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Time to do something about poverty

Written By: - Date published: 7:40 am, February 23rd, 2021 - 77 comments
Categories: debt / deficit, Economy, grant robertson, jacinda ardern, poverty - Tags:

If the Government ever wanted to start burning political capital on addressing poverty now is the time.

The economy is in remarkably good shape, such good shape that Standard and Poors has just given us an improved credit rating of AA+.

From Radio New Zealand:

S&P Global Ratings has raised the rating to AA+ with a stable outlook from AA with a positive outlook.

The agency, one of the big three in the world, said New Zealand has recovered quicker than most advanced economies because it has contained Covid-19 better than most.

“We now believe that the government’s credit metrics can withstand potential damage from negative shocks to the economy, including a possible weakening of the real estate market, and its fiscal position at the ‘AA+’ rating level.”

S&P said the upgrade was the first for any economy since the outbreak of the pandemic.

It said the initial measures to contain the virus had resulted in a recession but the strength of the recovery and relatively low debt supported the ratings upgrade.

“New Zealand’s debt profiles compare well to those of its similarly rated peers and support its credit rating, even though its debt levels are higher than in the past,” the agency’s commentary said.

This was no doubt influenced by news in December that the Government’s books were $4.8 billion better than anticipated.  From Thomas Coughlan at Stuff:

The New Zealand economy continues to defy gravity with Government accounts showing that its books are sitting $4.8 billion better than expected.

The Covid-19 economic carnage meant the Government was expecting to book a deficit of $8.6b as higher unemployment led to lower tax revenue and higher expenses.

Instead, the deficit for the four months to the end of October was just $3.8b.

Core Crown tax revenue was $29.9b – $2.9b more than forecast. GST was the big tax winner, as higher-than-expected spending meant the GST take of $8.3b for those four months was $1.6b above forecast.

Expenses are much lower too. The Government has spent $35.7b in the last four months, $1.6b less than it expected to.

This was almost all down to the cost of the wage subsidy coming in a full $1.4b below forecast.

Although it looks like not much political capital will be required.  Because most kiwis support more being done to address poverty.

From Harry Lock at Radio New Zealand:

A survey has found seven out of 10 New Zealanders believe the government should increase income support for those on low wages or not in paid work.

The UMR poll was commissioned by a group of more than 40 organisations, including unions, social service providers, and kaupapa Māori groups.

It found approval for increasing income support was largely consistent across salary groups, age ranges, renters and owners; and across the political spectrum.

There was a majority of support by voters for the four major parties, led by Greens’ supporters at 89 percent in favour.

“This poll shows that ensuring liveable incomes for all would be a popular move for the government, across the board, as well as the right thing to do,” Janet McAllister from Child Poverty Action Group said.

“Even two-thirds (66 percent) of those with high household incomes – over $100,000 – agree the government should increase income support for those financially less fortunate than themselves.

“Our compassionate and inclusive approach to caring for the most vulnerable during Covid-19 outbreaks served us well. We must take the same common sense approach to ensure everyone, whether they are working, caring for children, living with a disability or illness, learning, or have lost their jobs before or because of Covid-19, has a liveable income.”

McAllister is right. The success of compassion during the Covid lockdown has shown us what the Government can achieve.  All that I would say is let’s do this.

77 comments on “Time to do something about poverty ”

  1. Tiger Mountain 2

    Its a yes from me Micky Sav–burn baby burn!–that political capital. It is a once in a generation opportunity.

    All those years of pundits saying an MMP majority Govt. was most unlikely have been upended. The UMR poll reflects what scores of Labour “loyalists” that I know, some for decades, are now saying. Some of the switch voters also clearly expect something big from Labour too, possibly those whose kids are locked out of housing or being rent gouged.

    Time for the Labour Caucus to listen to the NZ working class rather than focus groups. Time for Labour to move on from 36 years of Parliamentary neoliberal consensus with National.

    How to encourage Labour? Unite the NGOs and Unions to form an extra Parliamentary opposition, community organise and take appropriate direct action until the impasse is resolved.

  2. Pat 3

    Everyone wants to do something about poverty ….until they realise it means they will have to change their way of life.

    The solution to poverty is relatively simple, a fairer distribution of societies outputs and if those in poverty need more then others must accept less….thats the hard bit,

    • Incognito 3.1

      So, it is a zero-sum game with a finite amount of money going around to spend AKA you can spend a dollar only once? How does economic growth fit into this? You know, growing the pie, which is such a nice metaphor used by politicians. I believe we have been beholden to economic orthodoxy for way too long, firmly held in cheque by rating agencies such as S&P. But now is not the time to do anything ‘radical’ because, you know, Covid … angry

      • Pat 3.1.1

        lol…in many ways it is zero sum (though not entirely, its complicated by the fact there are two economies, national and international)….consider this fact, we export around 40 billion USD a year which equates to around $11.000 NZD (current exchange rate) per man woman and child p.a. in NZ, that means we can strictly speaking afford to import goods to that value to be distributed amongst us all….best case.

        Now obviously some use a larger share of that than others but thats pretty much what we have to use.

        And yes we have the ability to create our own currency (for domestic consumption) but most of what we need isnt available in NZD (currently and for a considerable period) and certainly most of what we want isnt.

        • Incognito 3.1.1.1

          Thanks to our lovely credit rating, Government can borrow at rates cheap as shit.

          The upgrade will continue to ensure that the cost of financing New Zealand’s ballooning national debt is kept under control and the ability of the Government to borrow to finance Covid-induced deficits continues as cheap rates.

          https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/124325306/sp-global-ratings-upgrade-a-massive-boost-to-grant-robertson-and-labours-economic-management-credentials

          I believe some countries (Europe?) can borrow at negative interest rates.

          • Pat 3.1.1.1.1

            and we have been for 40 years, around an extra 2-3 billion a year, but to do so we have sold half of our national assets….not really sustainable is it.

            And negative interest rates are simply a slow motion method to destroy excess money supply, they dont impact real assets, only their monetary value.

            • Incognito 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Right, mopping the floor while the tap is running. Poverty is not really sustainable either, is it? Oh, hang on, it is ok to the ‘centre vote’. She’ll be right, mate.

              • Pat

                Think the point has been lost

                • Incognito

                  Yes, sorry about that. Maybe another time.

                  • Pat

                    No time like the present

                    The point (if you havnt realised , which I suspect you have on reflection) is that we have limitations BUT how we apply those limitations is crucial…we are applying them poorly. We need to decide how we want to spend that FX…do we wish to allow unlimited OE travel, or luxury vehicles etc or do we wish to apply that FX to the necessities to benefit the majority…that is the difficulty I allude to.

          • Nic the NZer 3.1.1.1.2

            The reason the NZ government can borrow at low rates is down to the RBNZ, in other countries this is down to the relevant central bank. Credit ratings mean next to nothing here. Of course its worth highlighting in a lot of Europe the ECB can't simply be seen a subsidiary institution to the government but never the less since around 2010 they have been intervening to create low interest rates for these countries.

            • Incognito 3.1.1.1.2.1

              I didn’t write that piece. Take it up with the authors if you think it’s BS.

              • Nic the NZer

                You kind of did write that, then linked to stuff to bolster the opinion. Its BS (pretty obviously if anyone looks at how the country responds to credit ratings and how politicised they are) but I don't really expect you must defend it. Also, reading the stuff comments section is not something I expect the authors do.

                • Incognito

                  Politicised AKA BS is kinda the point I was trying to make. It doesn’t really matter whether the statement is correct and/or accurate or not. What matters how it is being used on us. I have no idea how international financing works; I just lap up the propaganda and manipulative spin (manufacturing consent) like most here and how Government ‘justifies’ certain actions and inactions.

        • Nic the NZer 3.1.1.2

          Just whats gonna happen if we accidentally import $12,000 USD per man woman and child p.a this year then? (Asking for a friend).

          • Pat 3.1.1.2.1

            the same thats been happening for the past 40odd years…we will allow our assets to be bought by offshore entities to provide the FX to pay for it…and as stated earlier thats not sustainable…when its all owned offshore what is left to sell?..what value the NZD then?

            • Nic the NZer 3.1.1.2.1.1

              Oh sorry, its just when people write that something which has been happening for 40 years is not sustainable I tend to think even our longest term economic forecasts only go about 40 years out.

              Just what time frame are we looking at here for not sustainable? 50 years? 80 years? 100 years? 200 years? 400 years?

              And what is the failure more? Do we revert to running a BOP surplus? Does the exchange rate collapse? Does inflation spike? Do we come under economic sanctions?

              • Pat

                Dont be a dick…40 years is no time at all.

                And you assume that it will take another 40 years to divest ourselves of the remaining (less than) 50%…and the income generated from.

                • Nic the NZer

                  Well if think the prevailing trends in the economy can be predicted 40 years hence, have I got a product for you… How about getting your entire weather forecast up to a year in advance! Ken Rings annual weather forecast for all of 2021 is shipping right now. Your welcome!

    • AB 3.2

      Aye. If one person's poverty enables another's luxury, the whole thing is irremediably evil.

      • Sabine 3.2.1

        Lets tie the wages of Government ministers to that of the welfare people receive in this country.

        How long would you think that the luxury of MPs enables the poverty of others?

        • Gosman 3.2.1.1

          That assumes a number of things that are unlikely to be true. One of these is that people become Ministers because they want to make lots of money.

          • Sabine 3.2.1.1.1

            You are more charitable then me Gossman, i assume people become minister because a. they are not suited to private and free market society, b. because they want to make a lot of money for very little work, c. they are corrupt, but generally i assume they end up in politics becuase actually working for their min wage pennies plus is hard hard work, and they ain't suited for that. Btw, this applies to all parties.

            • Peter chch 3.2.1.1.1.1

              How would that explain the likes of John Key, Steven Joyce, David Cunliffe and many others from both main parties that came to parliament very wealthy?

              The stress, long hours and (for them) low pay would seem to suggest they became political leaders because they truly believed they could make a better NZ.

              • Sabine

                John Key, Steven Joyce and David Cunliffe, you could actually have not found a better sample of the three most useless men in politics. \

                And 'rich' people have to work too, so government was the best fit for these guys. They got money for nothing and perks for free, meanwhile kids go hungry, family live in cars, and no one can afford even the most basic dental care.

                thanks for making my point.

                • Peter chch

                  I am not saying they are either good or that I agree with their policies, just their motivations.

                • Craig H

                  Cunliffe failed as leader of the Labour Party, but the separation of Telecom from Chorus and the fibre rollout were off the back of his work. Hard to say what the pandemic would have done without widespread working from home capability that fibre has provided.

                  • Sabine

                    more people would have been on the wage subsidy.

                    and what about all those that still in sit in areas that have no reception?

                    • Craig H

                      That's a lot of lost work and potential damage to the economy. More wage subsidy is fine, but if they actually lose jobs at the end of it because of the downturn in work, that's a poorer outcome.

                      The fibre rollout isn't completed yet but rural broadband is probably going to be via 4G and 5G, or satellite in really remote places. I was impressed to see fibre in small Canterbury towns on my last trip to Hanmer Springs (Culverden, Hanmer Springs itself, Amberley), so the reach is still being expanded.

              • Incognito

                There’s nothing quite like it for the ego as thinking you’re the only & best one to save the country from doom & despair.

        • Incognito 3.2.1.2

          Why do we have to pay Ministers at all? Cover their living expenses and travel + accommodation and maybe a clothing budget. And pay their legal bills. Is it to reward them for a job doing a great job, which really is a super-charged civic duty? Is it to minimise the risk of corruption? Just give them all a knighthood at the end of their three-year term and then let some fresh blood & ideas in. Paying them is not making them any better or worse. Do we really believe that the pay is to attract only ‘the best’? Sounds like corporate BS to me.

    • weka 3.3

      Everyone wants to do something about poverty ….until they realise it means they will have to change their way of life.

      Yep. I'm certainly curious how many of the people now supporting an increase in benefits did so before covid. And of those how many are willing to give up CG on their house that they think is for retirement but will use in the meantime to garner more wealth.

      Also super curious what kind of change they would support. Green Party policy level change? WEAG level change? Or Labour tinkering and not actually solving the problem but people get to feel better because the poors are being helped?

      • Peter chch 3.3.1

        Its hard for people to understand what they have never personally experienced (re benefit levels etc). I know I never did until I became ill and lost two years of earnings.

        Most people like stability, so I doubt there would be much support for Green Party policy change. Fix the housing, as Gosman said, and that alone would be a significant change for the better for this term.

        • weka 3.3.1.1

          Housing can't be fixed in isolation, and there's nothing that will fix housing that will come from Gosman or current Labour. Gosman's approach is to adjust things without actually resolving poverty. Maybe we go back to something like in the 90s, I don't know what the intention is exactly. But it doesn't take a rocket science degree to see that benefits will *never keep up with the housing market and that the gap now is just far too wide for tinkering to do much.

          Building more houses in the private sector for sale in the open market will throw petrol on the housing crisis fire. And even if in the long term there ends up more supply than demand and prices drop a bit, Gosman and Labour don't want prices to drop more than a bit, so the massive affordability gap remains.

          Labour patently have no plan and not desire to actually fix poverty or housing, beyond the rhetoric and the adjustments within neoliberalism. People really need to stop voting in such governments if they actually want solutions. So like I said, most people will choose tinkering because it makes them feel like something is being done but will stop short of useful change that might affect them.

      • Sabine 3.3.2

        What covid showed is that we are all a lost paycheck or a few lost paychecks away from being poor. Well not those that are very rich or in jobs that will not be done away with a pandemic – see government for example.

        See in Germany i grew up with the idea that we are a social welfare state not because we like charity per se, but because there is an understanding that if you let one third of our country to fester in poverty, unhealthy and unsantiary living conditions, with children not being fed, housed and educated as they should be that eventually that will lead to problems. So we pay taxes for unemployment, social welfare, health care, accident compensation, retirement, and we the amount is stipulated on the monthly pay checks of everyone who works.

        Doing this has helped greatly to reduce the notion that poor people are poor because they deserve it. But rather we can all be unemployed, sick, have an accident, retire etc and then we would like to not fall into abject poverty.

        Maye this is something that needs to come back to NZ, some way to show people that social welfare and unemployement are not 'benefits' but rather are pre paid entitlements. And that it can happen to all of us in the time it takes for a bad driver to cause a life changing accident.

        • Brigid 3.3.2.1

          " in Germany i grew up with the idea that we are a social welfare state not because we like charity per se, but because there is an understanding that if you let one third of our country to fester in poverty, unhealthy and unsantiary living conditions, with children not being fed, housed and educated as they should be that eventually that will lead to problems. "

          If you'd grown up here, assuming you're the age I'm guessing you are this is exactly what you would have experienced in New Zealand.

          Alas, as we all know, things changed in 1984.

          • Sabine 3.3.2.1.1

            Yes, and despite all the neo liberal bullshit that rained down in Germany at the exact same time these things never changed.

            Mainly because the myth of the 'rugged individual' never really took hold in Germany. Also maybe it has something to do that most people in Germany rent rather then own, and that many people have welfare dependent family members, and that the Germans really believe that these benefits are paid for via the taxes extracted from the working public rather than something that he Government conjures out of thin air to then let it generously trickle down on the deserving few.

            • Brigid 3.3.2.1.1.1

              It's interesting that it didn't take hold in Germany.

              Obviously Germans had a considerable influence on the government.

              We didn't. By the 90s in New Zealand there were many marches against the neo liberal government, maybe by then it was too late. It wasn't till the end of that decade that the worst of the neo liberal, market lead philosophies were a little moderated.

              Perhaps New Zealanders have never been really sure that they do have a right to demand the government governs for them as being a colony of Britain for so long they still don't trust that they are as capable as any of running the country.

              We're a constitutional monarchy without a codified constitution ffs.

              Still.

              • Sabine

                I think mainly it has to do with the fact that no one can tell germans they are getting 'handouts' as clearly their paychecks states that they pay or these services.

                Germany had a few welfare reforms over the years, but the mindset that the government has a responsibility to look after the 'greater good of the country' has not yet been lost.

                • Chris

                  "…but the mindset that the government has a responsibility to look after the 'greater good of the country' has not yet been lost."

                  What needs to happen for NZ to adopt that mindset? How do we do it?

              • Chris

                Yes, while the previous government helped hugely to pave the way, the changes at the beginning of the 1990s were introduced so quickly the effects were well and truly being felt before most of us realised what had happened. It wasn't too long after that things became culturally embedded. It's the task of this government to begin the difficult job of undoing that cultural damage. No government so far has even attempted the task. Until that's fixed we're going to remain susceptible to all things right-wing and neo-liberal.

        • Craig H 3.3.2.2

          Well said, the social contract needs rewriting in favour of a better minimum standard.

  3. Sabine 5

    Seriously?
    https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO2011/S00154/new-zealand-government-rejects-calls-to-increase-welfare-payments.htm

    Let me fix this for you.

    The public shaming of the Government in the led up to Lockdown 4 that led to temporarily increased benefit rates for some – but not all, has shown us what the Government could achieve – if it wanted to and had the moral spine required to do so.

    And the whole country (minus some ACTistas and Nationalistas and Austerity Freaks from Labour) and all the NGO's and every dog and pony have been telling this to the government for the longest time. And yet, they only did it because they were publicly shamed by stories of beneficiaries not having even enough food to last three days, let alone several weeks of lockdown

    This is what happened really at the time.

    This is what the government really offered, and for most it was a good bit of help during the lockdown and instead of just keeping it up there, they went back tot he starvation and begging levels that Carmel Sepuloni thinks is helpting to 'teach people the value of work'.
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/covid-19/411951/coronavirus-government-unveils-12-point-1b-package-to-combat-covid-19-impact

    then the NGOs

    https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO2011/S00077/ngos-to-government-benefits-must-be-increased-by-christmas.htm

    ActionStation is one of 53 NGOs who are calling on the government to raise benefit rates before Christmas via an open letter launched this morning

    as per their own stats the Government spend a huge amount of money of hardship and special needs grant during December….might that have been alleviated by an increase in benefits? who would know, Grant Robertson does not need a hardship grant to get enough to eat, and neither does Carmel Sepuloni or the PM.

    Absolutely every penny that Grant Robertson is saving is a penny that is not housing someone, is a penny that is not feeding a kid at home and in school, is a penny that is a dental visit not taken due to lack of fund.

    Besides, if there is no poverty, what the heck would he Labour party to? Rebrand as the sane national party?

    The response of this government in regards to the high needs of financial aid of the people of this country is pathetic and criminal imo. They have a duty to all people in this Country and they have imo done nothing more then wash their hands of it.

    But i guess every now and then when the negative press of hungry kids with no homes and no school uniforms and no food before school, a helping of weetbix and milk in school and then nothing again till next day they will put on some gloves and scatter bread crumbs and gold coins. Go fight for it you little street urchins, entertain the well fed and well housed, after all government sanctioned charity is trickling down on you. Be grateful too.

  4. Ad 6

    +100 Mickey

  5. Gosman 7

    The best thing that can be done to reduce poverty is to fix the housing crisis. The government seems to be incapable of sorting that out quickly.

    • Craig H 7.1

      I don't think any government is capable of fixing it quickly in a manner that will not get them voted out and the changes reversed. Compulsorily acquiring tens of thousands of empty houses and using them as state houses would do the trick, for example, but would probably be the end of the government.

  6. Rosemary McDonald 8

    Entirely appropriate to remember Sam Kuha.

    Hearing Our Leader's mealy mouthed drivel on Natrad this morning just about made me spew up my coffee.
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018784740
    (she comes in about 3.00)

    Did no one point out to her that 70% of us want benefits raised?

    Rent freeze. Interest rate freeze. Price freeze. Raise benefits and minimum wage.

  7. Tricledrown 9

    For nearly 30 years we have had a housing crisis in Auckland mainly in recent years it has spread right across NZ.

    To fix the housing crisis 10's of billions of Dollars are required has Robertson got the balls to print $30 billion over a 6 year period to build or buy prefabricated houses to fix the problem of under supply.

    Then with a 100,000 New Zealanders returning home compounding the problem ,shortage of skilled labour materials further compounded by less shipments because of covid.

    No easy fix for any govt.

    Only one bright spot is that building consents are at an equivalent of 60,000 house per year enough to fix the shortage of supply if this level of construction can be maintained for at least 5 years.

    Gosman as usual trying to shift the blame from previous govt's complete denial and lack of action.

    • Gosman 9.1

      Not at all. I’ve no problem at all acknowledging National failed as much as the current government (if not more so) at addressing the root causes of the housing crisis during it’t time in power between 2008 and 2017.

      • Sabine 9.1.1

        Do you remember Jenny Shipley? Because i remember …. and housing was getting very expensive during her years, as did rents.

        So you are saying its ok for National to do fuck all all the time , and then blame the Labour for not cleaning up the mess, when in fact the current crisis is borne of the inaction and mis-managment of both parties, whose Members i would like to point out suffer no hardship what so ever for their failures and whose children are not living in poverty.

  8. Stuart Munro 10

    It is always a good thing for governments to work to eliminate poverty.

    il faut cultiver notre jardin

    which of course doesn't work now that the garden belongs to a speculator/rentier/landlord.

    • weka 10.1

      Labour don't have a goal of eliminating poverty (that would be the Greens), but 'working towards' will be acceptable to many, especially those that own land.

      • Stuart Munro 10.1.1

        There is something to be said for incremental change – in that rapid change causes damage in and of itself – half the reason Rogergnomics was such an unmitigated failure – NZ secured none of the gains of privatisations, and got bottom dollar for our assets. As I wrote to Bolger at the time "We have to hope that you're corrupt – because the other interpretation is that you're too stupid to live."

        And if should Labour begin to step away from the dysfunctional "greed is good" neoliberal mantra, that too will be a major philosophical step.

        Governance in my lifetime has been the human version of deus abscondita – politicians and civil servants abandoning their responsibilities to the mechanical cruelty and inefficiency of unregulated markets.

        Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack.

        • weka 10.1.1.1

          I agree that paced change is useful (let's not use the term incremental because it's loaded now). The Greens' plan is that.

          Rogernomics as a disaster because it was too fast and anti-democratic, but also the whole neoliberal thing, lol. This is partly why I say the required change has to come from the public, that's where the focus should be. But there's no good reason Labour can't be part of that shift, other than ideology. They don't have to cause an upheaval, but they could be leading. They're not because they don't appear to want to go in a post-neolib direction.

          • Stuart Munro 10.1.1.1.1

            I'm prepared to bite my tongue and applaud even cautious steps in the right direction – however much I would prefer a wave of long overdue reform. Timorous second-guessing focus group dependent persons need encouragement on those rare occasions their random flailing about produces public goods.

            • weka 10.1.1.1.1.1

              this might be the most useful analysis I've seen of Labour in a long time. I agree that encouragement is important, and tbh I struggle with my largely negative view of Labour now because I don't believe that hard man, slap them all the time politics works.

  9. Sabine 11

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/hamilton-mum-forced-to-choose-between-living-in-a-car-with-kids-or-splitting-them-up/EFZSN74DO5SAW3B435FGXTZWMU/

    A Hamilton woman says she was forced to choose between living in a car with four children in her care, or having them split between homes.

    The woman, who doesn't want to be named to protect her whanau, was told by officials they could not grant emergency housing for the "preference" of keeping everyone together.

    "I'm not parting with my kids … I've said to them I'm not prepared to give up my children."

    Instead of spreading her whanau between multiple homes with people she's not close with, the woman stayed in her car for about 10 days with her children and grandchildren.

    During their stint in the car, the woman told the Herald they parked up on the side of the road and beside beaches.

    Prior to living in the car, she had been in the same rental for multiple years, however the owner was selling so she had to move out.

    surely the PM reads the news, and understand that this is what is happening on HER watch?

    Surely?

    surely the FM reads the news and understands that his is what is happening is on his watch?

    surely?

    Surely, someone with a brain and heart in the Labor Party reads the news and understand that this is their second term, and that they actually have no excuses what so ever for this shitshow that is happening daily in our country?

    Surely?

    • Sabine 11.1

      When asked whether they could provide social housing for the woman, the worker said they didn't have a social housing place for her, and said the waiting list for the scheme was about 15,000.

      The worker then said that as long as she had a good rental record the woman should be able to find somewhere else.

      "They're not going, they're not leaving my care. I'm not giving up my kids to no one," the mother said.

      "You are not allowed to split families up. You're taking my kids away and putting them in someone else's care."

      When the mother requested to speak to the manager, the worker told her she couldn't pass her on to the manager.

      "That's not how this works."

      Part way through the call, the mother asks one of her children if she wants to stay where the woman is suggesting but the worker says she wouldn't discuss it with a 13-year-old.

      btw, 'the worker' would be a Winz Case Manager or a Call Taker. Take your pick.

      Seriously the Labor Party can start the war on Poverty any day now, as the war on Poor People is going swimmingly.

  10. " Labour don't have a goal of eliminating poverty (that would be the Greens),"

    Incredible a ( Labour ) party that has no plan of eliminating poverty and the Greens have no leverage in this majority government to have any influence at all.

  11. Reality 13

    Most agree there are some people really struggling and the cost of living always goes up, never down. And rental accommodation is expensive and hard to find.

    But it is irritating to hear the whining and whinging from some who want money thrown around like a lolly scramble without understanding the processes that huge budgetary changes entail. It is not just the stroke of a pen. Should recipients of welfare have responsibilities to use that money wisely and where possible, to try and look for work? Most reasonable people have every sympathy for those who are genuinely needing assistance, but not for some who want an easy lifestyle. We sometimes read about people who have huge difficulties to overcome but with grit and determination they still achieve independence.

    And it is horrible to see the venom directed at our PM and her ministers. Some here should be ashamed.

    • Incognito 13.1

      And it is horrible to see the venom directed at our PM and her ministers. Some here should be ashamed.

      Really? Who made promises to the country, wanted the job, got it, and with a majority? Now show us what they’re made of, thanks.

      • Patricia Bremner 13.1.1

        Actually, she is admired widely as trying hard to keep people safe and stopping people falling through the cracks. Wealthy Landlords "not so much!!" Reality, you are right. Sadly many will blame her as anything else requires self examination.

        • Incognito 13.1.1.1

          I don’t blame her, I hold her responsible for her Government’s actions and inactions. A transparent and accountable Government is not beyond criticism.

      • Treetop 13.1.2

        Do you think that the government could break the promise of not taxing the capital gain on investment properties or introducing a similar sort of tax?

        It could cause distrust and it might not cost them the next election.

        • Incognito 13.1.2.1

          No, I think this Government will stay well clear of breaking big promises like those.

          I see CGT or Wealth Tax much more as instruments of fairness than as an effective tool to achieve else. So, while I’m all for it, those kinds of taxes won’t be sufficient by a long shot.

    • Sabine 13.2

      that is the issue tho is it not?

      Should recipients of welfare have responsibilities to use that money wisely and where possible, to try and look for work? Most reasonable people have every sympathy for those who are genuinely needing assistance, but not for some who want an easy lifestyle.

      Please show how someone can have an easy lifestyle on a benefit?

      Also what do you consider using money wisely where possible try and look for work?

      Would you like to give them a list of groceries they are allowed to? No cake for birthdays tho, that is for rich people. Would you like to give them a list of the shops they are allowed to shop in? Would you like to give them a list of brands they are allowed to buy with their tens of dollars of disposable income a year?

      And you do now that you have to show Winz you are looking for work while on a job seekers benefit, lest you lose your benefit?

      And why should someone be ashamed of holding to account the politians that are very well compensated or their work, that have nice perks to fund houses and dinners, and that will never ever be poor. They should be ashamed as they are failing their constituents and their country.

    • Brigid 13.3

      It's obvious that everything in your statement that preceded 'but' is pure sophistry.

  12. Reality 14

    Sabine, the PM and her ministers have huge responsibilities and challenges, work horrendously long hours, face constant criticism and nastiness, and it is my choice to commend, not denigrate her. No PM can ever be all things to all people. I think we are pretty lucky to live in this country, in comparison to many places.

    There will always be those who are better off than others, and those who have a positive outlook on life and those who have a negative outlook on life. I just know I prefer to associate with those with a positive outlook, even when they are facing difficulties.

    • Sabine 14.1

      If anyone does not want to be PM then they can choose not to run.
      She wanted the job, the people around her want to be in that job, so seriously they can just get on with it and start working on behalf of those that no one seems to be working for in NZ, the one third of people on the begging level that we call Benefits.

      This PM, like other one before her and the one before that, do not need to be anything for all people but they have responsibilities towards all people, heck an obligation to look out for all people and no just the nicely housed, nicely clothed and nicely fed polite society of their peers. If she does not like this aspect of her job, i am sure she is employable elsewhere. As were the others before her.

      Non of my comments above have anything to do with your or my quality of life in this country vs others, i assume you do well, and fwiw so do I.

      Yes, there will always be those who are better off then others, I am one of these, and thus it is my responsibility and obligation to be open and be vocal about it when we decide to leave some behind because it is just to hard work to fix the problems at hand.

      Again, my out lock on life is neither negative nor optimistic, it is based in the reality of today. The government statistic about poverty are neither negative nor optimitistic, they are based on the reality of what was the last few month and is a projection of what might be tomorrow.

      And you know what the sad thing really is? I levied the same accusations, the same word against the last national government. Metiria Turei admitted to cheating in order to survive in our welfare hellscape and i bet you a dollar people still do it. Because our government refuses to reform and get on with it. So yeah, i am salty when it comes to these people and i have no shame about it.

  13. Dean Reynolds 15

    Mickey, there's no need for Jacinda to 'burn political capital' by tackling the Poverty issue. Introducing social justice, (eg. free tertiary education, affordable housing for boomers' grand children, etc.) is an issue that benefits all sections of society, including the wealthy. If she wants to, Jacinda has the communication skills to sell social justice to everyone, except the hard core minority who'll never vote Labour anyway.

  14. Treetop 16

    What the May budget is going to look like, I do not even think that Robertson can predict the cost of Covid-19.

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