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Saveloy Soup! Anyone?

Written By: - Date published: 6:17 am, May 12th, 2012 - 58 comments
Categories: capitalism, child welfare, class war, cost of living, poverty - Tags: , ,

While the daily doses of soap opera that pass for political and/or social commentary in New Zealand rumble on, something very fucking unacceptable is also rumbling. The bellies of children in New Zealand.

Remember the reports of a 6 year old from the Bay of Plenty who took to eating cockroaches because he was so hungry? And remember how John Key and others dismissed the entire episode as stemming from neglect rather than poverty? And remember how study (pdf) after study (pdf) has shown that successive governments…yup, that’s right successive governments, both Labour led and National led ones…have presided over a rising tide of child poverty and its consequences?

Ah… but no.

In all probability you don’t remember…not really, not clearly… and you’re only thinking about this because you’re reading about it right now instead of washing your brain in the ‘oh so important and titillating’ suds of political commentary of the type that merely confirms what we already know; that there are some forms of toxic shit that even a cockroach would do well to avoid.

Now, I know. I shouldn’t be so angry. Child poverty is “not an easy issue to manage”, according to Deputy Children’s Commissioner Jo Cribb. (It’s a management problem you see. And fcking children and poverty just won’t succumb to the managerial tool kit, dammit!) But in spite of that, “some of the best minds in New Zealand” are being “brought together” and tasked with  “finding a pragmatic solution that we can then recommend to the government.”  So it’s all okay. By August there will be a report. A fucking report. Job done.

And if any action does flow from the report and it winds up being as effective as poking a derailed locomotive with a blunt screw driver, then that’s okay. Because remember! Child poverty is “not an easy issue to manage”.

I feel for them. I really do. These poor souls and their political masters being confronted by such a managerial nightmare!

And I also feel for…no, I actually  wholeheartedly relate to this comment made in response to the Hungry kids scavenge pig slops story on ‘stuff’.

Unique   #107   2:16pm

Dear New Zealand,

I’m really starting to hate you right now. I hate everyone that can see a starving kid and not want to help them. I hate you when you see someone that is poor and struggling and you insinuate that they must be a drunken, drug addicted gambler. I hate it that you glory in the suffering of others. I hate it that you are barely even human beings anymore. I hate it that the New Zealand that I knew and loved is gone, perhaps forever. I hate it that other countries are looking like a better option.

58 comments on “Saveloy Soup! Anyone? ”

  1. LynW 1

    +100 Bill and Unique 107. Thankyou

    • weka 1.1

      Spot on Bill

      • mike e 1.1.1

        From the land of milk and honey.
        I know a lot of supermarkets dump food rather than discount to keep prices up.
        This is the free market model.

        • It’s totally bizarre, isn’t it? Even by that logic, they should just order/bake less food, but if they’re going to be dumping it, they should really just donate it to charity instead.

  2. Carol 2

    The child poverty (and adult poverty) in NZ is a depressing disgrace.

    And what happened to the teenager, Jazmine Heka, who got a few minutes of media coverage, along with getting picked up by a couple of pollies for a photo op, the one who started to campaign for child poverty?

    This one:


    What happened to her petition?



    • mike e 2.1

      This is a $6 billion a year drag on the economy!
      You would think that Nationals bean brained bean counters would figure out that spending $350 million a year to fix the problem would be better than letting $5.5 billion go down the drain each year on year.
      If we used the same criteria National use to build holiday highways this would be a no brainer.
      But as usual giving more to the already rich is more important than fixing the problem!


  3. Carol 3

    And instead of focusing on this most pressing issue, this morning the Herald’s online PR arm of the Shonkey government is all over the governments latest plans to attack cyber-bullying, and attaching immunisation of children to benefits…. following hard on behind the bennie-bashing contraception plans….

    NAct government – determined push to distract form the most pressing issues of poverty, unemployment, sweetheart-deals with corporates, at home and abroad, etc, etc, by targetting bennies and allegedly out-of-control children!

  4. Mel 4

    I’ve just read the comments section of “Hungry Kids Scavenge Pig Slops”.
    I totally agree with Unique.
    Some of the comments are uninformed, self-righteous clap trap. How did we as a society EVER let these sort of self-serving morally vacuous statements be acceptable to utter publicly?
    It just goes to show how far down a morally corrupt, valueless and selfish path our country has wandered…
    Meanwhile…. in towns and cities of ours……
    children and families still suffer. 🙁

    • mike e 4.1

      We have a Prime minister who has benefited and prospered from an adequate welfare system who now is promoting the opposite.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        He can’t go round giving the countries wealth to his rich mates if he gives it to the poor so that they can have a decent living standard.

  5. Tigger 5

    Nice Bill. Interesting to see how it’s framed as an ‘issue’ also. Not even a problem. When we all know it is a disgrace, a horror, a shame.

  6. Olwyn 6

    Thanks Bill, for an excellent post. One of the reasons that child poverty is difficult to “manage” is because people want to separate it from the adult poverty that is a direct result of BAU. They want to keep the toxic status quo but “do something about” the embarrassing bits. In fact the whole dog-eat-dog system that has replaced local manufacturing needs to be challenged.

  7. Dr Terry 7

    It is beyond all credibility that something so serious as child poverty in New Zealand receives so little obvious concern or attention. This is a “first world country” of only 4 million people. In February last year, a United Nations report called for the Government “to better recognize children’s rights”; it condemns the “staggering rates of child abuse and poverty in New Zealand”. Now we learn that a report from the Office of the Commissioner for Children will be ready by August next for delivery to the Government – that is, one and a half years following the quoted United Nations statement!
    How long will the Government take over considering whatever this report might have to say (you hardly have to imagine – probably more blame for being in poverty!)
    Back in 2006/7, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner claimed that “230,000, or 22%, of New Zealand children were still living in poverty. Child poverty rates are above the average of other developed countries”.
    Has anything changed? Yes, indeed, changed for the worse (though, as we might expect, this is denied by Paula Bennett). Why, in 18 months has so little (if anything) been achieved, other than yet another bloody “report”. The facts are indisputable, where is some action?
    It has been said that “New Zealanders hate their children”. This is a big generalization, of course, but is there all too much truth is such an assertion?

    • prism 7.1

      When NZ first colonised many poor families were sent from England to this country and some of these were returned as being poor stock and indigent. We started off NZ with Poor Law judgmental attitudes from Mother England which would have understood saveloy water soup. It wasn’t until the Great Depression forced change here, and in the UK and USA that the judgmental disdain for the poor was overturned.

      As NZ developed we became a pragmatic, coping society with little time or compassion for those who fell behind. The farming approach carried over to children as beings to be managed with a view to their usefulness. This feeling still lives on about those people who fail that test in resentment, and a punitive approach.

      Now with the downturn in the economy, we see the old ideas arising that indicate our ideas of social class and value have merely been hidden. These are carried forward by aspirational social climbers and the wealthy who ignorantly condemn the lower social strata not caring to learn the part played by the more successful in society in the loss of jobs and living/working conditions and lack of encouragement and opportunity for improving life conditions.

      We should be looking at promoting smaller, sustainable families with parents or a parent who are assisted with education to well manage, teach values and enjoy their children, household and life. Instead we have parents struggling and rather miserable not reaching their own or their children’s talents and place in society.

  8. cin77 8

    I was just reading about the compulsory immunisation for beneficiaries kids in the herald, this is getting fucking draconian now.

    • Tiger Mountain 8.1

      “PC” ‘nanny statism gone mad’… Any takers out there amongst the tory turds?

    • Colonial Viper 8.2

      Yes lets make the kids get hundreds of dollars worth of compulsory corporate supplied immunisations; compulsory breakfasts at school, who cares about the positive health effects of that.

    • prism 8.3

      You are mixing up individualist Randism with the responsibility of a state concerned to advance the welfare, health and safety of its citizens as a whole. Immunisation and other state-promoted or enforced programs should not be automatically rejected.

      This is not how a good, cohesive, healthy and happy society is made. Outright rejection and cynical negativity to state programs leads to fractious demands on the state, often very expensive as in onset of preventable disease, by individuals who put their own wants and beliefs ahead of the good of the nation including themselves and their dependents.

      • Campbell Larsen 8.3.1

        @prism – ‘state promoted’ programs – those that are focussed on eduction (i.e. ensuring people have access to independently verified information) as a means for achieving desired outcomes can rightly be viewed as benevolent.

        The same cannot be said of programs involving ‘state enforced’ medical procedures.

        The mechanism is is primary concern, not the outcomes – otherwise aren’t we just skipping merrily down the old ‘ends justifies the means’ road to hell?

        If we want people to immunise their kids, educate the parents about the benefits (and the risks), and hopefully they will make the decision that is beneficial for the state.

        Misinformation is the principle barrier to immunisation. Enforcement will not allay peoples concerns or fears and will most assuredly not create a cohesive and happy society – it will only compound the distrust of the state.

        • prism

          The idea that parents are wiser and we are all safer if the state doesn’t compulsorily immunise is flawed IMO. There are too many school of fish responses, half digested stories and anecdotes and individual responses treated as applicable to all.

          Some people can’t be objective about anything, but the plan does have to be discussed and of high quality with safeguards. I had a flu injection and was asked to wait at the doctor’s for 20 minutes in case of reaction. That sort of safeguard should be available.

          I think it should be an opt out system so that the most children get the benefit and those who are against can put their case and 90% of objections should be allowed. There are then 10% left – which would be cases for individual medical checks.

          We are up against bugs that are able to evolve faster than us. We don’t want to turn the clock back and start suffering things that have been kept under control in the past, and we need to be ready for the new ones. Note that a new handwashing regime at one NZ hospital has cut infections sharply. This sort of initiative should be going on in tandem with occasional immunisation when deemed necessary.

          Immunisation against pathogenic bugs and injection against pregnancy are two different things. Breast cancer exists whether depo provera is used or not. There are no doubt studies that show contraceptive pills heighten the incidence. And that must be looked at – how many breast cancer increase per 1000 and was this just done on mice? It is common to throw these so-called facts around, and they may be facts, but they are not at a level to be of concern. Looking for those with cancer inducing genes would be more effective in cutting breast cancer and probably eating more green leafy vegetables or the like.

          If we can keep Pharmac as at present and it doesn’t get thrown out if our MP with his Hawaii bach successfully seeks more influence with the USA by selling off our assets, then I can’t see that we will be wasting money on excess immunisation or be getting poor quality pharmaceuticals which we have to watch out for. I don’t trust the well-known ones completely and then there are the disgusting sham ones selling fake pills to be aware of.

          I think you are living in a dream world, saying everything will be all right if we all have enough. I commented recently on how we humans have a response to affluence that does not result in uniform good lifestyles – just overuse of things which leads to different types of illness. That we get more miserly and judgmental to those with lesser incomes seems to be a NZ trait. So we can never gain that equality you wish, we can only reduce the negative results of the last 30 years of free market with hard work over another 20 or 30 years and by then climate change will produce new problems in health and housing. We can’t stop doing anything, ignore government because they screw up so often. There’s a type of person that becomes a politician or a bureaucrat, and we have to keep at them to get the results the lower income and opportunity people need.

          • weka

            We are up against bugs that are able to evolve faster than us. We don’t want to turn the clock back and start suffering things that have been kept under control in the past, and we need to be ready for the new ones. Note that a new handwashing regime at one NZ hospital has cut infections sharply. This sort of initiative should be going on in tandem with occasional immunisation when deemed necessary.

            Prism, given that most of NZ is currently vaccinated, the best use of public funds at this point would be to make sure children get enough nutrients via affordable food, have adequate housing (not overcrowded, with heating and free from mould etc), and be relieved of the stress of poverty. Those three things all have significant impacts on illness.
            I agree with what was said about education too. Once you get those basics covered, educating communities about the value and risks of vaccination, making vaccinations easily accessible, and letting parents then make informed choices is the best way to safe guard public health and the health of children.
            Also, this is just another example of bene bashing, otherwise the scheme would be aimed at all families with unvaccinated children, not just beneficiaries. Instead it’s a pissing in the wind, ambo at the bottom of the cliff kind of response.

          • Campbell Larsen

            @prism “The idea that parents are wiser and we are all safer if the state doesn’t compulsorily immunise is flawed IMO”

            IMO we are all certainly safer if we do not grant the state the power to compulsorily enforce medical procedures – that seems a pretty slippery slope to me.

            Convince people, don’t coerce them.

            “Hard work” will achieve little without fundamental changes to geopolitics and economics.

            “Type of person that becomes a politician or a bureaucrat” – smacks a little of “there is a certain type of person who is dependent on welfare” for my liking.
            These generalizations do nothing for anyones arguement.

          • Jackal


            And that must be looked at – how many breast cancer increase per 1000 and was this just done on mice? It is common to throw these so-called facts around, and they may be facts, but they are not at a level to be of concern.

            Ah no! Depo Provera is currently used on humans, meaning that studies on mice are no longer needed.

            The study was a population-based case-control study among 1028 women 20-44 years of age to assess the association between DMPA use and breast cancer risk.

            Here is a quote from the Huffington Post report:

            Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Researcher Center found that when women use depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), a progestin-only form of birth control, for a year or more, their breast cancer risk may be increased 2.2-fold. MSNBC reported that DMPA is also known as Depo-Provera.

            The 2.2 fold (95% CI: 1.2-4.2) increase in risk of cancer from Depo Provera is not related to people’s genes. Please try to comment on things you know something about.

        • Vicky32

          Misinformation is the principle barrier to immunisation. Enforcement will not allay peoples concerns or fears and will most assuredly not create a cohesive and happy society – it will only compound the distrust of the state.


      • Jackal 8.3.2

        In my opinion the cynicism being expressed here about forcing medications on children of beneficiaries is entirely justified. Your argument is one of trusting the government and the pharmaceutical companies to administer immunization that is safe and actually required.

        Paula Bennett was recently on TV stupidly saying that the long acting contraceptive Depo Provera is safe…. completely ignoring a recent major study that showed it causes breast cancer. The problem is that drug companies will lobby to promote immunization products that are simply not required. Personally I don’t want a vulnerable section of the community to become lab rats… It was bad enough that they used to test their medications on New Zealand prisoners.

        What is however required is a comprehensive change in direction to ensure all children irrespective of their parents socio-economic status get the best start in life that New Zealand can afford. It’s not an easy ask being that to ensure people have adequate housing, clothing and food etc goes against the capitalist running dog meme that is currently calling the shots.

        As Bill eloquently pointed out, we cannot trust our politicians to ensure New Zealand children are adequately provided for, so in all good conscience how can we trust them with anything at all?

    • weka 8.4

      Chris, they are saying there would be an opt out option. I agree there are still major issues with the policy, esp the idea of mandatory social obligation, but doubt that they will go down the compulsory route. That’s the Nats saving themselves the bother of the huge protest that would come from the anti-immunisation lobby (which has enough middle class resources to make a big noise).

      Social Development Minister Paula Bennett told the Herald: “We see immunisations as important so when you’re looking at those kinds of things, you question at what point should a social obligation be part of a requirement to get a benefit.
      “Ministers have not made a decision on it, but it is certainly something we are discussing.”
      Under any changes, beneficiaries would be able to opt out of immunisation for conscientious reasons. But it would change the social obligation of people on welfare to vaccinate their children.
      A Welfare Working Group recommended last year that the children of parents receiving a benefit should have to meet minimum health standards, including completion of the immunisation schedule.


      • prism 8.4.1

        Hello weka – I looked unsuccessfully for the Chris you were referring to. Perhaps you know the real names of some of the commenters. It would undermine the naming practice on the blog if the chosen one isn’t used.

        • weka

          Sorry, it was cin77

          • Cin77

            Its the beneficiary bashing that pisses me off. Immunisations are free anyway, and I don’t know anyone personally who has neglected to keep their childrens up to date. In fact, most schools make it a requirement that immunisations be up to date before a child is enrolled.

            This whole thing looks like a way to whip up public outcry, make the beneficiaries look bad as parents for not immunising their kids, maybe distract the attention from other issues that the public should be concentrating on.

            • NickS

              Except for Steiner Schools, with art oft nexuses of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks :/

  9. fatty 9

    nice post….
    but I do have a issue with this…
    “I hate you when you see someone that is poor and struggling and you insinuate that they must be a drunken, drug addicted gambler.”
    We should continue to resist the ‘deserving poor vs the undeserving poor’ mentality at all costs. Drug abuse (including alcohol) and gambling should be considered symptoms. In many cases they are a form of resistance against the addiction of capitalism…not to say that they should be encouraged, but they are not the root of the problem. Addictions do become a problem, but they are not THE problem.

    • Campbell Larsen 9.1

      Sorry what was your point again? Unique was not promoting a ‘deserving poor Vs undeserving poor’ mentality at all – in fact quite the opposite.

      • fatty 9.1.1

        “Sorry what was your point again? Unique was not promoting a ‘deserving poor Vs undeserving poor’ mentality at all – in fact quite the opposite.”

        I read Unique as suggesting that the claim of a “drunken, drug addicted gambler” is often misplaced…whereas I would go a step further and totally resist and attack the use of the labels “drunken, drug addicted gambler”. Those issues should not be part of the poverty discussion because when we allow them to be, then we are arguing poverty within a “deserving poor Vs undeserving poor” paradigm.

        Perhaps I am splitting hairs, but I think we should attack and resist any statements like “I hate you when you see someone that is poor and struggling and you insinuate that they must be a drunken, drug addicted gambler”. If we place ourselves in the position of the ‘average Kiwi’…I think they would read Unique’s post and the ‘deserving poor Vs undeserving poor’ mentality would be reinforced, alongside the need to help the poor. In addition, the notion of individual responsibility remains, instead of being challenged.

        • Campbell Larsen


          So by your logic we should not speak of racism, even to criticise it because by mentioning it we only reinforce it?!!

          I’m glad Martin Luther King wasn’t a subscriber to your approach.

          • fatty

            “So by your logic we should not speak of racism, even to criticise it because by mentioning it we only reinforce it?!!”

            No, that long bow shows no logic at all. Equating what I said about the discourse on addictions and extending that to racism is illogical and stupid. If you want to argue my point, then feel free, but don’t put your words in my mouth.
            A “so by your logic…” argument is almost always lazy and simplistic, and doesn’t deserve a response, but here you go;

            I never said we should not talk about addictions, we should, but we should be very careful when talking of addictions and poverty together because we can then be suggesting that there is a deserving poor and an undeserving poor.
            Unique’s statement suggested that the poor can often be mislabelled as a drunken, drug addicted gambler. Unique is right, but that statement also suggests that if someone really is a drunken, drug addicted gambler, then we are suggesting they are poor cause of their addictions – That is the trap we should avoid falling into.

            What would you think if John Key said this; “We should not see someone who is poor and struggling and insinuate that they must be a drunken, drug addicted gambler.”
            The average kiwi interprets that statement as ‘not all poor people are drunken, drug addicted gamblers’…however, ‘all drunken, drug addicted gamblers are poor because of their own actions’.

            This has nothing to do with MLK, or racism. My point is that I’m sick of the so-called left framing their argument within neo-liberal discourse. If we do talk of addictions and poverty together, we should be sure to stress that poverty precedes and worsens the effects of addictions.
            We should resist the idea that poverty is the result of the individual in any shape or form

    • Bill 9.2

      You won’t find any disagreement from me on that fatty. But even at ‘the standard’ the fundamental problem is rarely, if ever addressed.

  10. maffoo 10

    TO me the answer is staring everyone in the face. I can solve the problem of under-nourished kids & poor school attendance in one hit….. feed kids at school. Yes folks, free school dinners. godamn im good, i should be running this country.

    • prism 10.1

      maffoo I have heard that some schools are doing this or is it breakfasts, anyway they are finding it useful and helpful for children’s learning. Any links that you know about for this?

  11. Olwyn 11

    At a conference in Adelaide last year I heard the philosopher Raimond Gaita say that a child should not be put in the position where it is ashamed to love its parents. Free lunches at schools may be an emergency measure, but living wages, the tools for building lives and some degree of protection against the rapaciously greedy are needed if we are to succeed in turning things around.

  12. hoom 12

    Can already tell you what the report will recommend:

    Tax cuts for the rich
    Tax cuts & less regulation for business
    Asset sales
    Benefit reduction
    Privatise benefits
    Privatise schools
    Mine conservation land
    Government spending cuts
    Gut bureaucracy & replace lost capabilities with consultants at 3* the cost
    Compulsary permanent contraception for poor people
    Did I miss any?

    Because if we do this, 100 people get fabulously richer causing the average income to rise a few percent & therefore all that poverty will magically disappear <3

  13. Foreign Waka 13

    My impression is that the undercurrent is actually education – as in school education. The lack of it through truancy, inattention etc is perhaps the biggest contributor to poverty – no matter what race or gender – or what ever label anyone want’s to put on it. The generation that had their upbringing with the new Californian “Model” of “recognize the word, you don’t need to spell” and “1+3 = 6, near enough” and everyone after is in deep trouble now. The conservative teachers at the time warned about this. The only thing that everybody possesses to create options in life and find ways to get ahead, is their brain and its education. When I look around my estimate about the kids would be, 1/3 is very bright, 1/3 is reasonable literate – this leaves 1/3 on the bottom of the heap not able to recognize the word “education”. And yes, it is the government that accepted this “reshaping” of our schools. I really feel sometimes despondent if I find youngsters with enough curiosity but too lazy or frustrated to build on it and achieve. Parents who find it OK that kids are not in school, drug taking, no discipline (oops, such bad word. Note to myself: mustn’t use it) are another side of the equation. Kids are not born without the will to learn, in fact they always look for something that engages them. Until….

    • Bill 13.1

      You could have every single person in NZ holding a university degree and our economic system would still ensure that wealth was concentrated into the hands of a relative few and that a fair proportion of the population lived in pretty dire poverty while some were located between the extremes.

      I’ll put it this way. Do you really believe there are no highly intelligent care givers, cleaners etc on minimum wages today? Of course there are! Now that doesn’t make any sense if formal education determined economic location, but makes perfect sense if our economic system produces, due to inherent features, economic disparity between actors.

      And in a market based economy there are two basic rules. Buy low. Sell high. ie, Rip off the guy next to you for economic gain (power) and then use your accumulating economic gain (power) to be better equipped for ripping off the next person you transact with – be that next person a worker, a supplier or a buyer.

      • Foreign Waka 13.1.1

        I appreciate what you are saying. Yes, this “Market System” is in place since time memorial. What I am saying is that a person being able to count and read has a lot more chances to survive and build something for themselves than if they are not. We owe this to the children, we have no right to make excuses to not allow them to succeed. Yes, it has to be balanced and most people are caring loving individuals lost in that maze of misinformation that things are :”so difficult, don’t matter and will not help anyway”. Politicians don’t necessary have the answers as they have to find a universal and equitable approach. So the Facilities are here and so are the teachers, all it needs is conscientious parents getting their children to school and instill some pride in knowing more than their parents ever did.
        PS My name explains it, I do know a lot of people with degrees who work in much lower positions. But this is not the point. If one wants to achieve something it never comes on a silver platter. If it does, be aware because you may not like the price tag.

        • Bill

          The market economy hasn’t been around since time immemorial. It’s been around (approximately) a couple of hundred years. Maybe you’re confusing the idea of physical market places where people trade with a market economy? They are completely different things. One is not a mere extension of the other.

          • Foreign Waka

            People have suffered inequality according to the Market Model (buying selling trading)since time memorial – especially if they were illiterate like so many indigenous people. Many historical accounts of philosophy and theories have been formed over centuries with very little difference to the basics: Greed.
            (Aristotle, Aquinas, Thomas Mun, Phillip von Hoernick, Colbert, Locke, Hume, De Pont de Nemours, Adam Smith (the invisible hand), Bentham, Marx, Engels, Carl Menger, Hayek, Keynes, Galbraith, Milton Friedman etc) It is interesting to note that only when economics was translated into a mathematical theory did it transform to University courses. Economics was never regarded as an intellectual field before then.
            But I digress, this was about children education. A parent has an obligation to give the child the best tools it can provide (education) for their future life. It may not be enough, or it may just make the difference. The fact is that the child not only takes the school aspect on board but also the attitude of the parent. It is up to the individual to make this choice – because that is all it is, a choice. No amount of market does this or that can mask the parent responsibility to that end.

            • Bill

              There have been, and continue to be a few, economies that are not predicated on greed.

              As for claiming that illiterate indigenous populations suffered from the sharp end of economic inequality because they were illiterate overlooks both the fact that many had functioning economies before colonisation (just not market economies) and that literacy comes in many shapes and forms (not just ‘squiggles’ on a page) – And that you and I are utterly illiterate in most of them.

              But anyway. I didn’t disagree that passing on an education geared to suit the needs of the market economy wouldn’t have the potential to confer some advantage on the recipient of said education. But it isn’t central.

              Cunning is more central to success in our present set up than education. You could argue that’s not the case if your goal is to be a doctor or to enter into some other profession that relies heavily on attaining a formal education. But if your goal is to be a success in your chosen field…to clamber to the top of the heap… well, that will usually require a level of cunning; of manouvering and politiking, and even a ruthlessness, over and above, or seperate from, things learned through formal education.

              • Foreign Waka

                Since we were talking about education and market economy in the current sense (your response 13.1) there was no indication of any other stated “economies” or shall we say barter communities. You seem to try to prove a point without taking any position – just taking an opposite stance of what is said. Just noticing.
                As for cunning – yes this is one of the main character traits of farmers actually – world wide. So it should not come as a surprise that this is a different set of skill than used in academic circles were this is coupled with some fierce intellect.
                Now, going back to educating the children. Again, my point is that without a formal education you cannot succeed in this more and more global environment. This is not about ideological differences between you and me – this is about the success of the next generation.

                • Bill


                  You claimed that a lack of education caused poverty…that it was “perhaps the biggest contributor to poverty.”

                  To which I suggested that even if everybody was highly educated then there would still be poverty because it is an economic issue, not an educational issue.

                  You then said “The only thing that everybody possesses to create options in life and find ways to get ahead, is their brain and its education.”

                  Which ignores all types of social, cultural and financial capital that confer advantage on some and disadvantage on others.

                  And then finally put the blame on parents… “Parents who find it OK that kids are not in school…”

                  Which again, ignores all structural and systemic causes of poverty including, again the basic nature of our economy…an economy that will always produce poverty.

                  Reading through your responses it’s pretty clear you don’t have a grasp on…well, very much at all really. The basic fact of what economies are seems to be beyond you as is any historical or anthropological knowledge of economies much less other issues such as literacy.

                  And please, don’t bother to answer this, because I’m only curious in a head shaking bemused sort of way when I wonder where in the name of fuck the pearler “As for cunning – yes this is one of the main character traits of farmers actually – world wide.” came from? And then why you would take that (ever so slightly) bald and ‘up yourself’ statement and use it to wank on about how this apparently worldwide phenomenon common to all farmers. is different to any cunning present in academia because… the same cunning is present… but with ‘fierce intellect’ tacked on!

                  I give in.

  14. Jenny 14

    Financier and part time temping Prime Minister, gives his reply, to those who think we should spend money on alleviating child poverty.

    I fully hate you all right now. I hate you that you can see a failed investor and not want to help him. I hate you when you see someone that is rich and you insinuate that they have enough already. I hate it when you bring up the suffering of others, and suggest that the $Billions I spent on bailing out rich investors be spent on them. I hate you all, you are barely human beings to me. I hate it that the New Zealand that let me make my $millions speculating on our currency is not grateful. I hate New Zealand and New Zealanders so much that my mansion in Hawaii where I can be waited on hand and foot by my fawning staff is looking more and more like a much better option.

  15. captain hook 15

    the ignorati that constitutes this national government have a pretension that is proof agianst all action and remedy and that is that the problems in new zealand are on the same scale as that of a country with 300 millions which is just not true.
    by pretending that the problem is so large that it cannot be solved enables them to carry on like the prissy little pispots that they really are.
    all they can think of is themselves, jets, hotels and foreign trips and private schools for their children.
    shame on them.

  16. Rodel 16

    I think we have to admit that Paula Bennet has made no difference to anyone in need.
    Hey…who cares?

  17. captain hook 17

    she looks like she has had more than her fair share of the suck of the sav mate.

  18. Scintilla 18

    @ foreign waka
    +1. One of the main contributors to poor literacy & numeracy is the kids who attend multiple schools & never have a chance to settle down at one primary school for the duration. These same kids may have been in several different family set-ups as well, step-families, blended families, single parent families etc. They do not experience the stability & security that comes from going home to the same house, the same parent(s), siblings & pets, the same room that is theirs. maybe not even the same country. Somehow, they do not become “wired” for the long concentration span, routine study habits or the ability to fall into creative contemplation. If those kids are also poor, they won’t have books to escape into & TV offers v. little of real value. They won’t have long=term friends. Hardly surprising they struggle to succeed in school. They are also never at a school long enough to be significantly helped with reading recovery etc.

    IMO, the strugglers need to be identified before they start high school & have an intensive year at form 2 dedicated to lifting their basic skills. This way, they will have a fighting chance at high school.

    We could also take note of the French approach – lunch supplied for all at school, followed by a siesta, then more lessons. Takes care of that awkward after school time. And doesn’t discriminate – free for all kids.

    • Foreign Waka 18.1

      Yes, it is true that some countries do have better systems and traditions in regard of what matters and what constitutes a valuable future. They do have their problems too, no doubt.
      I do realize that in NZ some parents, especially those who have immigrated from countries with a lesser or non existing social system structure, do bring their belief and customs with them and thus inadvertently pose a hurdle to their kids actual survival. But then there are also many who are born here and whose circumstance would not explain why their kids are not in school and end up on drugs and booze.
      Maybe NZ needs boarding schools with a new take on it. Where nutrition, routines would not be an issue. Hygiene – sorry to mention this but it is an issue too – and health support is part of it and children can make friends because they would stay long enough.
      It wont help anyone of the people who really need help to hate NZ as in the end it is in the hands of the individual to make things better. One step at the time.

  19. Hateatea 19

    Is anyone watching Sunday? Children in the US making soup with ketchup and water sounds like the Saveloy water, doesn’t it?
    And, in the meantime, the member of the GOP saying that there is very little REAL poverty of hunger in the US. It sounds as if he lives in the same parallel universe as the NActs

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 19.1

      It’s the new test of poverty: if you can’t see emaciated bodies with distended stomachs, flies and Bob Geldof, it isn’t real.

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