UNICEF NZ statement on child poverty monitor

“The Monitor tells us that 159,000 children (60% of those in poverty) are living in poverty for long periods of time. Living in persistent poverty will undermine a child’s physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing with the potential for long-term damage.”

UNICEF NZ Statement on Child Poverty Monitor
Monday, 9 December 2013, 10:05 am
Press Release: UNICEF

UNICEF NZ Statement on Child Poverty Monitor, Released Today by OCC

The inaugural Child Poverty Monitor, released today (Monday, 9 December) by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC), JR McKenzie Trust and the NZ Child and Youth Epidemiology Service at Otago University, contains some deeply concerning figures. However, it is an important step forward for tracking how well New Zealand is doing in giving children the standard of living they need.
Deborah Morris-Travers, UNICEF New Zealand Advocacy Manager, said, “It’s of significant concern that 10% of Kiwi Kids – twice the rate of the New Zealand population as a whole – are living in severe poverty.
Read more at Scoop

Welcome to the First Child Poverty Monitor Technical Report
Monday, 9 December 2013, 9:44 am
Press Release: Child Poverty Monitor

Welcome to the First Child Poverty Monitor Technical Report

This Technical Report marks a new step in monitoring child poverty and social health indicators in New Zealand. It began with a partnership being established between the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, the University of Otago’s New Zealand Child and Youth Epidemiology Service (NZCYES) and the J R McKenzie Trust. This partnership saw a gap in publicly-available child poverty measures, and is addressing this gap by compiling, publishing and disseminating annual measurements on child poverty in New Zealand.
Last year, the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group (EAG) on Solutions to Child Poverty recommended that a suite of measures capturing different aspects of child poverty be measured and reported annually. We are fulfilling this recommendation. This new Technical Report builds on the Children’s Social Health Monitor (CSHM) produced by the NZCYES since 2009. We have added additional indicators that enable us to monitor child poverty in New Zealand. Along with this full Technical Report we have produced very high level information on the key measures of child poverty, which are available at http://www.childpoverty.co.nz.
We want to promote the common use of rigorous measures of poverty, so we can stop debating about the measure and start fixing the problem.

More info\

Report: 2013_Child_Poverty_Monitor_Technical_Report_MASTER.pdf


### stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00 09/12/2013
One in four Kiwi children living in poverty
By Ben Heather – Dominion Post
More children living in crammed homes are ending up in hospital, as a new report shows one in four children remain mired in poverty. A new rigorous measure of child poverty released today shows that about one in six Kiwi children are going without basic necessities. This could mean not having a bed, delaying a doctor’s visit or missing out on meals. It also shows hospital admissions for children with medical conditions linked to poverty are rising. Tens of thousands of children are admitted every year for respiratory and infectious diseases associated with living in damp, overcrowded homes. “I see these poor preschool children in crowded homes that are cold and damp coming in with skin infections. They are filling our wards,” Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills, a Hawke’s Bay paediatrician, said.

Children, particularly the youngest, remain the most impoverished group of New Zealanders, three times more likely to live in poverty than those past retirement age.

And the gap between those going without and the rest is showing no signs of narrowing, with children born to solo beneficiary parents by far the most likely to get sick or injured. But child poverty is also reaching far beyond beneficiaries, with about two out of five impoverished kids living in working families. Overall 265,000 children live in poverty, which is measured by children living in households with less than 60 per cent of the median income after housing costs.
The report, called the Child Poverty Monitor, was commissioned by Dr Wills after the Government rejected calls to start a comprehensive measure of child poverty.
Read more

STATE OF CHILD POVERTY (via Dominion Post)

█ 265,000 children live in poverty, defined by income.
█ 1 in 3 Maori and Pacific children live in poverty.
█ 1 in 7 European children live in poverty.
█ 1 in 6 struggle to afford basic necessities such as healthcare and clothing.
█ 1 in 10 suffer from severe poverty, lacking basic necessities and adequate income.
█ 3 out of 5 will be living in poverty for much of their childhood.
█ 51 per cent are from sole parent families. 60 per cent are from beneficiary families.


Radio New Zealand National
Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan
Monday 9 December 2013
The inaugural Child Poverty Monitor ( 11′ 30″ )
09:35 Dr Liz Craig is a Senior Clinical Epidemiologist at the University of Otago.
Audio | Download: Ogg  |  MP3

Related Posts and Comments:
29.8.12 Beloved Prime Minister ‘Jonkey’ speaking #childpoverty
17.2.12 Salvation Army: The Growing Divide
26.11.11 2011 Voices of Poverty: Research into poverty in Dunedin
23.11.11 Last night, did John Key watch Inside New Zealand (TV3): Inside Child Poverty

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Democracy, Economics, Geography, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, What stadium

68 responses to “UNICEF NZ statement on child poverty monitor

  1. Russell Garbutt

    I have just come back from a trip to Wellington and stayed for much of the time I was away in Naenae – not by any means the Khandallah of Wellington, but a lot better than somewhere like Canon’s Creek. On the last day I got talking to a Plunket Nurse who carried out most of her work in this really poor area. However what she had to say was illuminating. Most of the houses are inhabited by Maori or Pacific families, Typical is holes kicked in internal walls, no food in the houses, children ill-clothed and ill-fed, and children being bred at high levels. For the most part at least 3rd generation on the benefit. Little or no attention paid to education, houses surrounded by weeds. But invariably fairly swish cars parked outside, tons of iphones, electronic gadgets and good big new TV sets. In contrast, Cambodian families that move there within 2 years have communal gardens, are running small businesses and are not on the benefit. The kids are not all that numerous but desire and pursue education.

    What is the answer? Apparently it is not politically acceptable to discourage breeding as it is these people’s “rights” to have as many kids as they want, and of course Turiana Turia gave a very clear message to Maori overall which was to breed as fast as possible so that their overall proportion of the population would increase and they would have more “power”. The more kids that are bred, the more household income.

    Now contrast that with some experiences of a high decile primary school in a regional area. Young Maori child moves into the school from a total immersion school. Result, at least 2 years behind in reading, writing and numeracy requiring huge concentrated effort by teachers to get her to achieve some reasonable standard. But at a certain age, the ATTITUDE is the defining factor and all further progress is minimal. It’s all just too much effort and there is no real encouragement from parents who continue to think that schools should somehow teach the curriculum in a “maori way”. Alongside are kids of Asian descent, who despite not having English as a primary language have a positive attitude to education and are already out-performing all other students.

    What is the lesson?

    If you need to ask, then perhaps you shouldn’t think about it too long.

    • If we were talking to Sir Mark Solomon this wouldn’t be another of those untouchable subjects.


      Sir Mark Solomon thinks his 30-year vision of seeing his people thriving in gainful employment as vibrant, proactive members of their communities is well on track. The successes of the iwi’s commercial arm are often touted but Sir Mark says he is particularly proud of the tribe’s achievements in education and encouraging his people to join the iwi’s saving scheme, which pays out distributions from the iwi’s holding company and pays up to $200 annually on a minimum savings deposit of $50. “I think it has been a real highlight of what we have done. “I think we have 53 per cent of all our kids in there as regular savers, which is awesome.”


      Published on 29 May 2013. Ethnic Affairs.

      Sir Mark Solomon – Leading the way
      Sir Mark Solomon is the chairman of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu. He was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2013 for services to Māori and business. Sir Mark believes that the simplest way to getting an improved understanding of other cultures is to start a dialogue. “We look different but all people respond to good manners, and conversation”.


      New Zealand Management magazine July 2012
      Face To Face: Mark Solomon A leadership model whose time has come
      Leader amongst leaders; strength with humility; pulls no punches – all epithets attaching to Mark Solomon, chair of Maori economic powerhouse, Ngai Tahu. Although softly spoken, there’s no mistaking the passion for his people – his iwi and all Maori – or his determination to create the best possible conditions for iwi success. And now he’s being shoulder-tapped for leadership roles beyond Maoridom. He talks to NZ Management’s publisher Toni Myers.

      New Zealand Management magazine May 2013
      Education & Training: The changing face of NZ’s workforce
      Why should our business leaders be concerned about education and training prospects for young Maori?
      Speaking to the Institute of Directors’ conference delegates in Auckland last month, Sir Mark Solomon, Kaiwhakahaere (chairman) of iwi authority Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, pointed out that there is one statistic more than any other that will impact New Zealand’s future prosperity. And that is, by 2050 the majority of the tax-paying workforce will be Maori, Pasifika and Asian. By that date, he said, around 50 percent of all Pakeha New Zealanders will be aged 65 or older.

    • alanbec

      Leaving aside that a Plunket agency Nurse is making value judgements of client families: 1/ Holes in walls are not confined to low socio economic households. 2/ Are unsafe rustbuckets best transport for families? 3/ It is older children who are advantaged by, and expect, the iphones, e gadgets and big new tv sets. Stats indicate the younger children are disadvantaged by the teenage ‘capture’ of material and economic resources. I have not a single bloody idea how to change this, but I’m sure someone is paid to do so.

      • alanbec – there are many New Zealanders trying to own the problem of child poverty in paid and voluntary ways, often with private sector and corporate support. Eg school breakfasts and lunches programmes to sensure the kids get one good meal at least a day. Until we all own ‘the problem’ in the ways we can, that gap is that divide and that disgrace for this small country which has lost its way politically (and economically) for three decades in particular.

      • Alanbec, have you ever heard of “the happy medium”? There is a grade of safe car between “fairly swish” and “unsafe rustbuckets”. I know many people who drive cheap rough-looking cars AND are particular about the vital functioning parts, even though the outside looks shabby: brakes, exhaust, oil leaks, seat belts and structural rust are A-OK and the cars are warrantable. They put their car-budget money (and their own skills) into the essentials of a working transport tool, not into flashiness.

        As for holes in the walls, they happen. The personal qualities that lead people to leave them unmended, kick more holes, are similar to the qualities that incline people to taking ownership of their own destinies to the best of their abilities and resources, by lifelong learning whether at a class or from individuals from more skills, or from books, TV and the internet. The same mindset leads them to show their children that progress – educational achievement, application (stickability to master a skill) – is virtually free. School trips can be expensive but going to school regularly costs the same as playing truant. When the drive to improve one’s own situation is lacking the result is lifelong failure, for which the easiest “outs” are blaming. It’s society’s fault, it’s my parents (going back generations, it’s their parents’ fault, grandparents … into the mists of time. And there, were they to look honestly, they would find role models of people who got off their arses, before Welfare was so easy to get. And before a sense of entitlement was fostered by well meaning successful people out of a feeling of vague guilt associated with pity, forming a toxic mix lauded as “not blaming the victims”.

        There are indeed victims who should be helped not blamed. There are also people who ride that train all the way because for them it beats manning up, developing a sense of responsibility for themselves and their families.

  2. Anonymous

    But that National minister Paula Bennett said there’s less children in poverty than reported – it’s only 170,000 – so in her skewed way of thinking it’s a non-issue and nothing further to see here…

    Clearly there’s some seriously trucked up goings on in that party. I’m calling authoritarian state coming soon via more law changes. One thing for sure it must be bloody expensive to maintain the up-keep of those National ministers. They all look like they’re getting a little younger with the clothes, make-up, hair, jewellery – and that’s just the blokes.

    • David

      The problem is the arbitrary way it’s decided if a child is living in poverty. The median weekly household income is $1358, so every child in a household earning less than 60% ($815) is said to be “living in poverty”, which is obviously nonsense.

      So someone on an average wage, who has saved a bit so their wife can take a year or two off work to look after their new baby, would be part of the group with children “living in poverty”.

      It’s a really silly way to measure it – it doesn’t even take into account whether there are eight kids in the house or one. Or whether there’s one adult to feed, or two or three or four.

      And if the median wage goes up, that can mean MORE children living in poverty than previously, even if everyone is better off. i.e. even if every house in the country doubled or tripled it’s income overnight, it would make zero change to the number of children “living in poverty” using the current definition.

  3. “Kiwis- facing- wait- list- surgery” So what’s new? The whole health system has been a political football for 50 or 60 years. When I look back and see what used to be, the answer seems obvious. Up till the 1950s the hospitals were basically local enterprises. Run by medical people and supported by a small management/procurement team overseen by an elected board. The post war baby boom set governments into top gear interfering with anything and everything, and it has never stopped. The bureaucracy was set up and took over. The bureaucrats did some numbers and came up with a redevelopment programme for Dunedin Hospital (and others as well) which turned out to be hopelessly astray in Dunedin’s instance. Again the research on Dunedin’s population growth, backed up by successive censuses show the static position in Dunedin. But the ‘boffins’ development was hugely optimistic. Result, the new ward block, the clinical services block, plus the totally new Wakari hospital were all built within a decade, more or less. Dunedin is stuck with a hugely overbuilt real estate which soaks up the bulk of its budget just keeping it all up and viable. But in fact it is largely redundant due to the population not getting anywhere near projections. Again, the bureaucracy has sidelined the medical people and it is run on a business model designed to show a theoretical return on investment.

    The number crunchers are constantly revising their plans which each time seem to ignore the main reason for being, which is to dispense health services to the local population. The result is we have medical consultants twiddling their thumbs in the Dunedin system due to misallocation of funding being channeled into non medical overheads, so they ‘double dip’ and refer their patients (who can afford it) to the private hospitals where they are also consultants, and do the business there pocketing nice additional revenue on top of their public retainer. So there is now little if any pressure from the ‘medics’ to push for public increase in active non-elective surgery. Result, the poorer folk are left languishing on ever increasing waiting lists for elective treatment. In fact it seems the public system even struggles to manage non elective and other non life threatening duties. Most resources are taken with emergency and other serious ailments. So we have the situation where a huge amount of underutilised facilities are there but the public are denied the use of because of a supposed lack of funding.

    It would be a very interesting, and probably surprising exercise to separate out the active medical resources from the administrative, both in terms of numbers and relative salary scales. We have an elected board which from time to time ‘huffs and puffs’ but achieves ‘SFA’ and so the tale goes on year after year with always the same old mantra, a shortfall on budget, central government constantly changing the rules and frustration all round. Meantime, the actual business of dispensing health outcomes gets less and less per dollar expended. There have been so many changes and structural variations that one of the biggest expenditures must be building alterations to fit these bureaucratic ‘brainstorms’. Expect any improvements in the near future? Not bloody likely.

  4. David

    Calvin, you say “Dunedin is stuck with a hugely overbuilt real estate which soaks up the bulk of its budget just keeping it all up and viable.” yet the Southern DHB’s annual report shows all infrastructure and all non medical costs as well as depreciation come to well under 10% of their total costs – that’s hardly the “bulk of it’s budget”.

  5. David, can you believe it? This is an outfit, don’t forget that watched, but didn’t see $17 million go down the ‘Swanny’. SDHB’s annual report will be no different from any other, simply an apportioning of resources to suit the moment. There can be no doubt but that if, as you say, all infrastructure and all non medical costs as well as depreciation come well under 10% of total costs, then if the waiting lists and those forced into private are taken into account, the cost per unit of health actually dispensed must be truly prodigiously out of this world. And that, I suspect is the truth of the matter. I don’t know what your knowledge of the truth is, but if it is anything like some of the longer serving board members then I suspect it is either not very deep, or is very much from the inside.

  6. Presbyterian Support Otago chief executive Gillian Bremner said the general public was still largely unaware of the extent of poverty. She believed greater public awareness increased the chances of the Government addressing it. Benefit levels never recovered from the cuts of the early 1990s, and their inadequacy was a major driver of poverty, she said.
    Salvation Army Dunedin Community Ministries manager Lindsay Andrews called for ”radical policy change” to address struggling families’ ”genuine needs”.
    Methodist Mission director Laura Black said while the monitor’s themes were ”depressingly familiar”, it filled a gap in New Zealand’s approach to dealing with ”appalling” child health and welfare statistics.

    • Great and Exciting News !!!!

      ### dunedintv.co.nz December 10, 2013 – 7:16pm
      New children’s ward opens
      It is costing around $7m, has taken 23 months to put together, and the new Dunedin Hospital children’s ward is open for business. All sorts of children, from tiny babies to those more grown up, moved in to the redeveloped area this morning. And they and their families discovered a state of the art facility.

      • ### ODT Online Wed, 11 Dec 2013
        Children’s facility open for business
        By Rebecca Fox
        Isavena Vallduvi might have an injured leg but her days just got brighter with a move into Dunedin Hospital’s new children’s ward. The 8-year-old was the first child to move into the ward on the first floor of the hospital’s ward block yesterday. […] The 2000sq m $7 million combined neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)/paediatric ward was constructed out of the old staff cafeteria and hospital administration block. It also included the child assessment unit, where children came after being referred from a general practitioner, after hours medical service or the emergency department.
        Read more

    • David

      Since 1990, a couple of major things have changed.

      Today computers have replaced the typing pool, tamping machines have replaced railway gangs etc. The railways transport more freight with less than 10% of the staff.

      Technology means there’s simply not the same number of low skilled jobs around as there was in the days before computers, the internet, and cellphones.

      Another change is that today when a parent spends money on cigarettes, booze, drugs, pokies, flat screen tv, food for two big dogs, a gas guzzling car, etc, etc, instead of feeding their children, it has become acceptable for everyone to blame the government and apportion zero blame and remove all responsibility from the parent.

      And while that continues, you can give up on ever solving the poverty problem.

      • They are all our children.
        I say to All that unless each of us decides to do something to ease this, nothing will change,
        All the New Zealanders who thought it smart to own more than one house, who speculated on the property market for capital gains and insodoing upwardly shafted all our rents to glory (and decrepitude), such that our incomes can’t afford the basic necessities of life… have been remiss in not investing in our nation’s business development and diversity, and thus here we are. Out of pocket to the big banks. Where then were the children while we demanded all parents must work to barely survive in a low-wage economy as deemed for the multitude.

        The children didn’t squander their future. We did. We do. Time to be practical. Helping children see a better future is of Mighty use. With whatever time, friendship and resources we each have to give. I’m sure that most if not all contributors here, help others small and big. Better to focus on what we have control over within our own communities to make the better place.

        My first paid holiday job at 17 was in a psychiatric hospital feeding babies and children who had been dumped there by their parents/caregivers or as wards of state; many had been disabled by their guardians through horrendous abuse. A number, around my age at the time, had been rendered down… to the brain age of about 6 months. Another had her fingers fused together after her parent held her hands down on the electric rings of a stove. No point wasting time on blame when there are lives needing food, shelter, safety, care – and simply lots of love and good times. That experience changed me for the rest of my life. I used to spend every vacation during my architecture degrees at Auckland working at that hospital. It is the reason I refuse to work amongst the architectural elite as a designer or for elite clients.

        We have to each be egalitarian and giving. A lot of people are. It’s beyond politics.

        And there’s the champagne-rugby louts in fatcat suits with the trophy wives and girlfriends, driving new borrowed Range Rover Landrovers from Armstrong Prestige, begging for more dosh from you and I, to home the LOSING Highlanders at the DEBT-CRIPPLED fubar.

        • David

          That’s well and good, but unless we do something to stop deadbeat parents having piles of unwanted kids, that’s like trying to stop a tsunami with a child’s play bucket and spade (not saying don’t do it – just that it will have very little effect on the overall problem.

          Some facts.
          – We have nearly the worst teenage pregnancy rate in the western world.
          – Of all the factors most strongly associated with child abuse (drug and alcohol abuse, poverty, young mother, adult male who is not the father etc), the closest association is with young mothers.
          – so surprise surprise, we have one of the world’s highest rates of child abuse.
          – those who can least afford to look after children have the most. A report from Hawkes Bay said nearly half of all children born there were in the lowest two deciles.
          – 40% of children born in NZ were never planned.

          We need to have a huge social campaign to get parents to work themselves into a secure financial and emotional position, BEFORE they have a family. Then only have the number of children that they can financially and emotionally support – not more.

          While we continue with such an appalling statistic that nearly half of all NZ children were never planned for, we will continue to have hundreds of thousands of families totally incapable of looking after their offspring.

          Yes we need to address the flow of children who are not being properly looked after But if we don’t address the dam breach upstream, then whatever effort you put in will make little difference overall.

        • We only have a small population in this country, sparse compared to large urban centres globally. Some of us are having more children than others but on the whole this is an aging population – and frankly, some of us choose to do other things. Important not to form a dictatorship.

    • I discounted the academic when I added that story link to the thread, including only samples from the social service agencies at coal face in Dunedin. My colleague Pat Harrison goes further today.

      ### ODT Online Fri, 13 Dec 2013
      Dunedin public certainly caring
      Dunedin’s Dame Pat Harrison, DCNZM, QSO, says the public with which she is familiar is one that cares deeply about poverty issues and economic inequality. The suggestion by academic Dr Bryce Edwards (ODT 10.12.13) that people have become bored with economic inequality and poverty issues is, at its best, most disingenuous.
      Read more

  7. ### ODT Online Wed, 11 Dec 2013
    Editorial: Missing the mark
    A new report by Unicef makes for further sobering reading about the plight of our country’s children. Titled ”Kids Missing Out”, the report is a summary of the first 20 years of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in New Zealand. Unicef is the United Nations Children’s Fund and its mission is to create a better world for every child. The convention has been ratified by 190 countries.
    Read more

  8. Russell Garbutt

    David, your comments and facts are spot-on.

    Until there is wide-spread willingness to stop “dead-beat parents having piles of unwanted kids” then it will be like stopping a Tsunami with a teaspoon. But not only are some of these kids unwanted, some are being actively encouraged by the Maori Party for the reasons I’ve described above. And the Mana party is as bad. And probably the Greens.

    Child poverty stats would drastically improve if there were less children born into poverty.

    It’s as simple as that.

    But go to all of these communities that provide the worst of these stats and you will see just how widespread and “accepted” is the culture of benefits, abuse, and crime.

    I lived on a marae for several weeks in the North Island, and what I witnessed at first hand was numbing. Child abuse including incest, drug growing and trading, abuse of the maori kindergarten system, abuse of the education system, widespread crime and worst of all, kids being born to be part of a benefit income stream. Nothing will work at all unless the basic underlying ATTITUDE is changed. Nothing. But no-one in the political sense has the guts to do anything except tinker.

    • Close the inequality gap, graduates urged
      People should not tolerate ”the sort of society that keeps people poor”, Major Campbell Roberts, of the Salvation Army, told University of Otago graduates yesterday. ”It’s probably no coincidence that poverty in New Zealand and globally is greatest among colonised indigenous people who have lost knowledge and access to their spiritual roots, traditional values and knowledge systems.”

      I’m more open to Campbell Roberts’ message here than David’s or Russell’s (I have no doubt both of you feel for the children) — if only due to child abuse and child poverty being experienced across all divides and ethnicities – places where respect, compassion, leadership and yes, humanity are lacking. It’s up to all of us to make changes and that may make living separatist lives ‘away from the damage’ less salient, less progressive… rather, I hope, we move smartly away from lofty positions that say stop letting them breed. Intolerance and prejudice aren’t part of the answers, plural. As hard and upsetting as the current situation is, along with its measurements, statistics and analyses that haunt our derelict politics and government.

      The reason why I profiled Mark Solomon further up this thread – he is taking Ngai Tahu’s (and his own) messages to other iwi, other marae, other Maori investment groups. He doesn’t give up. He invites respect and conversation between peoples. So does Major Roberts and a host of other individuals and agencies working tirelessly to get the supports and changes in… for attitudes to flip.

      Today I attended the funeral of Donna-Rose McKay, Head of Service, University of Otago Disability Information & Support. “DR” worked tirelessly to rid prejudice and provide empowerment. Her energies and influence were fully nationwide – the Human Rights Commissioner for New Zealand provided one of many tributes at the service.
      A leaf from her book to us all. RIP

      Donna-Rose McKay Screenshot_2013-12-11-18-29-31

      • ### ODT Online Thu, 12 Dec 2013
        Editorial: NZ’s human rights record
        Only six months ago, this newspaper reflected on human rights abuses elsewhere in the world and noted many Western countries – including New Zealand – liked to think they were free of atrocities, but were in fact party to varying degrees of human rights abuses. The newspaper was commenting on findings in Amnesty International’s annual report into The State of the World’s Human Rights in 2012, which criticised New Zealand for undermining children’s rights through high levels of child poverty, women’s rights through violence against women; and the rights of asylum-seekers through the introduction of the Immigration Amendment (Mass Arrivals) Bill, with its new powers of detention, into Parliament.
        Read more

      • David

        We have one of the worlds highest rates of teenage pregnancy, and a massive 40% of children are not even planned for – many of those not even wanted.

        If you do nothing about that, you’ve effectively given up on ever making any sort of substantial difference.

        Likewise, when we have deadbeat parents prioritising cigarettes, booze, drugs, pokies etc, ahead of their child’s welfare, and the responsibility for that is shifted from those parents and placed on the govt/PM, then again, you are effectively giving up on ever finding a real solution.

        I had a recent discussion with public health nurses, each of whom have visited hundreds of our worst households. Not one of them – not a single one – thought simply handing over more money would make any significant difference. And they’re generally well to the left side of the political spectrum.

        Their opinion of the families they’re dealing with every day was, that if you want the children to get food and clothing, you have to take them food and clothing – cash always gets diverted for all the higher priorities.

        And yes, this is the worst families were talking about (thousands of them just here in Dunedin), but surely that’s where the biggest need is, so that’s where we should be focused on.

        We need a social campaign so that society expects people to work themselves into a secure financial and emotional situation BEFORE they have a family.

      • University of Otago

        Otago Bulletin Monday, 16 December 2013
        Vale, Donna-Rose McKay
        Donna-Rose McKay, Head of the University’s Disability Information & Support Service, last week passed away after a short illness. Donna-Rose started working at the University in 1992 and was a much loved and highly respected member of staff. The following is a tribute from Student Services Director David Richardson that he read at her funeral last week. Also included below are Otago Bulletin and Otago Magazine articles from last year, when the University celebrated the 20 years of dedicated work that Donna-Rose and her Disability Information & Support Service had carried out at the University. In these stories Donna-Rose reflected on her role and the importance of the services provided by her and her team.

        Tributes follow at http://www.otago.ac.nz/otagobulletin/news/otago061345.html

        DIS Team (2011) otago061347. Graham WarmanDisability Information & Support team (2011): (back row from left) Emma Holt, Eileen O’Regan, Helen Ingrams. (Front row from left) Jenny Week, Donna-Rose McKay, Kim Daufratshofer. Photo: Graham Warman. [Otago Bulletin]

  9. Personally I’m taking “lofty positions that say stop letting them breed”. We have social attitudes and support that encourage breeding by the unfittest, while those who have the attitudes and behavioural patterns that are most likely to result in children’s wellbeing taking high priority are the ones most likely to think hard about how many they can afford to raise well – healthy housing and food, medical and dental attention when required, educational opportunities including tertiary studies – instead of being like mad cat-women. You know the ones I mean, house filled with thin cats, the long-haired ones matted from head to tail, rotten teeth, ulcers from fighting, kittens at all stages of maturity and more females bulging with promise of fresh litters. They “love” their cats, despite being unable to care for them. If another unwanted cat is offered they accept it because they “love” cats.

    I support energetic publicity campaigns informing people – all people – that there are excellent ways of not having [more] children. I support proactive counselling by GPs to mothers they see struggling with the kids they’ve got – or with life itself even without children – about whether they want to get pregnant [again] soon/ever.

  10. David

    From ODT “Poverty and nutrition expert Associate Professor Winsome Parnell, of Otago University, said food prices had been creeping up by $2 a week over the last three decades, making it tighter and tighter for people on fixed incomes.”

    Think about it.

    $2 a week is $104 a year, $1040 a decade, which gives a $3120 increase in the WEEKLY food bill.

    Or $728 a week more than it cost at the end of 2006.

    You’d have to question if there’s a deliberate campaign of false information on poverty being peddled for a gullible and blindly unquestioning media.

    How can the media publish a such nonsense claims that food prices have gone up by over $3000 a week?


  11. David

    Elizabeth – I’ve seen the survey before, and can’t understand how we can feed our family of four really well with healthy food including meat or fish every night, and extras like chocolate biscuits, fizzy drink, chocolate drink, fresh fruit juice, chips, salami, ham etc, and several bottles of wine, for SIGNIFICANTLY LESS than what they claim is the basic minimum cost to feed people (i.e. nearly a whole person less).

    While obviously not as outrageous as their claim that the weekly food bill has gone up $3000 a week, their minimum price to feed people is highly exaggerated.

  12. I agree with David. Those food costs have always looked extraterrestrial to me, they don’t relate to the world I’ve been living in all this time.

    • When er sliced bread, Vogels and Molenberg, are 5¢ off $5 per loaf when not on special, my normal bread and water diet takes a nasty dive.

      • David

        Why would someone on a budget spend $5 for a loaf of bread when they can get perfectly good home brand bread for just $1.65 a loaf?

        • Dunno, geez, stocked up on specials (Vogels and Molenberg for sammies!) before taking off to Wanaka for a spot of fishing on the weekend. Fresh bread can be donated to any of the four registered foodbanks in town – call them first to discuss.

        • David

          Or you could spend the same amount and donate home brand bread, and three times more people would get fed.

          The same thing happens with Coca Cola. I know some people who are struggling, but spend a fortune on Coca Cola. If they bought budget cola they’d save 70% and have an extra $15 a week to spend on something else – that’s nearly $800 a year!

        • We’ve just forked out on a new car, things are tight. Last month’s double glazing ‘the crib’ at Wanaka nearly busted us. Don’t know if the credit cards will self-combust before February. Daughter’s wedding in April. Aaaagh.

        • You know it’s bad when I start to weep for the poor middle class D:

        • David

          We live happily and comfortably on one wage most of the time – not far from the $815 a week where we’d statistically be considered to be “living in poverty”.

          By doing that, most of the time we have one complete spare wage. Yet we have friends earning much more than us who can’t even afford to save for their retirement.

          So many people have children before they are financially secure, and before they are in a secure long term relationship.

          Both problems virtually guarantee 2-3 decades of struggle for hard working people – longer for everyone else.

  13. Anonymous

    While the numbers are unusual it will feel like fact for many families who have had to watch their living costs increase constantly each week. Being a captive market we have little control over it. Just a few cents here or a couple of dollars there. All essential costs have increased. (I’m not just talking here about the marketing impression we are all buying new phones and telies on the tab.) It’s that extra $5 per week across the board that hurts. It costs $20 just to walk out your door and a minimum grocery spend is $40 and even that makes you wonder what you got for the hard earned dollar. I don’t understand how people are making ends meet and there must be an enormous bubble of hurt building throughout society.

    I also believe that incrementally increasing costs and making it easy to get into debt is a strategic decision and form of mass control. Having little money, slipping further into debt and fearing for your livelihood keeps a person in their place and lets the rich get on with theirs.

  14. Actually I think they take a list of “good” foods and price them. What practical not theoretical family food providers do is be flexible. When broccoli is cheap and tomatoes are expensive the family eats more broccoli, instead of having a “correct” amount of both broccoli and fresh tomatoes every week of the year. When frozen peas or cheese is on special they buy extra – they keeps in the fridge or freezer. The only people who have to buy by the week are those who have no spare money for stocking up on specials, and they are the ones least likely to be able to afford even the “Basic” diet from the survey:
    Mum & Dad in Dunedin $132
    4 & 10 yr old kids $ 91
    Total $223 – a WEEK!

    Rent/rates; school fees & uniforms & books & sports gear & trips; doctor and dentist and prescriptions; heating and other electricity/cas; transport ….

    What’s a living wage about? Not being beneficiaries on top of working at the best job you can find – probably short hours, variable/on call to add to the disrespect in which you’re held. What’s the opposite of a Living wage, a “die early” wage, because with welfare help including food banks you can survive, at the cost of long slow deterioration in your own health, and giving your kids a lousy start in life.
    Individuals – don’t breed more than you can feed.
    Society – don’t allow kids to be raised unhealthy in body and spirit because it’s too hard to do anything a decent society would put way high on the list of priorities. An investment in the future, in fact. Genuine savings for our own rainy days when we will be able to rely on those kids grown up to become fully contributing citizens not ongoing burdens.

    Bob Jones was right, we’ve got a drastic lack of investment culture in NZ, personally and politically.

  15. David; I think you and many others are missing the point about this poverty issue. It is not just about the price of food, housing and everything else. When one looks at it from a comfortable middle class position it always seems obvious what the problem is. Too many kids in too many dysfunctional homes, breeding generations of dependency. That is the message I hear.
    But is it as clear cut and simple as that? Could it not be that these folk are left on the outside looking in? Could it not be that those who have jobs are being paid such a pittance that they can’t cope? Sure, there are the ‘baddies’, but they can’t all be given an equal chance at life.
    Could it be that the movers and shakers of this world, who set the parameters for these folk just don’t have the empathy that the job requires. When I see the minister Paula Bennett spouting off about all that she does for these people it makes me cringe. Hand outs aren’t the answer, empathetic studies of the subject would show anybody that. When people see that 5% control 95% of societies’ disposable wealth they simply shrug their shoulders, slump and give up. What can they do, except languish around drinking, committing crime, beating their partners and breeding? They are a lost people, painted into that position over generations with little or no hope of improvement. We see it here in little old Dunedin, the discrepancies are manifest. Many of the studies are done by well meaning folk in the universities, all sitting on very comfortable salary scales paid for out of the public purse. Easy to pontificate from on high. The equality gap is so high that we are comfortable paying the vice chancellor of the esteemed institution $560,000pa for her troubles. We just saw recently the magnanimity of our previous DCC CEO turning down an increase of $35,000 on his $320,000 odd salary, Generous? When you realise that the increase alone amounts to 48% more than Dunedin’s median income as disclosed in the latest census. Ask yourself, does the job indicate that sort of value? It is a fact of nature that the more wealth a person acquires the more they feel incumbent upon themselves to dictate to the less viable. We see it manifest all round us on a daily basis. Look at how our elected councillors visibly swell with the power to influence people’s lives. Power is a form of wealth, and almost inevitably the monetary aspect follows to them. It goes with the territory.
    We pride ourselves that NZ is an egalitarian society, we are anything but. We are are greedy, grasping devil take the hindmost self satisfied peoples, not in any way really concerned about the society as a whole. We would rather squander hundreds of millions of dollars in indulgences like stadiums conference centres, casinos and buying our goods from cheap undeveloped countries around the world,rather than think for a moment that there are folk in our own little town who struggle at two or three -part time – jobs to earn just $14.50 per hour. We also know that there are parts of NZ where the situation is infinitely worse.
    Until this society wakes up and rebalances the share out of the national wealth it will only get worse. It is a problem not just in NZ but world wide and it shows every sign of the change coming. People in other countries are more volatile than us and as we speak, are rioting against their establishments. It is all about fairness, as they see the excesses of the ruling classes. Don’t think it can happen here? Just goad the people far enough and watch. The ‘do gooders, the movers and shakers will wonder what has hit them.

    • Calvin, I think you’re on the nail. Bang.

    • David

      Calvin – the problem is that with today’s technology, there’s not a huge number of jobs in typing pools or railway gangs for unskilled people like there used to be.

      Every year there will be fewer and fewer unskilled jobs. That’s a fact and it’s not going to change regardless of which flavour of government is in at any time, or what their policies are.

      For $20,000 I can now buy an automatic burger maker and cooker that can work 24hrs a day, replacing 3 or 4 workers. There’s another lot of low skilled jobs about to disappear.

      At the same time, if we could train 10,000 IT workers tonight, they could all walk into a job tomorrow. Over 50% of NZ businesses have skilled worker shortages – over 50% !!! And these are well paid jobs.

      And there’s a major part of the problem – people who think that policy change or government change will somehow magic up a whole lot of jobs for people with no or low skills.

      It’s not going to happen. It will never happen.

      Regardless of policies, there will a be a smaller percentage of low skilled jobs in five years time, and even less five years after that.

  16. “We just saw recently the magnanimity of our previous DCC CEO turning down an increase of $35,000 on his $320,000 odd salary, Generous?”
    Don’t knock it, Calvin. Just think what would happen if it caught on. “I don’t need a multi-thousand $$ increase. It won’t be much per person spread over the lowest paid in our company but do it anyway, it’s a start.”
    A gradual lessening in the spirit of entitlement, a gradual recognition that ANYONE in their organisation being paid less than the “living wage” is shameful – personally shame to be in a position of power and responsibility.

    It has taken a long time for the high-ups to acknowledge how wrong they were to be comfortable in their own insulated towers while children were being abused, and the only action they took was to protect themselves and their organisation/church.

    It’s time blame and shame came back in fashion. Not “blame the victim” now, that was dumb.

    A real change is needed – shame the perps who can’t be bothered looking down the ladder of prosperity, much less caring in a practical way for those on the lowest rungs.

  17. Old-fashioned resort !!! (ask ourselves, why in this day and age is this even a story…)

    Food garden within the city
    They call it the George St orchard. Gillian Vine meets the creators of a garden with a difference. Gardening writers are not usually investigative reporters but a colleague saw Rory Harding’s blog and suggesting checking his George St orchard. The ”investigation” led to a visit to a fascinating garden a few blocks from the University of Otago’s main campus. The George St section is devoted to a stunning array of vegetables and fruit.

  18. amanda

    if the working middle class and the working poor keep their focus on the so-called ‘underclass’, and blame them for their so-called lack of ‘making good choices’, then that makes old Key a very happy man. And all his ilk. Exactly Calvin. Divide and conquer is has always been a good tactic for corrupt people in power.

    • David

      And if you put no responsibility on those who have children despite a total lack of ability to look after them properly, then you not only help perpetuate the problem and guarantee that it will never go away – you become part of the problem.

      If you were PM what would you do about one of the worst teenage pregnancy rates in the world, that leads to one of the highest child abuse rates in the world?

  19. amanda

    Harlene the vice-chancellor’s salary is eye watering, but then so are many who are at the DCC, clearly with those salaries they are big, big winners, so in this society we also chose for there to be big, big losers who have no stake in our unequal society.

  20. “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” Be afraid.

  21. David, you are missing my point. You say: “If you put no responsibility on those who have children despite a total lack of ability to look after them properly, then you not only help perpetuate and guarantee that it will never go away – then you become part of the problem.” That is an attitude which basically says: It’s not my problem, everything is OK by me. It is just those pesky no hopers who cause all the bother for themselves. That is what’s wrong, and why we have the no hopers today. It’s a very unequal society and simply explaining it away by saying how many jobs will disappear. But if we only trained 10,000 IT workers we could place them in jobs today that would solve the problem. No it wouldn’t, it would simply kick the can down the road till the next big change. Remember (if you can) when Henry Ford instituted the $5 wage per day in his factories, twice the going rate, the shock horror from the big business moguls. They said it will drive us all to bankruptcy. Henry’s response was, if we don’t pay a big enough wage then how are the people going to be able to buy all the model T’s that I am going to produce? He was right, and the same applies today. If the wealth created is not shared equitably then it all falls down, except of course for the 5%. Even Dave Cull doesn’t understand, when he says he will create 10,000 new jobs, and increase the incomes by $10,000 per year in 10 years, he is talking crap. But being one of the comfortable he thinks that he can fix it. David, it will take a monumental shift in the nation’s conscience before anything happens, and dare I say it, you are part of the problem. Why? Because you always have the simplistic answer for the cure. It is based on the “everyone is equal philosophy”. Out of 100 people, how many do you think would be capable of being trained in IT to the point where they would all be employed? Think about it, humankind is not like that, otherwise everyone would be at the top of the tree with no-one to serve you at McDonalds, even at the pathetic wage they get. Just share the cake that is all, and then over a generation or three it will improve. It will never totally be solved.

  22. David

    Calvin says “That is an attitude which basically says: it’s not my problem, everything is OK by me. It is just those pesky no hopers who cause all the bother for themselves.”

    Completely wrong. I’m saying we CAN do something to change that. There are many things that can be done.

    We can have a social campaign to get people to plan to have their families instead of having them when they can’t look after them financially and emotionally.

    We can have a compulsory life skills subject at High School including budgeting, family planning, and real life information about job prospects.

    We currently have the ridiculous situation where a large number of students who gain a law degree, only find out on graduation that there’s only jobs for 40% of them. There are massive mismatches all over the place between training for qualifications and actual job prospects.

    Calvin says “But if we only trained 10,000 IT workers we could place them in jobs today that would solve the problem. ”

    Now you’re starting to make stuff up – nowhere did I say it would “solve the problem” – merely pointing out the huge imbalance that we have huge shortages of skilled workers, and more unskilled workers than there will ever be jobs for.

    And unless you start disinventing technology, there will be fewer and fewer jobs for low and unskilled people. Machines are taking over parking buildings, supermarket checkouts, even bank tellers.

  23. amanda

    New Zealand also has one of the highest youth suicide rates for young men, so that can be added to the highest teen pregnancy rates (second to the States I think, per population). Then wonder why this is: poor choices or a society that does not have much opportunity for those at the bottom of the gravy train?

    • David

      Agreed. My wife attends to high school girls who choose to go on the DBP as the easiest way to an income. Then they don’t have to work to get a qualification, and they can then have more babies to increase their income.

      In the past youth rates used to be lower than the minimum wage. When youth rates were abolished, youth unemployment DOUBLED in just three months.

      As an employer, who should I decide to employ if I have a low skilled job and I have a mother returning to work with good experience, references, and a work record, or someone who dropped out of school with no experience, no work record and no references?

      What needs to be made clear to young people, is WHERE the opportunities are, and what qualifications are needed to access them. Also how few opportunities there are if they choose to remain unskilled.

      Because every year there will be fewer and fewer opportunities for unskilled workers.

  24. amanda

    As far a planning goes, pretty much the definition of abject poverty is living and surviving in the moment and not having the luxury of planning. One might as well tell the starving in Africa not to have children, since there is no food and a harsh living there. People want to have children, this at least is one adult thing they can participate in.

    • David

      They have children in Africa because children are the social security system for when their parents get old.

      Saying poor people can’t plan to work hard to save, or plan to work hard for a qualification, is a cop-out.

      It’s even MORE important to plan well when you’re poor.

      It comes down to the old saying “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

  25. [yesterday] ### ODT Online Thu, 12 Dec 2013
    Mums go without food to feed children
    Mothers are skipping meals to feed their children and homeowners are forgoing insurance as the price of food continues to rise, an expert says. The cost of food increased 1.4 per cent in the year to November, Statistics New Zealand said, driven largely by the increased cost of meat, poultry and dairy.
    Read more

    • David

      Elizabeth – that’s the story I linked to about 30 posts ago, where the Otago Uni “poverty and nutrition expert” claimed that the weekly food bill has gone up by over $3000 a week in the last three decades.

      {Link added. The news item was re-entered in the thread to aid our dashboard search engine (terms). -Eds}

    • For families’ sake it’s time to rethink our welfare and tax systems, write Gareth Morgan and Susan Guthrie

      ### NZ Herald 9:30 AM Friday Dec 13, 2013
      Gareth Morgan and Susan Guthrie: Creating jobs will not end poverty
      OPINION The Prime Minister’s reaction to the latest survey of child poverty was predictable but misguided. It is not just about jobs. As the welfare regime already attests with its Working for Families regime, earned income for many is lower than they can live on. The inadequacy of the crumbs that trickle down to those occupying the increasing number of low paid jobs is a reality of contemporary New Zealand. Having more people in jobs that pay inadequately is hardly the solution. Let’s not stay in denial. This is a rich society. There is plenty of income to guarantee a dignified life for all. The only relevant question is how to achieve that. When it comes to children the view that the “sons should bear the sins of the fathers”, which accurately sums up the disregard for child poverty, should be an affront to the Kiwi egalitarian value. Living in a country with a sidelined and increasingly angry minority has consequences, as many countries have found to their surprise in recent years. It is clear too that the ideal of equal opportunity is a million miles away from the New Zealand reality of 2013. The question is, what do we do about it?
      Read more + 51 Comments

  26. “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” That is again assuming all are born equal. Lots of people can’t plan because they don’t know how. Lots don’t plan because they can’t even get on the bottom rung from which to plan. We can trot out all the reasons why they can’t get on the bottom rung to start climbing, but the fact is, some are born into a position to do so, some are born into a position which precludes them. Sure, if they have the right amount of education and inborn desire they can move up but not all are so blessed. I still maintain that it is the imbalance of the nation’s wealth which is at the seat of all the problem. For too long the “haves” have simply decided that if we throw the necessary amount of money at them that will solve the problem. It won’t. That must be obvious by the ever increasing amount of money not fixing it. As quick as the ‘benefits’ increase the quicker the “haves” increase their take and the quicker costs increase. I realise that technology removes jobs from the “unskilled”, but that has been happening since the beginning of the industrial revolution. The ‘spinning jenny’ caused every bit as much chaos to the labour market as IT ever has. It’s not a new phenomenon, just failure to adjust. In the past people emigrated and sought a future in new lands. There are no more new lands. Again I repeat, castigating the people on the outside by those on the inside solves nothing. Society must change, and when it does it might not be a pretty event.

  27. Doris

    David you are quite right in what you say. You will never change the non believers that want to blame all their problems on those who have made it. Where would the world be today if it wasn’t for those that have made it. The tall poppy syndrome, those that cannot be bothered to get out of bed in the mornings and do something useful with their lives, like planning what to do with all that time that they have on their hands, but moan about someone who has made it. That is why those from overseas that come to NZ and make a go of it are so successful. They get on with the opportunities that are here and make something of themselves, while the moaners just roll over and go back to sleep, as it is to early to get up and go and pick up the welfare cheque.

  28. Gareth Morgan and Susan Guthrie’s paper should be posted in its entirety here and if anyone reads it they would have to agree that the problem is not solvable by present means. As I have said, it is not a ‘blame game’ it is a ‘plain shame’. “Red necks” don’t even get near the truth of the situation.

  29. “As the welfare regime already attests with its Working for Families regime, earned income for many is lower than they can live on.” Darn tootin’.
    What was the reason for redefining “fulltime work” as 35 hours/week?
    Who works 35 hours? The greatest number must be those like cleaners on the sub-living hourly rate, part-time, casual, broken shifts.

    • Remember the night-shift cleaner from Parliament buildings interviewed on Campbell Live this year? She was working more than one low wage job a day, was raising a family and cleaning 150 toilets each night at Parliament buildings, with one other paid worker’s help. Asked how much sleep she got – she replied three to four hours a day mostly, given her family responsibilities. We don’t know her complete story or if there was a secind breadwinner in the household (no mention so presume not). This immediately had two MPs volunteer to help her each night with the job (while other things about the contract were looked into). So right under your nose…. We don’t ask enough questions of our (hard-working dependable) workers’ welfare when we’re a boss might be just one of the findings. Not while we’re off having a glass or three after work at the Beehive crew’s preferred local watering holes and fine dining establishments.

  30. Anonymous

    The mobiile-truck shops are getting their claws into Christchurch but the mean wee buggers have been doing the rounds here for several years. They’re dastardly and I frequently see their various trucks cruising certain areas around Dunedin and frequently parked outside of primary schools (I have been tempted to call the Police and advise of dodgy looking characters sitting in a truck watching a school). Their approach is based on pschological and emotional harassment, stopping in front of homes and schools, opening the doors for children to get excited, relying on the circumstances of parents and caregivers to peddle their finances and locking them in with ease of credit.

    While a recent ODT story is unsettling in a number of ways, I believe the woman interviewed deserves recognition for stepping forward to tell her story. I’m guessing there are many who are not able to do so but are in as bad, if not worse, than this person’s plight. Otherwise how can these monsters keep doing business if everyone was able to ignore them?

    ### stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00 21/12/2013
    Loan sharks circle poor
    By Ashleigh Stewart
    Christchurch’s most at-risk residents are being targeted by dodgy lenders and by mobile-truck shops, with some scouting for sales outside welfare agencies, the City Missioner says.

    ### ODT Online Thu, 13 Jun 2013
    Beneficiaries targeted by truck shop
    By Shawn McAvinue
    A door-to-door truck shop is targeting Dunedin beneficiaries to spend their weekly food money to service debt, Dunedin Budget Advisory Services adviser Charlotte Wallace says.

  31. Tweet from Child Poverty NZ

    Great msg from @GovGeneralNZ “The Governor-General has issued his 2014 New Year message. http://gg.govt.nz/content/new-year-message-2014”

    2:06pm · 1 Jan 14 · Twitter for iPhone

  32. Elizabeth

    Bruce Munro reports on what’s touted as one of New Zealand’s leading issues in the run up to the government elections in September – child poverty:


    • Hype O'Thermia

      There’s something weird about sectioning off “disadvantaged” groups. CHILD poverty. STUDENT housing too cold, damp, expensive. Children don’t get poor by themselves. Some have parents who spend adequate incomes selfishly, far more have families who simply do not have enough money coming in to reach from one week to the next without everyone eating poorly, being cold, ignoring or delaying medical and dental needs.
      As for students, they are at an age when they are better able to withstand poor housing than families and elderly people. They also have as much disposable income as many families, even the poorest students are no worse off than poor families. So why special bus rates, concert ticket prices and so on for students?
      Remember the shitfest when Don Brash talked about equality at Orewa? No special deals for any particular group? (Well probably in practice Old Boys would still get directorships & disproportionate influence, but at least it was a start.)
      What was wrong with “from each according to means, to each according to needs” except that communists did it really badly? Does that mean that it’s a dumb idea? Or does it mean that no government could do it well? Oh for goodness’ sake, of course they could if they wanted to, gross inequality is a choice not a necessity. Stuffing around “fixing” one tiny fragment of the shameful mosaic that makes up current NZ society’s slide into more and more deprivation is no more than applying lipstick to pigs.
      What sleek plump gorgeous pigs we have, so tastefully groomed, so admirable and kissable in their photos as they buddy-buddy and strut on the world stage, those pigs who currently control NZ’s national trough.

      • Elizabeth

        Not helped by local body misdirected wealth…councillors like Dave (mayor, what!) and Jinty that have every need and want under the sun to thrust their greasy hands into the poor of Dunedin’s pockets for millions of dollars to build their own sandcastles to progress. They are no better than the crap artists running the country to benefit ‘their friends’. Pearl wearers in dark green.

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