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The unlucky New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 10:17 am, February 17th, 2021 - 107 comments
Categories: child welfare, climate change, greens, labour, poverty - Tags:

Ad’s post on New Zealand as the very, very luck country has some good stuff in it. It’s worth reading for a nuanced take on what Labour are doing. This gem stands out,

The Cabinet paper said the pandemic was expected to cost education providers about $600 million in lost fees just for 2020, but that we stood ready to leverage its handling of the crisis to attract students. “The halt on international travel provides an opportunity to redefine how some of the sector value is generated. For example, the government can encourage the sector to rebuild in a way that is less reliant on student mobility which causes environmental strain, and place more focus on maximising the uptake of online delivery for students offshore.”

It is an economy with much clearer leadership from the state. This is affecting the companies that are already doing well out of 2021.

It’s a lovely upbeat piece given the state of the world. However it’s only a third of the story. The other two thirds are the elephants in the living room of poverty and the housing crisis, and the fact that despite Ardern’s kindness framing, going into the fourth year of her leadership we’re still talking about economics primarily in conventional neoliberal terms rather than starting to shift to models that acknowledge economics as a subset of nature and human relationships.

There are of course good changes happening, hence a cabinet paper talking about rebuilding the economy away from heavy GHG industries. These are meaningful changes, and if we had more time with the climate/ecological crises I could see a steady building over three terms to make a lot of cultural and policy change within government. I see this with the Greens too, and both now being free of the square wheel that was NZ First, we can be grateful for this reprieve.

But. It’s not nearly sufficient. With the recent publishing of the Climate Change Commission’s proposed plan for NZ to transition to a post-carbon economy, NZ is now faced with the urgent need for more rapid change. Public submissions are open, and Labour have until the end of the year to either accept the CCC’s plan or present one of its own. How much Labour water down the CCC’s proposal is going to tell us a lot about what we can expect from Labour beyond the ‘my generation’s nuclear free moment’ rhetoric and the steady as she goes policy implementation that just isn’t suited to the current world we live in.

With regards to the other third, we already know Labour’s direction on poverty and the housing crisis. They have no real plan for housing, and again while doing some good things, there is none of the transformational work being done on welfare. This sobering report , Food Hardship and Early Childhood Nutrition, on the impact on babies in New Zealand of food poverty, shows 50% of kids now experience food poverty at some point in their early life. This should be waking up left wing voters, or at least twinging their consciences,

The first New Zealand study to look at the effects of food hardship on pre-schoolers’ nutrition has found that nearly half of families struggle to access healthy food in their child’s first year of life and this can have a negative downstream impact on children’s diets.

“We discovered that food hardship was most prevalent when children were infants and this influenced the quality of nutrition children received, even once we accounted for differences in family circumstances, such as income and education,” Dr Gerritsen says.

“The first year of life is so important for a child’s immediate and ongoing health and development. It’s critical that we take steps to ensure that all families can provide their children with healthy food during this time when their brains and bodies are growing so rapidly. It’s also an important time to develop the healthy eating behaviours and food preferences that last into adulthood.”

The three types of food hardship focused on whether families had:

  • Been forced buy cheaper food to pay for other things they needed.
  • Gone without fresh fruit and vegetables because of cost.
  • Used special food grants or food banks in the past 12-months.

The study team then looked at the link between these three food hardships and children’s nutrition, in particular the duration of breastfeeding, fruit and vegetable intake, and the consumption of unhealthy food and drinks.

Dr Gerritsen says they found that when children were nine-months of age:

  • Half of mothers had been forced to buy cheaper food in order to pay for other things.
  • One in eight had used food grants or food banks.
  • One in eight had gone without fresh fruit or vegetables to pay for other things they needed.

Māori and Pasifika families were much more likely to have experienced all types of food hardship, and for food hardship to persist across the pre-school period.

Children living in families that experienced food hardship were more likely to have:

  • Stopped breastfeeding before their first birthday.
  • Tried unhealthy food and drinks early in infancy.
  • Had fewer servings per day of fruit or vegetables at nine-months.
  • A less varied intake of fruit and vegetables at four-years of age.
  • Consumed three or more soft drinks a week at four-years of age.

However, she says the primary determinant of food hardship in families with young children is low income.

“Having young children is a financially stressful time for families, with increased costs and generally lower income. It’s clear that this has flow-on effects for household food purchases and the quality of food children are fed.

Fifty fucking percent. For those that still want to think in neolib economic terms, consider the future costs in Welfare and Health that are going to come from that. For the rest of us, I think we need to be careful not to just file this away as another appalling statistic amongst the deluge.

Not even going to link to anything about housing because the MSM and social media has been full of increasing alarm at the lack of leadership from Labour on this, and how the situation is just getting worse.

I don’t want to hear from Labourites that Labour just needs more time. If you think I am wrong about Labour not having an adequate or even any plan on housing and poverty, prove me wrong. Show me the plans. Not the rhetoric, or the parsing of vague hints, but the actual plans.

I also don’t particularly want to hear from lefties more complaints about Labour not doing enough. What I want to hear is what we are going to do about it. Because it’s plain that Labour aren’t going to sort this mess out. One very easy thing to do is gear up to shift a chunk of left wing vote to the Greens in 2023. This isn’t a partisan position, it’s from reading their policy and following their commitment to ending poverty over the past decade.

I know we aren’t supposed to criticise people’s voting preferences, so instead of me going off on that again, maybe people with better political planning skills than me can put out some ideas on how to shift the vote. Because 20 Green MPs in government in 2023 would be game changer on all thirds of the story. Yes, the Greens aren’t perfect. But I want them in power, shifting the Overton Window, and we will be free to hold them to account as well as Labour.

107 comments on “The unlucky New Zealand ”

  1. Sabine 1

    I am on a few veggie growers pages and with the new school year a new fundraiser has popped up. Fruit n veggies to supplement the weetbix and milk now offered for breakfast in school.

    the only way to prevent hungry kids is to provide enough funds to the hungry parents as oftentimes mum and / or dad eats even less then the kids.

    And so as long as we don't discuss what is not being done there is no point discussing what could be done, as chances are by the time these things should have been done, the problem has grown into another dimension altogether as is currently with the house price explosion.

    This is not a Green bash, but rather a collective government bash. Labour right now could work easily with the Greens on programs and policy to actually make a dent. Yet they don't. And the question needs to be raised why not. Qui bono from letting kids and their parents be hungry, live in substandard conditions, with little to no job security, and then the question remains why would anyone vote for these guys.

    So i hope that the Greens will vey actively, loudly challenge the government on its failures. Sometimes not being in government can be liberating.

  2. Sabine 2

    And thank you for writing this post.

  3. JanM 3

    The fizzy drink consumption demonstrates that there is more to this than just poverty don't you think? My children ( I was a solo mother) drank 'sky juice' (water). Free and better for them!

    • Sabine 3.1

      chances are that the young parents were themselves raised on fizzy drinks. you know what fizzy drinks also do? They cover hunger and via the sugar keep that body running a bit longer.

      • JanM 3.1.1

        "chances are that the young parents were themselves raised on fizzy drinks". That emphasises my point

        • Sabine 3.1.1.1

          there is a thing i don't like, you certainly did not think of it i am sure, but

          i don't judge people who have no money literally on how they spend the money.

          water is not free, water in many places in NZ is actually quite expensive, specifically if you are charged for waste water too.

          so really it ain't my business how a single parents spends the few tens of dollars a week they have on the food they consume.

          And we older ones need to come to understand that for people who live in shitty housing situations, the dairy might be the place the water comes from, or the fizzy drink, or the milk for that matter.

          so before judge what people eat/drink , we should address the fact that people are expected to survive on a level of benefit that is very much below the poverty level but just above the begging level, often while being homeless, emergency housed, or badly housed.

          • JanM 3.1.1.1.1

            Interesting you saw that as a judgement rather than an observation that the issue is more complex than simply a lack of money.

            • Sabine 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Because at the level of food insecurity that these kids and their parents are IT IS simply a lack of money.

              Once the money issue is resolved judging might be ok, but in he meantime i would like again pointing out that water and milk cost more then a bottle of fizzy drink.

      • KSaysHi 3.1.2

        Yep. It's helps with hunger and that's why it is popular (and unfortunately can be addictive). Hard to get blood sugar in balance with chaotic eating.

    • McFlock 3.2

      Not when fizzy drink is cheaper than milk, fruit juice, and sometimes water (depending on municipal water availability and quality in your area).

  4. Kiwijoker 4

    I’m with you Sabine.

    • JanM 4.1

      Then I think you too have misunderstood me. I give up!

      • Patricia 2 4.1.1

        I have worked with families experiencing financial difficulties for the last 30 years. Families that had wages / ACC or WINZ income / sometimes no income. Every family has a different complex story to tell.

        Priorities around where their money went ranged from rent / food / power / petrol being the most important on some budgets to those items being at the bottom of the list on others. Credit has been so easily available : before they know it some families are paying 60% of their meagre income on debt.

        Maximising income / reducing expenditure and debt payments is difficult to manage in many instances but can be an effective coping strategy.

        Financial and nutritional education for young people aged over 10 should be in schools as compulsory subjects,

        • Sabine 4.1.1.1

          civics

          financial literacy

          home cookery and nutrition/housekeeping

          so sorely missed.

        • RedLogix 4.1.1.2

          Every family has a different complex story to tell.

          Thanks for this Patricia – helping people is hard work. Your coal face experience is in some ways more valuable than all of our reckons put together.

          I've thought a great deal on this theme over the years and I don't think there is a single magical bullet to fix this kind of poverty – but that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of quite simple things we could do to improve the odds of minimising it.

        • JanM 4.1.1.3

          Yes, that's where I was coming from – I agree with that last paragraph wholeheartedly

  5. Ad 5

    The broader report on child poverty can be found in detail here:

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2020/12/child-poverty-how-the-latest-statistics-compare-to-last-year-s-report.html

    The percentage of children living in both material hardship (going without six or more essentials) and income poverty (living in households with incomes below 60 percent of the median, after housing costs) has continued its downward trend, dropping from 9 percent in 2018 to 8.2 percent (92,300 children) in 2019, when the latest statistics were available.

    But pretty unchanged at 1 in every 13 children unable to get some essentials, and 1 in 9 in severe material hardship.

    Child Poverty Action Group goes through the statistical evidence and its vagaries here:

    https://www.cpag.org.nz/why-child-poverty-statistics-can-be-tricky/

    The 2020 data has a lag so we won't see the COVID19 effects on poverty until this years' one comes out. It's now tracked every year.

  6. McFlock 6

    I agree.

    The Greens pull finger. I sure don't agree with everything they do, but they keep the pressure on. We need them to be part of the next government, with a majority-breaking share of the vote.

    For the wider issue, progress has been made in getting child poverty onto the political agenda, but it's a long slog. The mechanism I've seen with child poverty in general is the ongoing process of dragging it into the public discourse.

    • 1990s: it doesn't exist
    • 2000s: it does exist, but it's the parents' fault on a case by case basis
    • early 2010s: it's a systemic issue, but it can't be changed
    • late 2010s: I can promise to halve it in 18months (during an election debate)
    • 2020s: we care about an abstract number (that won't change significantly)

    So I think the next steps are things like this: make the number less abstract. I'm a quant guy, but we also need shedloads of qualitative, personal evidence on it.

    Also, I think we might see a coordinated push from the social support NGOs for specific things: living wage for the working poor, genuinely increased benefits on a long term basis (in the order of the covid benefit level for employed people in lockdown).

    And the systemic solutions should also address most adult poverty, as well.

    But the process will be accelerated by the Greens being successful and the nats continuing to be unelectable.

  7. RosieLee 7

    For most of a child's first year of life they should be breastfed and transitioning gradually to veges etc. Where is La Leche League and Playcentre when you need them?

    • Sabine 7.1

      and then she can't breast feed, or her baby won't take to the tit and she is back to formula and and…..

      we used to call women who breastfed another womans child a 'wet nurse'. Most of the time it was very rich people who had their own children breastfed at the expense of the poor womans baby.

      Maybe we should just allow women all the ways to get food into a baby, to their own possibilities and options given.

      • RosieLee 7.1.1

        Given time and support, there is no reason why women can't breast feed. A group of mums sitting around with a cuppa in a quiet environment is magic.

        • Sabine 7.1.1.1

          Tell that to all the women who can't breastfeed. Literally can not give milk, or tell that to the cleft palate child that can not latch on. OR other things.

          but here you might like to read up on all the various reasons why women can't give milk, and baby can't breast feed. No matter how many lactating women you put around a nice table with some insence burning, some chimes ringing and some kumbaya singing, NOT all women can breast feed.

          https://www.verywellfamily.com/why-some-women-cant-breastfeed-4153606

          • Insufficient glandular tissue (hypoplastic breasts)
          • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
          • Hypothyroidism
          • Previous breast surgery, such as mastectomy or a breast reduction surgery
          • Prior radiation treatment for breast cancer

          just a few of the reason why women can't or should not breastfeed

          a few reasons why the child may not have breast milk ….

          • Classic galactosemia: Galactosemia is the body’s inability to break down galactose. Galactose is a part of the milk sugar lactose, and lactose is the main sugar in breast milk. So, if a baby tests positive for classic galactosemia, he cannot breastfeed or take breast milk in a bottle.
          • Phenylketonuria (PKU): A baby with PKU can’t break down phenylalanine, an amino acid. If phenylalanine builds up in the baby’s body, it can cause brain damage. Therefore, babies with PKU need a diet low in phenylalanine.
          • Maple syrup urine disease:baby born with maple syrup urine disease cannot break down the amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. When these amino acids accumulate in the baby’s blood, they give off a sweet maple syrup scent that is noticeable in the urine, ear wax, and sweat. The build-up of these amino acids can cause sleepiness, poor feeding, vomiting, seizures, coma, and death.

          When it comes to women and their children can we please stop shaming them or demanding that they adhere to a standard that they may not be able to, in order to make us feel superior and better about the fact that in this country hundreds / thousands of kids go hungry to bed, wake up hungry, go hungry to school, get fed some weetbix and milk (so that we again feel better about us – not them, but us) and then chances are go home hungry again and then off to bed, hungry.

          Cleft Palate, a friend of ours is currently fostering a 4 month old that was nearly bashed to death two month ago because the parents could not cope. (that is my charitable excuse). With her cleft she can not hold on to the tit, can not suck and is having a feeding tube. We are happy when she gets down some 40 milligrams of apple sauce.

          NOT all women can breastfeed as they want to, not all women can breast feed at all, and not all babies can breastfeed.

    • Nic the NZer 7.2

      I'm fairly familiar with Playcentre. From an organisational point of view they would not, and should not take a judgemental position on breast feeding. Providing the information about the benefits, but not judging members on their uptake.

      Also, while there are functional Playcentres across a wide range of communities and socio-economic levels in New Zealand they require more time of the parents involved. There is a definite gradient towards higher socio-economic status parents being members in the same way these families have more stay home parents.

      Playcentre in unlikely to have the reach to impact this issue.

  8. Gosman 8

    The Greens will likely make things worse. Certainly their housing policy is going to lead to less rentals available for the poorest which will drive up rents even further. Unless they can explain how they will produce more houses beyond a vague "The government will provide" they are not going to solve diddly squat on that front.

    • arkie 8.1

      Affordable, quality housing is a right

      • No one should have to pay more than 30% of their income for a decent home. Housing NZ and community housing tenants should not pay more than 25% of their income on rent.
      • A capital gains tax, excluding the family home, should disincentivise speculative property investment.
      • Only New Zealand citizens and permanent residents should be able to buy land.

      Renting should be affordable, stable, and ensure living standards

      • A warrant of fitness for rental properties should include insulation, clean heating, weather-tightness, and basic service standards (e.g. water supply).
      • People who rent should enjoy security, stability and be protected from unreasonable rent increases.
      • Government should support tenants’ advocacy groups.

      A range of sustainable non-market and market housing solutions is needed

      • Housing NZ should be resourced to build more state homes, as well as upgrade existing state homes. This should be linked to local employment and apprenticeship schemes.
      • Government should enable community groups to contribute to housing supply.
      • Affordable housing should be created through progressive home-ownership rent-to-buy schemes.
      • Government should reduce barriers to housing developments on Maori land and insure finance is available for papakainga and other iwi and hapu-led housing developments.

      We can end homelessness in Aotearoa New Zealand

      • Central government should work with local councils and community organisations to ensure there is enough specialist housing for people with health, mental health, or addiction issues.
      • The government should regularly monitor and report on homelessness.

      Better building and urban planning can help combat climate change

      • Government should fund home insulation and other energy performance improvements, including solar power generation
      • Government buildings should showcase sustainability and use local materials.
      • The Building Code should be updated to require stronger energy efficiency and sustainability standards, encourage prefab buildings, and facilitate low-impact construction practices.

      https://www.greens.org.nz/housing_policy

      Could you point out what in particular you feel will lead to less rentals available for the poorest which will drive up rents even further?

      • Nic the NZer 8.1.1

        Your interpreting his comment wrong. Gosman is actually highlighting a limited number of green coloured houses. Further he draws the inference that, should green become the in housing colour, we won't have enough of them for everyone. He's probably right we can't all live in a yellow submarine green house.

      • Gosman 8.1.2

        Let's step through their Housing policy you posted arkie and see what the practical impact of the proposals are:

        Affordable, quality housing is a right – Merely virtue signalling so not an actual practical policy. I may as well state a job where I get paid to have sex all day with my wife is a right.

        • No one should have to pay more than 30% of their income for a decent home. Housing NZ and community housing tenants should not pay more than 25% of their income on rent. – While the government has some power over the amount State tenants pay they have limited ability to do this for private rentals. Also does this include mortgage costs as well? If so banks are not going to be lending to people even at a repayment below 30% of income if Interest is low. If interests costs rise and they are not able to raise rates they will be sunk.
        • A capital gains tax, excluding the family home, should disincentivise speculative property investment. – This does not seem to have worked in other nations with a capital gains tax on property, Why would it make a difference here? However this at a theoretical level at least does target a source of house price inflation.
        • Only New Zealand citizens and permanent residents should be able to buy land. – As with the Capital gains tax. Other nations with steep house price inflation restrict foreign purchases. This does not seem to make a huge difference and can also lead to a fall off in new home builds.

        Renting should be affordable, stable, and ensure living standards – Again just wishful thinking which ignores economic reality.

        • A warrant of fitness for rental properties should include insulation, clean heating, weather-tightness, and basic service standards (e.g. water supply). – Increases costs for landlords and reduces their interest in offering properties for rent. This has the double impact of reducing rental supply and increasing costs for those still being rented out.
        • People who rent should enjoy security, stability and be protected from unreasonable rent increases. – Love the use of the word "unreasonable". This implies that there has to be a government agency which will look in to rental costs of properties. This again will be hugely expensive exercise that imposes extra costs on the market for no real benefit.
        • Government should support tenants’ advocacy groups. – Ummm… how exactly – with cash or something else? That just seems another nothing touchy-feely policy proposal like "Government should support swimming with dolphins".

        A range of sustainable non-market and market housing solutions is needed

        • Housing NZ should be resourced to build more state homes, as well as upgrade existing state homes. This should be linked to local employment and apprenticeship schemes. – This could possibly make a slight difference but only if it is additional to current home building by the private sector and not replaces it. If it replaces it then it will be hugely expensive with no net effect on the housing market. The State component in the housing market is a fraction of the private sector. Increasing the size of the State in this area will necessitate a MASSIVE increase in taxes or borrowing at least initially while capacity is built.
        • Government should enable community groups to contribute to housing supply. – Again how would they do that exactly? This is something the US got in trouble with in the Sub-prime loan area as the Federal government guaranteed loans to lower income people which encouraged risky lending.
        • Affordable housing should be created through progressive home-ownership rent-to-buy schemes. – An interesting idea but also this will just increase demand for housing not the supply and therefore will drive up housing costs.
        • Government should reduce barriers to housing developments on Maori land and insure finance is available for papakainga and other iwi and hapu-led housing developments. – This is basically acknowledging collective ownership of land inhibits development as the land itself cannot be used as security. What is the Green's solution to this issue? Instead of allowing land to be alienated from the owners it seeks to either use the government to guarantee the loan or force lenders to lend with less security. This is another recipe for a disastorous sub-prime debacle.

        We can end homelessness in Aotearoa New Zealand

        • Central government should work with local councils and community organisations to ensure there is enough specialist housing for people with health, mental health, or addiction issues. – Nothing in this suggests how they will achieve this just extra bureaucrats talking to each other.
        • The government should regularly monitor and report on homelessness. – Great. More compliance costs and no actual practical effect on the supply of houses.

        Better building and urban planning can help combat climate change

        • Government should fund home insulation and other energy performance improvements, including solar power generation – No impact on increasing housing supply but extra building costs.
        • Government buildings should showcase sustainability and use local materials. – No impact on increasing housing supply but extra building costs.
        • The Building Code should be updated to require stronger energy efficiency and sustainability standards, encourage prefab buildings, and facilitate low-impact construction practices. – No impact on increasing housing supply but extra building costs.

        In short there maybe two (and possibly at a stretch three) policies from the Greens on housing that MIGHT lead to lower housing prices. However most of the other policy proposals will have little effect and in many cases will make things worse.

        • arkie 8.1.2.1

          I love that you spent so long on that, very flattering. I missed where you actually answered my question but I did laugh several times so thanks for that.

          Renting should be affordable, stable, and ensure living standards – Again just wishful thinking which ignores economic reality.

          So renting shouldn't be affordable, stable and ensure living conditions because… economic reality? Such sound reasoning, I couldn't possibly argue with that.

          • RedLogix 8.1.2.1.1

            Actually I appreciated that you took the time to type out the original list at all – far too often I see sentiments being expressed here that have their heart in the right place – but fail to be upfront about their real world implementation.

            Full credit for giving that a fair go.

            Gosman has given you some strong feedback and although you may not like it much – he's actually done you the respect of responding to your ideas with other ideas in response, rather than just personal denigration. Albeit with his usual somewhat sarcy wit.

            If you ever want to be effective in the political game the next step is to figure out how to negotiate something you might both live with – or at least not be completely grump about. Rarely will you ever get to a 'group hug' moment – but you can at least converge the conversation, rather than retrench behind hostile lines.

            • arkie 8.1.2.1.1.1

              RL.

              I quoted the Greens Housing policy from the link I posted. You've never heard of keyboard shortcuts? Or followed a posted link?

        • weka 8.1.2.2

          Affordable, quality housing is a right – Merely virtue signalling so not an actual practical policy. I may as well state a job where I get paid to have sex all day with my wife is a right.

          It's the title of the section that follows, which then outlines the details of this key principle. Unfortunately for you I guess, NZ ratified the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights that includes the right to adequate housing but doesn't include the right to bonk one's wife for a living.

          https://www.hrc.co.nz/files/4215/1363/5639/2017_07_25_-_Right_to_housing_flyer_-_updated.pdf

          • No one should have to pay more than 30% of their income for a decent home. Housing NZ and community housing tenants should not pay more than 25% of their income on rent. – While the government has some power over the amount State tenants pay they have limited ability to do this for private rentals. Also does this include mortgage costs as well? If so banks are not going to be lending to people even at a repayment below 30% of income if Interest is low. If interests costs rise and they are not able to raise rates they will be sunk.

          I'm not aware of any structural reason that the government couldn't institute rent caps. There may be political reasons, but that's a different matter.

          Yes, it should include mortgages. There are lots of ways to shift us from where we are now to get to a fair ratio. Banks are part of the system not the determiner of it.

          • A capital gains tax, excluding the family home, should disincentivise speculative property investment. – This does not seem to have worked in other nations with a capital gains tax on property, Why would it make a difference here? However this at a theoretical level at least does target a source of house price inflation

          From what I can tell it's one tool that needs to be used among all the others. Not sure you are right about it not helping elsewhere. Aren't we one of the few places without it and don't we have one of worst housing crisis in the OECD?

          • Only New Zealand citizens and permanent residents should be able to buy land. – As with the Capital gains tax. Other nations with steep house price inflation restrict foreign purchases. This does not seem to make a huge difference and can also lead to a fall off in new home builds.

          Which nations are you referring to? A fall off in commercial new home builds would be a good thing at this point. Building lots of houses into the private market is pushing prices up.

          Renting should be affordable, stable, and ensure living standards – Again just wishful thinking which ignores economic reality.

          What's the economic reality of people not affording somewhere to live, and the flow on effects on society re welfare, health, loss of productivity etc?

          • A warrant of fitness for rental properties should include insulation, clean heating, weather-tightness, and basic service standards (e.g. water supply). – Increases costs for landlords and reduces their interest in offering properties for rent. This has the double impact of reducing rental supply and increasing costs for those still being rented out.

          Yeah, nah, if they can't run their business properly, they should sell up (this increases the supply of adequate housing). If they choose to house bank, then central and local govt can regulate to tax them.

          • People who rent should enjoy security, stability and be protected from unreasonable rent increases. – Love the use of the word "unreasonable". This implies that there has to be a government agency which will look in to rental costs of properties. This again will be hugely expensive exercise that imposes extra costs on the market for no real benefit.

          Lol, it's not for the benefit of the market, it's for the humans that need somewhere to live.

          • Government should support tenants’ advocacy groups. – Ummm… how exactly – with cash or something else? That just seems another nothing touchy-feely policy proposal like "Government should support swimming with dolphins".

          Brilliant idea! Glad you are finally getting it. Good mental health spend there.

          • Gosman 8.1.2.2.1

            Rent caps don't work https://freakonomics.com/podcast/rent-control/ and nowhere that I am aware of does a similar type of price control extend to mortgages. (although you could argue that lending restrictions places on banks might be similar however that just restricts the initial lending not ongoing repayments).

            • weka 8.1.2.2.1.1

              You're making a lot of assertions here Gosman, without much in the way of evidence. That some places have done rent caps badly or poorly doesn't mean they can't work here. Rent control in the US isn't the only model.

              • Gosman

                I literally linked to an article full of evidence around the negative impacts of rent controls.

                If you have an example of rent controls working well then put forward the evidence for this.

                Edit: Just for you here is a link to a Reddit discussion about an Economist article about Rent controls in Europe

                Europe embraces rent controls, a policy that never works from Economics

                • weka

                  we all know how to use google to support our arguments Gosman. Look, here's one,

                  But much of the opposition to rent control is misplaced. As my UK investment house has discovered, in Germany, a form of it works very well indeed.

                  https://www.ft.com/content/efe1f74c-3c1d-11e9-9988-28303f70fcff

                  Your objection is ideological from what I can tell. I've heard the arguments against, including from lefties. But it's not as absolute as you make out, and for example the US rent control models I've seen look badly designed in terms of being useful for the housing crisis here.

                  • Gosman

                    You may well be correct but I can't tell because that article is hidden behind a paywall. The Economist article I linked to was as well hence why I linked to a Reddit thread discussing it where you can still read the article.

                    • Incognito

                      It is telling something if you can find only one source to suit your narrative and that source happens to be behind a paywall, how convenient, which was weka’s point that you glossed over, as expected. As weka suggested, use a search engine such as Google.

                    • Gosman

                      My link wasn't behind a paywall. The original article was but I then managed to find a reference to it via another source. I did this to enable MORE people access to read the article. Weka by contrast has given a link to an opinion piece but noone without a subscription to the FT will be able to read it. It could be useful to the debate but we will not know unless the details are expanded upon.

                    • Incognito []

                      Still missing the point, eh. One swallow does not a summer make. Weka was holding up a mirror if nothing else.

                    • Gosman

                      Also Incognito, I have yet to see anyone propose a detailed rent control scheme designed to work in the NZ context. There are just vague promises to stop excessive rent increases. Exactly how this would work has not been specified. In such a vacuum of detail of course people are going to find examples of how such ideas don't work. If those aren't the ideas that are going to be implemented then the actual ones that will need to be set out so we can review them.

                    • Incognito []

                      In such a vacuum of detail of course people are going to find examples of how such ideas don’t work.

                      Why? What is their motivation or agenda?

                      There will always be people who object, deny, resist, and oppose for all sorts of reasons. The result often is that nothing gets done, nothing changes, and status quo (BAU) stays in place. As desired by those same people.

                      You have completely missed the purpose and intention of the OP and I believe this was wilful and deliberate.

                    • Gosman

                      If you can point out how rent controls work to help poorer people who are looking for accommodation then I'm all ears. Present your argument though rather than just relying on the broad concept itself.

          • Gosman 8.1.2.2.2

            What you are missing is that the fundamental problem is there is increasing demand for houses and the supply of NEW houses is not keeping pace. It doesn't matter if you force all the multiple home owners who are not currently renting to sell their houses All that will do is increase supply of homes to buy by a small amount. There will STILL be more people demanding new homes and rentals than can be satisfied. By making it less attractive to rent out property you will reduce the incentive for people to buy houses for rentals and therefore people who can't afford to buy will have even less rental choices available.

          • Gosman 8.1.2.2.3

            What seems clear from your post is that you are a firm believer that when a problem is caused by the government the solution is even more government.

            Ultimately the size of the State would grow massively under The Greens proposals and it will be accompanied by a large bureaucracy who will be funded by the State to try and do something that is already being managed for free by the market. That is incredibly inefficient.

            There is a reason Soviet style central planning failed to deliver in the ex-Soviet Union. That is because the State generally cannot resolve the interaction between supply and demand better than the market in most areas of the economy.

            • arkie 8.1.2.2.3.1

              resolve the interaction between supply and demand better than the market in most areas of the economy.

              The market is currently doing such a great job with housing supply isn’t it?

              What is clear from your post is you are firm believer that when a problem is caused by the market the solution is even more market.

              • Gosman

                Do you understand exactly WHY the housing market is struggling to get supply to match demand? Have you given that ANY thought? I'd be interested in seeing what your view on this because I suspect you haven't really delved in to it in any detail.

                • arkie

                  There are MANY overlapping issues that contribute to the housing crisis, and there are MANY possible solutions to each of those issues.

                  What I know for certain is that what we are doing currently isn’t helping so I’m prepared to entertain ANY of those possible solutions.

                  What you’ve not done is provide ANY thoughts except idealogical reasons to not attempt ANY Govt intervention in this sacred market.

                  • Gosman

                    As I thought. You've no idea why the housing market is not functioning as intended. This is likely because you are unwilling to see it outside a narrow and shallow ideological basis. If you don’t understand what is causing the market failure then your solutions are likely to not resolve the issue.

                    As for me, I have stated in writing that some government intervention as proposed by The Greens COULD lead to lower house prices. This is more that outweighed by the other elements of their policies which will increase house prices. My view is not based on ideology but on knowing how economies actually work not what you want them to do.

                    • arkie

                      My view is not based on ideology

                      Well if you say so it must be true!

                    • left_forward

                      Having read through this discussion Gosman, I think it is you that is applying a narrow ideology and you appear to have little idea of what to do – other than relying on the ‘do nothing’ well outmoded laisse-faire economic theory to miraculously do something.

                      I concur with arkie, you fail to acknolwedge the complexity of the whole system that impacts on house prices, therefore you have little imagination of what might work, in fact you are disparaging of any proposed intervention.

                      Neither do you seem to have any principles attached to your argument. What is a good outcome for you?

                    • Gosman

                      Are you going to explain why you think there is a market failure in housing or are you avoiding doing that like arkie?

                    • arkie

                      I did not state there is a market failure in housing.

                      My point is the market is not currently increasing the supply of housing to match the demand ergo it is failing to address the housing crisis. This may necessitate some kind (any kind of) intervention by the Govt. You disagreed.

                    • Gosman

                      Of course there is a market failure in housing. If house proce inflation is exceeding the general growth in the economy by a large factor year after year then that qualifies as a market failure. Back to my original question, what do you think is causing this?

                    • arkie

                      You clearly have an answer in mind, quit leaving us all in suspense and give us all your wisdom, o non-idealog.

                    • Gosman

                      No I'm quite fascinated to see what you think the cause of the massive increase in housing costs is. However I will help you along a little in case you haven't really thought of the reasons it might be screwed up. Do you know what the government is looking at reforming the RMA in relation to housing? If so, would you please tell me what the benefit of doing so will mean to the housing market?

                    • Incognito []

                      Phew!

                    • Pat

                      "Do you know what the government is looking at reforming the RMA in relation to housing? If so, would you please tell me what the benefit of doing so will mean to the housing market?"

                      Very little in terms of affordability

                    • Gosman []

                      Why are they doing it then?

                    • McFlock

                      Because they sipped some of the same kool-aid you guzzled.

                      RMA reforms are aimed at aiding private developers.

                      The problem is that lowering profits from property speculation by enabling more property speculation is self-defeating. As soon as it looks like it has any effect on lowering home prices, private developers will start backing off. Until then, it's just throwing more wood on the fire.

                    • Gosman

                      LOL!

                      Just clarifying this McFlock. You think the current government is wasting valuable time reforming the RMA for no good reason other than ideology – Is that correct?

                      Why isn't there more opposition to this giant waste of political effort from the left then?

                    • McFlock

                      Because although it probably won't work, it probably won't cause much if any harm. So who really cares.

                      Much better to advocate for CGT, state housing, or even rent control.

                    • Gosman

                      Jeepers!

                      You think overhauling (not just amending) our resource management laws won't make a difference but it probably won't do much harm so what they hey.

                      This is not some sort of legislation that is touchy-feely nice to have that only impacts a few of us. This is the key legislation that underpins most (if not all) economic activity in NZ.

                      You don't mess with that at a major level unless you are confident that it is going to make things better. Even if it does not make thing worse the very fact it is such a significant law change means the cost of making the change is huge.

                    • Gosman

                      BTW your view that overhauling the RMA is not shared by the actual people involved in providing housing in NZ like the building industry and developers. But what would they know? Instead a hard core lefty like you knows much more about this topic quite obviously.

                    • McFlock

                      Dude, all I'm pretty sure about is that it won't have much effect on the entrenchment of the propertied class.

                      Oh, regulation on unoccupied dwellings and foreign purchases of residential property might warrant examination, too. Maybe even progressive taxation based upon the number and value of properties owned directly and indirectly.

                    • McFlock

                      Hey, industry lobbyists have their barrow to push. But an end to a gold rush doesn't make gold affordable for everyone, it just lowers the number of people who pillage the land in the hope of making a quick buck.

                  • KSaysHi

                    I agree arkie. Can’t be bothered writing anything out though. Harbour is calling.. have a good weekend

            • Drowsy M. Kram 8.1.2.2.3.2

              Between 1936 and 1978, 100,000 state houses were built in NZ.

              For more than a century the state has provided rental homes for tens of thousands of New Zealanders unable to afford a home of their own. State housing has made a huge contribution to our national life. Just about all of us know someone [e.g. Sir John Key] who grew up in a state house. Yet we know little about their stories and experiences. What was it really like growing up in a state house?
              https://nzhistory.govt.nz/culture/we-call-it-home/timeline

              https://teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/32428/state-houses-100000th-house

              Can't help wondering if renting now might be more affordable if there had been greater bipartisan political support for growing the stock of state houses, but we'll never know. Instead, NZ has grown inequality.

              We do know that land LORDS are creaming it now – thanks 'market forces'.

              Urgent Community Builds Needed To Stop Unaffordable Rent Hikes

              Working people need urgent action on safe affordable rental homes

              Media still covering house price rises as good news

              • RedLogix

                We do know that land LORDS are creaming it now

                How do you know this?

                Sure rents are higher than ever – so are the fixed costs. And while it's all well and good if you have owned units for 20+yrs and/or the mortgage is paid off, that doesn't add to the supply.

                In order to provide new rentals into the market the costs are so high they just don't add up. I'm sitting on enough empty land to build maybe four or five new units, and I'd love to. But everytime we run the numbers the result is disappointing, total building costs are just insane in NZ.

                Numbers like $80k just to get the cross-lease resurveyed and unit titled. That's a year or more worth of rental income just to cover that one cost – and this is before I add in all the services, designers, council charges and so-on. And if I want to build to a higher than basic standard of passive heating and comfort, I face another tranche of costs. And all assuming the neighbours play nice. And my challenges are nothing compared to what the big boy developers face.

                I'm totally with you – providing decent affordable homes for kiwis should be our national ambition – and it shouldn't be this hard. RNZ had a good series on the topic a while back – going to their site and searching on 'housing' brings up a heap of excellent items, which taken together show just how complex and tangled up this story is.

                • Incognito

                  They’re creaming it.

                  https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/homed/residential/124256903/median-house-price-jumps-118000-in-a-year-says-reinz

                  https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/436496/median-house-price-goes-up-2-percent-reinz

                  Recently, there’s been a surge in people I know who’ve been told to find another place to live because the landlord decided to sell.

                  They’re creaming it, free of any tax.

                  • RedLogix

                    I've just spent a day or so doing our annual accounts – but you know my business better than I do. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

                    Oh and landlords don't sell as a rule – or if they do they're not landlords anymore are they?

                    • Muttonbird

                      What rule? The rule in you head?

                      Skyrocketing house prices are prompting many landlords to sell, forcing up rents which are becoming unaffordable for many families.

                      https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018784185/housing-crisis-more-than-4-000-nz-children-living-in-motels

                    • Incognito

                      Silly landlords selling the golden goose old goat, what are they thinking? Oh, you know best.

                    • RedLogix

                      I don't understand – we're evil if we 'build and hold' and provide a stable home for people – or we're evil if we sell and then suddenly there's a shortage of rentals as a result.

                      Has it not occurred to you that total demand is exceeding total supply – for reasons that don't have a lot to do with landlords, whether we're buying, holding or selling?

                      And because the cost of building is now so high – relatively few of us are building new for the rental market (like we did 20 yrs ago).

                    • Incognito []

                      Why so melodramatic? Nobody accused you of anything. Nobody said that all landlords are “evil”. But they’re creaming it in the current market. Is that so difficult to accept?

                    • RedLogix

                      But they’re creaming it in the current market. Is that so difficult to accept?

                      Honestly I'd email you my just completed 2020 annual accounts if I thought it would make a difference. Everyone in the business will be in a somewhat different position – but from the information available to us, we’re pretty average. And if you think a final income of less than the lowest benefit is somehow ‘creaming it’ – then why would you argue for benefits to increase?

                      And if you do sell for capital gain then you're no longer a landlord are you?

                      Some will be selling down some of their units in order to reduce their debt – and that has long been a recognised trade off in the business – less rental income but less mortgage repayment. And with many of the boomer generation now retiring, reducing their risk and consolidating their portfolio – or even letting it go altogether – makes a good deal of sense.

                      What I would much prefer to do is to leverage my increased equity to borrow more and build more units – increasing supply. But as I tried to explain even with free land available to me, and historically low interest rates – the numbers barely stack up. It's a big risk at my age with retirement looming.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Revealed: How your wealth ranks compared to other New Zealanders
                  "The bottom 10 percent has a collective $13 billion of debt. The top 10 percent has $800 billion in wealth – more than the other 90 percent combined."

                  Imho there's nothing like the security of owning a home – one is enough. Regrettably, home ownership is permanently out of reach of an increasing proportion of NZers.

                  Meanwhile, establishing a portfolio of rental properties is a relatively reliable method of growing net wealth. Anyone with "cash lying around" would be foolish not to at least consider it – never mind the intergenerational inequality/insecurity that it perpetuates.

                  Why poverty in New Zealand is everyone's concern
                  Liang describes poverty as a "heritable condition" that perpetuates and amplifies through generations: "It is also not hard to see how individual poverty flows into communities and society, with downstream effects on economics, crime and health, as well as many other systems. Loosen one strand and everything else unravels."

                  A Kete Half Empty
                  Poverty is your problem, it is everyone's problem, not just those who are in poverty. – Rebecca, a child from Te Puru

                  Fortunately I can only imagine the psychological stress that results from living a lifetime in debt. Maybe it's almost as terrible as the stress resulting from the challenges land lords evidently face as they struggle to turn a profit from captive and increasingly impoverished customers – sound sustainable? After all, "everyone needs somewhere to live".

                  Housing crisis: Rents up everywhere, as demand far outstrips supply

                  https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/300102625/new-zealands-trilliondollar-wealth-gap-who-are-we-leaving-behind

                  Greed trumps need, both politically and socially – what proportion of the 'top' 10% would support the Green's policy to tax wealth fairly?

                • McFlock

                  So your business isn't "creaming it" if you can't afford to build more units on top of what you already collect rent on?

                  lol

                  • RedLogix

                    You do realise that a landlord doesn't just trouser the entire rent?

                    After all fixed costs and mortgage interest our net operating profit is around 30% of rental income. After that comes the mortgage principle and tax – leaving not a lot of cream at all.

                    As a percentage of their current capital value – the yield is risibly small. I'd be far better off just selling them at the moment – but then you'd be squealing 'shortage of rentals'. So I'm being patient and waiting for the mortgages to pay down in due course – and after around 25 yrs of subsidising my tenants I might start to see a reasonable return.

                    Over many years I've been reasonably open about my position here – mostly as a gesture of good faith and in the hope that maybe some people might see the whole picture a bit better. But the entrenched envy and resentment that so many left wingers openly hold against landlords is beyond reaching with reason.

                    So I'll draw a line on my contribution on this topic here – and carry on providing good, decent, reasonably priced and stable homes to our business clients – many of whom have been with us for many years now and actively tell us they don't want to leave.

                    • McFlock

                      Which is actually relevant to the topic, rather than not being able to make more stuff off which to profit. #notAllLandlords.

                    • Muttonbird

                      How many of your rentals have you built new?

                    • RedLogix

                      All but one – the last one was purchased as an existing home for 'non-commercial' reasons just before we came to Australia.

                      Building new is not an easy route – the advantage is relatively low R&M, tenants love them and we have close to 100% occupancy rates. The downside is a sodding big mortgage that takes 25+ years to deal to.

                      And just in case you wonder – at the time we set out we had fuck all in capital and could get all of our belongings into two station wagons.

                      'Build to Rent' is a much broader topic than our very modest experience – and could be one interesting approach to improving supply.

                    • Muttonbird

                      And you say you get about $500/week each for, what, one or two bedrooms? Mostly long term beneficiaries and the elderly? And you say you are subsidising them at that rate?

                    • RedLogix

                      Our average rent is $384pw. We've instructed our managers to keep increases to a minimum.

                      For the first decade our business was negatively geared and regardless of the tax smoothing available – I was still pumping in a fair old chunk of my PAYE income at the time. Part of the reason why we went to Aus.

                      But even at $500pw while the final number would obviously be better, it would still only be similar to say NZ Super.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      But the entrenched envy and resentment that so many left wingers openly hold against landlords is beyond reaching with reason.

                      @RL (10:26 pm) – Ah, the envy card; didn't take long. I'm in awe of your ability to sniff out 'lefty envy'. To have such a sensitive nose must come in handy, provided you can stand the stench smiley

                      Right there … the stink of envy.

                      And into that vacuum of unawareness, all too often rushes resentment and envy, stoked by people like you.

                      Ah … so it really is just envy.

                      It seems like so many hand wringing lefties you're more consumed by an envy and resentment of the rich..

                      I'm a lefty, but fortunately I don''t belong to that (sizable?) cadre of "left wingers" that envy land lords, you included – and particularly given the challenges you've described.

                      But I do agree with sentiments you expressed here in May 2013:

                      We are now seeing Dickensian levels of inequality developing across many societies, with the process remorselessly showing no signs whatsoever of slowing. It is a process with one logical outcome. The left is going to speak against this, and it has nothing to do with envy. Whenever you trot out that tired, vacuous argument it is nothing more than a projection of your own inner motivations.

                      And in January 2012:

                      Ah … the politics of envy. Another rightie with one hammer…

                      And in April 2009:

                      Nothing to do with envy. Socialists have no moral problem with recognising merit and achievement, but we do challenge the kind of generational, ossified social privilege that so many conservative people seem to mistake for the same thing.

                      Good Lord, that's quite a transformation, imho. I pretty much where you were a decade ago – maybe there's hope for me yet wink

                    • RedLogix

                      Well I'm flattered you cared enough to use the search engine – but no I don't see any fundamental contradiction over time – although I will acknowledge a change of emphasis. Inequality, and it's variants, remains at the core of my concerns and I've continued to write on it to this day.

                      https://thestandard.org.nz/search/redlogix+inequality/?search_comments=true&search_posts=true&search_sortby=date

                      But here's a simple question – how do you frame the potential solution in your mind? By reducing the successful and wealthy to the level of everyone else, or by lifting everyone else toward a broader more prosperous society?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Well I'm flattered you cared enough to use the search engine

                      You may be flattered – the results left me flabbergasted!

                      From this:

                      Ah … the politics of envy. Another rightie with one hammer…

                      to this:

                      But the entrenched envy and resentment that so many left wingers openly hold against landlords is beyond reaching with reason.

                      As for your question:

                      But here's a simple question – how do you frame the potential solution in your mind? By reducing the successful and wealthy to the level of everyone else, or by lifting everyone else toward a broader more prosperous society?

                      Well, I would simply observe that there’s more than enough wealth in NZ society now to rescue the 'bottom' 10% of NZers from a life of perpetual debt and its consequences – all it would take would be an impulse in those successful and wealthy NZers to share a very small fraction of their wealth; certaintly not enough to (Heaven forfend) 'reduce' "the successful and wealthy to the level of everyone else".

                      Is that what's at the core of your concern, that you might be 'reduced' to the level of everyone else? Seems that a decade ago you might have been more receptive to the idea of sharing wealth. Can't help wondering what changed, apart from the increase in inequality.

                      "I didn't get where I am today by tearing money into small pieces!"

              • Gosman

                100,000 State houses is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the number of houses in total NZ has. NZ should be building around 50,000 new homes / apartments every year. 100,000 State houses over 42 years works out at less than 2,400 houses or not even 5% of the total number of houses we need.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  NZ should be building around 50,000 new homes / apartments every year.

                  Absolutely right Gosman, 100,000 state houses is not enough. Still, better than nothing, and I'm glad you agree that NZers need more.

                  • Gosman

                    I'm stating the State currently does not have the capacity to build more than a few thousand houses per year and it never has had that capacity in NZ. To try and increase it's capacity to get anywhere near that level would necessitate an increase in borrowing and/or taxes far beyond what many people would be happy with.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Like you I’d be happy with a few thousand new state houses being built each year. Eventually the portfolio of state houses might again top 100,000 – something to aim for if we want a sustainable society.

                    • Gosman

                      Whether we have 60,000 or 100,000 State houses won't make much difference to the cost of rentals.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Whether we have 60,000 or 100,000 State houses won't make much difference to the cost of rentals.

                      Intriguing opinion. What might be the tipping point for making a difference, do you reckon? Give us lefties something to aim for.

                    • Gosman

                      Try 500,000 houses. Of course to get that number you would need to increase the size of the State by such an amount that would radically reorientate the economy. I don't think you would get majority support for that level of change in the economy.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      yes Thanks Gosman, an admirable aim – 500,000 state houses it is.

            • Stuart Munro 8.1.2.2.3.3

              The soviet state was never by any stretch of the imagination a model of good governance. Most of this was because of a culture of embedded corruption, and a 'rule through fear' ethic carried out by the successors to the Okhrana.

              It is fallacious to try to draw conclusions about left philosophy of governance from a state that was so essentially corrupt and despotic.

              Central planning can be very effective too – when Korea moved to become a tiger economy it did not rely on the vagaries of the market – the government was forward looking, anticipating development and building infrastructure to meet projected needs. Markets suck at this – they are too busy externalizing costs to facilitate future growth – and in NZ, where a generation of fabulously lazy politicians abandoned their responsibilities to the market, it should be no surprise that critical infrastructure has fallen behind even present-day needs.

  9. Nic the NZer 9

    The government should implement a job guarantee, as an alternative offered by WINZ. People who take it up would be treated the same as people who move into work in relation to a benefit. The wage rate will be the minimum wage but with up to 40 hours a week of work for which people make themselves available. Once signed up they would be paid immediately for their time as if they are employed while the administration side figures out what they are doing.

    On the other side putting projects up, which would employ these people, would be a service able to be taken up by a community and/or organisation. The projects would be not for profit, and/or involve producing public goods. WINZ would ultimately pay the wage, but a project would otherwise need to implement other employment requirements.

    I would like to say the wage should be the living wage rate, but it will become a defacto minimum wage rate for the economy so the right approach is to adjust the minimum wage up to the living wage (including other adjustments to benefit rates) and so to reach that situation.

    • Chris 9.1

      Minimum wage, living wage. What's the difference?

      • Nic the NZer 9.1.1

        The living wage is presently $22.10, and is updated by the non-government organisation, Living Wage NZ to be a socially inclusive hourly wage.

        The minimum wage is a legal minimum which must be paid to an employee. It is updated by the government. It is rising to $20 per hour during April-2021.

  10. shanreagh 10

    Having been hard-up at various times in my life, thought not with children, the thing that has always struck me is that staples, such as bread especially, is not so good for you, even if you can afford it, at the cheaper price.

    The cheaper wholewheat, grain or wheatmeal breads look like they have just stood alongside real whole wheat, grain or whole meal in a factory and no real transfer takes place. Or perhaps someone holding grains etc runs quickly through the factory while this bread is being made. Little better than 'white death' (as I call white bread)

    • Patricia 2 10.1

      Diets with an over abundance of rice / pasta / bread may be cost effective but don't benefit people with pre-diabetes and weight issues.

      • shanreagh 10.1.1

        That is true but even bread as part of my ordinary diet (no pre-diabetic or weight issues) meant food decisions that were nutrition vs affordability. My bro in law, not a poor person by any means, says poor people are doubly hurt – by the actual lack of $$$$ and because so much of what they can afford with the amount of money they have is of poor quality.

        Also re the comments about fizzy drinks and takeaways v water and better meals. Being poor does something to your psyche. It is a constant battle with oneself to step down the line that says 'make good decisions here please' and the other line that says 'gee it would be great to buy a bottle of wine or a couple of cans of lager', meagre vegetables against the siren call of choccy biscuits. I felt there was something at work living in poverty that almost self sabotages.

        I see this so often, the people buying fizzy most often 'know' but there is a weariness in penny pinching the whole time. I certainly 'knew' when I came home with chocolate biscuits and had crackers instead of bread for a week.

        I am past this thankfully, it was part of my life doing another qualification, as an adult student.

        • Chris 10.1.1.1

          Same with alcohol, gambling, drinking. For people with money they're addictions. For the poor they're bad choices.

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