Poverty Watch 31

Written By: - Date published: 8:11 am, May 18th, 2013 - 92 comments
Categories: budget 2013, national, poverty - Tags: , ,

With so much going this week I’m going to hold the final chapter of the OCC 2012 report over for next week, and focus on current events.


Firstly, of course, the budget. After widely signaling action on child poverty, nothing of any significance happened in the budget. Community groups responded:

Child poverty groups in Christchurch are describing the Budget as empty and a missed opportunity.

Non-government organisations, charities and community groups accused the Government of ignoring the issue of child poverty.
The group Community Campaign for Food in Schools are disappointed that Finance Minister Bill English did not announce on Thursday the provision of breakfasts for children in low-decile schools.

Representatives from a range of non-government organisations gathered in Christchurch on Friday to discuss whether it did enough to tackle child poverty.

The Methodist Mission’s chief executive, Mary Richardson, does not think so: she says the Government’s focus in Christchurch is clearly on rebuilding the city, rather than on families. “We’ve prioritised the establishment of a commercial centre over people’s homes and we’ve thought the economic recovery is about the recovery of business as opposed to economic recovery of families and households. “We still have families living in garages, living in cars, sharing facilities which are overcrowded.”

A senior lecturer in political science at the University of Canterbury also attended the meeting and says child poverty wasn’t even considered in the Budget. …

Every Child Counts manager Deborah Morris-Travers says … “We are really facing a crisis of child poverty,” she says, “when we’ve got a quarter of the nation’s children living in poverty. Some of our neediest families are not accessing the support that they need, and we need some transparency around the take-up rates of benefits and tax credits.” …

A 37-year-old mother of five in Porirua, Tinaka Harrison, says a lot of families she knows are struggling to survive. “There isn’t enough money so they can’t afford to turn on the heater and have a warm house,” she says, “then the kids get sick because it’s cold and they can’t afford to feed them well-balanced nutritional foods.” Mrs Harrison says children are going without food and families are living together to save money. A Porirua schoolteacher who wishes to be known only as Laura says she sees children coming to school hungry. …

Mana Movement leader Hone Harawira, who is trying to secure support for a bill on the provision of food in decile 1 and 2 schools, says the Budget ignores child poverty altogether. … He added: “Given all the positive comments from the Prime Minister over the past few days, and the Maori Party bragging about how hard they’re fighting for the poor, I am bitterly disappointed to see that this Budget has set aside not one cent to deal with child poverty.”

The most substantial response came from the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG). The full report is here (pdf), here are some extracts (my bold):

The 2013 Budget has singularly failed to even consider questions of child poverty. The Minister of Finance remains convinced that the only way to lift vulnerable families out of poverty is through paid employment yet he fails to take account of Treasury’s predictions that the labour market will be subdued over the next three or four years. As the economy moves past recession and as Government finances improve there may be scope to consider what new spending priorities might be feasible. Regrettably this Budget does not consider such challenges.

Expenditure on education over the four years between 2013/14 and 2016/17 is expected to grow by just 2.1% in nominal terms to $12.6 billion. If Treasury’s inflation forecasts prove correct this minimal growth in expenditure will represent a real reduction in value of around 6%.

Taking account of expected inflation and population growth, the forecast increase in spending on health looks more modest however. Figure 3 illustrates the real per capita spend on public health since 2008 and includes forecasts offered in the 2013 Budget. In per capita terms spending peaks during 2013/14 at around $3,150 per person but under the scenario offered in the Budget this spend quickly falls away to around $2750 by 2016/17. This is the lowest per capita spend since 2007

The 2013 Budget is the first to budget for the new working age benefits resulting from the Government’s benefit reform programme. These new benefits are the Supported Living Payment, the Sole Parent Support and the Jobseeker Support . Treasury’s estimates of the number of people receiving these new benefits are similar to those presently receiving the older style benefits. It seems likely then that real value of these new benefits will fall with inflation given that total spend is changing very little

Despite its pre-Budget rhetoric there is very little additional money in the 2013 Budget to address housing supply problems. The new initiatives announced in the budget are relatively very minor in budget terms amounting to $102 million over four years.

The 2013 Budget does not address some serious underlying economic and demographic pressures such as those around an aging population alongside youth marginalisation and a growing current account deficit and rising foreign debt alongside a re-inflating housing bubble. Expecting budgets to do all of this is perhaps unfair although there are no signs of any political will to do so at present.

Particularly noticeable by its absence (after hints and teases in the lead up to the budget) was any move to address the thousands of kids are going to school hungry – an issue so ably championed by Mana’s “Feed the Kids” campaign. Why was there no announcement? Key is insisting that it wasn’t pulled from the budget, and that an announcement is due within 2 weeks. Why the delay?

Somehow Campbell live already has the details (video link) (the programme builds on the “Kickstart Breakfasts” scheme already run by Fontera and Sanitarium). It will cost $5 Million and provide breakfasts (wheetbix and milk) every day for every pupil at Decile 1 – 4 schools. After covering the details, Campbell Live looks at the politics of the delayed announcement. A good piece on an issue that this show has been consistently strong on, bravo. Why doesn’t our media do more of this?


A second topic today, CPAG’s court case on the In Work Tax Credit. Recall this announcement from July last year:

CPAG Granted Leave To Appeal High Court Decision On Discrimination Claim Against Children Of Beneficiaries

The Child Poverty Action Group is very pleased the Court of Appeal has today granted leave to appeal against the decision of the High Court in relation to its claim of discrimination against the 230,000 children of beneficiaries. The claim relates to the In Work Tax Credit which is part of Working for Families, a package that has a key aim to alleviate child poverty.

Spokesperson Susan St John said, “Children whose parents are on benefits are excluded from this child payment. The parent may have illness, disability or caring responsibilities or be unemployed because of the recession or earthquake. The In Work Tax Credit provides significant weekly financial support to families with children ($60 for the first 3 children plus $15 for each child thereafter). This support has been denied to children living in all beneficiary families and many are in serious hardship.”

This appeal hearing is coming up on the 28th-29th of May. That page links to many other resources, see:
Timeline and legal documents
CPAG’s guide the case – What, when, how and why

From the latter page:

As Kiwis we like to think of New Zealand as egalitarian, fair and a great place to raise a family. However in comparison to many other developed countries, we have a highly discriminatory welfare and tax system when it comes to children. For example, in Australia, all low income children are treated the same – they receive the same levels of child-related family assistance no matter if their parents are in work or not. This is not the case in New Zealand.

CPAG has been concerned about the impact of such discriminatory policies on child poverty since they were first introduced in 1996. In particular, the misleadingly named “In Work” Tax Credit (IWTC) has been the focus of a long standing court case taken by CPAG against the Government. CPAG has long argued that there are better ways of creating an incentive to work that do not discriminate against children. Not only does it seriously disadvantage children of beneficiaries but it has adverse consequences for New Zealand society as a whole.

I’ll follow up on the hearing in a future edition of Poverty Watch.


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.

92 comments on “Poverty Watch 31”

  1. ghostrider888 1

    watched the Sanitarium / Fonterra interview;
    -Fonterra spokeswoman (reptilian)- want extension “jointly funded, we set it up and let it go”
    -Sanitarium spokesman-implicit that “we want government to front up
    -“we already fund shareholders”
    -“if somebody else came on board, that would be fantastic”

    No “political” messages detectable, just “commercial” messages; seen the price of Weet-bix lately?

    While Key says he wants the Reserve Bank to curb LVR restrictions for first-home buyers, Wheeler says this would limit the effectiveness of the instrument = remain renting.
    (“LVR restrictions are implemented in times of rising systemic shock; consider who the customers of the 8 banks / Credit Unions put on watch by Standard and Poors likely to be).

    Concerning Social Housing moves; The charitable sector has approx 5000 homes, Accessible Properties (IHC subsidary) holds 1100 of those for people with disabilities; MSD will allocate renters to providers, while Community Housing Aotearoa / Habitat for Humanity director Warren Jack asserts “we want to select the families”.

    Subsidies for the difference between income-related and market rents only budgeted to cover 812 of the current 5000 sector houses.

    • prism 1.1

      Sanitarium is run as a charity isn’t it – so tax exempt. Or does someone know different. How come they come up with the shareholders mention as of major importance? The church is Seventh-day Adventist Church. Interesting Herald piece

      • ghostrider888 1.1.1

        “we see a convergence occuring globally between pharmaceuticals and food.” Yep! sigh

  2. ghostrider888 2

    watched the Sanitarium / Fonterra spokes-people interviewed;
    Fonterra- we want it “jointly funded, we set it up and let it go”. (reptilian).
    Sanitarium- implicit “we want govt. to front up; we already fund share-holders” (they are a registered charity) if somebody else comes on board that would be fantastic!”; no political “message”, just commercial; seen the price of Weet-bix lately?

    Key claims he wants the Reserve Bank to exempt first-home buyers from the new LVR tools, while Wheeler argues this would limit the effectiveness of the instrument = remain renting.
    (LVR instruments are deployed in times of rising systemic shock risks; consider who the customers of the 8 banks and Credit Unions put on credit-watch notice by Standard and Poors are).

    On the budgets Social Housing initiatives; the charitable sector has 5000 house currently; Accessible Properties (IHC subsidary), 1100 0f those for people with disabilities.
    MSD will allocate renters to providers while Community Housing Aotearoa / Habitat for Humanity director, Warren Jack says “we want to select the (deserving) families”.

    Subsidies for the difference between income-related and market rents for tenants are budgeted to cover 812 of those 5100 homes.

    The wages provided for carers of family members in the Budget are minimum, only for high and very high needs and not available to those caring for spouse or partner.

  3. The group Community Campaign for Food in Schools are disappointed that Finance Minister Bill English did not announce on Thursday the provision of breakfasts for children in low-decile schools.

    It seems unlikely that English and his pals would just for once have decided to adopt evidence-based policies, but if they did the evidence seems unequivocal that a breakfast-in-schools programme would be a pointless waste of money.

    You’d also better hope the govt doesn’t decide to start applying evidence-based policy towards child poverty in general, because the evidence isn’t backing CPAG there either…

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      privileged idiots, all of them.

    • ghostrider888 3.2

      re Breakfast in Schools;
      -“substantial results in third world countries”.(conditions? dormitories?).
      -“not convinced population (of concern) undernourished”. really?
      -rather than ‘cutting a cheque’, at least support is targeted (and not liable to the ‘mis-spending’ the Right would assert).

      re CPAG;
      -“still increasing reported ‘material’ hardship, regardless of income levels”.
      -‘Curly Effect’ cuts both ways.
      -“relative poverty” construct is relevant.

      However, there is an argument for incomes being mis-directed by parents across SESs

    • rosy 3.3

      Eric Crampton’s brief meta-analysis is interesting.

      – Targeted progammes are no good, universal may be better? A la Finland? So why is Shearer adamant that Labour will only support targeted programmes?
      – May offset spending behaviour of parents so why not pay them more? (All of them – there’s a thought!)
      – Some possible nutritional benefits (increased calcium in the mentioned study). Could be used to ensure better nutrition, particularly iron and calcium (maybe iodine) which are becoming problematic
      – a morning tea programme may better ensure full tummies – milk and fruit in schools?

      As for Lindsay Mitchell she’s as biased to the right as John Minto is to the left, and we don’t measure child poverty anymore anyway do we? How has the median income level been faring compared with costs in the last few years anyway?

      • Psycho Milt 3.3.1

        – Targeted progammes are no good, universal may be better? A la Finland? So why is Shearer adamant that Labour will only support targeted programmes?
        – May offset spending behaviour of parents so why not pay them more? (All of them – there’s a thought!)
        – Some possible nutritional benefits (increased calcium in the mentioned study). Could be used to ensure better nutrition, particularly iron and calcium (maybe iodine) which are becoming problematic
        – a morning tea programme may better ensure full tummies – milk and fruit in schools

        See, this is where the idea of evidence-based policy falls down:

        1. People are convinced there’d be great results from a breakfast-in-schools programme for low-decile schools.

        2. Someone bothers to round up some evidence, and it says that providing a breakfast-in-schools programme in all likelihood wouldn’t even increase the number of kids eating breakfast, let alone achieve the more ambitious goals claimed for it.

        3. This prompts food-in-schools enthusiasts not to a review of whether this is such a good idea after all, but to thinking up different ways of offering food in schools that work around the evidence.

        We can agree that providing food in schools, or bunging the nation’s parents some extra cash, are likely to do some form of good in and of themselves. However, that’s true of any number of things – the question is what constitutes the most cost-effective use of taxpayers’ money, and food in schools is demonstrably not it.

        • Colonial Viper 3.3.1.1

          Exactly they’re just poor peoples kids

          Another $100M in taxpayers funds for millionaire farmers to irrigate their land please. They can then make more milk but lets not give that to the children in school breakfasts – after all it’s not cost effective (for the rich).

          • Psycho Milt 3.3.1.1.1

            1. “The govt wastes money on this other shit so has no excuse not to waste money on my shit” isn’t a useful argument.

            2. The evidence says it’s not cost effective for anybody. The effect achieved for the cost consists of little more than making patronising middle class people feel virtuous, which is something people are already free to achieve on their own dime.

            • Colonial Viper 3.3.1.1.1.1

              Nonsense. Politics sets priorities for spending, and both your politics and your priorities are easy to pick.

        • rosy 3.3.1.2

          This prompts food-in-schools enthusiasts not to a review of whether this is such a good idea after all, but to thinking up different ways of offering food in schools that work around the evidence”

          Breakfast in schools may still be a good idea, but not for the reason envisaged. Just like free child immunisation also give health professionals other opportunities to check on child health. I was not advocating for breakfasts in schools, I was looking at what Crampton wrote about the studies he’d looked at.

          I’m not a breakfast in schools enthusiast – I’d rather kids went to school after breakfast at home, but I’d also rather they had breakfast at school rather than no breakfast at all… for whatever reason they may have missed out on it. So there you go. My answer would be to ensure families have an adequate income, not the income that is used to ‘incentivise’ people to look for non-existent jobs, or those that do not pay a living wage.

          As for poverty levels – you are quoting poverty not increasing relative to the median wage, a measure that works well when the economy is humming along. Unless you can show the median wage buys what it did at the beginning and end of the period you’re quoting then you have no evidence that poverty for families has remained static. If it was as simple as quoting 60% of the median wage don’t you think the government would be shouting from the rooftops that child poverty has not increased rather than saying ‘we don’t measure child poverty’?

          I also reckon if the take home median wage has held up it’s because of working for families – not because of increased wages. R0b’s links show this, and the increasing levels of low income, short hours contract work. Added to this is that with rising unemployment, people have to rely on benefits and lose working for families payments. It’s not unreasonable to use this evidence, rather than the sole measure of the median wage to suggest more families are struggling to feed their kids.

          • Psycho Milt 3.3.1.2.1

            My answer would be to ensure families have an adequate income…

            Sure. But the question of whether this problem is actually one of inadequate income or merely child neglect is still at issue. According to MSD, income is adequate so I’m inclined to go with child neglect.

            Unless you can show the median wage buys what it did at the beginning and end of the period you’re quoting then you have no evidence that poverty for families has remained static.

            It’s remained static for the last few years. It’s actually lower than it was ten years ago. Re income,the MSD report says real after-housing-costs income for those below the various poverty lines is about the same as it was in the early 1980s (see this comment for reference). The percentage of children within households in that category has increased, but that’s a separate issue.

            I also reckon if the take home median wage has held up it’s because of working for families – not because of increased wages.

            No dispute with that from this quarter. This to me is the genuine failing of this government and the last one: Clark’s one for using Welfare For Families to disguise the effects of low wages, and Key’s one for successfully making pay and conditions for wage-earners even worse. It’s the assault on the workforce that’s been the real driver of poverty the last couple of decades – changes to the social welfare system are insignificant by comparison.

            • rosy 3.3.1.2.1.1

              “According to MSD, income is adequate”

              This is not true, according to your own comment

              “that relative to the median the incomes of lower-income households with children had fallen away (ie higher inequality in 2011 than in the mid 1980s).”

              But even then, if you’re agreeing that ‘it’ (the median wage?) is static or lower than it was 10 years ago –

              “It’s actually lower than it was ten years ago. “

              – then you are also conceding that relative poverty (as a percentage of the median) is a lower income today than 10 years ago. Since inflation has not been eliminated the outcome must surely be that there is less money in real terms for people on the median, or below median wages to spend.

              Either way, there is still no evidence that the median wage today buys what is did at the beginning of the period in question. So the problem of whether there are more people on incomes that are inadequate is not resolved. Your MSD/Lindsay Mitchell data doesn’t stack up as a justification for the position you’re taking.

              Until this is sorted the value judgments you’re implying have no place in the discussion, imo. Btw, you realise that larger households may be combined families, rather than larger nuclear families due to housing costs, including sole parents combining households?

              I’m willing to accept that a few parents fail to feed their kids, but not that large proportions of communities have inadequate parents, rather than inadequate incomes.

              Agree entirely with your last para.

              • This is not true, according to your own comment…

                The report is quite clear that real after-housing-costs income for people in poverty is pretty much what it was in the early 1980s – ie there has been no worsening in real terms. As to how much that income can buy now compared to 30 years ago, that’s exactly what “real” income means.

                We have a situation where the income of people in poverty is about the same as it was 30 years ago and the poverty rate (the percentage of households in poverty) is lower than it was ten years ago (didn’t see a graph covering 30 years but there’s probably one in there somewhere), but the percentage of the nation’s children in those households has doubled since the early 80s. We’ve got an increasing problem alright, but it seems it’s not one of declining real income or a rising poverty rate.

                But even then, if you’re agreeing that ‘it’ (the median wage?) is static or lower than it was 10 years ago -…

                “It” in that sentence refers to poverty, ie the poverty rate.

                Either way, there is still no evidence that the median wage today buys what is did at the beginning of the period in question.

                See above. The report is quite clear that AHC incomes for low-income families are about the same in real terms. I didn’t see a mention of whether the median is around the same in real terms, but if inequality has increased you’d have to assume the median is now higher in real terms.

                Until this is sorted the value judgments you’re implying have no place in the discussion, imo

                I’m not making any value judgments beyond the one that not feeding your kids is neglect (which I regard as a statement of the obvious rather than a value judgment in any case). The evidence is that lower incomes haven’t fallen significantly cf 30 years ago and the poverty rate is lower than it was ten years ago – if you want to claim this is about income rather than neglect, you need to make a case for that claim.

                • rosy

                  From the report:

                  On the AHC moving line measure, the child poverty rate increased from 2007 (22%) to 2010 (26%) and 2011 (25%). ….

                  AHC incomes in 2007 for low-income households were around the same as they were in the early 1980s in real terms (so the fixed line child poverty rates are around the same in 2007 as in the 1980s), but that relative to the median, the incomes of lower-income households with children had fallen away (leading to higher moving line poverty rates).

                  *shrug*
                  (moving line measures long-term trends)

                  • Elsewhere in the report (p9), it mentions that the median household income has risen faster than wages due to increased female labour force participation, particularly in two-parent families with dependent children. Which makes those families better off – it doesn’t make the lowest-income families worse off.

                    This is why I don’t like those moving-line measurements – they measure inequality rather than poverty, which isn’t the same thing. For example, the ratio between my salary and the boss of whichever organisation I’m working for at the time has increased dramatically over the last 20 years. In relative terms I’m now horrendously, ridiculously worse off compared to those guys, but in real terms I’m actually doing better than I was. It’s the real that matters.

                    • rosy

                      “This is why I don’t like those moving-line measurements – they measure inequality rather than poverty, which isn’t the same thing. “

                      And yet… the report you quote and all other reports r0b relies on say poverty, as well as inequality, especially for the poorest of the poor, has increased since 2007 and the report says moving line is better to measure this trend.

  4. -”not convinced population (of concern) undernourished”. really?

    Yes, really. Sudan this ain’t.

    -”still increasing reported ‘material’ hardship, regardless of income levels”.

    Which is another way of saying that what’s actually on the rise is the perception of people that they’re suffering hardship. According to the figures, that’s not reflected in income levels, which is something that can actually be measured.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Oh fuck off just listen to the rich pricks and corporates cry hardship when you try and increase taxes on them by 2%.

      All I see you doing is trying to downplay both outright poverty and massive income inequality in NZ.

  5. ghostrider888 5

    perceptions;
    -poor educational outcomes “tail”
    -incidence of ‘third-world” disease
    -relative deprivation; access to enrichment experiences, technology, home insulation / quality
    -exposure to poor diet
    -neglect
    -abuse
    -CYFS notifications

    Not a subscriber to the theses of The Spirit Level then.

    • ghostrider888 5.1

      edit: diet

    • I’m a subscriber to the theses of “What do we have evidence for?” In the case of poverty, the evidence available doesn’t show anything worse than it’s showed for decades.

      Here’s where the evidence is pointing us: if the problems you cite genuinely are on the increase, we’re in need of some factor other than poverty to account for it, because according to the evidence to hand, poverty is not on the increase.

        • Psycho Milt 5.2.1.1

          Evidence of what, is the question.

          The first link can be disregarded – it’s basically assertions by academics that poverty is increasing.

          The second and third links provide evidence that rates of Third-World diseases are increasing. But that’s not in dispute; what’s in dispute is the claim that poverty is the cause of that increase. MSD’s figures show poverty is not increasing, which is a severe blow to that claim.

          The Children’s Social Health Monitor report (fourth link) is interesting. The relevant section is the one on income and standard of living, particularly pages 23-25. The figures show the same thing MSD’s figures do (presumably the source is the same data from Stats NZ). So, if poverty is actually lower now than it was ten years ago, it’s a poor explanation for the problems cited by Ghost888.

          The Children’s Commission report (fifth link) again has the same figures – page 5 shows, like the other reports, that the level of poverty has been static the last few years and is actually lower than ten years ago.

          Back to the drawing board for CPAG…

          • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.1.1

            Apparently there’s no poverty or inequality problem in our society, and hungry children in schools – they clearly don’t exist. what were we all worried about in this pleasant land of milk and honey?

            • ghostrider888 5.2.1.1.1.1

              btw, KV-2 (Fit for garrison duty, Homeland). 😉

            • Psycho Milt 5.2.1.1.1.2

              Reading comprehension not your strong point? Of course poverty and inequality are problems in our society. At issue is whether poverty is increasing – the evidence says it isn’t.

              • Colonial Viper

                Just look around mate, use your eyes and ears for a change.

                • Sure – why would we use official data sources for population-level info when we can do just a good a job with gut instinct and talking to our immediate acquaintances?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Yep. Or better still, empower local communities with budget and resources so they can make the right decisions for their own areas, and get Wellington bureaucrats out of the picture.

                    • I missed this earlier, and kind of wish I hadn’t seen it now. Could you perhaps suggest who would allocate the proposed budget and resources to local communities once we’ve removed Wellington bureaucrats from the picture?

                  • freedom

                    “Sure – why would we use official data sources for population-level info”

                    would these be the same official data sources that label those with one hour of employment per week as no longer being unemployed, or official data sources that quote job site listings to show how many jobs are out there, when even a cursory scanning of those job sites show replicated listings, out of date listings, and even listings for jobs that may or may not be available in the future?

                    • Your implied argument seems to be that because some other official data offerings have features you find unsatisfactory, it would be unwise to rely on official data sources in this instance. Which would leave us where, exactly? We declare there to be no reliable data available on poverty so the government is correct not to try and measure it, perhaps? We switch to a fully anecdote-based approach to poverty? The options don’t appear particularly attractive.

          • r0b 5.2.1.1.2

            Well I was wrong, you did read the links, bravo.

            > Evidence of what, is the question.

            Indeed. Assessing the situation is made more difficult by the government’s continual refusal to have an official measure of child poverty. Why is that you suppose?

            > The first link can be disregarded – it’s basically assertions by academics that poverty is
            > increasing.

            Disregarding any evidence that you don’t want to hear certainly helps you to maintain your worldview. Prof Hodgetts is reporting OECD data – do you think he is wrong? Or Lying?

            > The second and third links provide evidence that rates of Third-World diseases are
            > increasing. But that’s not in dispute; what’s in dispute is the claim that poverty is the
            > cause of that increase.

            Diseases associated with poverty are increasing, but you don’t think that poverty is the cause? So what’s your theory?

            > The Children’s Social Health Monitor report (fourth link) is interesting. The relevant
            > section is the one on income and standard of living, particularly pages 23-25. The figures
            > show the same thing MSD’s figures do (presumably the source is the same data from
            > Stats NZ). So, if poverty is actually lower now than it was ten years ago, it’s a poor
            > explanation for the problems cited by Ghost888.

            > The Children’s Commission report (fifth link) again has the same figures – page 5
            > shows, like the other reports, that the level of poverty has been static the last few years
            > and is actually lower than ten years ago.

            All the figures on this show similar things. A massive increase in poverty since the neo-liberal reforms of the 1990s. A slight decline under Labour’s last government, largely due to Working For Families. A spike upwards again after 2008, with conflicting results after that.

            The effects of poverty are not a short-term thing, measured over a couple of years. They unfold over decades, indeed generations. Poverty in New Zealand is much higher than was in the 1980s, and so are the problems associated with poverty.

            • Psycho Milt 5.2.1.1.2.1

              Assessing the situation is made more difficult by the government’s continual refusal to have an official measure of child poverty. Why is that you suppose?

              My personal opinion is that the reason for it is that the current government is a pack of cunts. In more elaborate terms, they’re politicians who know an official measure of child poverty would provide evidence that there is a serious problem they’re doing nothing about because it doesn’t affect their voters. That’s not really relevant to this issue, though – the MSD’s figures provide us with a measure we can use.

              Disregarding any evidence that you don’t want to hear certainly helps you to maintain your worldview. Prof Hodgetts is reporting OECD data – do you think he is wrong? Or Lying?

              Prof Hodgetts is just some guy with Prof in front of his name to me. What OECD data is he reporting? What does it actually say? If it conflicts with the MSD’s own data, where did the OECD get their data from? And is that source more credible than Stats NZ? I’m not just going to take his word for it.

              Diseases associated with poverty are increasing, but you don’t think that poverty is the cause? So what’s your theory?

              What I think counts for shit, it’s what the evidence shows that matters. And in this case, the evidence is quite compellingly suggesting poverty is not the cause. My own theory is that people tend to raise children much like themselves, and if they have large families the population of people much like themselves will tend to grow – but perhaps that’s just crazy talk.

              All the figures on this show similar things. A massive increase in poverty since the neo-liberal reforms of the 1990s.

              This is just the left-wing equivalent of the view that we’re paying the price now for the introduction of the DPB in the 70s. It appeals to prejudice rather than reason.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                the evidence is quite compellingly suggesting poverty is not the cause.

                Says who? This from The Lancet:

                Increasing incidence of serious infectious diseases and inequalities in New Zealand: a national epidemiological study. Baker et al 2012:

                Interpretation
                These findings support the need for stronger prevention efforts for infectious diseases, and reinforce the need to reduce ethnic and social inequalities and to address disparities in broad social determinants such as income levels, housing conditions, and access to health services. Our method could be adapted for infectious disease surveillance in other countries.

                My emphasis.

              • ghostrider888

                “Our Future is Wasted” (pun intended).

              • r0b

                Well we seem to be agreed about some matters then!

                Prof Hodgetts is just some guy with Prof in front of his name to me. What OECD data is he reporting? What does it actually say?

                I had a hunt round the OECD data and I can see the measure (rate of increase) that he refers to. I assume then that he is doing his own analysis of multiple OECD reports over the years – you know, the kind of original research that academics do.

                If you don’t believe Hodgetts claim then you need to claim that he is factually incorrect or lying, but you are refusing to do either, you simply write him off because you don’t like what he says.

                If it conflicts with the MSD’s own data … and … MSD data shows real income after housing costs at the poverty line isn’t significantly worse than in 1982

                What MSD data? Link please. The Children’s Social Health Monitor report linked above (comment 5.2.1), Figure 6, graphs Statistics NZ data for real income after housing costs and shows that the %age of children living below the 60% income poverty line (contemporary median baseline) to have risen from 14% in 1982 to 25% in 2011 (with higher peaks in the late 1990s).

                …the evidence is quite compellingly suggesting poverty is not the cause.

                If you don’t believe that poverty is causing the significant growth in poverty related illness, and if you’re going to disregard the medical and academic opinion that says that poverty is to blame, then you’re going to have to have a really really good alternative explanation. And you don’t.

                • If you don’t believe Hodgetts claim then you need to claim that he is factually incorrect or lying, but you are refusing to do either, you simply write him off because you don’t like what he says.

                  Er, no – that’s not how it works. I’ve pointed out MSD figures that show poverty to be static for the last few years and lower than 10 or even 20 years ago. You’re saying Prof Hodgetts has done special professor stuff with OECD data and he says otherwise, so… what, exactly? The official Stats NZ data is wrong? It doesn’t show the poverty rate to be static the last few years and lower than it was ten years ago? I’m not willing to just take his word for it, no – but that’s not the same thing as writing him off because I don’t like what he says (that’s apparently ak’s territory). In short: you’re the one with a claim in need of evidential support here.

                  What MSD data? Link please.

                  It’s linked from the Lindsay Mitchell post I linked to in my original comment (which you perhaps didn’t read because you don’t like what she says?), however I’ll repeat it here (NB: link points to a .doc file). Page 27:

                  “The longer-run findings on child poverty reflect the fact that AHC incomes in 2011 for low-income households were around the same as they were in the early 1980s in real terms, but that relative to the median the incomes of lower-income households with children had fallen away (ie higher inequality in 2011 than in the mid 1980s).”

                  The Children’s Social Health Monitor report linked above (comment 5.2.1), Figure 6, graphs Statistics NZ data for real income after housing costs and shows that the %age of children living below the 60% income poverty line (contemporary median baseline) to have risen from 14% in 1982 to 25% in 2011 (with higher peaks in the late 1990s).

                  So we’re referring to different things. The data shows that AHC income is about the same in real terms for households below the poverty line cf the early 1980s, but the percentage of the country’s children to be found in those households has risen. Which suggests that what we’re looking at is not an increase in poverty but either an increase in the size of below-poverty-line households cf the early 80s, or a decrease in the size of the households above the line – or both.

                  If you don’t believe that poverty is causing the significant growth in poverty related illness, and if you’re going to disregard the medical and academic opinion that says that poverty is to blame, then you’re going to have to have a really really good alternative explanation. And you don’t.

                  You’re an academic – you must know how this works, and that isn’t it. People are claiming the increase in Third-World-typical illnesses and child neglect (which is the correct term for sending your kids to school without breakfast or lunch) is due to increasing poverty; I’m pointing out the data says poverty isn’t increasing. There’s no rule of argument that says I’m only allowed to point out why someone’s explanation is wrong if I have a better explanation myself – it suffices if I have evidence their explanation is wrong. Which I do.

                  • Damn – apologies for the shoddy editing. The para above beginning “So we’re referring…” and ending “- or both” wasn’t meant to be in italics.

                    [r0b: fixed]

                  • r0b

                    I’ve pointed out MSD figures that show poverty to be static for the last few years and lower than 10 or even 20 years ago.

                    And I’ve pointed out Statistics NZ figures that show it to have increased. All these figures are estimates using different assumptions, so which ones are correct / most useful? We look for corroborating evidence, and find it in the increase in diseases of poverty (which you do not dispute and can’t explain).

                    You’re saying Prof Hodgetts has done special professor stuff with OECD data and he says otherwise, so… what, exactly? The official Stats NZ data is wrong?

                    No, his claim is very specifically that it (poverty) is “growing at three times the OECD average”. The MSD stats that you like have absolutely no bearing on his claim, which is about the growth of poverty in NZ compared to other countries.

                    You are simply writing off his statement because you don’t like it and / or don’t like academics – as you said “The first link can be disregarded – it’s basically assertions by academics that poverty is increasing”.

                    I’m pointing out the data says poverty isn’t increasing.

                    Whereas other data and the health stats say that it is – you have “evidence their explanation is wrong” only if you select some kinds evidence and ignore others, including health stats that you can’t explain.

                    • And I’ve pointed out Statistics NZ figures that show it to have increased.

                      There seems to be a fundamental unwillingness on the left to consider what the actual problem we’re looking at might be. Let me spell it out for you:

                      1. Real incomes for the poor haven’t declined relative to 30 years ago.
                      2. The poverty rate, ie the percentage of households in poverty, by three different methods of measuring it, has declined over the last ten years.
                      3. The percentage of the nation’s children that belong to the households in poverty has doubled over the last 30 years.

                      So, yes we’ve got a problem alright, and yes that problem has symptoms like increasing rates of hunger and illness among children. But given items 1 and 2, what we need to be looking for as an explanation is not increased poverty, because that we can be pretty sure we haven’t got. To my non-academic, untrained-in-the-social-sciences, and quite possibly also prejudiced and ill-educated mind, what we have here looks more like a long-term family planning issue than anything else – I could be wrong about that, but one thing I do know is how arguments work, and the argument for this being a problem of increasing poverty fails. It’s time the people with the smarts and the qualifications to interpret this stuff objectively actually did so.

                      No, his claim is very specifically that it (poverty) is “growing at three times the OECD average”. The MSD stats that you like have absolutely no bearing on his claim, which is about the growth of poverty in NZ compared to other countries.

                      Yes, his claim is that poverty is growing at three times the OECD average. The official data says real lower incomes have remained static and the poverty rate has been falling. His claim therefore is very much in need of substantiation.

                      Whereas other data and the health stats say that it is – you have “evidence their explanation is wrong” only if you select some kinds evidence and ignore others, including health stats that you can’t explain.

                      The health stats are not a measurement of poverty – that would be a basic correlation=causation error. The data you have shows an increasing percentage of children in the poorest households – that might increase the symptoms associated with poverty, but the real question becomes why the percentage of NZ’s kids in these households is increasing. Identifying the actual problem should always be the first step when considering solutions, not something that can be skipped in favour of jumping to conclusions.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      To my non-academic, untrained-in-the-social-sciences, and quite possibly also prejudiced and ill-educated mind,

                      Prejudice (or confirmation bias) doesn’t disappear with academic training. That is what peer-review is for.

                      I suspect your prejudice is against women; that poor people have too many children. My prejudice is against half-bright bigotry pretending to be a cogent argument.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      The health stats are not a measurement of poverty – that would be a basic correlation=causation error. The data you have shows an increasing percentage of children in the poorest households – that might increase the symptoms associated with poverty, but the real question becomes why the percentage of NZ’s kids in these households is increasing.

                      The health stats are a measure of poverty. In this case poor health.

                      Can anybody else think of why a decrease in infant health might lead to an increased birthrate?

                    • r0b

                      We’re going round in circles Milt, so this is my last comment on the topic.

                      1. Real incomes for the poor haven’t declined relative to 30 years ago.

                      Yes they have by some measures, and not by others. So we need to look for corroborating evidence to see which measures are most useful.

                      2. The poverty rate, ie the percentage of households in poverty, by three different methods of measuring it, has declined over the last ten years.

                      You haven’t linked to this data at all. In general these measures follow the pattern I have already described and linked to. Poverty increases since the 1990s, a decrease under the last Labour government largely due to working for families, and an uptick since 2008.

                      3. The percentage of the nation’s children that belong to the households in poverty has doubled over the last 30 years.

                      Again you haven’t linked to this yet.

                      So, yes we’ve got a problem alright, and yes that problem has symptoms like increasing rates of hunger and illness among children.

                      Yes, we have a problem.

                      But given items 1 and 2, what we need to be looking for as an explanation is not increased poverty, because that we can be pretty sure we haven’t got.

                      And here is where you are still shut in to the narrow box of your thinking. Both your points 1 and 2 are debatable and flawed. Debatable for reasons already discussed above. Flawed because you are focusing only on income, only on one side of the equation.

                      Families also have outgoings. The cost of housing is one of these, factored into some of the measures we have discussed above, but not others. But housing is only part of the picture. The cost of items like food and power have increased well ahead of wages. The recent increase in GST only makes things worse. These are basic costs that no family can avoid, but they hit poor families as a percentage of income much much harder. In short even if incomes were indeed keeping up (if your point 1 was true) more and more families have been driven into poverty by even more rapid increases in outgoings.

                      That is why we see the significant increases in poverty related diseases, already discussed above.

                      That is why we see the significant increases in demand at food banks and charitable organisations, widely reported in the media.

                      Poverty is a complicated issue, you need to look at the big picture, you can’t just pick one measure that you like and declare that the problem doesn’t exist.

                      The health stats are not a measurement of poverty – that would be a basic correlation=causation error.

                      As correlations go it is a very strong one. If you want to claim that diseases associated with poverty are increasing while poverty is not, then once again I think it is incumbent on you to supply an alternative explanation, which you have not.

                      Anyway, as above, since we’re never going to reach any agreement on this, that’ll do from me. Bye now.

                    • I appreciate that you’ve no intention of carrying this further, but can’t let stand the assertion that I haven’t linked to the data I’m referring to – I have, and here it is again. Specifically, the following points you say I haven’t linked are supported by quotes from that MSD report:

                      1. Real incomes for low income households similar to the early 1980s.
                      …AHC incomes in 2011 for low-income households were around the same as they were in the early 1980s in real terms… p14. (NB: the “AHC” and “in real terms” bits of this sentence render any blather about housing costs and rising food prices irrelevant.)

                      2. Poverty has declined over the last ten years:
                      In 2011, on the AHC ‘fixed line’ 60% measure, there were 690,000 (16%) below the low-income threshold (ie ‘in poverty’), down from 930,000 (25%) in 2001. p.14. (NB: on the ‘moving line’ measure the decrease was only from 20% to 19%.)

                      3. The percentage of the nation’s children in families below the threshold has doubled in the last 30 years.
                      This is actually in the Children’s Commission report you linked to above: Figure 1.1, p5. Proportion of children in households below the AHC 60% median: around 13% in 1982, 25% in 2011.

                    • r0b []

                      My apologies for my incorrect assertion on you linking to your sources Milt.

          • Jenny 5.2.1.1.3

            A new class of right wing denier emerges.

            The holocaust denier.

            The climate change denier.

            The poverty denier.

            What do each of these denial of reality fallacies share?
            (Apart from emerging from the Right of the political spectrum).

            What each denial has in common is that they cover up an ugliness that preserves brutality, and immorality. Most of all they provide justification for a system of inequality and exploitation. Behind the holocaust denier is a refusal by those with a commitment to the system, to admit the reality that most of the concentration camps were forced slave labour camps where people were worked to the point of breaking. “Work makes free” was what was written over the gates of Auswich. The insulting idea behind this slogan, was that the victims of the Nazi rulers of Germany were responsible for their own plight and only had to work hard to earn their freedom. The whole edifice was part of system of protecting the power and privilege of the ruling elite.

            Behind the climate change denier. A refusal by those with commitment to a system that is built on the exploitation of the natural environment to the point of breaking.

            Behind the poverty denier. Much the same as the other two. If you deny the reality then you are spared ever having to address it. People are only receiving benefits or living in state houses because they are too lazy to work. Benefits need to be cut and state house tenants need to be evicted or become trapped in dependence is the mantra of the poverty deniers. How different is the denial of the real causes of poverty from the slogan “Work makes free”?

            • Psycho Milt 5.2.1.1.3.1

              A new class of right wing denier emerges.

              Didn’t need to read any further. There’s nothing new about the hack footsoldier of either wing whose motto is “If you don’t have an argument, call them a name.”

      • Murray Olsen 5.2.2

        No, you’re a subscriber to “What’s the government done now that I can be a cheerleader for?”
        By the way, congratulations for knowing we’re not Sudan. The question that should be asked is “Why aren’t we Denmark, or Finland?” We have the resources, we have the food, we have the climate to feed and house everyone reasonably well. Instead, as long as we’re not Sudan and Key and his ilk can have their mansions, you lot deny there’s a problem. What we’re turning into is not Sudan, but a kumara republic like those in Central America with an obscenely wealthy elite and a government which rules by decree, accepting no limits to its powers. Measure that.

      • ak 5.2.3

        Poor old Milt, Mitchell and Crampton, heh heh. Handy hint, cob: the figures don’t say what the claim (as usual) and when even our talkback standard fourth estate doesn’t take certain fanatics seriously, don’t expect readers here to.

  6. xtasy 6

    Those that believe that Fonterra, Sanitarium and other companies, who may offer “free” food for certain schools better realise that this has nothing much to do with offering “charity” services. It is a smart marketing move by such companies, to have their brands spread all over schools, to get kids familiar with it, and to continue buying their products once they are matured and working people.

    McDonald’s have been smart with their Ronal McDonald playgrounds and other marketing efforts, so the kids of parents that take their offspring to their “restaurants” do get familiarised with their brand, so when adults themselves, they are likely to bring their kids to McDonald’s.

    Nothing done by Fonterra and the likes will be for “free”, as they will simply put up prices on their products, so that the ordinary consumer will in fact subsidise the “free” milk and food at poorer schools.

    I would rather have the government step in, and deliver and ensure that milk and food for the kids that need it is offered.

    As for health spending, I raised this before, there appears to be no provisions made for spending extra on sick and disabled on benefits, to actually get well, where they may have a chance to, and to support them to be fit to take on some work. We get sold propaganda about the government and “WINZ” (excuse the capital letters) planning to “support” and “assist” those supposedly “locked into welfare dependency”, to “empower” and “free” them to take on work they can do.

    The truth is far from it, it is all designed to put extra pressure on those affected, and to force them into seeking and taking on work in the open market (“open employment” that is, competing with the fit and healty already looking for jobs). Admittedly they want to pay “incentives” to employers to hire such beneficiaries, but is this not just going to be abused again, and people facing the sack, once any subsidy or incentive payment has expired?

    So expect similar results as they had in the UK, with increased rates of suicide, self harm and people ending up homeless and whatever dramatic situations.

    Shame on National and their lackey supporters, Banks (the “amnesia” suffering liar) and Dunne (the always “hanging on” pendant to whatever government there is to give him a nicely paid job).

    Plans to have 3 bedroom and 4 bedroom homes of Housing NZ turned into “larger” ones with an extra bedroom are another great con. Most that have ever been inside a Housing NZ home will know, that much of their stock is not that large, and dividing up internal rooms will not get rid of over-crowding or “improve” housing conditions.

    A disgusting budget with nothing there for the poor, just another great con by English and his mates!

  7. ghostrider888 7

    I “know” that you frequently display the abilities of genuine insight and compassion, x.

    • xtasy 7.1

      Thanks ghostrider888. I also have my bad moments, as you will know. Tonight I am back to some balance, after having been shocked and enraged by a useless budget, only to serve the interests of an elite few in the end. So facing the reality mental and physical strength is needed, to keep fighting this madness.

  8. Jenny 8

    It is amazing to me, that a government that could call a hurried cabinet meeting, lasting all of 30 minutes. Which decided to hand out, over $1 billion to investors who had made a bad gamble on South Canterbury Finance. Has to agonize for months over releasing a fraction of that amount, to feed hungry children.

    These people have no conscience. After all the bluster and dropped hints. And admittance of the problem. To then do nothing is immoral verging on criminal. But of course it is all legal. All quite legal to starve children and bail out rich folk.

    Bill English has asked us all to consider the budget for the country as the same as the budget for a family. Making the plea, “That we can’t spend money recklessly” and that “Kiwi families understand this.”

    But if we really held the country to the same standards as a family. The police would be arresting the heads of this family for neglecting their children while partying it up, recklessly showering cash on their friends to booze up on champagne and caviar. Living the high life while their children starve..

    • KJT 8.1

      Right on. Jenny.

      The Government saying that a countries finances follow the same principles as that of families shows a profound ignorance of economics and how money is produced.

      Or a total contempt for the knowledge of the public.

      Even a little thought would show that Governments, as the issuer of currency with the power to tax and regulate, do not have the same constraints or work under the same economic rules, as a household.

    • muzza 8.2

      It is amazing to me, that a government that could call a hurried cabinet meeting, lasting all of 30 minutes. Which decided to hand out, over $1 billion to investors who had made a bad gamble on South Canterbury Finance. Has to agonize for months over releasing a fraction of that amount, to feed hungry children.

      If its not clear to people, that those in charge of the *decision making*, you know its the same people who own the NZ parliament, in this case, do not give a flying fark, about you, your kids or anyone that is not in the club/lodge!

      Time for people to stop being amazed, or shocked etc, at the decisions being made, and the masses being kicked in the head, while they’re already down, because these are knockout/coma blows being rained down on your fellow human beings!

      Evil runs this world, its time for people to wake up, stand up, and do something about it!

      Begin by calling it out, calling it by name, calling it what it is!

      • kiwicommie 8.2.1

        Well you have to remember that the business roundtable is made up of the same neo-liberal group that bought the shares from the first round of the asset sales (in the 80s-90s), they have influence over both major parties; so beyond nationalization (or buying out) of pretty much every business in New Zealand there is not much you can do. The government bureaucracy at the top, such as basically all the executives and CEO’s are neo-liberal devotees, and middle management are at least sympathetic to neo-liberal theory; so again you would have to pretty much sack and replace most of the public service. So there is no way out, a few oligarchs run New Zealand, and the public service supports them.

        • tricledrown 8.2.1.1

          kiwicommie who would you Put-in as their leader!

          • kiwicommie 8.2.1.1.1

            If I was a state-communist, I would call for an old fashioned purge (joking); China did a good clearing out recently of a few businessman in its top ranks. The best way to clear out the bad wood is to break up the big monopolies such as Sky TV (allowing in other providers from say the US or Asia would ruin the neoliberal monopoly of TV in NZ), bring in things like NZ Power to break power monopolies and bring down power prices, not to mention build a second (and eventually third) cable to bring down internet prices.

            • Colonial Viper 8.2.1.1.1.1

              The banking cartel and the monopoly on credit/money creation

              That’s the one which really needs breaking.

              • kiwicommie

                To break the banking cartel you need a strong government bank like kiwibank, the other possibility of course is trying to buy out private banks already operating.

                • Colonial Viper

                  That’s a solid start, but there you are still only looking at the retail banking side of things.

    • Rich the other 8.3

      Jenny,

      South Canterbury Finance operated with a govt guarantee against losses , This policy was heavily endorsed by Labour, at the time it was an unavoidable necessity.

      As for conscience , where’s yours? , it’s people like you and the greens ( your probably one of them) who do there best to destroy developments in this country which would solve poverty in this country.
      I see a couple of hundred people at a beach on the news this morning protesting against oil exploration , these people were protesting in one of our poorest areas , trying to stop a project that could generate real wealth for NZ , money that will genuinely help solve poverty.

      You and the greens would rather children starved than embrace any new developments.

      What’s wrong with you lot , it’s bizarre, Shame on all of you.

      • tricledrown 8.3.1

        Rich the other so tell me why Bungling Bill English went against treasury advice to resign SCF to the govt guarantee!

        • Rich the other 8.3.1.1

          The guarantee was applied to many finance company’s, not just SCF.
          The last I heard was it was highly likely that investors would get most of there money back, SFCs major and possibly only problem was alleged employee fraud.

          SFC isn’t my major concern , try to concentrate on the hypocrisy of many on this site claiming to have concern for child poverty , the greens are two faced , outwardly showing concern , then trying to undermine real developments that would solve this blight on our society.

          • Colonial Viper 8.3.1.1.1

            Like you give a damn mate with your crocodile tears.

            This country has $50,000 of GDP for every man woman and child and somehow our economic system is slanted so that NZers still go hungry every night while we have a Tory PM who enjoys thousand dollar dinners.

            What a crock.

            • Rich the other 8.3.1.1.1.1

              More crap from a person who doesn’t really care about people, typical green voter, worms and snails have more value to you than people in poverty.

              GDP may be $50,000 per person , I don’t know but GDP is the value of goods sold , not profit made, it’s a huge difference.

              • Colonial Viper

                You clearly don’t know about GDP: I’ve just illustrated that this economy is easily big enough to keep everyone fed and sheltered…if it wasn’t for the oversize profits being made by some who demand far more than their fair share in unearned income, and who demand that money is exported to foreign investors at a rapid rate.

                • Rich the other

                  Rubbish ,all you have illustrated is a GDP figure (a sales figure), the end profit on that may be as little as 3% , it’s only the profit that’s available to boost the economy .
                  Your figure and conclusion ignores import and production costs.
                  Typical green thinking, o well ,
                  let’s print some money.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Profit doesn’t boost the economy, profit is a drain on the economy, especially when that profit is exported offshore as unearned income for foreign investors.

                    Basically your neoliberal paradigm is a total failure throughout the world – unless you are in the top 5% of course.

                    You also missed the destruction of communities caused by minimising production and labour costs: you call them costs, but other people call them their wages.

                    Typical green thinking, o well ,
                    let’s print some money.

                    There’s absolutely no difference between the Government borrowing a dollar from China to push into circulation, and the Government printing a dollar to push into circulation.

                    If you know a difference please explain it, Chicago School Schmuck.

                    • Rich the other

                      Unbelievable , you can’t be serious.
                      Try running an economy without profit.
                      When profit is made people are employed , taxes are paid , taxes are what pay for housing , education , hospitals, etc etc.

                      You are a perfect example why voters should fear a green/labour govt.
                      green = economic ruin.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Can’t you see the evidence all around you

                      You make profits by paying people less. You call it cutting production costs, workers call it cutting their wages and employment

                      Companies like Telecom make big profits by paying employees less and firing them. Even though the corporation still makes millions a week, it’s not enough for investors.

                      You are a perfect example why voters should fear a green/labour govt.
                      green = economic ruin.

                      You don’t even understand what an economy actually is. For some reason you think its something to do with profit, when in fact that is only a minor factor of paper and electronic ledger entries.

  9. kiwicommie 9

    National governments believe that forced taxation and handouts for their corporate friends is fair, whereas taxation for welfare,etc is ‘stealing’, and find no qualms borrowing billions for bailouts, and their pet projects. The Greens and Labour follow the concept that you have to borrow in order to fund infrastructure, and rebalance the economy. They can sign trade deals, get unemployment under 3%, run billion dollar surpluses, help students get an education, work towards ending poverty, cut government debt, and provide economic growth. National just brings up the national debt, raises taxes, increases inequality, lowers incomes for the lower class, and runs a political cult like Reagan did.

    • Rich the other 9.1

      ( 1) The current labour party is not the clark labour party.
      (2) The greens oppose far to many infrastructure programs and will have us back in caves in a very short time, there attacks on the productive sector is alarming.
      To make things worse , have a look at colonial vipers last post.
      (3) like it or not the nats can justifiably claim an economy in better shape than most other countries ,have a look at Europe.
      (4) What is undeniable is that the Christchurch earthquake is real and the world financial crisis is also real.
      (5)Regan , most Americans , many reluctantly acknowledge his presidency was what saved America from financial ruin.
      (6) Poverty in NZ is the topic and again ,why are the greens so intent on delaying and trying to stop many developments around NZ , in doing so they are stalling projects that will rid this blight on our society.

      The greens show more concern for slugs and snails than children in poverty.

      • kiwicommie 9.1.1

        (1) A lot of the same people are there, doubt they could do any worse a job.
        (2) If there is a Labour-Green government it will need coalition partners (probably NZ first according to recent polls), so that is pretty much fear mongering; as I doubt the Greens would have the numbers – though so far the Greens want more public transport vs private transport.
        (3) No they can’t, as both Labour and the Greens have pointed out National’s budgets will leave NZ more debt ridden than many nations in Europe, thanks the current account deficit and other factors. The other point is that National has to borrow to get to surplus, as soon as debt exceeds the ability to finance it there will be no more surpluses.
        (4) National made a blunder of Christchurch, any other government would have brought in foreign contractors (as well as the local ones), helped out homeowners, and rebuilt Christchurch fully years ago. Instead it suspended democracy and threw money around for years, has National even reopened the CBD, last I heard they were only planning to?
        (5) Reagan raised taxes, made a mess of the budget, and implemented a lot of the deregulation in the finance and real estate sector that led to the recession in the US.
        (6) Because poverty in NZ is rising under National, whereas it was declining under Labour. The Greens care about slugs and snails because as far as National is concerned wildlife is something that gets in the way of plundering National Parks for foreign mining companies (NZ only gets 1% or less in royalties – which is [less] than the cost of cleaning up oil spills or mining operations).

        • Rich the other 9.1.1.1

          I assume you are a labour voter ,forget it , the risk of the greens having influence on them is far to great , the tail will wag the dog.

          Labour needs new voters to form any govt but people like me are their problem ,I can’t vote labour but did last time.

          You need to examine the greens position on mining and make your own judgement .
          In todays world no miner will be able to mine and run ,make sure commitments and rules are in place , charge a substantial bond if necessary and then do it, the gains are to great to ignore.
          The greens/ forest and bird are opposing a mine on the west coast , the royalty’s are only a small part of the benefits but the total package amounts to around $100 mill per year, money that would help with social issues , this is just one project.
          Royalties are just one part of the gains to be had from mining.

          Prosperity awaits and it’s not difficult.

          • kiwicommie 9.1.1.1.1

            “I assume you are a labour voter.”

            Firstly, I am a Green party voter (though I am not a member of any political party), and in terms of economics I am more aligned to anarcho-capitalism, I oppose the neo-liberal version of the free market which is nothing more than corporatism and corporate welfare.

            Secondly, if you don’t want to vote Labour or Green then vote another party (if you have to go center-right then United Future or even the Conservative party are alternatives to National), that is why we have MMP so we don’t have a one party state like under FPTP; the issue is that so many people voted National that there was no way for the government to be held to account since 2008.

            Thirdly, as for mining I have already examined the possible gains, the reality is that they are non existent, having lived in Australia the costs of uranium mining operations are very high in terms of clean up costs; however the royalties are much higher along with the taxation, you could only justify mining if the royalties were as high as 30% and above as the possible mining areas could only deliver a few billion at best estimates a year – New Zealand doesn’t have the mining resources of Australia either.

            Fourthly, The New Zealand mining royalty structure is far too low in international terms, to the point that $100 million a year in royalties couldn’t cover the cost of reforestation, let alone the loss in biodiversity from when you clear whole areas of national parks and force wildlife out of an area (if you want an example, consider the Amazon rainforest).

            Lastly, Coal has had its day (and actual demand is decreasing) – however coal mining has a strong correlation with climate change, it is estimated that were coal production to be put to full capacity in the US and countries like New Zealand it would accelerate climate change still further with negative effects for New Zealand, certainly in New Zealand that would mean stronger droughts.

          • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1.2

            Prosperity awaits and it’s not difficult.

            Even if we followed your assanine burn the planet recommendations, the resulting paper prosperity would simply be swept up by the top 5%, as usual.

            By the way, a corporate supertax would raise all the funds we need for the medium term to build a strong, livable society.

            • kiwicommie 9.1.1.1.2.1

              The money would just all go overseas (providing a few hundred jobs at bare minimum wage till they strip the pittance of natural resources that is left), at current royalty rates of 1% or so most of the alleged royalties would be eaten up by administration costs. At best you could only justify mining if you got a decent profit margin of 30% or more in royalties, alongside tax; but no corporation would accept that, which is why low royalties lure them here – in any other country the government would demand far higher royalties.

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