web analytics

Poverty: our shame

Written By: - Date published: 12:56 pm, January 31st, 2012 - 89 comments
Categories: poverty - Tags:

We’ve been told about how bad poverty is here, and how bad it is for our future by the excellent Inside New Zealand documentary – but will it take an outside view to wake us from our slumber?

If so then Christians Against Poverty‘s John Kirkby is willing to provide it for us:

[…] he was always careful not to label something “the worst”.

“But […] Sixty seven per cent of our clients can’t feed their kids. One third of them have contemplated suicide. It was their level of poverty … this is the 21st century.”


“I have been shocked by what I have seen in your country. Children without shoes whose parents cannot find them breakfast. You have some massive, massive problems.”

Child poverty is a “massive, massive problem” for us.  It will cost us a lot more in the long run than the upfront cost of fixing it.  The hospital costs of third-world diseases, the lost opportunities of ill-educated children, the increased dole and prison rates, the lives left mired in drugs and alcohol as they wallow in a lack of hope – we’re not constructing a utopic Brighter FutureTM here.

The Inside NZ doc proposals are not out of reach, just out of National’s priorities.  A focus on proper standard Housing including rental WoFs.  Fully funded children’s health with proper free treatment, with an aim of prevention and accessibility.  Benefits for those with children funded at an appropriate level to meet their needs.  Free school lunches to ensure every kids gets one good meal each day.

Most people would be happy to pay a little more to ensure these happened and our next generation can reach its potential.  The lunch cost could be taken from the benefits of those who will no longer be providing lunches.  Rental WoFs don’t cost the Government, just slum landlords as they bring their places up to scratch.  Prevention always ends up lowering health costs in the medium or long term.

It’s not brain science; it’s just something we need to do.


89 comments on “Poverty: our shame”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    If we could have taken the tax rate cut to the top bracket that Key and his cronies put through, and directed all of that money to relieve poverty conditions throughout the country, we would have gotten a hugely better return on investment than what we have so far – which is that the tax “switch” is definitely not revenue neutral and has cost $1.1B so far.

  2. Interestingly Jazmine Heka, the 15 year old Whangarei young woman who is organising a petition against child poverty was on Radio New Zealand this morning.

    If anyone wants to sign her petition it can be downloaded from here

    I think every good lefty should download it and get a few signatures.  Let Bennett explain to Jazmine why the Government cannot do something about this terrible problem. 

  3. muzza 3

    When was the last time we had an RBNZ audit?

  4. Olwyn 4

    While I think that school lunches will help, the roots of poverty have grown deep in a very short space of time, and are hard to get a handle on. Furthermore, I do not trust the National Government not to use poverty as a lever to further infantilise and bully people who are already in despair and very close to being disenfranchised.

    Housing plays a big part in poverty, and WOF’s will not address the fact that rental housing is very expensive in relation to both wages and benefits in NZ. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that most of our rental accommodation is made up of privately owned nest-eggs that cannot offer renters security of tenure – something the Jackal has written about recently: http://thejackalman.blogspot.com/2012/01/when-house-is-not-your-home.html

    This difficulty is further exacerbated by the fact that middle class people too often have static wages with which they just get by. Their advantage is that they own property, which is effectively their wealth, and they are reassured by, and defensive of, the inflated housing prices that add to the despair of those who are shut out. And any attempt to seriously address poverty seems to threaten the card house on which this depends. Did you look at some of the savage responses to John Kirkby’s piece?

    The only solution I can think of (apart from piece-meal ones like the lunches) is to form a realistic definition of what is needed for a modestly flourishing life, similar to the one that was included in the Australian Federation Document (which I cannot find to link but have read), to be taken into account with regard to policy, as inflation is presently.

    • I agree with you Olwyn and this is a debate the Labour Party is going to have to conduct but the problem is the political cost of increasing benefits.  I accept this is the only way to get people out of poverty but the electoral response is not good.  Part of the reason for the last election result is middle class votors going for the soft green party because Labour was going to give away all of their tax money to “bludgers”.
      The benefit of school lunches IMHO is that it is or should be so hard to oppose.  What idiot would refuse to fund hungry children?
      But I accept there needs to be a large debate on the subject preferrably with the types of “Waitakere Man” involved so that some education of the electorate can occur.

      • Olwyn 4.1.1

        I do not remember the Greens opposing WFF being extended to beneficiaries, and Labour very likely lost more votes to non-voters than to the Greens. Moreover, working with a definition as to what is needed for a modestly flourishing life has broader implications than who gets or does not get WFF, which bridges the gap between low pay and high costs, and is for the most part a subsidy to both landlords and employers. People need living wages and stable, affordable housing if they are to build modestly flourishing lives. It is time we started working out how to make this possible under the present conditions. It is unacceptable to continuously wail about child poverty while being too scared to face up to the social conditions that produce it.

      • belladonna 4.1.2

        Labour lost the election because beneficiaries and low income workers didnt see anything worth voting for so didnt bother.

  5. insider 5

    “Rental WoFs don’t cost the Government, just slum landlords as they bring their places up to scratch.”

    How many Housing NZ houses would pass? Why restrict it to renters? House buyers should have the same entitlement surely?

    It’s an easy thing to say ‘let’s do it’, but Labour put a similar issue – the home efficiency rating scheme – on the backburner a number of years ago because it was basically undoable for existing houses. Look at what has happened in terms of getting assessors into Chch homes for an idea of the scale of the workload you’d be creating.

    • felix 5.1

      “Why restrict it to renters? House buyers should have the same entitlement surely?”

      What do you mean by “the same”? You mean purely for the sake of consistency, tenants should enjoy all “the same” benefits of home ownership as home owners do?

      Careful with that axe, Eugene.

      • insider 5.1.1

        If a housing WOF is essential before renting a property why not make it essential before selling a property? Looks like it is an attempt to ‘protect’ renters. Why do renters need more protection than buyers?

        • felix

          Why do renters need to rent a home?

          • insider


            • Colonial Viper

              Of course insider, people choose to be poor after all. Particularly in Auckland where housing is just so affordable.

              • insider

                So you are saying people who rent are by definition poor?

                • McFlock

                  Those fecking venn diagrams again – just because a majority of poor people rent does not mean a majority of renters are poor.

            • felix


              Sometimes, sure.

              You’re really trying hard to miss the bleeding obvious though.

              Would you like to explore a meaningless tangent about how we’re all rational actors on a level playing field, freely entering into contracts in equal-power relationships with other individuals, or would you like to have another crack at it?

              • insider

                The point I was raising is that it’s very easy to sloganeer about how these things must be done
                but we have practical experience in NZ of actually how hard it is. And it’s not just going to cost the landlord.

                If the rental WoF is to protect some people from unscrupulous landlords, does that mean it will only apply to some rented homes? Who decides and how?

                • felix

                  You fail right out of the blocks when you try to pretend that the relationship between a tenant and an owner is somehow equivalent to that between a vendor and a buyer.

                  Makes it look like you’re just fucking around.

                  • insider

                    Where exactly did I do that? You seem to be suffering from an overactive imagination

                    • felix

                      Right here. Gee you guys have short memories. Are you looking after a whole lot of handles at once or something?

                    • insider

                      You are skewing the thread context, which was about the practicality of a building WoF to prevent health issues. Asking a question as to why you’d restrict it to one select but incredibly diverse group but not extending it to others who may be living in the same or worse conditions is not pretending some power relationship equivalence between the two. You’re the one trying to present renters as some homogenous group of poverty vicitims.

                      Doesn’t it make as much sense to protect the relatively poor couple with kids who choose and manage to buy some low quality draught hole as it does the relatively poor who rent similar? If you want to prtoect people, base it on need not on who owns the house.

                    • McFlock

                      Doesn’t it make as much sense to protect the relatively poor couple with kids who choose and manage to buy some low quality draught hole as it does the relatively poor who rent similar? If you want to prtoect people, base it on need not on who owns the house.

                      No, because maybe they wanted to buy a hovel to build it up. Or knock it down after a couple of years. Or, worst case scenario, sell it on a few months later after a new coat of paint or similarly minor improvements. Remember, we’re talking about people who can realistically borrow and service $100000 or more. That gives a lot of discretion as to whether they buy now or wait a while and rent. Ergo they are not in as vulnerable a position as someone living from week to week who might get trapped in a shithole, and not able to move out because they can’t pay the bond for the new place up front. 
                      As long as the purchaser knows what they are buying, that is fine. But someone renting bottom of the barrel accommodation is not likely to have the readies available for an engineer’s report and LIM.

                    • felix

                      Oh ffs, the reason it’s different is because it’s your house.

                      Get a fucking grip, insider.

                  • Jassen

                    I’ll back up the original question to Felix as in the normal approach on these blogs, attack the other who disagrees, the question was indeed not answered.

                    Who has the authority and how are you going to distinguish and seperate which rental accomodations will be subjected to such WOF’s? Will there be a appeal process for owners who disagree with their failure of said WOF? Will the WOF stand for anything when the renter then onsells the house after a period of time? Does having the WOF on the house add any value to the sale when the owner is tired of renting out his property?

                    All valid questions that anyone as a homeowner and also landlord would like to know.

                    Whilst on the topic though, why stop at the properties having a WOF. How about extending the courtesy to the homeowner on being allowed to fully background check their prospective tenants. Police records, CYFs involvement, etc etc. That would also help the landlords.

                    A bit of give and take and everyone is happy.

                    • McFlock

                      Who has the authority and how are you going to distinguish and seperate which rental accomodations will be subjected to such WOF’s? 
                      To be determined as part of the legislative process.
                      Will there be a appeal process for owners who disagree with their failure of said WOF? 
                      To be determined as part of the legislative process.
                      Will the WOF stand for anything when the renter then onsells the house after a period of time?    

                      At a guess, it would stand for the principle that a purchaser can rent the dwelling as is, without additional capital expenditure beyond the purchase price.
                      Does having the WOF on the house add any value to the sale when the owner is tired of renting out his property?   
                      Possibly, if it’s being sold as a rental property. I’d actually suggest that it’s more likely the absence of a wof that would reduce the price, rather than the presence being an increase. There might be a ngelible factor, equivalent to a coat of paint, that an agent could boost – certified habitable, sort of thing.
                      All valid questions that anyone as a homeowner and also landlord would like to know.
                      Especially those people who want to shoot it down before it is put to the legislative process. God forbid there might be actual public consultation about the idea that NZ shouldn’t have slums.

        • McFlock

          Not a bad idea – what I would say though is that a lot of buyers intentionally purchase “doer-uppers”, put in some decent work (heatpumps, new roof, insulation, that sort of thing) with a view to making a capital gain. Indeed it’s a great way for first hme buyers to build their way up.
          Renters are in a different boat – if there is a structural issue, then it’s the landlord’s problem to improve the house because it’s the landlord who makes the capital gain. 
          So the difference between renters and buyers is that really buyers just need to be aware of issues in negotiating a fair price, whereas renters are often forced to take what they are offered without the ability, in a worst case scenario, to improve it themselves.

    • Colonial Viper 5.2

      Look at what has happened in terms of getting assessors into Chch homes for an idea of the scale of the workload you’d be creating.

      Since our economy is looking for added value jobs I presume you mean this point to be a good thing.

      • King Kong 5.2.1

        Sounds like you are advocating “work for dole” type schemes.


        • felix

          Wow, you guys really can’t stomach the idea of people being paid proper wages for a job of work, eh?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          “Work for dole” in the high wage economy brighter future that closes the gaps with Australia and gets tough on crime and sells shares to Mom and Pops and apple pie and crumbly candy bars and who could believe that a cretin such as this could become Minister of Tourism?

          With sincere apologies to Peter Fluck and Roger Law.

        • Colonial Viper

          “work for Dole” = Employers getting free workers = Employers bludging off government support.

      • insider 5.2.2

        Given we had to import many foreigners to do it, I’m not sure you’d be too happy about the profit repatriation involved.

        • Draco T Bastard

          No we didn’t, we just needed to pay enough and accept people who could do the job even if they didn’t have the exact ‘qualification’.

  6. aerobubble 7

    Lawns have more rights of free expression than protestors. Councils ‘re-develop’ the civic square and then argue that the huge cost of up keep is now a reason to ban protests! But wait its worse, the PM calls everyone who is worried about capital independence from foriegn investors is a racist. So why would it be any surprise that children get the short end straw. Big money rules our councils and our government, and if they need money to justify shuting down protesters in order to keep indebted property developers solvent at the cost of our kids then so be it.

  7. just saying 8

    Shearer has said Labour is revisiting the policy extending WFF for beneficiaries, as well as the capital gains tax, and will definitely be changing policy to add a few more hoops for beneficiaries to jump through (no word on increasing benefits to livable levels, and I think we can take it as read that this latest swing to the right won’t accommodate that). He says beneficiaries need more “responsibilities” so that’s good – get that boot into the poorest and most powerless, make miserable lives harder…..

    Meanwhile we have Te Mana, and the Greens still with a committment to helping those most in need. And neither have yet suggested bullying benes as official policy for winning votes.

  8. just saying 9

    Edit function is taking me to nowhere land. The first part of the above was reported in the Listener. I’ll look out a link if anyone is interested.

  9. Carol 10

    My concern, as a renter, about rental WOFs is that, if some landlords are forced to upgrade their rental properties, the cost of renting will inflate.

    • DavidC 10.1

      OMG! you mean like the cost of a capital gains tax?

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        CGT will not increase the cost of houses as the price is set by the market. Same goes for the WOF on rental properties.

        • Jassen

          In theory land that may be true.

          • McFlock

            Until we try it, everything is theory-land.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            What do you mean? Do you mean that in the land where a hypothesis is tested against evidence and seems to fit, it becomes a theory, or do you mean you don’t understand what a theory is?

  10. indiana 11

    Whilst I agree NZ has poor people, I find it difficult to comprehend that they are in poverty. To me poverty is when you do not have access to shelter, food, health care and state welfare. The comments from the Samoan Prime Minister probably best sum up it:

    Tuilaepa says that some Samoans think that not having car, a TV or a European house is poverty.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1

      You are missing the point: relative income levels are more important that absolute measures of poverty.
      In the developed world, there is no relationship between GDP and negative social outcomes. There is however a strong correlation between income inequality and negative social outcomes. In other words, (and again, for developed countries) it is the differences within countries that matter, not the differences <between them.


      • rosy 11.1.1

        “There is however a strong correlation between income inequality and negative social outcomes.

        And on this point, even Davos attendees and the IMF agree increased income inequality, i.e. increasing wealth at one end and increasing relative, and actual poverty at the other, and a shrinking middle-class. is happening and is a bad thing, and that an overhaul in capitalism may be required to improve the situation.

        But some commenters on this site continue to simply blame the victim and support policies that increase poverty and the people that benefit from these policies. I’d be interested to see these supporters argue how increasing poverty is a good thing – not off-topic criticisms of individuals who have become unemployed or who have ‘habits’ that will see them remain poor in the current economic and political climate, or argue that is doesn’t exist, but to argue that in theory increases in inequality is moral and fair.

        Because increasing inequality and resultant poverty is happening, and if you support the current economic and social policies you believe that increasing inequality (even if only as an economic side-effect) is more important that decreasing inequality. And people are suffering out there – kids are not being fed, they’re are getting ill and dying from diseases of poverty that have no place in a developed nation.

    • Colonial Viper 11.2

      Fuck off, poverty is when you cannot participate meaningfully in civil society and are judged societally by others because of severe money and resource limitations.

      Quite different definition than your developing world subsistence living style of thinking.

      • Olwyn 11.2.1

        I would add CV, that there is a difference between “old” poverty and poverty that enters into a society that previously enjoyed something approaching equality. To begin with, everything from food prices to rents run on the idea that most people can afford them, when in fact a significantly-sized group are falling behind and cannot. Putting to one side the six million dollar mansions, NZ retains a rough equality of costs alongside a growing inequality of means, with few escape hatches beyond tickets to Australia, lotto wins and crime. Imagine a scenario in which the poor in NZ came to think that they could ease their burden by living in caravan parks. It would not be long before the more imaginative young middle class came to see a couple of years in one of the less decrepit caravan parks as the way to save for their first home, which would soon be followed by “entrepreneurs” pushing the price of caravans beyond the reach of the poor who initially sought refuge there. Something like this sort of squeeze is on people already, but at a level that is a rung or two higher on the ladder.

      • Jassen 11.2.2

        So those poor people we saw on TV before the election. You remember the ones. The ones that were all smoking, had a 42″ TV on the table in the background, had boxes of biscuits on the table but were claiming they couldn’t afford milk.

        These people are poor? Which part of your definition do they fall into?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          What is it with you people and anecdotes? Do you think your personal opinion about one case you saw on the Tv is the equivalent of actually addressing an issue or something? Sad.

          What is it about “relative income inequality” that you don’t understand? What don’t you get about it?

          For me it was the mechanism behind it – why is it such a big deal? The answer turns out to have to do with feelings of self worth, but the fact is if you want to understand it you’ll have to look at the evidence. You’re not going to find the answers in a blog comment, although you can certainly find where to start.


          It would be really refreshing if we could have a conversation about the merits of socialist versus conservative approaches to this, as opposed to denying the problem with a side order of red herring.

          • Jassen

            I agree with your wider view on things, but using people like that as posters for a cause as was done by that program, will obviously open it up to scrutiny. That was such a bad example of “poor” people that it was completely laughable.

            Socialism has it’s place as does conservative approaches to these issues. It is impossible that they do not co-exist.

            One of the issues with how we measure the metrics of income equality in this country I believe, is that we actually count the benefits received as income. This will skew the metrics. If every person that added to the overall result of the calcualtions involved with determining income equality actualluy earned an income, I would be more inclined to say we have an issue.

            • McFlock

              One of the issues with how we measure the metrics of income equality in this country I believe, is that we actually count the benefits received as income. This will skew the metrics. If every person that added to the overall result of the calcualtions involved with determining income equality actualluy earned an income, I would be more inclined to say we have an issue.
              sooooo – if we didn’t include the benefits received by poor people as income, you’d be more inclined to say we have a poverty problem because more people would be more poor? Thankyou for that contribution. Personally, I think you’d just say something along the lines of “oooo but there are poor people who apparently own TVs, so obviously we pay them enough in benefits, which aren’t counted in the poverty ‘metrics'”.
              Meanwhile, children die.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              So you’re arguing that the problem goes away if you measure it differently.

              Not that you have, or anything, but hey it was a good response that means you can keep on denying the issue. Callous lowlife much?

              • Jassen

                Fuck really? Again with the name slinging. That is really your answer to everything in this blog.

                McFlock give me some stats on how many kids die because they are poor? Not the line, they have more chance of dieing, but how many kids death in this country are actually attributed to being poor.

                Again One Anonymous bloke, if you knew me you would know how far from the truth that is. But hey, I suppose this is “YOUR” blog so you can be as obnoxious and venomous as you want.

          • Jassen

            “What is it with you people and anecdotes? Do you think your personal opinion about one case you saw on the Tv is the equivalent of actually addressing an issue or something? Sad.”

            I must address this comment seperately however.

            Can this not be said for the same in reverse.

            When one flaw in the benefit system is found and repaired or closed, that will maybe affect a handful of people clearly rorting the system because of the loophole, then how is it the left are allowed to claim that as bene bashing.

            No matter which side of the political spectrum you sit, it works both ways, and the answer is not trying to understand what your opposition “can’t” see, but try and understand what the opposition “can” see and then compare to your beliefs. Debating two sides to an argument is actually quite fun when it doesn’t spiral downhill into a name calling “I am holier than thou” match.

            Nobody will agree on everything and the fact that you voted for and support a party that less than 30% of the population voted for, shouldn’t stop you from having good discussions on many issues.

            • McFlock

              Bullshit. Bene-bashing is when people cry foul (frequently undeserved) about a few people and by doing so tar thousands of others.
              What is the opposite of that?
              Making life better for a few people in genuine need and therefore making it at a level that’s almost comfortable for thousands of others?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              What does that even mean? Obviously my point sailed right over your head, so I’ll spell it out: the plural of anecdote is not “evidence”. Debating two sides of an argument is a waste of time when only one side actually has one.

              • Jassen

                And being obnoxious and arrogant going into said arguments leads you to the false belief that you are the only one with an argument and everyone else is wrong.

                Well I’ll leave you to your world as obviously no one in here is open to general discussion anymore. But feel free being the minority. I am sure with the realization of the general population that more and more of the socialites like you are ruining what was once a good party, more and more will leave and your diminishing percentages in the polls will diminish even more.

                But please enjoy the ride anyway.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Coming from someone who thinks he can judge whether I still have a right to speak, I’d say that makes you a hypocrite of the highest order, but whatever keeps you from actually confronting the issue, eh.

        • McFlock

          Not my definition. 
          It’s the fantasy you construct so you can ignore the fact that deprived kids in NZ are five times more likely to die from medical conditions than children in well–off families.
          Feel free to talk 42″ all you want – kids are dying at a rate far higher than need be, we can prevent it, we know how to prevent it, but people like you are happy to let it happen.
          Not worth the spit.

          • Jassen

            Again a really bad assumption. I am not in favour of letting kids die. But the issue isn’t just money alone. It is also extremely poor parenting amongst many other things.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Baby steps, and poor parenting is another symptom of….? Come on, the evidence was in front of your eyes only today…think hard…

            • McFlock

              But poverty helps. Things like overcrowding, heating, water restrictions often have nothing to do with “poor parenting”.

        • Olwyn

          Consumer junk, like TVs and so on, are the flotsam and jetsam of modern societies, not signs of wealth. The people in the TV show were probably given their TV by relatives fleeing to Australia.

        • Frank Macskasy

          Jassen, you must’ve loved watching that. It probably reinforced every prejudice you hold dear.

          For all you know, the TV was an old set picked up from a recycling depot; the biscuits were from a Foodbank; and smoking was their drug-of-choice to calm their nerves. (Smoking is very common amongst mental health patients, for precisely that reason.)

          Perish the thought that you might consider that there is more to peoples’ situation than a ten second sight-bite on your TV screen.

          Because without your prejudices, you’d actually have to think about the situation instead of just dismissing it as a “blame game”.

          • Jassen

            Again, wrong end of the stick.

            That particular poster family were held out in front of the nation as a shining example of how poor people live. That is just not true. It was a realy bad example. I have seen poor people, but they did not complain about not having milk when in fact having enough money to spend on cigs. Drug of choice or not, it is the wrong choice. The ones I care about are the real strugglers. They were even upset at being put in the same basket as those losers on TV.

            I do and always have done lots of volunteer work, so all of you on here who assume otherwise are just acting like spoilt brats. From my vantage point, the money isn’t the only issue. There are deeper issues that need to be addressed.

            Flame all you like, I don’t really care. It is my opinion and one I firmly believe in.

            • McFlock

              Who? Source? youtube clip? For all I know you saw a broken k9 and called it a “42” tv”.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Deeper issues? Like life expectancy, education outcomes, incarceration rates, social mobility, trust, violence, teenage births and mental health?

              Or were you referring to other mysterious metrics that you haven’t actually measured either, but which just happen to give you a gut feeling that tells you the problem doesn’t really exist?

    • Indiana,

      Whilst I agree NZ has poor people, I find it difficult to comprehend that they are in poverty. To me poverty is when you do not have access to shelter, food, health care and state welfare.

      Having “access” to shelter, food, health care and state welfare is not the same as having sufficient to get out of poverty.

      You can have “access” – but if it’s a crippling small amount; which keeps you trapped in poverty, focusing your energy simply to survive; then that is poverty.

      Until you’ve experienced poverty yourself, it is a meaningless concept – something you view, disconnected from a distance. Like looking at Pluto through a telescope.

      • indiana 11.3.1

        No point trying to prove to you that I have experienced poverty, as you will not believe me based on the comment I posted on this thread.

        My point is that NZ has many avenues of assistance to help people become richer no matter what level of poorness you may begin with. Some migrants have come from countries where they had no access to state assistance like they have in NZ. In fact that state assistance can be considered a luxury by them and further enhance why they think NZ is such a great place to live.

        That “crippling small amount” you speak of still puts migrants ahead of born and raised Kiwi’s – why is that? Why is it that a refugee from a war torn country is off state assistance within 2 years, when a born and raised Kiwi still holds their hand out for more? Why is it that the migrants to NZ, who came here with little to nothing, start up small businesses such a fruit shops, dairys, take away shops and drive taxis, but NZ born Kiwi’s but cry out that they are in “poverty”?

        NZ’s state assistance does not keep you trapped to being poor. Again NZ does not have poverty because of the many state assisted ways individuals and families can improve their standard of living – education being one of them.

        Grant Robertson’s poster boy Ben Hana chose a life of poverty by exiling himself from state assistance.

        • Colonial Viper

          indiana once experienced poverty than became a class traitor a la Bennett.

        • McFlock

          Yep. Damned parents would prefer their kids die five times quicker than if they got a well-paying job. /sarc
          And most beneficiaries are only short term beneficiaries, but great use of the “immigrant takeaway owner or taxi driver” stereotype. Really underlines your perspective.

  11. randal 12

    I agree that there is poverty in Godzone but what really underlies it is the poverty of spirit and the meanness that is put out by the tory parvenus and manques and their unquenchable desire to lord it over the unfortunates.
    and what is worse when you get the nincompoops who say nothing can be done because that is what some defunct philosopher or economist said 200 years ago.
    that is patently untrue but it suits the tories to have an underclass to bash up just for fun and to do the most menial of tasks that our society requires for the ease of the haves.

  12. RedLogix 13

    I agree that there is poverty in Godzone but what really underlies it is the poverty of spirit and the meanness that is put out by the tory parvenus and manques and their unquenchable desire to lord it over the unfortunates.

    Ummm.. yes precisely. Poverty of values, snobbery, and that big fat pallid streak of narrow-minded bigotry that runs through the under-belly of this nation. That’s it all right.

  13. Drongo 14

    Of course child poverty is something we must do our darnedest to eradicate, but there’s a risk that by describing poverty solely in these terms we leave behind those with no children. Labour’s already written off one group with WFF: those without a particular level of employment, but now we’re risking doing the same thing to people who don’t have children, many of whom face many other difficulties such as disability. That’ll mean a double-blow to those who’re both without children or employment – the new undeserving poor. What a great gauge of things that is? Never mind Key and his filthy money-grubbing mates – Labour’s got a lot to answer to.

    • “Yet insanely, the government has undermined family form by equalizing marriage alongside trending alternatives that leave children wanting, i.e. sole parenting, de facto partnering and civil unions. Disclaimer #2: Successful people derive from broken homes too, but they’re the exception, not the norm. And all power and respect to parents doing it on their own.” – http://richielewis.com/no-such-thing-as-child-poverty/

      What unmitigated, simplistic, prejudiced, rubbish.

    • Drongo 15.2

      Think you might have to read it first, Ant.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts


  • September benefit figures disappointing
    The Government is out of touch with the reality that fewer people are going off the benefit and into employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The quarterly benefit numbers for September are concerning. They show that ...
    2 days ago
  • MFAT officials refuse to back Prime Minister on Saudi sheep claims
    An Ombudsman’s interim decision released about the existence or otherwise of legal advice on the multimillion dollar Saudi sheep deal shows MFAT has failed to back up the Prime Minister’s claims on the matter, says Labour MP David Parker. “The ...
    2 days ago
  • Nats still planning to take Housing NZ dividend
    Housing New Zealand’s Statement of Performance Expectations shows that the National Government intends to pocket $237m from Housing New Zealand this year including a $54m “surplus distribution”, despite promises that dividends would stop, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “After ...
    3 days ago
  • Parliament must restore democracy for Ecan
    Parliament has a chance to return full democracy to Canterbury with the drawing of a member’s bill that would replace the Government’s appointed commissioners with democratically elected councillors, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods. “In 2010, the Government stripped Cantabrians ...
    3 days ago
  • Police struggle to hold the line in Northland
    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    3 days ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    4 days ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    4 days ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    4 days ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    5 days ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    5 days ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    5 days ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    6 days ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    6 days ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    1 week ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    1 week ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    1 week ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    1 week ago
  • Working people carrying the can for the Government
    Today’s announcement of a Government operating surplus is the result of the hard work of many Kiwi businesses and workers, who will be asking themselves if they are receiving their fair share of growth in the economy, Grant Robertson Labour ...
    1 week ago
  • Breast cancer drugs should be available
    Labour supports the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition’s campaign for better access to cancer treatments as more patients are denied what is freely available in Australia, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “In the last three years, PHARMAC’s funding has been ...
    1 week ago
  • Community law centres get much needed support from banks
      New Zealand’s network of community law centres, who operate out of more than 140 locations across the country, have today received a much needed boost, says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “After more than 8 years of static funding ...
    1 week ago
  • Just 18 affordable homes in Auckland SHAs – It’s time for KiwiBuild
    New data revealing just 18 affordable homes have been built and sold to first home buyers in Auckland’s Special Housing Areas show National’s flagship housing policy has failed and Labour’s comprehensive housing plan is needed, says Leader of the Opposition ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika wins big in Auckland elections
    The Labour Party’s Pacific Candidates who stood for local elections in Auckland came out on top with 14 winners, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio. “Our candidates have won seats on one ward, four local boards, two ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seven7 hikoi to stop sexual violence
    2 weeks ago
  • Road toll passes 2013 total
    The road toll for the year to date has already passed the total for the whole of 2013, raising serious questions about the Government’s underfunding of road safety, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “According to the Ministry of Transport, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay principals slam charter school decision
    A letter from Hawke’s Bay principals to the Education Minister slams the lack of consultation over the establishment of a charter school in the region and seriously calls into question the decision making going on under Hekia Parata’s watch, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to act on voter turnout crisis
    With fewer than 40 per cent of eligible voters having their say in the 2016 local elections, the Government must get serious and come up with a plan to increase voter turnout, says Labour’s Local Government Spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inquiry presents solutions to homelessness – Govt must act
    Labour, the Green Party and the Māori Party are calling on the Government to immediately adopt the 20 recommendations set out in today's Ending Homelessness in New Zealand report. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A good night for Labour’s local government candidates
    It has been a good night for Labour in the local government elections. In Wellington, Justin Lester became the first Labour mayor for 30 years, leading a council where three out of four Labour candidates were elected. Both of Labour’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More contenders for fight clubs
    Allegations of fight clubs spreading to other Serco-run prisons must be properly investigated says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister runs for cover on job losses
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s refusal to show leadership and provide assurances over the future of the Māori Land Court is disappointing, given he is spearheading contentious Maori land reforms which will impact on the functions of the Court, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
      The National Government needs to live up to its commitments and allocate 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on development assistance, says Labour’s spokesperson on Pacific Climate Change Su’a William Sio.  “The second State of the Environment Report ...
    3 weeks ago
  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori Party all hui no-doey on housing
    The Māori Party should stop tinkering and start fixing tragic Māori housing statistics in the face of a national housing crisis, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesman Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour committed to eliminating child poverty
    Labour accepts the challenge from Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft to cut child poverty and calls on the Prime Minister to do the same, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago