Poverty shaming students


See no poverty, speak no poverty, hear no poverty.

How on earth have we managed to get ourselves into a position where poverty shaming students at schools for not paying their voluntary fees is an acceptable method of treating our children by schools?

I imagine school boards of trustees stacked with contemptible pricks who inflict in others behaviour based on their own precious invisible privilege up bringing without any appreciation of just how cruel they are being dominating the decision making behind ideas like bag tags and detaining children in class rooms…

Fees-row pupils kept out of class
About 30 boys are being pulled out of class and made to sit in the school hall while staff at Whangarei Boys’ High School chase up outstanding fees…Yesterday, Whangaparaoa School backed down on a scheme to give tags to families which could identify which students had their donation paid.

…meanwhile we have two Ministers of the Crown attacking Metiria over a jacket instead of inequality, we have the PM wanting to talk a flag change instead of inequality and a mainstream media in a manufactured feeding frenzy attempting to claim the Leader of the Opposition is a liar rather than focus on the inequality his policy would alleviate.

We are a nation as caught up in poverty denial as we are caught up in climate change denial, we refuse to accept others are doing poorly because it grates against our pretensions that we are an egalitarian country and forces us to confront the imbalances and lack of social justice in our country. Those issues raise awkward questions about us and our capital gains free property wealth speculation alongside the billions given away in tax cuts to the richest NZers, best to deny it all and come up with ways to humiliate parents who we all know just need some punishment to stop spending their money on booze and ciggies right?

Welcome to the see no poverty, hear no poverty, speak no poverty joke that is NZ.


  1. Not al boards, Martyn, but I sure worked with many BOT members like this in my last decade of principalship in a high decile school.

    I imagine school boards of trustees stacked with contemptible pricks who inflict in others behaviour based on their own precious invisible privilege up bringing without any appreciation of just how cruel they are being dominating the decision making behind ideas like bag tags and detaining children in class rooms… –

    • Mana and the Green Party have a whole bunch of policies that will do just that. from tobin taxes to real social housing programmes. Why don’t you hear about them? When you have a banker at the helm, asking banks to pay their share is problematic. It’s simply too close to home to talk about. The press release parrots we call journalists of the MSM are too shit scared of doing the right thing and telling New Zealand about their democratic options. They spin MMP as some defacto FPP system and just when you think a little bit of sanity might appear, you turn around and every MSM slot is filled with vocal supporters of the right wing agenda. So it continues, they fabricate diversions and distribute factless propaganda that the masses consume in ever increasing quantities. NZ glugs down the kool-aid and burps a rancid cloud of elitist hate in response. Kind of depressing when you think about it.

      • What part of ‘voluntary’ did I miss? Are we referring to state or public? As the conclusion I will write… Yes I volunteer at schools. Yes I pay exactly half of the donation. Yes I work in soup kitchens. Yes I fall into a state category as beneficiary unable to afford vital aspects in the home. Yes most certainly we are lead by the stupid who assume we are blind in a vain hope we are deaf to mismanagement. Nope, just tired of it all.

  2. Martyn

    You seem quite passionate about the situation some people are in, in regards to poverty. You are to be commended on this, so presumably you work at a soup kitchen, donate your time or money to charity?Please enlighten your informed readers in regards to what you do so that we may follow your example.

    Kind regards


    • Charity is something a person does not boast about Stephen, such a thing is crass. Don’t look to me for a source of inspiration, have enough of a backbone to find that within yourself.

    • I agree! I also think the same of our ‘so concerned’ Green MP’s and labour MP’s. Its one thing to sit behind a desk and advocate about poverty, but to do something about, like donate money, or even better voluntary time. That is where the real hard work is!!

  3. Speaking as someone who had had considerable experience “enforcing voluntary donations” if you will excuse the oxymoron, its is not the impoverished that are targeted. We make allowances for anyone in financial difficulties, these consist of partial payment allowances or simply writing the full sum off if we are approached and informed of the issues.

    The type of enforcement you describe in this article is targeted at the people who can afford the payments and choose not to pay. Whether or not voluntary payments are correct in a wider sense is debatable but having parents who can afford to pay and choose not to subsidised by those who often earn less but work hard to pay for their children is an abomination.

    That is the purpose of such action.

  4. Thank you for drawing more attention to this appalling policy. As much as I’d like to believe only those who have means are targeted, it’s not what we are experiencing. How dare they call it a ‘donation’.
    Of course parents have always had to pay for extracurricular activities, but some schools help families who cannot afford it, and others, as one my children attended are quite happy to shame the have-nots by announcing in class who has paid and who has not. This is just cruelty.

  5. As the cost of giving our children a healthy life and enlightened, public school education rises astronomically–the diversion of tax money to pay for rich indulgent boat races; expensive cars; beehive remodeling; unnecessary roads; ‘poor’, indigent, Australian mineral corporates; and countless other extravagances FOR the wealthy–is criminal. Free public education–well funded– is the major cure for civilisation’s woes. …And it had better happen fast.

  6. It’s a despicable way to enforce payments, my daughter was humiliated when school year books were passed to kids in her class and she was the only one who didn’t get one. I did make some
    contribution which apparently was sufficient to cover the cost of two year books one for my son and one for my daughter…the school sent one after I complained! I am also aware of a local school board on the Shore that wanted to print a list to publicly shame parents who didn’t pay. I think it’s time that the government stepped up to the mark.

Comments are closed.