Key out of touch on food & poverty

Written By: - Date published: 10:52 am, February 20th, 2011 - 64 comments
Categories: brand key, class war, food, john key, poverty - Tags:

“Hunger and malnutrition are stalking New Zealand families. Hundreds of thousands are just one shock – whether an illness, or a large bill – from not being able to afford basic food. This is not good enough in our land of plenty.

The Sunday Star Times has an excellent piece on food insecurity in New Zealand:

Back in 1997, the country’s first National Nutrition Survey found almost 30% of our households experienced a degree of food insecurity. Last year, a smaller research project pushed that figure up to 40%.

82% of low income households stated the variety of food they ate was “often” or “sometimes” limited by a lack of money.

That’s a huge number of families, about 600,000, on the knife edge. An accompanying graphic to the article shows the reasons for people turning to foodbanks. Most of them appear to be one-offs or sudden price increases – ‘shocks’ in economic terms. When you’re already on the edge, it doesn’t take much to push you over. And this never-ending recession has brought more and more families to the edge.

Latest figures from the Salvation Army showed a 16% increase in demand across its network of 48 foodbanks last year. Auckland City Mission gave out 7752 food parcels – up from 4500 the year before – with staff estimating that, if current trends hold, 9000 parcels will be distributed this year.

Wellington’s Downtown Community Ministry is also on track for an increase, giving out 1350 food parcels between June and December, compared to 2700 for the entirety of the last financial year.

In Christchurch – partly as a result of job losses post-earthquake – the City Mission distributed 13,140 food parcels – a whopping 52% increase on the year before.

Multi-millionaire John Key doesn’t empathise. When he so famously lived in a state house, his mother would have been getting a generous widow’s benefit and a family benefit for him. His was a middle-class family temporarily down on its luck but able to fall into the pre-Ruthansia social welfare net and it probably with good savings to boot. No fear of malnutrition for young John. No spectre of the shame of having to turn to the foodbank for Mrs Key.

To Key, as with the elite in general, poverty is a moral failing. This was reflected in Key’s comment about people needing to turn to foodbanks – “some make poor choices and they don’t have money left”.

Explaining why some are wealthy and some poor in moral terms justifies the wealth divide – ‘I’m rich because I’m a good person, and those people must be bad because they are poor. Therefore, it’s right that a good person like me prospers and the bad people don’t.’

But sensible people recognise that a level of poverty is built into our economic system (especially under neoliberalism) and it is accident of birth or luck that largely determines where one ends up. As Christchurch City Mission head Michael Gorman puts it:

I consider myself to be very lucky and maybe Mr Key thinks he is as well. I was born into a family who loved me. That’s a good start. They knew how to parent me and could afford that I got regular and good quality food. Because of this I went to school able to take advantage of what education had to offer. I got enough sleep and food so I was able to learn. I was encouraged to learn by my family. I then got qualifications that enabled me to get a job and not just any job, but one that was meaningful. I learnt some social skills and I was lucky enough to remain healthy in both mind and body. I did nothing to deserve such luck. I could have had a family who lacked the skills and knowledge to support me and who lacked the energy and resources to make any change.

“All my advantages allowed me to have a menu of choices. I could choose anything from the very good to the very bad.

“Without my advantages, my only choice may have been between the bad and the awful.”

Anthony Hubbard adds:

Key, moreover, is wide open to the charge that he’s a plutocrat. He is the richest prime minister we’ve ever had. He lives in a mansion and holidays in a luxury pad in Hawaii. He hasn’t been to a foodbank, and his opinions about the people who have, hold little weight. Of course some can’t budget. But most beneficiaries bob along with their heads just above water, and every now and then a big bill sinks them. That, typically, is when they go to the foodbank.

Turning to the politics of poverty and Key’s elitist sentiments, we see that he has made a big mistake in revealing his true face. As the Herald editorial puts it, his comments were “callous, injudiciously plain-spoken or both”.

Remember, the same day that Key was booting those in desperate need of food he was defending the new limos and having a dinner with Julia Gillard cooked by Steve Logan of the exclusive Logan Brown restaurant on the taxpayer’s dime.

He may think of those in poverty as a small, unseen group but actually there are 350,000 people on working age benefits, 500,000 on the pension, 100,000 on the minimum wage, and another 250,000 on near-minimum wages.  And that 1.2 million isn’t a static group. Roughly 100,000 people go on and off benefits each year, for example. So, we’re talking about a hell of a lot of people who have very recent or present experience with living on the edge, knowing that, no matter how well they budget, one bad event could force them to the foodbank.

The Herald editorial gets the political risk:

“Being chauffeured in $200,000 cars while people struggle to buy groceries is a bad look.

The same goes for the “poor choices” crack. We’ve all come across beneficiaries whose spending was questionable but the vast majority are trapped in a poverty cycle not of their making and the PM’s dismissive comment was that of a man seriously out of touch.

In making it plain that he won’t stay in politics if he loses the election, Key has displayed an insouciance that may be admirably forthright but is politically risky.

The face he showed to the country this week was that of a man who didn’t give a stuff what people thought. It may be one that his colleagues and National supporters hope he will not be revealing too often.”

In other words, the Right doesn’t have any solutions for those on the edge, and it doesn’t geninuely care about them. But it can recognise a political risk when it sees one. And Key’s honesty has badly undercut ‘Brand Key’, National’s only hope of getting re-elected.

64 comments on “Key out of touch on food & poverty”

  1. Deadly_NZ 1

    And even the Granny Herald is saying he is out of touch too. It looks like the MSM can’t ignore his ‘Who Cares’ attitude. Here is the link to the editorial.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10707472

  2. Tigger 2

    How long before we see pics of Key handing out food parcels and telling the recipients he’ll try harder (which will be all spin since he’s got no intention of helping the poor)?

  3. Sookie 3

    There is a distressing amount of mean-spiritedness in this country, which goes hand in hand with stupidity. Witness the disgraceful item on Campbell Live this week, where people were writing in to call the people in the line for the Free Food shop ‘fat, lazy, ciggie puffing dole bludging scum’. The irony is that most of the bogans sending these text or emails were one redundancy/accident/defaulted payment away from being in the exact same position as the Free Food folk, and yet they’re too dumb to think ‘there but for the grace of God’. The Nats rely on these kind of people to vote for them regardless of their arrogance and obvious sinister plans for NZ. It’s good to see the useless media finally having a go at the Nats, but I despair anyway.

    • Olwyn 3.1

      I don’t know whether I am allowed to do this, but I am copying a letter in full from the Campbell Live Website because it hits so many nails on the head in a single stroke:

      “The people who have a disparaging word for people getting free food….need to get out of their Ivory Tower. I am an American and I can say this is one time I am ashamed to know that Kiwi’s think this way about the less fortunate. I am in your “High” tax bracket…and I am barely getting by. I don’t think most kiwi’s understand the EXORBITANT prices you pay here for the necessities. Water, Electric, Food, and Rent are off the chart for the AVG. kiwi salary much less below that. I am sickened that the people who can afford their food would think people WANT to wait in line for a hand out rather than having a good paying job to buy on their own!!!! Your govt. TAXES water, food, electricity, and FOR GOD’S SAKE EVEN BABY FOOD!!!!!!!….this means you can’t even live as an ANIMAL without paying 15%…. All the anger should be directed at the govt. that holds you down while your being brutally assaulted by MetroWater, Mercury Energy, Fonterra, the fish industry and Foodtown/Countdown. What are our tax dollars doing when the Commerce dept DOES NOTHING FOR THE PEOPLE and for example the Telco Minister who can’t seem to find his own ass with both hands. Why take money from these depts. and do some REAL GOOD with it. I am glad that the rich like spitting on the poor here…it makes me feel like I am back in the US….you should be proud your just like the 250 mil. idiot Americans…..(sarcasm)”

      The first point is, why the hell do we do so little to protect the population from the rapaciousness of the corporations? We are in the free market sure, but other countries also in the free market seem to go further in this respect than we do, and we do have a commerce commission.

      The second is this notion of “living like an animal” – as far as the “haves” are concerned, any minor departure from the “living like an animal” model by the “have-nots” is treated as an outrage, especially when the “have-nots’ in question are beneficiaries, for whom the country is unable or unwilling to provide meaningful work.

      People tend to treat the excesses of the corporations as being as inevitable as weather, while turning viciously on the person a little lower on the food chain. Hence the relation between the haves and the have-nots grows increasingly analogous to domestic abuse.

      [lprent: I couldn’t see how to link to it either. The page link is http://www.3news.co.nz/NZ-unsympathetic-for-those-lining-up-for-Free-Store/tabid/817/articleID/198442/Default.aspx ]

  4. kultur 4

    The Challenge to the Left in my opinion – is to see that what we are now facing is an Emperor clearly without clothes (National and Act and the Right Wing in all its forms) … and the Left should be the child in the crowd that innocently cries out – “but he’s got no clothes on…”. To my mind its now undeniably the best opportunity ever for Labour and Left to go back to first principles. Principles that gave us one of the highest standards of living in the world – in a managed and interventionist economic / political system.

    Media commentators who lionise Key are all well paid $100K plus individuals – so they cant identify with the average person or family – The bureaucrats who cheerfully advise Government in Treasury and various Departments and of course the corporates who ’roundtable’ to advise the government – are all represented by persons on easily $100K plus per annum in income. God knows some of the exalted beings sitting in advisory offices to the Government are probably spotty faced and barely post pubescent – not old enough to remember the sacrifices made by people in political struggle and numerous Wars to make New Zealand into the fine Nation it once was.

    So tell me – how can these people determine our futures and make decisions about our lives – and more to the point – why do we let them.

    Some parts of the left seem (emphasis seem – not established in fact) too busy sniping away as commentators – being dreadfully and elegantly ‘pragmatic’ – even being lauded by some of the right wing as “the serious thinkers of the left”.

    The left may not actually BE left to be the LEFT (if you get my convoluted thinking) – if it doesnt decide THIS TIME to support and influence Labour and the next Government under Phil Goffs PMship by getting them voted in and given a clear message – “we want to be who we once were. No more neo liberal nasty uncaring rubbish”.

    Leave pragmatism and political expediency and downright shallowness to Key and his cronies. Let-em and make-em wither on the vine in the political wilderness for decades to come – sipping their beverages reminiscing with Roger Douglas about how they “rescued” the Hobbit and jacksons next corporate jet and South Canterbury Finances rich investor base – oh and also milked the sad situation of the Pike River Miners and Canterbury earthquake for all it was worth.

    Are we all going to be dumb again – or can we see that the “EMPEROR” is actually buck naked with nothing to offer New Zealand apart from another Fire Sale.

    Vote Labour – Vote for Phil Goff – dont lets be purists and pragmatists – this is our last chance to bury these monsters once and for all. I reckon this time its a life and death mortal struggle between right and left … and about bloody time i think

    • just saying 4.1

      Voting Labour would just endorse its centrist to-hell-with -the-poor position. It’s been held for a long time. Labour’s rhetoric may have changed a little as far as the poor are concerned – but that’s all. It’s still a choice of more or slightly less “austerity” for the poor, and “don’t worry, you don’t have to postpone your next overseas hols”for the comfortably-off and up, between Nat and Lab at the polls this year.

      • kultur 4.1.1

        Understood JS … i held the same opinion during the Clark Era – but i dont think we can afford to be too undecided this time. My sense is that we are on a precipice – and the Lefts job is to heavily lobby and influence Labour.

        Goff has the makings of a great PM – we all have NO future with NACT

        Its not just about the poor – its also about middle NZ who are fast moving to becoming the new poor – most of which is masked at present by the availability of Finance Companies, revolving credit facilities and Credit Cards. So what do we all do – be ‘pragmatic’ and just say well “they’re all the same” or do we decide to start with a Labour that is open to influence.

        I sense that Goff has what it takes – i also sense that his colleagues will get in behind him – they would have to be stupid not to sense growing public anger.

    • Marty G 4.2

      “and the Left should be the child in the crowd that innocently cries out – “but he’s got no clothes on…”.”

      yes – and this is something for each of us to be doing individually with our family, friends, co-workers. undermining Key, showing that the emperor is naked.

      we build the arguments and the evidence in forums like The Standard, but we’ve got to do the donkey work too. We can’t just say ‘up to you, Goffice’

      • We can’t just say ‘up to you, Goffice’

        Yes, I’ve got a bet on the favourite in the 6.30 and if it just wanders out the stall and starts eating grass and taking a crap while the other contenders thunder past it, I’ll be sure and run out on the track and carry the bloody thing across the finish line on my back rather than shooting it.

        [Okay, I take your point. But I trust you take mine].

    • johm 4.3

      Well said Olwyn and Kultur These privatization, neo-liberal wreckers must be seen off this election, otherwise we will become more and more a divided nation between the haves and have nots,no longer the decent New Zealand I once new.

      • Rosy 4.3.1

        If Goff can harness the energy and passion he had in his opening speech in parliament and transfer that to a public forum then lab will do ok. If he can’t then the left is in trouble. That speech was so powerful to me that as I’m reading through comments about him and whether he has the ability to win, I simply can’t get it out of my head. It gives me hope.

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    NACT are building a NZ with the exact opposite of resilient communities and resilient families.

    Not sure what to do about the mean streak in the rump of NZ society, it seems to run deep and angry.

    • Sookie 5.1

      The same mean streak is what causes poor, humble Americans to vote Republican, and as a consequence make their own lives even more miserable and turn that country into an absolute basket case of poverty, corruption and bigotry. Personally I think cuddly liberals have got to stop assuming that human beings are good natured and rational. We aren’t.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Also the liberals have been rubbish about making their case – too often assuming that “facts” and “common sense” will win the day. Well, not against the Republican spin machine, and not against a fearful and undereducated working class.

        • lefty 5.1.1.1

          Colonial Viper, you hit the nail on the head with the word ‘fearful’. Sometimes the poor turn on each other, or appear to embrace right wing ideas, because they are fearful and because it seems their only chance of surviving themselves is to do what the rich and powerful want them to do.

          Right wing parties thrive by creating fear and distrust among the population and rewarding those who ape their bullying and ignorance. This can be observed in many workplaces, in fact it is probably the most common management tool in use these days.

          The response of the left should not be to lose faith in the vulnerable, but to open up the possibility of not having to live in fear, by offering egalitarian economic and social policies and confronting the bullies.

          The main difference between Labour and National since the 1980’s has been Nationals proactive use of fear to drive their agenda, a tactic Labour mainly resists, rather than any major difference in the actual free market capitalist agenda.

          Nevertheless it is far more pleasant to live in a country not beset by fear.

          This is the only reason I will probably end up having to vote Labour unless a left party emerges, but it’s not really enough to free the vulnerable from their fear.

  6. I have a gripe about Pak’n Save. First their ads about keeping prices down. This does not apply with dairy as everything dairy has risen sharply and the container/packet size has shrunk.

    It is not easy to shop for one at Pak’n Save either and this probably applies to every other super market but other super markets do not brag about keeping prices down.

    In the last month Bennicks cage free eggs have disappeared (retail was $2.19 for 6 eggs) and Dairymaid 1 L of milk (retail $1. 60) has disappeared. As well some meat specials, there are consistently no smaller packets on the shelf made up). Potatoes are too expensive for even a 5 kg bag and a 10 kg bag on special does not keep over the summer.

    I am sick of all the mush on the shelves full of salt, fat, sugar or additives. Some cheap healthy products are ruined, e.g. Graigs Mixed Bean Salad 650 mg of sodium per 100 g serving in a 425 g tin.

    Some other food ads on the TV like the Mainland cheese one raise my eyebrows as aging cheese is compared to aging a red wine, this is told to a 10 year old. The ingredients required for “Food in a Minute” for some dishes is also beyond what 50 % of families can afford.

    For me it has come down to going back to preparing food from basic ingredients in order to remain as healthy as I can afford. I refuse to pay for the filler crap.

    • kriswgtn 6.1

      Pak n save are just a bunch rip offs just like woolworths

      the basic food that we buy has gone up far more than my tax cut.

      luky in that i get home kill- or else i wouldnt be able to afford meat

      i wanna know why is beef and lamb that is produced here- cheaper in fukin Australia?

      • Treetop 6.1.1

        I heard that applications for gun liciences have gone up quite a bit. Has anyone who hunts noticed it being busier out there at the weekend? Are farmers stock being targeted more?

        • Kevin Welsh 6.1.1.1

          No Treetop, I think a lot of smart people are getting prepared.

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.1

            I met a few people like this recently. They were very serious about converting their ‘lifestyle blocks” – some of which were a sizeable 10-20 ha into fully self sufficient sustainable farmlets. And they were well on the way too.

            But from what I heard it takes a huge amount of time and effort per week to actually make it work. Yep its hard work.

      • M 6.1.2

        Kris

        ‘Pak n save are just a bunch rip offs just like woolworths’

        I live in your neck of the woods and Slack and Slave are worse than Woolworths I reckon. Every Monday I go to both supermarkets and do a specials check before I finalise my shopping list. To get by on the meat front I’ll buy a $5 or $6 rump steak pack and cut it half as it’s generally the cheaper steak but buying value packs of meat requires some juggling.

        I finally went to Mr Fresh today and bought some passion fruit @ $12.99/kg and they sell for $26.99/kg at P & S and got talking to a fella in Mr Fresh. He told me to go to the Saturday morning market near Copperfield and to check out the really good specials on things like potatoes: $5 for 10 kg and $10 for 20 kg. I know a couple of other sole parents so will be asking if they want to go halves. My modest garden will be expanded as finances permit and I’m pleased my lemon and feijoas trees are starting to take off well – must add a passionfruit vine.

        Food is just so damned expensive that even my RW comfortably-off friends have started gardens.

        It takes time to try and live more cheaply all right.

    • Marty G 6.2

      interesting what you say about products disappearing. I was in a pak n save in a poorer suburb recently and there were no quality cuts of meat – just stuff for casseroles etc, no steaks for eating as themselves. That suggested to me that the prices going up and the incomes going down meant there simply was no market for them at all in this supermarket’s catchment.

      • infused 6.2.1

        Or you went later in the day when there were none there (or the weekend). They don’t cut after a certain time, and they don’t cut on Sundays pretty sure. Pack n Save meat is always the freshest as well, since they have a butcher there. Most other supermarkets do not. It’s bought down from Auckland.

        Pack n Save here is fine. We cook most stuff from the basics and I’ve got no trouble finding it. Luckily I don’t use much dairy… 1l milk will last a week, block of cheese probably 3-4. One of the good things about bodybuilding I guess.

  7. kriswgtn 7

    Key isnt the only one out of touch or spewing hate filled bile against poor people
    read this

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/news/4680088/Red-faced-over-extremist-Facebook-entry

  8. joe90 8

    With Keys comments, the Nacts attitudes, the UK benefit changes and an Arizona state legislators plans to make all welfare debit cards bright orange the war on beneficiaries has gone global.

    First-term Rep. Jeff Dial said his goal is not to stigmatize those who qualify for the aid, formally known as the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Instead, Dial told Capitol Media Services he wants to prevent fraud.
    “If that does concern people that they have a bright orange card, I hope they go get a better education or better jobs and stop using that card,” he said.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    What the Conservatives Want

    The way to understand the conservative moral system is to consider a strict father family. The father is The Decider, the ultimate moral authority in the family. His authority must not be challenged. His job is to protect the family, to support the family (by winning competitions in the marketplace), and to teach his kids right from wrong by disciplining them physically when they do wrong. The use of force is necessary and required. Only then will children develop the internal discipline to become moral beings. And only with such discipline will they be able to prosper. And what of people who are not prosperous? They don’t have discipline, and without discipline they cannot be moral, so they deserve their poverty. The good people are hence the prosperous people. Helping others takes away their discipline, and hence makes them both unable to prosper on their own and function morally.

    The market itself is seen in this way. The slogan, “Let the market decide” assumes the market itself is The Decider.

    Sounds about right and certainly makes sense of what John Key actually said.

  10. Pete 10

    I did come across a really good cookbook (PDF) published by the Ministry of Social Development when I was hunting around for recipes online once. Interestingly it recommends two glasses of milk (or other dairy servings) a day for adults and three for kids. For a family of two adults and two children, that’s between $25 and $34 on milk each week, depending on where it’s bought – about 10% of the unemployment benefit for a married or de facto couple with kids.

  11. QoT 11

    We’ve all come across beneficiaries whose spending was questionable in our own imaginations

    Fixed it for them. But I guess even when putting the boot into JK for being a heartless thug they couldn’t resist a dogwhistle to talkbackland.

  12. Tanz 12

    I never thought that Key really cared. Why would a multi-millionaire give a real toss about the poor? He will never ever be in that position again himself, and is padded from any financial woes at all, for the end of his days. But what gall he has, and such a heartless lack of empathy. Is this the beginning of the political end for Key? It’s almost as though he wants to bow out, win or lose. He is becoming loose-lipped and glib, but at least we are getting some honesty, even if its mean-streaked. Bill Gates at least has done some real good with his vast fortune, gving vast amounts away to charity, rather than hoarding it, etc.

    I believe that Key has fulfulled his goal of being PM, it’s not everything he imagined, and he is either getting bored with ir, or feeling guilty about the time spent away from his family. Something has changed, and the media for once, is picking up on it. About time. I would love to see the back of the plasticated, hollow, insubstantial and very glib Mr Key. Talk about no real character or warmth. Hope he’s enjoying that whiskey in the back of his sparkling new Beamer…shame!. And how many people suffered so that he could make his vast fortune, anyway? Always wondered that. But I guess, he’s one of many self-seeking money traders, or was. I prefer Bill English for the fact that he does not have an endless pit of money, and that he does not sit in palatial glory in tree-lined, swank Parnell. Kind of revolting, really.

    • Lanthanide 12.1

      “Bill Gates at least has done some real good with his vast fortune, gving vast amounts away to charity, rather than hoarding it, etc.”

      Bill has actually pledged to leave only a few million in inheritance for his children. The rest is being spent through his foundation. He himself doesn’t live a particularly extravagant lifestyle.

      • Tanz 12.1.1

        And good for him. Thanks for the info, A richie who gives it away, substantially. Quite unusual. (That few million will be nice for his grandchildren though…will make a world of difference for them)…sometimes it’s all about who you’re born to!

        • infused 12.1.1.1

          His TED videos are quite good.

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.2

          Although a rather large amount of his “giveaways” are to US corporates, pharma companies and white upper middle class uni researchers. He seems to favour expensive, high tech interventions to help poor countries, a lot of the time.

  13. Uncle Helen 13

    The top 10% of tax payers pay a disproportionate 78% of the total income tax take. We’re over-taxed a staggering 68%.

    Pay for your own lifestyle choices or starve.

    Next.

    • Lanthanide 13.1

      Clearly you don’t understand the purpose of a government. I suggest you go live in Somalia and re-think your position on taxation as a means to fund governance.

    • r0b 13.2

      The top 10% of tax payers pay a disproportionate 78% of the total income tax take

      A dodgy argument based on who knows what statistical manipulation (see “if Working for Families and other benefits are taken into account”).

      The richest 10% in NZ pay 44 per cent of all personal income tax. They also own almost 50% of the wealth.

      So I guess by your mind-numblingly stupid reasoning they are under-taxed by 6%.

      Pay your share for what you take out of the commons or we all starve.

      Next.

      • neoleftie 13.2.1

        “The richest 10% in NZ pay 44 per cent of all personal income tax”
        That just shows how much disproportionately wealthy the top 10% are if the pay that much in tax and still laugh at the rest of us.
        I had a boss / owner who once gave a 5cents / hours increase to a very hard working employee and laugh when the guy took it, as he had a family to support. Same Boss use to call us his ‘slaves’. After that i put myself throught vasity as a mature student and now do ok but will never ever sell out to any Tory inspire dream.

    • Graham 13.3

      You are a moron Uncle Helen.
      If the minimum wage was raised to $20 and heaps of money was thrown at education (which would help people to upskill and make better life choices), then perhaps greedy w**kers like yourself, who are being obscenely overpaid for your (probably) unethical job, may have to settle for a smaller salary. Maybe if it is reduced enough you will not be paying so much tax. Would this make you happy? I’m sure the other 90% wouldn’t shed a tear.
      You are a leech on society and deserve to be taxed hard!

    • Colonial Viper 13.4

      The wealthy pay more because they have benefitted the most from a fair minded civil society with good infrastructure and an educated hard working workforce, and because they can afford to do so while still enjoying all the luxuries of life.

      • QoT 13.4.1

        Not to mention that by helping to ensure other people have a basic standard of living and aren’t driven to crime and/or revolution by poverty, deprivation and alienation from society, the rich ensure they stay wealthy and on top.

        • Colonial Viper 13.4.1.1

          There is this thing amongst some that having more and more is never enough. Its like a switch in the brain which is fused. So some of the very rich take things to the extreme limit of wealth and inequality – even though it risks widespread poverty, mass dissatisfaction and revolution. And, as you say, them losing their place on top.

          So you’re right, it doesn’t make sense from that point of view either.

  14. Afewknowthetruth 14

    We’ve only seen the start. The decline in oil extraction that will occur over coming years (now that we are post peak oil), in combination with climate instability and unravelling of the Ponzi monetary system will see food prices double and double again. And unemployment will burgeoon.

    We are witnessing the beginning of the end for economic arrangements that have prevailed for several centuries.

    Most people ‘just don’t get it’ and think that changing the puppets on the stage will change the script.

    • neoleftie 14.1

      Those of us that care and have taken the time to think do ‘get it’ – we just need meaningful change in the marco eco system – maybe a hybrid ‘third’ or ‘new’ way approach with a dash of post-kenysian.
      Me personally i wish speculative investment to be governed by the state, regulated and controlled as part of the economic system. ‘Ponzi’ speculation outside any regulatory laws simple causes to much uncertainty and fluctuations in the system

    • Colonial Viper 14.2

      I’m not seeing the investment in public transport and localised infrastructure that we need in order to maintain a decent post-peak oil standard of living. We also have to get off our addiction to private debt as much as anything else.

      And yes too many people still don’t get it, which limits what central Government can do or say (if they in fact wanted to). Its very concerning.

      • neoleftie 14.2.1

        hmmmm surely some private debt is ok like housing, the issue is where the borrowed orginated from – we dont save enought as a nation to balance out the flow of oversea money flooding due to the high interest rates, that is another story…

        • Colonial Viper 14.2.1.1

          Yes some private debt will always be useful esp for a large item like housing. However, the level of debt taken on should make sense when compared to the rental income that the house could conceivably bring in, in order to avoid the generation of a speculative debt fuelled asset bubble.

          e.g. where a house bought for $200K can sell for $250K a year later just because a bank is willing to lend out a $250K mortgage to the new owner. And that same house sells for $300K another year later because the bank is willing to lend out a new $300K mortgage. And then it sells for $400K a year after that because a bank is willing to lend out a $400K mortgage, etc.

          This kind of asset price bubble would be stopped in its tracks if mortgage repayments on a house were required to be fully or mostly covered by the likely rental value of the house.

    • johm 14.3

      Hi afewknowthetruth. Yes The World is in dire economic and social straits. The U$ is collapsing. The Euro zone is moving to austerity.The Middle east is in social turmoil. Thailand has had its red shirts who will return. the optimism which came with year on year growth has gone. there is a sense we reached the end of the party: we have too many people to feed and employ, energy gets more and more expensive along with food ,wages are stagnant,the rich vs others divide gets wider,Climate Change is increasing:we have used up Planet Earth and have no where else to expand to. It has taken 10,000 years to get here with the agricultural revolution and then the fossil energy revolution,now we are heading down the backslope and we have no plan on how to cooperate and cope with the great transition now underway!

  15. dad4justice 15

    A yes a class war is needed. The struggling kiwi living in poverty should smack the greedy gummint socialist scum! Simple really. Johnny got lots of new BMW motors. FFS!

  16. gnomic 16

    How many times do I have to explain this? Shonkey is a cowardly amoral weasel (CAW). He can’t give an opinion on anything until he has heard what the focus groups think and had his briefing from CT. Near as I can tell he’s not even all that bright. And what’s that with the mincing? He needs help. Too bad he apparently answers some need in the psyche of the everidge NooZilluner. And that’s a scary thought.

    As for Bill Gates leading a modest lifestyle – you are having a laugh – er please tell me you are joshing? Maybe you should inspect the plans and specs for his principal residence, not to mention the lesser homes I feel sure he must enjoy without having looked into the matter. And how odd it is that much of his philanthropy seems to accrue some benefit to the corporation he once directed. I thought maybe you were saying he doesn’t even have a super yacht but two seconds searching the web brings up this: – http://bink.nu/news/bill-gates-orders-super-yacht-in-the-netherlands.aspx

    • Lanthanide 16.1

      I didn’t say he lived a modest life, I said doesn’t live a “particularly extravagant lifestyle”, which is quite different.

      His home is really quite large and a lot bigger and more flashy than I expected. But he’s lived in it since 1995, and I haven’t seen any indication that he owns additional houses after that (probably 1 holiday home is to be expected at least, though).

      • Bright Red 16.1.1

        two holiday homes – one up North of Auckland (at the end of the Holiday Highway) in Omaha on ‘Success Court’, the other in Hawaii. Plus an office in Auckland, an apartment in Wellington and an apartment in London.

        It’s about $10 million worth of real estate in NZ alone, apparently.

      • Colonial Viper 16.1.2

        I didn’t say he lived a modest life, I said doesn’t live a “particularly extravagant lifestyle”, which is quite different.

        Lanth all you are pointing out is that people don’t need that much to live in luxury. Which is what pisses me off when guys like Key award themselves $1K p.w. tax cuts. To do what the frak exactly with?

        These kinds of people don’t know the meaning of “enough luxury”. Its always about “more, more, more”. The third European car, the second boat, the fourth house, another holiday to the Northern hemisphere. While NZ kids go hungry and their parents end up hugely distressed trying to find $100 to buy food for the week.

        And the Born to Rule are willing to frak the rest of us over to get what they want.

  17. randal 17

    so what time does the great punkin arrive with the goody bag?

  18. O2B 18

    The arrogance of Key and his contempt of the less well-off astounds me.

    How can he say that these desperate people going to food banks to feed their families make poor choices yet only yesterday he bailed out SCF investors to the tune of $1.7 billion? What about those poor choices? Not only did he gave them their money back after a poor choice in investment, but he paid them interest as well.

    The blatant double-standards of this government and its carpet-bagging leader will leave a stain on our society. Key is fast becoming our worst Prime Minister in living memory.

    Captcha: elections. Go the left in November!

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