Trans-Tasman on Key and income inequality

August 30th, 2012 at 1:16 pm by David Farrar

reports:

  showed his mastery of the political process when, with one verbal swipe in Parliament, he demolished what appeared to be a promising line of attack by Opposition parties on his coalition’s social policies. Armed with a report on child poverty, Green co-leader  was demanding Key acknowledge inequality in NZ has increased to the highest it has ever been, and institute a universal child payment. Key’s response “let us run through the logic of what the member has said. She says we are an unequal society, because the rich are getting richer, and now she’s on her feet telling me to give the rich families even more for their kids. What a dopey idea that is!” Turei was left complaining “I am not thinking straight.”

This is the great mystery. The left call for less income inequality yet fight for universal rather than targeted government support.

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66 Responses to “Trans-Tasman on Key and income inequality”

  1. alloytoo (429 comments) says:

    The only great mystery in New Zealand is the definition of ‘Child Poverty’

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  2. Peter (1,576 comments) says:

    And why Russel only has one “l”

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  3. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    >Turei was left complaining “I am not thinking straight.”

    Is there a URL for the video? I’d love to see her floundering.

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  4. Bob R (1,332 comments) says:

    Nice one.

    I would probably support a universal child payment for people in employment – the country particularly needs educated women to have more kids.

    “An internationally recognised expert on intelligence warns New Zealand children could get dumber in three or four generations unless women with higher education started producing more babies.

    Otago University emeritus professor Dr Jim Flynn was commenting on census figures that show mothers without a higher education were the anchor of New Zealand’s current fertility rate.

    In contrast, women with a higher education were producing just 1.85 babies each.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10450313

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  5. Raphael (73 comments) says:

    @davidp

    Ask and ye shall receive: http://inthehouse.co.nz/node/14686

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  6. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    It has to be universal because they are communists! Besides if they had their way there would be no such thing as the “rich” as we would all be paid the same :-)

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  7. SteveO (76 comments) says:

    To be fair, Turei’s comment “I’m not thinking straight” was in apology to the Speaker after complaining about an interjection from “the Minister – Simon – that guy over there” when Lockwood berated her for not using the Minister’s full name.

    But she only got that flustered because of the PM’s reply to her question.

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  8. trout (898 comments) says:

    We have been hammered by ‘child poverty’ slogans in the last week. What constitutes child poverty? I looked for a measure of poverty and the only measure I could find was ’60%of the median equivalent household disposable income’.
    This, when surveyed, applied to 21% of households, and 20% of the population. Perhaps someone can tell us what is actually the current poverty line in terms of income.
    Just heard Gerry Brownlee telling Parliament that a solo mum with 2 kids, who works 25 hours a week and earns $17,000 pa. can receive an income equivalent of $45,000 when Govt. assistance is factored in.

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  9. Manolo (13,302 comments) says:

    Fear the moment these imbecile Luddites get near political power!

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  10. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Just cut peoples fucking taxes……jeez how hard is that?

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  11. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    >Ask and ye shall receive: http://inthehouse.co.nz/node/14686

    Thank you Raphael. That is an excellent video that everyone should watch. What a ditz Turei is!

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  12. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Yes davidp it is a great video. Inequality has skyrocketed under National, yet the PM tries to make a joke of it. What a dick.

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  13. Pete George (22,719 comments) says:

    Just cut peoples fucking taxes……jeez how hard is that?

    Quite hard when they aren’t paying any taxes. A parent of two children can earn over $50k before they start to pay more PAYE than they get in tax credits.

    Turei has been talking ‘poverty’ and income gaps since the election campaign where she was pushing them heavily.

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  14. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    ross69>Inequality has skyrocketed under National, yet the PM tries to make a joke of it

    People should get over it and concentrate on absolute poverty. Turei earns a lot more than I do. But I don’t moan about this inequality because I’m doing just fine. Even unemployed people have a safety net under them that means there is no absolute poverty.

    Still, if Turei wants to reduce inequality then I’d be happy for her to write me a cheque.

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  15. Komata (1,105 comments) says:

    It is very noticeable the the gweens have not actually defined what they mean by ‘child poverty’ – not in clear, specific ‘here is what we mean by the phrase’ terms.

    Perhaps our resident gween – the esteemed Toad (who is apparently very close to the leaders) , can enlighten us?

    To make it very clear: What do the gweens mean by ‘Child Poverty’? (figures, statistics, hard evidence, an income level – anything that can be checked and investigated for authenticity and veracity)

    Toad – your input is awaited. . .

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  16. KiwiGreg (3,169 comments) says:

    Even in workers’ paradises like North Korea and Cuba there is still inequality. Life is so unfair.

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  17. gravedodger (1,504 comments) says:

    Marvelous word poverty.

    Can be applied to financial resources, food, spirit, morality or education and always without any measure of relativity.

    As a word it immediately conjures a problem that can be portrayed but rarely solved.

    In the context of New Zealand Children it seems always to be coined to describe a group of them who are denied the ultimate in supply, it is never explained why it happens.

    With the welfare and social support we have (even though it is a ticking time bomb in its destructive potential), poverty among our young is a gross distortion when analysed.
    It can be laid out fairly and squarely to be a failure of parenting , choices, and refusal to acknowledge a path to solution.

    There were some very challenged households in my childhood that endured a far more grinding poverty of income but it was compensated by a pool of pride, spirit and neighbourly sharing that makes what welfare has created in 2012 seem no more than wasted opportunity.
    Someone suggested recently that people should revisit school photos from the mid 20th century, the clothes were a hoot, footwear often non existent, and no fat kids, some a little chubby, but most were skinny little buggers and all smiling and wearing hideously funny clothes.
    Maybe that was the joke.

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  18. noskire (831 comments) says:

    Komata (654) Says:
    August 30th, 2012 at 3:54 pm
    It is very noticeable the the gweens have not actually defined what they mean by ‘child poverty’ – not in clear, specific ‘here is what we mean by the phrase’ terms.

    I’m not sure what they mean either. Should five year-olds be on a salary?

    And what’s their definition of equality? What is the wage/salary the gweens think we should all be earning/given? And should it be irrespective of what we do or don’t for a living?

    And lastly, when the commies drag their kids out to parade their corny slogan-stuffed placards during election time, do they pay them?

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  19. thedavincimode (6,514 comments) says:

    ross69

    You’re the dick, yet again. Key pointed out, quite rightly, that by a number of yardsticks that might rationally be applied in endeavouring to evaluate the somewhat ethereal notion of child poverty, this gummint has done far more in the last 4 years than Klerk did in the previous nine years eg insulation, health including doctors visits, education, including pre-school. What the fuck exactly was your sad-arsed thieving bunch of crooks up to when they had more than twice as long in charge of the till; aside from using the treasury as its private political slush fund and pouring the rest down a hole?

    How much of what was left when you pricks had finished pinching it or just pissing it away, actually went towards reducing “child poverty”, and what exactly was it that your little arseholes’ cabal did by way of reducing “child poverty”. Let me answer that: a) absolutely fuck all and b) absolutely fucking nothing.

    If nothing else, this gummint has proven through increased service delivery just what a bunch of sad-arsed incompetent bunch of losers you thieving pricks were. Liebour was in charge in the most bouyant economic times in recent history and was incapable of achieving anything like the progress that this gummint has under the most trying financial circumstances. You didn’t have a fucking clue what to do then (witness ACC, Kiwirail) and you haven’t got a clue now. You have even less shame in ignoring what a complete fuck-up the Klerk gummint was.

    Seriously fuckwit, what exactly were your achievements on the child poverty front? Or is it just that even though you did absolutely fucking nothing, you cared more?

    What a fucking loser. Fuck off.

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  20. emmess (1,367 comments) says:

    Relative poverty is such a bullshit measurement.
    It like saying I have only got laid 60% of the average amount, so relatively that makes me a virgin.

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  21. thedavincimode (6,514 comments) says:

    How much does this bullshit measure of “child poverty” weight factors such as having utterly deadshit parents?

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  22. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Obviously none of the commenters on here have bothered to read the report. Go on, educate yourself.

    http://www.occ.org.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/9857/FINAL_Issues_and_Options_Paper.pdf

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  23. Mark (1,356 comments) says:

    Having utterly deadshit parents is not the exclusive domain of the poor. I have seen plenty of well of parents who would fit that eloquent description. But it doesnot solve the issue. Children don’t choose their deadshit parents, or to go hungry. But go visit some of the decile 1 and 2 schools and you may get an appreciation of the issue.

    Kids comming to school without lunch and not having had breakfast are not going to achieve the holy grail of nationals education policy.

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  24. Bob R (1,332 comments) says:

    ***Kids comming to school without lunch and not having had breakfast are not going to achieve the holy grail of nationals education policy.***

    I agree, but given the quality of their parents they are probably inheriting genes for low intelligence and poor impulse control. Accordingly, I would recommend:

    a) enable the schools to provide food given the parents lack the mental capacity to do so

    b) make ongoing WINZ payments conditional on using contraceptive injections.

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  25. noskire (831 comments) says:

    Of course, the changing demographics of New Zealand’s population wouldn’t be a factor, would they ross69? It’s all National’s fault.

    http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/people_and_communities/pacific_peoples/pacific-progress-demography/population-growth.aspx

    The Pacific population in New Zealand has continued to grow rapidly, mainly owing to a high rate of natural increase, described below. By the 2006 Census, Pacific people in New Zealand numbered 266,000 and made up 6.9 percent of the population.
    As the Pacific population is a young one, with low rates of mortality and high rates of fertility, the excess of births over deaths produces a high natural rate of population growth. Pacific people are more likely than others to be in the age groups when most childbearing takes place and tend to have more children, with a fertility rate of three births per woman, compared with two births per woman for the total population. Because of their younger age structure they have a lower crude death rate of 3.2 deaths per 1,000 people per year, compared with 6.6 per 1,000 for the total population.
    Inter-ethnic partnering and inter-ethnic mobility (people changing their ethnic identification over time) also contribute to population growth. Individuals may choose to identify or not identify with Pacific ethnicities for different reasons.
    As figure 1.2 shows, Samoans are by far the largest Pacific group in New Zealand, numbering over 131,000 people at the time of the 2006 Census. This was almost half the Pacific population and 3.3 percent of the total New Zealand population. The Samoan population grew by 64,800 people, or 98 percent, between 1986 and 2006. This compares with a growth of 23.4 percent for the total New Zealand population. Because the Samoan population is so much larger than the other groups, it has a substantial impact on the characteristics of the Pacific population as a whole. While there is some variation between the economic positions of the various Pacific ethnic groups, the position of Samoans tends to mirror that of the total Pacific population. This issue will be explored in future reports.

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  26. Reid (15,904 comments) says:

    John Key showed his mastery of the political process when…

    I wish it had, but what it actually showed is that Key is highly skilled at thinking on his feet, duh, what a surprise for an ex-currency trader.

    In terms of mastery of the political process, personally my jury’s still out on that since “mastery of the political process” entails a great deal more than merely being a progressive in conservative clothing and being a poll-driven fruitcake.

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  27. duggledog (1,331 comments) says:

    But wait on, Helen Clark campaigned on Closing The Gaps!

    Mind The Gap John.

    No More Gaps Russell

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  28. Komata (1,105 comments) says:

    Re: ‘Kids comming to school without lunch and not having had breakfast are not going to achieve the holy grail of nationals education policy’.

    This is a bit of a red herring methinks – there have ALWAYS been ‘Kids coming to school without lunch and not having had breakfast’, to suggest otherwise is to ignore human nature. I’m a ‘boomer’ and certainly there were kids doing exactly that ( no breakfast, no lunch) when I was at school during the 50′s and 60′s; the difference being that there are now more of them (because of the population increase) and as a result they are more noticeable. Human’s have not changed to any degree and there have always been those parents who have ‘monetary skills’ and those that don’t. It is not a new phenomenon, and lest we think that it is NZ-specific, it is exactly this phenomenon which led to the British ‘Hot Lunches in Schools’ programme which dates back to at least the 1950′s. We’re just a little late in experiencing what has already been occurring overseas.

    Thought you might like to know . . .

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  29. Reid (15,904 comments) says:

    The left call for less income inequality yet fight for universal rather than targeted government support.

    According to the Morning Report interview from one of the report’s authors, this is because, apparently, uptake of a govt handout is much higher when its universal.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/20120829
    07:39 Child payments proposed to help fight poverty (can’t give you a link to that, it’s a download)

    Why is it that when they do reports like this, they never ever employ advisory economists who are trained in the real world, so you prevent idiots like this guy from promulgating their mentalist ideas where they’re picked up by the professional mentalists like the Gweens and brayed to the wanna-be mentalists in the public arena.

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  30. noskire (831 comments) says:

    And further to my earlier comment: Relative to the European/Pākehā population, the Māori and Pacific Island, population have lower incomes, higher rates of unemployment, poorer educational and health outcomes, a greater likelihood of living in rental accommodation, and proportionately more convictions for criminal offences – http://www.parliament.nz/NR/rdonlyres/A42343F5-E218-417F-91C0-F616E148F3F7/436/009EthnicGaps1.pdf.

    It’s not a Gap – it’s a Chasm.

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  31. UpandComer (506 comments) says:

    Read that story today about a cleaning lady who has 4 kids. The 16 year old son works 25 hours a week as a cleaner at high school to help too.

    Then I worked out she actually gets about 1200 dollars net per week with govt aide.

    That’s a lot more then my grandparents had for a lot more kids on the same job.

    Is that poverty?

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  32. peterwn (3,138 comments) says:

    I cannot understand why the Childrens Commissioner who was appointed because of skills in dealing with general childrens concerns assembled or allow to be assembled a group who has come up with an illogical decision as well as singing from a left wing song book. I personally was hoping for greater things than that from the Commissioner.

    By advocating a universal child benefit rather than a ‘targeted’ one, the group has shown that they are devoid of logical thought. IMO the Commissioner should ‘disown’ the group and its recommendations.

    The need is not only to target support to where it is needed but to ensure as far as possible the support does actually benefit disadvantaged children. Therein lies the challenge.

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  33. thedavincimode (6,514 comments) says:

    Mark

    You are of course right, but:

    a) In the context of this issue, deadshit parents can be the difference between going to school hungary or not (as someone pointed out the other day, what’s the cost of 3 weetbix and some milk – more than Sky TV, booze, smokes?).

    b) Having children you can’t afford isn’t responsible and is avoidable.

    c) Worse, having children you can’t afford and dumping them on a relative because you are too useless to look after them is not only irresponsible, but is in reality emotional blackmail.

    Hand-wringers can rabbit on all they like about the gummint (read taxpayers) doing more, but there is no escaping that a big chunk of the problem comes right down to that unfashionable and in most instances completely foreign notion of personal responsibility. Pouring money at the issue doesn’t encourage personal responsibility. Cutting the fiscal umbilical cord will only hurt kids in the absence of some other state intervention, but putting at least a bare minimum of tension into the ability to receive handouts (including WFF) might at least focus the minds of the miscreants.

    Someone commented the other day about the prospect of simply taking the kids away and sending them off to boarding school away from their parents; a very draconian and intrusive intervention by the state. But money hasn’t provided any solutions in the last umpteen years; irrespective of the gummint of the day. The prospect that this is the only practical solution to breaking the spiral of inter-generational decline looms larger.

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  34. Reid (15,904 comments) says:

    Is that poverty?

    It’s the housing cost/salary ratio these days that is the killer UaC.

    These are generated because NZ’ers are obsessed, yes obsessed, with property to the exclusion of all else. That’s what’s caused the imbalance and its been going since the very early 1980′s until now and will keep going.

    What needs to happen is to change that obsession so we get a more balanced economy with investment in other sectors besides property and so we reduce the sky-high ratios between a house price and salary.

    How that is done effectively and quickly and justly would be a much more fruitful national debate but politicians won’t touch it because their electorates are mostly populated with people with vested interests in keeping property prices high. Getting rid of LAQC’s was a Liarbore sitter had they really believed in their rhetoric but of course they don’t so they did nothing, instead they allowed tremendous inflation to occur. At least the Nats removed the economically poisonous LAQC regime which has made significant inroads and of course, the idiot media never picked up on that which was as a macro move was ten times more significant than anything Liarbore ever did.

    But that’s not enough. For example, the Auckland pressure needs to be alleviated by encouraging people to move out of there and into the rest of the country. That’s a serious imbalance correction of which could be a significant poverty re-balancer. However no politician will touch that because it’s a long term, several decade long project and politicians therefore aren’t interested.

    I’ve long thought what needs to happen is index politician’s pensions against the actual, proven long term effects of the policies they introduce, rather than what they promise when they implement them. I’m fairly sure that would refocus all of them on what they’re actually elected to do. And if someone thinks that can’t be done because of undo effect by subsequent govts, that’s an issue, but it’s not an insoluble issue.

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  35. salt (123 comments) says:

    Relative Poverty is indeed a fairly bullshit measurement – but there is no denying that there are a lot of kids in this country who just don’t get a decent start in life, and it’s not their fault. So instead of throwing that money at parents who may or may not use it in their children’s best interests, why not just offer all kids – regardless of parentage – a relatively decent breakfast and lunch at school? Cheap, guaranteed to get to the kids, guaranteed to actually be relatively nutritious.

    I note that many kiwibloggers seem to be against such an idea, but I’m really not sure why??? Feral kids didn’t choose to be feral kids, they were just unlucky. There but for the grace of god, etc.

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  36. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    John Key – The bigger the rise, the bigger the fall.

    You Neolibs are kidding yourselves if you don’t think inequality is rising in New Zealand. 20% of our children live below the poverty line. This figure is a national disgrace.

    If you don’t believe me that inequality is growing, check the OECD figures and graphs. New Zealand has had the largest increase in inequality of all OECD nations.

    And what’s National’s answer? Laugh it off in the House and implement policies that further raise inequality.

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  37. Nostalgia-NZ (4,896 comments) says:

    Poverty was a major issue at the last election. Political ‘mastery’ would have been to have given the thoughtful response to which the electorate is entitled.

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  38. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    Hamnida,

    Your improvement is astounding.

    Your latest English language test scores must have been stratospheric! You truly are a testament to the high quality outcomes from National’s education policies.

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  39. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Can Bill English improve the economy and increase job growth? Or is he simply too conservative for his (and the electorates) own good?

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  40. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    I have been working very hard on my English. It is fair to say I am better at writing than speaking.

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  41. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    Nostalgia-NZ,

    Political ‘mastery’ would have been to have given the thoughtful response to which the electorate is entitled.

    What would that have been then? According to Labour and the Greens is would have been to have made the children of the wealthy even better off through a universal child payment.

    Clearly they’ve not learnt a great deal in the last 9 months. It will be interesting to see their ‘National Standards’ report in 2014. Currently it is very much below the standard for their age.

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  42. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    Hamnida,

    It is fair to say I am better at writing than speaking.

    And so much more proficient than your old self…

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  43. Mary Rose (393 comments) says:

    Hamnida >Can Bill English improve the economy and increase job growth?

    If he can, then every finance minister around the world will be queuing up to ask him for tips

    >Or is he simply too conservative for his (and the electorates) own good?

    If you have sure-fire solutions to increase job growth, do share.

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  44. marcw (222 comments) says:

    tdvm commented about “the prospect of simply taking the kids away and sending them off to boarding school away from their parents; a very draconian and intrusive intervention by the state.”

    Sadly this was tried in Australia when children without hope were taken from feckless and feral loser parents, and were given a wonderful opportunity of growing up in a society that cared how they were brought up and made sure they had a bright future in the lucky country. Sadly, it all turned to custard, and there were boo-hoo tears of apology when these fortunate now grown adults learned of the grievance gravy train, and with the hindsight of the retrospectograph, declared that they were in fact discriminated against and should have been left to fester in poverty and disease, because that was their right. The hand wringers and tossers agreed, and now no Government would ever dare to extend the hand of opportunity such as this again.

    So sad really.

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  45. nasska (10,606 comments) says:

    marcw

    ‘Grumpy Old Hori’, who comments here from time to time when he’s not working on his land claim or preparing the meter reader for the hangi, has proposed the boarding school idea on numerous occasions. His theory is that only by separating the kids from their drop kick parents can they be given a chance to get a decent set of values & a useful education.

    Pakeha can’t be involved in the process or it will run off the rails in the same way as the “lost children” debacle in Australia. The only Maori who have the authority & means to run such schools are too busy lining their own pockets via the Treaty to give a damn about the urban poor.

    So, good idea doomed never to fly because of greed & socialist shit stirring.

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  46. Johnboy (14,857 comments) says:

    GOH is still working on his lawsuit (with his disgraced bro from the Funganewi Police) regarding my alleged wifebeating activities nasska. The case should be a beauty. It’s been four years in the preparation. I tried to get Lord Birkenhead as my brief BUT HE IS STILL NOT ANSWERING MY MAIL! :)

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  47. my 2 cents (1,091 comments) says:

    Hamida
    I agree with you!
    for once inequality is growing.

    The 168,000 taxpayers who pay 98% of the personal taxes that the rest live off, are being screwed over by John Key and National like never before.
    Meanwhile JK and his other $50 million friends pay as little tax as they can.

    Heres some real equality for you.
    20% tax paid by everyone from 25k to 10 million a year.
    no businesses, no trusts just 20% and that includes Google and all the other internationals too.
    One law for all.

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  48. Nostalgia-NZ (4,896 comments) says:

    bhudson,

    Pointing out that the wealthy admittedly don’t need help, but that middle working class’s situation could bare scrutiny, whilst also introducing that it isn’t sustainable to expect increased welfare as a right for families that grow beyond a certain limit. I don’t think that is anything more than presenting the intention to control welfare spending in order to help reduce the poverty gap and get those that are missing out at the moment being given the chance they deserve. Nobody benefits from a cycle of generational welfare, that’s on the table – throwaway lines diminish the message. It’s a message of change delivered without contempt.

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  49. nasska (10,606 comments) says:

    After four years preparation you would be well advised to seek the services of wise counsel JB.

    By the time your case goes to trial Mr Laws will probably have stocks, a ducking stool & gallows erected outside the courthouse.

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  50. Johnboy (14,857 comments) says:

    I don’t think his lordships head will fit in the stocks by then nasska. :)

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  51. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    Pointing out that the wealthy admittedly don’t need help, but that middle working class’s situation could bare scrutiny, whilst also introducing that it isn’t sustainable to expect increased welfare as a right for families that grow beyond a certain limit.

    Nostalgia-NZ,

    But that’s not what Labour and the Greens have presented (esp. Metiria in the House.) Do you feel they have let you and the rest of NZ down?

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  52. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Can Bill English improve the economy and increase job growth?

    No. What he can do is improve the environment so that individuals and collectives (SMEs, corporations) can risk their own capital and invest their time and enterprise to create wealth. Jobs are a by-product. And innefficient, wealth-redistributing governments are a handbrake.

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  53. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    “This is the great mystery. The left call for less income inequality yet fight for universal rather than targeted government support.”

    It’s not a mystery. Surely you know the justification for this position even if you don’t agree with it.

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  54. Jim (395 comments) says:

    Under the present definition of child poverty in NZ (thanks ross69: As measured by a recognised standard, namely the percentage of children living in households with disposable incomes of less than 60 percent of the median income, after housing costs.) you could give everyone a bank account with a million dollars and also double everyones income – this would make *no* difference to the child poverty metric.

    However, if you moved the top 10% of income earners jobs out of NZ then this would result in *less* child poverty. That’s right, exporting high-earning jobs to Australia will make life easier for poverty-stricken families in NZ.

    If the cost of food doubles, but the median wage remains static then poverty does not change.

    Go figure. Stupidest metric ever.

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  55. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Jim – the metric is designed to drive socialist wealth re-distribution. The ‘children’ and ‘poverty’ elements are essential for the emotional blackmail angle to work.

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  56. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    Jim / kk,

    Spot on. While they have actually added a metric into the definition now (below 60% of the median wage) I believe it has always been targeted in a way which means it can never be solved – it used to be (from an old sociology text) around not having what many others in society do.

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  57. Keeping Stock (10,085 comments) says:

    Hamnida said

    You Neolibs are kidding yourselves if you don’t think inequality is rising in New Zealand. 20% of our children live below the poverty line. This figure is a national disgrace.

    For all the ignorant Neolibs here Hamnida (given that you are so clearly more intelligent than any of us :P ), please give an unequivocal definition of what constitutes “the poverty line”. You see, slogans are fine, but actually fleshing them out is a whole lot tougher.

    How many of those “below the poverty line” own cars? How many of those “below the poverty line” have a Sky subscription, or a new flat-screen telly on HP. How many of those “below the poverty line” smoke? How many of those “below the poverty line” buy takeaway meals more than once a week.

    It’s far less simple than you bleeding hearts paint it, and deep down, you know it. By any measure though, the little girl my wife and I sponsor and have visited in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia lives below the poverty line.

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  58. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Below the poverty line – living below the level of income required to sustain healthy living conditions in a specific country. Living conditions include, but are not restricted to: housing costs, utility essentials, clothing, transport and food.

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  59. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    my 2 cents – now your’e talking. So you mean everything or everyone? For example, if your job is renovating houses and selling them on, but have avoided paying tax, would you start paying 20% under your system?

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  60. Nostalgia-NZ (4,896 comments) says:

    bhudson,

    Having no particular political allegiance I don’t feel ‘let down’ at all. Disappointed that nobody including Key, with his throwaway remarks, is putting what I feel is a sensible message out there. It’s all very well to laugh at universal benefits, which in some sense I don’t agree with anyway, but I would like to see limits on welfare for families that lean on Government support without thinking of the consequences of producing another mouth to feed with the full expectation that their welfare will increase to compensate. I can’t imagine that would appeal to either the Greens or Labour unless they have the guts to be realistic. I’ve said before, not an overnight introduction or reduction of current allowances – but rather a line drawn, indicated down the track – saying something along the lines of a family over 5 (or 4) from a certain date will receive entitlements no greater than for a family of 5 (or 4.) Doesn’t stop people having a choice, just lets them know the limits of help able to be provided. Overall although money would be saved there would be less administration and better use of the budget that would allow benefits to increase eventually across the board and give a better deal to the elderly or those physically incapable of work.

    Instead of having progressive policies we introduce expensive crap such as the ‘drug testing’ which seems to me like more treading water. I don’t see the unemployed as the enemy, I see impractical policies, ‘fat cows of entitlement,’ or ‘seduction to entitlement’ as the problem. I don’t see how you can give people a choice then blame them for utilising it, but equally I don’t see it as an encroachment on freedom to know there are limits. I don’t know if this is what Shearer was talking about, somehow I doubt it. But it remains that in tougher times people are receptive to changes they understand, and which they can see will make a difference, in fact it is what they are entitled to from good governance.

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  61. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    I’ve said before, not an overnight introduction or reduction of current allowances – but rather a line drawn, indicated down the track – saying something along the lines of a family over 5 (or 4) from a certain date will receive entitlements no greater than for a family of 5 (or 4.) Doesn’t stop people having a choice, just lets them know the limits of help able to be provided.

    Nostalgia-NZ,

    Not altogether unlike the work expectations National placed upon DBP recipients once their child reaches a certain age – a different perspective, but still seeking to address expectations around welfare limits. And also one that doesn’t stop people having a choice.

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  62. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    I just find it so surprising that people like DPF think it is a mystery that the left call for less income inequality yet fight for universal rather than targeted government support. Is he being ignorant or disingenuous? He may disagree with the justification, but it is not a mystery what it is. It is well known that the justification for preferring universal support is that targeted government support requires means testing which requires a lot of expensive bureaucracy to do properly and even then it is still vulnerable to people gaming the system (e.g. the children of farmers with multi-million dollar properties get student allowances but the children of lower middle class battlers do not). It is more efficient – so the argument goes – to pay the allowance to everyone but then use progressive taxation to address income inequality. I get that some people think that there are flaws in this argument. But to pretend the argument doesn’t exist is dishonest.

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  63. Nostalgia-NZ (4,896 comments) says:

    bhudson.

    Yes.

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  64. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    I guess I shouldn’t find it so surprising. It is common for people to be unaware of or not bother to understand or even to misrepresent the arguments of the other side. The left are just as guilty of this as the right.

    It’s just a shame though because unless people actually engage with the arguments and the evidence then people are just talking past each other and we get nowhere.

    What would be great would be if DPF or John Key actually tried to critique the arguments for universal support, rather than just pretending that there weren’t any arguments.

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  65. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    The whole economy is going to be stuffed when National brings in the carbon tax.

    I wonder if they will also institute a $1m fine for people who speak against it as in Oz. Democracy is well gone over there.

    Be interesting to know if anyone’s been prosecuted yet

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  66. SHG (358 comments) says:

    Do you know that under the new Australian internet-monitoring legislation your Internet access can be instantly disconnected if you post something critical of the carbon tax?

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