and likely to be no TAS because WFF is treated as income when calculating the dollar value of the TAS payment, and if you’re unlucky not to have a shit part-time job paying the minimum wage you’re not entitled to WFF, either. Labour did some serious damage during its 9 years in government it’s never fronted up on and there’s absolutely no evidence anywhere that they ever will. So keep spouting off all you like, Jacinda, but your hypocritical party will never face up to what it’s done let alone ever want to fix things.

        • tracey

          So if Labour says nothing it believes Key, if Labour condemns Key they are lying cos over 7 years ago….


          • Chris

            It’s Labour’s hypocrisy that’s the issue. Until they face what they’ve done they have not a scrap of credibility. So when Ardern and King get on their high horses about how shite the government is they cannot be taken seriously because if for some unfathomable reason Labour becomes part of the next government there is nothing that says they won’t keep doing what they’ve always done over the past 30 years which is screw over the poor. The worst of its handy work was between 1999 and 2008.

            “So if Labour says nothing it believes Key, if Labour condemns Key they are lying cos over 7 years ago….”

            I did not say this. You seem to be saying that because Labour did what they did so long ago that we should forget about that and now trust them? Labour has a very strong track record of complaining about the National government and then either turning around and supporting the very thing it’s complained about, both when in government and in opposition. There is no evidence that any or this has changed and all the evidence in the world that is hasn’t. Labour even voted with Key et al for the latest attacks on welfare beneficiaries, FFS. How recent would you like your examples?

        • Craig H

          Working for Families is not a tax credit, despite its name – it is paid based on income, with lower incomes getting more money. Unlike tax credits, recipients can be paid more in WFF than they pay in taxes (quite common at the bottom end).

          Also, despite its name, people do not have to be employed to be eligible for WFF. WFF is paid to beneficiaries with children, usually by MSD with the benefit although it can be paid separately by IRD – it’s at the recipient’s discretion.

          This was in the Income Act 2007, drafted and enacted by Labour, and also in the last versions of the Income Act 2004. There might have been a short time where the only WFF was what is now the IWTC, but Labour didn’t leave it that way for long.

          WFF has two main components – Family Tax Credit (FTC) and In Work Tax Credit (IWTC), with an additional top-up for low income earners called the Minimum Family Tax Credit (MFTC) as a third component (I haven’t forgotten the PTC, but it’s not relevant here).

          The FTC is the biggest component, and almost all families are eligible. The max is $92/week ($101 for 16+) for the first child, and $60/week per child for additional children <13 (more for older children) for families with taxable income < $36,350 p.a. and abates at 21.25c per $1 above that.

          The IWTC is $60/week for 1-3 children, then $15/child after that. Families have to not be receiving a benefit to qualify. Couples who work 30 hours/week (total between them, could be 15 each, or 0 for one and 30 for the other, or anywhere in between) qualify, as do solo parents who work 20 hours/week.

          The MFTC is for families who qualify for IWTC and earn < $23,036 per annum – they get $1 for every $1 under $23,036. The common scenario is a solo parent on low wages who works 20 hours/week getting a top up to keep them off a benefit (anything to manipulate the stats…).

          Income thresholds are generally based on taxable income – Child Support, Accommodation Supplement and Childcare Subsidies don't affect WFF entitlements (the reverse is not necessarily true, however).

  10. Gangnam Style 12

    What a mean spirited thing for him to say, finishing the year with more hate, what an ugly man.

  11. Whispering Kate 13

    If anyone is using drugs in this country and are on a benefit or low paying wages then they will have to be stealing to get it. I have very good knowledge of what it is like for a person to be a serious drug addict in a low paying job or on a benefit – they either get in the queue and go on methadone and get their life in order or the poor beggars break into pharmacies or steal the stuff. A lot, because they do not have back up in their lives, live out their days with a daily visit to the pharmacy for their methadone and live on the smell of an oil rag for the rest of their lives. Even going to tinnie houses is out of their orbit. On the other hand I live close by to private schools and I see them handing over cards when they buy from the local expensive bakery in their lunch hours and drive very expensive wheels to school , the like, a lot of us couldn’t even afford as adults. Kids of wealthy parents are far more likely to be sniffing the stuff at parties big time or buying other expensive drugs of pleasure and/or habit with their bottomless allowances they probably are dished out regularly. If these kids seriously get out of hand with their drug habit then mummy and daddy put them under cover of night, so the gossip columns don’t hear about it, into expensive drying out establishments and get them hopefully right again so they can attend Med School or whatever.

    Get real, being poor and a drug user is a a nightmare for them – I just can not logically see how they could stretch a budget to buy drugs, the benefit alone would not cover a day’s supply for them let alone for the week until next benefit day.

    Key is on planet Key once again. God help him if his poor Steffie or Max get a taste of the white stuff – happy days.

  12. Beneficiaries aren’t using drugs in any substantial numbers.

    Alcohol and tobacco are drugs, and are used by beneficiaries in very substantial numbers.

    That said, as an explanation for the increase in child poverty since the early 1980s, ‘drug dependency’ is as stupid a suggestion on closer inspection as it is at first glance.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      Alcohol and tobacco are drugs, and are used by beneficiaries in very substantial numbers.

      [citation needed]

      • The lost sheep 14.1.1

        [citation needed]




        ‘Smoking is strongly linked to socioeconomic deprivation: 28% of adults living in the most deprived areas smoke. Adults living in the most deprived areas are 3.1 times as likely to smoke as those living in the least deprived areas, after adjusting for age, sex and ethnic differences.’

        Similar figures for Alcohol.
        13% of the least deprived quintile are hazardous drinkers. 23% of the most deprived quintile.

        • McFlock

          wow, whack in the 0.27% of beneficiaries who refuse or fail tests for other drugs, and it seems that less than half of beneficiaries have damned near any bad habits whatsoever. So much for poor parental choices…

          • The lost sheep

            Adults living in the most deprived areas are 3.1 times as likely to smoke as those living in the least deprived areas

            If you read the reports mcFlock, i think you will find that the average number of cigarettes per day is consistent across quintiles at 10.
            So what’s that cost a day? $8?, or $56 a week if one parent smokes, $102 per week if 2 smoke?
            And the poorest quintile are 3.1 times more likely to smoke as the least deprived areas.
            Take away any value judgements, and look at this purely in economic terms.
            Before we consider the alcohol or drug issues.
            How can that not be a significant economic factor in the Material Hardship status of the most deprived quintiles?

            • weka

              rollies mate.

            • miravox

              Yep. Children of the nicotine-addicted poor paying for the increased taxes on tobacco.

              The National-led government was probably aware that not every addicted parent would be able to stop smoking despite increased cost (even though low SES smokers are more responsive to price increases ), but upped the tax anyway without a plan to account for that.

              On that note A reasonable assessment of the effects of tobacco tax on different populations, I think.

              • acrophobic

                This same ‘nicotine addicted poor’ are able to get heavily subsidised assistance to quit. Visit any public hospital and you’ll see the excellent services available. There is no excuse for letting your children suffer.

                • miravox

                  Yes there are heavily subsidised services. They do a great job.

                  However, those very good Quit services attest that most people cannot quit on their first attempt and many will require multiple attempts before they can successfully quit.

                  Again, the government put a regressive tax on cigarettes without a plan to account for the impact on children of the poor.

            • Korero Pono

              @ lost sheep, why is it that people like you, (the ones who like to blame the poor for being poor), continue to come up with this ‘poor choices mantra’ in order to justify and dissolve state responsibility for the increasing levels of inequality and poverty. Hell you even go looking for the research to back up what you are saying. So fucking what if people smoke, so do rich people. From the perspective of the ‘poor person’ http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/21/linda-tirado-poverty-hand-to-mouth-extract?CMP=share_btn_fb


              “We all cope in our own special ways. I smoke. My friend drinks. In fact, I’m highly confident in betting that you and many of your friends cope by drinking as well. Come home from a long day at work, and what do you do? Pop open a beer? Or a bag of potato chips? Or maybe you take a Valium when you’re feeling stressed out. Or get a massage. Or go to your gym and sit in the sauna room.

              Why are other people’s coping mechanisms better than poor people’s? Because they’re prettier. People with more money drink better wine out of nicer glasses. And maybe they get a prescription for benzodiazepines from their own personal on-call psychiatrist instead of buying a pack of cigarettes. They can buy whatever they like and it’s OK, because retail therapy is a recognised course of treatment for the upper classes. Poor people don’t have those luxuries. We smoke because it’s a fast, quick hit of dopamine. We eat junk because it’s cheap and it lights up the pleasure centres of our brain. And we do drugs because it’s an effective way to feel good or escape something.

              I get that poor people’s coping mechanisms aren’t cute. Really, I do. But what I don’t get is why other people feel so free in judging us for them. As if our self-destructive behaviours therefore justify and explain our crappy lives.

              Newsflash: it goes both ways. Sometimes the habits are a reaction to the situation.

              And unless you’re prepared to convince me that smoking and smoking alone keeps me poor, then please, spare me the lecture. I know it’s bad for me. I’m addicted, not addled.”

              • tracey

                And the woman who said she smookes cos it enlivens her, wakes her up so she can go to her second and third jobs?

                So, if you drink and smoke and are not poor, it’s kinda ok, BUT lose your job suddenly and now we can cast judgment upon you.

                What a sorry and nasty way to think

              • The lost sheep

                Korero, please note I did not make any value judgements, and I specifically said i was leaving those out of the argument and looking at the issue in purely economic terms.

                So fucking what if people smoke,

                I know some ex-rich people who used to say much the same thing about fancy bottles of wine and fine restaurant meals, oh, and they smoked, and they took drugs.
                So they kept spending money and time on those things, even when business went a bit crap, and they went bankrupt. Now they are in poverty and this has had a significant Material Hardship impact on their children.
                So the ‘fucking what’ about their excessive and unnecessary spending was that it was a major contributor to their current lack of choices.
                Are you going to leap to their defense on the basis the State was responsible for their ‘poor choices’?

                Do you believe everyone has the right to smoke , drink, and take drugs without bearing any responsibility for the effect it has on their economic situation in the real world?
                (Please note – I have still not made a value judgement, I’m just posing some admittedly difficult questions.)

                My contention is that no matter what your economic status, every dollar you spend on tobacco, alcohol and drugs will be a dollar you don’t have to spend elsewhere. That’s a fact.
                Research clearly shows that not all people do spend money on those things, and in fact the majority don’t, so doesn’t that undermine the idea that people don’t have a choice in those matters?

                My contention is simply that the research shows that people in the lowest quintile are currently smoking at a much higher rate than those in higher quintiles.
                That must involve a very significant sum of money that is not being spent on other things, and it must have a significant impact on health and well being.
                It must be a factor that contributes to the Material Hardship of many children?

                Please note – I have not made a single value judgement above, simply stated some facts and posed some questions. So please do not launch an argument based on things I haven’t said and don’t think.

                P.S. In the anecdote you quote, Linda justifies her smoking and drug taking on the basis that ‘we ALL have coping mechanisms’.
                Well, No. We don’t? The majority of us in all economic classes don’t smoke or take drugs .
                So ‘the need to have a coping mechanism’ cannot be a valid reason all those in poverty have to smoke and take drugs?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  It hasn’t occurred to you that what we might term recreational coping mechanisms are not confined to drugs and alcohol. Every dollar you spend on running shoes is a dollar you could have spent elsewhere, you know, and you expect us to pick up the tab for your hip replacement?

                  I note you have gone straight back to making assertions about choices as though your discussion with Puddleglum never occurred, exactly as predicted.

                  Meanwhile, the number of children in poverty keeps on growing and still no-one can explain to me why the National Party is a bad choices dead children factory.

                  • acrophobic

                    “It hasn’t occurred to you that what we might term recreational coping mechanisms are not confined to drugs and alcohol. ”

                    The best coping mechanism is to have more money. That means getting work, and giving up bad habits.

                    “Every dollar you spend on running shoes is a dollar you could have spent elsewhere, you know, and you expect us to pick up the tab for your hip replacement?”

                    Are you seriously suggesting that an activity that aids physical fitness is comparable to smoking? Me thinks you are clutching at straws.

                  • The lost sheep

                    It hasn’t occurred to you that what we might term recreational coping mechanisms are not confined to drugs and alcohol. Every dollar you spend on running shoes is a dollar you could have spent elsewhere

                    No that hasn’t occurred to me at all OAB, because
                    a. I don’t currently need a ‘coping mechanism’ (like the majority of people), and
                    b. On the occasions I have/or do need a coping mechanism, I am very aware of the need to avoid that mechanism adding to the stress that causes me to need it. So if the stress i was under was financial, the last thing i would think of doing would be to go shopping for unnecessary goods.

                    gone straight back to making assertions about choices as though your discussion with Puddleglum never occurred,

                    ‘Choice’ is the act of choosing between multiple possibilities OAB. We all have choices available to us to some degree, and all human societies work on the understanding that we not just have choices available , but we will be held accountable for them.
                    Puddleglum agreed with those contentions.

                    What degree of choice individuals have available, and what the factors are that define the constraints of choice are another discussion. But only an utter fool would claim there is no such thing as choice.
                    I could have done some work instead of typing this reply, but given the two possibilities, I made a conscious decision to do this.
                    It was a ‘choice’.
                    You might believe it was casual determinism or the Govt. or fate or any other agency that forced me to take this particular action….but if you do, I say you are a fool.

                    So Linda has a range of possibilities available to her in regard to smoking and drinking and taking drugs, and the proof of that is that she is able to rationalise, and defend her reasons for the ‘decisions’ she says she makes.
                    What is a ‘decision’ if it is not ‘a conclusion reached after ‘consideration’?
                    She also says she takes a lot of wrong options….what is an ‘option’ if it is not ‘A thing that is or may be chosen

                    So I’m happy to acknowledge that Linda has constraints on her ability to make choices, but I do not believe that she has / had absolutely no control what so ever on the choices between possibilities that have come before her.
                    To some degree at least, (and I’m not judging what that degree might be), her current situation has been influenced by conscious choices between possibilities that she has made, and so IMO she is not entirely free of personal responsibility for the outcomes of those choices.
                    (Read carefully – i did NOT just say ‘it is all her own fault’)

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Around and around and around you go, and yet you cannot tell me why (according to your witless bullshit) more people make bad choices now than in 2007.

                    • The lost sheep

                      I have never made the statement that more people are making bad choices now than in 2007 OAB.

                      I believe that was your statement?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      It’s the inevitable conclusion of your fixation with them: unemployment has more than doubled (at least – the National Party has been telling porkies) since 2007: according to your lovely shiny opinion, that by an amazing coincidence fits perfectly into the Sacred Litany of Right Wing Truthiness, that equates to more bad choices being made.

                      No, wait, perhaps it’s simply a reason Puddleglum asked someone to say why the notion of choice is in any way useful in this context.

                      Who can tell? Certainly not you.

                • LilaR

                  @ lost sheep, telling us you’re not making value judgements does not mean you aren’t, even if you sincerely believe your own words.

                  • The lost sheep

                    If I have made a value judgement above LilaR, please point out exactly where it is?

                    In the meantime, do you mind if I form a stereotype about you, and make statements about what you think and believe based on that stereotype, even if you have never actually said those things?

                    No. Didn’t think you’d want me to do that.

                • Korero Pono

                  Lost Sheep (you are so lost), everything you say is a value judgement, as is everything I say – our values underpin our thought processes. It is indicative of someone who is unaware of their own privilege and certainly someone clutching at straws to justify the systemic oppression of hundreds and thousands of children – blame the parents for their poor choices. And while you are blaming the parents, you can deny that something needs to be done about the issue.

                  As to the ‘ex-rich’ people you know, I doubt very much that smoking was the sole cause of their changing fortunes – as to the drinking, drugs and ‘fine restaurant meals’ – in their defence there is probably a lot of social pressure to maintain appearances even when they were struggling. Met one or two of these myself whom despite needing food bank assistance, insisted that they maintain the home in the swanky area, the flash car and the private school for their kids because they were embarrassed and did not want others to know how their fortunes had changed. Poor people are used to the embarrassment, the privileged take a while to put their baggage aside and realise what side of the fence they now sit on. Ironically these ones eventually realise the reality of robbing Peter to pay Paul on weekly basis – their once stress-free lifestyles become fraught with stress and shame (which is a double whammy for these ones).

                  For some people drinking, smoking and taking drugs is no longer a lifestyle choice – in your question there are so many assumptions for example: “Do you believe everyone has the right to smoke , drink, and take drugs without bearing any responsibility for the effect it has on their economic situation in the real world” – It suggests that only people who have the economic means to partake in such addictions…so if you are rich it is okay, if you are poor, well they are ‘poor economic choices’.

                  Going back to the Tirado article, a number of poor people I know also don’t spend money on these things, yet they still struggle from day to day, they still stress wondering how they are going to feed the kids for the whole week, come late January these people will be stressing about the huge cost of the kids going back to school, will probably have to borrow money to ensure the kids have what they need, will probably spend many sleepless nights worrying about it too. Some of them will end up on legal coping mechanisms (anti-depression meds because that is the only coping mechanism available to them). These people don’t have the same choices that you do, these people become sick because of it, regardless of whether they drink, smoke or take drugs (illicit or legal), their choices are very limited and their problems are related to the poverty in which they live.

                  “My contention is simply that the research shows that people in the lowest quintile are currently smoking at a much higher rate than those in higher quintiles. That must involve a very significant sum of money that is not being spent on other things, and it must have a significant impact on health and well being”.

                  If that is the case, then have you not thought to ask yourself the question ‘why’? Or is your only interest in proving the point that you are trying to make, whilst claiming that you are making no ‘value judgement’? Moreover, regardless of the sums of money involved, regardless of what little pleasure the poor may or may not have, what is evident is that poverty in and of its self has a significant impact on health and well being – it is well documented that poor people live shorter lives than the wealthy. Given the thousands of admissions to hospital every year for preventable diseases and conditions, I am sure the poor are well aware of how their poverty affects them but people like you will sit back in judgement and blame them for their own situation by claiming they made ‘poor choices’ – maybe that is your coping mechanism, a justification for your own privilege whilst thousands of people’s lives are cut short because a privileged few believe they have a right to a better lifestyle than others. All the while blaming the poor for the problems created by policy that systemically takes advantage of their poor position.

                  “Please note – I have not made a single value judgement above, simply stated some facts and posed some questions. So please do not launch an argument based on things I haven’t said and don’t think”.

                  As already stated above, yes you have made value judgements, you and your ilk make them every day and use them to justify your position of superiority. It really is a dog eat dog world.

                  “P.S. In the anecdote you quote, Linda justifies her smoking and drug taking on the basis that ‘we ALL have coping mechanisms’.
                  Well, No. We don’t? The majority of us in all economic classes don’t smoke or take drugs. So ‘the need to have a coping mechanism’ cannot be a valid reason all those in poverty have to smoke and take drugs”.

                  Yeah we do all have ‘coping mechanisms’, every single person has a coping mechanism to deal with life’s ups and downs, it is just that some are prettier than others.

            • McFlock

              If you read the reports mcFlock, i think you will find that the average number of cigarettes per day is consistent across quintiles at 10

              As well as noticing that you simply linked to the same publication three times.

              How can that not be a significant economic factor in the Material Hardship status of the most deprived quintiles?

              Because it doesn’t explain the material hardship levels of the 72% who do not smoke, or those who smoke but at a rate below the 10/day average. You might want to start with factors more widespread amongst poor people, like not having enough money.

              • The lost sheep

                explain the material hardship levels of the 72% who do not smoke, or those who smoke but at a rate below the 10/day average

                You’ve missed the point completely McFlock.

                If three groups are in an identical situation of income relative poverty, and. all their economic factors were equal, except for the following differences…
                Group 1 does not smoke, drink, or take drugs at all.
                Group 2 smokes, drinks, and takes drugs at a moderate level.
                Group 3 smokes, drinks, and takes drugs at a heavy level.

                What will be the effect on the 3 groups levels of Material Hardship?
                You would suggest it would make no difference at all?

                • The lost sheep

                  By my count, I’ve made over 30 plain English points on various threads over the last 3 days, and not a single one of them has received a direct and honest plain English answer.

                  I would have thought that, as I am such an uneducated idiot, and my points so obviously nonsense, that some of you would be lining up to analytically dissect each of those points specifically using clear direct logic backed by credible evidence?

                  If you disagree with my points, and find them offensive and damaging, surely that would be the best way to destroy the credibility of my views?
                  But no. For some reason all I get is diversion and evasion and nonsensical restatements of previous questions.

                  Strange eh? I simply can’t understand why.

                  And now the usual suspects will line up to make some wacky ad hominem comment that they really believe fools us all into thinking they have made a substantive answer!
                  And they wonder why their particular political beliefs are going nowhere. FFS.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    While you were having your little tanty, you forgot to notice that what you think are causes, are in fact, symptoms, but seriously: this is basic stuff, like Epidemiology 101. Anyone with a genuine interest would find it in minutes on Google.

                    Nah, reject all that in favour of victim-blaming, self-serving reckons. Pfft.

                • McFlock


                  That’s you making a point, is it: a hypothetical and then a question?

                  Given the demonstrated low rates of substance use amongs the poorest people in NZ, I suspect regional variation and even individual variations like by luck knowing someonewho can get them baby/kids clothes has far greater impact than your obsessive character assassination.

                  What I would suggest is that unless your position is that 100% of children in material hardship have parents in your group 3, your ego-wanking is irrelevant to the fact that substance use has absolutely nothing to do with some children experiencing material hardship in a country as blessed as New Zealand.

                  And if every child in material hardship in NZ is in group 3, what’s your proposed solution? Or does saying “parental choices” make it ok for kids to die early/

                • McFlock

                  let’s see: a quarter of a percent of beneficiaries test positive or refuse testing for drugs. Basically, zip.

                  Of the bottom quintile, 28% smoke and 13% drink heavily. So that’s 8% of the total population. But material hardship is 15% of kids. So your group three might be associated with half od kids in material hardship, if nobody left in the bottom quintile smokes or does alcohol to excess.

                  That leaves room for you to get all pouty about non-smoking, non-druggies who drink alcohol in moderation. Probably all single malts older than their kids, the neglectful bastards.

    • Sabine 14.2

      and no government is gonna cut both drugs off and make them a Class A, especially not John Key.

      And that comment should have some sort of citation added, or else it seems to be something someone may say to be seen as saying something.

    • Neil 14.3

      Haven’t you heard alcohol & tobacco are only for the rich. Nobody else is allowed them.

      • Psycho Milt 14.3.1

        Ah, thank you. I was wondering why a citation was needed.

        • weka

          It depends on whether you mean like others, beneficiaries are using drugs in substantial numbers. Or whether you mean they’re using them in substantial numbers in relation to non-beneficiaries.

          ‘Substantial’ is a relative term. Vague too.

          • Psycho Milt

            In that case, I confirm that “very substantial numbers” assumes that beneficiaries are like everyone else in the country. I agree “substantial” is a vague term, but I was just copying the OP’s use of it (also, I can’t be arsed looking up the actual numbers).

            • weka


            • Draco T Bastard

              I agree “substantial” is a vague term, but I was just copying the OP’s use of it

              No you weren’t. You were spinning for all you were worth and not doing very well at it.

              • Yeah, I quoted a section of the post that contained the term “substantial numbers,” pointed out that “substantial numbers” use alcohol and tobacco which are in fact drugs, but clearly I didn’t just use those words because they were used in the post, I instead specifically chose them because I have some devious political motive that only the loonier end of the Marxist spectrum is capable of interpreting.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Except that r0b didn’t use “substantial numbers” he used Beneficiaries aren’t using drugs in any substantial numbers and then backed that up with statistics.

                  Context is very important. You removed the context and then tried to introduce a false equivalence.

                  When asked to back up what you said you responded with “also, I can’t be arsed looking up the actual numbers” which proves the spin.

                  Basically, you were bullshitting because you felt you were superior but only proved your stupidity.

                  • 1. Pointing out that alcohol and tobacco are also drugs isn’t “false equivalence,” it’s “correcting a misconception.”

                    2. The context was whether “substantial numbers” of beneficiaries use drugs. I retained that context.

                    3. The fact that alcohol and tobacco are very commonly used drugs in this country, whether by beneficiaries or anyone else, is the kind of commonplace that only the most belligerently obnoxious pedant would demand evidential backup for. I still can’t be arsed indulging that belligerently obnoxious pedantry, and it’s not because I’m afraid a search would reveal alcohol and tobacco are rarely used in this country.

      • Chris 14.3.2

        When the rich drink, smoke or gamble too much it’s about addiction. When it’s the poor it’s about choices. The poor can’t get addicted to anything. That’s why they pass all the drug tests.

  13. Dog-whistling John, here boy.

  14. NewstalkZB is saying that only 22 of 8,000 or so sent for drug tests last year refused or failed. So, lets see again, just how big a portion of the total beneficiaries 22 is shall we?

    And anyway, It’s an awfully big jump from blaming it on drugs, to problems with the system:


  15. ianmac 17

    Note that No Right Turn has some stats on the drugs for poverty issue. on sidebar.

  16. mary_a 18

    Well he would, wouldn’t he, instead of acknowledging it’s the toxic socio economic policies, creating a noxious environment, impoverished families are expected to continue living in, giving rise to child poverty, without address! Courtesy of NatzKEY!

  17. Ralf 19

    For me as an old bloke, this rhetoric reminds me of something out of history, the rise of the Third Reich. To quote another saying, “All we have to do the let evil flourish is nothing”. We need to get rid of Key. Is New Zealand still a democracy?

    • tc 19.1

      National removed democracy visibly for all to see with ECAN.

      Their other efforts have been more covert and mostly buried from sight aside from the recent admissions about the OIA.

  18. mary_a 20

    Now can we begin to test politicians for drugs and other substances, to base and assess their performances on?

  19. Smilin 21

    Failure of those who control the monetary system to produce a system that is able to serve everyone and the cost of war are by far the the greatest reasons for why we have poverty plus idiots in govt who keep fuckin with the education system so it is becoming useless because of Keys war on the left.Pol Pot Key to be extreme
    When you see the increases in prices in the supermarkets and the local and national government rise on a regular basis plus the bench marks like parliamentarians salaries goin to a 4% increase as opposed to public servants receiving 0.9% I believe was quoted the other day and the only noticeable drop has been fuel in all the time this govt has been in power well how much BS does Key think we are going to take .
    And he has the gaul to put the boot in over drugs being the cause .$14.25 an hr is it for the minimum wage 17% income tax on wages minimum, rent at 2/3rds of beneficiaries income
    Most people I know on a benefit are smart enough to know that if they want to get off a benefit they have to be alive not dead as Key would have us believe they are all wasters .
    What A HYPOCRITE he came from an industry whose excesses in the drug use dept are legendary buying, selling,using, laundering money for drug cartels and gangs and he makes it out to be a problem of the poor
    The problem for the poor is having to listen to shyte like he puts out like we are all idiots
    Get out of town and stay out Key my prayer for the future wealth and prosperity for NZ

  20. Ross 22

    You can’t expect John Key to deal with child poverty when he’s got more important things on his plate – like mangling a Mariah Carey number.

    Oh and how he managed to avoid pulling those ponytails is anyone’s guess.

    • Rosemary McDonald 22.1

      Call John Oliver!

      Please, I beg you, tell me this is a mock up?

      Surely after the chicken feeding thing Our leader would not do this again.

      Nobody could be that much of a dick.

      And run an entire country.

      • Draco T Bastard 22.1.1

        Yeah, I suspect that there’s thousands of people who are that much of a dick in NZ – they keep voting for John Key after all.

        • tracey

          this ^^^^^

        • NZJester

          I think the majority of them are in the National Party with him or funding them under the table cabinet club style.

          Just look at the faces of some of the National Party MPs during question time compared to those of the opposition and you can see the smirks on some of the National MPs faces as their leader, other minister or support party stooges treat question time as a joke.

    • North 22.2

      Face Palm ! Face Palm !

  21. tinfoilhat 23

    I starting to get very disappointed and disillusioned with this site.

    I don’t like Key and haven’t voted for him pr his party and after reading this piece was quite disgusted with what he is quoted as having said and decided to listen to his words in the sound bite on the Herald website.

    What he said was not what is quoted at this site, sure argue what he says but this kind of slack blog spin is disappointing, aren’t we on the left supposed to be able to hold the high moral ground without resorting to these tactics ?

    • acrophobic 23.1

      I listened live to the full interview from which his comments are extracted. It is available on the NewstalkZB website for the time slot after the 9.00am news this morning. The Herald is being totally mischievous. Key’s comments about drug testing were a very small part of a wider discussion about children in need, in which Key was very clear that the Government needed to do more. It was also with reference to people seeking work, not just beneficiaries. The Herald is a rag, with no journalistic scruples whatsoever.

      • maui 23.1.1

        The wider discussion… that included comparing our poverty to that of people living in India on $1 a day, and breaking the poverty cycle without actually providing any solutions and then just blaming the situation on drug taking.

      • tracey 23.1.2

        ” in which Key was very clear that the Government needed to do more.”

        yeah it’s not like he has been PM for 7 years with the power and means to do more…. oh wait.

        • acrophobic

          This is a problem that will always be with us. We can do more or less about it. Your solution is likely to be to through money at it. That hasn’t and won’t work. The current approach is more holistic; create more jobs (happening), incentivise beneficiaries into work (happening), deliver a real increase in benefits (happening), provide free doctors visits to more children (happening)…I could go on. Labour never did any of these things. And they had 9 years.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Actually, none of what the government is doing is producing any positive results. Plenty of negative ones though such as the increase in poverty in the 7 years of their dictatorship.

            And, no, this government isn’t doing anything to create more jobs as their purpose is to keep unemployment at 6% or higher so as to keep wages decreasing.

          • Tracey

            That’s the way, ask and answer your own questions to make sure you stay nice and comfy in your world view.

          • miravox

            More than one-third of poor kids are in households where adults are in paid employment.

            It could be worse. Labour did ‘do something’ – ‘working for families’. Regardless of the ethics around it, that policy was designed to incentivise and reward work.

            Labour also began the free doctor’s visits, starting with under 5s. Pretty hard to cheer NAct because its doing things Labour can’t do because it hasn’t been in power for 7 years.

            My view is NAct wouldn’t do anything at all except as an inoculation against Labour when the Spin fails.

          • LilaR

            @ acrophobic – “a real increase in benefits”
            All this increase does is put benefits back to where they were before Ruth Richardson took an axe to them in her ‘mother of all budgets’. In the meantime, the cost of living has increased exponentially, so beneficiaries won’t be meaningfully better off at all. Not to mention that Winz will claw much of it back via reduced accommodation supplements.
            And you write as though National and Labour were our only options – under MMP this is no longer true.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 23.2

      Oh give over: it’s the first thing he mentions “it’s drug dependency…”

      Contradicting his own Social Welfare Minister, and, if what he’s saying is true, why can no-one tell me why “drug dependency” has increased so much since 2007?

      It’s victim blaming nonsense. If he were honest he’d say, “well the global economy still isn’t that flash, and we gave fiscally irresponsible tax cuts and passed laws that had the effect of lowering median income, and weakened unions and workers’ rights.”

      Like he’s going to do that. No, he has to tell lies instead.

  22. Tory 24

    We were 6 kids in 3 bedrooms, single income as dad worked and mum stayed at home. Mortgage interest rates were 19%, house was cold and food was whatever we grew plus mince. In todays terms we were poor but fuckin proud.
    End result is 6 successful careers and no regrets. The left throws around ‘Child Poverty’ as dog whistle politics, the same as you like to accuse the PM of. You can spin that as much as you like but the only believers are the socialists. (‘its not fair, I want what you have!”)

    • maui 24.1

      You’re a classic case of why we need to invest more in poor kids. Otherwise we could end up with self-interested, proud tories.

    • North 24.2

      Your account of life seems to stamp you as someone of a reasonable age Tory. Have you not learned in all your years that your sole experience says fuck nothing about the whole whose experience was different ?

      Are you still THAT immature Tory ?

    • Draco T Bastard 24.3

      End result is 6 successful careers and no regrets.

      Actually, going by what you say, the end result is 6 fuckwits who can’t see beyond their own nose.

      Back then, one income was enough to raise a family thanks to the unions which have now been destroyed by the greedy schmucks.
      Back then each child got the family extra income from the government to ensure that no one was in poverty.

      I.e, you didn’t get by solely upon individual hard work but through the combined efforts of the whole of society. All of which has now been taken away by the greedy arseholes like yourself.

    • Wensleydale 24.4

      “And I had to crawl 10 miles to school everyday across broken glass and lava as rabid wolves ripped chunks of flesh from my malnourished, lice-ridden body, and irate fishwives pelted me with rotting pilchards and offal…”

      Thanks for that, Grandpa Simpson.

    • Sanctuary 24.5

      I’m calling you a liar.

    • Halfcrown 24.6

      Fucking bullshit

    • Esoteric Pineapples 24.7

      A cardboard box! You lived in a cardboard box? We would have thought we were royalty if we lived in a cardbox. Our family lived under a pile of sticks and had nought but road kill ta eat.

    • miravox 24.8

      6 kids in 3 bedrooms on one working class income – did you sneak into my home life tory?

      Back in the day huh? When manual work was available and paid enough to feed a family and sections for poor people were big enough for vege gardens.

    • Whispering Kate 24.10

      Your Mum Tory got paid Family Benefit for each child which would have come to a tidy sum, I know because my mother collected it with her four children – I remember my mother telling me it made a huge difference to my father’s income from his trade. We also had a big back garden and grew vegetables, it was quite different in those days, the doctor was free for as long as I remember living at home, we had school dental nurses to see to our teeth and school nurses as well. Kids were valued and mum’s mostly stayed at home, now both parents have to work to keep their heads above water. Also unemployment is massive now and wages extremely low which is how your government likes it to be. By God you Tories love to loathe people in poverty – shades of the Russian Revolution and all the other uprisings that the poor have had to bring about. I always remember my old Grandfather way back in the 1950’s saying “there would never have been unions if it hadn’t been for the rotten bosses”. Just be thankful you are sitting pretty and keep your judgments to yourself – there is nothing like a smug uneducated person who doesn’t read his history to try to understand what is behind poverty in this country.

    • Anno1701 24.11

      your mother should have learned to keep her legs closed

      spitting out kids for another bottle of bourbon and a pack of smokes a week via the family benefits bloody bludgers

    • Whispering Kate 24.12

      Another thing I forgot to mention Tory, get hold of the book “The Sugar Bag Years” by Tony Simpson, it should be required reading in all schools and see just how close we are at any given time to experience a massive crash – how will you survive when your home, credit card and investments disappear – will you have time then for your booze and whatever is your pleasure. You will be in the gutter where a lot of the poor are today – they are seasoned veterans at living in the gutter – what a mewling useless heap you will be then. Have yourself a Merry Christmas.

    • reason 24.13

      The last time interest rates were 19% Don Brash was the reserve bank governor ….. they were up that high as part of the neo-lib prescription to kill inflation ( it rooted the property market at the time ) …… unemployment and recession followed.

      But what Tory really forgets or ignores is the god damn socialist things like free education and subsidised medicines that his family undoubtedly benefited from …..

      I don’t know if Tory or his siblings ever had appendicitis, grommets in the ears, broken bones or any other things requiring hospital care ……… but if they did it’s down to those god damn socialist and their communist state health care that looked after them.

      I’m quite proud that New Zealands socialist polices helped Torys parents raise their children ……

      Tory on the other had seems to have turned out like a deluded ungrateful selfish prick ……

      Naturally two ticks for national from him.

    • NZJester 24.14

      If you had not had a father with a reasonable working wage, a mother to care for you while you where home, good free education, good free healthcare and a good job market along with that hardship you would very likely still be in that poverty situation.
      Those are some of the very important things that National has stripped away from the poor.
      You may think you where poor back then, but people who have that sort of life now are considered the lucky ones compared to those who are stuck in overpriced rental accommodation so can not even dream of getting a house mortgage and both mother and father have to work just to pay all the bills, so a lot of kids get neglected. Then kids going on to higher education after high school normally costs and arm and a leg so they normally go into low paying work or on the dole right out of school rather than take on a massive debt.

  23. Tautuhi 25

    So most poor people are druggies, so therefore with that sort of logic we can blame National’s immigration policies and the Asian drug importers for the rise in drug abuse in the lower socio ecomomic classes after all they are using the NZ Gangs as distributors.

  24. I see in response to Key being on zombie radio, sycophantic idiot Farrar says, “Oh that is mean. They gave him a choice of singing the song or yanking on a line of ponytails. Jayjay is evil.”

    The first commenter says, “What a good sport, he could have said no. Fantastic PM.”

    It’s good the serious stuff takes their notice. A bit surprising (and disappointing) they didn’t get him to wear a pair on “new flag knickers.”

    Jeez, he’s a real good bugger our John.

  25. red-blooded 27

    “… but if you look at why some people can’t get work, it’s drug dependency.” He goes on to say that if you ask any employer about whether they drug test people they’ll tell you that there are people they can’t hire because they take drugs, that they’re locking themselves out of the labour market and holding themselves back because they take drugs.

    To be fair to our glorious leader, he did say that this wasn’t the only reason people were poor, but he didn’t identify or explore any other issue, and a discussion that began as an exploration of child poverty quickly shifted to JK saying that people were creating poverty for themselves by taking drugs.


    The Herald (not this site) has headlined this “John Key: drug abuse a major contributor to child poverty.

    I’m disappointed in Key and co. The Standard didn’t make this shit up…

  26. Expat 28

    This is just another symptom of some of the worst economic policies that NZ has ever had thrown at them, Key and his band of merry men are an insult to every thinking persons intelligence, and for those who aren’t insulted, keep voting for him, recession is on it’s way, the manipulation of statistical facts will catch up with them, just as they did with Muldoon.

  27. dave 29

    key just says anything mans pathological liar if your poor you cant afford drugs let alone food rent or power i bet a lot of the toffs would fail keys banker mates for example.as usual a troy will never take re-possibility for there policies the fact key lies so often proves his failure of his leadership bastard should resign.

    • Reddelusion 29.1

      The poor can’t afford drugs, what about tobacco, booze and gambling, pretty sure these are all pretty prevalent in lower and higher socio economic society , so why not drugs

      • ropata 29.1.1

        old news.
        the “titans of finance” on Wall St are all high on coke
        so they got Bush Jr to end the War on Drugs
        but the War on Terror screwed up the dope supply from Afghanistan
        and Charlie Sheen snorted the rest
        and Peter Dunne outlawed some harmless party pills

        so now there are no drugs for poor people

  28. tc 30

    Totally predictable from el shonky.

    Maybe the xmas dumpster run will contain a lot that needs distracting from so on cue the dog whistle for the sheeple.

  29. North 31


    Key et al have tampered with our psyche.

    This is what we get in compensation ?

    Gee Zuz….!!

  30. Reddelusion 32

    All I can say is you choose to be outraged over the smallest things, John key living in your heads rent free The left take the bait, the narrative changes, the general populace yawn at another lefty outrage, JK wins again

    • fender 32.1

      “………..outraged over the smallest things……”

      Children living in poverty is no small thing. The PM behaving like a fuckwit spouting hate-speech is no small thing even when he has been drinking.

      Though he is the perfect PM in these immature times where being a cock is perceived by many as being laid-back and harmless.

  31. Rob 33

    Knock knock
    Who’s there?
    John who ?
    Gosh forgotten already
    Must be the drugs eh!

  32. Reddelusion 34

    The greens harp on nz is a relatively wealthy society when it comes to climate change and nz doing its bit, does relative wealthy mean we also have relative poverty

    • One Anonymous Bloke 34.1

      We have “morbidity with a social gradient”, according to the Treasury department. It means poor dead children.

  33. fender 35

    “John Key says his drug dependency is a major contributor to New Zealand poverty.”

    fixed it for him

    With the amount of photos around that show Key holding bottles of beer I applaud him for finally showing some guts by admitting it’s all his fault.

  34. logie97 36

    Just an observation or two … about John Key

    Not sure if this has been commented on previously?
    – That he appears to enjoy being seen relating to people younger than him (predominantly males) in their 30’s (princes, top sports people, pop-culture radio hosts).

    – He demeans the position of Prime Minister with his actions on pop-culture radio (worse knowing it will be videoed and broadcast on line. When did he last answer questions of or have discussions with any of RNZ

    • Reddelusion 36.1

      Yes and his ability to reach across ages is why he is at 65 percent popularity 7 years into his priministership, why talk to RNZ with a left wing audience awaiting to be outraged

  35. logie97 37

    Just an observation or two … about the Prime Minister

    Not sure if this has been commented on previously?
    – That he appears to enjoy being seen relating to people younger than him (predominantly males) in their 30’s (princes, top sports people, pop-culture radio hosts). He does not appear to have nearly as many photo ops/interactions with leading academics, classical performers etc. of his age.

    – doesn’t appear to appreciate that he demeans the position of Prime Minister with his actions on pop-culture radio (worse knowing it will be videoed and broadcast on line.)

    When did he last answer questions from or have discussions with any of the RNZ journalists/hosts?

    When addressing an International forum on the issue of refugees recently, why he
    saw fit to use words to the effect “We understand the problem but we are a long way away from it …

    Sort of gives you a sense of pride doesn’t he.

    • Chooky 37.1

      nope…shallow and ugly…and getting shallower and uglier….I wonder if this is the effect of some sort of drug ? ( in which case we all need to be warned)

  36. Sans Cle 38

    All a deflection away (however farcical and with bad taste) from the operating deficit of $401 million announced by Bill English yesterday.

  37. Reddelusion 39

    I see 9 kids removed from a p house this morning, yep drugs has nothing to do with poverty

    • Um, isn’t that an indication that the free market is also failing children? If I remember Breaking Bad correctly, P houses are where the money’s at.

      • Reddelusion 39.1.1

        Must be relative poverty then TRP as poverty reports don’t include earnings from the black economy likewise dad and Mum maybe in the money not sure kids are been set up on the right path however.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Look on the bright side: at least they aren’t being raised in an echo-chamber of Tory hate speech.

          • Reddeludion

            Tory, right wing, blah blah talk about obsessive compulsive disorder, that with your 24 7 fascination of John key do you have time for anything else 😀

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              It’s the hate speech that sticks in my craw, bud. Political beliefs are one thing. Human rights abuse is another thing entirely.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 39.2

      I saw a right wing gang beating someone up, while yelling racist abuse, yep being right wing has nothing to do with hate crime.

      • Reddelusion 39.2.1

        No one is saying drugs are the sole cause of poverty, just a contributing factor

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Yes, and as the evidence shows, the people who say that are lying. Are you one of them?

          • Reddelusion

            And the evidence shows that those who think that are deluded Are you one of them ?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              I’m referring to the evidence that demonstrates that drug and alcohol dependency increase with poverty and inequality: Baer Singer & Susser 2003, L. Friedli 2009, O James 2007, etc. etc.

              Dependency is a symptom.

              What evidence are you referring to?

    • McFlock 39.3

      9 out of 300,000.
      Seems to be consistent with the beneficiary drug testing results. Drugs have fuck all to do with poverty in NZ.

  38. Gerald 40

    Ah well it makes a change to blaming things on the previous Labour Government. Key is a master at sliding out of any responsibility using a smile and banal statement.

  39. Reality 41

    The prime minister is becoming increasingly immature. Someone who is a good communicator with all age groups does not have to act like a 20 year old at a mate’s barbecue after too many beers. “Look at me, look at me, look at me” attention seeking seems to be getting worse each year.

    • Tracey 41.1

      He is the successful creation of a Party, it’s funder’s and its wallet to invent someone able to carry through their strategies.

  40. Rolf 42

    How does this guy get away with it. Everyone know that drug misuse is a result of poverty, and New Zealand getting more of that every day. New Zealand is now a third world country.

  41. Janet 43

    Does he mean alcohol, tobacco and pharma drugs? If so then he’s correct!

  42. NZJester 44

    There are some drugs involved in child poverty, but not the illegal kind.
    Some people are being heavily left out of pocket trying to fund their own life saving drugs that Pharmac refuses to fund. The National government just does not give them enough funds to be able to afford to fund every critical drug and they have to pick and chose who they can and cannot afford to fund with the limited budget available.
    In the recent case of John key talking about over ruling Pharmac to have them fund that cancer drug without much talk of extra funding for that drug, I do have to wonder what drugs currently funded they might drop to fund them if he does find a way to make them change their mind.

    • McFlock 44.1

      Even the ones they do fund add up – four scripts from the doc and it becomes an extra $20 instead of the $12 it used to be.

  43. Just Me 45

    What a bloody idiot Key is.How shallow can he be? He is encompassing ALL children living in poverty with the drug-brush. Perhaps it happens but not to the degree Key seems to indicate. But then lets look at it this way. He is blaming someone else, the silent ones who do not have a voice, for his prejudices.He is passing the buck and not really looking in the mirror and acknowledging it’s his style of government that has caused many problems in NZ.
    NZ is a deliberately kept low income country. This government is all too happy to keep ordinary workers on low incomes. There is no so-called trickle-down effect that was copied from the United States by a previous National government with Bolger as PM.
    At every opportunity it seems Key & Co are so eager to bash anyone who doesn’t have money. They(Key & Co)then claim that drugs, booze, pokies, gambling, etc,etc,etc are reason why children live in poverty.In very few instances this could be correct.But not in the majority.
    If Key had any credibility(which appears to be lacking because he lacks such qualities as credibility, honesty, integrity and many other qualities past PM were respected for)he would admit his government is causing many problems in this country. But no. Instead he will blame everyone else but himself and his government and that shows pure arrogance.
    I am sure in the not too distant future Key and English will claim there is not enough money for such things as helping kids in poverty.In the lead up to the 2008 election Key was dragging Aroha around as the Poverty Poster Kid.Key claimed his government would do something about the poverty in NZ.Seven years on and all we hear now is excuses and blaming someone else. Still Aroha’s usefulness like the families of the Pike River 29 ended once all the votes were counted at the relevant elections i.e 2008 and 2011.
    I am sure once Jonah Lomu’s kids usefulness has expired Key will be dropping any contact with them like a hot potato especially as we are only 23 months out from the next election.

  44. Mel 46

    Funny he blames drugs for child poverty so I blame John Key for continuing the cycle… I am a CYF caregiver and aware of a vulnerable child placed in the care of a meth addict approved by the child’s social worker’s involved. I voiced my concerns to the social worker and her supervisor and they no interest to follow up or simply protect the child. Nice one Ministry of Social unDevelopment

  45. Tautuhi 47

    Neo Liberal Economics and Logic !!!

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