WANTED: new ideas on child poverty

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 pm, September 24th, 2014 - 88 comments
Categories: bill english, child welfare, john key, national, paula bennett, poverty, welfare - Tags: , , , , , , , ,

It’s great to see John Key taking a sudden interest in addressing child poverty in New Zealand.

In Parliament in 2012, when Metiria Turei produced a graph showing how fast inequality was growing, his response was:

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

In 2013 he refused to set any target to reduce child poverty, because:

I think the view is that there are many ways you can actually define and measure poverty, so the Government would rather have a series of programmes.

(I’ve always assumed it was best practice to have clear goals and measurements so you can figure out if your programmes are actually working, but I’m just a comms nerd.)

In fact, child poverty has been such a low priority for our government that the Minister of Social Development thought the very notion of measuring child poverty in order to address it was hilarious.

But let’s be fair. When you’re dealing with an issue as serious as child poverty, of course you want fresh ideas – and Key says he’s interested in things like:

Breakfasts in schools, free doctors’ visits for young children and tax credits for low and middle income families

The only problem is, every one of these ideas is contained in the final report of the Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty – recommendations 60, 52 and 5, to be precise.

That report was published in December 2012. It made five recommendations about ways to measure child poverty – which Key refused to take up. It recommended a universal child payment – which Key rejected. It recommended all homes be properly insulated – which Key dodged, while claiming credit for a policy concession the Greens negotiated. It found that there was overwhelming evidence to support investing in the early years of a child’s life – which Bill English rejected.

I’m sure there’s excuses already lined up – oh, we needed more information; oh, the fiscal situation’s improved so we can do more – but the fact is that time and time again, National have refused to take onboard even the most independent, well-researched, expert suggestions on how to address child poverty. They dodged the issue for the entire election campaign, only releasing a welfare policy (focused on finding new and interesting ways to “incentivise” people off benefits) three days before Election Day.

Yet inequality and poverty are issues which New Zealanders take very, very seriously. So why the sudden change of heart? Because the spin for the next three years is “centre ground”. And when you compare Key’s comments with his government’s record on child poverty? Spin is all it is.

In the post-Dirty Politics era, I feel it’s only ethical to reveal my sources. All links in this post were provided by a very well-informed source:

google search

 

88 comments on “WANTED: new ideas on child poverty”

  1. karol 1

    Well said.

    And Key’s “new” approach, will be part of a variation on the two track strategy:

    bright shiny, left looking policies as the public image of the government

    meanwhile, all sorts of right wing nasties will be slipped in under the radar.

    • emergency mike 1.1

      Yep. An increase in crumbs and lip service is forecast.

      • Jones 1.1.1

        It’s more smoke and mirrors. Make it look like they’re doing something meaningful. Something will roll out but for it fit within their narrow neo-liberal mindset, it will be descoped so much it will only scratch the surface of the problem. And it will probably involve some public-private partnership, so yet another front for the further transfer of wealth to the few.

        Meanwhile, their corporate agenda for the education system is getting ready to steamroll any opposition. And then, there’s the RMA…

  2. sabine 2

    what would you rather discuss on Campbell live? TPPA or Child Poverty?
    Prison Labour or Child Poverty?
    Welfare Reform or Child Poverty?
    Slum Development or Child Poverty?

    TPPA or Child Poverty?

    Bread and Circus….Bread and Circus.

  3. as to ‘why?’..’cos key is poll-driven..

    ..and poverty is now a centre/mainstream-concern..

    ..and i will hold my verdict on this call for focus on this by key..

    ..until i see what key/he comes up with..

    ..he mentions tax-credits..which cd work..

    ..’cos the fact of the matter is..that the party with one of the most effective salves for the poor/working-poor..was the conservative party..

    ..with their first twenty-grand tax-free policy..

    ..add on to that irony…that for the (non-working) poorest ..(arguably doing it hardest of all..)..labour was promising to do absolutely nothing..

    ..yep..!..nuthin’/zero/nada…

    ..”cos ‘a financial surplus is more important for labour’..said cunnliffe..

    ..so we had a far-right party..offering to do more for the poorest..than labour were..

    ..and labour are still wondering why the disposessed continued to ignore/not vote for them..?

    ..really..?

    ..and are saying it’s all cunnliffes’ fault..?

    ..double-really..?

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      “..add on to that irony…that for the (non-working) poorest ..(arguably doing it hardest of all..)..labour was promising to do absolutely nothing..”

      $60 a week for 3 years for Best Start for all families earning under $50PA IIRC. That’s hardly “absolutely nothing”.

      They were also going to increase the benefit abatement threshold from $80 to $150, which was a big difference. Yes, that only matters if you’ve got a job, but that does make quite a large difference if it’s only a part-time one. Similarly the minimum wage increase will mean those who do have a job will be quite a bit better off.

      The more general policies like NZPower would also help.

      • Vanessa King 3.1.1

        I totally agree. The benefit abatement rate would have made a big difference to my life. I’m on the Carers benefit (Supported Living Payment) so I don’t need incentives to go to work, in fact I’m only allowed to work a certain number of hours to qualify for assistance so this policy is completely wrong and also the rate hasn’t kept up with inflation.

    • Lanthanide 3.2

      “..add on to that irony…that for the (non-working) poorest ..(arguably doing it hardest of all..)..labour was promising to do absolutely nothing..”

      $60 a week for 3 years for Best Start for all families earning under $50kPA IIRC. That’s hardly “absolutely nothing”.

      They were also going to increase the benefit abatement threshold from $80 to $150, which was a big difference. Yes, that only matters if you’ve got a job, but that does make quite a large difference if it’s only a part-time one. Similarly the minimum wage increase will mean those who do have a job will be quite a bit better off.

      The more general policies like NZPower would also help.

  4. Jay 4

    I agree, it’s great the government are looking for ways to do more about this issue, this can only be good for under privileged kids. Most will agree that the motivations for doing so are irrelevant, making a difference in these kids lives, regardless of their numbers is by far the most important thing. This is fantastic news.

    • framu 4.1

      “Most will agree that the motivations for doing so are irrelevant,”

      thats really foolish – of course motivations matter – if were going to trust someone to choose from a pool of ways to tackle an issue – then what motivates them is going to influence their choice – and what we end up with

      are you utterly blind to history?
      Do you no nothing of the history of national party policy and underlying ideology?

      • so framu..in that context..

        ..plse explain how the conservative party had the best poverty-busting policy..

        ..and for the childless non-working poor..labour had nothing…

        ..what should we make of that..?

        ..and i don’t really care if key is just centreist positioning himself..

        ..if some relief for the poorest eventuates..

        ..they don’t really have the time to wait for labour to get their shit together..

        ..and hey ..!..labour offered nothing for those childless-poor anyway..

        ..once again..what should we make of that..?

        • framu 4.1.1.1

          what does any of that have to do with the question of motivations mattering or not?

          seems pretty irrelevant to me.

          Jay is saying that it doesnt matter where the idea comes from AND the “why exactly?” doesnt matter

          now – i agree that where the idea comes from doesnt matter –

          but if your not going to ask why a party is proposing a policy – and what their real intentions might be, then your not really going to be able to evaluate if whats being proposed is indeed a good idea once it comes out the other end

          its like all of nat policy re: education – why the packaging and reasoning sound nice and all – but its national proposing it – and what does their track record and ideology have to say about what the actual aims are?

          • phillip ure 4.1.1.1.1

            “..and what does their track record and ideology have to say about what the actual aims are?..”

            ..at least in part..keys’ motives for moving on poverty cd be to cement in a fourth term..

            ..(because he knows that widespread concern about this issue will not go away..and it may blight his whole third term..and guarantee a denial of a fourth term…)

            ..and to be like holyoake..and to move even further into the centre..

            ..to suck up as much labour/green oxygen as he can..

            ..if he offers some meaningful-poverty-relief..

            ..and makes some serious efforts to clean up the rivers..

            ..he cd well be halfway there…

    • Jones 4.2

      Motivations matter… it’s the difference between service to others and service to self.

    • If you’re sincere, you missed the sarcasm of the post. I do not actually believe National has any intention of seriously addressing child poverty – or they might have done so in the two years they’ve had since the expert advisory group’s report came out.

      “Motivation” is actually everything when it’s “look like we care when we intend to do nothing”.

  5. minarch 5

    School dinners !

    This should be the FIRST step & It should be universal

  6. Bill 6

    The ‘interest’ is in order to dodge and/or defuse any questioning. Anyone brings up child poverty and he can say “We’re looking at the options” or some such. Also, The Greens have just lost one of the weapons in their opposition armoury.

    Meanwhile, he’ll do nothing.

    Key said it needed to be done without narrowing the gap between the incomes of those on benefits and those working, to ensure people were still encouraged into work.

    So nothing for those on entitlements and no increase in wages. Maybe a little bit more in the way of judicious starvation will solve the problem then? Now, there’s a new old idea.

    edit – everyone does know that this will be used as an excuse to roll out those fucking payment cards onto beneficiaries, yes?

    • sabine 6.1

      single mothers on the benefit already have the payment cards. young ones on the benefit have payment cards. it will now be the unemployed that will get payment cards.

      a friend of mine, single mother of an 8 year old, working 20 hour per week is pushed to find a 40 hour per week job by her “case manager” at winz. winz is not helping her to resolve the issue of childcare after school.

      but surely if we press all the single parents into full time work and make all the kids latch key kids that will reduce childhood poverty? No?

      • Distilled essence of NZ 6.1.1

        Bill Clinton did it. Result was, you had 5 year olds looking after themselves after school and putting themselves to bed. An absolute disgrace.

        • KJT 6.1.1.1

          Reduce child poverty while paying less than minimum wages and reducing the amount of welfare by 25%.

          Sick joke.

          Some people may be taken in though. With the right advertising. Enough to get him back in power by 2017.

          So English can reach his goal of the “State” share of the economy below 25%.

          Something only third world countries have achieved.

        • sabine 6.1.1.2

          Germany from the late 70’s onward. 8 year olds making themselves lunch.

          the other side is france, were most women work, school goes from 8 – 17 and breakfast lunch and afternoon tea is served in school, and Marternelle aka kindergarten/preschool is compulsory.

          choices we have to make.

      • RedBaronCV 6.1.2

        You mean people on the old DPB are on payment cards and there was nothing in the media? WTF? I knew they were “supervising ” the young ones , under 18 or 20 but now they are supervising women who are more than capable of caring for children by themselves, taking them away from violent males but somehow are too stupid to budget?

        Forget it, they are far too arrogant to do anything about child poverty. They could make sure parents have decent wages and benefits which would get rid of most of it – instead we go down the patronising school lunches track. time to get the vampires off our society

        • framu 6.1.2.1

          the weird thing is – reducing the choices a beneficiary can make with their money makes them more benefit dependant as they dont know how to budget

          which is a bloody obvious line of questioning – but did we see a single journo make this leap of logic and bother to ask?

  7. Treetop 7

    Just as violence is linked to child abuse, poverty is linked to limiting a child.

    Has the government finally woken up to poverty not being caused by children?

    The view of the Commissioner for Children, (Russell Wills) can no longer be ignored.

    A decade down the track, children who experienced a childhood of poverty are going to be voters. I think this is embeded in me.

  8. McFlock 8

    Key is interested in child poverty.
    He’s in favour of it.

    Gotta get the prison labourers and fired-at-will minimum wage workers somehow.

  9. sabine 9

    another point i would like to raise is simply that we should stop looking at childhood poverty as if it is only the children that are poor.

    The parents (single/both/or raised by grandparents) are poor, and that is why the child is poor. Poor minimum wagers, poor part timers, poor casual hour workers…= poor children.

    To diminish or eradicate childhood poverty one must raise the parents above the poverty level and decidedly so.

    But no one is talking about that? The 20.000 $ Tax threshold proposed by the Conservatives would have helped greatly and would have probably been the easiest to push through as everyone who pays tax benefits of it. But alas, neither Labour nor the Green promoted that idea.

    However, John Key is scheduled to appear on Campbell Live and quite frankly no matter what he says now three days after the election really has any impact. What he will do long term will show his true colours. And childhood poverty is not on his agenda, reducing the welfare right by 25 % is. That was a campaign promise, Child hood poverty is something to talk about with John Campbell.

  10. JeffRo 10

    I would like to see some action on trying to reduce the availability of alcohol.

    Watched Nigel Latta on his series a while back, it is a huge problem.

    And it impacts the most on the people already struggling with life.

    Lift the age back to 20.

    Take it out of supermarkets.

    Health messages, similar to tobacco warnings.

    Tax it more, to raise the cost.

    Restrict advertising.

    • Distilled essence of NZ 10.1

      I hope they do that – it could get the youth vote out again.

    • Mike 10.2

      JeffRo,
      Why dont you also add, restricted shower head roses, no trucks in the fast lane and all men must apologise.

      You are living in the wrong country (& era)

      • Foreign Waka 10.2.1

        Mike, actually JeffRo has a good point. You need to look up those reports of children born with FAS caused by the drinking of the child’s father. Unfortunately, FASD is catching up in the statistics (drinking mothers). Either way, the child will have to live with cognitive, psychological and physical disability and has not asked to be condemned to be a statistic. It is preventable but the culture of drinking to excess is en vogue and nothing seem to be able to stop it. It is only justified that the producers, distributors and sellers of alcohol should be paying towards the upkeep of those who will never be able to look after themselves because its cool to be drunk.

        • JeffRo 10.2.1.1

          Cheers.
          I don’t want to ban alcohol, but would like to see it treated with far more caution.

          Successive governments have rolled over in front of the powerful international alcohol companies.

          • Foreign waka 10.2.1.1.1

            I don’t want to ban alcohol either but it seems that it needs to be a lot more controlled. I do agree that Supermarkets should not offer alcohol as it will be the first buy before food for those who are dependent. The real problem is that alcoholics, even when they stop, will stay dependent for the rest of their lives. It is tragic really and something needs to happen reduce the harm.

    • Richard 10.3

      I think completely the opposite. Freedom, know what it means?. It’s all about do whatever you want. No one born on the planet is any more special than anyone else. So what makes others think they have the right to tell anyone else what to do? Cheek I say.

      However.

      Their are always social taboo’s that shall be punished. You still have the freedom to act and receive that punishment.

      Removing something is a removal of my ability to make an informed choice myself.

      I should be allowed to see and examine everything the universe has in it as a right to examine the creators wonder. I would also require the appropriate information on a something, to ascertain it’s effects. Without such I might harm myself. But I should still have the choice of steering my own fate, whatever fate had for me, before someone like you, came along and had a hatred for something so much, they wanted no one else to like it so removed it.

      I find the perpetrators of acting on my safe behalf, condescending.

  11. Distilled essence of NZ 11

    Didn’t Key say he would “close the gaps” even before he became PM? It’s all PR and no substance. If he does anything it will be something that costs nothing, does nothing but is a nice thing symbolically. I’m thinking along the lines of Whanau Ora. The left parties must start playing this PR game better, or we’ll be consigned to oblivion for the next decade.

    • karol 11.1

      And where is Aroha now?

      • shona 11.1.1

        Aroha has been living in Brisbane for 5 years. recently got married bought a house with her partner nearly two years ago. Worries about how her mum is still struggling in mcgehan close. Desperately wants her mum with her in Aussie now she is planning a family. was in the Herald during the election campaign. Aroha has no intention of returning to NZ. Like my offspring she is working towards her Aussie citizenship.

        • Lanthanide 11.1.1.1

          She earns slightly less than I do, in Australia dollars, working in a warehouse for a supermarket…

          • shona 11.1.1.1.1

            yes but she actually has a job that pays a living wage. And a future. None of which she had in nz . Oh and Key has had 6 years to do something that would have changed that . He has done nothing.

  12. venezia 12

    What a cop out to ask his officials to look at it, ( finding ways to avoid narrowing the gap between wages and benefit incomes). Problem is, when you are finding ways to drive wages down, this will always be an issue.
    Put the children at the centre of it. The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) have made excellent recommendations in their many reports on this issue. Key has refused to even acknowledge these reports exist. He has also repeatedly used his personal ‘poverty’ story to advance his own political career in a hypocritical way.
    He needs to find some moral fortitude. Find his ethical base. He has never been more powerful to do something effective to eliminate child poverty than now.

  13. Tracey 13

    ms nikki kaye said last week you can have brekkie for just 55 cents a day. I assume that is what key is excited about. cheaper than subsidies for warner… scf or rio tinto.

  14. Puckish Rogue 14

    This is smart politics, Nationals major weakness during the election was so-called child poverty so if he can neutralise it look they managed to do with Health and employment its one less thing the left can go on about

    • Tracey 14.1

      wonder why he only mentioned it today? in case the poverty deniers didnt vote for him… or is going to have another review. I wonder if he will read this one.

      • Puckish Rogue 14.1.1

        Hes trying to turn his (politically speaking) his biggest weakness into a strength or at least neutralize it and do it while Labours in disarray and the Greens are off licking their wounds so he gets maximum publicity for it

        Its not rocket science but you lefties just always seem to have the hand brake on

        • Tracey 14.1.1.1

          except the greens made a press statement about child poverty yesterday or this morning so no hand brake on there…. just you with your eyes and ears closed

        • shona 14.1.1.2

          why comment on something you don’t give a fuck about PR? your concern trolling is clunky amateurish and offensive. you don’t give a sh** about poor children and neither does thqat assh**le Key. All the useless NAtz have to do is fund Kids CAn fully and then Fu*k off and leave them to it. they will do a a far better job than any outsourced privatised Natz organisation will do. As usual it will be a cover policy for another useless Natz owned private welfare agency to hoover up government funding and nothing will change.Maybe even some of Colin Moonlandings lot will get the contract and persecute the kids for daring to be alive . Wouldn’t that be peachey?. Christine Rankin would just adore it.!

  15. KJT 15

    He wants to be Prime Minister after 2017.

  16. JeffRo 16

    I’m sure we will see some initiatives come out in the next few months.

    What all need to accept is all MPs and all parties take this seriously.

    Child poverty isn’t something that has happened just now under national.

    It grew under Helen Clarkes watch despite the biggest boom in 50 years.

    What we don’t see here is any constructive ideas. Mainly wild ideas about JK, which only really shows ignorance.

    • RedBaronCV 16.1

      It grew under neo lib policies and Helen had only 20,000 odd unemployed remember? Nacts been promising 150000 jobs for how long now??? 6 years ??? Somehow he forgets to deduct the job losses. The man defines arrogant

    • framu 16.2

      sorry – im going to stick with known factors – not feel good “we all want the same outcomes” nonsense.

      what was that thing key said once? “we would love to see wages drop”

    • SPC 16.3

      No it fell during Clark’s era because

      1. income related rents for state houses were restored in 1999.
      2. they brought in working for families tax credits (required because family tax credits stopped being increased for inflation in the 1990’s – and this still impacts on those on benefits).

      The problem that has developed is that the CPI increase in benefit payments does not cover the rising cost of necessities (rent, transport, food and power). The CPI is an average that is lower than the rising cost of necessities that dominate beneficiary spending. One suspects that the benefits have fallen as much again in real terms since 1991 than they were cut at that time.

      This problem also impacts on those on low wages dependent on government to increase the MW to receive a pay increase.

    • shona 16.4

      Rubbish. there have been ooddles of constructive policies from Labour, Mana and the Greens to deal with child poverty. There has been report after report after report about ” the problem” of poverty. The Natz raised GST ( affects the low income earners more than any other sector), they have effectively lowered wages and put up charges from ACC thru to petrol taxes, prescription fees, postal charges to name afew. Paula Bennett derided the need for collecting data on poverty because it doesn’t exist and then she laughed about the reality she was denying. Oh and they have taken away training allowances for beneficiaries and removed funding for apprenticeships by and large. Apprenticeship funding is 13 times lower than when Key took office.And narrowly directed at the building trade .

  17. Andrea 17

    If the government won’t track the effects of its policies – will the Opposition?

    And, if the assorted Opposition parties will – what are their measures? And how often will they publish? And where?

    Further: who will be looking at the systems and delivery mechanisms to see how effective those are?

    Because gut feeling and ‘everyone knows’ can be very wrong.

    Behind the emotion and rhetoric there has to be understanding and sound information. We’ve trundled along for a long time without either of those basics – and this is the result we’ve created.

    PS free school lunches is ‘lovely’. What happens in the holidays? And weekends? Weetbix and milk is so ‘iconic’ – except for the kids with a milk or wheat allergy. Nice plaster – doesn’t get down to addressing the scarcity of opportunities and choices, and total lack of vision for the future direction of this country though.

  18. yeshe 18

    Seriously — Key should hire Hone as a consultant if he wants new ideas to solve the problem. But if course, he doesn’t really want to, does he ?

    And Key’s breakfasts ? Carbs, sugar and dairy (weetbix, milk and sugar) better than nothing, yes, but only just. Awful, awful diet to begin kids on. And it’s UHT milk as well, I think — what on earth is left in it that’s any good ?

    • BM 18.1

      You may find Hone does get asked.

      Key doesn’t do the tribal bullshit, he works with any one to get the job done.

      That’s why he’s so popular.

    • RRM 18.2

      Yeshe –

      I humbly apologise if the FREE breakfasts being given to kids whose parents are too useless to meet their responsibilities, is not up to the standard you expect.

      I get up every day and work to support myself and my family… what do I make myself for breakfast? Weetbix and milk.

      [Something about looking a gift horse in the mouth.]

      [Something about beggars can’t be choosers.]

      • Potato 18.2.1

        There is nothing humble in your comment. Suggest you buy a dictionary.

        “I get up every day and work to support myself and my family” So … this is posted at 4.15pm. Are you posting on your bosses time or ignoring your family ?

    • @ yeshe..

      ..i agree with both..

      ..hone cd do some good work there..

      ..and yes..the vile muck disguised as food they give these children..

      ..is a disgrace..

      ..you’d think they’d at least give them something healthy..

      ..good quality wholemeal toast with healthy-toppings wd be better than that rubbish…

    • Chess Player 18.4

      You’ll find it’s Lite UHT per health ministry stipulation, as there is, weirdly, both an undernourishment and obesity problem within the same constituency.

      No-one would dare give full fat milk for fear of criticism, and given the remoteness of many NZ schools, it’s simply not logistically feasible to make frequent deliveries of the fresh stuff, so, Lite UHT is what they get.

  19. RRM 19

    Yes inequality is a real issue in NZ. There still isn’t enough inequality.

    Far too much is still being taxed off people who get up in the morning and go to work, and redistributed to the those who don’t.

    Too useless to feed your children in a country with an unemployment benefit, a DPB, extra child allowances, Accommodation supplements, etc etc etc…? Don’t worry, that is someone else’s responsibility. Everyone else’s.

    • yeshe 19.1

      Maybe add some good protein to your breakfasts to get a better class of sarcastic argument there RRM. You sound bitter as all get up.

    • Foreign Waka 19.2

      Such a large problem never has only one cause. I belief that the ratio of wages between the lowest and highest paid is completely out of whack for a starter. Then there are not enough full time jobs or lets rephrase this, jobs where one can make a living. 1 hour employment a day or week is not gainful employment and far from survivable. How about raising the minimum wage to 16.50 per hour and have a 35 hrs week. The cost of employment is the same but the hours of work needing a person increase. Ideally for every 7 FT employees there should be an additional workplace created. What has to stop are the welfare payments that subsidize wages. But what do I say ! Stupid me, greed and more greed has got us where we are so why would anything really change?

    • ellgieff 19.3

      I utterly agree, RRM. I’m tired of paying taxes for you to have roads to drive on and a police force to protect your property.

      So, now that you’ve agreed to stop living off the benefits of MY taxes, could you go somewhere and learn how to reason?

      Please?

      It’s not that difficult, I promise.

  20. Annie 20

    Hope Labour won’t be missing in action, too busy squabbling about the leadership. And then bitching about the leader if it’s not the man they wanted.

  21. the thing with keys’ majority..is that if he wants to..he cd move on poverty..

    ..whereas last time the numbers dictated he had to keep a mewling act and dunne happy..

    ..this time both are just compliant satraps doing whatever key wants..

    ..so if he is thinking of his heritage..

    ..if he wants to become the politician he models himself after..holyoake..

    ..the man who defined working the centrist political-line..

    ..he cd well decide to move on poverty..

    ..there is nothing stopping him..

  22. Wreckingball 22

    It is good that the government looks like it will finally act on child poverty. One thing is certain – chucking more money at the problem is not the solution. We need targeted programs (such as free doctors appointments and food stamps) not tax credits or tax free thresholds.

    • Chess Player 22.1

      Looks like he’s listening to the voters.

      Would be good if a few others did as well – they might get somewhere.

      I agree – important to ensure funds actually get to where they can do some real good, rather than intercepted along the way.

  23. SPC 23

    WOF housing provides healthy homes – all those landlords who seem to need to be compelled to even do basic insulation etc.

    Medical and dental visits covered till the child is 18.

    Developing a necessities index for assessing benefit payment adjustment rather than the CPI to prevent further decline in real value. And also identifying by how much the benefit has fallen in real terms since 1991 to dismiss once and for all the idea that beneficiaries have been getting enough to keep their children out of poverty “if only they were good parents”.

    And acknowledging the WFF tax credits were brought in because family tax credits had not been increased for inflation for years (under National and Labour), and pass them onto beneficiaries.

    The incentive to work comes from having a MW as a living wage, rather than at the level of subsistence.

    And as a co-requisite with these payment changes, require parents who fail to address the child’s needs with moving onto the payment card.

    Providing part-time jobs as teacher and nurse aids to those on benefits with children.

    Ending secondary tax on part-time workers.

  24. Dont worry. Be happy 24

    One idea to help even up the playing field..

    At any given time in every primary classroom in NZ a significant number of kids may as well not be there….they are “deaf” because of glue ear, something that comes and goes throughout childhood, esp with coughs and colds etc.

    Waiting lists for grommets in the public system, the only option for most people, are long and a child’s self confidence is fragile.

    Govt should fund ENT Departments to clear their lists at once….and keep them clear.

  25. Sebastian 25

    He often tells people he’s doing things but they turn out to be only keeping up with inflation.

  26. feijoa 26

    After seeing all those National supporters on telly the other night with their designer bling and glasses of champagne, I seriously doubt if child poverty is any more than an abstract idea.

    I’d be truly surprised if the Nats could make ANY inroads into child poverty – more like sweeping it under a rug, or having some non- robust way of measuring it.

    Methinks John is making his move to the centre to keep Labour out for good.

  27. Richard 27

    Somehow the focus on child poverty I find a joke. How did it even get to be an issue?

    I know because the Left probably Labour, had a meeting and a strategy to overcomes key and National was to highlight poverty and hope the public would bite and national would come out losing to the caring left wing parties.

    Well that didn’t work did it.

    and trust me I know all about poverty, I’ve grown up a Bi-Polar in rough area’s with the baddest of bad crews, and then grew up. I’ve travelled and lived in Sunderlands, Shiney Row, for ten years. I know things many of you would have no idea about. I’ve been to Albania twice for long periods, and seen real poverty with no safety net.

    In this country true poverty is miniscule, the truth is welfare doesn’t pay enough for their life style and choices are made so a box of beers or a tinny, smokes, pokies, P, and anything else one needs so badly, and the kids will be eating 5 dollars fish n chips if they are lucky. It hasn’t gone up in ages and they find all their money actually going on essentials instead of a night at the pub or three. The ones that are or had been getting by, got through fine fed their kids and if they struggled hadn’t pulled so many stories they actually got an assistance grant from Winz, wasters always are down their, oh the fridge blew, the dog ate my food can I have a food grant.

    loads supplement their incomes as well selling weed. Infact only signing up to have at least a flimsy excuse for the new holden clubsport they are driving.

    So lets get real here. The BIG flaming story on child poverty is an overblown load of sensationalism to fill the news slot, and for labour to try in vain to score browny points on but cannot because most of the country think the above is pretty much the truth of it all.

    The Winz benefit going up to catch up with inflation should be the only thing that is done about poverty. AND perhaps getting down and truthful about peoples bad choices and solving that, would be a better approach to helping the kids that suffer from parents with antisocial behaviour problems.

    • Murray Olsen 27.1

      You would really like the Whalespew blog. They’re always telling each other stories about how tough they are. The stuff about Albania would go down well too.

      By the way: you forgot the Sky TV dishes.

      • Richard 27.1.1

        I said that, so hopefully people would realize, attacking key on welfare reforms is a hard ask. Most people as you will see, if you read the rights trolls who come here, and what they have said on the subject. Fact is for us, the truth is not far from what I said.

        Welfare has not increased to take into consideration insurance food and rent increases. It should be, it would solve a lot of our poverty, and kids suffering, the next biggest thing to actually solve welfare dependence would be to get tough on gangs, create jobs, sort out dependency issues.

        We skirt around the issues tinkering but if we really are serious about fixing it, instead of having our focus sometimes on getting elected we would follow our hearts, then maybe the public would vote with theirs.

        Why do you think Bennet is so popular? You may not like it, I hate her, but her hard line is what the people want, they are sick of wasters and lazy bastards ripping off WINZ with no intent to even look for a job. It’s the truth FFS.

        and please note everyone is aware their are genuine hardships out there.

        I talking about dealing with the issue seen by the masses.

        You may not like what the right trolls like BM and others say but don’t forget to analyse their mentality,

        The art of war says to defeat your enemy first you must understand him.

      • Richard 27.1.2

        BTW I have visited it once, I may have written something you found to be like his posts, but that was not my intention , my motive was to make the point I wrote in the bigger post. It may be a big bunch of stereotyping, but it’s part of the issue and the biggest misconception the workforce who have never been on it, believe.

  28. sabine 28

    might the bad news for the dairy farmers be the reason for his sudden re-think of childhood poverty?

    I heard the pay out was not as good as anticipated and the rock star economy is not as rocking as needed?

  29. tricle up 29

    RICHARD food is just anther attachment to life we have to eat i would love to confine this process ,some of us can through lack of money, in the real world the basic market controlled debts seem to come first and feeding the children next a bad credit rating makes a lot life’s processes difficult,i can smell the calories in the rubbish bin now. A lot of families are genuinely trying . We are talking about real living people who want quality of life and the odd indulgent or pleasure life has to offer not everyone is invited to feast at the round table ..

  30. tricle up 30

    JOHN has realized he has to think will both sides of his brain he is now appealing to the side which has feelings and intuitions here’s hoping he’s sitting on the plane of reality without prejudices or biases .

  31. Dreamland 31

    Child poverty? How many of these children should have even been born? This is the fundamental question. It starts very early, by the fact that often it is children having children in hopeless circumstances. Where is the sex education in schools specifically targeting not only contraception, but why you have children and why you should wait. Where is the education to teach these children that having children is a responsilibility. Why not bring real babies into the classroom, warts and all and teach them that it’s 24/7 for the next 20 years? Teach them that they are responsible and not other members of the household, teach them it’s not right to abuse them, that it’s not right to spend any discretionary dollar on anything other that the home security of that child. Teach them what it means to have more than children than they can cope with? I would hate to think its for more $.
    Encourage mothers to stay home and care for their children, fuck work, you don’t need a bigger, house new car, new sky subscription. We face an explosion of dysfunctional children because they are either institutionalised, or left in the wrong hands. It is not just the poor that are guilty of this, children are not cherished by the rich either, other than for trophy status. If they can’t do this don’t have them, simple, you do not deserve them. Stick your right to have them, responsibility is entirely yours. I can hear the feminist crying in their lattes with that one but in my mind they started the rot by demanding equal work opportunities. Sure no problem, but please don’t have kids if you are going to be a “career” women. Bollox you say, open your eyes, are your kids that well adjusted and secure, not financially, but emotionally secure. If I start naming all the modern day terms we use for dysfunctional kids here, I would need all day. Look at you “high”achieving friends who have lots of kids, how did they do it, but look through the veneer people and spot the problems…
    Not poverty related perhaps but just as relevant. The reason we have lost the way in this country is that we have forgotten what the true meaning of family means. Think about it before you flame away… Oh and go and give your kid a hug, they deserve it.

    • Taxidriver 31.1

      @Dreamland
      You make some valid points, the most significant point being that at the centre of poverty is the family, or more precisely mum and dad.
      My own personal experience is that I came from a large working class family, luxuries were rare, we were very poor, food was always scarce but my father worked his butt off to provide for us and as soon as we were old enough we worked in the holidays and contributed to the family finances. It was tough but we survived and my family went on to be well adjusted people with good careers , modest homes and happy families. It can be done but needs discipline, resilience and a lot of self determination. In the modern era there are a lot of temptations for the parents, alcohol, drugs, zoning out on the bene, these things need to change. More accountability is required from parents, having a family is not casual, it is seriously hard work.

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