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Poverty’s Beneficiaries.

Written By: - Date published: 10:02 am, November 8th, 2015 - 68 comments
Categories: capitalism, child abuse, child welfare, class war, cost of living, Economy, poverty, quality of life, Social issues - Tags:

This post was prompted after reading an article titled “Being Poor is too Expensive”. The article highlights the compounding cost of living in poverty, a poverty that the blissfully ignorant assume can be walked away from unscathed without a backward glance, if only one would work and try harder. Unfortunately, and as the author demonstrates, living in poverty really is more expensive. It not only costs more in financial terms, it costs more in time and has long term physical and mental health consequences.

The impacts of poverty are obvious in some of our most deprived regions, for example the influx of third world diseases (rheumatic fever, and meningitis for example) impacting on our poorest children. Some children have ended up with long-term health problems as a consequence of living in over-crowded, damp mouldy homes. Sadly many of these are state owned houses. Throw into this mix the food poverty, the time poverty (many of the parents are working two jobs just to pay the rent) and what we have is a whole generation of children whose life chances have been stunted from the outset. Comprehensive reports on the subject of child poverty indicate that there are now 260,000 children living in poverty with more recent reports indicating that the figure is much higher.

What I would like to know, if it costs more to be poor, then who are the ones reaping the benefits of depriving hundreds of thousands of children from a decent standard of living? Undoubtedly every time the banks hit families with fees for unauthorised overdrafts, for missed direct debits and automatic payments, it is literally taking food out of the mouths of babes. When loan sharks hook ‘poor’ families into easy credit, high interest loans, they too are taking food away from vulnerable families. When a Government increases the GST take, which falls disproportionately on those on the lowest incomes (Rashbrooke, 2013), they too are taking food away from children. In general tax terms it is those on the lowest incomes who are paying more tax per $1 earned than their wealthier counter-parts.

All in all it appears that a few at the top are reaping the rewards of the misery of those at the bottom, whilst those in the middle buy into the ideology that poor people are poor because they are lazy and [insert all manner of labels here]. Yet, it appears that overall those at the bottom of the heap, and in particular the most vulnerable (260,000 children) have become the victims of a system that benefits from keeping them in poverty. We are literally sacrificing our most vulnerable citizens so that a few at the top can sustain lifestyles that many of us can only imagine!

Kōrero Pono

Rashbrooke, M. (Ed.) (2013) Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis, Wellington: Bridget Williams Books

68 comments on “Poverty’s Beneficiaries.”

  1. Nic the NZer 1

    “What I would like to know, if it costs more to be poor, then who are the ones reaping the benefits of depriving hundreds of thousands of children from a decent standard of living?”

    Its not a balanced trade off, its a negative sum game, so the costs (inflicted on the poor) are not outweighed by the benefits (to the rich). On average it costs society as a whole allowing this to occur.

    The benefits might be accruing to an employer who pays a poverty wage to an employee, as a common example.

    • Bill 1.1

      It goes way beyond mere wage slavery Nic.

      Market economies create poverty. Society is the worse off for poverty. Individuals benefit from that state of affairs in a number of ways.

      eg – prisons. Society builds them and the privatises them. Individuals buy shares. And as has happened in the US, judges get back-handers to fill them with poor and marginalised people. Happy pay day!

      • Nic the NZer 1.1.1

        Absolutely, I was just giving one simple example. Though arguably society is responsible for how it operates prisons it creates and it clearly doesn’t have any existential institutional incentive forcing it in any direction (its a societal choice to privatize its prisons, or to have them).

        • Bill

          But to what extent are society’s choices constrained by market imperatives? Yes, simplistically it’s all human choice, but there are systemic or institutional and embedded cultural aspects to all of this…ie, pathways and trajectories.

          I don’t think society has meaningful ‘free’ choice.

          As an example, maybe consider the obvious example given by the other post today on free markets and climate change. Easily achievable goals essentially bricked up by ‘a need’ to generate money/wealth.

          • Nic the NZer

            Societies choices are never constrained by market imperatives. If you are arguing that then you are simply arguing that nothing can be done (or could ever have been) to change the way that society functions (to the extent those imperatives influence exists).

            This is to me a surprising neo-liberal position for you to take. It implies that the market (maybe the free-market?), is a part of the natural world (rather than a product of the rules, and institutions, society creates), is that true?

            • Bill

              Nic. Almost everything that can be monetised has been monetised. Almost all decisions at a societal level are dictated to, by some extent and to varying degrees, by a demand to make money. That’s just an obvious, observable fact. Policy suggestions are always first and foremost stacked up against their economic (ie, money making or losing) ‘viability’.

              Recognising that fact doesn’t make for me being a neo-liberal apologist or any such like. Maybe you should read some previous posts and comments by me. I don’t exactly hide my political perspective…I’m a market abolitionist and a democrat.

              Meanwhile, I can’t quite my head around your position. I mean, here you are today suggesting I’m somehow advocating free market economics (a position I’ve never held) and yet you went to some extreme lengths just the other day to uphold the (unrealistic to my mind) notion of having a market economy while doing something serious about climate change…

              [Nic, I’ve moved your response to open mike and I’ll respond there. This conversation doesn’t really belong here.] – Bill

  2. Manuka AOR 2

    “When a Government increases the GST take, which falls disproportionately on those on the lowest incomes (Rashbrooke, 2013), they too are taking food away from children. In general tax terms it is those on the lowest incomes who are paying more tax per $1 earned than their wealthier counter-parts.”


  3. just saying 3

    Yup – unauthorised overdrafts. Been there. Costs a fortune. Driving an unwarrantable car (I needed a car) which meant I also couldn’t register it. I visited a friend once an she introduced someone already there as a police officer. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough – I think the fines were $500 each.
    Then there is having to buy small quantities of groceries which cost more per kilo, all sorts of goods and services on the cheap -which fall apart quickly – it really is cheaper in the long run to buy good quality. Not getting things fixed, not being able to afford insurance, sometimes the extra expense of not going to the doctor and turning a small health problem into a bigger one, missing out on “prompt payment” discounts….
    The list goes on and on.
    Now I’m not poor, I’m still amazed how much cheaper so many things turn out to be.

  4. Michael 4

    Shame the Labour Party is no longer interested in social justice, as its vacuous conference this weekend demonstrates. Poor people should look elsewhere for leadership.

    • Jenny Kirk 4.1

      Maybe its time you read Andrew Little’s speech to the Labour Conference, Michael.
      This will give you and entirely different view.

    • Korero Pono 4.2

      Having read Little’s speech, he used all the right buzz words (and some scary ones in between), however I am interested in how this rhetoric translates into actual policy that will make a difference to those living in poverty.

      Having lost faith in Labour (their blighted history speaks for itself), am I to be suckered in because they used the right buzz words around poverty? What about capital gains tax, what about the TPP (both of which have a bearing on Poverty and inequality). This question is probably best for another thread but relates to the topic in as so far that I am trying to correlate the words with what Labour are actually doing. And once I have worked that out, I have to decide if I am willing to forgive the fact that they helped create the very situation that this topic is about. They can pretend all they like that they made it better (for example Working for Families), but who were they really helping with that? It certainly wasn’t the poor.

      I am not convinced that Labour will move away from their self-serving agenda (let’s get rid of capital gains policy because it is unpopular) but instead stand up and do what is the right thing for all New Zealanders, not just the few who can afford an extra property here and there!

  5. greywarshark 5

    It is good to read this update on poverty thought and we need to keep presenting such. But changing mindsets, appealing to people’s better natures, is hard. They are stiff with pride in themselves and resentment that they are expected to live in a world that has lesser people in it.

    They have a high entrance fee to get into mind compartments where they might look kindly at others bad luck or foolishness, and allow those others to just be people who err and need assistance.

    Ultimately it is a case of how do you make such people give up some of their grasping, proud ways? Harder than opening oysters, but people who get good at it may be able to offer advice on their methods. We need to set up better sharing systems, one would be to have lots of small employment initiatives going providing decent wages, making something that is required locally. That would still allow the successful their better lifestyle.

  6. Detrie 6

    The being poor is too expensive article is spot on. Being poor where you’re watching every single dollar, living week to week is incredibly stressful and a common reason many families break up. You get trapped, have less control and far fewer choices.

    Ten years ago we were out of work through no fault of our own and were glad we lived in a more caring society that at least provided basic benefits to keep food on our table whilst we looked for more work. Sadly this social safety net is being systematically dismantled by the current govt. whilst at the same time providing more tax breaks for the rich and large employers, touting out the old [false] line of more money for the rich ensures many more jobs. Yeah, right….. Never happens.

    As one commentator of the linked article rightly said: “I define poor as the inability to take advantage of opportunity due to the lack of access to the resources needed to improve your situation”. e.g. Don’t have a reliable car or public transport to get to work; Can’t afford car insurance or to warrant the car; Can’t cover the unexpected bank fees; Can’t afford the monthly cost of a phone and/or internet to find/apply for better jobs; Can’t afford to buy better food to stay healthy and avoid doctors bills or prescription fees etc etc.

    Yet those with money (like most right wing politicians), just see them as ‘the undeserving poor’ – Most have no sympathy whatsoever for others. This cold, self-righteous view lacks humanity, ignores reality as well as the countless hidden costs of our growing pauper class on a benefit and/or on minimum wages or temp employment. Somehow it is always ‘their own fault’ which sadly extends to their children and to future generations… As another here said, a shame the Labour Party is no longer interested in social justice or reform… Still we can always watch what socialists like Bernie Sanders is attempting in the US.

    Nigel Latta did some great investigative work on all this a while back. (DVD)
    The Auckland City Mission also did a great report (PDF download below)

  7. Tracey 7

    Thanks to all for the insightful comments

  8. Kay 8

    Who benefits when a poor person can’t afford necessary medication and as a direct consequence requires hospitalisation in a public hospital?

    This is a scenario that’s really irritating me lately, the complete inability for the assorted agencies (MSD, MoH, DHBs) to understand a basic cost benefit analysis. eg: A person with a chronic medical condition can avoid at least 1-2 acute hospital admissions a year with an unfunded drug that costs $250/year ($5/week). Now, given the cost to the taxpayer of even one night in a public hospital, surely it’s more cost-effective to help that individual by fully or partly funding that drug, subject to their income? For a poor person, that $5/week is a significant chunk of the power budget, or food budget, or other medications bill, or…
    (This scenario would also apply to a family who literally didn’t have the $5 to collect the antibiotic for a chest infection and the child is ultimately hospitalised with pneumonia)

    I can’t see anyone benefiting from poor people having to forgo medical treatment. Certainly not the hard working taxpayers or already overloaded public hospitals who could do without the avoidable admissions.

    • Bill 8.1

      I can’t see anyone benefiting from poor people having to forgo medical treatment

      I can.

      In a (even partly) privatised health service where private providers are paid from the public purse (talking private profit) to deal with acute medical conditions that were wholly avoidable but for…well, a few bucks in the pocket of the person being treated.

      In a fully public health service, the above scenario becomes a tad insane and would be avoided.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 8.2

      Wise group?

  9. Mike the Savage One 9

    If hard work is the answer, most people in Bangla Desh, the slums in India, in Indonesia, in Nigeria and sundry other places would all be wealthy and healthy. The answers and solutions are not so simple and rather complex. As I heard in the news, it appears Labour still shy away from providing real answers and solutions, and only present some symbolic gestures.

    As for what those that are poor and even sick on benefits now face, the message is simple, work will benefit your health, it is “therapeutic”, so in a sense, work will set you free. And they are still at it, believe you me:
    “If a Benefit was a Drug would You Prescribe it?”
    (Author Dr David Bratt, Principal Health Advisor for MSD and WINZ)

    Click to access BO%2012%20830am%20David%20Bratt%20Benefit%20were%20a%20Drug%20V2.pdf

    A recent conference on the implication of the “new approach”, attended also by Anne Tolley, the usual “experts” (Bratt, Beaumont et al), and I note with disappointment even Helen Kelly (may she get well after all):

    Click to access 150306-Programme_1April2015_ImplicationsHBoW_NZ.pdf

    (sponsored it seems, by AMP, the same program that also “sponsors” the Paul Henry Breakfast Show, similar to UNUM Provident that once “sponsored” Mansel Aylward to promote and spread the “new approach” of the “health benefits of work”, that “benefited” so many that were thrown off benefits in the UK).

    So the agenda is being pursued further, no matter what, whether disappointing results in trials (see NZ Herald from 17 September):

    • Michael 9.1

      Dr Bratt’s reports are bullshit propaganda, generated by people paid by rogue US insurance company UNUM Provident, ordered to pay millions of $US by courts in that country for systemic, bad faith denial of disability insurance claims. The courts heard compelling evidence of dirty tricks by the company, and its medical assessors. Naturally, the UK government hired UNUM to “advise” it on its welfare reforms, after it bought a department at Cardiff University to employ the likes of Sir Mansell Aylward, Dr Bratt’s opposite number at the UK Department of Work and Pensions, after he cashed in his taxpayer-funded chips. Naturally our own government bought Aylward and the rest of the UNUM-paid crew to “advise” it on welfare reforms here. Naturally, ACC had a close relationship with UNUM at the time its dirty tricks campaign against injured New Zealanders cranked up in the late 1990s. Naturally, a number of the ACC-doctors responsible ride on taxpayer-funded gravy trains at ACC and MSD. Ain’t life grand?

  10. Craig H 10

    There are some wonderful articles on the subject on Cracked.com, of all places. Being poor doesn’t just cost more, it also impacts on people’s mental health and intelligence – people literally lose IQ from having to burn brain energy on worry and budget-balancing.

    • Mike S 10.1

      Yep. I believe for the poor, the biggest factor negatively influencing everything but especially a persons health is stress. Stress has all number of negative physical and mental effects as well as having negative effects upon others around the stressed person.

      I remember when someone was trying to justify outrageous ceo incomes and said that a ceo’s job is very stressful which is a part of why their jobs command huge salaries. I thought to myself yep I’m sure it is a stressful job but in terms of really detrimental stress, you should try not having a job at all mate!

      • Craig H 10.1.1

        There’s a famous golf line about pressure – pressure is not putting to win a US Master’s, pressure is putting to win a match for $10 when you only have $5 in your pocket.

        Stress and poverty could be seen similarly – a $300 power bill when you have $150 in the bank is far more stressful than a CEO’s job.

  11. Mike the Savage One 11

    For those that care, the government is not really interested in addressing poverty as such, it is all meant to be “solved” by getting people into work, and by little else. Relative poverty is the price for having a competitive, supposedly more “motivation” driven, “productive” capitalist system. Poverty is supposed to get people motivated to work harder and to try and get out of poverty. The fear of poverty and not keeping up with the Jones’ is wanted, as a driver to push people to work and compete, quite simple. Divide and rule is too often the most effective means of control my various ruling elites and authoritarian governments, as history has endlessly proved, to my regret.

    Perhaps read question 7 in the following OIA request that was some long time ago filed with MSD:

    Click to access msd-o-i-a-rqst-re-dr-bratt-presentations-contacts-anon-ltr-w-questions-16-01-14.pdf

    This was the first reply received:

    Click to access msd-o-i-a-rqst-re-dr-bratt-presentations-contacts-anon-16-01-reply-by-ce-27-02-14.pdf

    This was a further response:

    Click to access msd-o-i-a-rqst-re-dr-bratt-presentations-contacts-anon-16-01-further-reply-12-11-14.pdf

    So note how NONE of the many rather general, partly ambiguous, insufficient replies do mention as the likely CAUSE of ill health being POVERTY. The focus by MSD, their Health Advisor(s) and the government is on getting people out of “worklessness”, which is considered the “solution” for all problems, even poor health. It appears cause and effect are being mixed up, not by coincidence, but due to ideologically shaped views by the stakeholders.

    All this and much more, even the responses by the Ombudsman (answering to a complaint) are found here, but as usual, few will bother actually READING stuff:

  12. North 12

    There are a couple of photographs attached to the article below which will no doubt cause a furore…….”keep peoples’ children out of it…….” and all that. Before getting carried away with that distraction we should remember there are many, many more “peoples’ children” on the ugly, painful end of this spectrum. For whom life is not merely discomfited…….for whom life is shit. My heart is with them. Not with the toffs. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11541769

    • Mike the Savage One 12.1

      Children or not once they are 18 they can answer for themselves, so do not feel bad about posting that, thanks.

      • Paul 12.1.1

        From the article.

        “There’s that manifestation of wealth inequality,” says Rashbrooke, “through the Ya Ya Club ­effect: ­inherited or established wealth leads some people to lead lives very different from those of others and becoming more set as a class apart.”

        “Wealthy children, growing up in neighbourhoods and going to school largely with other wealthy children may lack any deep understanding of the lives of people different from them, and vice versa.

    • Paul 12.2

      This article needs a post in its own right.

      Some grim statistics from the article.

      In a project with Statistics New Zealand, the data, which looked at people’s wealth between 2004 and 2010, has yielded grim ­results, says Rashbrooke.
      The wealthiest 1 per cent of the country – about 34,000 adults – have nearly a fifth of all the wealth (18.1 per cent). The wealthiest 10 per cent – about 340,000 adults – have more than half (53.4 per cent).
      The poorest half of the country – about 1.7 million adults – have only 3.8 per cent.

      Rashbrooke’s book also reveals that between 2004 and 2010:
      • Wealth of the top 1 per cent ­increased from $94 billion to $147b;
      • Middle class wealth rose from $194b to $348b;
      • New Zealand’s wealthiest 10 per cent increased their asset holdings from $259b to $437b, a rise of nearly $180b;
      • The poorest 10 per cent saw their net debt increase from $5.7b to $7.4b.

      • Korero Pono 12.2.1

        So what are the solutions to poverty and growing inequality?

        Rashbrooke ” suggests reducing income ­imbalances, narrowing the initial distribution of wealth, using taxes and endowments to further close the gap, taking the heat out of ­housing and building a more democratic ­society.

        Specifically, he suggests increasing benefits, introducing a living wage, a capital gains tax (exempting the family home), estate taxes and better rights for renters”. http://m.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11541769

        The question is, which political parties have the balls to do these things? Going back to an earlier post, I heard Labour use all the right ‘buzz’ words but how this translates to reality is another matter.

        • Mike the Savage One

          “The question is, which political parties have the balls to do these things? Going back to an earlier post, I heard Labour use all the right ‘buzz’ words but how this translates to reality is another matter.”

          Now there we have a valid question!

        • KJT


  13. All in all it appears that a few at the top are reaping the rewards of the misery of those at the bottom…

    Leaving aside the fact that loan sharks aren’t “at the top” under any definition of society that makes sense, and that the social costs of poverty affect rich people as well as everyone else, the take-home message seems to be that contraception is useful in many more ways than one.

    • just saying 13.1

      How bloody self-righteous.
      That’s your take home message “can’t feed dont breed” as per livestock!

      • Psycho Milt 13.1.1

        Oh, please. “Self-righteous” is the default mode for these poverty threads – you might review your own, for a start.

        • just saying

          Feel free to elaborate, Psychomilt

          • Psycho Milt

            It’s pretty straightforward. Your outraged response to the uncontroversial view that contraception reduces poverty is the accusatory hyperbole above. “Self-righteous” is an appropriate description. That’s generally how these threads go, hence my description of it as the default mode – for a fine example, see the comment below from the post author, in which the rich are “privileged, spoiled, unsympathetic … parasites” and the middle class “idiotic” blamers of the poor. Calling that one “self-righteous” hardly begins to cover it.

            • miravox

              Decent pay reduces poverty.

              • It does – there are multiple ways to reduce poverty. However, if you’re poor, buying yourself a pack of condoms is a more achievable goal than having the government implement a higher wages policy.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Cart, meet horse.

                  Even if you weren’t mixing cause and effect, your message of concern will not reach its target, and is of limited practical use to policymakers.

                  • Well, yes – people who think children are a blessing from God, or just shit that happens once you’re sexually active, wouldn’t see that take-home message even if they read the post. However, the message is there for those who care to see it.

                    Apart from which, declaring rich people parasites profiteering from the poor is also of limited practical use to policymakers, especially since the current policymakers represent the rich.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yeah, and then what about those low-life types who blame the consequences of poverty on poor people? 🙄

                    • Exactly. Two sides of the same shit coin. It would be nice if this subject could be discussed without there having to be good guys and bad guys, but experience suggests it’s unlikely.

                • just saying

                  How does not having children reduce adult poverty now? Not enough to live on is not enough to live on.

                  And why do you assume that stopping the poor having children will stop future poverty? Do you think their abstaining would create a future with a magic kind of capitalism in which there is nobody left to be at, or near the bottom?
                  Or do you think it would cause the “bottom” to magically rise up to become a reasonable place to be – decent well paid work for everyone who wants work, good quality of life for all….?

                  Please explain.

                  • I can’t explain stuff you made up. Stopping the poor having children has arisen only in your comments, not mine.

                    Re the stuff that can be explained:
                    How does not having children reduce adult poverty now? Well, it’s a bit late to not have a child after you’ve had it, so it doesn’t reduce that at all. Before you have one though, put on a condom, don’t have one, and you’ll find things less of a struggle later on.

                    How would this end poverty? It wouldn’t. Nothing will end it. Reducing it is all we can do, and this would help reduce it. Rejecting improvements on the basis that they aren’t immediate fixes for entire problems is pointless.

                    • just saying

                      How would the poor having less or no children reduce poverty?
                      Is it a “more pie to go around” argument? Because in NZ, there is plenty of pie for everyone now.

                    • It’s a “kids cost money” argument. The more you have, the greater your expenses. I’ve known it from childhood, on the simple basis that my parents with four kids weren’t as well off as their similar-earning friends with two kids. It applies now as then.

    • Korero Pono 13.2

      If you mean that the rich should use contraception so that they stop breeding and save the world from another generation of privileged, spoiled, unsympathetic future parasites, then I wholeheartedly agree.

      Otherwise, you simply look stupid and add nothing to solve a problem that was brought about by a greedy few at the top who use the middle classes to come up with idiotic phrases to blame the poor for the being poor.

      • Michael 13.2.1

        Agreed Korero Pono. The rich do far more harm than the poor ever could. The middle class deserve the contempt that both the rich and the poor hold for them, as a result of their craven attitudes towards the former and callous brutality towards the latter. I won’t miss them when they’re gone.

  14. Chris 14

    Oh well, guess 29 comments is better than 3. And it is a post about poverty, mind you, so 29’s not too bad for a left blog site in 2015 New Zealand.

  15. North 15

    Made worse by one of the 29 glibly recommending (a well meaning ?) eugenics as the answer…….Psycho Milt @ 13 above.

    • Hint: inserting a declaration of eugenics in a comment is an indicator of someone with a poor grasp of history, science and pretty much everything else. Drop the pseudo-intellectualism and stick with “Just like the Nazis!” – it’s just as ridiculous but at least it’s honest.

      • korero pono 15.1.1

        Hey Psycho, you do sound “just like the Nazis” is that honest enough for you?

        Suggesting that contraception is the answer to an already existing problem, is a lame way of denying the problem and allows you to simply sit back and do nothing but blame people for having children. In your world (of ACT fantasies), only the rich would have children. Sadly, even if that could happen, those ‘rich’ people would have to make paupers of some of their own group so that they can continue to benefit from the sweat and hard work of others.

        Regardless of your Nazi like stance, the fact remains that poor people, those on the lowest incomes pay disproportionately more than those on higher incomes. It does cost more to be poor, and as a result, the wealthy are reaping the rewards by ensuring 1 in 4 children are kept in poverty. The system is a failure, or is it working exactly the way the privileged few want it to work, while having us believe that we can get ahead if we just work hard enough? Maybe they should go tell that to the many families having to work extraordinary hours ( 80 hour weeks) just to pay the rent and put food on the table. Modern day slavery is alive and kicking, as is the systemic abuse of hundreds of thousands of children through a system that keeps them in poverty.

        • Psycho Milt

          It’s honest, but also silly. The Nazis were very keen on big families, on the basis that more Germans was inherently a Good Thing. The last thing they’d be doing is recommending that their own people control their fertility. People tend to use “Just like the Nazis!” as shorthand for “I don’t like your opinion!” – it’s both lazy and annoying.

          … the fact remains that poor people, those on the lowest incomes pay disproportionately more than those on higher incomes.

          Yes. I have no disagreement with the proposal that being poor sucks. However, the ability to control your own fertility is, along with education, a powerful and achievable way of reducing poverty. It won’t eliminate it, and being poor will still stuck, but as mentioned above, wearing a condom is a more achievable personal goal than changing the government’s wages policy.

          • McFlock

            They were in favour of large families for the right sort of people.

            Not much room between that and your favouring of small families for the wrong sort of people.

            But what really gets me is that you’re ignoring so many realities of being human it’s funny: you’re arguing for increasing the marginal costs of being poor in the hope of limiting longer term expenditure, you’re assuming condoms have a 0% failure rate, you’re not allowing that individuals sometimes make a mistake or feel compelled to give the only think they have left, or that circumstances change over the 20 years that one is responsible for raising a child… in short, you’re ignoring all the myriad of little variations in life that mean the real world isn’t necessarily predictable on a flow chart.

            The view that contraception can be a fiscally smart is indeed relatively uncontroversial. The fact that it’s the first and apparently only message that you took from the post is the controversial bit.

            • Psycho Milt

              …your favouring of small families for the wrong sort of people.

              I’m not responsible for stuff you make up yourself, or any fantasies you have about Nazis.

              …you’re arguing for increasing the marginal costs of being poor in the hope of limiting longer term expenditure…

              That’s a hell of a long reach from the actual argument, which boils down to “kids cost money to raise – if you have fewer of them, your expenses will be lower.” But feel free to give that straw man the good hiding it deserves.

              …you’re assuming condoms have a 0% failure rate…

              You know enough about statistics to be aware that a measure doesn’t need a 100% success rate for it to be worth taking.

              …you’re not allowing that individuals sometimes make a mistake or feel compelled to give the only think they have left, or that circumstances change over the 20 years that one is responsible for raising a child…

              I am, in that we have a social welfare system specifically to take care of such situations.

              The fact that it’s the first and apparently only message that you took from the post is the controversial bit.

              Sure. But the messages “we need better wages and working conditions, and a fairer tax system” apply at a fairly abstract level. If the reader would like to take something from the post that’s applicable and achievable by them in their own life, “Use contraception” is a good place to start.

              • McFlock

                Actually, the better place to start would be to say “there, but for the grace of god or luck, go I”.

                Some might say that focussing firstly and primarily on protecting our own penises and ignoring the “abstract issues” of government policy and social issues is what made a major contribution to fucking up the country in the first place.

                • Fortunately, I found that I could both wear condoms AND assess policy and vote accordingly. It’s even easier than walking and chewing gum at the same time, because you don’t do them at the same time (well, most wouldn’t, I hope).

                  • McFlock

                    really? You haven’t demonstrated that ability in this thread.

                    Although in my experience policy analysis isn’t quite so exciting as all that.

          • korero pono

            So first you invite being called a Nazi, and then you say it is ‘silly’ being honest?

            Do you suggest that only wealthy people should breed? Because let’s face it, even the middle classes are struggling these days and having to consider the affordability of children? All I can say is thank goodness that the poorest families are going at it hell for leather because someone needs to increase the population. Unfortunately that population are being systematically abused by people who believe that they should not exist (and I must say that poverty is just as good a killer as say gas chambers, albeit much slower). Though, I suppose on the other hand, when done by the surreptitious hand of poverty, the killing is more anonymous and you can then at least blame the victims and not take ownership of how you may be complicit in murdering children, right?

            • Psycho Milt

              So first you invite being called a Nazi, and then you say it is ‘silly’ being honest?

              More like this: If you think opinions you don’t like are just like the Nazis, be honest about taking such a silly approach.

              Do you suggest that only wealthy people should breed?

              No. That would be ridiculous.

              All I can say is thank goodness that the poorest families are going at it hell for leather because someone needs to increase the population.

              There’s a shortage of humans? I don’t think any other species on the planet would agree with you. There are actually way too many of us already.

              …when done by the surreptitious hand of poverty, the killing is more anonymous and you can then at least blame the victims and not take ownership of how you may be complicit in murdering children, right?

              I’m murdering children, now?

              • Korero Pono

                “If you think opinions you don’t like are just like the Nazis, be honest about taking such a silly approach”

                You invited the analogy, and in this case it was fitting, your approach was one of eugenics, in that certain people should not breed, specifically poor people. Your answer to poverty is to reduce the number of children born to certain types of families – therein lies a belief that it is children that cause poverty. What causes poverty is the system that privileges some, whilst disadvantaging others. Your own experience of having parents with four children and struggling suggests a little bitterness about your childhood, do you wish your parents had less children so that you could reap more of the proverbial pie?

                If you are not suggesting that only rich people should breed, then what are you suggesting?

                “There’s a shortage of humans? I don’t think any other species on the planet would agree with you. There are actually way too many of us already”

                Specifically in New Zealand and other developed countries, and due to an aging population and lower birth rates, we will be in a situation where we will not have enough working adults to manage the costs of supporting the older population (http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/2013/08/low-birth-rates-causes-consequences-and-remedies-becker.html).

                “I’m murdering children, now?”

                Any person who idly sits back and does not speak up and seek to change a system that sees our most vulnerable citizens living in poverty, is complicit in reducing their life chances, including their physical and mental well-being. Children have died from living in impoverished conditions in our supposed ‘wealthy’ country, children in one way or another are the unfortunate victims of poverty and poverty related social problems. If we do nothing, then yes we are complicit in the systemic murder of children who die as a direct result of poverty.

                Poverty is a societal problem, not the individualistic problem that some (usually those who benefit from poverty) would have us believe.

                To suggest that contraception is the answer to an already existing problem, is, at best ridiculous. The suggestion is full of assumptions about who should and shouldn’t have children, it suggests that children are a drain on society. Your suggestion (and all of the inherent assumptions behind it), rather than being helpful, denies the problem that society has created and aims to say, through implication, that poor people are poor because they breed too much – this is nothing more than another attempt to hide the systemic causes of poverty.

  16. vto 16

    the new zealand village is structurally flawed completely

    100 villagers

    10 in opulence
    80 struggling with dirt floors (including 1 copper)
    10 with no home at all

    the 10 in opulence aint protected by much in this scene are they …………. selfish bastards

    • weka 16.1

      you missed out the middle classes there vto.

      • vto 16.1.1

        They are the ones with the dirt floors. It’s a relative thing of course.

        Not a very pretty picture of our society. The rich get away with shitloads due t the sheer population numbers and split habitation habits i.e. people no longer live and interact together like they did in the past, so nobody knows what the other gets up to.

        I find thinking of our society as a small village, perhaps in pre-euro NZ, as a very good way to concentrate the issues and their effects and implications. You know – where everything is on show and proximate to allow for appropriate assessment.

  17. North 17

    Oh…..talk of eugenics propelled Psyhco out of his smart arse larrikin’s lair I see.

  18. Smilin 18

    Any one who has experienced the loss of motivation and mental strain of losing what they have worked for in honesty by actions not of their own making know how little faith they have in redress when they see what their govt does to them in favour of those who already have more than enough and deliberately refuse to address the basic human rights which have been set through experience of bitter times of the past and with an arrogant stroke of a pen can power a nation into loss of societal values which leaves the people affected to rebuild without the recognition from the govt and defiance by that govt to be supportive of the organisations that deal with the worst of these situations
    Govts are not in power for those who are able to choose but those who cannot

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