Poverty, Nationals growth industry


child povertyIt is somewhat heartening to see so many academics speaking out recently about the state of the nation. It appears they’re no longer willing to remain silent and let this once great country of ours to degrade even further just to allow the wealthy 1% to become even richer.

There is no question that New Zealand has a rapidly widening gap between the rich and poor; inequality that results in serious adverse social conditions and let’s face it, destroys lives. What’s also without question is that the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few has come at huge expense to the already impoverished, who are now suffering from poverty related diseases at unprecedented levels.

A case in point is the 22% of children in South Auckland who’ve been treated for strep throat in the last year, clearly indicating that living conditions have declined even further under a repressive right wing agenda.

Instead of helping the poor into healthy accommodation and alleviating overcrowding, the current government has set about destroying state housing with harsher entry criteria, forced evictions and hundreds of demolitions or sell-offs. At a time when there’s already a shortfall of 10,000 homes every year in Auckland alone, National plan on reducing the number of available state houses by a further 12,000, which is an obvious recipe for disaster.

It wasn’t as if housing for the low waged or welfare dependent wasn’t bad enough already, with impartial research company BRANZ finding in 2011 that 59% of New Zealand houses weren’t being maintained properly. In the same year the OECD found that rentals were overpriced by 43%, reports that went without response from those who could affect change, namely the government.

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With huge increases in the price of power, widespread energy poverty is resulting in thousands of people living in cold and damp houses, which in turn has led to epidemics of preventable diseases. There is simply no point in insulating houses if people cannot afford to heat them properly, a major problem that National has chosen to ignore by refusing to properly regulate power companies.

Of course the government isn’t happy about all this and has tried to close down anybody who speaks out about such dysfunction. Instead of developing policy to alleviate the terrible conditions many Kiwis are now forced to endure, National prefers to try and bully the outspoken into silence in the hope that the people of New Zealand won’t wake up and vote for a political party that actually gives a damn.

With skyrocketing house prices putting the pinch on people of even moderate means, home-ownership is now in steady decline. There is also the issue of significant tax increases and soaring commodity prices, while wages for the majority of Kiwi workers have remained stagnant or, in some cases, declined. The greatest impact has been on males aged 16 to 20, who are now 14% less financially secure since National gained power in 2008. There is clearly no brighter future for the young in New Zealand, which is why they continue to leave for Australia in droves.

With a veritable shipload of statistics that make National look incompetent at best, I often wonder why they still appear to have so much support? Clearly the majority of Kiwis are a lot worse off under the current regime, so why would they vote for a party that seems determined to continue an agenda of class warfare? The answer is pretty simple: propaganda! The right wing spin-doctors have been working overtime to ensure the public is fed a diet of misinformation and in some cases outright lies.

‘Everything will be fine as long as we sell your assets’ National claims, after promising to spend the projected profits five times over. ‘It’s the global recessions fault’ they still say, while ignoring the fact that it officially ended in June 2009 and commodity prices for key exports are now at historical highs. However, none of this has resulted in any trickle down effect to improve the lives of ordinary Kiwis.

If all National can provide are excuses, come December 2014, they will be out the door.


  1. The key question that you never seem to hear journalists ask the politicians, is the fact that if the rich are getting richer (which they clearly are) then they must surely one way or another, given the limited monetary supply, be achieving it at a cost to everyone else? The economy, outside the growth of GDP, which we know is only 1-2% lately, certainly can’t account for the disparity.

  2. “Clearly the majority of Kiwis are a lot worse off under the current regime, so why would they vote for a party that seems determined to continue an agenda of class warfare? The answer is pretty simple: propaganda!”
    National’s propaganda only works because it fits in so well with the values New Zealander’s already hold. All it takes is for someone to come along and bring out the worst in people. Comment after comment on blog after blog shows that people vote for National and their policies because it fits perfectly with their values system.
    Middle aged, middle New Zealand sees themselves as being moral, hard working belt tightening presbyterians. They operate on the logic of “all unemployed people are poor therefore all poor people are unemployed. All unemployed people are lazy, therefore all poor people are lazy”
    From that point they are fighting a great moral crusade to teach lazy unemployed poor people to be just as moral as they are. 270,000 sick and hungry children are a small price to pay on the quest to teach the parents a lesson.
    Michael Joseph Savage once said “it is immoral for any child to be hungry in a primary producing nation.” Until we have a political movement that has the balls to reintroduce this old fashioned narrative, National and those it benefits will continue to have a field day and our nation’s soul will be the price.

  3. I don’t think the photo of the Queen and Prince Charles really work for this article. Firstly because the Royal Family have little, if anything, to do with the the story. Secondly, they aren’t actually representative of the forces at work that are creating a vastly more economically divided society in New Zealand. It would be the same if it was a photo of a man in a top hat smoking a cigar – both sets of imagery are anacronistic. It’s a bit similar when people have shots of skyscrapers or the stock exchange to picture greed and speculation. In New Zealand, the vast amount of greed and speculation over the past 10 years and more has actually been in the property market and it hasn’t been men in suits but your typically casually dressed New Zealander of both sexes aged between around 40 and 70.

  4. ‘It’s the global recessions fault’ they still say…

    An excuse they don’t extend to welfare recipients, who are being punished for a lack of work…

    Well done, Jackal. Excellent writing.

  5. I agree with most of your points except this one:

    “There is simply no point in insulating houses if people cannot afford to heat them properly”

    An insulated house is still warmer than un-insulated. Also, insulated homes still stop mold from growing, EVEN IF left unheated*. So while the cost of energy to heat those homes is a huge problem, there is a point to it. Insulation does make homes healthier, even if they are not heated.

    The insulation home scheme is a good one, please be careful about knocking one of the few decent programmes the National Government has agreed to.

    *(I know this, as my home had horrible mold growth everywhere. After being insulated by the Healthy Homes scheme, there is no mold anywhere, even in the room that is never heated in winter).

  6. There is simply no point in insulating houses if people cannot afford to heat them properly…

    Actually, if the houses were properly insulated people may be able to afford to warm them – except that the decrease in demand would result in higher power prices to maintain profits for the new private owners.

  7. “Clearly the majority of Kiwis are a lot worse off under the current regime, so why would they vote for a party that seems determined to continue an agenda of class warfare? The answer is pretty simple: propaganda! ”

    This is supported by the latest Roy Morgan Poll out tonight, National up to 47% and Labour down to 31%….trending back down to 25% I guess.

    The “propaganda” is not something the Left has much control over, but having a united and collaborative Labour Party with a decent Leader is…I would have thought…

  8. This government is rather proficient in the arena of propaganda. They have been fine tuning their skills in Christchurch. Utilising the media, they have waged a relentless systematic campaign to the general public on NZ, not just throughout the country, but in Christchurch also, that all is well. They have built a false façade of a situation different to the reality, and their decisions are proper and justified.
    They have convinced the rest of the country that the Red Zoning has been “very very fair” and “generous”, and the people should consider themselves fortunate. The reality has been very different for most of these people. Denied their property rights, which is the foundation of a true democracy , they were subtly pressured to give in to the so called “voluntary offers” and in many cases, have been left severely compromised financially.
    The whole central city plan has been a massive propaganda campaign in itself, with huge amounts of glitzy marketing and targeted media releases to support a plan that many of the city have serious doubts about or believe it not feasible.
    Meanwhile they use the city plan to conduct and enforce business property/land owners to sell for the necessity of this plan to progress, some at against their wishes, and at great losses.
    They tried the same with the schools closure saga with false information and manipulation of the media. It wasn’t until certain media outlets such as Campbell Live bravely stood by the schools and exposed this misinformation, eventually forcing the government to back off on it’s assault – for now. The rest of the city and the country seem accepting of, or blind to the realities of the various situations. And the propaganda campaign continues.

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