Poverty and choices

January 5th, 2013 at 6:33 am by David Farrar

Two items of interest. First the NZ Herald reports:

Adolescents living in the most deprived areas in New Zealand drink almost twice as much alcohol than their peers living at the other end of the scale, a joint study has found.

Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark and Massey University surveyed 1144 adolescents aged between 12 and 19 living in New Zealand across 10 area deprivation levels, 1 being the least deprived.

Their paper published in Health & Place found that at the poorer end of the scale, teenagers drank an average of 96.2ml of pure alcohol or 6.4 serves on each drinking occasion, while t the least deprived adolescents drank 50.6ml or 3.4 serves.

The left response to is a belief that it is simply an issue of money. They say those not in work must be given more money, as they do not have enough money to afford even the basics such as food for breakfasts.

We see this in a Twitter exchange:


Hat Tip: Whale

On this rare issue I am with MP Lole-Taylor. The concept of personal responsibility and choice seems to be alien to some people. If a poor person makes awful decisions, it is not their fault. It is our fault because of poverty. Never mind that if the parents did not buy so much alcohol, and gamble so much, they might not actually be in poverty.


38 Responses to “Poverty and choices”

  1. Rodders (1,790 comments) says:

    An NZ First MP talks sense. Indeed, a rare event (Winston must be on holiday.)

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  2. BlairM (2,755 comments) says:

    It may be odd for a right wing nut job like myself to say, but I’ve been pretty freaking poor in my life and about the only thing that makes it bearable is cheap alcohol. It’s no fun. One needs to take one’s small pleasures where one can. That’s why I oppose strict food stamp welfare.

    The other half of that is, of course, responsibility. You can’t feel sorry for someone who can’t feed their child because they bought alcohol. That’s a disgrace. If you really are too poor to feed your kids and have fallen on hard times, that is one thing, but if you are irresponsible with what you do have then you are not fit to be a parent. Those children should be removed from the situation by the state until the parent has got their shit together.

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  3. iMP (2,665 comments) says:

    The difficulty is, is that the children are still poor because of the alcoholism, and that is not their fault. Punishing people does not fix alcoholism, it’s an addiction. But the State has a right to intervene and force treatment, rehab. as well as food help. I like food stamps (ie Winz card that can only grocery items).

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  4. Left Right and Centre (4,402 comments) says:

    I was 19 the first time I was drunk. 19. And I didn’t drink before that age. ????

    People always answer openly and honestly in *a fucking survey?*. Get out of here!! Why I ought a…

    Yeah… it’s the poverty… I must get wasted.

    Um… I’m not sure that showing one twitter twat’s dumbarse head-bobbling reply to a no-brainer scenario really shows a lot other than there’s a lot of weirdos in the world but anyway….

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  5. Nostalgia-NZ (6,435 comments) says:

    One swallow does not a summer make. A single sampling is just nonsense. Lole-Taylor is taking a left from Bennett’s book.l

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  6. bringbackdemocracy (466 comments) says:

    The poorest people in New Zealand are amongst the wealthiest 10% in the world.
    In New Zealand you can stay in bed all day and the Government will give you an income,educate your children and provide for you health needs as well as subsidies you accommodation.

    The only poverty we have is a poverty of aspiration.
    When did someone in NZ starve to death?
    Why are so many poor people so fat?

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  7. Pete George (24,828 comments) says:

    “how they are trying to cope with poverty” – or a significant contributor to them being in poverty?

    There could be a bit of the former, as people often try to escape the reality of bad situations and getting drunk is one way of doing that, so is gambling as a way of hoping one big win will solve all the problems (it never does solve a gambler’s addiction).

    But obviously wasting money on booze and pokies is a major issue – and it is wasting money, by choice. There are much better ways of coping with being poor, like using what money you do have wisely.

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  8. Pete George (24,828 comments) says:

    “One swallow does not a summer make. A single sampling is just nonsense.”

    It’s not nonsense on it’s own – a single family asking for food assistance will they piss up and gamble is shocking.

    And DPF showed it’s not nonsense on a wider scale:

    Adolescents living in the most deprived areas in New Zealand drink almost twice as much alcohol than their peers living at the other end of the scale, a joint study has found.

    I know from experience, when I was an adolescent I drank far too much and was perpetually poor – financially and a piss poor person when pissed.

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  9. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    The answer to this is to get Winz to pay their bills and deliver them food packages. School meals would also help. You would be surprised, but many of those in poverty would be happy with this. Whining on about personal responsibility makes no senses since the only people who can respond to ilong term ncentives will do so, and it is because they can’t that many people are poor.

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  10. krazykiwi (8,230 comments) says:

    Poverty has little to do with wealth. Poverty is an absence of options.

    We all have 168 hours in each week, and as bringbackdemocracy pointed out we have cradle to grave welfare, education, healthcare plus freedom to relocate, vote, volunteer, pursue leisure etc.

    Some aspire to make to most of every option available to them, others do not. No amount of socialist, envy-driven wealth redistribution will make a meaningful difference to that.

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  11. ChardonnayGuy (1,605 comments) says:

    I’m a teetotaller, but I won’t judge this situation. What if the alcohol imbibing parent has tried to seek treatment, but due to health service priorities, there is no affordable service in his area? Don’t forget too, alcohol consumption is a bona fide addiction and psychopathology as are most other forms of substance abuse. Medical problems require medical treatment.

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  12. Keeping Stock (12,401 comments) says:

    Well said krazykiwi; choices are at least as big a factor in “poverty” and the way out of it as is money.

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  13. Monique Watson (1,299 comments) says:

    Totally agree with BlairM. I also think the co-pout of “addiction” is given too much airspace these days. If you get to that pint, you need time off the booze so you do need every resource like counseling available so that when people choose to pull themselves out they can. Mostly they need a good kick up the pants, but they’ll get away with as much they can first. Look, It’s human to struggle with substances. You wouldn’t find many people who didn’t struggle with something at some stage: drugs, food, booze, even coffee and tea. However you shouldn’t be overly indulged at the expense of the welfare of children.

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  14. Monique Watson (1,299 comments) says:

    I mean: if you get to that point. Not pint šŸ™‚

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  15. Manolo (22,056 comments) says:

    The notion of personal responsibility never crosses the mind of most bludgers.

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  16. duggledog (2,359 comments) says:

    Made a New Year’s resolution not to worry about this topic any more.

    It’s all a long term conspiracy to make the place unaffordable for poor immigrants so they go back to the islands and so Maori go back to their tribal areas.

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  17. Reid (21,429 comments) says:

    The left will never change because this goes to the heart of their whole wretched political philosophy. The left base all their policies on the fallacy that people are controlled by their external circumstances and to change their behaviour you must therefore change the external circumstances. This is why the idiots claim to solve poverty you have to give them more money.

    This boil the ocean approach of course is futile to anyone who lives in reality but that doesn’t stop the morons from persisting with it because they have not only made a logical error they’ve compounded that by associating emotion (compassion) with the fallacy. This is why, as the idiots munt on about the impossible task of boiling the ocean by say, giving WFF tax credits to the unemployed, they also weep and wail at the tewwible inhumanity of it all and accuse anyone who doesn’t agree with them of being heartless.

    Of course the more cycnical lefties like the politicians, all know this is bullshit but by the time they reach that rarified height, they’ve spent their entire lives living the fallacy and it’s become their brand differentiator. If they didn’t have the fallacy they have no other policy platform to offer and furthermore their idiocy of course appeals to their supporters who are constantly told it’s not their fault, it’s someone elses, and consequently, their supporters expect these policies to continue, how could they not? It’s like some kind of bizarro world where black is white and up is down, but nevertheless lefty fools continue this, year after year, decade after decade.

    If lefties had any brains at all some of them would have realised that, like Mandela once said, we are all creatures of light, meaning of course, that we are all incredibly capable beings. This means of course, duh, that the way to help people is to unleash their potential by helping them to recognise that truth, that they are capable, that they are ‘powerful beyond measure.’ All they have to do is to recognise that in themselves and start on a path which can easily be explained, and they will work themselves out of their situation, be it unemployment, poverty or anything else. This would be the humane thing to do and if they did it, it would elevate lefty politics from being the worst oppressive political movement that’s ever been unleashed on mankind to being far, far superior to conservative politics in every way.

    But of course they don’t do this, despite the writing being on the wall, all around them. Why to see the truth in Mandela’s comment all you have to do is observe what happens to someone who starts going to the gym and getting fit and keeps at it. Pretty soon you notice not just that the person has trimmed themselves down physically but they have at the same time developed a tremendous self-confidence, a can-do attitude, as well as self-discipline.

    But no, instead, the idiot lefties persist in treating people like victims and their every thought and action is concerned with finding new ways to wrap yet more cotton wool around the poor widdle darlings because life is so vewy cwuel and harsh. And not only do they do this but worse, the idiots are so very confused that they then hallucinate in their own minds that they’re the ones who care about these people, they’re the ones who weally weally weally deeply feel their distwess and empathise with their plight and everyone else who doesn’t see things the same way are just not nice people, at all. This fallacy is committed by the left across the board but it’s most powerful in the far left and people like Metewia and Gaweth personify it in spades, with every single word they say just dripping with smug self-righteous superiority as they contemplate their innately “superior” humanity. Such towering monstrous idiocy is indeed humerous to watch in press conference after press conference as the fools smugly bray about their latest mental idea designed to wrap their victims in yet more cotton wool but it’s also tragic at the same time. For two reasons.

    Firstly, their philosophy advocates a solution that is physically impossible. You cannot boil an ocean. You cannot for example, eliminate poverty by giving poor people more money, there simply isn’t enough money to both do that and sustain other programs. If you think there is, then how much should we give them? $100 per week? $200? $300? The Gweens think they’ve solved it, they’ll just print it. You just have to shake your head.

    Secondly, their solution treats people not as creatures of light but as helpless beings totally dependant on others to do every little thing for them. Thus, their “victims” never get the chance to develop those sub-conscious processes which are what Mandela was referring to, of for example, self-confidence, self-discipline, etc. And it’s only when their “victims” do develop those attributes which they have to do themselves that they will become part of the solution by contributing to society, rather than taking from it. And in so doing, they firstly, must help themselves. I wonder if any of the lefties when they take a plane trip have ever wondered why parents are instructed first to put their own oxygen mask on and only then, their child’s? I doubt it. Pity.

    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

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  18. elscorcho (172 comments) says:

    Ughhh! That response by Fairey shows how far the left has fallen.

    Gambling and alcoholism are personal failings. Left-wing thought is about building a better collective. In a real left-wing world, people who are of no use to society are not necessary anymore.

    From each according to his ability means that we ALL have to do something. We can’t sit at home on our chuffs drinking Woodstock or playing housie. Now, the state has a responsibility to provide us employment (there are plenty of opportunities for work-for-dole schemes that won’t adversely affect other markets), but if you don’t have it, BETTER YOURSELF so that you CAN CONTRIBUTE TO NEW ZEALAND

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  19. Viking2 (14,374 comments) says:

    Why do young people drink so much alcohol?
    MMM. Well,why not. We have shunted out of the workplace by over valuing their worth to an employer. We have therefore left them, either at school in a place which is boring, fils the day but not the mind.
    We have allowed them to “earn” without he requirement to work for that earn and for those that dop get employed we pay them more money that they have responsibility to save, spend and use.

    So the recreation becomes drinking and parties. (good fun too.) (oh and of course shagging everything in sight).
    Even at school we have a culture that encourages “young Adults” to party. Not surprizing when we have a created situation where the poor buggers are still at a high school at 18-19.
    By that age many of the baby boomers were in schools teaching their first classes, nurses were looking after patients in hospitals and young men were doing all the stuff that young men do at work.
    The generation before were at war. Just saw a clip on telly of the death of a the last bomber pilot. 19 years old he was.
    These days they are still wrapped in napps.

    Remove barriers to the workplace. Remove the unrealistic expectations that are placed upon young people by the Govt. that tells them they are worth more than an employer thinks and so therefore they are unable to earn an income.

    You know working 10 hours a day at hard yakka usually means you go home and really don’t have the energy to waste on piss and parties. It also means you start to value the dollars you earn a bit more.

    And so as you understand that university doesn’t make you best paid here is the latest info on wages and salaries.

    Mining wins hands down. Even in NZ.

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  20. nasska (16,764 comments) says:


    Most people with an alcohol problem are not clinically dependant on the grog…..they just need to cut back or better still, give up for a few months/years. They would be better described as habitual drinkers & the reason they drink can range from depression to feelings of social inadequacy or just or the numbing effect it has on an unhappy life. IMHO this would cover most of those described in DPF’s post.

    A few will be true dyed in the wool alcoholics predisposed to their addiction by their body chemistry or other mental/physical indicators. These are the ones who need medical interventions & who can benefit from specialised services being available when & if they decide to call time on their addiction. This normally involves admittance to Detox, being pumped full of valium while the body copes with the withdrawal symptoms & counselling. Sometimes it works & sometimes it doesn’t.

    The first group need encouragement & maybe a good kick in the pants, the second need treatment for an illness but both share one common factor. The desire to quit must come from within……all the facilities, all the advice & all the money offered will not change this.

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  21. nasska (16,764 comments) says:


    Well said….agree entirely.

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  22. Keeping Stock (12,401 comments) says:

    Well said Viking2. As an employer, I couldn’t agree more.

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  23. Paulus (3,567 comments) says:


    Agree completely with your comments. Good one

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  24. Yoza (3,053 comments) says:

    Unemployment has been used as a device, through the economic policies of Western governments throughout the ‘Anglosphere’, to successfully drive down wages. The ‘success’ of entrenching misery and hopelessness among large swathes of those at the sharp end of neo-liberal dogma is evident in the appalling mental health outcomes that have become so prevalent among these tiers of society. It should come as no surprise to anyone that an environment of wretched tedium manifests itself in behaviours such as alcohol and drug abuse.

    Reading the comments here, it appears all one need do is chant Oprah Winfrey type self-affirmation slogans at the unemployed and the working poor to overcome a carefully crafted and ruthlessly implemented corporate friendly economic policy.

    I would appreciate it if someone here could provide an example of a country which pursues the agenda promoted by the likes of the World Bank or the IMF which has anything resembling full employment.

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  25. Reid (21,429 comments) says:

    Paulus thanks for that. It’s so transparently obvious isn’t it and yet it persists. I’ve been saying the exact same thing for going on ten years now, no lefty has ever refuted it or even attempted to, yet despite the clear and present demonstrable facts are that their philosophy oppresses that segment of society they claim to be in support of, none of them have ever done the simple thing of saying, right, let’s fix this by teaching the “victims” how to work themselves out. None of them ever suggest anything remotely resembling that.

    Because what I said is not rocket science to any average student of life, I’ve therefore concluded lefties are, in all seriousness, utterly and completely evil. That they do this deliberately with malice aforethought specifically to keep their voters in their state of wretched crapulence purely in order that the left maintains their vote. Which means every single lefty politician is installed into their comparitively opulent taxpayer-funded lifestyle on the suffering backs of those downtrodden people who voted for them. And they keep them there, year and year, decade after decade, specifically in order to maintain a pool of suffering human beings who are stupid enough to vote for their own funerals. Every single lefty does this. Human excrement doesn’t begin to describe these scum.

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  26. Monique Watson (1,299 comments) says:

    Reid. That was an opus. Totally agree, V2 and Nasska and I was like you PG.I was an entrenched booze-hag by the age of 20 Gave up the booze for 9 years.
    Yoza – if you think it is some type of Oprah Winfrey type affirmation then that suggests you lack wisdom. You haven’t experienced the call of booze or other drugs yourself and you haven’t employed or partnered with someone else who has.

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  27. Rex Widerstrom (5,113 comments) says:

    I’ll have to be a little vague in parts because of privacy concerns, but I’m aware of the situations of two young women, both in their late 20s.

    The first had done okay at secondary school and held down a series of basically unskilled jobs (retail assistant etc) till she found a role in a factory-type environment where she learned specialist skills. She successfully held down that job for several years, during which time she was promoted, given extra hours and generally acknowledged as a highly valued member of her team. Unfortunately the industry in which she worked was overtaken by changes in technology and her employer closed down. Though she chose to work in an industrial environment I have also seen her in an office, where she was a highly capable and organised admin person. She has, in other words, a range of capabilities.

    The second did better than the first at school, and went to university. However in her first year she developed a serious addiction to serious drugs. She tried to mix study with work so as to have enough money to feed her addiction but invariably the jobs only lasted a few months at most. Sometimes she stole from her employers. Eventually she committed a serious offence and was jailed for it. She is still addicted but at this stage it is reasonably under control through a drug treatment program. This second girl is very good in an office but probably wouldn’t be very good in an industrial or other non-office environment.

    The first girl sits at home, sending application after application to employers only to receive spirit-crushing rejection after rejection. Slowly, the bills are overtaking her. Her car has a damaged windscreen she can’t afford to replace on the dole, her WoF is due, so her car is parked up. She has sick relatives who she helps out, and it will now take four changes of public trasport to reach them and four to get home. She has applied for office jobs, factory jobs, even a job working on the roads. She even applied for a role as an Electorate Secretary to her local Labour MP.

    She got to the point where her and her flatmate were drinking two casks of wine a day just so they could sleep through it; she’s cut back a lot since having children and is now sober for their sake, though is depressed and hasn’t worked for so long that she now believes she possibly never will again.

    She’s close to the point – if she hasn’t reached it already – that she will see herself as a lifetime beneficiary, reinforced by the fact that she knows of other good people who are also languishing on the scrapheap.

    The second girl took just two attempts to get a job, despite having to declare her criminal record. With a reason to get up each morning and standards to meet she has reached almost two years without illicit drug use, and returned to study. Despite nearly ruining her life, she is optimistic and has found new friends at work who are engaging her in other interests.

    The first girl lives in NZ, the second in Australia.

    Until the government – any government, I’m past caring which – prioritises the creation of an environment in which there is rewarding (and I don’t just mean monetarily) work for all who want it, NZ will be beset by a raft of incurable social ills and the difficulty of ascertaining worthy receipients of support from the small hard core of those who truly don’t want to work.

    I’m all for a continual focus on the responsibility of beneficiaries to wisely spend the money they’re given (and support the idea of WINZ paying rents and utilities directly and dispensing supermarket cards to those who don’t).

    But we must also keep a similar unrelenting pressure on government to facilitate job creation. Unfortunately all I see are fanbois (and girls) who wee themselves at “zip it sweetie” and allow the hard questions to remain not just unanswered, but unconsidered.

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  28. Monique Watson (1,299 comments) says:

    The first girl has been mollycoddled by the Clark/Cullen environment and needs to employ a bit of gratitude in her life. The second girl is lukcy enough to live in a country that is a little more to the right than NZ and has got off her arse and done something with herself.
    First Girl: Was obviously getting on alright enough to have children. I suggest she move the fuck out of the boondocks and actively look for a job instead of wasting away in small town Suckville. She won’t though has she has Settled for Less. Aint noone can break the poor bitch out of that state but herself.

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  29. Viking2 (14,374 comments) says:

    Like I have said so many times Rex.
    Remove the barriers to work.

    Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs.

    Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.

    Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.

    End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.

    Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.

    Institute training on the job.

    Institute leadership (see Point 12 and Ch. 8). The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.

    Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company (see Ch. 3).

    Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.

    Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.

    Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership.

    Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.

    Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.

    Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective (see Ch. 3).

    Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.

    Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.

    W.Edwards Deming.

    It really does work. Now all we need to do is change company for Country.

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  30. Rex Widerstrom (5,113 comments) says:

    @Monique Watson

    I was going to ask precisely what we all have to be grateful to Mr Smiley for, then I got to the bit where you called the ex-union lawyer who set up a dodgy union trust fund, Julia Gillard, and the former university lecturer and Labor Party State Secretary Wayne Swan, and a Cabinet and party room stuffed with former union officials (a full list is here, at p 275) “a little more to the right than NZ” and realised you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

    First girl lives in Wellington, BTW, but I guess that counts as the Boondocks, or will soon enough as the country slowly crumbles. First girl has applied for at least 10 times the number of jobs second girl applied for because the second girl got one so quickly, so has “got of her arse” exponentially more in terms of job seeking, and is keeping going (I said she’s in danger of giving up, not that she has, and who wouldn’t after years or rejection?)

    So eliminate remoteness, laziness and acceptance – your postulated reasons for her failure to find work – and you’re left with the incontrovertible fact that this government (and those before it) have failed to create an environment conducive to job creation. But hey, if emptyheaded smart-arse put-downs are your thing, you can’t fault the Minister there, so I guess we’re all good.

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  31. Rex Widerstrom (5,113 comments) says:

    @Viking 2

    Agree very much with what you’re saying. Funnily enough, I was engaged in a discussion re Demming with a business owner the other day. He was very excited to have found someone else who had the slightest clue who he was, though, so I don’t think Australia is particularly advanced along that route either.

    However was it you I saw on another thread the other day praising the level of customer service in a Petone shop? I agree it was exceptional but really – acknowledging the customer, serving them promptly, rectifying any issues – shouldn’t be the exception. That we marvel when it is shows just how far things have deteriorated.

    And while it’s easy to blame government for everything, I do believe they have much to answer for even in that respect. Because if the Prime Minister and the Minister for Employment can refuse to be accountable and answer questions, one through smiling and waving and the other through some sort of schoolyard bully impersonation; if the Minister for Education remains in office despite clear failings in her ability to do her job; if a discredited list MP can suck $145,000 + perks out of the taxpayer after having been sacked by his party… and so on and so on… what does that tell the minimum wage shop assistant about how he or she should behave toward the people who pay their wages, and those they are supposedly there to serve?

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  32. Griff (13,845 comments) says:

    Deeming is very good v2

    We have a large proportion, or as wat would say a “trace” of persons šŸ˜€ who do not buy into your goal to have a better nation
    They would much prefer a return to the stone age.

    When you benchmark us against the world we excel in the areas that matter at least to me.


    Often It is the 12 percent I refer to that holds us from being rated as the worlds best society in any of the individual indercators

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  33. Viking2 (14,374 comments) says:

    Rex, no that wasn’t me but we try to do the same type of thing re customer service. Keep looking to do better all the time. Never can be complacent.

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  34. SPC (8,704 comments) says:

    The number of people affected by external circumstances increases at each recession. Those saying that the solution to their poverty is with themselves are just apologists for market determination that they no longer deserving of employment.

    It would be great if there were regional trials of the various parties welfare policies so objectivity could return to this issue.

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  35. ChardonnayGuy (1,605 comments) says:

    Nasska, I am glad that you conceded at least some of the relevance of my point. I do agree that there should be safety provisions within child protection agencies and relevant legislation in this context, especially if kids are being neglected and/or abused as a result of parental addiction and/or alcohol abuse and/or problem gambling. However, I disagree with you about the question of whether existing facilities are adequate or not. Are they? And if one’s body is genetically predisposed toward alcohol abuse and/or problem gambling as a result of genetics and shonky personal neurochemistry, then can it said to wholly be the matter of personal choice?

    Added to which, career alcoholics usually choose booze above anything else- work, family obligations, accomodation even. In which case, they’re not eligible for welfare assistance, although one suspects they do end up costing the public purse in Her Majesty’s incarceration centres or in wasted police time after booze-fuelled violence.

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  36. itstricky (3,970 comments) says:


    Certainly don’t agree with handouts but I would like to hear whom has suggested this is the way to go at present? What policies have actually been suggested by parties that include additional payouts that would be abused in the manner suggested above? DPF suggests such a thing exists but I haven’t heard any evidence of any policies from any party. I’m not up with the news so maybe something has come out in the last couple of months that I’m not aware of?

    The argument with regard to “fallacy that people are controlled by external influences” does have a real life counter – that is the fallacy of right wing politics that all people contribute to society in the same way and that all people are born equal (and therefore have the same opportunities/experiences/chance to better themselves). This is a difficult balance, far more complex than just hand-waving “teach a man to fish and everyone will be okay and happy”

    The rest of your derogatory ramblings about things that you don’t believe in lessens what I otherwise think is quite a solid piece.

    Quite agree with Rex’s comments and his actual suggestions for change – all sound well good and sensible.

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  37. Kimble (4,637 comments) says:

    that is the fallacy of right wing politics that all people contribute to society in the same way and that all people are born equal (and therefore have the same opportunities/experiences/chance to better themselves).

    Why do people say “fallacy” when they really mean “my misunderstanding”?

    Keep fighting those straw men!

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  38. itstricky (3,970 comments) says:


    No straw men there. Reid – people are not controlled by their circumstances. Me – people are controlled by their circumstances, from birth and throughout their entire lives so even though one person can change those circumstances the same opportunities for self-improvement & experience do not exist for everyone equally.

    Either way that’s not the core of Reid’s comment (which is about handouts, not being controlled by circumstances, as far as I can tell, it all just gets all a bit ranty for me at the end as I said) but still valid as far as I can see.

    I don’t have any answers to the issues but I do find the comments of the posters who make valid, positive suggestions interesting.

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