web analytics

Poverty Watch 17

Written By: - Date published: 8:08 am, February 2nd, 2013 - 7 comments
Categories: national, poverty - Tags:

Here we go with Poverty Watch for another year.

December 2012 saw the release of two important reports, the Children’s Social Health Monitor 2012 Update Report, and the Children’s Commisioner Expert Advisory Group’s report on Solutions to Child Poverty (EAG Report).  I hope to spend time over the next couple of weeks looking at each in turn.

Here’s the home page for the Children’s Social Health Monitor 2012 Update Report, with a pdf of the full report here.  The Introduction kicks off with the underlying truth which frames the issue of child poverty in NZ – poverty is a racial issue:

In New Zealand, there are currently large disparities in child health status, with Māori and Pacific children and those living in more deprived areas experiencing a disproportionate burden of morbidity and mortality…

Poverty is also an intergenerational issue – we don’t all get the same start or equal opportunities in life:

In New Zealand, children and young people living in more deprived areas experience significantly worse health outcomes across a range of measures (e.g. infant mortality, hospital admissions for infectious and respiratory diseases, non-accidental injuries) [1]. Growing up in a low income family also increases the risk of longer term negative outcomes, such as leaving school without formal qualifications and economic inactivity. …

In addition, the presence of social safety nets (e.g. free education and healthcare, unemployment benefits and others forms of income support) may buffer the effects of low family income, with social gradients in health being much less marked in countries with robust social security provisions [4].

These are the very social security provisions that the government is keen on dismantling.  Most of the rest of the introduction focusses on international and NZ evidence relating to the effects of the severity, duration, and prevalence of poverty on children.  It concludes as follows:

Thus while it is difficult to predict with any certainty the impact the current economic downturn will have on child health outcomes, the available evidence would suggest that one in five New Zealand children (see Children Reliant on Benefit Recipients section) are already exposed to low family incomes as a result of their parent’s benefit status, and that if unemployment remains at the levels seen during the 1990s, a similar number will spend at least five of their first seven years of life reliant on a beneficiary. Further, the Living Standards surveys suggest that New Zealand’s current benefit provisions will be unable to protect these children from severe or significant hardship, and that some of the adaptations families make in response to their inadequate resources may have detrimental health consequences for their children.

While Labour’s record of alleviating poverty is much better than National’s of increasing it, not even Labour dared to significantly increase these inadequate benefits in it’s last term.  It speaks to a failure of boldness on Labour’s part, and a meanness of spirit on the electorate’s, where the idea of increasing benefits is apparently unpopular.  What kind of country are we?

More from this report next time.


In other news – remember this from last year?

Warning on child poverty

The Government has ruled out another of the main recommendations in a major child poverty report – but the Maori Party has sent a warning it will make the Government’s life uncomfortable if it ignores the report.

In a rare step, the Maori Party yesterday held a press conference with all three of its MPs and called on National to look at all 78 recommendations in a new report by an expert panel working with the Children’s Commissioner. …

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said the child poverty report was part of the Maori Party’s support agreement with National and she did not expect National to simply brush the report aside.

Hey Maori Party – guess what – the government is ignoring the report, and they are ignoring you too.  What are you going to do about it?


Here’s the standard footnote. Poverty (and inequality) were falling (albeit too slowly) under the last Labour government.   Now they are on the rise again, in fact a Waikato University professor says that poverty is our biggest growth industry.

Before the last election Labour called for a cross party working group on poverty. Key turned the offer down.  Report after report after report has condemned the rate of poverty in this country, and called on the government to act. Meanwhile 40,000 kids are fed by charities and up to 80,000 are going to school hungry. National has responded with complete denial of the issues, saying that the government is already doing enough to help families feed their kids. Organisations working with the poor say that Key is in poverty ‘la la land’.

The Nats refuse to even measure the problem (though they certainly believe in measurement and goals when it suits them to bash beneficiaries). In a 2012 summary of the government’s targets and goals John Armstrong wrote: “Glaringly absent is a target for reducing child poverty”…

The costs of child poverty are in the range of $6-8 Billion per year, but the Nats refuse to spend the $2 Billion that would be needed to really make a difference. Even in purely economic terms National’s attitude makes no sense.

7 comments on “Poverty Watch 17 ”

  1. tracey 1

    Meanwhile, the liquidators of blue chip get paid but no money to sue directors so claimants go without

  2. xtasy 2

    I get depressed every time I see the post ‘Poverty Watch’.

    Yes, it is all appalling, and we know what the answers could be and should be, but do enough out there listen. Another post today is about “charity”, and I fear, too many in the public, fall for this approach like Campbell Live have presented. Give a bit, and do a bit, and it is all done. Sorry, that is not how it works.

    It must not be like going to a church and dropping a few coins into a donation box or bag!

    The rot sits deeper and real serious work and real changes are needed!

    Giving a donation and helping a disadvantaged child is OK in a way, of course, but should it ever come to this, that strangers have to step in, who just feel a bit of media generated “guilt” and sympathy?

    NZ is a very important, efficient food producer, so having kids go to school without breakfast and no shoes, that is unbelievable, for a country that wants to count itself to the “developed world”.

    The system needs changing, and that is where the government has responsibilities.

    But what we get from Bennett is condemnations, appeals, moral lecturing, and a social security reform bill, that will hit out at parents, and make kids suffer more, due to being exposed to new stressors, pressures and unfairness. Social obligations, drug testing, stopping benefits of people that have a warrant out for arrest.

    Whoa, this is insane. Why would WINZ or other MSD staff have to get involved in that, rather than do the work to help people to survive, get food and clothing and housing they need, do more to offer real jobs that pay a living wage, and offer more means to actually assist sick and disabled to get treatments and support they need.

    All this new Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill will do – is wave A GIANT STICK at the beneficiaries, that will also cause more harm to kids.

    Shame on this shit government, they are CRIMINALS, and the traitor Bennett is one of the biggest there!

    • r0b 2.1

      I get depressed every time I see the post ‘Poverty Watch’.

      Sorry xtasy.

      I get depressed writing them too.

      But I don’t want to let child poverty be “last year’s issue”.

      Because nothing has changed.

  3. Mike 3

    The health issues related to poverty aren’t from lack of access to healthcare as access to healthcare for the poor in this country is extremely good. I believe a study I read about (will try and remember what it was) which explained the biggest contributor to ill health amongst the poor is possibly stress. They explained that it is the stress from being poor (stressing about paying the rent, paying the bills, feeding the kids, getting a job, keeping the kids happy, etc,etc) which is the largest contributor to ill health amongst poor people.

    • McFlock 3.1

      It’s not one major issue – stress can compete with overcrowding, nutrition and access to healthcare for the “top contributor” award. Hell, they all work together.

      But the tautological truth is that poverty-related conditions are caused by inequality: relative poverty. That’s why symptomatic treatments alone (food in schools, increasing the vaccine schedule, improving access to primary healthcare) won’t cut it. Band-aids on a stomach wound.

      Poverty is caused by poor employment rights and representation (minimum wage, non-union members freeloading off collectives), high unemployment, poor education, weak or nonexistent safety nets, and government policies that put “warfare” into “social welfare”.

      And fuck the nacts who can sleep at night after inflicting that on millions of their citizens.

    • rosy 3.2

      It depends how you define healthcare access. Accessibility doesn’t just refer to geographic accessibility, transport options and cost.

      An example I’ve noted recently is if a family works temporary or other jobs without security of hours a trip or two to the GP for the kids is going to be put off as long as possible – both in terms of cost and in terms of keeping the hours up. A solution would be after hours services provided at the same cost as usual hours – without the trip to A&E or after hours clinics which are often further away.

      On top of that we’re beginning to see cuts in primary care funding for the most vulnerable. I’m not sure of the impact on poor kids, from these cuts but the impact on the poor generally will make a difference. As will increased prescription charges. Basically the poor are having access to primary care reduced so the government can quantify more surgical procedures listed in there ‘aren’t we good’ file.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Environment Court Judge appointed
    Prudence Steven QC, barrister of Christchurch has been appointed as an Environment Judge and District Court Judge to serve in Christchurch, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Steven has been a barrister sole since 2008, practising in resource management and local government / public law.    She was appointed a Queen’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Government moves on climate promises
    The Government is delivering on its first tranche of election promises to take action on climate change with a raft of measures that will help meet New Zealand’s 2050 carbon neutral target, create new jobs and boost innovation. “This will be an ongoing area of action but we are moving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Jump starting research careers
    The Government is investing up to $10 million to support 30 of the country’s top early-career researchers to develop their research skills. “The pandemic has had widespread impacts across the science system, including the research workforce. After completing their PhD, researchers often travel overseas to gain experience but in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Project protects jobs and nature
    A Waitomo-based Jobs for Nature project will keep up to ten people employed in the village as the tourism sector recovers post Covid-19 Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “This $500,000 project will save ten local jobs by deploying workers from Discover Waitomo into nature-based jobs. They will be undertaking local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister Shaw speaks with U.S. Presidential Envoy John Kerry
    Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw spoke yesterday with President Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. “I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak with Mr. Kerry this morning about the urgency with which our governments must confront the climate emergency. I am grateful to him and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today announced three diplomatic appointments: Alana Hudson as Ambassador to Poland John Riley as Consul-General to Hong Kong Stephen Wong as Consul-General to Shanghai   Poland “New Zealand’s relationship with Poland is built on enduring personal, economic and historical connections. Poland is also an important ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major redevelopment of Wainuiomata High School underway
    Work begins today at Wainuiomata High School to ensure buildings and teaching spaces are fit for purpose, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. The Minister joined principal Janette Melrose and board chair Lynda Koia to kick off demolition for the project, which is worth close to $40 million, as the site ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New expert group appointed to advise Government on Oranga Tamariki
    A skilled and experienced group of people have been named as the newly established Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board by Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis today. The Board will provide independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children across three key areas of Oranga Tamariki: relationships with families, whānau, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 vaccine slated for possible approval next week
    The green light for New Zealand’s first COVID-19 vaccine could be granted in just over a week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today. “We’re making swift progress towards vaccinating New Zealanders against the virus, but we’re also absolutely committed to ensuring the vaccines are safe and effective,” Jacinda Ardern said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New ACC Board members announced.
    The Minister for ACC is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to join the Board of ACC on 1 February 2021. “All three bring diverse skills and experience to provide strong governance oversight to lead the direction of ACC” said Hon Carmel Sepuloni. Bella Takiari-Brame from Hamilton ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Economic boost for Southland marae
    The Government is investing $9 million to upgrade a significant community facility in Invercargill, creating economic stimulus and jobs, Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson and Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene have announced.  The grant for Waihōpai Rūnaka Inc to make improvements to Murihiku Marae comes from the $3 billion set ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago