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Won’t somebody think of the children

Written By: - Date published: 9:38 am, March 25th, 2012 - 159 comments
Categories: health - Tags: ,

The rate of third world disease in this country is a crime. A crime against the poor perpetrated by the rich. They call it neoliberalism – the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the capitalist elite. They didn’t set out to make kids sick and kill them but it was an inevitable result of their actions and they don’t care. Now, what’s Labour’s take?

The widening health gap between New Zealand’s rich and poor has been highlighted in leading international medical journal The Lancet – and has been labelled by health professionals as a “sad indictment of the powerful”.

…..

Labour health spokeswoman Maryan Street said the Lancet was “hugely prestigious”, and the implications of having New Zealand’s policies questioned in it were serious.

“People will be shocked that New Zealand has these kinds of problems. It will be a hit on our reputation and that is a shame,” she said.

You think the ‘shame’ is that people in other countries might view us less favourably because they they read bad things about us in a journal, Maryan? You don’t think that the shame is maybe, I don’t know, that our kids are dying of third world diseases in and of itself?

This is what they mean when they talk about Labour being disconnected. Too many elitists who appear to see things first and foremost in terms of reputation, power, and statistics, not the real world effects on real people – the people Labour is meant who represent, whom it wants to vote for it.

It’s this approach that, I think, is one of the reasons that people worry that they can’t trust Labour because there’s no fixed values underlying it, just a desire to be popular. Yes, in this instance Street is critical of a bad thing but even a broken clock is right twice a day. How do we know  about next time?

159 comments on “Won’t somebody think of the children ”

  1. Bill 1

    Ms Street noted that there would have been changes since the study ended in 2008, but agreed that more work needed to be done to fix poverty.

    So, no. Seems that nobody has been thinking of the children for quite some time now. What period was the study over? 20 years?

    Oh, maybe it should be pointed out that Annette King suddenly splabbered something about putting children first…after being a part of cabinet at a time of plummeting child health stats. And after being in the cabinet of a government that denied tax credits or equivalent to parents without jobs.

    Actually. What’s Shearer’s latest? Oh yup….running with the baton passed on by King. It’s kind of not that necessary to have ‘these’ levels of poverty in NZ…or something along those mealy mouthed lines, from memory. And then suggesting that Labour are going to slowly withdraw the hand they seemed to be extending to the poorer and more disadvantaged prior to the election.

    • David 1.1

      I think this is grossly unfair. Labour has always had a lot of people in the ranks at lots of levels for whom child poverty (and indeed poverty and shitty wages and high housing costs and…) are core business. And that is absolutely the case now. Labour took a lot of conviction to the last election, on a lot of big issues that would have started to turn around some of the worst impacts of the neoliberal turn: there was action on wages, on real estate speculation driving housing costs and over leveraging, and on child poverty: this, you may recall was much more serious than “Annette King splabbering something about putting children first”: it was a commitment to serious action on incomes around child poverty that for the right was utterly distasteful, in terms of money and the signals (and not just signals) it sent about the value of care and unpaid work and the first years of life.

      People who should be praising this initiative have gotten themselves in a silly tizz thinking Labour is swinging right and dumping poor people in it again, based on lots of speculation (and wishful thinking) in the Tory press. I believe Labour, and certainly Maryan Street, are taking up all these issues for the long term, and will do serious and constructive things about them. Watch this space.

      • Vicky32 1.1.1

        I think this is grossly unfair. Labour has always had a lot of people in the ranks at lots of levels for whom child poverty (and indeed poverty and shitty wages and high housing costs and…) are core business.

        Seconded David! 🙂 (I truly don’t know why everyone is hammering Labout here.) They should, IMO, be attacking the real villains, NACT!

  2. just saying 2

    The irony is that all Labour’s attempts at distancing itself from the interests of the poor and powerless (unless they can spin it as being for the good of the well-off) have not and will not, make a dent in NACT’s successfully portraying Labour as being the party of bene-bludgers and other “losers” in the neolib race, as long as Labour stops short of actually getting the boot in harder and deeper.

    It’s nigh on impossible to change a brand or public image to that extent imo. It’s like Pepsi will never be able to sell itself on “tastes just like Coke” unless it can taste more like Coke than Coke does. ‘Almost like’, and ‘better than’ are contradictory concepts because ‘almost like’ concedes the superiority of the alternative. ‘Almost like’ only really lends itself to ‘but cheaper than’ imo.

    • aerobubble 2.1

      Rubbish. Labour, like everyone was bombing their credit card and had they had the chance of a fight back on neo-liberalism they’d have be thrown out of power. How do I know, because that’s what happen to Labour when it finally started to culled Douglas platform.

      Labour will always remember that to be anti-neo liberal cost them the election. That does not guarentee that either Labour won’t risk it again, or that the Greens won’t continue to take up the issue (and increase their vote).

      Sure Labour were, are still, held by a right faction and are reluctant to start a debate in a post-neo-liberal political economic paradigm.

      • McFlock 2.1.1

        Labour will always remember that to be anti-neo liberal cost them the election. That does not guarentee that either Labour won’t risk it again, or that the Greens won’t continue to take up the issue (and increase their vote).

        Alternatively, Labour should remember that waiting until after the neolibs had screwed the economy and driven people to suicide before challenging them in caucus is a guaranteed way to lose an election. 4Lab relied on Lange’s humour to cake over the pustulent (?? sounds like what I want to say, anyway 🙂 ) cracks in the same way that NACT scraped through on smile&wave and rotten boroughs.
         

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.2

        Labour will always remember that to be anti-neo liberal cost them the election. That does not guarentee that either Labour won’t risk it again, or that the Greens won’t continue to take up the issue (and increase their vote).

        And what have state asset sales and privatisation of services done for Anna Bligh and Labor in Queensland? Oh yes that’s right, lost Labor roughly 9 out of 10 of their MPs.

        FFS the neoliberal set are not pre-ordained gods, come up with a strategy, stop buying into orthodox economics languaging and take them down, hard.

        Today I just heard of another life long Labour member who has let his membership lapse. If the party isn’t going to stand by its core voters with conviction, how is it going to expect its core voters to stand by it with conviction?

        Oh that’s right, roughly a third of Labour candidate electorate voters in the Nov elections decided to give their more important party vote to the Greens or to NZ First, and not to Labour. Wake up and smell the coffee lads.

  3. KeepOurAssetsDon'tSell. 3

    What a shame! We have financial and social apartheid in New Zealand. Our neoliberal culture of greed and selfishness means we no longer have to worry about our poor children the market will do it! Of Course, obvious innit!?

    “The true measure of a nation’s standing is
    how well it attends to its children – their
    health and safety, their material security,
    their education and socialization, and
    their sense of being loved, valued, and
    included in the families and societies into
    which they are born.”

    From a UNICEF 2007 report. The Neoliberal countries U$…ad infinitum and Camoron’s UK have the lowest child welfare statistics in the developed world

    Link to UNICEF report: http://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=www.which%20country%20looks%20after%20its%20children%20best%3F&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CDoQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.unicef.org%2Fmedia%2Ffiles%2FChildPovertyReport.pdf&ei=V0puT-3gEq2ziQeEx5mYBg&usg=AFQjCNH95zF6kImvyO9S5rlNiwLDYNqWOw&cad=rja

    Of course selfishness won the last election. If Labour had got in they were going to extend working for families to Bennies with children, raise the minimum wage, free child care till age 6, a pathetic small capital gains tax and the reversal of the previous tax cuts.
    But the Ayn Rand bunch afraid their already hefty wealth might have to be shared to some extent believing in their innate superiority and privilege basking in their conceit and smugness voted glam boy shonkey back in.

    • Johnm 3.1

      We need to have a “War on Poverty” and to address the gross inequity in wealth and incomes now comparable to the UK.

      The “War on Poverty” is Mana’s principal policy and they’re right. This would take care of much of the problem of child poverty.

  4. Blue 4

    Don’t be so hard on Street. Trying to get people to care about this issue on its own merits is like bashing your head repeatedly against a brick wall. People just don’t care.

    They write it off on ‘bad parents’ and talk about ‘personal responsibility’. In other words ‘why are you looking at me? It’s not my fault and I can’t do anything about it. Those parents should be jailed.’

    Street is simply trying to appeal to something that RWNJs might care about. They don’t care about poor kids, but being embarrassed on the international stage is something that might strike a chord. Fat chance, but it’s worth a try all the same.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      They write it off on ‘bad parents’ and talk about ‘personal responsibility’. In other words ‘why are you looking at me? It’s not my fault and I can’t do anything about it. Those parents should be jailed.’

      The Right Wing run better memes and PR campaigns than Labour does. They’re damn decisive with their policies as well.

      Street is simply trying to appeal to something that RWNJs might care about.

      Why bother with this approach? National never bother to appease the Left, never bother to appease core Labour vote.

      Why does Labour continually try and appeal and appease the Right? Looking over the last 30 years its obvious that it is a failed strategy and yet Labour try try try it again.

      • muzza 4.1.1

        “Why does Labour continually try and appeal and appease the Right? Looking over the last 30 years its obvious that it is a failed strategy and yet Labour try try try it again.”

        Because they are are the same people once you cut into it! Labour are as overrun by the PfGO brigade almost as much as the right…think these people give a rats arse about the poor…think again!

        Time for people to ask some very serious questions….start with this one

        Why has NZ continued to slide on all measurements you care to name, regardless of the fact that there has been supposed left-right governments in charge….And I don’t expect to hear “its because the left have to undo the rights damage”…that is not going to cut it!

        Time to really start to ask yourselves, why its all going so very wrong!

        • thatguynz 4.1.1.1

          Oversimplistic I know but one word – monetarism.
           
          An ideology perpetrated by every government we have had for too long.

    • seeker 4.2

      “Street is simply trying to appeal to something that RWNJs might care about…….being embarrassed on the international stage is something that might strike a chord.” ( to the shallow and mercenary, image is worth quite a bit.)

      You have made a good point here Blue, dreadful but true- and definitely worth a try, because something has to be done for our poor children.

  5. It’s certainly true that this appalling result is down to policies of various govts over the last few decades. For several decades now, wasters and munters have been among NZ’s most prolific breeders, and the response from govts has been to fund the process. The infectious diseases problem is out of the same box as the educational underachievement problem, so you’d think NZ govts would be doing things to discourage the production of ever more kids with a background of fetal alcohol syndrome, neglect, abuse and preventable diseases, but apparently it’s in the too-hard basket.

    You seem to be promoting a response of increasing funding of the process that’s brought the problem about in the first place. That makes no sense whatsoever. The take on this I’d like to see from Labour is that they’d take steps to actively discourage the production of children in situations known to be high-risk for poverty, neglect and abuse, but that won’t happen in a million years.

    • KeepOurAssetsDon'tSell. 5.1

      It’s your attitude Psycho Milt (An appropriate moniker you have there!) which means we have an ugly divided society one which cannot and will not live up to:

      “The true measure of a nation’s standing is
      how well it attends to its children – their
      health and safety, their material security,
      their education and socialization, and
      their sense of being loved, valued, and
      included in the families and societies into
      which they are born.”

      Because the likes of you have obvious contempt and derision for some of your fellow New Zealanders. You wouldn’t know what fellowship is would you?

    • Blue 5.2

      I hate attitudes like yours, Milt, where you assume that only nice middle-class people have the right to breed, and that people from poor families are scum and will always be scum, like it is some sort of predetermined condition they are born with.

      My great grandfather came to NZ after being basically thrown out of everywhere in England because he was a drunk and a wife-beater. He and my great-grandmother and their ten children came to this country with nothing, and lived in appalling poverty. But my grandfather and his brother, when they were old enough, got themselves a trade, ran their own business and bought my great-grandmother a tiny two bedroom house, the first thing she had ever owned in her life. That’s the kind of NZ I believe in – the one where no matter what circumstances you were born into, you can change your stars.

      As a descendant of ‘wasters and munters’, fuck you, Milt.

    • My attitude, whatever you think of it, is completely and utterly irrelevant. Some situations in which children come into the world are extremely high risk for poverty, neglect and abuse. Govts can put in place policies that discourage adding children in those situations, or they can put in place policies encouraging it. It seems obvious that if your aim is fewer children living in poverty, discouraging the production of them in high-risk environments is a more useful approach than encouraging it. Our personal opinions of individuals or classes of people involved has nothing to do with it.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 5.3.1

        You argue like an ACT supporter – from a position of dogma and denial. Biology encourages people to procreate. Good luck outlawing that.

        • muzza 5.3.1.1

          Um have you read much about the eugenics movement bloke?

        • Psycho Milt 5.3.1.2

          Biology encourages people to procreate. Good luck outlawing that.

          A major difference between humans and the rest of the critters on the planet is that biology doesn’t control our procreation. You’ll note the constant conservative wailing about the fact that middle class Whitey (me, for instance) isn’t procreating until well into his/her 30s and then only having one or at most three children, barely enough to sustain the current middle class Whitey population. For humans, having children is a choice, not some shit that just happens – but only if they want it to be. If you have no means of support and you also regard procreation as “shit happens,” before long you’ll be quite literally creating poverty. This is a situation “the rich” aren’t in a position to alter.

          • muzza 5.3.1.2.1

            “This is a situation “the rich” aren’t in a position to alter.”

            Oh but they are, and they are busy little beavers trying to pass legislations around the place, commisioning studies, and waging wars on the most vulnerable around the through genocidol warmongering and the like…

            So very many ways in which the “rich” can control procreation, or at the least influence heavily!

            • Kotahi Tane Huna 5.3.1.2.1.1

              …only having one or at most three children, barely enough to sustain the current middle class Whitey population.

              The eugenics movement is alive and well I see.

          • Psycho Milt 5.3.1.2.2

            Well, call me an old-fashioned optimist if you like, but I’m picking that neither Labour nor National will adopt a policy of genocidal warmongering to try and address this issue.

            • muzza 5.3.1.2.2.1

              Thats right. In the “civilised world” much more subtle techniques are used!

          • Adele 5.3.1.2.3

            Psycho,

            That quality that differientates us humans from the rest of the critters is the same quality that stops us from killing off those humans we perceive as sub-standard. The middle-class whitey might be breeding less but they certainly make up for it by using more space, more resources, and more hot air.

            Poverty in this country has been here since before the signing of the Treaty, and if a policy to restrict breeding to the economically privileged was enacted way back then than, yes, poverty would become a ‘nullity’ simply because Māori would be extinct.

            • Kotahi Tane Huna 5.3.1.2.3.1

              Nope. When one group of people (in this case Maori) aren’t there to inflict poverty on, it gets inflicted on another group. No dogs or Irish were harmed in the making of this comment.

            • Psycho Milt 5.3.1.2.3.2

              You’re peddling a false dichotomy. It isn’t a question of either apply funding on an open-ended basis or provide no funding whatsoever, it’s a matter of applying funding in a useful way instead of a destructive way. The high risk factors at childbirth for poverty, neglect and abuse are known and govts could take steps to discourage the production of ever more children with those risk factors without requiring the eradication of the social welfare system.

              • Kotahi Tane Huna

                “The high risks of poverty” are created by government policy. By your logic, stopping politicians breeding would solve the problem.

                (Perhaps that’s not a bad idea: if politicians were banned from having sex until they had implemented competent policies, the chances of competent policies might increase)

                • Colonial Viper

                  Stopping economists breeding would also help.

                • By your logic, stopping politicians breeding would solve the problem.

                  My logic doesn’t involve stopping anyone from breeding. See the false dichotomy above.

                  • Kotahi Tane Huna

                    You ignore the fact of social mobility, and confuse symptoms with causes.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    No, your logic says that only rich people should have access to the communities resources.

                  • As usual on this subject, all I get in response is straw men. It’s like a thread consisting entirely of Millsys.

                    • McFlock

                      I think what throws people is the juxtaposition of:
                      “The high risk factors at childbirth for poverty, neglect and abuse are known and govts could take steps to discourage the production of ever more children with those risk factors”
                      with:
                      “My logic doesn’t involve stopping anyone from breeding”.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      You seem to be promoting a response of increasing funding of the process that’s brought the problem about in the first place.

                      What else can be read into what you said other than that only rich people should have access to the communities resources?

                      Have you considered the possibility that the people in poverty are breeding because they can’t afford contraception? Or that, after a lifetime of being told that there’s always more growth by the stupid politicians, they don’t realise that there are limits to what the community can afford? (that applies to the rich and middle class who we can’t afford as well)

                    • RedLogix

                      The simple fact is that young women will have babies. The mechanism by which this happens is very ancient and instinctive. Right-wingers who worship money and the ‘invisible hand’ seem to think that economics is somehow involved.

                      Where is felix when you need him to explain something very basic to a rightie?

                    • …seem to think that economics is somehow involved.

                      It often is involved. The primal urge to have sex and modern family planning are different things.

                      Most people doing family planning will have some degree of financial consideration. There’s some fairly basic factors – two kids fit in the back seat of a smaller car, a larger car takes three, above that you need a van or people mover – if you want to all travel as a family.

                      And if you want to have one bedroom per kid as is common these days that impacts on rent or house purchase considerations.

                      And anyone who has had kids go through thirteen years of school gets to know a bit of economics, as it happens if not in the planning. Same with having several teenager appetitites and keeping up with the Jones (or Apples) for most of a decade.

                    • This threading is a pain in the arse. Continued in comment 9 below.

              • Adele

                Psycho,

                Obviously then, the policies since before the signing of the Treaty have been destructive as there has always been poverty in this country (disproportionately affecting Māori).

                The real dichotomy is whether to dis-incentivise through punitive actions, or incentivise with positive and supportive measures. Policies that have a real potential to positively influence socio-economic status are less likely to be acceptable to the taxpaying public.

                Such policies have come and quickly gone under the scrutiny of an outraged majority opinion. The innovative work scheme, the learning subsidy, the preferential treatment, the alternative school, are looked upon as a wasteful tax on hard-earned money.

                Labour and National are conjoined twins sharing the same scrotum. A distinct lack of juice in their policies towards making society a more equitable place in which to live.

            • Vicky32 5.3.1.2.3.3

              poverty would become a ‘nullity’ simply because Māori would be extinct.

              You make me so very angry! Yet again, I see the assertion, made by both Maori and upper-class whites, that all poor are Maori, and only Maori are poor.
              That’s why I got turned down by HNZ, when I was on DPB with one child, in the 1990s. (“All whiteys have money hidden away somewhere” hissed the woman at me, denying she’d ever said that, when I complained. I’ve since learned the trick of taking ‘whanau’ to appointments… )
              The first victim of childhood rheumatic fever I ever heard of, was my aunt Margaret who died as a young adult, from cardiac damage sustained during childhood. Blonde, blue-eyed and white-skinned. Irrelevant, you will say, as it happened in England in the 1930s. OK, in Rotorua hospital in the 1960s, I was in a 4 bed room with 3 other girls. I had concussion and injuries from a car accident. So did two of the other girls.
              The 4th girl – blonde, blue-eyed, Pakeha, had rheumatic fever. 
              Years ago, in the 90s, I decided to stop smoking. I rang the Quitline, and was informed that were I only a Maori (such a pity) I could have got subsidised patches, and a raft of assistance. But whitey can afford her own, and besides, Maoris are more likely to get lung diasease and more likely to suffer from it. Why? Cos it just is, eh? (That’s changed BTW, and they no longer ask if you’re white.)
              But anyone who thinks only Maori are poor makes me rabid with rage!
              (PS – I anticipate a shitstorm, so be it. It’ll start with sneers about anecdotal evidence and go on from there.)

              • Adele

                Vicky,

                Disproportionality implies poverty exists for diverse peoples but its impact weighs more heavily on Māori. Recognising the poverty of Māori does not negate or relegate the poverty of others.

                It also means that for every act of discrimination you experience as a white woman there are at least twenty other tales from the non white population that can speak to systemic abuse and discrimination at the hands of a largely white society.

                Despite your experiences it is still far easier to be white in this country than it is to be brown.

                • rosy

                  I agree with you Adele – it is still far easier to be white in this country than it is to be brown.

                  OTOH being Pakeha and poor is no more fun than being Maori and poor at an individual level. Invariably the ‘my poor’ vs your poor’ arguments tend to play out in favour of those making the rules.

                • Vicky32

                  Despite your experiences it is still far easier to be white in this country than it is to be brown.

                  Oh maybe… 🙂 However, Maori are at the top. From what I have observed, it’s a lot harder in this country to be Somali, Afghani or even Indian or Tongan, than it is to be Maori…

  6. Olwyn 6

    There is a piece in the Sunday Star Times entitled “Project Rebrand” which I have been unable to find online, which is about the branding of Shearer. In it Bryce Edwards says that “the left could benefit in these extraordinary times. People are suddenly questioning capitalism and the free market model, they’re discussing issues of inequality, and there’s more hostility toward higher socio-economic groups and employers than there’s been for a long time.”…”The idea that most voters were in the middle and would not change was wrong,” he said, “The reality is that many voters’ political preferences are in a constant flux, and that people can be convinced and persuaded.” He also questioned, however, whether Labour was capable of making such a move, since this would go against “Shearer’s and Labour’s heartfelt convictions.”

    The thing is, such a move does not go against the heartfelt convictions of most party members, nor of a decent percentage of those in parliament. Shearer’s much discussed speech did not seem to me so much an appeal to an actual centre, but a signal to the corporations that they need not fear a Labour-led government, and that a donation or two would be nice. These decisions, however, seem to have been made prior a rise in hostility against the corporate sector, and the wider realisation that economic apartheid is becoming increasingly entrenched, with no sign of a let-up. Me-tooism now is likely to leave people without representation and the Labour Party disgraced and irrelevant. A better strategy would be to build on the grass-roots support for core Labour values, so as to gain some real negotiating power with real numbers behind it.

    • Craig Glen Eden 6.1

      Absolutely agree Olwyn, sadly the labour Mps we have just dont get that and if they did their would have been no way the would have let the same idiots stay in control but with the new Shearer face.

      The pre election strategy was poor and was all focussed on Goff we never got to hear from shadow ministers, the election strategy was slightly better but still poor.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1

        Quoting Article:-

        David Shearer has been Labour leader for three months, during which he has often been noticeable for his absence from public debate. But 10 days ago, in a speech delivered to the Cullen Breakfast Club in Wellington, he finally began to reveal where he will be taking his party – which appears to be back towards the centre after Phil Goff’s pre-election flirtation with left-wing policies.

        LOL, Phil Goff may have gone left of where the Labour Party had been but they were still right of centre with Goff in charge. Shearer is taking the party further to the right.

        • Olwyn 6.2.1.1

          Not to mention, the cautiously leftish policies were to come into effect in the distant future, while the right wing sentiments that many voters attributed to Goff prevented them from being received with conviction. Nor did he seem to have a well-formed strategy for defending them.

        • prism 6.2.1.2

          DTB
          I have noticed the tendency of those returning to NZ from overseas aid work, or peace keeping, to comment that things are so much better here. Anyone who is aspirational for improvement in NZ is squashed down to accept the bottom of the progress and democracy graph. This could be a basic attitude of Shearer’s. I think this is where the tall poppy syndrome is most damaging.

  7. Reagan Cline 7

    Psycho, my grandparents on both sides were prolific breeders and yes “wasters and munters” (any “wasters and munters” in your lineage by any chance Milt ?) and yes government supported by Imperial Preference and the whole ethos that went with this (any farmers on confiscated land developed with London Loans in your lineage Psycho?).
    Nothing is “certainly true” mate – get used to it.
    Educational underachievement happens because the children do not find the teachings at school as useful to them as the teaching they get from other sources. We are a crafty and resourcefull lot us “wasters and munters” eh Milt ?
    Eugenics was tried in the twentieth century and is now outmoded Psycho – the methods would not work in NZ – “the waters and munters” would make sure of that.
    Infectous disease (steptococcal infection leading to heart diseases), whooping cough, infuenza, diabetetes type 2, despair are diseases of modern life.
    To make a difference we need to change our way of life. Government polcy can do that probably, but it will be a slow process and it will need you support too Milt.

  8. lefty 8

    It is the height of hypocrisy for Maryan Street to decry the plight of poor children. The Clark government that Street was part of ran deliberate policies of denying the children of the poorest families access to subsidies wage earners and middle income people had.

    Organisations like Child Poverty Action pointed out the stupidity and cruelty of Working for Families that excluded the very poorest (those on benefits and the precariat) from the assistance they needed more than anyone else.

    Of course it was primarily designed as a subsidy for employers rather than a way of lifting family income and addressing child poverty. Labour never wanted to admit that though.

    Clark and co simply couldn’t give a shit about the children of the poor and cemented in the inequalities that had been rising since the 1980s.

    I know, I know, their supporters will argue that inequality was being reduced gradually by the last Labour government – but it was only on an average, it was actually made worse for the children of those on benefits and the precariat who work on a casual basis.

    And of course casualisation of the workforce which in itself is a cause of child poverty, increased hugely on Labours watch, something else they seem to forget about when in opposition.

    The left have been pointing out these problems Labour is suddenly discovering for a long time now.
    I seem to remember Labour discovering similar problems in the time of the Bolger/Shipley governments but they magically forgot when in power.

    The left does have solutions to these problems but Labour is not part of the left, rather it is part of the problem.

  9. Continued from 5.3.1.whatever above.

    I think what throws people is the juxtaposition of:
    “The high risk factors at childbirth for poverty, neglect and abuse are known and govts could take steps to discourage the production of ever more children with those risk factors”
    with:
    “My logic doesn’t involve stopping anyone from breeding”.

    What’s hard to follow about that? As an example, Julie-Ann Gentner wants less free parking in order to have fewer cars in the CBD. Is it taking steps to discourage people driving into the CBD? Yes. Is it stopping people from driving into the CBD? No.

    What else can be read into what you said other than that only rich people should have access to the communities resources?

    It’s not obvious how that actually could be read into what I wrote, but as to what else could be: how about, “If people without an income are already among our most prolific breeders, giving them more money is likely to result in even more kids.”

    Have you considered the possibility that the people in poverty are breeding because they can’t afford contraception?

    Yes. I’ve also noticed that the moment anyone suggests offering free contraception to people without an income, some idiot will quack on about eugenics.

    The simple fact is that young women will have babies.

    Try reading the thread, Einstein. And have less of the “righties.”

    • McFlock 9.1

      babies aren’t carparks.
           
      What specific steps to you suggest the government takes to “discourage” poor people from reproducing?

      • Carol 9.1.1

        If “poor people” are having too many children for society to cope with, the answer must surely be get rid of poverty? Or at least debilitating extremes of rich and poor, and alsoproviding everyone with an income that is sufficient to live reasonably well on.

        There’s nothing genetically predetermined about who gets to be poor…. it must be society that’s at fault.

    • RedLogix 9.2

      When it comes to having babies the only thing that makes any difference whatsoever is the degree of education, power and choices that the mother has.

      It’s the mothers’ choice to have babies. No-one elses’s.

      And none of your business to go making pig-ignorant comments about..

    • babies aren’t carparks.

      The difference between the verbs ‘discouraging’ and ‘stopping’ isn’t dependent on the object phrases they’re being applied to.

      What specific steps to you suggest the government takes to “discourage” poor people from reproducing?

      Hard to work out without being sure what the worst risk factors are, but at the very least we need to be hunting down the sperm donors and making them face up to their responsibilities. That ought to make condom use a little more attractive. We could also end the practice of sole parenting being the only occupation that pays more for each additional child. Free contraception for worst-risk groups and extending subsidised childcare would help too.

      It’s the mothers’ choice to have babies. No-one elses’s.

      And it’s the taxpayers’ choice whether they fund it or not. No-one else’s.

      • Colonial Viper 9.3.1

        And it’s the taxpayers’ choice whether they fund it or not. No-one else’s.

        Yeah because tipping tens of thousands more young lives down the poverty drain is going to really stop them from having even more sex with each other the moment they hit adolescence.

      • RedLogix 9.3.2

        Nah .. no babies = no taxpayers.

        What the taxpayer does have a choice about is whether the kids grow up in poverty or not.

        And growing up in poverty largely ensures that the next generation of young mums have the same limited choices… and the next generation of ignorant old males will still have something to whine about.

        Otherwise what CV said.

      • Psycho Milt 9.3.3

        CV, you’re talking about babies like they’re “shit happens” and RL, you’re talking about babies like they’re an unalloyed good. Both views are wrong.

        Re CV’s view, there’ll always be surprise kids, but we don’t have to encourage the process and by the time you’re on your third or fourth “accident,” it’s no accident.

        Re RedLogix’ view, parents tend to raise children to be people much like themselves. Now, if you’re a second-generation fetal-alcohol-syndrome kid born to career beneficiaries and with a background of neglect, bullying and violent abuse, there’s no guarantee that you’ll raise any kids you have to be the same – but in statistical terms (the only thing you can use for policy formation) your kids would be a really, really shitty investment for the taxpayer.

      • McFlock 9.3.4

        Hard to work out without being sure what the worst risk factors are, but at the very least we need to be hunting down the sperm donors and making them face up to their responsibilities. That ought to make condom use a little more attractive. We could also end the practice of sole parenting being the only occupation that pays more for each additional child. Free contraception for worst-risk groups and extending subsidised childcare would help too.

         
        “hunting down the sperm donors” is a completely seperate issue to birth rate. Highest-risk individuals are children of young people in low SES groups. You expect people who can’t pay off their fines already to apply better forethought to something nine months from now?
            
        Targetting free contraception by SES status will have a significant correlation with minority cultural and ethnic groups. Good luck with that. But really contraception, like all healthcare, should be freeto all citizens, so I think our beliefs at least partially overlap.
           
        Jumping on the “don’t pay them more to have more kids” bandwagon simply transfers the bad judgement of the parent into punishment on the offspring.
              
        Besides, birth rates internationally and sub-nationally tend to decrease according to the affluence of the population. All your problems will be solved by drastically reducing inequality for all. But keeping the STD rate down with free contraception and decent sex ed would be a good idea, as its own self-contained point.

        • Psycho Milt 9.3.4.1

          Hunting down the sperm donors has everything to do with the birth rate, and thanks for pointing out the issue with the unpaid fines, as it’s a handy illustration. Why don’t these net losses to society pay their fines? Because we don’t make them. Likewise, why don’t they pay for the upbringing of all the children they father? Because we don’t make them. Start making them do it and suddenly the shine’s well and truly gone off the idea of fucking low-self-esteem girls because they won’t make you wear a condom.

          If these mooks are unemployable, society has no end of work that needs doing, and young Waster could be made to do some. It’s a win-win: Waster learns that actions have consequences, and society actually gets some use out of him for once.

          How about we change society…

          We could give everyone a unicorn while we’re at it.

          • RedLogix 9.3.4.1.1

            Totally pointless in hunting down the ‘sperm donors’ if they have no job, no prospect of one and no resources.

            society has no end of work that needs doing, and young Waster could be made to do some.

            Ah yes.. just like PD. That’ll teach them to have sex ….

            • Psycho Milt 9.3.4.1.1.1

              I distinguish between “having sex” and “fucking low-self-esteem girls because they won’t make you wear a condom” myself, but each to their own…

              Still, excellent example. There’s no human right to be neither use nor ornament and to sprinkle the country with babies other people then have to raise. Just like with the libertarians, these arseholes shouldn’t get to enjoy all the benefits of living in a society without having to contribute to it in some way.

              • McFlock

                these arseholes shouldn’t get to enjoy all the benefits of living in a society without having to

                 
                That’s what taxes are for. Someone making 500k a year is getting a lot more fun out of society than some boy racer who got lucky. And probably has more sex, if that’s your enjoyment measure.

                • Call me a pennypincher, but the fact that someone who owes thousands in fines and is littering the country with unwanted children other people have to pay for has a few dollars removed from his benefit and laughably referred to as “income tax” doesn’t make me feel like society’s getting a contribution out of him.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Better to target the 1% who owe society hundreds of millions due to the tax avoidance schemes they use their lawyers and accountants for.

          • McFlock 9.3.4.1.2

            Funnily enough, we do make people pay their fines and, indeed, child support. But this is dependent on them having money in the first place. Half the time it’s simply transferring a part of one government payment to another government department.
              
            So while “hunting down the dads” sounded good, it’s:
            a)already done; and
            b) not a deterrent if you don’t have the oney in the first place.
              
            Funnily enough, I do agree with you that society should provide everyone with a job. But I think you were just forced labour for unwed fathers.
             
             

            • Psycho Milt 9.3.4.1.2.1

              It’s not already done, given that in a huge number of cases WINZ has no ideas who the fathers are.

              And it’s a big deterrent if your lack of money translates into having to work off the debt.

              We really need to get away from the idea that we can’t make demands of people just because we’re providing their income. Actually, we can and we should – not doing it is just inviting growth in the waster and munter population.

              • Colonial Viper

                Better idea than yours is to provide all comers 16 years and over with a paying job, further education and practical trade training if they want it.

                You’ll see the number of teen pregnancies – and the incidence of “wasters and munters” drop dramatically and immediately.

                But of course, you’re not actually interested in helping these people along in life are you, just in controlling them like vermin.

              • McFlock

                It’s not already done, given that in a huge number of cases WINZ has no ideas who the fathers are.

                So it is already done, just not for 100% of fathers. But even for those fathers, was it a deterrent?

                And it’s a big deterrent if your lack of money translates into having to work off the debt.

                Nope. In the same way that current fines and even harsh sentences aren’t measureable deterrents. We are not talking about people known for their skills at thinking ahead.
                 
                 

                We really need to get away from the idea that we can’t make demands of people just because we’re providing their income. Actually, we can and we should – not doing it is just inviting growth in the waster and munter population.

                Nope. Humane standard of living is a right, not quid for a socially-dictated pro quo.
                     
                By the way, quite a few very successful people came from poorer backgrounds, so your “born a munter = more munters in the population” darwinism is a bit rough-hewn.

                • By the way, quite a few very successful people came from poorer backgrounds, so your “born a munter = more munters in the population” darwinism is a bit rough-hewn.

                  Yes, I saw a black sheep the other day, so this bollocks about sheep tending to be white is just ridiculout.

              • RedLogix

                We really need to get away from the idea that we can’t make demands of people just because we’re providing their income.

                And as a strong proponent of the Universal Basic Income idea I hold 180 deg the opposite view.

                Funny how I can see it and you can’t…again.

                • It’s funny, you guys are just like the libertarians. You owe society nothing, it can’t make demands on you, society exists to serve you not the other way round. It’s laughable.

                  • McFlock

                    So you don’t believe in human rights, milt?
                     

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Human rights are for people who can afford them, felix. For everyone else – nope.

                    • McFlock

                      damn – wrong reply link

                    • McFlock

                      […] Somehow, democracy and the rule of law survived this appalling crime of forced labour, and Amnesty International didn’t put NZ on its watchlist.

                       
                      Meh. So because you were happy to be bullied by a government department, everyone else should be, too?

                      And it’s not about “getting your dick wet.” 

                      For your worst-case, so-called “munter”, that’s exactly what it’s about.You’re basically gnashing your teeth at the thought of extracting blood from an “unemployable” stone, and the majority of the money he gets will be from the government anyway. Now, you can kick this guy and pour scorn on him and basically guarantee the sort of social alienation that will “incentivise” (to use your substitution for “encourage” or “motivate”) him to find commonality with other social outcasts and he ends up in prison. An alternative is to chill the fuck out and let him find his way or just de-muntify with age, so when he reaches his thirties he hasn’t screwed his tax-paying prospects at fulltime employment with a criminal record.

                      Your doubts about the cost/benefit of the exercise are things that would have to be taken into consideration at the policy analysis level – they aren’t in and of themselves arguments against it. 

                      Yeah they are. You’re talking about reducing child poverty by diverting resources into community service supervision for people who didn’t know the condom would break and are on a benefit. Even if that’s only 10% of fathers of DPB-supported children, that’s 18,000 fathers. Which is basically 2/3 – 3/4 of the current 25,000 community work sentences the courts dish out these days. That’s a pretty big flag, even at a conceptual level.
                       

                       

                  • RedLogix

                    Funny how you are just like a totalitarian slave owner. From your position of power and privilege you have the sole right to define what other people’s rights and obligations will be.. you are ‘society’ and they exist only to serve your needs.

                    There does that take us forward? Laughably that is.

                    • Right – if society expects you to contribute in some useful way to its existence, it’s just like slavery or totalitarianism.

                      Listen to yourselves and then think about all those libertarians spouting on about how they don’t owe anybody anything and it’s slavery and totalitarianism to expect them to pay taxes. You’re just the flip side of the same coin.

                    • McFlock

                      Milt, we’re not the ones talking about forced labour if you get named on the birth certificate.
                            
                      I do agree with libertarians on one point – if society is going to take away someone’s freedom, it needs a good reason to do so. In my opinion, getting your dick wet doesn’t cut it. Particularly if it won’t act as a realistic deterrent, will probably harm individual’s ability to maybe actually get a real job, and will probably cost more to implement and oversee than it will gain society in nominal work-time value. While putting street cleaners or whatever out of work.   
                         

                    • When I was a young waster more than 30 years ago now (not one that had children or unpaid fines, mind), the govt would round up a batch of us workshy types every now and then and make us work on some govt project for a few months. If we had debts to the social welfare system it came out of the pay for that work, and if we didn’t turn up to do the job we’d get stood down. Somehow, democracy and the rule of law survived this appalling crime of forced labour, and Amnesty International didn’t put NZ on its watchlist.

                      And it’s not about “getting your dick wet.” It’s about saddling the taxpayers with the cost of raising multiple children who are high risk for poverty, abuse, neglect and preventable diseases, plus the costs of dealing with whatever arises out of those things once the kid is grown up. Munter owes the rest of us big-time for that. Your doubts about the cost/benefit of the exercise are things that would have to be taken into consideration at the policy analysis level – they aren’t in and of themselves arguments against it.

                    • McFlock

                      crap did it again. Reply is above

                    • “Incentivise” may be a shitty neolib term but it isn’t a synonym for “encourage” or “motivate.”

                      You’re basically gnashing your teeth at the thought of extracting blood from an “unemployable” stone, and the majority of the money he gets will be from the government anyway.

                      The money isn’t the point, the point is to make fathering children come with serious consequences not only for people who actually intend to be fathers, but also for wasters. Create the consequences and you’d be amazed at how readily these guys figure out how to use a condom without it “breaking.”

                      An alternative is to chill the fuck out and let him find his way or just de-muntify with age, so…

                      …we can enjoy the fruits of his labours in our child poverty and crime stats.

                      …he hasn’t screwed his tax-paying prospects at fulltime employment with a criminal record.

                      I don’t recall suggesting he should get a criminal record.

                      As to how much it costs, I’ve never seen an estimate of how much a single fetal-alcohol, poor-nutrition, bullied, neglected and abused kid with a long criminal record ahead of him ends up costing the country. The potential return on investment for whatever measures we take to reduce the number of those kids may be good even at high NPV of the measures taken.

                    • McFlock

                      Thesaurus aside, the most serious consequence of having a kid is the kid, not a a WINZ work-gang. And if your “munter” doesn’t regard it as the kid, the work-gang won’t make much impact in connecting cause with effect. Good luck with that.
                          
                      Secondly, most “munters” actually mature and mellow with age, that’s why they highest-risk period for any number of consequences of stupid acts (from hospitalisation to prison) are in the 18-24 age group. But if the kid’s alienation is reinforced rather than eliminated, they are more likely to maintain “munter” habits. And a criminal record is a natural consequence thereof. 
                         
                         
                      And show me where I’ve advocated no intervention. I just advocate evidence-based interventions, rather than the Garth McVictim idioterventions that you’d put forward. 
                            
                      If we invest in the children (and their housing, health and education), then there’s less chance of the children falling off the rails. If we work on “incentivising” parents after the fact, there’s a greater chance of them staying off the rails. 
                         

                         

                         
                       

                    • …the most serious consequence of having a kid is the kid…

                      For most people, yes. We’re not talking about most people though, we’re talking about wasters and munters. A kid is pretty much consequence-free for male wasters and munters, which is kind of the problem, isn’t it? These guys are familiar with consequences and will attempt to avoid them, we just aren’t offering any right now.

                      “Investing in the children” has thus far brought us little beyond lots more children with the same problems. Things need addressing a little further back in the supply chain – this much is obvious to anyone not given to romanticising poverty.

                    • McFlock

                      If we are “investing in children”, why are there such disparities in equipment and resources and teacher numbers between high and low decile schools? Why are less wealthy renters expected to live in substandard homes, when middle class owners can take advantage of insulation subsidies? and so on…
                          
                      And why do you expect the possibility of community service nine months from now to be a discouragement from having sex, for the (few) people for whom the possibility of a child is not?

              • Vicky32

                It’s not already done, given that in a huge number of cases WINZ has no ideas who the fathers are.

                You’re talking complete shite. “Huge number of cases”, what does that amount to – do you even know?
                Most DP beneficiaries are women in their 30s, previously married (or partnered) who don’t actually have further children while on ‘the benefit’. So, your idiot remarks about sperm donors are simply mindless insults. I am reminded of an article I read years ago, about the experience of an American woman, deserted by hubby, who applied for the American equivalent of DPB and was asked by a case manager, who bellowed at her in a penetrating voice “Do you know who the fathers of your children are?”
                In answer, the applicant showed her marriage certificate.
                Idiot.

                • Maybe you didn’t notice, but this argument isn’t about “most DPB beneficiaries.” It’s barely even about DP beneficiaries at all, in fact.

                  Also: neither of us knows the exact number of guys for whom the term sperm donor is appropriate – but we both know the number exists.

              • Fortran

                Psycho

                Not that WINZ do not know who the fathers are, but neither do the mothers.

          • Colonial Viper 9.3.4.1.3

            We could give everyone a unicorn while we’re at it.

            If you’re not interested in changing society, and don’t believe it can be done, you should stay out of politics because changing society is the point of politics.

            Not the kind of petty micro-managerialism we’ve come to expect from Wellington these days.

          • Draco T Bastard 9.3.4.1.4

            We could give everyone a unicorn while we’re at it.

            Ah, right, a person who thinks society is the way it is because it’s naturally that way and not that it was made that way by the decisions of the authorities over the centuries.

            • Psycho Milt 9.3.4.1.4.1

              No, a person who recognises idiots who can’t come up with anything practical in the way of suggestions. Once I asked my brother in law what he thought we could do about a problem we’d run into working out how to remodel the kitchen. His suggestion was that the first thing we needed to do was knock down this old heap of shit house and build a proper new one. The difference between you and him was that he wasn’t serious.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.4

      “If people without an income are already among our most prolific breeders, giving them more money is likely to result in even more kids.”

      Income being dependent upon working to make someone else richer of course. How about we change society so that a few people don’t get rewarded for being psychopaths and the resources of the community are distributed according to what the community wants? One person, one vote.

  10. Reagan Cline 10

    Psycho “free contraception” is fine in theory. Most contraceptives need the cooperation of at least one partner to be effective and they interrupt the flow, can be tricky to use or need to be swallowed daily. The only ones that avoid this as far as I know are the Mirena IUD and the depo provera injection. Are these the methods you have in mind ? They both have potentially damaging side effects (endometritis, uterine perforation, mood change) and a third person trained to insert or inject them. How about abstinence ? Rhythm ? You would probably favour setting up a special committee of health professionals and “wasters and munters” spokespeople to advise. The sort of policy you are suggesting seems to me to be more fraught than perhaps you realise. Readier access to abortifacients is a better idea if you think the best way to help the poor is to exterminate them.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Making further education and training easy to access and rewarding for those who are poor and unqualified is about the best form of contraception there is.

      Of course the Right Wing prefer to exercise authority and control over the poor and unqualified, not empower them.

    • Farkinell. Contraception is just too difficult for ignorant poor people to handle? What the fuck?

      • Uturn 10.2.1

        Farkinell. The issues around how and why people (read, for you, poor people) use – or don’t use – contraception is just too difficult for ignorant psycho milt to handle? What the fuck?

        Your world view is so narrow it’s astounding. Even your “poor people” are all the same person: same features, same background, all speak english, same cultural heritiage, same beliefs…

        • Psycho Milt 10.2.1.1

          Yeah, I feel an equally burning sense of injustice at the narrow-minded monocultural types who can’t grasp all the issues around how why men don’t do their share of the housework…

          • Uturn 10.2.1.1.1

            Yeah, I think it’s time for you to come clean. What’s behind your hate there, corky? You want to tell someone, but the coding you’re using is ambiguous. Is it a simple (if there was such a thing) childhood divorce? Drunken/abusive father? Religious power abuses? Overbearing/abusive mother? Are you gay and had a hard time of it? I genuinely want to know. It’s an emotional trigger for you, power imbalances, the frustration of not finding solutions to re-occuring patterns that hurt. I’m no longer satisfied with all the two-steps-departed “political” stuff. Come on, be a man and open up.

  11. Wonker 11

    “The rate of third world disease in this country is a crime. A crime against the poor perpetrated by the rich. They call it neoliberalism – the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the capitalist elite. They didn’t set out to make kids sick and kill them but it was an inevitable result of their actions and they don’t care.”

    I, for one, do not see how this kind of diatribe helps anyone least of all children with the ill fortune of suffering infectious disease and its complications.

    What is required is a social consensus on ameliorating the environmental factors that shape the context of deprived families and working with the most at-risk families to help them make better choices, for example, taking preventive action (cellulitis: washing cuts well with clean water and soap, using dettol [$11 for 500ml], and bandaids / bandages [$7 for a pack of 30]), accessing free medical care earlier (e.g. most GP practices provide free under 6 visits, many provide low cost access for children aged 6 – 15 [e.g. $10], EDs are always free) and ensuring that they understand and have access to the full range of subsidised support e.g. $3 for antibiotic prescriptions (the latter may need to be expanded in some areas but see: http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/primary-health-care/primary-health-care-services-and-projects/pharmaceutical-subsidy-card). Unfortunately some families aren’t aware of these or choose not to utilise them at the right time.

    Additionally, the integration of health/social/community/school services needs to be improved.

    Espousing stereotyped, emotive and ultimately destructive us vs them arguments is hardly helpful.

    • RedLogix 11.1

      I, for one, do not see how this kind of diatribe helps anyone least of all children with the ill fortune of suffering infectious disease and its complications

      Ah… so this ‘infectious disease and its complications’ doesn’t have a socio-economic root cause?

      What is required is a social consensus on ameliorating the environmental factors that shape the context of deprived families and working with the most at-risk families to help them make better choices

      Like what about ensuring that there are no ‘deprived’ and ‘at-risk’ families in the first place? Or is that just too hard?

      • Wonker 11.1.1

        If you had properly read my post you would realise:
        1) I acknowledged the environmental context in which more deprived families exist and make their choices (by which I mean housing, employment opportunities, etc)
        2) That a social consensus is needed on the best way to address these environmental factors such that it is sustainable (i.e. lasts beyond short-term election cycles)
        3) That I consider creating us v. them (‘poor’ v. ‘rich’) arguments as contrary to achieving such a social consensus
        4) That there are real tangible things that will have meaningful results and can be done now within current funding and the context facing more deprived families (and have cross-party support)
        5) That there are a wide variety of services / supports available for more deprived families which if they accessed at the right time would help ameliorate the poor health outcomes for their children given that hospitalisations for many of these conditions represent poorly managed late presentations to the health system (i.e. if parents had taken the right preventive steps then their children may not need to have seen a doctor, and when they have needed to, parents haven’t taken them early enough. Most of things are very low cost or free at point of access or heavily or fully subsidised. This means that money is not necessary the main driver but the perception of cost may be which may be a lack of knowledge of what services / supports are available. Less charitably, some parents may have higher priorities than their child’s health in which case personally I think they shouldn’t be parents at all. Please don’t tell me you’re assuming all parents have ‘perfect knowledge’ or that all parents have their child’s health as their highest priority.
        6) That the state as primary funder and purchaser and, in some instances, provider of health services (in NZ) has a very strong role in helping more deprived families navigate the complex health and social system
        7) That the health literacy of deprived families (which is highly correlated with educational attainment which is highly correlated with socio-economic status and which both Maori and Pacific populations have been found to have much lower rates of v. Pakeha) needs significant emphasis in addressing these issues.
        8 ) That there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that improving health literacy without recourse to other levers can have positive material impacts on health outcomes and health care expenditure.

        But by all means bang on with your p*ssing contest of building 50,000 state homes and appropriating the wealth of the 1%. Perhaps your slogan could be: Equality now – Kill the Rich!

        Meanwhile the more pragmatic of us will get on with achieving results over the next two years, years in which your ‘leftist ideals’ will not be realised. I mean I have to make up for all those poor kids I’ve killed – wow White Mofo guilt for the 21st century.

        • Colonial Viper 11.1.1.1

          Meanwhile the more pragmatic of us will get on with achieving results over the next two years, years in which your ‘leftist ideals’ will not be realised. I mean I have to make up for all those poor kids I’ve killed – wow White Mofo guilt for the 21st century.

          Only results your lot seem to be getting is the successful transfer of more of the country’s wealth to the top 1%, while borrowing lots from overseas and missing all your own overly-rosy economic forecasts.

          Oh, and losing senior Ministers asap while revealing how Tories love to rip ACC off when they think they can get a bit more out of it for themselves or their mates.

          • Wonker 11.1.1.1.1

            Colon Viper – great addition. Really meaningful. I think you just saved at least one mokopuna from rheumatic fever. Kudos.

            • Colonial Viper 11.1.1.1.1.1

              🙂 you are very welcome.

            • McFlock 11.1.1.1.1.2

              One down, 913 over a five year period to go.
               
              Maybe we should actually start putting real govt money into the problem rather than jacking off around the edges?

            • RedLogix 11.1.1.1.1.3

              And right now we have a government that has built in structural revenue deficits by it’s tax cuts on the rich, and lowered company tax. These cuts were not ‘revenue neutral’ as claimed… but in fact have created a $5b pa deficit according to Treasury’s own advice to the incoming Minister.

              Every action step on your list is threatened by that revenue deficit.

              The rich in this country got the benefits, the rest of us are paying for it. And you want us to conveniently ignore this?

              • McFlock

                I think milt’s suddenly been confronted by the concept of an integrated policy programme, rather than just government by random bumper-sticker.

                • Wonker

                  Boohoo. We’d be in deficit without the tax cuts or the Canterbury earthquakes. $10-12 billion odd by 2013 (can’t remember exact figure and treasury website down). If you don’t believe that take Michael Cullen’s word for it – that was the figure he left New Zealand with in October 2008. ‘Oh but its only the righties that run up deficits!’

                  There’s $13 billion in the public health system, $20ish billion in the total health system. There is more than enough to fund what I listed particularly if you consider what could be achieved by pooling resources across agencies and community trusts. It’s a matter of priorities. But it’s always about more money with you guys, never how well the current money is being spent or what can be done to improve service delivery. I welcome the government’s target for rheumatic fever and the investment that has already been made. They have obviously made it a PRIORITY. I can’t recall the last cabal of leftists making it a priority they seemed more interested in sending money offshore via the Superfund to dabble in the global capitalist casino through the likes of Exon Mobil and weapons supply manufacturers, providing largely Aussie owned investment agents with some nice ticket clipping proceeds via Kiwisaver, and handing out largesse to middle class families via interest free student loans (wow two can play the game). But won’t someone please think of the children?

                  If only it could be right and right.

                  • McFlock

                    Cullen basically emptied the coffers with his last tax cuts, which is why they should be reversed. As should the key cuts that droveus into debt.
                         
                    And the earthquake is why we saved for decades with EQC. Minimal ipact on the deficit, if any. And it increased consumption, so according to econoists was good for GDP. Don’t play that card just to get your tory government out of the frame.
                       
                    But if you want to cease geriatric care and oncology, then yes there is enough money in the health budget to address the adverse health effects of child poverty. In the real world we need to pay for all of the above.
                     

                    • Wonker

                      Cullen emptied the coffers through increased spending and tax cuts. The canterbury earthquakes did have a one-off cost to the government outside of the EQC. About $2 billion which has material impact on the government’s finances. So it all depends on what financial year we’re talking.

                      I like that you pick large ‘sacred cows.’ But there’s plenty of analysis in those areas to determine whether the right mix of services is being purchased and the cost implications of that.

                    • McFlock

                      Not so much analysis now that the nats have culled the public service. Pity. And if you can only spend money if you save it elsewhere divides the focus of your health planning, not to mention leaving real need vulnerable to a herceptin-styled PR campaign.
                         
                      As for the government debt – right, it’s all the earthquake
                           
                       

                    • Wonker

                      The public service in health is more than capable of undertaking such analysis. It’s politics (i.e. Ministers and constituents) that more often than not that gets in the way and it doesn’t matter whether that is left or right, neither have a monopoly on good policy / spending unless you’re a hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil ideologue.

                      And thanks for the reminder:

                      “Really just the continuation of the trend started in 2008 pre the election of the National government.

                      Cullen’s last fiscal forecast showed:

                      Residual cash position worsening from +2B in 2008 (Actual) to -6.8B by 2012 (-31.6B residual financing requirement met in large part by borrowing as below)

                      Gross debt increasing by around 22.3B to 53.7B or 24% of GDP

                      Net debt increasing by 10B to 29B or 13% of GDP

                      http://treasury.govt.nz/budget/forecasts/prefu2008/024.htm

                    • McFlock

                      The ministry of health has been buggered – in several areas, one worker juggles the plates that a few years ago were handled by different teams. 
                            
                      That cuts into their ability to thoroughly consider options.
                           
                      Or do you just assume that shit can get done even though “backroom bureaucrats” have been fired by the dozen.
                         
                       

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Gross debt increasing by around 22.3B to 53.7B or 24% of GDP

                      Wonker you loser. NZ had no net public debt when Cullen left, and had Cullen given Key and English the tax cuts they were baying for, we would have been well worse off. What happened to the “conservatives” in the National Party anyway? They’ve all been replaced by US style neoliberals.

                      Those were the forecasts when Cullen left office sure. But guess what, Key and English have taken those forecasts and WORSENED everything by approximately half again.

                      That is how totally SHIT English and Key have been, including borrowing to give their rich mates (and their own households) handsome several-hundred-per-week tax cuts.

                    • Wonker

                      Thanks Colon Viper – I now understand your internal logic framework – two wrongs make a partial right if one of those wrongs was made by a leftist.

                      Increased government spending is always good and tax cuts are always bad.

                      Life must be really easy in a black n’ white world.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Babble away mate.

                    Simple facts are simple facts. Cullen left the NZ Govt with no net debt. English has borrowed like a drunken sailor.

                    I welcome the government’s target for rheumatic fever and the investment that has already been made. They have obviously made it a PRIORITY.

                    The NATs love to set targets and do busy work around them, but its usually for naught. 4000 cycleway jobs, catching up with Australia etc.

                    What National has no interest addressing is WHY 3rd world diseases are on the increase in NZ. They’ll focus on the symptoms rather than the cause: poverty, poor living conditions, a depleted and dilapadated housing stock.

                    • Wonker

                      Cullen left NZ with increasing debt. He began cashing up our more liquid assets to fund ramped up expenditure and tax cuts. He left the country facing increasing gross and net debt. Go do some research rather than just parroting the same old tired lines.

                      I remember the last cabal of leftists setting the target of getting back in the top half of the OECD. How did that pan out? Well I guess they maintained NZ being in the top half of the OECD for infectious disease amongst the poor. Credit where credit is due.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Tired lines?

                      Months into National’s 2nd term in office, all you have ever seen English and Key do is borrow at magnificent record rates while awarding themselves even more tax cuts.

                      Useless. Time for them to go. And time for you to stop making excuses for them. Cullen left NZ with no net debt and the expectation of a worsening deficit. Key and English then performed so badly they made every forecast WORSE by half again.

                      What happened to the original “conservative” side of the National Party? Have they all been tied up in the basement of National HQ?

                      I remember the last cabal of leftists setting the target of getting back in the top half of the OECD. How did that pan out? Well I guess they maintained NZ being in the top half of the OECD for infectious disease amongst the poor. Credit where credit is due.

                      Oh the irony of a born to rule Righty pretending to give a shit about the poor. Why don’t you just lobby for another $500 pw tax cut for the PM you loser. You can fund it by taking the DPB of hard up solo mums and closing down more ECE centres.

                    • Wonker

                      Please don’t assume you know my political leanings or aspirations. But I do find it amusing you pick ECE which as a policy initiative was largely largesse for the middle class since it did nothing material to help the most deprived families. The cost / benefit for the government has been incredibly poor. You really need to up your game because at the moment you come across as ignorant and one easily swayed by PR.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.2

          3) That I consider creating us v. them (‘poor’ v. ‘rich’) arguments as contrary to achieving such a social consensus

          The reason why we have poverty is the rich so the us vs them is inherent within the system that elevates a few above everybody else.

          Meanwhile the more pragmatic of us will get on with achieving results over the next two years…

          By which you mean that the rich will become richer and the poor will become poorer. It’s what always happens under a right-leaning government.

  12. I’d be interested to know whether any of the handwringers on the thread have an answer to this earlier point:

    “The high risk factors at childbirth for poverty, neglect and abuse are known and govts could take steps to discourage the production of ever more children with those risk factors.”

    Is your problem with it that you think it great we have lots of children being born into situations that are high-risk for poverty, neglect and abuse? Is your objection to the idea of attempting to bring fewer children into that situation? Just a gut instinct against anything that suggests people ought to be made responsible for the children they produce? Or what?

    • McFlock 12.1

      “The high risk factors at childbirth for poverty, neglect and abuse are known and govts could take steps to discourage the production of ever more children with those risk factors.”
      Is your problem with it that you think it great we have lots of children being born into situations that are high-risk for poverty, neglect and abuse? Is your objection to the idea of attempting to bring fewer children into that situation? Just a gut instinct against anything that suggests people ought to be made responsible for the children they produce? Or what?

       
      The problem is the poverty, neglect and abuse. Not the child.
        
      Not even the parent, because even if every child were 100% predictable and avoidable then family circumstances aren’t. And of course all our individual choices are to some degree the product of the circumstances that we ourselves have experienced. The barefaced arrogance that some people seem to have that they are the complete masters of their own destiny borders on the delusional.
       

      • Psycho Milt 12.1.1

        The problem is the poverty, neglect and abuse. Not the child.

        So? Children don’t just spring fully formed from the head of Zeus. If the country’s struggling to provide for the children it’s already produced, measures to produce fewer of them would be sensible. We aren’t going to address this by all getting together for a rousing chorus of “Every sperm is sacred.”

        • McFlock 12.1.1.1

          The country isn’t struggling to provide for the children. It’s simply failing to distribute sufficient resources to all children. Not a production problem, it’s a logistics problem.
              
          The sex=choice argument is a classic example of why analyzing real life with a slide rule is stupid, by the way. Sex is not always chosen by both parties, by parties who are old enough to make that decision, by parties who are  completely informed about that decision, by parties who are completely sober or rational at the time, by parties who know how to use their contraceptive choice, by parties with 100% reliable condoms, or whatever.

          • Psycho Milt 12.1.1.1.1

            Yes, I phrased that badly. The bits of the country not raising children on a benefit are struggling to pay for all the bits that are. Resource distribution that heads further in that direction is not going to be a vote-winner.

            As to the circumstances under which particular individuals may or may not produce children, it’s irrelevant. Govt policy applies at the population level, not the individual level. We get the behaviour we incentivise, so we should be careful what we incentivise.

            • McFlock 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Bollocks. Simply reversing the last bunch of tax cuts for the rich (say Cullen onwards) would give us enough resources to pretty much break the back of the problem. Most NZers are struggling because we gave tax breaks to the least needy minority.
                 
              By your logic, if the rich want the fun of being rich then they should pay society for the priviledge. Much more effective than trying to get money off dropkick teens who can’t keep their dicks to themselves.
                   
              And fuck the use of “incentivise”.

              • “Incentivise” may be terrible management-speak but it’s a useful term for what’s happening.

                Simply reversing the last bunch of tax cuts for the rich (say Cullen onwards) would give us enough resources to pretty much break the back of the problem. Most NZers are struggling because we gave tax breaks to the least needy minority.

                That is simply bizarre. If you recall, Labour had to offer an in-work tax credit exactly because people were struggling – it’s not something that suddenly happened because people were foolish enough to elect a NACT govt. The question of how NZ got to be a low-wage economy is no doubt an interesting one for discussion, but has little to do with the subject of the post.

                Also, you’re peddling a logical fallacy. What we’ve found over the last few decades is that by simply funding every child a beneficiary produces no questions asked, what we’re getting as a result is the people least able to support children producing the most of them, which means ever-increasing numbers of children living in poverty, suffering neglect and abuse, and yes, getting entirely preventable Third-World diseases. Your proposed “solution” is to provide even more funding, which is basically a recommendation to try and slow a fire down by putting more fuel on it.

                • McFlock

                  Labour offered tax cuts because national was making traction with the “the economy’s doing so well, give some money back” meme.
                        
                  Your so-called “logical fallacy” would be valid if poor people having larger than average families only happened after family support was introduced. It has been around for ages. You might argue that it’s because the poor are munters, others might argue a biological imperative from the times when only half your kids would reach the age of five (only decades ago, btw). 
                       
                  I’m simply arguing that if we end poverty, then no kids can be born into poverty. That’s the aspiration. A much worthier aspiration than a fucking cycleway, imo. As a by-product, the birth rate would naturally fall. Probably a good thing.

                  • You’re arguing that if we end this problem, we won’t have this problem? That’s indisputably correct, but it doesn’t get us a whole lot further on…

                    • McFlock

                      So I’m not allowed to argue that a solution to the “children being born into poverty” problem is reducing the amount of poverty, but you can solve it by reducing the number of children being born?
                             
                      Not impressed.

                    • Sorry, but there’s something about the idea that all we need to do to end the problems of poverty is to end poverty that’s indisputably correct but also not particularly helpful. I guess I should have offered right at the start of this thread that if we end disease then we won’t have any kids getting diseases.

                    • McFlock

                      Changing human nature by stopping “munters” having sex has never even approached success.
                          
                      Quite a few nations have, for some period of their existence, managed to reduce poverty to almost negligible levels. New Zealand did bloody well for one. And over the last thirty to forty years we’ve fucked it up, both inequality and in levels of poverty.
                         
                      But nobody’s come close to stopping munters having sex.

    • RedLogix 12.2

      Is your problem with it that you think it great we have lots of children being born into situations that are high-risk for poverty, neglect and abuse?

      My objection is that we have lots of people who live deprived and diminished lives who are at risk of having children grow up just like them.

      Now you could:

      A: Stop them from having babies. (Nice easy soundbite)

      OR

      B: Change the circumstances of their lives so that they are empowered and inspired to get out of the miserable trap they have been put in. (Not such an easy soundbite and a lot harder sell.)

      Now given that having babies is pretty much an unstoppable human instinct (indeed you wouldn’t want it any other way) … I’m putting my money on Plan B.

      • Psycho Milt 12.2.1

        As already mentioned, it’s the rest of the planet’s creatures for which reproduction is an unstoppable instinct. Humans have actually done a bloody good job of stopping it, given the means and the will to do so.

        Option B is pure flannel – it’s blather. There is nothing concrete there on which to form a policy. The fact is that if you create multiple children you didn’t actually want, and have no means of supporting them, you will subject both yourself and them to poverty. If someone can help you to avoid creating those children, it would be sensible to take the damn help.

        • RedLogix 12.2.1.1

          Humans have actually done a bloody good job of stopping it, given the means and the will to do so.

          errmm ….7 billion and counting?

          Really what piffle. Homo sapiens are by far the most sexual creatures ever. Most creatures have only a dozen or so sex acts in their entires lives. We have thousands. Well statistically speaking… I don’t know about you.

          There is nothing concrete there on which to form a policy.

          Funny how I can and you can’t.

          • Psycho Milt 12.2.1.1.1

            And yet, funnily enough, once people get easy access to contraception, those thousands of sex acts translate into between one and three children for most couples. Totally unstoppable, that biological imperative!

            Funny how I can and you can’t.

            I don’t doubt you could blather a book about it.

            • RedLogix 12.2.1.1.1.1

              Ah…so now it’s just ‘easy access to contraception’. Sliding over a lot of territory there of course…

              And I’ve no doubt you can blather on all night too… but if that’s your best answer then why should I or anyone else bother with you?

              • It is just that for most people. When you start going on about biological imperatives you’re talking about people in general – or is it just the poor that have those?

                I don’t doubt you could form a policy as well as waffle on about being empowered and inspired, but a policy of ‘let’s throw good money after bad’ isn’t a good policy and will be recognised as such by voters.

                • Uturn

                  Your policy is to target unborn children for a life of poverty – indirectly of course.

                  You go after the parents with sticks and ghost-carrots and condemn new borns to the hate and poverty in society while you and your self-righteous white middle class mates continue to bludge from the working class to get rich. Some interesting social policy there.

                  The real kicker is you try to hide your cowardice by saying you’re “incentivising” behaviour. But you aren’t, you’re attacking those least likely to be able to defend themselves, knowing (but pushing aside the fact) that a new child has just come into the world that needs it’s parent, but you’re too busy incentivising a mother with the “freedom” of choosing between bonding with her child, surviving an already shattered family, entering your wonderful wage-slave conditions or starving. This is your version of the reasonable “demand of society”.

                  Every so often I meet people like you in person. It’s great fun, you all squeal like pigs once I’m finished. Online descriptions are close, but not nearly as satisfying. There’s none of the rush of real life. Convince me I shouldn’t extend the same lack of compassion that you and your ilk extend to those who cannot fight back. Convince me, the next time I meet one of you – might even be you – that I shouldn’t ramp up the stakes?

                  Of course, you can’t and you won’t. The thing, now, is to find out if you really are this horror you portray, or if your cowardice is just a compensation. Though I feel for people, my god, I’m really just a thug who learned how to speak his mind. If I was born with a different personality, I’d be just as disgusting, but like you I’d beat up on the weak. I’ve tried, believe me, (hell, I could get rich!) but it is who I am. My choice was born into me. Are we two sides of the same coin, me and you, or are you just playing?

                  Remember that I am out in society too, and MY demand of you is to start living your life without the prognostications of your fears that you redefine as intellectual conclusions. MY demand of you is to realise your cowardice and hate and forgive yourself. My demand of you is to cease further attacks on those who are weak – legally, socially or politically. Your incentive to do this is you get to live your life, unmolested, with whatever degree of freedom our world currently allows.

                  • Conscience prevents me from winding up people who are plainly nuts. I’m sorry I responded to your comment further up.

                    • Uturn

                      Not nuts at all. We can go on a journey together, reasonably publicly – though I admit, more public for you, but then I’m not the one hating the weak. I like this stuff – tearing ourselves apart in public. The faces of the on-lookers is hilarious, it’s like entering another dimension, but what it really is, is that we leave our masks behind and experience real life. Man enough to do it? Man enough to step away from the pride others project onto you and that you accept?

                    • Uturn

                      Geez, what’s a guy to do when his other won’t engage. I can’t sit here all day. Till then, Corky.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.3

      Is your problem with it that you think it great we have lots of children being born into situations that are high-risk for poverty, neglect and abuse?

      My problem is the socio-economic system, called capitalism, that causes that poverty, neglect and abuse.

  13. Nick K 13

    Milt, perhaps the title to this post should have an addition: “before they’re born”?

    You won’t find any practical solutions on here you ask for, because it’s much easier just blaming those friggin neoliberals.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Not just “blame” but fully describing why neoliberal led reduction in societal cohesion and community incomes have consigned large swathes of people to lives as “wasters and munters”.

      There are plenty of practical solutions suggested here, but since it involves giving people decent jobs if they want one, educational opportunities, and enough income to live on while they pursue those jobs and that education, you won’t be in the least bit interested.

      • Nick K 13.1.1

        What’s a “decent job”?

        How much is “enough income to live on”?

        You guys just continue to speak in platitudes, puffery and slogans. It’s like “better roads” and “more healthcare”. They don’t mean anything. They’re undefinable.

        That’s why there are no solutions here – because you can’t give any.

        • McFlock 13.1.1.1

           
          What’s a “decent job”?
          A job that suits your individual aptitudes, with competent managers, and where you’re treated like a true member of the company rather than a peasant. From my experience. Oh, and the last point includes things like remuneration and being able to make a contribution to company processes and strategy.
           
          How much is “enough income to live on”?
          Above the 60% median poverty line, depending on local costs for things like power and housing. 
             
          “better roads”
          roads that are maintained more regularly and/or go where people need them to go now and/or can manage the volumes of traffic without having massive tailbacks and/or have no dangerous curves, hidden or otherwise dangerous intersections, and/or fewer roadside hazards (e.g. rigid power poles, lack of roadside barriers, oncoming lanes that vehicles can stray into, falling rocks, deep abysses), and/or suitable water drainage and/or rumble strips and/or better lighting. Most roads in NZ could do with some or all of those improvements.
           
          “more healthcare”
          More money spent more effectively on GPs or hospitals. More money given to pharmac to purchase drug treatments. And so on.
           
          Pretty simple, really. Surpised you thought they needed explanation.

          • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.1.1

            Wow I thought Nick K said all those things were “undefinable”. I guess they would be if all he has in between his ears is post modern ‘everything means anything I want it to’ cotton wool.

        • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.2

          That’s why there are no solutions here – because you can’t give any.

          LOL You do know that National is in power right? So they are supposed to come up with the solutions? (Yeah good luck with that, hows that cycleway going in reducing unemployment?)

          All National can do is take key elements of our society apart. I thought “conservatives” were supposed to conserve the important parts of NZ society.

          I guess that’s why National will bleed more and more votes to the true Conservative party of NZ.

  14. mac1 14

    I read, and re-read, the article upon which Bill based his post, and I am only left thinking what else did Street say, what question or questions was she asked and for everyone to understand that the NZ Herald is no friend of the Labour Party so may well have left out all sorts of comments, spun things etc.

    I am also left thinking that Bill’s post and a great deal of the comments were looking for a chance to get into the Labour Party and they found it ……………….. because they were looking for it. I am not convinced that Street’s reported comments are an accurate summation of her point of view regarding poverty and health in NZ, nor by extension to the views of the Labour Party.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      You’re right, Street probably spent no less than 3-4 minutes talking to the Herald journalist, and they will have cherry picked what they wanted from that.

      I am also left thinking that Bill’s post and a great deal of the comments were looking for a chance to get into the Labour Party and they found it

      Personally, I’m frustrated at seeing so many great Labour supporters deciding to go with the Greens.

    • Vicky32 14.2

      I am also left thinking that Bill’s post and a great deal of the comments were looking for a chance to get into the Labour Party and they found it ……………….

      Yes! Of late, Standardistas seem to have been hammering the Labour Party, and it is almost funny given all the RWNJs who have claimed since I’ve been here that this is a Labour party site. Rather the opposite, it seems to me…

  15. Maryan Street 15

    Oh good grief – the original blog would have been right to criticise me if that was all I had said. Bloggers need to get out more and see some of us ‘connecting’ with people as we do every day. If I recall correctly, I did quite a long interview with the Herald over that item and I certainly said a lot more than appeared in the paper. Rheumatic fever and other preventable communicable diseases reappearing in NZ is a scandal and an indictment on any government. We started the immunisation programme as a result; the Nats are continuing it – good. We started the home insulation programme; the Nats are continuing it – good. Screwing down workers’ wages and giving tax cuts to the rich – bad. Tackling poverty requires advancing on lots of fronts at once, starting with housing. And it takes a long term commitment. We lifted 120,000 kids out of poverty over 9 years. OK, but not the end of the story, obviously. If you sit glued to your screen all day and rely on media reports alone, you’ll never know whether or not any of us ‘connect’ and you’ll end up believing your own spin!

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