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Tax-cuts or… fixing Child Poverty

Written By: - Date published: 8:52 am, October 25th, 2016 - 128 comments
Categories: poverty - Tags:

The government is proud of their surplus, which at 0.7% of GDP isn’t quite as dramatic as the 9% of GDP deficit they had in 2011.  But as soon as we have a surplus, National starts salivating over tax cuts.  Continuing where I left off, here’s some other priorities.

Today the antithesis of tax-cuts – actually looking after those at the bottom of the economic heap.

The odd thing here is that some of the fixes here aren’t the big spending items of Health or Housing.

Despite Judith Collins’ assertion that crime wasn’t connected to poverty – quite a few who know better disagree – perhaps we could save a couple of billion prison spend if we invested in our kids earlier.  And if we look at the balance of migration a bit closer, and invest in getting those already citizens the skills we need in our economy, we might have fewer families in poverty too.

Even ideas like provided healthy school lunches don’t actually cost that much – and could save a lot of family time across the nation preparing lunches…

Of course there is a big intersection between Child Poverty and the Housing problem – having a healthy home that doesn’t cost most of your income makes a huge difference to how well you can provide for your family.  That home being healthy makes a difference to our rising health costs too.  (That is expensive, and I’ve already covered…)

Still, some more direct action will be needed too – looking at something like Labour’s Best Start program ($60/week for young children), would make a significant difference at a bit under $300 million/year.  Extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks (most OECD countries have at least that) would be about half that again.

Labour and the Greens have each had comprehensive Child Poverty policies the last 2 elections, John Key has mainly just talked about it for every election he’s been part of.  Colin James:

Key used to insist he wanted his legacy to be what he does for disadvantaged children. He declared child poverty his third-term focus. Assessed by missing necessities in a child’s life, the numbers are still sad.

The fact that he hasn’t dismissed the Labour-Green-Maori homelessness report’s findings is at least a start – but will he use that surplus money to actually do something about it?  Or just more talk, with maybe a little spending ‘dribble’ like the benefit raising (kudos – but not enough, with 2-300,000 kids still in poverty)?

128 comments on “Tax-cuts or… fixing Child Poverty ”

  1. aerobubble 1

    Poverty is mismanagement. We the people choose poverty when we employ poor leaders to run us. After thirty years of forcing free market abstractions on to the real market, you’d think something would have worked properly. It hasn’t. Market exists because of govt, market function when govts interceed to remove inefficiencies.

    Take the realization that an awful lot of timber needs to be sourced to build homes, and the foriegn monoploy on or forests allow for massive price gouging at best, and a lack of supply. And lets not even talk about shipping all that low quality wood overseas on carbon costings.

    National dont do. They dont manage proactively. And Labour is incapable of pointing this out, as Key has a Queensland holiday ad once again we talk about the symptons, poverty, not the causes. Poor govt.

    • indiana 1.1

      The amount of metal stress you have put yourself under will mean it will take you decades before you can make a sound decision on how to move forward…in that time you will fall further into a poverty of ideas

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1

        You’re obviously too stupid to argue against the basic logic that aerobubble has presented and so revert to standard RWNJ thuggery with an ad hominem attack.

        • TheExtremist

          “You’re obviously too stupid to argue against the basic logic that aerobubble has presented and so revert to standard RWNJ thuggery with an ad hominem attack.”

          This comment is, ironically, more of an ad hom than the original.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Chances are that the stupid idiot will understand it then.

          • Anno1701

            “This comment is, ironically, more of an ad hom than the original.”

            your a c#*t


            • In Vino

              Anno – it’s “You’re a c#*t.”

              That said, I fully agree.

              • Chuck

                You just can’t help yourself In Vino!!

                I wager a bet you must be very boring at a dinner party, constantly correcting everyone wearing your English professors hat.

                • In Vino

                  It’s ‘English professor’s hat,’ Chuck. And I never mention grammar at dinner parties – I use it only to annoy right wing trolls.

              • Anno1701

                “Anno – it’s “You’re a c#*t.” ”

                f*#k yo gramma !!!

                (no not your grandma, you grub ! )

                • In Vino

                  My grandma? That would have been an ad fem (worse than an ad hom).

                  Still agree with you, and liked the ‘pow…’

                  How come so many people call me a grub?

    • reason 1.2

      Just making the super rich and corporations pay tax in NZ would provide Billions extra for things like child poverty …..

      ….”accountancy firms are engaged in tax avoidance/evasion, bribery, corruption and cartels to inflict enormous harm on societies. Accountancy firms are the new mafia, taking its toll from every city, town and street. Their well-paid partners do not reside in some Dickensian den of thieves. Rather they wear smart suits, drive expensive cars, wine and dine at elite restaurants, live in big houses in leafy suburbs, advise governments and huddle around gleaming city centre offices to plan the next hit on the public purse. ……

      This mafia does not shoot people, but its activities are just as deadly. They deprive millions of jobs, education, savings, pensions, security, food, healthcare, clean water and social infrastructure necessary for living fulfilling lives. ” …..

      “There are armies of bankers, lawyers and accountants who ensure that
      even though the letter of the law is respected, increasingly immoral ways
      are found of perverting the spirit of the law ”

      PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte & Touche and Ernst & Young
      are the driving force behind the creation of complex corporate structures,
      tax avoidance schemes and creative compliance, and are the centres of the
      global tax avoidance industry. ……..

      Key of course works for and has expertise in the tax cheating industry …..

      Where the rich steal from children …………..

      • aerobubble 1.2.1

        Key, in parliament, which freeview has gone awry an lost some RF interferences……said out loud that Labour coun’t buuld a home for what they cliamed. Now we know why Key was so confident, timber for homes was overpriced and the forests were being chopped down and logs exported, without any likelihood that enough supply would eventuate.

        Key knew, knows and does nothing about rigged rort that is housing in NZ.

  2. Siobhan 2

    “The government is proud of their surplus”…but seeing as it is not a ‘surplus’ ie , “an amount of something left over when requirements have been met; an excess of production or supply.”…. can anyone out there think of a better term for talking about money not spent on vital services?…

    Maybe Mr and Mrs Average voter might start wiping away Nationals Fairy dust from their eyeballs if REAL and ACCURATE terms were used more widely in the media. Mainstream Media (and even language) have been co-opted by the Ideological Neo-Liberals…it is time true moderates and Lefties claimed it back.

    (yes, I know in accounting terms it is a surplus…but I am not talking about dodgy bookkeeping)

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    Key would rather go cap in hand to the whole world than set about putting his house in order.

  4. Enough is Enough 4

    Has National announced tax cuts Ben?

    English is as tight as a fish backside. He won’t be handing out cash easily.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Strange, could have sworn that Blinglish has increased our Nation debt by a significant amount due to handing out money easily – to the rich.

      • Enough is Enough 4.1.1

        He has failed miserably to hand it to those in need Draco.

        He is obsessed about a surplus. He won’t give it up lightly

        • Draco T Bastard

          He has failed miserably to hand it to those in need Draco.

          Yes and he does that on purpose – after all, can’t have rich people without lots of poor people. But, on the other hand, he was quite happy to dish it out to Rio Tinto and the speculators in SCF.

          He is obsessed about a surplus. He won’t give it up lightly

          Yep but it’s a question of where he’s getting that surplus from and all indications are that he’s getting it from the poor. It’s much easier to take from the poor as they can’t afford lobbyists or lawyers and don’t own newspapers. Also, lots of small amounts makes a great deal without anybody really noticing.

          On the other hand, to get the same amount from the rich would mean having to take large amounts from each individual as there’s just not a lot of them and everyone will notice because of the newspapers reporting it. Enough, in fact, that they may not be rich any more and there’s no way that National’s ever going to do that. Their purpose in existing is, after all, to cater to and protect the rich.

          • John Schmidt

            Can anyone define what a rich person looks like and can anyone name any of these rich people or are they a myth.

            • McFlock

              Doesn’t one of the capitalist lickspittle magazines publish a “rich list” of the top 100?
              That should be enough for you to go on before you need lefties to draw up a list.

            • The New Student

              They look like the people who would be completely oblivious to an extra $60 per week in their pocket.

          • Enough is Enough

            I think we agree with each other Draco

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    The fact that he hasn’t dismissed the Labour-Green-Maori homelessness report’s findings is at least a start – but will he use that surplus money to actually do something about it?

    He’ll spin it so that those tax cuts, which only benefit the rich, is for the children. Then we’ll see poverty increase even more and National will blame the increased poverty on the victims of their policies.

  6. Chris 6

    Still no mention of lifting basic benefit rates, Ben? Is this still a no-go zone for Labour?

    • Ben Clark 6.1

      I don’t speak for Labour, I don’t know what’s under consideration.

      I guess that they’d argue that $60/week/child was a significant increase in benefits?

      I mainly mentioned announced policies as alternatives to have costs by them – there’s lots of different ways to combat the problems, but I don’t have costings.
      Labour won’t go back to extending WFF to beneficiaries though no matter what CPAG want – that was too toxic with the electorate. But you can achieve that same outcome by targeting child poverty in different ways – with the Best Start making up a good chunk of that.

      • Chris 6.1.1

        “Labour won’t go back to extending WFF to beneficiaries though no matter what CPAG want – that was too toxic with the electorate.”

        For many people it wasn’t. The CPAG cases highlighted the inherent unfairness of what excluding beneficiary families from receiving tax credits on the basis of employment status represented. National introduced this concept when it prevented beneficiaries from being advantaged by tax cuts in the 1990s, then Labour followed suit in 2004 with WFF. The CPAG cases also highlighted that differentiating in this way failed to deliver the intended incentives, as well. I thought Labour would’ve seen a lesson here, especially given the effects of the double-attack back then when Labour abolished the special benefit in the same legislation it introduced WFF through, bashing people without children in an extra harsh way.

        In any case, if Labour concentrated on trying to create a caring and compassionate society, it wouldn’t need to pander to the mindless beneficiary-hating non-thinkers it seems to accept as having such an important role to play in controlling the narrative.

        • Nic the NZer

          If the government was providing paid work so beneficiaries were able to find jobs then… WFF would also be extended automatically. Even without giving it to beneficiaries.

    • Siobhan 6.2

      Yep, but then the conversation is still all about ‘Child Poverty’, which means the “poor wee bairns”, not their “ne’er do well parents”.
      The fact that even Labour are still sticking to this narrative is appalling.

      • McFlock 6.2.1

        Not just Labour. The focus on children bypasses most of that “if they stopped smoking and got a job” bullshit.

        It’s not ideal, but it is an expedient way of getting the issue addressed.

        • Siobhan

          ….I keep telling myself that, and for many policies framing them within the ‘Child Poverty’ headline is, well, expedient. But it means that things like Benefit increases will never get any headway.
          Things like the universal $60.00 a week ‘baby payment’, which lasts for up to 3 years for poor families, are not a true benefit increase.
          From raising 3 children I can say that the real costs hit when children start school. Any family that ends up on a benefit while their children are still at school….well I just do not see how they can survive. And these are families who are excluded from Working for Families, yet the costs for school age children are the same.

          • Chuck

            “From raising 3 children I can say that the real costs hit when children start school.

            Yep spot on Siobhan.

            “Things like the universal $60.00 a week ‘baby payment’, which lasts for up to 3 years for poor families, are not a true benefit increase.”

            I guess you could look at this way…it gives the parent/s up to 3 years to upskill to a better paying job (or if unemployed to find a job).

            • In Vino

              Chuck – you could also look at it this way:

              The option of up-skilling to a better-paid job sounds great, but can never possibly work for everyone. There are not enough better-paid jobs.
              Also, many of those parents are already working long, long hours on underpaid jobs that disable them from spending any time on up-skilling. That situation has arisen since 1984, and is criminally unjust. People working very long hours for less than a living wage are demeaned and given no way of improving their lot. Thanks to Rogernomics and all the ensuing similar policies. Do you have a view on that? Would you yourself be pleased to work long, long hours at $15 per hour? (But you are highly skilled, aren’t you?)

              I suspect you know all this already, but as a cynical right-wing troll you will continue to peddle that simplistic, unrealistic ‘solution’ which makes it so easy for you and your ilk to ease your consciences – which seem to be endlessly elastic in any case.

              ¶ ♪ Always look on the bright side ♫ of life .. and ignore social injustice.

              • Chuck

                “The option of up-skilling to a better-paid job sounds great, but can never possibly work for everyone.”

                Agree for a variety of reasons.

                “People working very long hours for less than a living wage are demeaned and given no way of improving their lot.”

                What do you term “long hours”? I know plenty of people who work long hours…it has not stopped them improving their lot.

                “I suspect you know all this already, but as a cynical right-wing troll you will continue to peddle that simplistic, unrealistic ‘solution’ which makes it so easy for you and your ilk to ease your consciences”

                Yes I know the weight of the World in upon left-wing academics…if just everyone else could see what we do kind of thing.

                Simply put – if a person wants to improve their situation in NZ they have many options to do so. Yes it takes hard work and long hours, and for some its just too hard or they don’t have any desire / motivation to do so.

                “♪ Always look on the bright side ♫ of life”

                That is a good start, a positive frame of mind goes a long way…(see above motivation).

                “and ignore social injustice”

                Not ignore, every person deserves help.

                • In Vino

                  I said ‘long hours for less than a living wage’ – not simply ‘long hours’. Many others will work long hours because they can believe that it will pay off for them. The people I mention have no such hope under current conditions. Utterly demeaning.

                  Low rates of pay now affect far more people than you want to admit, with your over-simplistic attitude. And I am hardly a ‘left-wing academic’ – that is another example of your wishful thinking. You are a bit of a planet Key man, aren’t you?

                  • In Vino

                    And since you glibly state that ‘every person deserves help’ – lets see you supporting a much higher minimum wage for anyone who works. But we won’t see that from you, will we? It will cost jobs, etc, won’t it? Worthless words from you.

          • Cinny

            oh yes and the bigger the kids get the more they eat, school uniforms, digital devices, sports fee’s, school trips, books, always growing out of their shoes, jackets etc, $60 a week would help so many school aged children. If a proportion was given straight to schools and school books/uniforms/school trips/school donation (gulps) all those things were given to the children via the school. Can’t blame parents for the kids going without if extra funding was given to the schools to cover such costs.

            Baby payment would be helpful to any whom are not breast feeding or to any whom use disposable nappies, ‘sposies and formula’ are expensive. Saved heaps using cloth, boobs and homemade baby food, kids are better for it. But not everyone has time to do such things. I’d prefer to have the extra funds over the school years.

            Ideas to improve the life of all kids… food in schools would be a massive help, food goes straight to the kids, no parents to blame. Shame some aren’t into that idea, those types are already playing the blame game rather than helping the kids.

        • weka

          “It’s not ideal, but it is an expedient way of getting the issue addressed.”

          Only if we think that child poverty is a statistic that needs amending. If we think that child wellbeing is dependent on community well being, then policies that actively discriminate against a group of people both financially and culturally are a fail even if some of the children are lifted out of poverty on the balance sheet.

          The beneficiaries that are denied assistance, what happens when they have kids? It’s all ambulance at the bottom of the cliff stuff.

          • McFlock

            There’s a damned big mess at the bottom of the cliff already.
            We need ambulances there.

            Roughly a third of the country don’t give a shit about poor people in general, as far as I can see. Getting them to give a shit (or at least feel a little bit guilty) about one of the groups most over-represented in poverty is the first step towards “community well being”.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              That’s a small step to propose, and a giant leap for a wingnut.

              Prejudice is a hard nut to crack.

              Far better to look for practical coalitions of the remaining 70%.

    • Kay 6.3

      Pretty sure it is Chris. Even the Greens have shut up about it in recent times. Such a great job has been done with the divide and conquer campaign that even the slightest hint of that proposal would send the majority of working voters- even the left leaning ones- scurrying to the right.

  7. Scott 7

    Whether tax cuts help social issues surely depends on where they are targeted. It is a big assumption to think they might be aimed at “rich”, if we are to have any I suspect they will targeted at the “working poor”.

    I don’t think now is the time for any significant changes to the tax system (other than improved enforcement), but I do favor adjusting the lower tax thresholds (currently 10.5% on 0-14k, and 17.5% on 14-48k) to reflect inflation since they were last considered, and indexing the lot of them for the future.

    • Ad 7.1

      When the tax cuts actually become real, which is quite a ways off, the Opposition would be better off outflanking National by proposing really deep cuts to income tax for those on those lowest two brackets.
      Easily the most effective social welfare programme for the less well off is to directly give them more of their own money back. Lots of it. Labour needs a serious tax policy.

      • BM 7.1.1

        That’s called WFF.

        • Ad

          You have to be working to get Working For Families.

          I’m thinking a bold and attractive tax cut for the 0% to 48%. Say a single rate of 5% tax.

          • BM

            So a big increase in benefits?, yeah I can see that going down real well with the voter.

            • Stuart Munro

              Actually the voters don’t mind it on the whole – people know it’s not enough to live on. But bad employers and media trolls would try and turn it into the end of the world.

              One day they’ll try that and find the public are sick of their lies and non-performance, and the lousy jobs and prospects available to their kids, and they will punish the Gnats with a decade or two in the wilderness.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Nobody objected to National raising benefits, BM, so I’m not sure why you seem so against it.

              Besides, reducing the first bracket of income tax is not the same thing as a “huge benefit raise,” as it actually benefits everyone who pays income tax.

              • Scott

                In a way it is better than a benefit increase because it doesn’t erode the differential between a benefit and a low income job, and it would maintain that differential without burdening businesses and risking marginal jobs (in the way an increase in the minimum wage is often said to do).

                I think something of that sort would be well received.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  In a way it is better than a benefit increase because it doesn’t erode the differential between a benefit and a low income job

                  Why would that differential not remain? If the benefit is so high that people are leaving work then perhaps what needs to happen is that the wages go up.

                  and it would maintain that differential without burdening businesses and risking marginal jobs (in the way an increase in the minimum wage is often said to do).

                  Ah, the old but businesses won’t be able to compete WAAAAH excuse to maintain poverty.

                  • Scott

                    So why then have a statutorily set minimum wage at all?

                    With one comment you advocate for communistic state control of pricing and wages, and then on another you seem to expect the market to work surprisingly well. It seems to me you don’t really know what you want.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      So why then have a statutorily set minimum wage at all?

                      Because the market doesn’t work.

                      The necessary existence of the minimum wage and the idea that we have to keep benefits low so that businesses can keep paying low wages is proof enough of that.

                      I want to get rid of capitalism and a lot of that is showing the inconsistencies of the present system.

                • Chris

                  Benefits are taxed so tax cuts at the lower end will increase benefits, unless gross benefit rates are cut to ensure no net increase.

                  • Scott

                    Indeed, that is partly why I like the idea of reconsidering the lower two thresholds (and when we can afford it perhaps the lowest tax rate as well).

                    But it would also directly impact those on the other side on the line between low income earners and those on benefits (the “working poor”) – and it moves them together without narrowing any gaps that exist already. I like that about it. And because it will actually impact everyone to some degree I think it would be quite palatable politically.

                    • Chris

                      The problem is that whenever there are tax cuts gross benefit rates have always been reduced to ensure no net increase. It comes with the territory.

              • BM

                True, you’re targeting everyone if you aim the tax cuts at the first bracket

                Solve child poverty with a tax cut, I like it.

          • Lanthanide

            You mean a single bracket of 0 to 48k at 5% tax?

            I’m not sure how that would be paid for. Also it creates a ludicrous marginal tax cliff of going from 5% to 30% at $48,001.

          • Craig H

            No you don’t. The Family Tax Credit component (the biggest component) of WFF is not work tested.

        • Scott

          It is a bit like WFF, but without the transaction costs.

          I was thinking of something more subtle and lees dramatic than Ad might like, but to a degree I like the line upon which he is thinking.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      Tax cuts are always aimed at the rich. Even ones given solely to the poor go to the rich as they decide that they can charge more for that rental, more for that food and, well, generally more for everything and thus get higher profits.

      • Scott 7.2.1

        That is a bit cut and dry Draco. It would mean that an increase in social welfare benefits is aimed at advantaging the rich. Surely there is room to think that giving those on lower incomes more money to spend (be it by keeping more of their own or money from others) may actually help them?

        • McFlock

          well, yes and no.

          Is an accommodation supplement a way of helping the poor afford housing, or does it merely subsidise low-income landlords (aka slumlords)? In some circumstances it might be the former, but it is often the latter.

          So alternative sources must also be provided to keep capitalist prices down and make benefits worth something.

        • Draco T Bastard

          It would mean that an increase in social welfare benefits is aimed at advantaging the rich.

          It’s aimed at advantaging those least well off but the capitalists will increase prices to secure the extra money floating around in the system and thus we end up back where we started – with those people still being poor but with a higher nominal income.

          We have to address the underlying problem which is capitalism itself which holds that the correct price is whatever the market will bear.

        • It’s a pretty clear fact though that even benefits to the poor end up helping the rich. (in fact ironically spending money on alleviating poverty is actually better for the rich than spending the money directly on them)

          It’s not to say that it doesn’t help those people, it’s just that it’s pretty difficult to make a subsidy policy that benefits the poor that doesn’t also benefit the rich unless it includes some sort of tax.

          • Scott

            I was not advocating for abandoning a progressive tax system, or even for lowering the higher rates or thresholds. But reconsidering the lower thresholds (and maybe even the lowest rate but that might have to wait) is something that could be done next year, and is something along the “tax cut” lines that might have wide support.

      • Groundhog 7.2.2

        That is an unfortunate side-effect of our income tax system…we lower rates for lower tax brackets and everyone benefits, including the rich. But here’s the thing…the poor will benefit disproportionately more if only the lower brackets are lowered. Couple that with a tax free threshold and we could have a viable alternative to simply raising benefits, and one that actually encourages work.

        • Draco T Bastard

          No, it’s an unfortunate side effect of a market system.

          • Groundhog

            I’d be interested to hear of an economic system without taxes. Even the soviet union had taxes.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Who said anything about getting rid of taxes?

              What I said was:

              Tax cuts are always aimed at the rich. Even ones given solely to the poor go to the rich as they decide that they can charge more for that rental, more for that food and, well, generally more for everything and thus get higher profits.

              Which you then tried to blame on the tax system which is completely delusional.

              • Richard Rawshark

                GH has been popping up saying windup things here n there, looking for some lefties to annoy to make his weak assed self feel tough.

              • Groundhog

                You’re deluded.

                Rents are set by the market. As are prices for most things, food particularly. If you had an ounce of knowledge of how our economy works, you wouldn’t write such bs.

                Tax cuts are almost never aimed at the rich, but with any progressive tax system, across the board % cuts will benefit higher income earners more than lower income earners. That is precisely the reason I advocated a cut in the lower rates, and a tax free threshold. But you didn’t understand or take the time to read what I wrote, did you?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Rents are set by the market. As are prices for most things, food particularly. If you had an ounce of knowledge of how our economy works, you wouldn’t write such bs.


                  You’re the one who obviously doesn’t know how a market works and that’s far different to the economy which you also don’t how it works.

                  In a market system the price is set by what the market will support. An increase in money by the poorest allows the market to support higher prices. Thus a tax cut for the lowest income groups will allow the richest to increase prices because ‘the market’ can now support higher prices.

                  The only reason for those higher prices is higher profit for the owners.

                  Tax cuts are almost never aimed at the rich

                  Tax cuts are always aimed at the rich as they’re the only ones who will benefit from them due to their position to set prices.

                  But you didn’t understand or take the time to read what I wrote, did you?

                  I read it and understood it. That’s how I know that it was delusional BS and that you’re an ignoramus.

              • Groundhog

                No, it’s not. Under our current tax system, cuts benefit everyone, including the higher income earners. What I am advocating for is targeted cuts to low income earners, but a reduction in the bottom (and possibly mid) rate only, and a tax free threshold.

  8. Greg 8

    Didn’t government debt rise by 1.5 billion last quarter with all problems national are leaving 1.8 billion is nothing but use money for tax cuts is beyond sanity

  9. Incognito 9

    The only reason why we’re even talking about tax cuts – thanks to the subtle hints again by John Key himself I believe – is because there’s an election year around the corner. It is even more cynical to say that there are not net votes to be gained for National by combatting child poverty.

    John Key has already clearly stated that it is too difficult a problem. What he implied by this is that this Government won’t seek political solutions for this problem, which is further supported by the Government’s lack of real action and political will. In other words, we just have to tolerate it as part of our flourishing (!) society because there will always be people at tail end of the bell-shape curve; it’s the natural order. Lastly, don’t forget that poverty is a choice or the result of bad personal choices and thus not a social problem that needs to be tackled by Government at the taxpayers’ expense.

    I thought all this was pretty evident from three terms of #TeamKey.

    • Scott 9.1

      The problem for topics like this is that there is always and election around the corner – we only have three year terms.

      If it was done in the first year and a half but not foreshadowed before the election people would (rightly) complain it was hidden from the voters. If done in the latter half of the term people say they should wait and seek a mandate at the next election. If foreshadowed pre-election but planned for after it we’d called it an election bribe. There might be a window of opportunity right near the middle, but I expect even then you’d get one argument or the other.

      In a way I agree with you, it is electioneering, but unless we have longer terms then so is everything to do with tax.

      • Incognito 9.1.1

        Agreed, but the real point is that tax cuts are a side issue while child poverty, for example, is not! National excels in dealing with side issues and burying the difficult real problems; this has absolutely nothing to do with elections but everything with the prevailing culture.

        • Scott

          Yes, but isn’t letting families have more money a sensible measure to help address those children living in poverty? I don’t see why it matters whether you give it to them or let them keep more of what they already get / earn (except perhaps that the latter has lower transaction costs).

          I’d agree there are also other ways to address child poverty where the government essentially makes parental decisions for them. But those things might sit alongside putting more money in their parents’ hand.

          • Incognito

            Hi Scott,

            I think there’s a huge difference between first taking it from the poor and then giving (some of) it back to them and not taking it in the first place but this is not how it’s happening in reality, is it?

            The Government is indeed making parental decisions for the poor but it is without any parental love (compassion) or with tough love at best (more stick than carrot). The problem does not lie fairly & squarely with the poor but is the result of many political decisions, here in NZ as well as globally, and, as such, needs proper political analysis, self-reflection, and a political solution, all of which cause National to go into anaphylactic shock.

            Handing over a little bit of money to the parents may temporarily help but it is not a structural and long-term solution to the problem.

          • Stuart Munro

            It might be if you pursued poverty honestly – but face it, you don’t care about poverty at all, which is why you’re trying to reframe the issue to tax cuts.

            Fuck your tax cuts.

            Don’t come here talking about tax cuts again until you’ve eradicated poverty.

            • Scott

              Thanks for the advice Stuart. I’ll give it the weight it merits.

              Poverty is all about, well, poverty. By definition, if people have more money to spend (in real terms) then they are less impoverished. Taxation policy then becomes not only relevant but I would say a useful tool to consider.

              Sure, there is also an element to child poverty which is just about poor parental choices, and more money won’t necessarily fix that, but I seem to recall many on here up in arms when that is pointed out or anyone dares to suggest it is even true.

              • KJT

                Funny how i was able to be a much better parent when i got off the, miserly, sickness benefit, and could go back to work.
                More money makes people less poor, strangely enough.
                Even in the world capital of miserliness to the disadvantaged, the USA, they found that simply giving the homeless, money, was the cheapest way of solving the homeless “problem”.
                Same as child poverty was almost non-existent when i was young, due to the universal family benefit.

  10. Richard Rawshark 10

    Why just kids, anyone in poverty in ZN, well somethings wrong, there should be opportunity for anyone ideally, so how about a broader focus, wages conditions lifestyle, food costs, electricity costs, insurance!

    The country is out of balance.. curing child poverty is noble and needed but so is so much at the moment. IMHO.

    • BM 10.1

      if we could cut the cost of housing we’d be a long way down the track in fixing the issues a large portion of New Zealanders are facing.

      That is the crux of the issue, government has to get these fixed expenses under control.

      • Stuart Munro 10.1.1

        In countries where neoliberalism works at all, the government says to the big market players “The market must deliver X,Y, & Z, or we will regulate it until it does.” This impotent bunch of crony capitalists are too craven to either fix housing or insist that the market does. Which is why they are toast.

        In fact NZ governments began ignoring cost of living in the 80s, so now we have some of the most expensive housing, electricity, food, consumer goods, mortgage interest and education in the world. One of my NZ power bills would pay a year of my Korean ones.

        We need a government that will face these issues, not run and hide their deeply unattractive faces in India in shame.

        • Richard Rawshark

          It’s the cost of basic living, if we put wages up business has to recover the cost, prices go up.

          There actually are better ways.

          Deep down I was always one for having laws that maximize a mark up on anything to a max of 20% above the actual cost to manufacture it. Cover it, lend it whatever.

          I see stuff with less than 10 dollars in components costing $200

          • Stuart Munro

            Nope – it’s the cost plus business mentality here. Most businesses in NZ have rarely faced competition on price. Groceries and retail are some of the biggest monopolies in the country. Monopolies must be broken for an economy to flourish. This government of course doesn’t want the economy or the people to flourish. Traitors.

            • ropata

              Just look at the comments by the greedy landed class. Any move to make the economy fairer will be voted down hard.
              Bernard Hickey: Land tax the fairest route

            • Chuck

              “Most businesses in NZ have rarely faced competition on price”

              You are surely having a laugh Stuart?

              “This government of course doesn’t want the economy or the people to flourish.”

              Of course not…otherwise people would want to vote for them!. Come on Stuart your are better than that! what a silly comment.

      • Richard Rawshark 10.1.2

        A government who retained power on the back of house price rises is not going to be keen to do anything about it whatsoever BM.

        Business who all want to start up in major cities like Auckland are strangling progress.

        It’s time the business sector had a look at their social responsibilities and the part they play in the suffering and poverty of NZ. By locations, wages, transportation of goods, energy use.

        The business sector expects a free reign and this is the issues we now have, well overcrowded cities, declining satellite towns.

        • ropata

          The building industry has failed us time and time again, yet the politicians still want to prop up the “free” market. Wealthy individuals and corporations are extracting massive rents from workers using skewed market power, and pricing them out of housing. No wonder young kiwis are all leaving, they can’t compete with floods of (laundered) foreign cash

          • BM

            Young Kiwis aren’t leaving, that’s the problem at the moment, everyone is staying put which is throwing everything out of whack.


            • Richard Rawshark

              I would agree BM, I think it’s definitely not due to a lack of wanting to leave but of anywhere that is good and they can go to. The Uk and Australia two of our most popular destinations have been, well reduced in appeal shall we say.

              Not all leave for government reasons either, lots of people want the OE experience and that’s been stymied as well.

  11. Richard Rawshark 11

    Apparently neither option is any good as their is the pressing issue of keeping the Parker fight in NZ.


    Joyce is umming the idea.

    thanks god that Joyce is weighing it up…I mean, the minister of universal order is surely well equipped to handle this moral conundrum is he not.

    starving kids or fight night hmmmm

    • Stuart Munro 11.1

      They were kicking the tyres of a ‘feel good’ sporting plug.

      They’ve got oceans of money for anything that might win votes, however stupid.

      • Richard Rawshark 11.1.1

        What? like when Key wore the Black caps T shirt for photo op moment with Brendan.

        He should have been Minister of Sport. Who is Minister of Sports. Poor bastard always gets pushed aside for dear leaders photo op with the captain shirt.

        What sort of clown takes sporting people to a business meeting. One that we pay for.

        NZ , the land of stupid.

        • BM

          A very clever man, you obviously no nothing about India.

          • Richard Rawshark

            Shallow, so shallow hey it’s india why not take some real sexy scantily clad secretaries like the rest of you businessmen do eh.

            Do you seriously think the indian PM can’t see the childish crap that’s coming his way via “Air, whenever we get there”.

            • BM

              I don’t think you quite understand how mad the Indians are about cricket, Brendan McCullum is a super star in India.

              • Richard Rawshark

                Run rage.exe

                If you think parading a bunch of cricketers is going to make the Indian MP’s so giddy with delight you going to slip through a free trade deal your fucking dreaming.

                In fact it’s fkn rude, obvious, see through and really god damn fucking horribly amateur night, If we want to start that plastic shit, hire a few K Rd hookers to blow them all while your at it.

                Too me BM, it’s so like those Hollywood diva’s and their entourage that accompany them. What next, cooks, hairdressers, makeup artists.

                Small country, people starving, shout some cricketers, who get paid well free top first class pampering.

                Fark no.

                end rage.exe

    • McFlock 11.2

      Don’t forget Air Farce One.

      • Richard Rawshark 11.2.1

        I noted the news made clear Key had never requested his own personal PM plane.

        yet……but I bet his ego’s telling him how as one of the worlds most powerful and influential leaders, he certainly deserves it.

  12. Cinny 12

    I just want value for my tax dollars not a tax cut. Good health care, quality education and so on, for EVERYONE, rather than just tax cuts for a select bunch

    • Richard Rawshark 12.1

      Cinny, the people of Rome probably said that too, daily. When the Romans started this whole democracy lark. /sarc 🙂

  13. fisiani 13

    It would be helpful if a realistic number of children with problems was quoted. I see above that an imaginary numer of 240,000 grows to 300,000 in just a few lines. The problem with making up numbers is that they have to sound realistic.
    Most people are clearly better off now than they were in 2008 after the wasted nine years. Real wages are outstripping inflation, employment is at an all time high, the economy is growing at about 3.5% , virtually the best in the OECD. Mortgage rates are very low and housing affordability has improved. Thousands of houses are being built and thousands of Kiwis are choosing to stay. The grass is greener here. Manufacturing is booming as is Tourism.
    Children should not suffer for the poor choices of their parents. If parents put children first then there would be no poor children.

    • Chris 13.1

      fisiani for president.

    • Barfly 13.3

      Hard to work out Fisiani…are you that stupid ? or are you that dishonest?

      • McFlock 13.3.1

        I think fizzer hangs around to make BM etc look reasonable by comparison. Difficult task lol

        • Richard Rawshark

          One wonders who they are, the patter is to me like my imagination of Smith and Brownlee, the Bevis and butthead of parliament, spending their days childishly sniggering while posting nasties here.

      • fisiani 13.3.2

        Everything I wrote is true and you know it. Wages ^ Employment^ Economy^ Affordability^ Housing^ Kiwis^ Manufacturing^ Tourism^

        • Draco T Bastard

          Wages are up – for the top 10%
          Employment is only up because of a statistical measure change
          The economy is floating on a housing bubble
          Affordability is down
          Price of housing is up but availability is down

          So, yeah, you’re lying – again.

        • Richard Rawshark

          Listen Bevis,

          grow up.

    • Richard Rawshark 13.4

      If you carefully look at who’s getting high from your talking points it’s the already well off.

      Standards of living have dropped for other sectors of society.

      Is this a game to you Fisi, in that it’s just my party can say x y z and this shows we are super great, or do you look for real and proper increases in lifestyle and income for NZ’ers.

      The one thing I do heartedly agree on is that we all sincerely want to improve things for our people if we do that for a living(politics). No matter the colour we were on our sleeve.

      The only real difference I see is that so many play it like a game. To win.

      If that stopped and both leading political parties stopped the childishness like your comment, the place would be better of for all of us, and isn’t that what we all want?

      Now i’m actually not arguing with some of your indicators, some I would say have a tad of the imagination added to them others would say that’s good.

      In reality my insurance has over doubled, petrol is still way to high, 150 dollars groceries a week now, electricity near 200 a month has been over winter.

      You know lets actually work to sorting it out, or mate, as i’m at breaking point i’d hate to see what would happen if I snap..

    • KJT 13.5

      Jonathan Swift strikes again.
      Fizzy. New Zealand’s best satirist.

  14. millsy 14

    Cut rents not taxes.

  15. KJT 15

    National will not address poverty. It serves the purpose of instilling fear in workers, to keep them in low paid jobs with inconsistent hours and rotten working conditions.
    Labour will put a few band aids on it to get elected, but will not endanger their comfortable upper middle class lives by doing anything as radical as ensuring everyone has adequate food, housing and healthcare.
    It was Labour, after all, who wanted to reduce our most successful anti-poverty initiative. Universal super.

    • Chris 15.1

      “It was Labour, after all, who wanted to reduce our most successful anti-poverty initiative. Universal super.”

      Yes, and it was also Labour who went so far as to actually remove our most successful anti-poverty safety net, the special benefit.

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