25,000 fewer in child poverty

July 9th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Once again Labour gets struck with the inconvenient statistic getting in the way of its crisis.

The Herald reports:

has dropped back almost to pre-recession levels, as New Zealanders’ jobs and incomes finally climb out of a five-year downturn.

The Ministry of Social Development’s latest annual report on household incomes says the number of children in households earning below 60 per cent of the median wage fell by 25,000 to 260,000 last year …

Isn’t that good.

However, beneficiaries slipped further behind average incomes because benefits are adjusted in line with prices, not incomes, so inequality worsened at the bottom of the income scale.

The answer to that is have fewer people on welfare, and for temporary, not long-term support.

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35 Responses to “25,000 fewer in child poverty”

  1. jp_1983 (200 comments) says:

    The left will be happy once everyone is poor and miserable and then aunty miteria and uncle grant will be able to look after us all

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  2. EAD (825 comments) says:

    There’s no poverty in New Zealand.

    The current definition (60 per cent of the median wage) measures financial inequality and is a ruse to justify massive state intervention and Socialism. The State are willfully ignorant that financial inequality (being the driver of our world) is a good thing. Only a financial illiterate or the Ministry of Social Development would set “poverty” as a percentage of average wage and expect to alter it.

    The truth is these ridiculous child poverty targets should be scrapped. They merely serve to ensure that anyone who produces a child is guaranteed a reasonably comfortable lifestyle, irrespective of any effort or endeavour on their part. The feckless underclass are well aware of this, which is why they are breeding like rabbits with no concern whatsoever about any responsibility to pay to bring up the children the produce.

    Ironically, the most effective way to reduce child poverty would be to stop all child related welfare benefits as it would stop the poor having children, ergo it would reduce the number of children being born into “relative poverty”. We could smash any child poverty target and actually save money in the process.

    Would National or Labour do that – like hell they would!! The truth is that the State likes poverty – massive studies, huge spending, endless exercises, massive departments, huge budgets, inordinate amounts of money and no bloody difference whatsoever.

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  3. Judith (8,442 comments) says:

    So now, all those who complained that the original figures were wrong, and an over-estimation are now happy to claim those same figures, and crow about the success we’ve had in reducing the numbers. Hilarious!

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  4. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    As a person who has done volunteer work in Africa, when I hear about poverty in NZ, and those who bleat about it, I roll my eyes in disgust. I have seen real poverty.

    While I do know that there are many who are in very dire circumstances, including homelessness, and they do need intervention, there seems to be many people on the political left who require as many people defined as being in poverty as they can get, because they are the self appointed saviour of that group. It’s nicer to tell these people the political equivalent of “There, there. I’ll help you” as opposed to “come on, it’s time to help yourself, and I’ll help you to help yourself”.

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  5. flipper (3,842 comments) says:

    DAVID…..

    Can we use a different word to describe the imbalance in incomes?

    “Poverty” is NOT appropriate.

    It conjures up eastern and middle eastern slums without proper housing or sanitary features, not folks who choose between Sky, booze, pokies and healthy food (even though fast foods are more expensive) for their kids. Oh… and by the way, let us not forget overseas holidays.

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  6. Judith (8,442 comments) says:

    @ EAD (496 comments) says:
    July 9th, 2014 at 7:09 am

    I think the choice of ‘poverty’ pinned to the condition was a really bad one, for the reason you point out. When most of us think of poverty, we think of a child with a swollen belly, and very thin legs holding an empty bowl. The term just doesn’t seem to fit here in New Zealand.

    Perhaps deprivation might have been a better choice – there are children in this country that are deprived the chance of ever meeting the standard of life that most of us find the minimum expectation.

    Of course the reason why they are deprived varies immensely. For some, there is simply not enough money for their parents to purchase the things ‘deemed’ to be necessities in this country – but for many, it is simply poor judgement and mismanagement of what they do have – many parents simply do not know how to be parents – and there is no incentive to know. When the government will pick up the tab for maternity leave and then nurse them right the way through their lives, including subsidising their funeral, what incentive is there to reach beyond your comfort zone and educate yourself with the tasks necessary to be self-sufficient? And of course, because ‘he’ isn’t making the effort, why should ‘I’?

    Having the ‘goals’ at an unobtainable level doesn’t help. As kiwis we have had the mindset that each of us is successful once we’ve got our 1/4 acre home – the fact is that the goals we have are no longer able to be achieved for many, and so lots feel aggrieved and give up. We need to get the idea through to the population that achieving isn’t tied up with a house package, and that achievement can be measured in terms of self-sufficiency and taking care of ‘yours’.

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  7. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    Judith.

    Take off your eyepatch. When poverty is measures in the way that many do, by a line below a median, gives a statistical measure that will always result in a number of people below that line. What we are pointing out here is that even by your measurements, we are winning the so called “War on Poverty”

    What you and a few others need to realise that you don’t win the war on poverty by treating the poor as victims of the war, but rather as soldiers against the war.

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  8. Judith (8,442 comments) says:

    @ slightlyrighty (2,488 comments) says:
    July 9th, 2014 at 7:26 am

    I don’t accept we have ‘poverty’ in the first place, so your argument is lost on me sunshine.

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  9. boonman (3 comments) says:

    Are these the official figures off the National Party infographic I saw yesterday? It was a very pretty infographic, therefore I believed everything that was written on it.

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  10. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    Judith.

    If you don’t accept we have poverty in NZ, then what is the problem that many on the left are on about?

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  11. itstricky (1,696 comments) says:

    Poverty can be a relative term. No reason why not. Those who go on about “oh but this is real poverty over here” just detract and deflect from the subject as if to say “they should be happy with what they got, throw them another crust and let’s carry on as we are”. Like many things there seems to be a logically fallacy that prevails along the lines of 50% of our children are OK so let’s not bother with the rest. Just like 50% of the environment is clean and green so let’s not bother with the rest., or the median wage is 35k and most people are okay with that so let’s not bother with the rest etc etc

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  12. itstricky (1,696 comments) says:


    So now, all those who complained that the original figures were wrong, and an over-estimation are now happy to claim those same figures, and crow about the success we’ve had in reducing the numbers. Hilarious!

    Cue JKs “my kids go to private school because the classes are smaller” followed by “smaller class sizes are NOT the answer!”

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  13. ShawnLH (4,431 comments) says:

    “Ironically, the most effective way to reduce child poverty would be to stop all child related welfare benefits as it would stop the poor having children”

    No, it wouldn’t. Even if you did so, the drive to reproduce would win out.

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  14. m@tt (610 comments) says:

    So David. Now that the stat is going a way that you approve of you think it has meaning?

    Kiwiblog 2013 – hooton_on_poverty_and_income_inequality

    David:

    This is very true, and those numbers quoted are near meaningless. The far better measure of hardship is the survey done by eithers Stats and/or MSD every few years asking a representative set of households what items or services they do not have, that they wish to have.

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  15. ShawnLH (4,431 comments) says:

    Yes, we have poverty in NZ. For once at least, istricky is right. Poverty is a relative term. By our own standards, we do have people who qualify.

    And, to their credit, National is addressing it in far more effective ways than Labour did under Clark.

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  16. Lindsay (142 comments) says:

    “However, beneficiaries slipped further behind average incomes because benefits are adjusted in line with prices, not incomes, so inequality worsened at the bottom of the income scale.”

    The report doesn’t appear to account for income related rents or accommodation supplement. I’ve blogged the relevant table.

    http://www.lindsaymitchell.blogspot.co.nz/2014/07/growing-gap-between-income-from-welfare.html

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  17. Judith (8,442 comments) says:

    @ slightlyrighty (2,489 comments) says:
    July 9th, 2014 at 7:42 am

    I think that poverty is a bad term to describe the condition we have.

    What we have is child deprivation, where for a variety of reasons children are not provided with what is deemed in our particular society to be ‘minimum standard’. The emphasis being on OUR SOCIETY. Whilst I know there are many societies whose standards and better or worse, this is OUR country, and that is who I am concerned with.

    As an example, I would personally expect all children to have a clean and warm bed to sleep in, and to have adequate shelter from the weather conditions in New Zealand. I would expect all New Zealand children to have that shelter in the form of a ‘home’ rented or owned (be that a flat, unit, house – basically a sound structure that we mostly think of when we talk about residential living quarters). That is what I would call ‘minimum’ – but there are children who do not have that, who for various reasons are living in unlined garages, sometimes tents, etc. That is not meeting the minimum condition, and therefore I consider the children living in such conditions to be deprived.

    Another example, I believe most NZers would agree that three meals a day is the ‘minimum’ standard. Meals do not have to be ‘luxurious’ but the total should be able to provide the minimum nutrition require by the child at their age. Some do not get that, so they are ‘deprived of the standard’.

    The reasons why some children are deprived is varied. However, the essence is that whatever the reason, it is NOT the child’s fault – which I believe makes it of concern to all right thinking members of NZ society. None of us (I would expect) would enjoy seeing an innocent child deprived of what is deemed to be minimum by New Zealand standards.

    The big question is – ‘what do we do about it’ and how do we address it in a way that does not make other problems (dependence etc).

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  18. Lindsay (142 comments) says:

    “However, beneficiaries slipped further behind average incomes because benefits are adjusted in line with prices, not incomes, so inequality worsened at the bottom of the income scale.”

    The report doesn’t apppear to account for income realted rents or accommodation supplement.

    I have blogged the relevant table:

    http://www.lindsaymitchell.blogspot.co.nz/2014/07/growing-gap-between-income-from-welfare.html

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  19. Other_Andy (2,513 comments) says:

    Child poverty number is determined of children in households earning below 60 per cent of the median wage.

    They don’t need to improve wages, unemployment etc.
    They just need to make sure that the median wage drops.

    Clever trick by the left-wing activists isn’t it?

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  20. Odakyu-sen (524 comments) says:

    “Child poverty number is determined of children in households earning below 60 per cent of the median wage.
    They don’t need to improve wages, unemployment etc.
    They just need to make sure that the median wage drops.”

    Andy, if “poverty” is defined as 60% of the median wage (the median being the mid point when all the wage earners are lined up in order of their earnings), then whatever the medium wage shall be, poverty will always be 60% of that.

    If the median wage was $100,000, relative poverty would be $60,000. If the median wage was $50,000, relative poverty would be $30,000. How would the “poor” be better off if the median wage fell?

    Am I missing something obvious here?

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  21. kowtow (7,943 comments) says:

    DPF

    With respect you fall into the same trap as the one the media and leftists use in descrbing it as “poverty”.

    Poverty is of course as pointed out relative to median income.

    We should not be using the same language as the left.

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  22. Odakyu-sen (524 comments) says:

    “Child poverty” is an emotionally loaded word that I dislike. Children are poor because they (usually) don’t work. Although ironically they may prove to be money earners for the parent.

    I agree with Judith that “child deprivation” would be better. (Although defining “deprivation” is tricky because people won’t agree on a definition.)

    Why not give “child poverty” a different name; one that shifts the responsibility firmly on to the parents

    Any suggestions?

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  23. hj (6,732 comments) says:

    You have to wonder at Government policy (something doesn’t smell right)?

    The BNZ Chief Economist’s view on the Auckland House Prices
    Posted by David Whitburn on 1 November 2012 |

    Tony Alexander’s view on house prices
    In BNZ Chief Economist Tony Alexander’s weekly overview, Auckland house prices are set to move upwards nicely. Here are his 19 reasons why:

    1. Auckland did not enter the 2008 recession then late-2008 into 2009 global financial crisis with an over-supply of property. Shortages of personnel constrained house construction from 2004 through 2008.
    2. The shortage has become worse in the past four years and last year annual consent numbers were at a four decade low.
    3. The government is explicitly aiming to grow Auckland’s population as a means of achieving “agglomeration” benefits for economic growth which accrue from high interaction amongst economic players.

    http://www.davidwhitburn.com/blogs/auckland-house-prices-to-rise-over-10-in-2013/

    From The NZ Initiative

    Agglomeration
    It is well established that cities tend to be more economically efficient than non-urban areas when measured by wages and productivity. These are called agglomeration benefits, or the positive spill
    -over effects thatcome from positioning firms and workers closer together. Advocates for compact cities have taken this as support for the measures to increase population density. However, the report shows:

    prominent urban economists, both internationally and in New Zealand, remain cautious about
    correlating population density and productivity together. The emerging literature on the topic agrees that they occur, not why they occur.

    should the population-productivity relationship exist, work by Motu Economic and Policy Research in New Zealand suggests dramatic increases in density would yield only marginal increases in productivity. Auckland’s population would have to double (100 per cent increase) to lift productivity 6.9 per cent.

    economic research in Europe shows negative spill-over effects from higher population densities can eclipse the benefits of agglomeration. This was seen in the Netherlands, where outlying regions saw greater productivity growth than urban areas (often cited as ideal examples of compact development) due in part to higher congestion in cities

    http://nzinitiative.org.nz/site/nzinitiative/files/publications/Up%20or%20Out%20-%20Report%20Summary.pdf

    Poooh!

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  24. jcuknz (704 comments) says:

    Further to Other Andy … if we taxed hell out of the rich that would reduce the median and solve most of the ‘poverty/deprivation’ problem …. yeah right :)

    I think Labour have some good ideas which it would be good if National adopted to save us from the GIMPs and a coalition without a dominent party.

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  25. Other_Andy (2,513 comments) says:

    Odakyu-sen:

    You are right, I stated it a bit clumsy.
    They just need to make sure that all wages (earnings) are about the same using tax and subsidies.

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  26. jcuknz (704 comments) says:

    Odakyu-sen (427 comments) says:

    July 9th, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Parent neglect/irresponsibility …. poverty is a shorter word.

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  27. Judith (8,442 comments) says:

    I prefer deprivation because it can be defined by a set of simple ‘minimum standards’. Anyone not receiving those standards is ‘deprived’.

    However, what is more important to me is why some are deprived. A simple income level test does not prove deprivation (poverty). The fact is there are some that manage very well on a low income and are able to provide the basics due to their industrial attitude, knowledge, intelligence and other factors.

    Then there are some who earn well above the levels mentioned above, who do to poor management, over-burdened with debt, lack of intelligence, substance or gambling problems, or plain lack of decent concern – who simply do not provide what they should for their families.

    Defining poverty by income is not a satisfactory measure in my opinion. A decent measure is setting minimum standards and researching to see who is receiving below that standard (no don’t ask me how we would do that because I don’t know). But setting minimum standards isn’t hard.

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  28. duggledog (1,439 comments) says:

    There are hundreds of millions of people on this planet who would swap their miserable situation with the very poorest person in New Zealand, given the chance. We’ve all seen it when we did our OE’s right? I think use of the term ‘poverty’ is disgusting in this country, and unbelievably disrespectful to the poor devils in third world countries and I verbally rip the shit out of people I hear using the term.

    Sure, some people are poor, I was once, but child poverty is child neglect, pure and simple, in 99% of the cases. John Key has had six years, a piggy bank draining natural disaster and a GFC as an excuse to do the one thing he could have done to start a stop to it.

    Which is, legislate for the DPB to apply to the first child only, phasing out the DPB entirely in 3 years to be replaced with gold plated support for genuine hardship only. I have never understood why I have to pay for other people’s children.

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  29. chris (589 comments) says:

    Minimum standards are pretty simple. Do you have enough to pay the rent/mortgage, power, water and other essential utilities, buy clothes and shoes when you need them, and enough to put nutritious food on the table? If you can do all that, you are not in poverty. Everything else is a bonus. Booze and fags, Sky TV, going on holidays and the internet are not requirements.

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  30. Lance (2,561 comments) says:

    @itstricky
    People send their kids to private schools because of the quality of the teachers and the philosophy of the school.
    Class size is pretty much immaterial.

    By example the private school we sent our daughter was fantastic up till year 12 and 13. We then found a certain state school was far better at that stage and we sent her there.

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  31. Unity (408 comments) says:

    For me, it is not child poverty but child neglect. You can almost bet that the parents in all too many cases smoke, play the pokies, go to the Pub, have mobiles, TVs and all the electronic gadgets, and manage to feed themselves, if not their children. It’s more a case of prioritising. If they didn’t pay children to have children then there wouldn’t be so many in the negative statistics because they wouldn’t have these children at such a young age in the first place and would have more chance to get a better education which would lead to better employment. It’s become a lifestyle option for those who haven’t been bothered to get an education. Stop the DPB for those under a certain age and don’t give one cent more for anyone on the DPB who continues to have children.

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  32. Odakyu-sen (524 comments) says:

    I prefer a term like “parental neglect” for two reasons: firstly, it identifies the source of the problem; and secondly, it implies that throwing money at the problem will not really change anything.

    This is a very different to the term “child poverty,” which implies that if only the government were to spend more funding on it, then children would somehow become “less poor” as a result.

    Also, the term “child poverty” takes the parent(s) out of the equation; whereas “parental neglect” puts them back in.

    If you call a spade a spade and frame this issue as “parental neglect,” then you might be able to begin to address the problem.

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  33. itstricky (1,696 comments) says:

    Class size is pretty much immaterial

    Quick – let JK know.

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  34. itstricky (1,696 comments) says:

    Oh, while you’re there can you let him know charter schools are less material than class size? Ta.

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  35. publicwatchdog (2,285 comments) says:

    Does having fewer people on welfare apply to thousands of consultants and private contractors on ‘corporate welfare’?

    Penny Bright

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