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Poverty is too difficult in Key’s New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 8:59 am, October 17th, 2016 - 47 comments
Categories: john key, national, poverty - Tags: , , ,

The most stunning headline of the last month – Government won’t commit to a poverty target because it’s too ‘difficult’ – John Key. Read it and weep.

Does Key not believe that poverty is a problem in NZ, or does he believe it and just not care?

You can make a case for the former. When Key talks of interactions with ordinary Kiwis his example is the Koru lounge. In today’s news it turns out that Key spends much more time in high decile schools and areas than in low.

No. While he may have little to no personal experience, it simply isn’t possible that Key doesn’t know the depths of the poverty crisis in this country. After all, he used to bang on about “the underclass” and McGehan Close.

Truth is that early on in his government Key gave up on poverty. Now he has to deny and evade the issue, because his policies are making it worse not better.

47 comments on “Poverty is too difficult in Key’s New Zealand ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Does Key not believe that poverty is a problem in NZ, or does he believe it and just not care?

    It’s more that he understands that without poor people to exploit you can’t have rich people.

    Now he has to deny and evade the issue, because his policies are making it worse not better.

    Working exactly as planned then. Look at all the policies that this government have introduced and it becomes obvious that it’s all about making the majority of people desperate so that they will work for less and making them powerless so that they can’t do anything about it.

    • Whispering Kate 1.1

      I think that double Dipton has worked out that it is cheaper to import labour and pay them slave rates and to dole out unemployment to kiwis in lieu of paying them a living wage and introducing higher incomes for New Zealanders. Ideology is smeared all over this Government’s policies – contempt for the poor, children, sick and contempt for the unemployed. They would rather eat rats than give all New Zealanders a living wage.

    • roy cartland 1.2

      It’s not that he actually wants people in poverty – wanting things for other people, even bad things, literally does not, cannot, make sense to people like him – but to advance his own selfish agenda he sees it as necessary.

      And if they don’t like it, what does that have to do with him? He’s only the PM; he’s been very consistent on being above all this ‘politics’ carry-on.

      • Chris 1.2.1

        “but to advance his own selfish agenda he sees it as necessary.”

        Yes, it’s all very necessary for the neo-liberal agenda. That’s not going to change. What I’m looking forward to seeing are the specifics of what the opposition parties come up with to address poverty. We’ve seen almost nothing concrete over the last 7 elections, just broad platitudes. Will be interesting to see if the levels poverty’s now at, as shown by recent events like people sleeping in cars, will make any difference.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Yes, it’s all very necessary for the neo-liberal agenda. That’s not going to change. What I’m looking forward to seeing are the specifics of what the opposition parties come up with to address poverty.

          As long as they support capitalism then they actually can’t come up with anything to address poverty as capitalism requires poverty.

          After 5000 years of capitalism consistently failing for the same reasons you’d think we’d learn that particular fact. Can’t force people to work to make others richer if you can’t withhold the necessities of life from them.

  2. Keith 2

    Truth is he nor National ever gave a shit about poverty, proven by the fact their policies have worsened it.

    The McGehan Close stunt, complete with Key wearing that ordinary Kiwi bloke T-shirt was a great (or truly awful) example of how deceitful and manipulating this National government to be was.

    It would not surprise me if Housing NZ have flogged of f their properties in that street anyway for a quick buck.

    • tc 2.1

      The poor is just another political opportunity to nact.

      They’ve no interest in addressing it as its worth more politically to plunder them whilst bill along with their msm shills dog whistle up the red neck support.

      • Garibaldi 2.1.1

        Trouble is the poor can be their own worst enemies.
        Two things I think stand out amongst the working class are….

        (1) They form their opinions on clickbaits and silly one -liners eg.” He’s the Man” or “He’s a cool Dude”.
        (2) They are well trained to despise beneficiaries.
        It is so hard to show them they are not going to be millionaire self-made men. They switch off when it comes to politics – putting it in the too hard basket.
        As you say tc they are just political opportunities ripe for exploitation.

        • Draco T Bastard

          (2) They are well trained to despise beneficiaries.

          This one.

          Back when we had a government pushing full employment there was no way that you could even attack anyone for being unemployed because there simply wasn’t any and it was widely recognised that those on benefits weren’t that well off but needed the support.

          Now that he government targets 5%+ unemployment the people who should be being blamed for beneficiaries is the government but they manage to shift the blame onto those who simply don’t have a choice, the ones without the power to even fight back.

          And this government is attacking everyone on a benefit – not just those unemployed.

        • Wensleydale

          The “self-made man” myth must be perpetuated at all costs. The aspirational class must fervently believe that they too can achieve success, build wealth and gain admittance to the rarified world of the elite, if only those dirty poor people weren’t sucking their tax dollars away like a roomful of incessantly whinging Hoovers.

          By giving them someone to blame, to hate, to pour scorn and derision upon, they’re distracted from the true enemy — and that’s by design. The “American Dream” has proven to be nothing more than a cruel jape, and if anyone really believes the powers that be are willing to share, to spread the wealth, or to open the doors to their ivory towers, they’re frankly delusional. History tells us that you can’t have a moneyed aristocracy without hordes of starving paupers. They’re a necessary evil; like maggots, or mosquitos. But as long as you keep them placated with bread and circuses, toss them a new iPhone every now and then, and continue churning out shiny baubles and pointless trinkets that will “change your life” if they only consume, consume, consume — then everything trundles along rather swimmingly, and all is well in the world.

          Just ask Charlie Brooker: https://youtu.be/59OJ17raqWw

    • mosa 2.2

      Yeah dead right Keith i thought at the time it was all a stunt designed to make Key look like he had sympathy for the poor when the polices he was promoting was not going to do a bloody thing to address the issue.

      The fact he the gall to play with these people for his own selfish power grab and that of the National party is sickening and unwisely for the gullible he convinced a lot of these people to vote for him.

      Without poverty the neo lib economy he enforces cant function.
      Its modern day serfdom and slavery and is working by enriching many of his supporters.

      Helen Clarks little boats that were all meant to float have got sunk before they got out of the harbour.

      Poverty needs to be addressed but cant until we are willing to change the way the economy gives and takes away and we change the game plan, attitudes and the neo lib mindset.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1

        The fact he the gall to play with these people for his own selfish power grab and that of the National party is sickening

        It’s part and parcel of the psychopathy that is National.

        Poverty needs to be addressed but cant until we are willing to change the way the economy gives and takes away and we change the game plan, attitudes and the neo lib mindset.


        We need to drop capitalism – it simply doesn’t work and it destroys both our society and the environment.

        • Anno1701

          We need to drop capitalism – it simply doesn’t work and it destroys both our society and the environment.”


          complaining about neo-lib capitalism is like complaining about what TYPE of syphilis you have….

      • Anno1701 2.2.2

        Without poverty the neo lib economy he enforces cant function”

        poverty and inequality are endemic to capitalism full stop, no matter what the “school”

  3. Bearded Git 3

    I can’t believe Kim Hill didn’t ask Key this morning in MR something like:

    “Why in the 8 years you have been in power have you sold off state houses rather than adding to the stock of state houses. Hasn’t this exacerbated the housing crisis and levels of poverty in the country?”

    Instead she confronted him with (what even to me) sounded like dodgy stats that Key was able to refute easily, the money-trader that he is.

    Wonderful though Kim is she needs accurate facts at her fingertips when dealing with the PM.

    Meanwhile further adding to poverty, apparently NZ now has the fastest rising house prices in the world:

    • tc 3.1

      key only fronts when he knows the questions, had a question like that been proposed one his many media minders would’ve rejected it

      The PM is 100% stage managed and doesnt cope at all well when he has to actually think and respond.

      John campbell found out the hard way.

  4. Siobhan 4

    Its called the Neo-liberalism attitude to poverty, and its all been explained to me in this nice little piece


    The conclusion??

    “This review has found no paradigmatic shift in thinking about social citizenship rights in New Zealand since the implementation of neo-liberal reforms from 1984” (It is interesting that they are not looking at the thinking pre 1984, but anyway)

    This inequality is actually all in our minds due to “polarisation of opinion between the different individuals”.

    So, there you go.

    National and Labour. Both implementers of NeoLiberaeral policy.

    Shame on them both.

  5. Its always been the same , rich arseholes I mean .

    Nothings changed from the Austrian school of economics, through to Lassez fair which caused the Great Depression , the Mont Pelerin society and Milton Freidman with their global think tanks , the Chicago school of economics and the latest incarnation – neo liberalism.

    Neo liberalism.

    Interesting that both Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson are / were both at the same time board members of the Mont Pelerin society.

    New Zealand didn’t stand a chance.

    Didn’t matter if you voted the 4th Labour govt then National to vote Labour out, … both party’s had those two treasonous individuals in the key portfolio of finance. ALL of these ideology’s had the same fundamental motives behind them : to transfer wealth from the commons to the elite 1%. Always upwards in movement , – never downwards or sideways . Upwards towards the elite. Always.

    And to do that ALL of these economic ideology’s were by nature hostile towards social democracy and to the Keynesian based economy’s. And ALL favored a dictatorial , anti democratic stance which favored policy’s from lobby groups representing corporate’s to influence the political process in their favor – not the commons.

    They also had to rely on guile and twisting the truth , – using for example the classic ploy of the misrepresentation of govt statistics to grossly distort their take on govt ‘ waste’,… when in fact the real motives were to decrease taxes for themselves and place the burden further on the commons : hence the constant drive to privatize, privatize , privatize, with the dual goals of establishing large profits when tax payer funded social services were dismantled ,… right into the arms of the corporate’s. Again.

    And the same was for Trade Unions : here we had the Employment Contracts Act – with the deceitful mantra of offering ‘ greater choices ‘… when in fact the REAL motives were always to dismantle the Trade Unions and drive wages down.

    We can thank the formerly named Business Roundtable ( now known by the much less foreboding sounding ‘ New Zealand Initiative ‘ ) and such other bodies for that cute little piece of legislative drafting…

    So , … now we have the little fella Key ,…

    An import from the American corporate world that was just TOO big ( or just TOO well connected ) to fail. The classic corporate bludger’s transferring the wealth aka taxes from the commons to the 1% elites in the form of govt / Fed bail outs. Again.

    ( After causing by deliberate design a global recession that would have cost the lives of hundreds of unseen thousands in third world country’s – think lack of food, water and medical supply’s – and just let angle sink in a bit for a moment )

    And this is where the little fella comes from. Using the PR stunt about being raised in a state house ( you fill in the blanks about the privatization of state housing , education , hospitals and prisons etc yourself ) . But ,… not content to spin the bullshit with that lot , oh no , – not him , – he uses a 12 year old girl called Aroha Ireland for a PR stunt to get him elected as some sort of ‘ reasonable ‘ ‘ Kiwi’ bloke …


    And then after 8 years in power we have work slaves , family’s sleeping in cars , garages , the fastest rising housing costs in the world with people being paid $5000.00 to get out of Auckland where there is no employment prospects , housing , schools or support networks – then another $ 3000.00 to come back again and do it all again. And a burgeoning – out – of – control immigration non policy with its true motives of providing cheap imported labour . Never mind if it breaks New Zealand’s labour laws – ( whats left of them ) – just so long as the elite 1% are getting to milk the country and its workers and make their obscene profits.

    This is John Keys world. This is what we call ,… ‘ Planet Key ‘.

    This is John Keys ‘ brighter future’.

    And your in it right now as you read this.

    Now I don’t know about you , … but people who act like this – and particularly politicians who were elected BY US to serve OUR BEST INTERESTS and instead act like self serving arseholes ,… deserve to have a song written about them.

    And it just so happens there is , and it just so happens that it hails from the very land John Key wants us to emulate. America.

    Land of the free – and the grossly rich and the grossly poor.

    John Keys sort of vision for New Zealand.

    And the songs called ‘ Asshole ‘

    ‘ Asshole ‘ as in the American way of spelling things.

    ‘Asshole ‘ as in the way John Key thinks is the best way to live a life.

    So long as your not poor . Or sick . Or depressed. Or down on your luck for whatever reason.

    • Garibaldi 5.1

      Couldn’t agree with you more WK, but you try getting that across to the ‘worker’ who is more interested in a beer and a dirty joke.

  6. Infused 6

    With such a shit way of measuring ‘poverty’, what do you expect.

    • Anno1701 6.1

      “With such a shitty way of thinking about ‘poverty’, what did I expect”


  7. Tamati Tautuhi 7

    It is all about neoliberalism and the NWO New World Order which John Key, Roger Douglas, Ruth Richardson all subscribe to, the state wealth has been transferred to the top 1% of the population who in turn are singing to the tune of their leaders. They control the corporates, the banks and the media hence the endless brain washing that goes on by MSM. Governments are controlled by these people, John Key is no different to the likes of Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama?

    The sell off of State Assets by the Labour Government and other changes were prescribed by the IMF, these State Assets were cash cows ripe for the picking.

    Winston NZF has always been anti the Sale of State Assets however the establishment and the MSM have always tried to portray him as barking mad. The problem is Winston is an educated man a free thinker with 40 plus years of political experience he has witnesssed this country being turned into a basket case by neoliberal economics which has made a number of individuals and families very wealthy off the backs of hard working New Zealanders.

  8. The Real Matthew 8

    There’s seems to be a distinct lack of evidence sighted in the original post.

    Evidence I’ve read recently suggests low income earners have been getting the biggest payrises http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/85207111/lowestincome-people-had-biggest-annual-payrise-data-shows

    This would seem to be alleviating poverty in my eyes.

    • Not “getting the biggest pay rises,” just “earning more on average” via large numbers of people working more hours than they were the year before. If you want “getting the biggest pay rises,” you have to go a lot further up the scale.

      • Gangnam Style 8.1.1

        “…its chief executive Grady Cameron was paid between $560,001 and $570,000 in the 2015-16 financial year. This was up from $510,001 to $520,000 in the previous financial year and about 80% more than then chief executive John Walsh was paid in 2008. The latest annual report showed 88 staff were paid more than $100,000, which is a 26% increase on the previous financial year.”

        80% higher in 8 years.

    • miravox 8.2

      I’m calling bullshit on the tone of the headline.

      Low income workers are playing catch-up from years of no increase or declining pay with more working hours and a slight pay increase (per hour) from a low starting base

      From your link these two points stood out for me:

      The number of part-time workers decreased by 16,200… The median hourly rate increased 2.9 per cent to $23.49.


      …the chief executives at the country’s biggest listed firms saw their pay surge by more than 10 per cent.

      (my bold)
      The headline could more accurately read “Pay data finally shows slight relief for low income earners while CEO pay continues to power ahead”

  9. Takere 9

    Its starting to become much more clearer to me that the Nat’s have achieved there goal? A Capitalistic Rentier System in NZ. Prof. Guy Standing explains in a simple way 15minutes 50seconds in.

  10. Penny Bright 10

    You want to ROLL BACK ROGERNOMIC$?


    Demand the Public Records Act 2005, is implemented and upheld, so the public can see EXACTLY where public monies are being spent at local and central government level on private sector consultants and contractors.

    Then demand the evidence which proves that this contracting out of public services is more ‘cost-effective’
    spending of public money than ‘in house’ service provision.

    If there is no such ‘cost-benefit’ analysis – then its CORPORATE welfare.

    I know that those who have succumbed and now bought into the Neo-liberal ‘Rogernomics’ model, and are now consultants and contractors- will argue against such transparency, but I live in hope that the decent people, with good hearts, brains, guts and a good understanding of the basic principles of fair play and natural justice – will pick up this call!


    Implement and enforce the Public Records Act 2005!

    Which political party is going to have the nous to pick up this REALLY simple demand?

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-privatisation/ anti-corruption Public Watchdog.

  11. fisiani 11

    Every day in office Honest John has been concerned with the poor. That’s why he is in politics. He knows that the only way out of poverty is to have a decent well paying job. The only way to have a decent well paying job is to have an education and the only way to have an education is to have the best start in life.
    That is why millions have been invested (that’s the correct word) in early childhood education and a massive rise in welfare payments. That’s why education is improving and looking to become even better. That’s why so many are each week assisted off a benefit and into employment.
    The biggest problem as Judith Collins has so clearly stated is that there is a small number of parents who are unable or unwilling to care for the needs of their children. I cannot understand why the Left refuse to acknowledge this obvious and sad truism. No doubt I’ll be accused of lying for stating the facts.

    • McFlock 11.1

      Nah, you had that accusation as soon as you typed “Honest John”.

      The “biggest problem” is that you bastards pretend “off a benefit” means “into employment”.

      • NZJester 11.1.1

        Actually, “Honest John” is a good name for him. It is very reminiscent of the carpet baggers and snake oil salesmen you see in the old western movies. Just like them, he is a carpet bagger selling his toxic snake oil medicine that only masks the problem if it does not kill you first while not actually curing anything!

      • fisiani 11.2.1

        Great vote catching video for Honest John

        • Chris

          You think so? Guess you’ll be pleased if Darren Watson does another one for next year, then. And you’ll be extra pleased that the Electoral Commission won’t be trying to ban it. Can’t wait.

    • stever 11.3

      Every day in office “Honest” John has been concerned with further enriching the already comfortably off. That’s why he is in politics. He knows that these sort of people just want to hear that “the only way out of poverty is to have a decent well paying job”. The problem is that the only way to have a decent well paying job is to have a country where the comfortably off who own and run companies pay people decently and treat them well. But they are too interested in further enriching themselves to do either of these things.
      That is why millions have been invested (that’s the ideologically correct word) in early childhood education and a massive rise in welfare payments, but not enough (of course) to undermine the pool of desperate cheap labour that the owners need in order to keep wage rises below productivity improvements. That’s why education is at best standing still and in fact looking to become even worse. That’s why so many are each week pushed off a benefit and into destitution.
      The biggest problem, as Judith Collins has so clearly tried to hide, is that there is a large number of parents who are unable or too traumatised to care for the needs of their children, something which serves to further traumatise them. I cannot understand why the Right refuse to acknowledge this obvious and sad truism. No doubt I’ll be accused of lying for stating the facts.

  12. Tamati Tautuhi 12

    With the pittances companies pay and the casual contracts they offer employees, people are actually better off staying on the benefit from a financial perspective, even though it is not good for the body, mind and soul.

    I know of a number of people with multiple degrees and good work histories, cv’s etc who can not find meaningful employment in NZ and are just doing menial jobs to keep the wolf from the door.

  13. NZJester 13

    When Key came to visit Hastings to was the wealthy rich part of Havelock North village he was mostly shown around, keeping well away from Flaxmere and Camberley.
    Lots of National Party supporter kids to meet him. They deliberately allow him to be the see no evil monkey while the others are the hear no evil monkeys. Unfortunately, there is not a speak no evil monkey among them.
    Maybe it was all the verbal diarrhea coming out of his mouth that really poisoned their water.

    • fisiani 13.1

      Eight years of trying to demonise John Key. Seems to be working. Lots of National voters switching to Greens/Labour. Keep doing it for another year. It’s a great strategy.

      • Muttonbird 13.1.1

        You’d have to agree from the evidence out today that Key likes to spend his public time in the richer areas.

        History will tell whether he truely was a man of the people, or if he just marketed himself that way.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 13.1.2

        Considering one use of the term, it’s great fun to see fisiani referring to our Prime Minister as ‘Honest John’ – more please.

        “On a trip to White Sands Missile Range, Toftoy met a Texan man who was prone to making unbelievable statements. Whenever anyone expressed doubt about the man’s claims, he would respond, “Why, around these parts, I’m called ‘Honest John!””

  14. Eva Roster 14

    If the government won’t make any promises on the poverty target then, who will. Its beyond my understanding why Key’s is showing this passive attitude. The government needs to buckle up and take this poverty issue head on before something radical happens.

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