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Turning a blind eye to poverty

Written By: - Date published: 8:13 am, August 29th, 2012 - 117 comments
Categories: Metiria Turei, national, poverty - Tags:

In Parliament yesterday, Metiria Turei challenged Key on his record on poverty, holding up a graph of the GINI index, showing the increase in inequality under National. Key nonsensically blamed the recession – why must it be that in a recession the poor get poorer while the rich still get richer? That’s a result of policy that protects the rich, not an inevitability.

And so what was Key’s response?

“That graph looks like the National Party’s poll ratings while in Government, so I appreciate the member showing it to the House.”

What a disgrace, trying to crack jokes about poverty while quarter of a million kids are in poverty, 60% of them in chronic (7 years plus) poverty.

Key went on to dismiss the suggestion of the Children’s Commissioner to extend the ‘in-work tax credit’, renamed the ‘child payment’ to those quarter of a million kids living in beneficiary families (which is a lot like a Greens’ members bill that got drawn recently). He called it “dopey”. Of course, Key’s got enough money that his kid can fly around the world to play baseball, so what does he understand about or care about children living in poverty?

The fact is that National has a disgraceful record on poverty and inequality and it isn’t just ‘one of those things’, it isn’t outside the Government’s control. It is the result of tax cuts for the rich, wage suppressing policies, the complete failure of this government to create jobs, and its unwillingness to extend the child payment to families that are out of work on the basis that it wants to “maintain the gap between welfare and work” – the same justification that National used for the benefit cuts in the early 1990s.

I also think that Key ought to look at a graph of National’s poll ratings, it looks a lot different from that.

117 comments on “Turning a blind eye to poverty”

  1. ad 1

    I am in a good job. I cannot wait to vote for someone who will tax me harder and get some people out of poverty.

    I want a Buddhist government not a Protestant one ie not one waiting for a redemptive never never but one totally focussed on reducing suffering. For me, vision and hope can wait.

    The Labour-Green coalition can give me a ginormous plan for the nation in their second term.

    • “I want a Buddhist government not a Protestant one”

      We don’t have a Protestant government.

    • Roy 1.2

      Me too, cool with me if they reverse my tax breaks to relieve poverty. I’d like to see a humanist government. We definitely need to get rid of the current enthusiasts for the piddle-down theory.

      • “cool with me if they reverse my tax breaks to relieve poverty”

        Yeah I could afford a couple more % points. 

        “I’d like to see a humanist government. ”

        Which is basically what we have. A very secular government, if not humanist. Our government is pretty blind to religion.

        • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1

          Which is basically what we have. A very secular government, if not humanist. Our government is pretty blind to religion.

          Humanist governments place people, their human needs and compassion first. Capitalist governments place capital, return on capital and the organisations which represent capital, first.

          We have the latter, not the former.

          • TheContrarian 1.2.1.1.1

            I am speaking as distinct from religion, not economics. 

            • prism 1.2.1.1.1.1

              The Contrarian
              Religion is not the point here. Why are you referring to that? Are you one of these people referred to recently that has accepted the role of breaking up the line of discussion and arguments with side issues?

              • Why am I referring to that?
                Because the original poster said
                “I want a Buddhist government not a Protestant one” 

                To which I responded we don’t have a Protestant government which lead on to a comment about Humanism.

                pretty simple

                • Galeandra

                  Yes, you are

                • fatty

                  “I want a Buddhist government not a Protestant one”

                  I’m pretty sure everybody read this as the economic ideologies of these religions…not the religions themselves.
                  pretty simple

                  • Whaaaa whaaaa.

                    Another day at The Standard. 

                  • Jim in Tokyo

                    Yes, I read it as a reference to the economic sociology of Max Weber, particularly “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism”.

                    Having observed the Japanese government in action over the last three years though I can’t really endorse the Buddhist ethic under late capitalism either, at least as practiced there.

                    The emphasis on self-reliance and self-actualisation meshes rather well with neoliberal anti-welfare thinking and social atomisation.

                    • ad

                      Yes. Wondered how the string would go.

                      Weber via Zizek and Hardt/Negri filters.

                    • fatty

                      “The emphasis on self-reliance and self-actualisation meshes rather well with neoliberal anti-welfare thinking and social atomisation.”

                      …sounds like our current form of biculturalism. When does self determination become individual responsibility?

                    • McFlock

                      waiting for Cont to pretend he knew that and come up with an argument as to how his literal interpretation of the original comment is the only applicable interpretation…

          • Roy 1.2.1.1.2

            What CV said. CV’s interpretation of my comment was correct, Contrarian’s was not.

      • OneTrack 1.2.2

        What leads you to think that all they will do is go back to the old Labour tax rates? There will be a new, stronger, partner this time and they have some other, much more expensive, policies which involve giving out a lot more money without much idea in turn of how to make money (tax, check, borrow, check, spend, check, hmm). If you are on over 50k then you might find you are actually a “rick prick” after all.

    • Dr Terry 1.3

      Protestants actually “protest” every kind of evil, if they are doing their job.

    • Ben 1.4

      It strikes me that this comment may be absolutely dripping in sarcasm, but everyone else took it seriously?

    • muzza 1.5

      Ad – No worries, your taxes will be going up, but it won’t be for , or help the poverty in this country.

      Rather than asking for tax rises, maybe we should be asking why we are borrowing so much money (when we don;t need to), and still having poverty going the same WAY UP!

      Your taxes do not fund anything by the way, other than the interest bill on the foreign debt, of which the “servicing cost” is not published, nor the rate of interest we are paying, and to whom we are paying…

      Want more of your hard earned money paying back the bankers,well, thats exactly what you are going to get!

      Hopefully you will have a job to pay taxes from at that point in time!

    • OneTrack 1.6

      How much harder do you want to be taxed? And what if it doesnt get anybody out of “poverty”? Will you still be happy then?

  2. Akldnut 2

    This guy is an absolute joke as a Prime Minister.
    Shame on him and the idiots who voted for him!

    • Carol 2.1

      And shame on the MSM cheerleaders that keep pushing JK dance videos while failing to hold him to account: failing to highlight his disdain for the poor, the growth in the wealth gap, and failure to work for the good of all NZers.

      • Tom Gould 2.1.1

        With so many of the ‘big chooks’ on the corporate ‘celebrity gravy train’, why would any of them bite the hand that feeds them? When you are getting $10k for “MC-ing” a bullshit one day seminar, poverty looks a bit abstract.

    • Dr Terry 2.2

      Both Key and Bennett demonstrated on TV News how cold and calculating they are. The best they could do was deride findings of a Commission full of brilliant people, sneer, taunt, smirk, and treat poverty and beneficiaries with the utmost contempt.

  3. Tom Gould 3

    What made the graph drop then rise, making a “V” shape?

    • Carol 3.1

      I think the rate dropped during Labour’s time in office – started to drop at the end of the 90s. Shot up in the 80s:

      Poverty falls, more to be done

    • Ben Clark 3.2

      Tom – recessions often reduce inequality and certainly reduce most poverty measures. When Business isn’t going well shareholders (generally the wealthy) can’t extract as much out – their incomes will often drop, balancing on inequality measures those whose income drops because they’ve become unemployed (that’s the initial drop).

      And as the median income falls (with those people being made unemployed), so the number of people in “poverty” (usually defined as households with 60% of median household income) falls. People are no better off of course…

      Which makes it all the more shocking that despite their terrible economic record and no “robust” bounce out of recession like continually promised, GINI has gone to worst ever and children in poverty has increased massively. The poor are getting poorer but the rich just keep getting richer…

      We’re not all in this together.

    • Barnaby 3.3

      I think it the hard drop before the rise is because the GINI index is a measure of inequality. Inequality went down at the beginning of the recession because the wealthy lost a lot of money as share markets and capital value dropped. So inquality only went down there because the rich become (temporarily) poorer. Since then I guess it is a mix of the rich reestablishing their wealth via tax cuts and other things, and the poor continuing to struggle.

    • mike e 3.4

      TG The V shape is Keys economic fingers to the poor .

  4. Akldnut 4

    The next chance any of the opposition get they should produce both charts and quote keys comments back at him!

    Q. Does the Prime Minister still believe that the GINI index graph (Show graph) which is rising
    still reflects his statement “That graph looks like the National Party’s poll ratings while in Government” after comparing it to this Roy Morgan graph (Show graph) proving Nationals popularity falling from a high of 60% to 44 % at the latest poll.?

  5. Tracey 5

    This is the side of the PM that many don’t see or rather like. Either way I shake my head in sadness at where “we” are heading.

    *I* have not suffered during the recession despite being hit by a $135k bill to recover on my leaky home but I am all too aware of those who have been. I am thankful for the opportunities of my upbringing and my parents drive but I am not so shallow that I believe everyone’s circumstances were or are the same as mine.

    I recall so many criticisms of the last government by it’s last term that it was “out of touch with real people” and “arrogantly thought it knew what was best for everyone.” Where are those calls now against this government?

    In a recession IF the rich get richer or hold their position and the poor get poorer then that means we have to work harder to work outside the square to change the perpetuating cycles this economic model rains down on us all.

    We’re all in this together we we think we are or not. If one of the family is suffering you just know there will be one person who cuts the person off, one who tries to support, one who offers money (with conditions) and one who tries to get all the others to get along…

  6. Tracey 6

    I have no idea if this is a true story or not…

    A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit,
    stepped off the train in Boston and walked timidly, without an appointment, into the Harvard University President’s outer office.

    The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard, & probably didn’t even deserve to be in Cambridge.

    “We’d like to see the president,” the man said softly. “He’ll be busy all day,” the secretary snapped.

    “We’ll wait,” the lady replied. For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away.

    They didn’t, and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted.

    “Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they’ll leave,” she said to him.

    He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn’t have the time to spend with them, and he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office.

    The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple.

    The lady told him, “We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus.”

    The president wasn’t touched. He was shocked. “Madam,” he said, gruffly, “we can’t put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.”

    “Oh, no,” the lady explained quickly. “We don’t want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard.”

    The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, “A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard.”

    For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now.

    The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, “Is that all it cost to start a university? Why don’t we just start our own?” Her husband nodded. The president’s face wilted in confusion and bewilderment.

    Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California
    where they established the university that bears their name, Stanford University, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.

    You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them.

    — A TRUE STORY By Malcolm Forbes

  7. Jane 7

    Metiria made a hash of the question and dropped the ball on what should have been a good question. The graph is rubbish, provides no context detail and is all just for show, maybe if she had focussed on asking the question intelligently rather than being a show pony going for a sound bite she could have got an actual answer rather than letting Key off the hook. Asking dopey questions is asking for a dopey answer.

    • Tracey 7.1

      you mean she should have shouted at the PM “show me the money” or something equally as intelligent and thought-provoking as a form of debate?

      • Watching 7.1.1

        Tracey,
        Metiria had Key on the ropes with her first question. It was well thought out and demanded a quality reply. Metiria then when for the 6pm news sound bite question with a poorly construction graph that provided as Jane said with no context to that particular question.

        Whether you like it or not Metiria was rattled, and got off track by going for the easiest point for Key to defend to his constituency on the universal supplement to ALL children. This took Key down the money track not the needs of children in poverty. Metiria does not understand that Key has the ear of the country when the issue is about money. I expect carol, bored, tracey etc will disagreed but you could tell by Metiria body language that she lost and Key had won this point – because the universal supplement issue is now about $125-150 per week for maybe upto 1M under 6’s (unsure of the child pop in NZ) but it no longer about the quoted 270k children in poverty. So kids in a poverty environment and those in Remuera/private schools get the tthe same supplement – so easy for Key to rubbish.

        PS – I am home with a heavy cold and watched question time live yesterday

        • Tracey 7.1.1.1

          Fair comment. Sigh, if only child poverty were a game then his behaviour would be appropriate…

        • Puddleglum 7.1.1.2

          I don’t get it. Why is a universal benefit for children ‘dopey’?

          You see, I was born at a time when the left understood the sense of universal benefits: It shows that the state, like justice, is blind to circumstance but aims to support those activities that are worthwhile to the country (e.g., child-rearing, retirement after a lifetime working – paid or unpaid).

          I don’t begrudge the parent in Remuera getting their children’s benefit. It makes perfect sense and reinforces that what we are talking about is the society supporting directly those processes that are vital for society – irrespective of income. Just like public education and public health systems, it is available to everyone irrespective of income.

          As soon as we buy into the argument that it’s not about universalism but about income/means testing, etc. then we’ve lost the moral argument too. We’ve also conceded the field to the argument that those receiving benefits or state funded education and health are a burden on everyone else (and, hence, payments to them need to be minimised).

          It’s only at that point that ‘dopey’ people can claim that a universal benefit is ‘dopey’. 

          • Armchair Critic 7.1.1.2.1

            I’d go further than that and suggest that targetting payments creates resentment amongst the parents that are not recipients of the targetted payment. Hence we get comments with the “bludger” and “not pulling their weight” themes. While even the resentment is a simplistic reaction, it is at least understandable.

          • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.2.2

            +1

            • Descendant Of Smith 7.1.1.2.2.1

              It also creates resentment against the state by having to provide your financial details to the state in order to access assistance.

              It’s partly why lower taxes seem a better option.

              This is well known by the politicians and the right wing think tanks and is totally deliberate.

              Higher taxes for universal benefits for children shouldn’t be a hard sell but Labour of course believes in creating these divisions in society as much as National.

    • prism 7.2

      Jane 7
      I look forward to watching you taking steps to inform, educate and progress the turn-around of the trends which are concerns in our society in a determined and logical way in future. You personally. And I won’t criticise you if you don’t do it exactly the way I think it should be done.

    • dave 7.3

      it may have been a dopey question, but it was a childish, inane answer. That sort of crap must keep the speaker awake at night. It really isn’t the time or place, i mean by those standards i could be prime minister, but alas my standup routine needs more work 🙁

      • prism 7.3.1

        dave 7.3
        Go for it. We need some funny political satire to relieve the gloom. 😀

      • Dr Terry 7.3.2

        Incredible, in this situation, that Key should employ the word “dopey”. If he thought the recommendation inaccurate” then that is the word a PM would use. Always we get his unfeeling and offensive retorts (while Bennett is nothing less than a monster. When will she test employers for drugs/alcohol? What telling results there might be!!)

  8. Tracey 8

    This government is SO fixated on benefit bashing that they have lost sight of the real strugglers in our society, the working poor. Those who say the CEO’s and high management and business owners deserve to pay less tax etc etc, because they “work so hard”, what about these folks?? They work bloody hard too?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7566913/Key-rejects-report-as-working-poor-struggle

  9. prism 9

    Jokey Hen announces his thoughts and policies. Listen up.
    Haha. I don’t care. I can’t say I’m comfortable any more though. My smile now has to be mocking, at the Opposition presenting me with spurious ‘facts’, so I’m not entirely carefree.

    But it’s a hard job being PM and being Master Butcher cutting the country’s culture and laws into thin slices sort of like a paper trasher. But I will get better at it as I get into technology more. You can get a machine I think that automatically cuts bodies into thin strips. So technology will be of great benefit to the country, me anyway. So long folks! I’m off overseas, where the real action is happening. Got to keep my contacts (and investments) alive, current, sort of like electricity. I’ll just check out the latest in ‘alive’ chairs while I’m there. Get rid of pesky rodents from the Opposition eh! Chuckles.

  10. Chris 10

    Watched question time yesterday and was absolutely in awe of the lack of substance in keys head.He needs to be drug tested he’s so off this planet.He is always interesting to watch when he his held to account,he looks just like a cornered rat. And his so called deabating skills are just out and out abuse.Of the oppostion and the whole Parliamentary system.Also laughed at the rottweiler sitting alongside “her leader” nodding sagely at times and tittering like a starstruck teenager at other times.She has been elevated way beyond her capabilities and capacity to do a good job for the people who pay her.US!Does that make her a beneficiary? I was also gobsmacked at the amount of absolute crap from benkey and co (also known as Dad’s(Duck and Dive) Army)that was allowed by murmuring lockwood.One of Shearers questions resulted in an attack from pm about Shearer and Cunliffe with much braying and arm waving that had nothing to do with the question.I think he was pulled up reluctantly by lw but still got away with his grandstanding followed by rousing applause from those poor deluded people with no names and no faces who supposedly are the nashnul gubmint.I am appalled at the actions of all of them and think we should stop paying their wages.

  11. Kotahi Tāne Huna 11

    Why would a wealthy man who doesn’t give a fuck about New Zealand, who intends to quit the country at the earliest opportunity, and has no interest in the outcome of the next election, pretend to give a fuck?

    If someone can come up with a better model of this behaviour, I’m all ears.

  12. I want John Key to look into the eyes of at least one child living in poverty and say again that supporting them is “dopey”.
    http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/ending-child-poverty-is-not-dopey.html

    • mike e 12.1

      coMankey recieved the benefit of UFB cheap state house and widows benefit for his mother.
      Flipant narcissist.

    • fisiani 12.2

      He did not say that. He said that giving a handout to all children no matter how wealthy their parents are was dopey. It is dopey.
      Such a policy is promoted by dopey people.

      • gobsmacked 12.2.1

        You know who those “dopey” people are, right? Want to compare qualifications or IQs?

        • Polish Pride 12.2.1.1

          High IQ + High Qualifications unfortunately does not equal common sense. It doesn’t even mean the ability to think for ones self.

          • gobsmacked 12.2.1.1.1

            To repeat – Do you know who those “dopey” people are? Which of the report’s authors lack this ability to think for themselves?

            Name them.

            • Polish Pride 12.2.1.1.1.1

              No sorry don’t know – they can’t be that smart though or they would have solved the problem rather than writing a report 🙂

      • Tracey 12.2.2

        fisiani, the sum total of which he means he will do nothing to directly address the poverty of these children… after asset sales there is NO plan, no strategy for making this a thriving propserous society that cares about its weakest links… The one thing in favour of his stance is that had we had his stance when he was a child, he would not be PM, because without a roof over his head and a widow pension for his mother, he would not be where he is today (statistics suggest this is so).

      • mike e 12.2.3

        its along the lines that gareth morgan advoctes having a standard living allowance rather than a beaurocrtic approach of having spies and form fillers.
        plus it stops the ridiculus marginal tax hikes that poor people pay up to 70% when moving up the income scale.
        Fisanal get a brain.
        + it will reduce child poverty a $6to now $8 billion a year drag on the economy .
        JohnKey was a beneficiary of such a scheme fisi

        • Tracey 12.2.3.1

          Next we will be told that it will just mean lots of girls having lots of children to “make” money…

      • prism 12.2.4

        fisiani
        Those dopey people have no idea what they are talking about, that is the NACTs like Jokey Hen. One of the distribution systems that is looked at in social welfare is the universal system where everybody gets something. The rich get back part of their taxes that they are always moaning about and the middle class get supported and the lower class get an injection of money that helps them in the present, with some extra that will help them to make improvements for the future.

        When it’s for children, all will benefit, and it just helps to circulate money where it is very helpful for our parents and the country’s viable future. This sort of policy is not dopey.

    • watching 12.3

      Dave – you cannot make things up
      The dopey comment was in reference to a universal supplement to ALL children whereby parents on say >$100k income would also be paid. If you think that a universal supplement is the way to go then your comment is valid. You are just playing to Key strength as per my reply 7.1.1 above

  13. gobsmacked 13

    Key was awful in the House, not for the first time.

    How does he keep getting away with it? Let’s eavesdrop on the Labour caucus, before Question Time …

    Labour Top Strategist: “So guys, today we’re going to do lots of shouting!”

    Labour MPs: “Yay, we love the shouting! It’s worked so well for 4 years now!”

    One Labour MP: “I’ve got a better idea. Let’s listen to the crap Key says, and fire it back at him.”

    Labour MPs: “No, we like the shouting! It achieves nothing but we love it!”

    Example: in response to Metiria Turei’s questions on poverty yesterday, Key said this –

    The report also says that OECD figures show that we are not a deeply unequal country. On standard measures, we are about the same as Australia and Canada, and nowhere near as unequal as countries like Mexico and the United States. (Hansard)

    So … NZ is more equal than the USA – according to the PM himself.

    Therefore, ask why that is, and why NZ should adopt more American policies (on welfare, charter schools, crime, basically the last 25 years). Pretty basic stuff for a half-awake opposition.

    Why does Key spout bullshit? Because he can. Labour, do your bloody job.

  14. Polish Pride 14

    Yes lets get the left in power so we can raise taxes and give more to the poor so that we can have ..well less poverty… at least for maybe a decade at best before as historically always happens the Right get back in and reverse those tax cuts and so on!

    Or we could work towards a completely new system that worked for everyone….. and no one -Yes thats right no one – was in poverty anymore.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      Getting the left in power is more likely to bring about the economy/society that you want than having the right in there making a mess of things as they usually do.

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.1

        What possible “Left” Government are you talking about, here in NZ? Or are you just talking about relatively “Left”?

        • Draco T Bastard 14.1.1.1

          Well, not NACT any way but Labour and Greens both support a more open government and that’s the first step on the way to what Polish Pride wants.

          • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.1.1

            PP’s point seemed to be that you can take that first step, but when the Tories take power again (which is usually sooner, not later) that step gets taken back pretty darn quick.

  15. BM 15

    Maybe we need something like this in NZ
    http://www.fms.treas.gov/faq/moretopics_gifts.html

    If you want to pay more you can.

  16. Tracey 16

    Does the inflation band of the Reserve Bank still depend on some unemployment to “succeed”, or is that an old notion?

    • mike e 16.1

      While the economy is suffering from deflation its not a problem for the right their just happy to have continual down ward pressure on wages.

  17. kevin 17

    Does this mean that Paula Bennett will start drug testing poor people?
    The governments spin doctors will no doubt dream up excuses that will blame poor people for being poor. Watch this space.

    • Tracey 17.1

      They don’t need to say it, sadly a bunch of their constituency believes that dope and alcohol is only for those who earn more than minimum wage…

  18. Dr Terry 18

    We should ignore any political claims to ignorance about the poverty state of New Zealand. This is now a long standing problem. On the 8th Feb. 2011 the UNO condemned “staggering rates of child abuse and poverty in New Zealand, and called for the National government “to better recognise children’s rights”. This report also raised concerns about “limited access to high-quality early childhood education, high suicide rates (youth in particular), rise in teenage pregnancies, and moves to lower the age of criminal responsibility” (from 14 years to 12 years).

    The Chair of Äction for Children in Aotearoa commented some time back that “Child abuse rates in NZ were among the highest in the countries of the OECD, and 20% of children were living in poverty. If we don’t look after children now’, we’ll be looking after them in the justice system and health system later.” Again, the Government has been long aware of what is happening, but apparantly could not care less.

    A doctor said (12/5/2012) “the country’s leaders should be accountable for policies that cause poverty through rising costs of food and electricity, and lower taxes for the wealthy.”

    Some time back, the same Government declined an invitation from other parliamentary parties to participate in collaboration on the topic of poverty. National has been long aware of the situation, but has got away with callous disregard.

    Do we need more testimony? The manager of Every Child Counts (14/12/11) responded to the NZ Chief Coroner who had complained of “authorities ignoring Coronial recommendations” as just another example of how badly the system fails our youngest citizens. Children should be a central consideration in all political decisions”. (Note: the budget of 24/5/2012 meanly required that some 68,000 youngsters will have to pay income tax on after-school jobs). Continuing, “Media commentators are starting to appreciate the crisis confronting the nation when it comes to children’s issues.”

    Denis McKinlay, Exec. Director at UNICEF NZ (30/5/2012) sounded a “warning that failure to protect our children from today’s economic crisis is one of the most costly mistakes that a society can make.”

    Waikato University Social Scientist, Darrin Hodgetts, previously has said, “poverty is our biggest growth industry . . . It’s growing at three times the OECD average” (a conservative estimate).

    Our Government knows all this, and more, but adopts a cavalier attitude; rather than seriously address the issue, it carries right on with dismissive derision. Indeed, rather than support those in poverty it is attacking them more (especially beneficiaries) by the day. It is dreadful to think that this is what their voting members support, in effect, that they might grasp at a “brighter future”.

    • Tracey 18.1

      Thanks for this Terry. Sadly the only OECD reports that this Government will pay attention to are ones like this one reported by the Herald this morning

      ” The study, conducted by New Zealand Initiative fellow Luke Malpass and Capital Economics director Bryce Wilkinson, said this country had the sixth most restrictive overseas investment requirements of the 55 developed economies measured by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

      Only Japan, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and China had more restrictive foreign investment regimes, according to OECD data.

      And Malpass said New Zealand had the most restrictive overseas investment requirements of all 55 countries when it came to manufacturing.

      The researchers said that out of the four criteria considered by the OECD, nearly all of this country’s restrictiveness was in the “screening and prior approval” category, which was the result of the Overseas Investment Act.

      “Bluntly put, New Zealand relies more than any other OECD country on ministries and ministers second-guessing investment intentions and possible outcomes, and on the most contrived criteria,” said Malpass.”

    • Blue 18.2

      Great stuff, Dr Terry.

      Unfortunately, getting anyone to care about child poverty in NZ is like bashing your head against a brick wall repeatedly.

      People in this country prefer to demonize the poor, and reports of kids eating cockroaches, dying of Third World diseases, being beaten to death etc. don’t hold our attention for very long.

      We’re all too busy demanding lower taxes, benefit cuts, tougher sentences and league tables so we don’t have to send our kids to ‘problem’ schools full of ‘problem’ children.

      Deny, punish and avoid. That’ll fix it.

      In a country of 4 million people, you might think that it was essential to give every child the best possible start in life, because unlike bigger countries we don’t have the human potential to waste. Especially with huge chunks of it heading off to Australia…

  19. Fortran 19

    Am looking forward to the Labour/Greens/Winston/Mana/Maori plans from 2014 to get children out of poverty.
    Pity it only started four years ago. Should have stopped it before it began.

    • fatty 19.1

      Many people here also blame Labour/Winston/Maori Party for our current poverty rates…dunno how you can include Greens/Mana in what you are suggesting

      • Tom Gould 19.1.1

        The Greens have been in Parliament since 1996, so they have had 16 years to influence policy and cut deals. Instead they chose to spend all that time moaning about child poverty but have nothing to show for it, which is even more apalling than the Tories who quite openly don’t give a damn.

        • Tracey 19.1.1.1

          you mean like the insulation in homes programme that the PM takes credit for??

        • fatty 19.1.1.2

          “The Greens have been in Parliament since 1996, so they have had 16 years to influence policy and cut deals. Instead they chose to spend all that time moaning about child poverty but have nothing to show for it”

          That’s about logical as claiming ACT are responsible for Treaty settlements…can you please explain how they could have influenced policy more than they have, and what deals could they have made. Please be specific enough to justify your post. I’m sure the Greens would appreciate your wisdom.

        • Kotahi Tāne Huna 19.1.1.3

          Tom Gould do you think before you comment or will any old bile do irrespective of reality?

          • Tom Gould 19.1.1.3.1

            Clearly the truth hurts. They had 16 years and have next to nothing to show for it. What an ineffective bunch. Even Winston can point to free doctors for the under 6s and the super gold card for the pensioners. And the moaning goes on.

            • Colonial Viper 19.1.1.3.1.1

              Ahhhhh Tom, home insulation? CGT now politically and publically acceptable? Brownlee’s Coromandel mining plan now fucked?

              Pretty good track record. If you open your mind.

              • Tom Gould

                If a few state houses with batts in the roof and a few speeches about CGT is all they have to show after 16 years in Parliament, then sorry, that is a major fail, Greens. Maybe another 16 years of hand-wringing and whinging will do the trick?

                • Colonial Viper

                  Tom shifting goal posts are you? I just showed you a number of significant achievements the Greens have made when you said they had made none. Your whinging about “pink batts” seeks to minimise the fact that the Greens are now a permanent force in NZ politics, no matter what you might wish.

            • fatty 19.1.1.3.1.2

              Good reasoning Tom…do you mind if I pass on your poverty elimination strategy to the Greens?
              The way you have justified your post with specific examples shows your exceptional understanding of politics. If only the Greens had access to this in 1996, then NZ would probably be free of poverty.

            • Tracey 19.1.1.3.1.3

              If the truth is so painful Tom, why have you not been able to refute that insulating homes is a Greens initiative??? “A few batts in the ceiling” as you call it is a step toward warming up homes. Are you now saying that “National” has wasted all our money on “their” initiative. Please take up the viper’s suggestion and outline all the successes of NACT since 2008 in reducing poverty for children in nZ?

              • Tom Gould

                Fatty and Tracey, pretty weak response from you, surely you can do better than parrot that a few batts in a few houses is a great track record from 16 years in Parliament. Unless you really believe that pink batts are the answer to child poverty? The Greens seem to.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Tom Gould the home insulation programme was designed to help keep middle class children warm, not relieve child poverty.

                  You seem to have some really wrong-headed ideas about the objectives of various policies, perhaps you should read up what a policy has been designed to do before criticising it like a loser?

                • fatty

                  “Fatty and Tracey, pretty weak response from you, surely you can do better than parrot that a few batts in a few houses is a great track record from 16 years in Parliament”

                  Of course my response is weak…because you are the one that made the delusional accusation. I am not saying the Greens have eliminated poverty, I am saying in their position that is impossible, therefore its a stupid idea to hold the Greens responsible for poverty. You are arguing a non-existent argument.
                  My point is that I don’t expect any of the minor parties to be able to implement any of their polices to full effect…so to hold the Green Party to account for child poverty is simply dumb. As I stated above, its like holding ACT accountable for treaty settlements when they have generally opposed them.
                  So I do agree that the Greens have done nothing to alleviate poverty, but I want to know what could they have done?

                  So again, I’ll ask the question that you have failed to answer:
                  “can you please explain how they (Greens) could have influenced policy more than they have, and what deals could they have made. Please be specific enough to justify your post.”

                  …and you’ve managed to make another delusional accusation…can you please show us where the Greens claimed that “pink batts are the answer to child poverty”

                  The rest of us are basing our thoughts and opinions on reality…you should try it.

                  • Tom Gould

                    Okay, and my point is that after 16 years in Parliament, including 9 years under Labour, they have next to nothing to show for it. Even Peter Dunne can point to a few things he has got across the line. And Winston. Even ACT. But nothing from the Greens? Other than a few thousand press releases? Oh, and some pink batts.

  20. CJA 20

    How would the universal tax child credit be paid for?

    • mike e 20.1

      tax alcohol tobacco gambling and marajuana

    • Draco T Bastard 20.2

      What the recommendation is is for a universal child payment – not a tax credit – and it would be paid the way all government expenses are paid – through taxes.

      • Colonial Viper 20.2.1

        through taxes or dividends from SOEs. Oh yeah we’re selling all of them off.

        • Draco T Bastard 20.2.1.1

          Meh, the dividends from SoEs are essentially taxes anyway as all profits are.

    • Tracey 20.3

      we could use the increased fuel and road tax NACT is bringing in for more roads… wait on, is that NACT increasing taxes… I thought they were the lower taxes government? Oh that’s right, no government interference in business unless it’s to tax to finance roading companies.

  21. Johnm 21

    🙂 Rich Prick Shonkey, Of course he doesn’t give a rat’s rectum for the poor, they live on Planet Poorhouse, nothing to do with our Hawaiien political playboy,when do I escape over there again!? Can’t Wait. 🙂

  22. Polish Pride 22

    If you moved to a Resource Based Economy there would be no poverty at all.
    You’d also eliminate 80% of crime at the same time.

    • Tracey 22.1

      You obviously have never heard of a country called Australia. No poverty at all you say?

      • Polish Pride 22.1.1

        Australia is not a Resource Based Economy…
        The best description I have come accross that does a good job covering a RBE and the reasons for it is a movie called Zeitgiest Moving Forward. Its free on Youtube. It can be a bit slow to begin with but persevere, it gets very good.

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