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Poverty a National disgrace

Written By: - Date published: 7:12 am, September 10th, 2014 - 82 comments
Categories: accountability, john key, national, poverty - Tags: , ,

Yesterday the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) launched a major publication and a call for action:

No New Zealand child should grow up in poverty, says CPAG

No New Zealand child should grow up in poverty. As a society we could choose to make this a reality, says Child Poverty Action Group.

Child Poverty Action Group’s flagship policy publication Our Children, Our Choice: Priorities for Policy, launched today, calls for cross party political agreement to underpin an action plan to eliminate child poverty in New Zealand.

While the 2013 figures show a small improvement on some measures of child poverty, there are still 30,000 more children than previously thought living under the lowest 50% poverty line. The depth of child poverty has been seriously unrecognised, in particular the 205,000 children below the 50% poverty line who are likely to experience severe hardship.

Childhood poverty has lifelong consequences on health, education, and social and economic participation. CPAG believes child poverty is a moral and ethical issue, and any real and sustained change to our unacceptable child poverty rates must be underpinned by a cross-party agreement.

So where do the parties stand? Unicef has a handy summary:

Election 2014: What the parties say about child poverty

Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First are all committed to developing and implementing a comprehensive plan to address poverty, supported by appropriate law.

National, the Maori Party and United Future do not support a strategic plan, although they are committed to policies that improve living standards – primarily through paid work.

Given the rise of the working poor, the right wing parties are effectively saying they have no answers. Key in fact goes further than that:

John Key confident Govt’s done all it can on child poverty

… However Prime Minister John Key says he’s confident his government has done everything it can. …

The statistics say otherwise, and it’s a National disgrace. Key’s “poster child” for the “underclass” (2008), now grown up and speaking her mind, also begs to differ:

Aroha of McGehan Close flees NZ

Once she was the poster girl of John Key’s rise to power. Now, the girl from McGehan Close says she would never vote for National and has no plans to return home from Australia.

As a young woman in Auckland, she says, there were no houses, no jobs, no hope: “There was nothing left in New Zealand.”

This is a dangerous story for Key – it highlights his personal hypocrisy and inaction. (You can tell it’s a dangerous story, because up pops the faux outrage of Dirty Politics Farrar (DPF) – “Recycling a three year old story to attack the PM“. Attacking the PM – quelle horreur! – but not a word in that post about, you know, the issue.) Nor is it just Aroha alone:

Community back Aroha

After six years in government residents of the McGehan Close said National had not made the changes it promised.

John Key has had six years to turn things around for a community he labelled a “dead end” during his rise to power but residents of Mt Albert’s McGehan Close say National’s promises haven’t amounted to much. …

Tamaloto said National made promises but did not follow through. The community was frustrated the government had not put in a new children’s playground like it promised, she said. … A lot of people in the area were struggling and it did not seem like National was doing anything to help, Tamaloto said …

Advocacy groups are calling for action. People are marching for action. The parties of the left are ready to take action. Only National stands in the way.

82 comments on “Poverty a National disgrace ”

  1. Molly 1

    And don’t forget the recent direct quote from the Sydney Morning Herald(?) – across the ditch:

    “Our opponents say more children are living in poverty than when we came into office,” Key tells me. “And that’s probably right.”

  2. riffer 2

    And another interesting quote RNZ running of the PM stating that poverty levels were apparently worse at the start of Labour’s last term.

    I would have thought that was shooting himself in the foot, as the start of Labour’s last term came at the end of National’s last term.

  3. mickysavage 3

    National’s promised tax cuts show where their priorities. It seems to me they are embarrassed to release any detail because it will show that the wealthy will get the benefit.

    Why not apply the money to school breakfasts and a few other policies that will benefit the poor?

  4. Gosman 4

    Relative poverty levels were higher in the mid 90 ‘ s. Labour’s policies from 1999 to 2008 barely impacted them as has National ‘ s. Also if is highly likely that there were more people in relative poverty at the end of Labour’s term in government than at the start as it is a proportionate figure and the population would have increased significantly.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      Almost as though the economic model doesn’t work and we need a change.

      What was the level of child poverty in the 1970s, say?

      • Gosman 4.1.1

        Depends on what part of the 70′ s you are looking at. Noone is denying relative poverty levels haven’t risen from the mid 80 ‘ s (as they have in every western nation including places like Sweden). However the question is what level is acceptable if you have a vibrant economy with strong income mobility.

        China before the reforms starting in 79 would have had very low levels of relative poverty but masses of absolute poverty. Now 600 million people have moved out of absolute poverty but more people are in relative poverty. The question is whether that is a problem or not. The Chinese probably don’t think so given the economic gains they have made as a whole.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.1

          If I can just drag your attention back to New Zealand for a moment, the problem is worse now than it was in 2008, meanwhile, profits have increased as has the value of the economy.

          Hager shows how fucked the political model is under National, The Lancet et al show how fucked the economic model is.

          Time for a change. The Market experiment has comprehensively failed, and since children died while you fiddled, think yourselves lucky to avoid jail.

        • Tracey 4.1.1.2

          The Chinese people in poverty or the ones not in poverty.

        • CrashCart 4.1.1.3

          “However the question is what level is acceptable if you have a vibrant economy with strong income mobility”
          That is an easy one Gosman. 0%. If we don’t have a system that is designed to try and provided everyone with a stable and healthy life then we have the wrong system. All people have that right. There is more than enough money in our economy to make it happen. Greed and teh excesive accumulation of wealth are teh primary reasons that we can’t fix it.

          • Tracey 4.1.1.3.1

            Gosman will be along shortly to tell you what another group of peole think

          • Gosman 4.1.1.3.2

            Given relative poverty is a factor of inequality between the bottom and middle income earners it is unlikely and also probably inadvisable to get 0 % poverty.

        • Puddleglum 4.1.1.4

          In the early 1970s there was, in effect, no-one in absolute poverty in New Zealand and many fewer than today in relative poverty.

          That means that the reforms of the 1980s could not have been primarily a ‘fix’ for absolute poverty or relative poverty (as you claim happened in China). The evidence is that we now have tens of thousands of families in severe hardship/poverty and a much larger percentage of the population in relative poverty than we did in the 1970s.

          ‘Vibrant’ economies mean little if large numbers of people are excluded from the possibility of living simple, human lives in a way that is sustainable and without extreme hardship.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.4.1

            ‘Vibrant’ economies mean little if large numbers of people are excluded from the possibility of living simple, human lives in a way that is sustainable and without extreme hardship.

            We need to stop calling an economy vibrant when it has any poverty as it obviously isn’t. In fact, I think the correct term for such an economy would be moribund.

    • Tracey 4.2

      So does that mean John Key was lying or not…

  5. Olwyn 5

    I have mentioned this before, but someone who has recently been working in Spain and Italy has said that the poverty and despair here are far worse than in those countries, which are officially under austerity. Moreover, the Sisters of Mercy working in Wiri say that the level of poverty in South Auckland is currently much worse than it was under “the mother of all budgets.”

    http://www.nzcatholic.org.nz/2014/09/09/children%E2%80%99s-suffering-worse-say-sisters/

    I cannot help but fear that a large section of the middle class are in a Faustian pact with John Key: that they think his friendship with Wall Street and his willingness to abandon the bottom third of the population serves to keep general austerity, which might effect them, at bay. And any qualms they may have about this state of affairs are ameliorated by soothing noises and talk of minor adjustments coming from him or Bennett.

    The only way to change things is to establish a modest level of well being and housing security as a human right – as a “must do” rather than a “nice to have.”

    • Tracey 5.1

      The Sisters, like the Salvation Army probably “needs to get out a bit more” as the PM once said

      It is possible the majority of Nat voters believe the myth that if they work hard enough they will get into the 1% and they have swallowed that John Key is smirking toward that.

      I suspect the truth is they are the donkey that Key is riding, with the dangling carrot visible but always out of reach. “nearly there, nearly there.”

      • just saying 5.1.1

        The Sisters, like the Salvation Army probably “needs to get out a bit more” as the PM once said

        What – the agencies working at the coal face of poverty “need to get out more”?

        Would living in a comfy suburb, with a few flash meals now and then help them get a bit of perspective on poverty, Tracey? Maybe a holiday on the Gold Coast would help?

        I agree with Olwyn, the biggest thing standing in the way of ending poverty is that those who are comfortable aren’t prepared to share a bit more. And those who are doing okay, but aren’t currently well-off, have expectations and side with the comfortable.

      • Olwyn 5.1.2

        It is possible the majority of Nat voters believe the myth that if they work hard enough they will get into the 1%…

        That is no doubt partly right, but doesn’t explain Key’s almost undiminished support after the revelations in Dirty Politics, assuming that there is at least some level of correlation between the polls and reality.

        • Tracey 5.1.2.1

          It does if people leave their ethics at the door when they think they can get more money

          • shorts 5.1.2.1.1

            I’m pretty sure those who are “working” to be part of the one percent are doing their best not to work hard – its wealth without work that these people desire…. and those that attain it get all the support key can push their way

  6. L'enfant Terrible 6

    Riffer, I heard that comment on RNZ to:

    “PM stating that poverty levels were apparently worse at the start of Labour’s last term.”

    Also he stated that a single mum with one child would be better of working for the equivalent of $100 more a week on minimum wage than being on benefit.

    So what does that mean:

    1. You still cant live on the minimum wage, so your stuffed
    2. You will have to pay for child care, so your stuffed
    3. You will be working for someone who is going to make a profit out of you, so your stuffed.
    4. Dont have babies, because your poor, so your stuffed.
    5. Dont hang out with your child because we want poorly paid and under qualified staff to imprint there poverty onto your child, so your stuffed.

    RNZ has been compromised…… there are a few good interviewers left but I suspect its the person or people behind the scenes that are scripting the news (the former head of news postion…. its all about timing and sound bites now).

  7. Gosman 8

    The point here is the left don’t really want a proper discussion of poverty. The whole poverty debate is merely a means to promote left wing policies. If you want a proper grown up debate about the issue then you need to address a range if topics rather than blunt measures which have little practical meaning without context but carry a lot of emotive weight. If you want a debate decided on emotion it is little wonder that the other side isn’t interested in engaging with you.

    • Tracey 8.1

      My god you know what the chinese think, what the left think…

      FOG

      • Gosman 8.1.1

        If you want a proper debate then discuss the issues surrounding the topic from all sides instead from a narrow focus.

    • karol 8.2

      What Rachel Smalley says:

      I’m in two minds whether to talk about this because it polarises people. You either get it and accept that it’s happening, or you are a denier and you wash your hands of the whole issue. To my mind, it is the issue of our time.

      I spent some time with an economist recently. A senior, very well respected economist. He said it doesn’t matter how strong our economy is, it doesn’t matter where interest rates go, or what our housing market does, or who’s in government. He said the greatest crisis facing this country right now is poverty.
      […]
      So how do we fix it? He said we need to invest a billion dollars a year to lift the poor out of the poverty trap. And he said we need a grand visionary, a leader who can make us realise just how important an issue this is.
      […]
      The question is who will be the great leader who will help lift great swatches of our society out of poverty? Will they be brave? Will they be brave enough to look beyond one political term and address what surely has become the crisis of our time?

      • Tracey 8.2.1

        So far, the only person constantly bringing the conversation back to the the children at every opportunity is Hone. The Greens also strongly focused, but Hone seems to have made it his lifes work.

        • karol 8.2.1.1

          Metiria Turei has made it her main focus.

          • Tracey 8.2.1.1.1

            For example at the dinner with campbell, the section I saw, Hone was very clear, Metiria also mentioned it. I worry that Kelvin Davis will win his seat. I have misgivings about Davis given some of his actions in recent times.

          • Lefty 8.2.1.1.2

            Yes it is Metiria’s main focus and she is genuine in her commitment.

            The problem is that like many of the Labour Party caucus in the 1980s she is not taking her party’s commitment to free market economics into account.

            The central myth that Roger Douglas promoted was that the free market would take people out of poverty. According to him all you had to do is get rid of government debt, free up markets and create a great business environment and the rest would take care of itself. He even felt comfortable in giving large pay increases in the public sector (I remember 20.12% one year) because he knew that laying off hundreds of thousands of workers (for their own good) would totally undercut any stimulation it provided to the economy.

            Basically he was going around saying he was committed to the poor while making sure he was looking after the rich through his policies.

            Most people rubbished me when I first pointed out that this was nonsense and could only do harm.

            I am sure many would like to think I am talking nonsense when I say that Russel comes out of the same mould with his obsession that paying down debt and market driven green capitalist growth will magically fix the problems of unequal distribution and mindless growth that underpin capitalism.

            I am equally sure I will prove to be correct again if Russel ever gets into a position to carry out his policies.

            • Tracey 8.2.1.1.2.1

              My point, obviously poorly made is that Hone appears to ONLY want to talk about child poverty, so single minded is his focus on it. Good for him is what I was saying. I wasnt attacking the Greens

      • Enough is Enough 8.2.2

        Certainly neither of the two men attending the leaders debate tonight have it as their main priority.

        They are arguing about things that matter to the rich.

    • framu 8.3

      so that explains why key is running “work will set you free” then aye?

      cause thats totally engaging with the issue of people with jobs as well as the unemployed not being able to make ends meet

      stick your sanctimonious assumptions and faux concern somewhere else

    • trickledrown 8.4

      John Key is a shining example of what left wing policy can do.
      We johnys mum got a state house widows pension child benefit!
      Johnny got a free education including a free University degree!
      Now John Key is pulling the ladder up!
      Now Bullying poor people into submission and not giving them the same chances is the right wings policies!
      Gosmam your Bullying reflects the rights attitude its all mine society doesn’t exist!
      bugger everyone else but where would john key be today if he had to rely on welfare like he did in the past he would be queuing up at a food bank not a vulture capitalist bank!

  8. karol 9

    Labour’s Social Development policy. Is this new?

    Sue Bradford tweeted that it is “underwhelming”.

    I need more time to look at the finer print. I am pleased to see it addressing some of the crucial aspects of social security.

    I guess things like state housing – it says investment in it, but is a bit vague.

    Labour will:
    ensure that the Code of Client’s Rights is implemented at Work and Income offices.

    […]
    Labour will:
    lift the abatement-free thresholds for all main benefits to $150 per week.
    […]
    Labour will:
    ensure that the Supported Living Payment for those permanently and severely
    restricted in their ability to work because of a health condition, injury or impairment is paid at a higher level than short term benefits, and that the Disability Allowance is available to meet direct additional costs.
    ensure people with chronic illness and congenital conditions are not relentlessly
    required to prove their incapacity.

    […]
    Labour will:
    recognise voluntary work with a non-government organisation as providing a service to the community because without the voluntary sector, much work would not be done in New Zealand; voluntary work is also a pathway for many to paid employment work with the community and voluntary sector to recognise and support those doing voluntary work in the community.

    […]
    Labour will:
    introduce a Child Poverty Reduction and Eradication Act to drive the crossdepartmental work set out above, and establish measurements and targets for the reduction of child poverty and its effects across housing, health, education and social development
    introduce Child Impact Assessments, so that all legislation is examined and assessed for its impact on children before being introduced.

    […]
    Labour will:
    partner with community and voluntary organisations, incorporating the most costeffective approaches currently operating, to provide free food in every decile 1-3 primary and intermediate school that needs and wants it continue to support innovative, evidence-based child development programmes such as the Brainwave Trust model, and find ways to integrate these programs into school contexts.

    recognise and support the role of schools as community hubs, including by actively encouraging the co-location of other social services on school sites, such as health services and programmes that support parents

    […]
    Labour will:
    retain income related rents in state houses and continue to invest in the acquisition and maintenance of state houses introduce a healthy homes guarantee so that every rental home in New Zealand is a healthy home that meets minimum standards of insulation and efficient heating.

    The Social Development policy is 21 pages, so a lot to consider.

    • Tracey 9.1

      I am very please by this:

      ” :
      ensure that the Supported Living Payment for those permanently and severely
      restricted in their ability to work because of a health condition, injury or impairment is paid at a higher level than short term benefits, and that the Disability Allowance is available to meet direct additional costs.
      ensure people with chronic illness and congenital conditions are not relentlessly
      required to prove their incapacity. ”

      This is a group that deserves more money to enable them to have a go at life rather than meagre survival.

      • karol 9.1.1

        Bradford’s criticism is that:

        Labour’s welfare policy underwhelming. To be meaningful, repeal of Nats’ reforms, increase in benefits essential.

        I am pleased Labour is addressing social security matters. It will need Greens, Mana, and the likes of Sue Bradford to keep holding Labour to account to introduce meaningful and lasting reforms.

      • Augustus 9.1.2

        It’s very pleasing, if one can access the Supported Living Payment. That’s by no means guaranteed under the current system of deliberate disentitlement, Upon application for such, Work and Income gives you an instant diagnosis across the counter, whereby it is decided whether you are genuinely deserving or whether there is reason to believe that you are trying to rort the system.

        Not a word about getting rid of this particular piece of degradation, both to the applicant and the original doctor. Labour, of course, has no intention of doing so, therefore if you are planning on developing a serious health condition (as we all do), don’t vote for them.

    • crocodill 9.2

      “Labour will:
      recognise voluntary work with a non-government organisation as providing a service to the community because without the voluntary sector, much work would not be done in New Zealand; voluntary work is also a pathway for many to paid employment work with the community and voluntary sector to recognise and support those doing voluntary work in the community.

      partner with community and voluntary organisations, incorporating the most costeffective approaches currently operating, to provide free food in every decile 1-3 primary and intermediate school that needs and wants it continue to support innovative, evidence-based child development programmes such as the Brainwave Trust model, and find ways to integrate these programs into school contexts.”

      Oh god no, please no, not privatised welfare. If any one still had doubts, I just don’t trust Labour and never will again. Lefty up the page says it clearly, Enough is Enough – down this page – says it clearly. Labour, your time is up, your legitimacy is gone, your promises turned out to be destructive or delayed for profit.

      Don’t get me started on “voluntary work is also a pathway for many to paid employment”…

      • Tracey 9.2.1

        Labour, the Right’s best ally

      • Puddleglum 9.2.2

        From the policy statement (linked to by karol), it says this about voluntary work:

        For some people, voluntary work is a pathway back to paid employment. For others, where the prospect of paid work proves impossible, voluntary work is an important way to participate in the community and make a contribution.

        Labour will:
        recognise voluntary work with a non-government organisation as providing a service to the community because without the voluntary sector, much work would not be done in New Zealand; voluntary work is also a pathway for many to paid employment

        work with the community and voluntary sector to recognise and support those doing voluntary work in the community.

        Perhaps I’m being too generous, but I read that as meaning that people on benefits who do volunteer work will be deemed to be as ‘productive’ as those in paid employment and so will be fulfilling ‘work seeking’ requirements.

        Perhaps I’m wrong – it is a bit ambiguous/unclear.

        • just saying 9.2.2.1

          WINZ is already demanding 20 hours per week NGO volunteer work from some beneficiaries in return for statutory entitlements.

          I wish I felt as trusting of Labour’s intentions here as you, Puddleglum. I feel this direction is not as benign as they’d have us believe, and it is the path that both the main parties are taking in a deliberate fashion.

  9. heather 10

    There are so many aspects to the disgrace of child poverty.
    I just heard Key on the radio dismissing this report in a very casual manner – he said ‘ it’s no more or no less, than when Labour was in power last’.
    We all know that is not true. His arrogance is disgusting to me. A whole generation of children will suffer as a result of this disgrace.

  10. Enough is Enough 11

    This is the result of policies implemented and maintained by successive National and Labour governments. Our society has been a disgrace since 1984.

    You have the chance to reverse the changes.

    A strong Green party in the next left government is the only way of guaranteeing Labour will act against poverty and not pander to Parker/business interests.

    Party Vote Green.

  11. Weepus beard 12

    Leighton Smith on the wireless just now proposing that people must be married before having children.

    What a waste of oxygen that man is.

    • karol 12.1

      Good luck with that one, Leighton. Never actually worked when it was the dominant public attitude – all those kids brought up as though they were children of their grandparents, children adopted out under cover of secrecy, back street abortions, etc, etc….

    • Hami Shearlie 12.2

      An Australian import far more damaging to NZ than possums – dear old Leighton – a snore-fest to be had every weekday between 8.30 am and mid-day!

    • greywarbler 12.3

      @Weepusb 10.39
      To-wit, to-woo (waste of oxygen). The wise old owl would say that if he ever heard Leighton Smith, and the wit is dodgy too.

      Leighton is so convenient, talking in a confident way about everything, filling in the mortar between the shaky bricks of people’s understanding. Having him means you don’t bother to find out, think for yourself, just listen to your daily cup of comfort that other people are as annoyed and angry as you that the world doesn’t conform to specifications of the model seat with extras, that listeners want to sit in.

    • aerobubble 12.4

      I never got that. Why idiots believe they could stop people breeding. And then to argue that their taxes are more important than people having children. Its astonishing that anyone would just say outright, that the poor (or whoever), should not breed. Its like saying there is a untouchable class that should disappear in a generation. What a loon.

      We’ve had thirty years of focusing government on growing the financial sector, and government in the western sphere have seen growing disparity as a result. This undermines their economy, the stability, and creates a huge vacuum for stupid loons to start up nonsense, like they should not breed, listen-to-me types, who want just to perpetuate the present political idiom, neo-liberalism (and appeal to the gay vote).

      GFC was a signal, a market failure due to the manager class concentrating on finance rather than the economy. We have the largest financial sector as a proportion of our economy, no wonder, its so hard to get any moderating policies to reduce their excesses.

  12. Sable 13

    National and their sack of shit mates in the mainstream media are the problem and until that’s acknowledged there is little hope of real change.

  13. Ad 14

    +1000 Anthony.
    CPAG are heroes.

  14. Child Poverty Action Group … calls for cross party political agreement to underpin an action plan to eliminate child poverty in New Zealand.

    As with Doug Sellman’s stuff, I find this lobby group’s output too mendacious to be bothered reading it. Apart from calling for action, do they offer any thoughts on what action the government could take to reduce the number of children being raised by sole parents or on benefits? Calling for action’s a lot easier than coming up with actions it would be feasible to take.

    • greywarbler 15.1

      @ Psycho Milt 15
      How dare you call the Child Poverty Action Group’s report mendacious. They assemble the facts and try to get the important message through to the wilfully, determinedly ignorant.
      It is you that is mendacious.

      You pretend that you come on this blog to write something intelligent and thoughtful that will add to the discourse. You object is to sneer at the people who are suffering from the bad economic moves made over the past 30 years. Obviously you are one of those who has not suffered, and care naught for those disadvantaged. Oh what can be done. There is nothing that can be done because if it was done, you would have less and that cannot be allowed to happen.

      • Psycho Milt 15.1.1

        How dare you call the Child Poverty Action Group’s report mendacious.

        I dare because there are professional social scientists involved, so it seems safe to assume the errors are deliberate.

        • greywarbler 15.1.1.1

          @ PsychpMilt
          Okay I suppose you have taken these up with them and not using the errors as an excuse for bad mouthing good people. If so you are one psycho all right.

          • Psycho Milt 15.1.1.1.1

            Define “good” people. My definition wouldn’t include social scientists who start out with a policy they’d like to see implemented and then panelbeat all their research results into something that supports that policy.

  15. Draco T Bastard 16

    Given the rise of the working poor, the right wing parties are effectively saying they have no answers.

    They’re not saying that at all. What they’re saying is that child poverty is fine with them. In fact, John Key said that when he said that they’ve done all they could while poverty increased.

    Only National stands in the way.

    National will always stand in the way as they want poverty. It is poverty that allows a few to become rich from other peoples work.

    • Enough is Enough 16.1

      I think a lot of people misunderstand what the Nats are about and perceive them as failures.

      The fact is they are a spectacular success.

      Their reason for being is to transfer wealth from the public to a lucky select few. Everything that they do has the sole purpose of achieving that outcome.

      Poverty is part of what they are about. If there was equality and no poverty they would have failed.

  16. Halcyon 17

    There are two causes of poverty. Where the income received is not adequate to cover the costs incurred in living. I certainly support additional assistance in such cases.

    The second, and lesser reason is not being able to manage the income received adequately. There are those who, for various reasons, can not manage their money. Regardless of the level of income their children will always be in the “poverty” category. With such families I would suggest that there needs to be an involvement by a community agency in controlling the income until the parents can demonstrate the ability to do so. While I realise this will idea may seem intrusive and country to individual rights, I would suggest that ensuring the needs of the children is uppermost.

    • karol 17.1

      Beneficiaries are already required to get budgetary advice. It often seems to be used as another hurdle for them to go through to get any help. Most people will try to live within their budgets, however much that is. I think the ones who are incapable of doing that will be pretty few in number. Thus a red herring.

  17. Halcyon 18

    Unfortunately Karol, I disagree. It is not a red herring but a reality. After 20 years of working in the community I have come across a good number of examples.

    I acknowledge that the majority of those below the poverty line do not receive adequate income and I support that being increased. But my call is that we need to acknowledge that increasing payments will not solve all problems. Our attempt to stamp out child poverty needs several approaches. Where there is evidence of financial mismanagement then there needs to be intervention otherwise we will not totally eliminate child poverty.

  18. unsol 19

    “No New Zealand child should grow up in poverty” is the only accurate statement CPAG has ever made.

    Irrespective of who they vote for, no one in NZ wants to see children mistreated by being allowed to go to school hungry, sleeping on urine stained mattresses in overcrowded damp houses & having inadequate.

    No one except the negligent egg and sperm donors who allow it.

    No argues that low income find things tough – this has never changed as being at the bottom of the income table as always been tough. Yet more children are hungry now than they were 50 years ago and sorry, but the National government is not to blame.

    We pay more in welfare than we have ever before so lack of welfare support is not the issue.

    If you want to see where the blame should lie go around to these low income house with empty fridges & empty lunch boxes & have a look in their rubbish bins.

    Go into your local WINZ office & see how many struggling people pull a smart phone out of their pocket.

    Volunteer with your local ambulance, victim support or go on scope with local police & see how many struggling families have mattresses on the floor but the biggest flat screen you have ever seen in the corner of the lounge.

    See how many booze bottles & ciggy packets are in the in the rubbish.

    I have worked with low income families & most are awesome. They are always able to put food on the table. Yes they struggle & no it’s not fancy, but it keeps the kids nourished. I have also seen first hand why some fridges are empty & why they struggle at school. It is incredibly devastating & heart-wrenching & just mind boggling that anyone can treat their child so badly. Especially when you end up going back to the same family week after week for the same reasons.

    So I say those who try & say poverty is the reason why kids are going to school hungry are insulting the many awesome parents who are doing it super tough, but still fulfilling their obligations as good parents – food, shelter & clothing.

    I remember seeing a woman on Campbell Live last year – solo mum of 6. When questioned why she had sky when she was struggling to feed her kids & couldn’t afford the bus ride into town to do a course that could get her off the benefit, she said it was “only $15 per week”.

    A bit like those people interviewed about the Nat’s tax cut policy – who clearly didnt have 2 beans to rub together – stating that it was “only $10 per week so what’s the point”.

    My family income is such that it means a comfortable life yet in our family $5 per week, $500 per year or $1500 per year is a heap of money.

    You know why? Because we work hard for every single dollar we earn & we have never ever taken any dollar for granted; exemplified by the fact that we were one of the last to get a flat screen TV – and a small one at that – and one of the last to join the smartphone age……initially just free 3G one the most basic of plans.

    Even when on crap wages at uni & post uni when we were starting out in our 20s we always lived within our means – and it was tough, but you soon learned that the only way to survive & make ends meet was to live frugally. And that included not getting pregnant when we could not afford it.

    Yes absolutely there is plenty of argument around real wages not matching the real cost of living and yes absolutely those at the top of the food chain have a lot to answer for in terms of their exorbitant pay increases while those at the bottom barely kept up with inflation.

    But to blame it on the Nats and to say that it somehow justifies child poverty – which is not the same as family poverty – in NZ & the negligent parenting of those who are failing to take the best care of their kids that they can, is incorrect & indicative of propaganda being pushed over a genuine desire to see change.

    This issue has been bubbling for decades & is the result of a the culture of entitlement prevalent in this country growing (exacerbated by the consumer age where there is just so much to want & the credit age which has encouraged people to live well beyond their means) & clashing with many years of poor govt policy that has lacked foresight & direction.

    If anyone on here is sincere about eliminating child poverty then you must be prepared to accept support has to be accompanied by accountability.

    If you are struggling to feed one child you have no business having any more.

    And if you are low income you have no business buying anything but the basic necessities in life. That is how people survived 50 years ago & that is how you can survive now.

    Whilst I know most of you will disagree to the death with me on this, I am saying this because I have faith that some of you will see some merit at least in what I’m saying.

  19. Big Blue Al 20

    Well said, Unsol – why should a Government (ANY government) be held accountable for the actions of parents and caregivers who refuse to “put their children first”.
    Apparently we have record numbers of children in poverty, and at the same time we are undergoing the worst obesity epidemic in NZ history. Presumably, therefore, the children in poverty are NOT related in any way to those suffering obesity? Sounds like a Tui ad to me. What REALLY makes me confused is that apparently this epidemic of child poverty only began when National won Government 6 years ago? This MUST be the case, as Labour were in power for 9 years prior to that and (OF COURSE) eliminated child poverty. Regretably we now have a well established core within our populace who refuse to take responsibility for anything, while at the same time have a “right” to anything they want, so therefore the government must give it to them. At Unsol says, no personal responsibility. As the old saying goes, if you give a man a fish he can feed his family for a day. If you teach him to fish he can feed his family every day.

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