The UN is shocked by NZ’s child poverty rates

Written By: - Date published: 11:40 am, July 22nd, 2018 - 89 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, benefits, capitalism, Carmel Sepuloni, child abuse, child welfare, class, class war, crime, Dr Deborah Russell, families, housing, human rights, labour, national, Politics, poverty, prisons, welfare - Tags:

Michael Joseph Savage would be turning in his grave. And this shows what an important job this Government has and what a crap job the last Government performed. The United Nations recently expressed incredulity at our statistics concerning child poverty, housing, incarceration and violence.

The report is a couple of months old but the issues identified will require long term fixes.

From Isaac Davison at the Herald:

New Zealand’s child poverty, inadequate housing, incarceration and violence has “shocked” a United Nations committee reviewing the country’s human rights record.

Members of a committee overseeing the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) were last month incredulous at some of New Zealand’s worst statistics, chief human rights commissioner David Rutherford said.

Rutherford attended the review in Geneva along with various New Zealand NGOs, as part of a delegation led by Justice Minister Andrew Little.

The committee asked Little about New Zealand’s progress on policies and legislation that would ensure the population had access to equal economic, social and cultural rights.

Rutherford said many New Zealanders were familiar with issues like health disparities and domestic violence.

But the statistics “came as a shock” to some of the members of the UN committee, he said.

“It was empowering to observe the incredulity at some of our worst statistics. They were shocked by statistics on child poverty, inadequate housing, the incarceration rate and violence, abuse and bullying, which didn’t seem to sit well with our status as a developed nation.”

Little said once he had answered some of the questions from the committee on these areas, members were satisfied with the direction the Government was taking on them.

“They give pretty good scrutiny to what’s happening in New Zealand in the two sessions I had with them and it was certainly a very constructive dialogue.

“It certainly wasn’t gilding the lily at all, it was about acknowledging what we can do better and acknowledging what we are doing well.”

The final report is not yet out but should be published on the Human Rights Commission website.

These are an affront to the New Zealand way of life and are the result of calculated malevolence on the part of the last Government.  You could see it as in budget after budget cuts and tweaks were made to Government funding the effect of which was to slowly but inevitably make the situation worse.

Deborah Russell summed up the situation well when describing the 2016 budget:

Very quietly, a cut here and a decrease there, a failure to keep up with inflation in one place, and ignoring increasing population in another place, the Government is walking away from New Zealand’s longstanding social compact.

And what did the last Government think?  Well John Key’s biggest regret was not getting his vanity flag project through, not that the lives of thousands of kids had been blighted.

So all eyes on this Government.  Carmel Sepuloni has worked hard on the issue of child poverty with the implementation of the Families Package and the change in the way that WINZ functions two highlights.

Phil Twyford has been energetic on housing in areas such as halting the hounding of housing corporation tenants where traces of methamphetamine were found in their flats, and the start of planning for Kiwibuild.  His destruction of the ludicrous notion that New Zealand does not have a housing crisis and his proposals for change are really heartening.

In relation to incarceration Andrew Little is grappling with long needed changes to the Criminal Justice system to reduce incarceration rates.  The prospects of there being a political consensus are remote.  National clearly will prefer to play political games than to effect meaningful change.

And violence rates?  Well solve these other problems and the incidence of anger and violence will reduce.

The UN is right.  We should be ashamed about how those who are the most vulnerable in our society are faring.  Which is why progressive politics is so important.

89 comments on “The UN is shocked by NZ’s child poverty rates”

  1. Ed 1

    Tinkering.

  2. Ad 2

    Agree that Carmel and Twyford are putting their shoulder to the wheel, but I would like to see Prime Minister Ardern back on the job, front and centre being accountable on this issue as she said she would.

  3. Kay 3

    Perhaps my cynicism is now so deeply entrenched I can no longer be even slightly optemistic of anything fundamentally changing in NZ, just not getting worse under this Government.

    The UN also took the UK Government to task a few years ago over their treatment of, and (I think) breaches of assorted treaties they’d signed concerning their treatment of disabled people. Naturally the Tories- incapable of the concept of shame- ignored it and completely avoidable deaths continue. So global embarrassment by the UN might mean a lot to us mere plebs, but face it, it won’t influence any Government of any stripe.

    • Rosemary McDonald 3.1

      +1000

    • Ed 3.2

      Until we dismantle capitalism, poverty is here to stay.
      Governments aren’t even brave or independent enough to get rid of the neoliberal strain, the most virulent form of the virus.
      Governments are owned by corporations.
      They can’t change quick enough.
      And by the time they do, probably after a revolution or two, the planet will be toast.

      • Hongi Ika 3.2.1

        The neoliberal virus still infects our State Services and the entitled here in NZ ?

    • Rosemary McDonald 3.3

      Kay…you can download the UN Monitoring Committee Report for the CRPD from this site…https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRPD%2fC%2fNZL%2fCO%2f1&Lang=en

      Unsurprisingly, the Office for Disability Issues failed to make this report more accessible. Instead they released a bunch of easy to read and happy clappy ‘we’re doing -so-well-for -the poor-disabled’ publications.

      https://www.odi.govt.nz/united-nations-convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities/un-reviews-of-nzs-implementation-of-the-convention/first-review-of-implementation-2014-2015/#October

      And when they held ‘consultation workshops’ around the countryside to rewrite the NZ Disability Strategy they very carefully avoided addressing some of the more cutting criticisms from the UN Monitoring Committee.

      The new Strategy that ‘underpins all dealings between government agencies and disabled people’ is now not worth the paper its printed on.

      There was one instance where the original Strategy was used, slapped down in front of the Judges as if it were an actual meaningful and living document….the Atkinson family carers case..

      which the National Government’s response provoked this comment from the UN.

      “B.
      Specific rights (art.5 30)
      Equality and non-discrimination (art.5)9.
      The Committee notes that,in 2012 the New Zealand Court of Appeal affirmed that
      the policy of not paying some family carers to provide disability support services to adult disabled family members constituted unjustifiable discrimination on the basis of family status. The Committee is concerned that the Public Health and Disability Amendment Act 2013 reversed this court decision by denying carers’ pay to some family members. The Committee is also concerned that these provisions also prevent some family members who
      are carers from making complaints of unlawful discrimination with respect to the Government’s family care policy. The Committee notes that the independent monitoring mechanism has recommended reconsideration of
      this matter.
      10.
      The Committee recommends that the State party reconsider this matter to
      ensure that all family members who are carers are paid on the same basis as other carers are, and recommends that family members who are carers be entitled to make complaints of unlawful discrimination in respect of the State party’s family care policy.

      The new Strategy, and the Disability Action Plan make no mention of this issue.

      Good old New Zealand….giving the single digit salute to the UN.

      • Kay 3.3.1

        Thanks for that Rosemary. My brain’s really fuzzy at the moment so I won’t try and read that right now but I’ll keep the links for when I can concentrate better.

        I”m trying to remember if NZ signed up to the UN rights of disabled persons (or whatever it’s called, hopefully you know what I mean!) ?

        It really does seem more and more that the UN is nothing more than a token PR exercise with no legal clout at all. Nations sign up to International conventions simply to say look what great global and ethical citizens we are- they of course they break the terms of those treaties, the UN”Committees” can do all the investigations on earth, make detailed reports and publicly shame said governments, but as you say they just give the single digit salute in return.

        I’m still very worried for the life of a good friend in England with the same illness I have who, with no exaggeration, runs the very real risk of being killed by the Tory Government, via Department of Work and Pensions. She’s had several very close calls already.

        • Rosemary McDonald 3.3.1.1

          “…if NZ signed up to the UN rights of disabled persons (or whatever it’s called, hopefully you know what I mean!) ? ”

          Yes we did. And we agreed to the Optional Protocol (https://www.odi.govt.nz/united-nations-convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities/optional-protocol/) not that that means diddly squat.

          Grumpy me with terminal cynicism…I know some people battling similar issues who are/were going to make a complaint under the Protocol. Suggested my man and I did similar…us have a reputation of being up for a fight.

          Took a look at what was required and thought…what’s the effing point?

          Your friend in the UK….is there perhaps a support group or similar for your condition? With contacts near to where your friend lives? Who could perhaps offer her some practical support?

          • Kay 3.3.1.1.1

            My friend is probably the most clued up person in England on disability rights, support services and benefit rights but there’s only so much fighting anyone can do. Oh, and her MP is one Jeremy Corbyn…

          • adam 3.3.1.1.2

            I wonder Rosemary McDonald, if disabled just get shafted over and over becasue it is the one sector in society which do not run many of their own organisations.

            Here I’m think CCS disability action, White, male, and able bodied CEO. Deaf Aotearoa, again a white, male, hearing and abled bodied. You could probably add to this list.

            If Maori organisations or Women’s organisations were in the same boat people would be jumping up and down.

            • Kay 3.3.1.1.2.1

              Adam- interesting comment. Applicable to the organisation I was connected to until recently which has been destroyed by 2 successive incompetant CEOs with no understanding of the condition therefore no real interest in advocacy or fighting for us with the moh, medics or politicians. I quit my membership in disgust after 25 years.

              Along side the bosses of these charities/organisations needing to have some sort of understanding e.g. a family member they really need to get their act together and unite to gang up on the system and make a lot of noise. Together they represent a hell of a lot of NZers and that’s what the public might respond to, not individual illness/conditions.

              • Rosemary McDonald

                ‘…..they really need to get their act together and unite to gang up on the system and make a lot of noise. Together they represent a hell of a lot of NZers and that’s what the public might respond to.”

                This. And double this.

                Peter and I fantasize about the day when an actual disability community forms. A real community where the expectation is that all are treated equally regardless of cause of disability.

                Peter gets no support from ACC as he became a tetraplegic in 1970, before ACC was set up.

                If you compare the supports, ok, lets not be coy, compare the $$$ spent on Peter with the $$$ ACC spends on a C5 ASIA B. Conservatively, the ACC tetraplegic has 7 X the funding spent on him per year. And perhaps twice the household income. And we have to spend a certain % of our meagre income supplementing the inadequate medical supplies we get.

                We have repeatedly asked the two organisations who claim to represent the interests of NZ Spinal Impaired (one of whom collect $$$ from MOH) to do some serious kick up shit advocacy for the disadvantaged non ACC crips…. and they just shrug and beetle off in their $110,000 ACC funded vehicles with a cheery wave.

                ‘Attitude ‘ refused to do a side by side telly comparison between one of their presenters who has a similar level of injury to Peter and Himself. They said the issue was ‘delicate’ and ‘political’. And another happy clappy ‘crip does well’ story rolls off the camera and the real issues are avoided. Ages since I watched Attitude or went on their website…perhaps they’ve changed with a few hard hitting stories?

                The MOH has no representative of the Spinal Impaired on their Consumer Consortium…the existing members objected to another wheelchair user joining the Consortium as it made getting around difficult for the Blind. And still the MOH refuses to fund bowel cares…despite this being practically mandatory care for those with severe spinal impairment.

                Sighs. Rolls eyes. Dries tears of frustration. Reminds self to have ‘DNR’ tattooed on chest.

                Adam….it’d be an interesting exercise to find out how many $$$ CCS and the like receive in Government funding. Clue…its lots. Way too many dollars to leave under the control of anything other than the super execs. And not too many of them have disabilities. Which is not to say there are no suitably qualified disabled people…there’s that pesky glass ceiling.

                • Kay

                  Rosemary- yes, wouldn’t it be lovely to be done with our “some disabled are more deserving than others” system. Even having to lie on ACC forms to get physio treatment (tearing muscles during a seizure doesn’t meet their criteria for accident but if I did it drunk driving that’d be fine) so while not on the scale that you and Peter are dealing with the total lack of decency and reason is still there.

                  In an enlightened society we shouldn’t have to always be fighting and being angry. I just find it incredible given how in NZ everyone knows someone, or themselves have some degree of disability, that they’re perfectly happy to ignore what’s going on. What’s that all about?

                  • Rosemary McDonald

                    “What’s that all about?”

                    Okay…just thinking about that for a minute. Peter and I get around. We have this thing for traveling, fishing off windswept wharves, parking up in remote places uncontaminated by light pollution and chatting with folk.
                    As you’d know…you get those folk who do the ” Good on YOU for getting out there!!!” thing types who take disability inspiration porn to whole new levels.
                    And the ones who simply blank Peter out. Like seriously…he’s just invisible.
                    Then you get the ones who say g’day, get on with the usual fishing bullshit talk and make like the wheelchair is not there.

                    Then you get the odd one who, by word or action, reveals that their experience with disability is a little more than superficial.

                    So you break the ice and have a natter and get down to the nitty gritty of shared frustrations and concerns, and maybe we’ll ask if they have ever protested or written to an MP or brought up the issue of disability inequity at an electoral meeting.

                    And we find out that they are tired. Exhausted with the day to day grind. Or are simply too scared to kick up shit in case they lose supports. Or their down time is simply too damn precious (because life is short) to waste on futile complaint. Or they are members of ** insert DPO here** and assume that the organization are doing all they can.

                    And if they are family and are no longer actively caring they have ‘moved on’.

                    And those bastards down in Wellington know this. ACC was a master stroke of wedge politics. Create an elite and keep them insecure enough that they’ll ignore their hugely less resourced brothers. Create criminals out of folk driven to use inflexible funding ‘creatively’ to get the supports they need. Pass legislation that stabs disabled people in the back and leave them feeling like worthless shit….(thank you Key, Ryall, English and Turia…hope y’all rot). They tell lies. Really big porkies that completely misrepresent the reality of our lives. And the worst ones….are the snots that think its ok to use disability issues as political grist then promptly forget pre-election promises and tell us to wait while they seek advise from our sworn enemy.

                    My protest Kay, at the moment, is to remind Labour and the Greens that they both had their MPs speaking at great length against National and the PHDACT back in 2013. Managed to gain column inches of media exposure ‘supporting’ us, seduced us with manifesto promises of a fair deal for all disabled and then upon securing the government benches have kicked us into the dead ball zone. Labour! Greens! I despise you right now.

                    Boy. That felt goood.

                    Seriously though…the disability community needs a Leader. Someone uncompromised by having their snout in the trough and someone who can rally the troops. With social media, coordinated area rallies/protest action can take place. Before that, key issues need to be defined.

                    I’d begin by demanding that all those with permanent disabilities are supported under the same system. That system already exits.
                    It’s called ACC. Combine the two communities and the two sets of funding and instantly there’s more than enough buying power to secure Pharmac style savings by bulk purchasing of equipment and services.

                    Dreams are free.

                    • Kay

                      Fighting the system over an unrelated situation literally kept me alive many years ago.I won that particular battle but the stress and exhaustion sent my seizures haywire and I never got the control back. Now I’m too worn out to fight, even to get money I know I’m entitled to. I have great admiration for you rosemary, it’s completely understandable why so many just have to give up and as you say the powers that be know this and rely on it.

                      Some days I consider getting politically active over it, then I get knocked senseless and the moment passes… but sadly now it’s more the cynicism.

                      It does feel good letting rip in blog posts though doesn’t it?
                      😊

                    • adam

                      Can I say Rosemary McDonald and Kay, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading what you both wrote.

                      An absolute joy.

                    • the other pat

                      you two are awesome and tho my scrap was for only two years i do understand the strain it brings….i would hope that the coalition comes to the party for you both.

    • Delia 3.4

      Keep them in power for a few terms and you will see change..but that takes faith and to many New Zealanders put individual interest ahead of collective interest.

  4. SaveNZ 4

    Nothing much as still being Nat lite on what a million plus people coming into NZ in the last decade and being the third highest per capita for immigration.

    While creating very polarised immigration, aka very rich or on minimum/low wages with few conditions and not much scrutiny especially when increasingly it is not really working out aka Peter Thiel and lower wages and massive strain on the welfare/education and health systems. To make matter worse, NZ can’t see any reason to stop foreigners purchasing housing, assets and so forth as investments as it might drag down investments gains!

    This was heightened by the National party, but not sure Labour has really got to grips with what the problem is, and how serious it is going to be if it’s kept going.

    39,000 people have already applied for a few Kiwibuild houses who earn $120 – $180k and nothing was put in place to make sure that NZ citizens had first dibs, or even essential workers and again the ‘open market’ approach is the only one they know about.

    Meanwhile the Manakau bus shelter is now open for rough sleepers during winter, more news about illegally wiring in housing corp houses and the electrical owner firm just needs to deregister and pay a $5000 fine, bit like the engineer who designed the CTV building in ChCH. Deregulation pays.

    The only building people they prosecute is those that convert housing to cheap flats without paying a council fee. You are welcome to create illegal and substandard buildings and apartments from scratch or during renovation, there will be little come back as long as you paid the council for it or have a certificate even if the work was not done by anybody qualified. As long as you did the paperwork, not too much to worry about if the residents are put at risk.

    Yes Labour are trying and much better than National party ever was, but they are deeply entrenched in neoliberalism and globalism and free trade, and clearly believe increasing poverty of Kiwis, is worth it, and will tax the middle classes while giving corporate welfare to business even if they don’t even bother paying much taxes here, or employers pay such low wages that are actually tax negative!

    Benefits will increase because it’s now cash negative in many cases to actually work on the minimum wages with the cost of living and our user pays system and spread of low wage economy.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      o make matter worse, NZ can’t see any reason to stop foreigners purchasing housing, assets and so forth as investments as it might drag down investments gains!

      Most NZers can – the government and the rich people that they govern for can’t.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    The report is a couple of months old but the issues identified will require long term fixes.

    In other words, nothing that National is capabe of as they only ever think short term and break the long term.

    The committee asked Little about New Zealand’s progress on policies and legislation that would ensure the population had access to equal economic, social and cultural rights.

    As long as we have capitalism then there can be no progress on it as capitalism actively prevents such equal rights.

    These are an affront to the New Zealand way of life and are the result of calculated malevolence on the part of the last Government. You could see it as in budget after budget cuts and tweaks were made to Government funding the effect of which was to slowly but inevitably make the situation worse.

    That’s what you get when a government only ever governs for the rich, to make those rich people richer at everyone else’s expense.

    • Ed 5.1

      “As long as we have capitalism then there can be no progress on it as capitalism actively prevents such equal rights.”

      So straightforward isn’t it?

      • SpaceMonkey 5.1.1

        Identifying the problem is very straightforward. Doing something about it is the hard part. Neoliberalism is a parasite and has its tentacles wrapped so tightly around every aspect of our lives, sucking our environment, economy and society dry. Doing something about it is very likely to kill the host. And so our politicians are like possums in headlights.

        • Gosman 5.1.1.1

          Again with this ‘Neoliberal’ characture as if it is some sort of living breathing creature. There is no such thing. There is merely a set of rules that we choose to live under. You may change those rules at any stage but there are often times many unintended consequences. Or you can try to ignore the rules and set up systems of your own.

          • SpaceMonkey 5.1.1.1.1

            Replace neoliberalism with capitalism if the former doesn’t suit your sensibilities. Is that more real for you? And while these all may merely be a set of rules, the simple fact is the current set of rules are leaving more and more people behind and unable to participate. The system is broken.

      • solkta 5.1.2

        We could just have a revolution. Nothing ever goes wrong with that. All so simple.

  6. Roy cartland 6

    Looks like we’re all aware, really. As long as we’re going to have ultra/super-rich and pointless crap like America’s cup villages, we’ll have poverty, inequality, despair and hence violence.

    Tackle the source!

  7. Observer Tokoroa 7

    Tell The UN:

    There is no Poverty among the wealthy in New Zealand !
    There is deep unremitting poverty among wage earners however.

    The reason for that is Capitalism. The Wealthy live off the backs of the wage earners.

    If it gets any worse, The United Nations should send in their Troops to establish equality between the appalling Rich – and the Slaves we call the Wage Earners.

    The entire Planet should legislate to get rid of Capitalism by the year 2030.

  8. JC 8

    Whats New? ….

  9. Gosman 9

    Countries like Russia, Cameroon, and Brazil are shocked at OUR child poverty levels are they? Perhaps they should get their own house in order first.this is why the U.N. is a joke largely.

  10. Old girl 10

    Saul Alinsky’s book ‘Rules for Radicals’ might give a group of determined game changers some ideas to conjure with.

  11. Gosman 11

    https://data.oecd.org/inequality/poverty-rate.htm

    According to the data in these models we are pretty much below average on both overall poverty and child poverty rates amongst developed countries. We are a damn sight better than Russia and Brazil not to mention Colombia and Cameroon.

  12. tsmithfield 12

    This is report is absolutely hypocritical given the makeup of the countries represented in the report:

    https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CESCR/Pages/Membership.aspx

    Perhaps this committee might like to examine the humans right records in their own countries before they point the finger at NZ which is probably better in nearly every aspect than most of the countries represented on the committee.

    • Gosman 12.1

      Exactly my point. We are basically average on child poverty rates comapared with other developed nations and we are hugely better off than most other nations. Noone is arguing that we can’t do better but to argue we are somehow shameful and that other nations like Russia and Brazil are shocked by our statistics is nonsense.

      • tsmithfield 12.1.1

        Yes, NZ would probably should probably be a model for some of those countries on the committee to follow rather than criticise.

  13. Gosman you are just an apologist for a failed ideology , and a failed National govt. And being the contrarian , whenever the bald facts hit you in the eyes you retreat behind ‘at least we are not as bad as this or that country’.

    Truth is we shouldn’t be significantly behind any of the leading nations – at one time we were 6th in place for per capita wealth( just behind Denmark ) in the late 1960’s. And sure times change ,- but shouldn’t to the point that around 30 years later we were 32nd, – behind Mexico !!!

    In other words, – since the advent of the neo liberal treason’s of 1984 , socially and economically , for vast numbers of people in this country , they have seen increasing poverty. And rough sleeping , and homelessness in significant numbers skyrocketed during Keys govt in particular.

    Remember when Key campaigned on housing and poverty in 2008?

    Instead we got this sort of thing;

    Aroha of McGehan Close flees NZ | Stuff.co.nz
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10468960/Aroha-of-McGehan-Close-flees-NZ

    All John Key ever was , …was another proponent of this sort of thing;

    New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
    http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

    Neo liberalism IS a virus, – and not only that , – HAS even been discredited by international body’s such as the IMF. And NZ was the test case for that process,…more so than the UK or even the USA. We were chosen for our small, docile population as an experiment.

    And that experiment started faltering not long after it was implemented.

    If this country truly wants to stop wringing its hands and get honest about the reality in which it finds itself, – steps towards the dismantling of neo liberalism must be taken.

    • Gosman 13.1

      We were slipping behind most nations well before 1984. In fact nothing that occured pre-1984 arrested the decline despite the policies in place resembling the sorts of policies that I suspect you want us to adopt now. Why was that do you think?

      • WILD KATIPO 13.1.1

        Without needing to drag out ream upon ream of old statistics all we have to do is look at the obscene levels of homelessness , the stretched to the limits food banks, the underfunding of social services that we have today.

        We could look to the fact that the period in question meant one wage-earner could not only afford a house for their family , but could pay to run a family car, and feed their family’s well. I know. I was brought up in the 1960’s and 70’s.

        I could make a guess and say you have arrived in NZ long after that period with a fistful of ideological notions that belong in the 1980’s. It is almost as if you are totally devoid of NZ history of the last 50 years. In keeping with many other Far right wingers who habituate sites such as these.

        Its actually an in joke to see as such trying to justify the Roger Douglas, Ruth Richardson years.

        And the only reason why NZ could have been deemed to have been ‘slipping’ as a consolation would be to suggest Britain joining the EEC ( as it was called back then ) and the ‘Arab Oil Crisis’ of the 1970’s. But in no way even then , – did we EVER see the disgusting levels of poverty that we have since 1984.

        NO WAY.

        Your precious neo liberalism was responsible for state owned industry’s being privatized and tens of thousands being made redundant. While your neo liberalism ensured private industry’s couldn’t compete because of cheap imports and relocating offshore to take advantage of sweatshop labour rates and still yet even more workers lost their jobs.

        Your neo liberalism set state houses at market rents and created an instant poverty source for low income earners while at the same time passing antidemocratic Bills such as the Employment Contracts Act to further casualize and lower wages by destroying Unionism.

        Ruthanasia – Wikipedia
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruthanasia

        What is THIS , – if not a deliberate and calculated plan to lower wages, destroy Unions and re appropriate wealth from the poor to the rich? :

        ———————————————————

        Ken Douglas, then president of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, recalled in the 1996 documentary Revolution:

        The Employment Contracts Act was deliberately intended to individualise the employment relationship. It was a natural outcome of the ideological propaganda of rugged individualism, of self-interest and greed and the appeal to individuals that you could find better for you by climbing over the tops of your colleagues, your mates, and so on. Ruth Richardson was very clear, very blunt, very honest about its purpose. It was to achieve a dramatic lowering of wages, very, very quickly.

        ———————————————————

        And I am only tackling a small part of the historic abuses of your precious neo liberalism . Let alone modern day symptoms prevalent in NZ today.You and your cheerleaders for a failed and incredibly destructive and greedy ideology have absolutely no leg to stand on barring gloating and justifying how wealth has only been improved for the already wealthy.

        • Gosman 13.1.1.1

          You have ZERO facts to back up your claims. Your views are as valid as a Homeopathic doctor’s

          • One Two 13.1.1.1.1

            1. Raise limited number of subjects on repeat loop

            2. Demand evidence when challenged

            3. When presented with evidence, ignore or devalue

            Perhaps you’re aware enough to understand what your tactics represent….perhaps you choose to do it for payment…perhaps you’re a sad soul whose chosen the wrong path…

            Whatever your reasons for dribbling on such sites, Gosman…it’s not from a position of positivity…

            • Gosman 13.1.1.1.1.1

              I don’t ignore evidence. Where is the evidence that has been presented? Please note I asked for evidence not opinions.

              • Delia

                If you saw the true facts of what has gone on in this country for thirty years you would just about die. Just a rich person’s playground at the expense of the rest of us..we deserve better.

                • Gosman

                  Do you have any evidence or are you just going to put up some sort of emotional argument as if that will be accepted as fact?

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Qualitative arguments are real too Gosman – you know that.

                  • the other pat

                    how about you just take your hands out of your pants and just open your eyes and look the fuck around,,,,,,,,thats my emotional arguement!!

          • WILD KATIPO 13.1.1.1.2

            Mate…. the facts have been presented even in the small amounts given here. If you cannot / refuse to see that , – then you are either colossally blind or in denial.

            And, if you require more ‘ facts’- troll back on report after report during the John Key govt and just view all the NGO’s that repeatedly stated poverty levels , the spread of communicable diseases due to run down moldy state housing, rotting schools in Northland or moldy Hospitals such as Middlemore.

            Not only that – do some work and go back and see for yourself in countless news articles the debacle that was the National govt and the poverty that they exacerbated , – nay , – actively engineered to lay the grounds for full privatization of NZ.

            Childhood diseases in the land of milk and poverty – NZ Herald
            https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11913334

            Damp house led to toddler’s death – NZ Herald
            https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11459813

            Housing a fundamental human right | Stuff.co.nz
            https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/…/Housing-a-fundamental-human-right

            I find it incredible that after all this ABSOLUTELY WALL TO WALL COVERAGE of not just the Key led neo liberal govt , – but all other neo liberal govts before them that we still have sycophants like yourself waving the banner for a destructive , anti democratic ideology that was ONLY ever designed to enrich the already wealthy at the expense of the poor. The poor and the poverty that those ruthless elitists created in the first place.

            People like you really take the cake.

            • Gosman 13.1.1.1.2.1

              Ummm…. the article you linked to “Childhood diseases in the land of milk and poverty – NZ Herald” suggests that hosptalisation rates for childhood diseases have been trending downwards since 2002. So much for your theory. Thanks for the stats backing up MY claims.

              • Well this is interesting… while you gloat about one aspect, you studiously ignore all the rest.

                In true Gosman style.

                Read one article and base the whole premise on that. Well done, mate.

                Strange how so many reports and articles about poor housing , homelessness, housing CRISIS’S and preventable childhood respiratory diseases and the like surfaced under the John Key National govt years…

                No , if anything , your cherished ideology was , is and becoming , more and more discredited as time goes by.

                • Gosman

                  Except none of the other articles suggest that the poor housing situation has got much worse since 1984. Remember that is YOUR whole argument. That since 1984 social ills have got much worse. Yet you have provided no evidence for this other than something suggesting the opposite and other articles suggesting there are social ills. Noone is disputing that social ills exist. it is the trend which is in dispute.

                  • … ‘ Except none of the other articles suggest that the poor housing situation has got much worse since 1984’…

                    How often did you hear of whole family’s sleeping in cars, Gosman? – pre 1984?

                    Did you EVEN LIVE IN NZ before that?

                    That’s important because that will determine much about what motivates you. That and where you came from. And even if you were born here , just how neo liberalism has benefited you is also important.

                    It appears you seem very ,very ignorant of conditions pre 1984. It is almost like you lack a parameter by which to compare by. Even simple things like around 650,000 ex pat Kiwi’s now living in Australia ( the mass exodus occurring during the early 1990’s during the time of Ruth Richardson ) as a direct result of the implementation of the Employment Contracts Act and radically slashed wages bears witness against your haloed ideology.

                    They didn’t just go there to pat the Koala’s , mate.

    • Gosman 13.2

      The trouble with your narrative WK is that it does not stand up to ANY degree of scrunity.

      NZ relative position in the OECD GDP per capita rankings fell the fastest between 1975 and 1980 (where it went from 10th to 18th position). This was 4 years before a single Neo-Liberal policy was enacted here. We are now in 20th position in a table that has grown by 12 since the 1980’s

      https://www.parliament.nz/resource/mi-NZ/00PLEcoRP01061/ef6307a4131dc044da8cea38e0df36ac779f71c3

      • WILD KATIPO 13.2.1

        And perhaps the problem with what you perpetually spout is that you deliberately leave out the social costs and focus exclusively on such things as GDP.

        The classic neo liberal fall back default position.

        GDP as well you know is NOT an accurate measure of societal well being. You can have as good a GDP as all you want but if large sectors of a society are perpetually living below the poverty line, sleeping on park benches or family’s in vehicles, repeatedly needing assistance from food banks, crumbling schools and hospitals as well as wages so low they do not even keep up with the high cost of living , – then trying to quote GDP figures against that sort of backdrop can only mean one thing : that you and your buddies couldn’t give a shit about large numbers of the people in this country but in only perpetuating an ideology that serves no one but the already wealthy.

        And , – conveniently – you seemed to have missed out the fact that during the late 1990’s we were actually placed 32nd – behind Mexico , – by the very same organization you are quoting from .

        But of course, that doesn’t suit your narrative, … does it mate.

        • Gosman 13.2.1.1

          Your so called evidence is a couple of one off cases and one article which suggests hospitalisation rates are actually FALLING. So even your own statistics don’t back up your claims.

          • WILD KATIPO 13.2.1.1.1

            ”So called evidence’and ‘one off cases”.

            That’s a joke.

            Are you now going to try and tell us that all the reports from NGO’s ( such as the S.Army and any other number of suchlike organizations etc – even govt depts ), – and all the news articles put together during Keys term of govt (and by extension , – previous neo liberal govt’s ) over the last 34 years were all put together from a collection of bored officials who had nothing better to do on a midweek morning than moan about underfunding , foodbanks running low and hostels that could no longer keep up with demand.

            While banks and CEO’s were boasting of obscene salary rises and profits all during that same time , – and a generous taxation system that favored them at the expense of infrastructure and working peoples standards of living?

            You’re a lunatic and a denier.

            • Gosman 13.2.1.1.1.1

              I’m not claiming reports by those agencies are made up or even wrong. I’m disputing YOUR claim thst social ills have been made much much worse as a result of neo-liberal policies implemented in NZ since 1984. You still haven’t provided any evidence supporting that position.

              • Do you ever get out or speak to those who could tell you different ?

                I doubt it.

                Sunlight and reality do not seem to be your strong points.

                • Gosman

                  Providing supporting evidence for your views is definately not one of yours.

                  • Some of us either A) do not always have the time to entertain deniers and idiots , or B ) the patience to put up with myopic ideologues.

                    Twist the facts and statistics away as much as you like. Either way , you fall into one or both of the category’s above.

                    You’ve had this sort of thing pointed out to you countless , countless times already , by those with more time than I do currently. You are like a two year old dog that has been repeatedly shown not to shit inside but continues to do so.

                    In fact worse , because that dog is an animal .

                    But rest assured, carry on and yet endure the fact that National is long gone, Labour is now in power and they are a popular govt , … albeit they have to struggle to repair the damage of a former rapacious National govt, … and that we can look forward to many more years of them being in power simply because all people have to do is remember the corrupted, destructive Dirty Politicking National party’s 9 year long nightmare.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Or yours.

                    Your one-dimensional statistics are designed to present a favourable picture to external investors – not to uncover and resolve the pernicious problems created by decades of shamefully corrupt and utterly irresponsible government.

  14. A recent article about Hooton.

    Is Working For Families really ‘Communism by Stealth’? « The Daily Blog
    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/…/if-working-for-families-is-communism-by-stealth-matthe…

  15. SPC 15

    It would be much worse without WFF, yet this site has many who seek just that.

    • Stuart Munro 15.1

      Rent caps would end the need for WFF, and see the speculators off too.

      • SPC 15.1.1

        Rent caps for whom, low income families – then how do they get tenancies ahead of those who pay higher rent?

        For everyone, anyone – then how is access to (better) properties rationed?

        • Stuart Munro 15.1.1.1

          Other countries have resolved these problems before.

          I’d suggest universal. With a punitive tax on untenanted properties, so that they can’t be kept empty the way many now apparently are.

          It’s all part of the long overdue shift away from rentseeking as the unproductive core of our economy.

          • SPC 15.1.1.1.1

            Really, does any nation actually have nationwide rent caps?

            I am aware some buildings/areas in some cities do.

            And why would rent caps advantaging all – young singles and older empty nesters negate the need for support for low income families via tax credits.

            Near all nations have tax credits for families, all WFF is a form that excludes those without a working parent, and has a scale advantaging those on lower incomes more.

            • Stuart Munro 15.1.1.1.1.1

              WFF doesn’t help singles at all.

              It’s a bandaid on a broken welfare system and low wage economy – adequate as a temporary fix, but too readily captured by rentiers to be good policy.

  16. David Mac 16

    According to Daryl Evans at the Mangere Budgetry Service a common denominator shared by nearly every family struggling with poverty is suffocating debt.

    When benefits were formulated there was no allowance made for loan servicing yet our poorest families carry crippling debt. The worst kind of debt, high interest rates on loans to purchase items that depreciate at chronic rates.

    This is a problem that more money won’t fix, in many cases it will compound the hardship. A $20,000 car depreciating at 20% per year instead of a $10,000 model, phones for the kids.

    Many of the people in question only avoid being in deeper because nobody will extend them finance, scores of applications get turned down every day with a “These people just can’t afford the payments, try a 3rd tier mega interest rate finance company where you carry the arrears risk.” If every loan applied for was to get the nod, 100’s of poor people would be driving away in brand new cars tomorrow.

    I think we need to start addressing poverty by making low income folk plunder proof. WINZ could bulk purchase a reliable android all feature mobile phone and non profit finance clients into plans that include access to a massive bulk purchase of data/call time from a provider.

    The shop trucks that tour the suburbs are great. The state should be operating them at break-even and nobody getting in too deep rather than the exploitive shylock rats with gold teeth milking our most vulnerable ragged.

    • SPC 16.1

      I think the government, which can borrow at 5%, should lend to those who cannot get commercial finance.

      • Gosman 16.1.1

        Excellent. And when these people default do you think the government should write off the debt as well?

        • David Mac 16.1.1.1

          Remember when lending went crazy in the US, just prior to the banks imploding in 07.

          Housing mortgages extended to people with no hope of meeting the repayments, 2 brand new Silverados chucked in and the whole thing propped up by supposedly ever increasing asset value growth.

          Yep, the govt did write the debt off, not for the patsy stuck with 2 Silverados, he handed the house keys back and still owes $110k on the Chevys. The bankers awarded each other parachute bonuses and walked away.

          • Stuart Munro 16.1.1.1.1

            It wasn’t the borrowers that were bilking the system but bankers repackaging loans to glom access to a respectable bit of social funding that has worked adequately for years.

            Too much political collusion in destroying Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac – under the likes of Roosevelt the thieving bankers would’ve faced serious jailtime.

        • SPC 16.1.1.2

          Government is capable of enforcing a payment from pay system on debtors (it already runs the tertiary debt system).

          Refinancing debt is a viable business when one has the government’s borrowing cost and enforcement capabilities.

      • David Mac 16.1.2

        Yeah, I think the govt would need to be careful with regard skewing the playing field for established retail lenders but I think a plan to limit the exploitation of those that struggle to keep food up to mouths would enjoy the support of most of us.

        • SPC 16.1.2.1

          I would start with refinancing the debt of those laid off jobs (or separated from working partners) who go onto welfare, this would ease their debt costs as they go onto a lower income – and maybe add a bridging loan to tide them over till they return to work.

          As for existing beneficiaries with children, I would turn the grants into loans that are interest free until they find work. Thus their need for help does not result in a decline in the benefit income paid out.

  17. David Mac 17

    The Sallies walked away from the opportunity to operate a portfolio of houses…Ha, if there ever was a hot potato …”Catch!” Who can blame them….. They’d be called on to feed 1000 with 1 loaf of bread every day.

    If those truck shops were operated by the Sallies, all sorts of cool things could happen. There could be a screen in the truck and video or photos of the new arrivals at Sallie stores all over the country eg: $50 beds and $75 lounge suites + freight etc. They could stock new staples onboard: Nappies, Rice, Manchester etc.

    Any profit would be turned back into doing the work of the Sallies.

  18. David Mac 18

    “Hi, I’m from the Government and I’m going to fix your poverty.”

    As claims go, does that one sound wobbly to you? It does me.

    Operating businesses, early on I heard the words “I’m from the Government and I’m here to help.” So many helpers, I’m yet to be helped.

    When I’m skint, time and time again, there’s no better bastard for getting that situation sorted out than me.

    “What steps are you up to to get your money situation turned around?” Shouldn’t be a rude question.

    We all want freedom of choice, from what I can see, getting that takes some purposeful effort.

  19. FedUp 19

    What are they doing indeed. I see Mexico, Singapore and Japan have ratified the CP-TPP. No doubt this mob will follow suit. After that any expectation of things getting better is I suspect, pretty slim.

    That said if people pull their heads out of their proverbial’s and wake up to the fact that Labour and National are not serving their interests things might improve. Given the knee jerk reaction for red and blue rubber stampers however who still make up the voting majority I have my doubts.

    Sad reflection on a once great little country.

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