Child Poverty

January 8th, 2012 at 2:44 pm by David Farrar

blogs:

Today  the Herald published a story lamenting the extra cost of local, free-range and organic foods, the very foods we’re being encouraged to buy and eat.  They estimate that the clean, green Kiwi options cost us on average 25% more. For people on a limited budget, that isn’t an option at all.

Indeed. So worth remembering that when people call for certain types of food (battery hen eggs, intensive pig farming) to be banned, the result hits the poorest in society the most.

The Taranaki Daily News got closer to the heart of the problem with a story headlined ‘Free food draws poor kids to class’.  It quotes principals from Taranaki schools who say that some of their students rely on their school to provide breakfast and even lunch, just to survive.

in New Zealand is a problem we often conveniently ignore, preferring to see our country as a land of milk and honey.  Unfortunately, milk and honey are off the menu for hundreds of thousands of Kiwis. More than 200,000 of our kids are living below the line; over 48,000 of them go to school without breakfast. 

The poverty line is of course the relative poverty line. As the median income increases, the poverty line increases. A family may have their income increase more than the cost of living increase, but still fall below the poverty line because other people’s income has increased even further.

A relative poverty line is normally 50% or 60% of the median wage. I tend to think this is not that useful a measure of poverty – it is more a measure of income inequality – and they are not the same thing.

I find the most useful measure is the four-yearly Living Standards Survey by MSD. It actually asks a representative sample of 5,000 households questions such as whether they have stuff such as phones, cars, contents insurance, enough space, a computer, warm clothes, proper meals etc and whether they would like to have them if they could afford them. This measures actual deprivation over 42 criteria. They also ask if people do various things to save money such not filling prescriptions to save money, buying second hand clothing etc. It is (in my opinion) a far more sophisticated measure of families suffering deprivation due to low income, than merely comparing household income to the median household income.

This is a disgrace. No child in this country should go hungry. No New Zealand child should be cold or ill-clothed or living in an unhealthy or overcrowded house.  No child should be denied an education just because learning is too hard when you arrive at school cold, wet and hungry – if you get there at all.

I agree no child should go to school hungry. However the reasons why more children are going to school hungry is more complex than just assuming it is because they can’t afford it. Even using Judy’s figures, 3/4 of those with incomes below the poverty line do send their kids to school fed. So how do they manage to do so, yet not other families?

Over the last 20 years, the welfare state has given more money to those on welfare who have children. I don’t have exact data (yet), but the level of support has increased beyond inflation.

The government has prioritised a number of policies to stimulate the economy in an effort to get us out of the current recession. None of these policies, to my mind, tackles head-on the most urgent task of all – eliminating ‘child poverty’.

This should be the number one priority. Nothing is more important. Nothing is going to stimulate the economy better in the long run than having our kids grow up healthy and well educated.  It’s a damn sight more important than ultra-fast broadband and super-highways.

Without an growing economy, then we do not generate sufficient tax revenue to help lower income families.

So long as child poverty is based on the flawed relative to the median income measure, we will never “eliminate it” unless we wish to have an economy such as those of the old eastern bloc where doctors could only be paid so much more than parking wardens.

What we can do is use the more sophisticated measures of deprivation, such as the living standards survey and set out to reduce certain indicators within it (such as the proportion of families who say they miss certain meals because they can’t afford it).

‘Child poverty’  is a misleading term. It implies that the only people affected are the children.  But every child living in poverty is part of a household that is also living in poverty.  Whether that’s the result of generations of welfare dependency or a lack of jobs is not the issue.  The issue is how to break the cycle and get these kids into a situation where we can be confident they have a better future – by giving them a better present.

Breaking the cycle is the key. The problem is that it is a problem often that takes a generation or more to fix, as income is merely part of the problem. Education, child abuse, parenting skills are all part of a very challenging mix.

Tags: ,

64 Responses to “Child Poverty”

  1. BlueGriffon (204 comments) says:

    Now I know a lot of my fellow righties won’t agree with me, and no, I haven’t been invaded by left wing zombies!

    The poverty doco on TV3 before the election had a great idea. Schools provide full on catered lunches, like in the US and UK, and for children on benefits &WFF, about $4 a day is taken from the benefit to provide these meals. It ensures the kids get a proper lunch and is paid for out of the benefit system rather than being an added cost.

    The problem is not poverty as such, the issue is bad parenting and poor budgeting.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/6224202/Free-food-draws-poor-kids-to-class
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/6224788/The-reality-of-poverty

    A quote:
    “We have one child that often won’t be at school on a Monday and we’re now aware it’s because mum is coming down from the weekend and needs the kid to be home to help out,” she said.”

    Is this poverty or bad parenting!

    A generalisation I know, but a lot of these families have cars, TVs, playstations etc.. on hire purchase. When they get into financial trouble, it is the debtor that gets paid first and then the kids have to suffer. Maybe it can be legislated that people on benefits can’t obtain loans like this. All loans are to come from WINZ only? The beneficiaries in this kind of strife should be enabled to do the Low Asset Procedure and start again. They then should have budgeting advice so they don’t end up in the same boat.

    Throwing more money at these people is NOT the answer.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. JamesS (352 comments) says:

    I think it is a bit rich to spend your life supporting three consecutive Labour governments and their anti – free enterprise, anti – wealth creation and anti-success policies and then start blogging because there is poverty!

    The left wingers reap what they sow and the ONLY reason there is poverty is because of Labour governments.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    If you only breed what you can afford to feed there will be no child poverty.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Longknives (4,742 comments) says:

    There is no ‘Child Poverty’ in New Zealand-just incompetent, lazy parents who spend their benefits on other ‘priorities’.
    Go to Africa and South America and you will see ‘Child Poverty’…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    With clean water, good free healthcare, cheap food, decent housing etc and the taxpayer generously stumping up adequate benefits with extra payments for children and Working For Families, I can’t help concluding that child poverty actually means parental neglect.
    The poor tend to be feckless, not the brightest and often sickly and their children suffer accordingly. I can’t see how even more money helps if it is spent badly.
    How prepared are we for more state intervention to make sure taxpayer money is spent on the necessaries of life?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. TimG_Oz (862 comments) says:

    JamesS makes an excellent point.

    Bryan Edwards in his own comment response says:

    However, I’m inclined to agree that the Party had its priorities wrong and misread the concerns of the electorate. There was a conviction that opposition to asset sales was a surefire winner. This was what the party’s polling and focus group research was apparently telling it. My own (expressed) view was that opposition to asset sales was indeed widespread but it was not a gut-level issue.

    And then

    National is the enemy of the poor.

    So really, he is saying that he doesn’t really care about the issue, just that National got in. And that Labour should have targeted the voters it was losing to the Greens (with this issue), more than those it was losing to National with the Asset sales issue.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. jims_whare (403 comments) says:

    Hmmmm In wonder how many of the homes that these hungry kids come from would have no alkie in the fridge or smokes in the purse – not many I would think.

    The dole cards they are trialling for juvie bennies should be extended to all bennies as soon as possible.

    Maybe also with buying smokes and alkie people should have to produce ID and if it links with a bene data base they can’t purchase them. The same with Lotto & Pokies.

    Sounds drastic but bene families have amply $$$ for food they just choose not to spend it on food

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. nasska (11,491 comments) says:

    TimG_Oz

    Quite a few people who were lukewarm about or opposed to asset sales voted National. The fact that they went with a National Party promising to implement something they didn’t like speaks volumes of what they thought of the rest of the policies the socialists were spouting.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. TimG_Oz (862 comments) says:

    @nasska. Makes sense. Also a big indicator with how out of touch of reality this mob still are.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    …lamenting the extra cost of local, free-range and organic foods…. They estimate that the clean, green Kiwi options cost us on average 25% more. For people on a limited budget, that isn’t an option at all.

    DPF: Indeed.

    No, not indeed.

    1. “Organic” food is well known as a fashion to fool rich people into buying more expensive produce that is small, less nutritious and with a shorter shelf-life. It does this by warning of the evils of ChEMiCALs – anything that contains chemicals is apparently going to cause cancer, and the chemicals are the cause of their menopausal symptoms (no, it’s not from hormonal changes) and their chronic fatigue (it’s not lack of exercise).
    2. “Local” food. If it’s cheaper or better, then sure. But remember growing bananas in a heated glasshouse in Invercargill is much worse for the environment than importing them from the Philippines!

    I don’t think it’s fair that the poor are being duped into believing cons that are meant to target the rich.

    3. Even if they had to get this special food, 25%. They can’t afford 25%? For food? So they’re not eating? Well, don’t smoke – that’s more than enough saved. And don’t drink every night and stop throwing parties – even more saved. Cancel Sky – that’s a massive ongoing cost you’ve removed. Want that iPhone? DON’T GET IT!

    When is the National government going to get the balls to implement a benefit card to control how taxpayer money is spent by beneficiaries? It’s what needs to happen, and there’ll be public support for it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Michael (909 comments) says:

    Here is a list of suburbs with a TAB in Lower Hutt.

    Lower Hutt (centre)
    Moera
    Naenae
    Petone
    Taita
    Wainuiomata
    Stokes Valley
    Woburn

    Any guesses as to the deprived areas in Lower Hutt.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. DavidC (179 comments) says:

    A card to control beneficiary spending is a issue that would win the election for National in 2014. Its a clear cut dividing issue that Labour will find it very hard to argue against sensibly and one that every tax payer would love to see brought in.
    How will a doley or dpber buy dope, booze, smokes or blotto if they cant pull cash from their accnt.
    OMG they might need to WORK!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    DavidC

    What they do is they sell their card for cash to the unscrupulous for 70 cents on the dollar and then they buy smokes, grog etc.

    Seen it happen on a trip, a woman bought food with some food stamps and then sold stamps at a cut-rate to one of her own people sitting in the corner of the store waiting for opportunities like this and then bought cigarettes with the cash

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Fletch (6,387 comments) says:

    While no child should go hungry, I think this feeding children at school thing is a kind of double dipping by beneficiaries in the end.

    Isn’t it more a case of, “bugger it, the school is going to feed them anyway, so let them do it”. As I said, a kind of double dipping. So I would agree with BlueGriffon’s post @3.10pm. If a school is going to provide this service, it should be taken out of the carer’s welfare to begin with.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Fletch (6,387 comments) says:

    As regards a card. I think they still have food stamps in the US that they give out.

    http://ssa.gov/pubs/10101.html

    I guess there are pros and cons to such a system. One one hand, you know they are being spent on food and not being wasted on other pursuits. On the other, there is a kind of stigma attached to using food stamps in a grocery store. You’re kind of displaying in public the fact that you’re poor or disadvantaged. Some will say you can’t afford to be humble when you’re poor, but it might be difficult for others.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Steve (4,561 comments) says:

    “A card to control beneficiary spending is a issue that would win the election for National in 2014.”

    No need for a card, National will win 2014 anyway. Most of the benificiarys will vote Liarbore with or without a card.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Other_Andy (2,676 comments) says:

    “…we will never “eliminate it”…”

    Well of course DPF. That is the reason why they are the favoured Cause Célèbres of the left.
    They will never be solved because they are moving targets, the boundaries are not clear so they can and are always moved. This is one of the reasons why even after 9 years of a socialist government these ‘problems’ were still not ‘solved’.

    The traditional causes
    Child poverty
    Racism
    Pay equity

    The ‘new’ ones…….
    AGW
    Income inequality

    Another thing you need to remember is that the left, when talking about equality, doesn’t mean ‘equality of opportunity’ but ‘equality of outcome’.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. nasska (11,491 comments) says:

    Fletch @ 4.50pm

    There is no need to introduce food stamps. A benefit could simply be loaded onto a card & swiped the same way as any other debit or credit card….no one with the possible exception of the checkout operator would be any the wiser unless an attempt was made to include alcohol or tobacco products.

    I’ve brought this up before & was corrected by someone in the know who advised that store computer systems weren’t set up for this. Three thoughts:

    1) If a customer wishes to purchase alcohol or tobacco in either of the major food chains these purchases must be okayed by a checkout supervisor. They could simply deny the purchase if it was to be paid for from a benefit card.

    2) With the number of beneficiaries in NZ, stores would be falling over themselves in the haste to install any necessary technology.

    3) Nothing will stop exchange of goods but the ripoffs trying this on would be so heavily disadvantaged by the touts that it wouldn’t be common practise.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    What they do is they sell their card for cash to the unscrupulous for 70 cents on the dollar and then they buy smokes, grog etc.

    Seen it happen on a trip, a woman bought food with some food stamps and then sold stamps at a cut-rate to one of her own people sitting in the corner of the store waiting for opportunities like this and then bought cigarettes with the cash

    Well that shows us where her priorities lie. If you gave her cash, she’d just get more cigarettes – and it’d be much easier for her to do so.

    No-one’s say things like this won’t happen. But it makes it a lot harder for people to spend their money on cigs and booze, which is a good thing for their kids. And of course if someone is caught doing illegally using the BeneCard (TM), they should be punished. It’s not that complicated.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. laworder (292 comments) says:

    I am cheered to see so many people on here running with the idea of a payment card – it is an idea whose time has well and truly come. The technology is there, much of it already in place and simply needs the software to make use of the hardware.

    Yes there will be issues with enforcement and bartering, and some degree of leakage is inevitable but it would be a major improvement on the current scenario and allow us to put more resources towards helping out the deserving majority of beneficiaries. The State must stop acting as an Enabler for addicts

    This will also have big payoffs for health and justice. It will also hurt the alcohol and tobacco companies, good bloody job, stick the boot in and really punish the fuckers as far as I’m concerned.

    BlueGriffon wrote

    Now I know a lot of my fellow righties won’t agree with me, and no, I haven’t been invaded by left wing zombies!

    The poverty doco on TV3 before the election had a great idea. Schools provide full on catered lunches, like in the US and UK, and for children on benefits &WFF, about $4 a day is taken from the benefit to provide these meals. It ensures the kids get a proper lunch and is paid for out of the benefit system rather than being an added cost.

    I totally agree with this, an excellent idea. Meals should be provided in all decile 1-4 schools. I would also further like to see on site health care in these schools as per the doco so that kids get a decent chance even if their parents are losers.

    In addition I also think that removing children from criminal/ gang families where both parents have records of violence and/or substance abuse would also do a great deal to alleviate child poverty not to mention our shocking rates of child neglect and abuse.

    Regards
    Peter J
    Webmaster for http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Agreed with all comments saying the problem is bad parenting and lousy budgeting.
    Bring in the payment cards for ALL bennies – hell yeah! That’d be a real vote-getter for the Nats. So would dumping Bludging for Families.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    Jeeze Michael. The social climbers of Woburn will not be amused that you have included them amongst the deprived peasants of Lower Hutt. :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Also want to say, the idea of taking $4 per day from the benefit and using it to pay for a benny-kid’s school meal is great. I strongly support that. Good, practical, common-sense stuff. If the Nats brought this in, Labour would be bloody hard-pressed to argue against it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. DavidC (179 comments) says:

    A supermarket will soon install systems that will deal with whatever card the govt puts out. Too much money at stake not to comply.
    Its the lack of ability to draw more than a small amount of cash that is the great winner for me. Harder to buy lotto/drugs/stolen shit and pump cash into the pokies.
    Yeah and its possible to sell the card and get some dosh. but sheesh if your on the bones of your arse and your willing to take a 30% loss to get cash your a waste of oxygen and should get two in the back of the head.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. big bruv (13,887 comments) says:

    I get sick and tired of the pinko’s banging on about kids going hungry. As others have said in this thread there is simply no reason at all for kids to not have three meals a day and shoes on their feet.

    If the drop kick parents cannot budget then give the losers vouchers or a card that means they cannot waste it on fags and booze.

    I have zero tolerance for anybody pushing the child poverty line.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    Long time reader, first time poster.
    For those of you with idle curiousity, I am a wage earner and simultaneously a small business owner. By NZ standards I am moderately right of centre, and have voted right at every election since 18 yrs old. That doesn’t mean I’m a dyed in the wool true blue nat, but my view of the policy positions between parties have supported that vote each time. I am married to an American though which gives me a bit of an interest in international politics as well as our own. Interestingly by USA standards I would be considered strongly liberal.

    This stat makes my blood boil, and went to the Office of the Childrens Commission to check on it:
    http://www.occ.org.nz/home/childpoverty/about_child_poverty
    “In 2006/07 230,000, or 22 percent, of New Zealand children were still living in poverty. That is, in households with incomes below the 60 percent median income poverty line, after taking housing costs into account.”

    DPF rightly points out how ridiculous this is. Any statistic that measures poverty by a percentage of median income is NOT a measure of absolute poverty, it is a relative measure of disposable income. This is almost guaranteed to skew towards households with young children, because they are more likely to have a single income (albeit possibly a temporary position while supporting a young family!). It does not measure wealth/assets or income history. The lawyer who takes a years leave ot raise their first child is suddenly in poverty [how horrible!]

    The only other way you could improve the statistic of child poverty is to have more children in higher income households, compared to lower income households. Of course the trend is the opposite, low income households have more incentives to have children so the statistic will continue to get worse.

    Now all this aside, I do believe there is genuine child poverty in this country, and there are households genuinely struggling to make ends meet. A much stronger measurement system like the one Mr Farrar suggests would give us a much better indication of what the real level of objective poverty is in NZ.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. DavidC (179 comments) says:

    the concept of schools installing catering kitchens and cafeterias would be a huge expense to the taxpayer.
    or will they just have it delivered in a van and microwaved? (cant be that bad, Gordon Ramsey did it for years!)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. JamesS (352 comments) says:

    In my experience most of these sorts of people are well and truly in the ‘feral’ category. You have “values”, you respect other people and institutions, you have a sense of right and wrong; 90% of beneficiaries do not share this.

    I realise you are scratching your head about this revelation but it is true – there are feral people out there. Seriously.

    Instead of just giving money, or cards, to beneficiaries in an open ended fashion (you can sign on for the dole at age 18 when you leave school and sign off at 65 when you retire and no one will stop you. Seriously!) perhaps we should look at State handouts being tied to ‘values training’?

    When beneficiaries can demonstrate they understand right and wrong, have respect for others and indeeed, understand their own bludging off the hard work and tax dollars of better people, only then will they get any assistance.
    A case officer saying “give me the 20 examples of this in the last week” before doling out money would probably do it.

    I know that asking low life beneficiary scum to actually stand up and say “yes, I am bludging feral scum” is a tough ask, and to get the government to agree a tougher ask, but maybe that is what is needed. Tough love, so to speak.
    Just a thought…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. nasska (11,491 comments) says:

    JamesS

    No doubt a percentage of these beneficiaries would qualify for the ‘feral’ tag but it would be the hard core & I doubt that they would be anything like 90% of the muster. Balancing the ferals at one end of the social spectrum are the do gooders & experts on spending other people money at the other. The lowlife know that if anyone starts cracking the whip all that is required is a heart rendering sob story to be fed to the MSM & then life will get back to normal.

    Your idea is great but the practicalities would strangle it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. JamesS (352 comments) says:

    Yes, alas, Nasska you are correct.

    It goes without saying that the lefty liberals have not actually MET any beneficiaries in their lives, so perhaps the answer is to require the lefty liberals and do gooders to ‘adopt’ a beneficiary family?
    After about 20 minutes of realising what the people they support are REALLY like *wink* – soiling the sofa and nicking the cutlery and crawling about on the kitchen floor eating scraps of cabbage – I think attiudes would change.

    Imagine the scene – Brian and Judy having a samoan family in their house wrecking havoc ha ha!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. Nostalgia-NZ (5,202 comments) says:

    JamesS

    I see you culminating the gigling crescendo with claims of your experiences with beneficiaries. What is your actual experience of soiling the sofa and nicking the cutlery and crawling about on the kitchen floor eating scraps of cabbage?

    Would you like an invitation to attend a PIC Church and explain your experiences and observations or is it just the bigot in you talking?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. JamesS (352 comments) says:

    My experience of third generation beneficiaries is both shocking and predictable; a couple of months back I was dealing with a young guy – a 17 year old school leaver.

    His grandparents were bludgers back in the day, his parents have been on benefits since the late 70s, all his siblings (7 of them) have been on the dole since the day they left school (2 of them are in their 30s).

    He ended up in front of me because WINZ required it (required him to at least appear to be looking for work)

    I offered him a job as I was seeking to hire an office junior. $600 per week, a good company, opportunity to progress further, learn numerous new skills and gain experience.

    He found all of this a bit unnerving – an actual job – and unheard of in his life with regards to anybody he is related to or knows.

    Instead of accepting the opportunity of a lifetime he preferred the dole. It was safer. It was more predictable. It was more in tune with what he knows.

    This guy was the 20th or so such person I have dealt with over the last couple of decades in the same category; so Nostalgia_nz do not call me a bigot, do not suggest I say things which are untrue or exaggerated and do not know what I am talking about, mate.

    I am one of the few businessmen in NZ actually creating new jobs and exporting and giving opportunities for those that want them – what are your credentials?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Reg (539 comments) says:

    Could someone explain to me why the predominant health problem afflicting those below the poverty line in NZ is obesity?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. DJP6-25 (1,387 comments) says:

    WineOh 5:59pm. There were plenty of common sense ideas in your post. I guess you won’t be on Labour’s Christmas card list next year either.

    cheers

    David Prosser

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. DJP6-25 (1,387 comments) says:

    Blue Griffon 3:10 pm. Those ideas make sense. All the kids here in Korea get lunch at school.

    cheers

    David Prosser

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. Nostalgia-NZ (5,202 comments) says:

    JamesS my main credential is that I don’t lump all people together, particularly not by race, and I don’t generalise. I don’t have general disrespect for any race based on my observations of an individual or individuals in that race. The wind is changing, JK recognises that and he is reaching out to people as the political landscape changes. Whether that will be judged as genuine will be tested by history, but he certainly isn’t making derogatory comments about people craping on couches which you find so amusing.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Yep, lets create a ministry of school lunches, lets lease a building in each of the main centres to house it.
    For a supposed rightist blog its a bit disturbing that anyone would be advocating more government employees.

    WINZ has already gone away from vouchers for unemployed to purchase materials to get them into work, they now give them a smart card, so its only a small step to putting food money on it.

    If you are on a benefit, your rent gets paid out at the source so the reciever never gets a chance to blow it and they don’t get behind in the rent, they then build up good rent history and it makes it easier to get accomodation. Bugger the hand wringers talking about feelings. I would surmise that people will feel alot better about themselves if they know the rent is paid and they have a roof over their head.

    A lot of beneficariies are not bad people just hopelessly unskilled and disorganised .

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. adam2314 (377 comments) says:

    Increase fags and booze quarterly.. Decrease welfare payments quarterly by the same percentage..

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. plebe (271 comments) says:

    Lots of jobs out there at the moment,Trade Me has a total of 6500 for the whole country.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    As can be seen by JamesS’ post, there’s a family with eight children.
    Now, how the heck can you expect to afford to clothe, feed and look after eight children when you’re on the dole?
    Chances are, those children will ALSO have huge families, and so it goes on.
    This is the other thing about so many beneficiaries – **they have far too many children that they can’t afford to feed on their income.**
    IMO, the govt should only give benefits to families with three or fewer children.
    If you have more, then it’s up to you to feed the extras. Don’t expect the government (i.e. taxpayers) to fund your excessive breeding (and that’s what it is.)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    2 bags of rice is cheap which can feed a family with 4 school kids a week. Child poverty is a creation of socialists. I grew up in the Island where financial hardship is severe over there. If school kids are going hungry to school here in NZ, then I suspect that the parents/guardians are either ignorant or else they (parents) rely on the free breakfast/lunch provided at school and therefore they don’t bother to feed their children in the morning before they go to school. If some do-gooders provide free food somewhere then of course people will come. One just have to look at the Salvation Army free food. People turned up there not because they can’t get food. They turned up at the Salvation army simply because there is free food.

    I laugh when I hear leftists crying out that there are poor kids in this country who go hungry to school since their parents can’t feed them because of poverty. I bet that their parents have got mobile phones. Anyone who has a mobile phone is not poor.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. Nostalgia-NZ (5,202 comments) says:

    After you grew in the Island did you drive round on the car over here going to the salvation armys, fasi, I mean fisi?
    Praise the lords for your loving hearts and the taro in your truck.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. Yvette (2,819 comments) says:

    Johnboy – If you only breed what you can afford to feed there will be no child poverty.

    Part of the problem is men who father a child then flee the relationship, which he no longer contributes to.
    The child is unwanted.
    The mother gets in another relationship, which repeats the circumstances, or the new ‘partner’ stays around and sometimes abuses the child which is not his and only a nuisance.
    In this situation the child is probably the lowest priority.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    Nostalgia,

    My dad was a horticultural farmer in the Island before he came to NZ. He used to give away free baskets of taros, bananas, yams, kumaras, pumpkins and other vegetables on a weekly basis to families and those homes in the village who didn’t have enough food. He gave away some of his produce to both relatives and non-relatives. So, in a way, we were more like the local Salvation Army over there. Besides, my dad did it because of his religious belief. He was the Methodist church minister in our village. There has always people turning up at the our house (church minister’s resident) to ask for food at all hours, even drunk young adults in the middle of the night if they had partied somewhere but were hungry. Those young drunk adults have their own homes but their families didn’t tolerate them, so they knew that the only place in the village that would have welcomed them late in the night was our home. My dad always gave them food and never turned anyone away.

    The situation over there back then was completely different to what you read/hear in the Media about child poverty in NZ. I have seen real poverty myself. What I have seen in this country as child poverty is not poverty at all. It is nothing more than a guilt feeling.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. big bruv (13,887 comments) says:

    Yvette

    I love the way you seek to blame the feral fathers.

    Given the feral female is the one who is taking all the risks is it not her fault for having unprotected sex?

    Seems to me that the females are the ones to blame here.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Go JamesS I agreed totally. The country is now infested with the benefit culture. What will be the ultimate outcome, I’m picking disaster.. Yvette falls back to the old chestnut “what about the children” , pigsarse . We have got a society that bends over backwards for the irresponsible and the feckless, it hasn’t worked and is only getting worst. I’m not saying the way it was was right but nor is the present set up.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. Yvette (2,819 comments) says:

    big bruv – I don’t think I seek to blame anyone.
    Just suggested what seems to happen –
    hell of a lot of children trying to survive where they aren’t wanted or are actually regarded as a nuisance and lowest priority.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. Yvette (2,819 comments) says:

    Yvette falls back to the old chestnut “what about the children” , pigsarse

    Who is it suffering the ‘poverty’? Are the adults going without food?
    It is the kids turning up at school needing to be fed apparently.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Looking at all the posts here, I’d say there is real agreement that so-called
    “child poverty” is caused by bad parenting, non-existent budgeting (and spending on smokes and booze), and having very large families on a low income.
    Meals of rice or pasta, eggs and some home-grown veges can go a very long way.
    I’m very much hoping that the “benefit card” is extended to all beneficiaries from this year on. The country is ready for it.
    I also reckon WFF should be axed.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  50. Griff (7,694 comments) says:

    why do we pay people to breed?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  51. Gulag1917 (916 comments) says:

    Talked to a postman once about the poorest suburb in a city. His reply “everybody around here has got a dog, cat, tv, car, smokes and drinks, so where is the poverty?” Sure poverty does exist but under present thinking it always will.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  52. Yoza (1,872 comments) says:

    Ya gotta love the far-right nut jobs that post on this site.

    How do ya deal with poverty in New Zealand?

    Ya gets yeh self one o’ them poor slobs and ya takes ya jackboot and stamps on their neck, really hard!

    Problem solved.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  53. Dick (80 comments) says:

    Indeed. So worth remembering that when people call for certain types of food (battery hen eggs, intensive pig farming) to be banned, the result hits the poorest in society the most.

    That’s as silly as saying: “Because poor people cannot afford private education… Education should remain public.” The solution is not for education to remain public, but for jobs to be created so that the poor can afford private education. Likewise with free range food – the solution is not socialism, but increasing the earning capacity of those who are poor. If pigs and chickens are being farmed in a way that is unethical and highly torturous for animals, then we need to look at a way that does not do significant harm to them. For anyone who thinks animals don’t suffer in cages, see the following (although no doubt those who have already made up their minds won’t bother):

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  54. Nostalgia-NZ (5,202 comments) says:

    Falafulu.
    Your father was obviously was/is a great and kind man. I somehow doubt that he ever looked down on anybody, saw the good in people and tolerated the bad with the hope that he could induce change.

    I’d like to know what his thoughts would be toward the poor in NZ.

    You spoke about seeing real poverty and compare what is happening here as being uncomparable to that. I read this blog and wonder if we all live in the same country. I see people struggling but with high aspirations for their children, I see few people on benefits and believe the number nationwide to be relatively small not the legions spoken about here. I dismiss the talk people relate of anectodal evidence from the postman and other sort of nonsense. I barely resisted becoming angry when asked for money by a teenager as I left a bakery before xmas. And regretted later that I hadn’t told him to do a couple of hours work in our yard and get paid for that. I continue to help out where I can those I work with and a large inherited family and always try to step in and keep kids out of trouble.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  55. Yoza (1,872 comments) says:

    Children going to school hungry and living in cold, miserable conditions are indications that the economy is working as it is meant to, for the benefit of the well-to-do. Wealth and opportunity are stripped out of the lowest tiers of the social strata so they can be concentrated in the highest tiers, this is the whole point of the National Party’s policy agenda.

    The neo-liberal model demands a high rate of unemployment as a means of forcing down wages across the bulk of the employment spectrum. High unemployment is a policy objective of a significant majority of New Zealand’s political representatives and the upper echelons of the public service understand this.

    That the right then turn around and begin whining about the unemployed and the miserable conditions in which children are forced to struggle is confusing. Do you people not understand the political agenda you have signed up for?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  56. Manolo (13,767 comments) says:

    Do you people not understand the political agenda you have signed up for?

    Yes, I do. Give me more of it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  57. Scott Chris (6,135 comments) says:

    Yoza says:- “Children going to school hungry and living in cold, miserable conditions are indications that the economy is working as it is meant to”

    Yes, but it is also symptomatic of parents who haven’t got their priorities right. You can live on welfare, but not comfortably. That is the way it should be for those who are capable of working.

    Otherwise, it becomes a lifestyle choice. Cold and hungry kids in this country are victims of neglect. By their parents.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  58. nasska (11,491 comments) says:

    Scott Chris

    An excellent summation.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  59. Gulag1917 (916 comments) says:

    If a lot more of the underclass would put a high value on education that would be a major step on the right direction. There are quite a number of parents who do not care and this leads to children who do not care so they are stuck in their poverty rut.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  60. catwoman (123 comments) says:

    @JamesS 7.28pm – You are totally correct. I worked in the welfare system for 15 years. The only “poverty” I saw was self-imposed. Plenty of money for booze, drugs, cigarettes, play-stations etc because they were “entitled” to get a food grant from WINZ and knew that their Case Manager would not let their kids go hungry. I have also had numerous people turn down jobs because the benefit was safer.

    I gave up when a beneficiary told me “You can’t say no to a food grant, its a Labour Government”.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  61. Bob R (1,374 comments) says:

    ***Breaking the cycle is the key. The problem is that it is a problem often that takes a generation or more to fix, as income is merely part of the problem. Education, child abuse, parenting skills are all part of a very challenging mix.***

    Which is why making contraception a condition of welfare would make a big dent in this problem. Environmental factors are hard enough to change, let alone genetic factors (impulsivity, low iq etc).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  62. immigant (950 comments) says:

    Woudl be good to see all these “poverty” figures drawn up by ethnic background. The country needs to know it’s heroes, we need to be clear who is contributing to this multicultural meltingpot and who is not.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  63. Northland Wahine (667 comments) says:

    The basic benefit rates do not change because you have more children.

    What does increase is how much family tax credits you receive with your benefit and Accommodation Supplement and Temporary Additional Support may also increase.

    I doubt there are many “couples” receiving a joint benefit with more than 6 children included on that joint benefit. Why?

    Because the maximum children you can receive assistance for is 6.

    Solution?

    “Separate” and split the kids.

    Children are passed around from one parent, grand parent… hell, extended family members as means to receive added income.

    What we will see as child poverty will continue until we see our children as something other than income.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  64. ant (3 comments) says:

    A good read on the issue… http://richielewis.com/no-such-thing-as-child-poverty/

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote