This is what inequality looks like in NZ – beneficiaries vs CEOs

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Inequality denial is vitally important to the Government and its allies in the shaping of the election narrative. According to John Key and a fairly compliant media, this Government is a compassionate one that brings the people with it, one that has steered the waka of Aotearoa successfully through the choppy seas of recession.

In short, apparently we don’t know how lucky we are.

What a load of nonsense. This Government did not bring the people with them on Asset sales, GCSB mass surveillance and robbing care givers of their legal right to challenge Government decisions. This Government, recently criticised by Amnesty International and the UN for their lax commitment to human rights, masquerades as lite right when in reality it’s pretty hard right. Charter Schools, the demonisation of beneficiaries, the class cleansing of state housing tenants, competition models in education, more private corporations supplying social services, a chequebook always open for corporate welfare and a contempt for public broadcasting that constantly dumbs down the debate are not the hallmarks of a middle of the road conservatism, it’s an ideological romper stomper looking for another 3 years without mentioning inequality.

The billions borrowed to give away to the richest NZers hasn’t helped with social inequality while reducing Government revenue on being able to reduce that social inequality.

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Last year, ‘Inequality, A New Zealand Crisis‘, was released, here were the main points…

-The gap between high and low incomes has widened faster in recent decades in NZ than in most other developed nations

-Across all adults. the top 1% owns three times as much wealth as the poorest 50%.

-NZ now has the widest income gaps since detailed records began in the early 1980s.

-The average household in the top 10% of NZ has nine times the income of one in the bottom 10%

-Between 170 000 – 270 000 children living in poverty (depending on the measures used)

-One of the world’s worst worst records of child health and well-being

-One major report on children’s welfare ranked NZ twenty-eighth out of 30 developed countries.

-There are more Pakeha in poverty then Maori, but poverty impacts Maori & Pacifica more acutely. 1 in every 10 Pakeha households live in poverty, 1 in every 5 Maori and Pacific households live in poverty.

-Maori had 95% of their land appropriated and alienated between 19th Century and 20th Century.

-Women earn 13% less than men and are under represented in senior positions within almost every occupation. Many are forced to take low income part time work.

-Subsidies for Kiwisaver contributions and some Working for Families tax credits, are available only to those in paid work or, sometimes, in full-time paid work. A lower proportion of Women are in full time work so they are more likely to be excluded from these initiatives and more reliant on inadequate state benefits.

-Pacific Islanders are 3 times more likely to be unemployed than the general population’s rate, they also, like recent immigrants, struggle alongside Maori against structural discrimination.

-These groups represent the 800 000 NZers living below the poverty line.

-Against that number, 29 000 people own 16% of NZs wealth, and 13 000 NZers have incomes over $250 000.

-Wages and benefits are too low for people to live on, it isn’t an issue of budgeting, it’s an issue of income.

-Poverty erodes voice and citizenship which generates inequality.

-People’s ability to participate fully in their society and enjoy a sense of belonging is vital for a Democracy to flourish.

…those facts can now be lined up against research that gives insight to what that inequality looks like in real life. Thanks to Chrissy Glen, we now have a means to see who really gains and who loses in the inequality debate. The figures are sobering.

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While we all have a responsibility to contribute, we also have the right to benefit from the fruits of society. The road worker, the receptionist, the sales assistant, the solo parent, the beneficiary, the teacher, the lawyer, the manager –  ALL contribute to a functioning economy as much as the businessman and executives do. To see such obscene differences in wealth should shame our egalitarian beliefs.

We have ignored work with dignity in favour of grinding wages down and the realisation that each persons role has a part to play in the positive running of a modern society has been missed for the mad scramble of selfishness as a virtue enveloped in a user pays consumer culture that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

The Government will bellow that there is no depression in NZ, but their denial of the inequality caused by a failed neoliberal experiment now 30 years old, is as out of touch with the future needs of this country as deep sea oil drilling is.

With an eye to the latest dismal poll results, it is time for MANA, the Greens and Labour to sit down over a cup of tea and work out exactly what the articulated difference from this  current self defeating economic direction will be.

The injustice is vast and the demand for creative and intelligent responses to the needs we have in a land of plenty are required now. Time for politicians on the left to step up and lead rather than remain impotent from opinion polled policy messaging.

3 more years of this social vandalism is simply not an option.

 

90 COMMENTS

    • Nope. Time to link the max to min income. If the so called talent wants a pay rise then they had better use their ‘talent’ to lift everybody up.

  1. Those who ‘have’ are frightened that if they give what they have, to those who are merely surviving, they will lose out. It’s not a case of what I’m going to lose but how you can uplift those who need it the most and make this country great. We must strive for more love and compassion for all our people.

    The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.
    ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.
    ~Samuel Johnson, Boswell: Life of Johnson

  2. The bulk of some of these large salaries is what economists refer to as “economic rent”, and, ideally, economic rent should probably carry most of the tax burden. As a corollary labour should be lightly taxed, or, perhaps, not taxed at all.

  3. … and we were promised so much in the Rogernomics “revolution” that was rammed down our throats in the 1980s and 1990s.

    After 30 years of neo-liberal “reform”, I think we can safely say that the experiment has been a failure (except for the top 10% – and especially “One Percenters”), and their loyal sycophants.

    It took the Russians 70 years to realise that their grand experiment in collectivisation was an economic (and social) failure.

    I sincerely hope that neo-liberalism – the mirror-image of Soviet centralism – doesn’t take us that long to ditch it.

    • Frank your history is a bunch of excuses for thought.

      The SU was not doomed to failure. It was driven into submission by rampant capitalism which began in the 16th century and reached its use-by date in WW1. The Bolshevik revolution was quarantined by European social democracy for fear that revolution would spread like a plague. Had it broken out of its isolation that would have been the end of capitalism and so it was invaded, surrounded, attacked and threatened with nuclear obliteration until it succumbed 70 years later.

      But that didn’t solve capitalism’s problems. Neo-liberalism was the desperate attempt to overcome the decline and fall of capitalism with a new form of colonisation to plunder the weaker countries.

      The only thing notable about Rogernomics was that, just as the Bolsheviks were quarantined by social democracy, in NZ the plunder of the working class was enabled by a Labour Government.

      The point is that it is neither ‘failed communism’ nor ‘neoliberalism’ are a cause of inequality. That is capitalism in its old age hell bent on destroying the planet to survive another decade.

      All of this petty bourgeois moralising about rescuing capitalism from neo-liberalism is pathetic when we face social and environmental destruction capable of bringing about our extinction.

      • Yes and three little yachts are sailing past my house right now with community leaders on board with messages from each on why the drilling must not happen. They will meet the Noble Bob Douglas and convey their messages. You are so right in your last sentence Dave Brown. It is just so sad, I will watch from the Otago Heads, while the albatross fly above my head this meeting of David and Goliath. I think also that this society is just full of bullies and self centred people otherwise why would anyone have voted for John Key over minimum pay increases. It is like people who dump rubbish without a twinge of guilt, I just don’t understand how people can be so thoughtless about each other and the environment.

      • @ Dave…

        I actually lived in Eastern Europe for a while. It was a fascinating insight into another way of living under a system that was quite alien to me (though National’s Surveillance State is fast approaching).

        One of the first things I picked up talking with people (once I gained their trust, and yes, I can speak my parent’s language – though a bit rough by now) was the sheer degree of apathy toward the economic system.

        People had no “skin in the game” so they really didn’t care about the political system they lived under.

        Much like 800,000 voters in NZ couldn’t be arsed voting because they lost any sense that the system would make any difference in their lives.

        In my ‘umble opinion, the fall of the Soviet bloc (and I am reluctant to call it socialism, because I don’t believe it was socialist) wasn’t simply because of the Cold War.

        It was apathy.

        Which is a stark reminder to us that apathy is the biggest enemy we face.

        And, in case you’re unaware, I have no love for neo-liberalism/free market/user-pays/whatever. To me it is another extreme economic system that places ideology above human needs, and values the Individual over Community.

        Neo-liberalism is based on lies – evidenced by the crap that RWNJs like Intrinsicvalue and Gosman keep spouting

        As such, it will be doomed to failure as well and consigned to the rubbish bin of history. (A fight which I happily engage in.)

        People are social creatures and neo-liberalism does not address that reality.

        Just as people are individuals as well, and the Soviet system failed to meet that need as well.

        • People had no “skin in the game” so they really didn’t care about the political system they lived under.

          That seems to be true of all top down hierarchies which includes representative democracies like ours. The rich minority remove the power of the majority through laws and backroom deals like the TPPA.

          • 100% nailed it, Draco.

            I suspect that if there had been real, democratic, ground-up socialism in the former USSR and it’s Eastern European allies, people might have been more supportive of the system.

            There could also have been independent media, through worker-collectives, that would present accurate news (not propaganda) and kept the State, bureaucrats and politicians honest.

            Ditto for real independent trade unions, that would have been a brake on political power.

            Who know – maybe a more diverse, robust form of socialism would have succeeded where the Soviet centralised-planning model did not.

            Considering the incredible achievements of the former USSR in health, education, housing, and science, their real potential had not really been tapped.

            We have similar problems with a growing, rich, powerful, oligarchy in the West.

            About 50% of Americans vote – such is their growing apathy.

            The 2011 general election was the lowest turnout for over a hundred years.

            Local body elections are generally also low in turn-out.

            And there is a vociferous minority advocating not to vote at all (championed by the likes of Russell Brand.)

            As oligarchies get more powerful, citizen apathy grows. Which in turn emboldens the oligarchy and it’s misguided sycophantic supporters (IV, Gosman, et al).

            Not good.

            • “The 2011 general election was the lowest turnout for over a hundred years.

              Local body elections are generally also low in turn-out.”

              Should read;

              “The New Zealand 2011 general election was the lowest turnout for over a hundred years.

              New Zealand local body elections are generally also low in turn-out.”

      • @ Dave. By the way, I voted your 12.04 post “thumbs up”. We may not see eye-to-eye on this one, but the common enemy – neo-liberalism – is identified as the enemy we both face.

  4. Interesting in Cuba the doctors get the same wages as the street cleaners and Cuba has recently supplied 500 doctors to Brazil.

    Amazing how a country as poor as Cuba can crank out doctors and supply them to Venezula, Brazil and African countries in exchange for oil and tradeable commodities.

    The capitalist system has not worked here in NZ most major NZ companies have failed or collapsed, we have sold most of our State Assets and we have record levels of overseas debt.

    Go figure that one???

    • Here’s a thought Jack. Most Cuban workers live on barely subsistence level wages (the average wage is around NZ$30 per month). The country has a huge problem with ‘official’ corruption. It’s current economic freedom rating makes it one of the least free in the world. Despite this being a centrally controlled economy, Cuba still has unemployment, currently around 4%. If it really is that appealing to you, try living there.

      • If Cuba is as bad as you say, and doomed to fail anyway, why don’t the seppos just leave them to their inevitable failure? Why instead do they insist on economic and diplomatic blockades, sabotage of the Cuban economy, and an encouragement of the worst, most reactionary dogs of Cuban society. Why do they protect terrorists who destroy Cuban aircraft?

        Why are they so scared if it’s the doomed hell that you describe? You wouldn’t know a thought if it poked its head up your bum and perforated your colin craig. You shouldn’t be offering to give them away. Your really suffer from a shortage.

        • Good point, Ovicula. If the Cuban system is as bad as our American cuzzies say it is – why the economic blockade?

          It can’t be for ethical reasons. The US government bases it’s policies on ethics as much as crocodiles are concerned for the creatures they eat.

          Considering the USA’s penchant for “doing business” with some of the most repressive regimes on this planet, the alternative is purely ideological.

          • The reasons for the blockade may be political. In US elections Florida is an important state to win, and Florida has a lot of expat Cubans.

          • Everyone does business with repressive regimes, Frank. We have a FTA with China. We trade with most of the Arab nations of the ME. We trade with Indonesia. The list is almost endless.

            • “Everyone does business with repressive regimes, Frank. “

              “Everybody does it”, IV, does not make it right. That is a childish/childlike justification. It indicates a lack of morality for the pursuit of profit.

              • I didn’t say it did make it right. But at least be consistent. If you criticise the US for trading with some of the ‘most repressive regimes” on the planet, then do you advocate we withdraw from trading with China, etc?

          • Whilst I agree the restrictions on trade with the US are counter-productive they don’t constitute a blockade. The US is a sovereign nation and is entitled to restrict it’s citizens from trading with whoever they decide. Cuba spent 30 years without any real issue with these restrictions. They aren’t the cause of their economic problems. Socialism is.

            • Oh for Christ’s sake – are you serious? I don’t bother replying to much of the right wing nonsense you spout Gosman, but this is the most bullshit I’ve seen from you for a while. You are so bent and twisted and spiteful in your need to denigrate the left and love using communist country’s to back up your hate, but using Cuba is a joke BECAUSE of the economic blockade by the US. Trying to blame communism for Cuba’s economic ills is just a big stinking pile of shit when Cuba has given its people some of the highest education standards of any south american country. You are desperately back peddling here trying to keep Cuba alive as an example.

              It’s sad, it’s pathetic and the reality is, you are better than this Gosman. I think you are a bit punch drunk mate, take a day off and come back to the debate much, much, much sharper than this.

            • The US is a sovereign nation and is entitled to restrict it’s citizens from trading with whoever they decide.

              Really, Gosman?

              So you support the power of The State to control it’s citizens?

              In which case, in all fairness, you also supported the right of the former USSR to control who their citizens were trading with!

              So you also then support the power of a Sovereign State to control all trading activities?

              So our government can ban tobacco; restrict alcohol; tax sugary drinks; etc.

              And you, of course, would support that.

              I hope your Libertarian friends aren’t reading this!! LMAO!!!

              Cuba spent 30 years without any real issue with these restrictions. They aren’t the cause of their economic problems. Socialism is.

              Gosman, I’m no supporter of one-party States – but that remark is so utterly ludricrous as to show you up as even more ignorant than usual.

              If you honestly don’t think that economic blockades/boycotts have no impact, you really need to read up on South Africa, Iran, and Gaza to see how much of an impact they can be.

              Try repeating that comment in an economics class at a University, and people would laugh you out of the lecture theatre.

              You really do live in a very strange world of your own.

              • If you were correct in your claims that the problems in Cuba are in related to the USA trade restrictions then these would have been noted shortly after they were imposed. The Cuban economy only really suffered massive problems in the past 20 years.

                As for other nations handling sanctions – many have done so. Rhodesia/Zimbabwe is a good example of one that increased it’s economic base during the time sanctions were in effect.

                • Yes and what happened 20 years ago that made the US sanctions hurt so much?

                  Even you should be able to work that one out.

        • Goodness knows. I’ve never been a fan of economic sanctions. It always only hurts the poor in my experience.

      • IV says,
        “It’s [sic] current economic freedom rating makes it one of the least free in the world.”
        It comes as no surprize that you draw on a rating system devised by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, perhaps “gross national happiness” would be a better guide to peoples’ wellbeing.
        “The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better” by Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate Pickett also makes some salient points.

        • Actually my sources were Wikipaedia and Princeton. But I’ll happily use the heritage Foundation next time.

      • “It’s current economic freedom rating makes it one of the least free in the world. ”

        As opposed to the PERCEPTION of freedom in the West?

        Yeah, just ask the prisoners at Guantanmo Bay – imprisoned without trial since 2001!!

        That’s “freedom ” for you Intrinsicallyrightwing?

        • Oh I think most sensible people see the difference between granting economic freedom and locking up terrorists Priss.

  5. “These groups represent the 800 000 NZers living below the poverty line.”

    You’ve either never travelled outside of NZ, or you have absolutely no idea what poverty really is.

    How do we define poverty in NZ now? Absence of Sky TV? Inability to afford designer clothing? A single car family?

    You really have no idea.

    • No IV, you have no idea! Just because poverty takes a different form in developed countries on the way down than it does in developing countries does not mean that it is not poverty.

      Poverty in developing countries stems from a lack of basic resources. Poverty in countries like ours stems from basic resources being priced beyond people’s earning capacity, along with huge obstacles to opting out of the system that forces those prices on people. Try setting up a tent city in Western Springs Park, cooking your food on a little burner and washing yourself and your clothes in the lake, and see how long you last. Societies like ours rest on the assumption that people can afford a middle class standard of living, whether they actually can or not.

      You seem to think that local poverty has to do with the number of knick-knacks and holidays etc. afforded. It does not. It has to do with water, power, rent, food, travel, school fees and the like. These costs are built into our way of life. The ability of many people to pay for them is gradually being removed from our way of life, through low pay, unemployment, and ever-escalating prices.

      • Please don’t send IV to Western Springs. The ducks deserve better. The swans have no desire to listen to endlessly repeated RWNJ catch phrases trying to pass themselves off as the results of cerebral functions. As long as he can point to somewhere on the planet where someone is doing worse than anyone in Aotearoa, he thinks his idiotic corporate welfare market is succeeding. He aims pretty low.

      • “You seem to think that local poverty has to do with the number of knick-knacks and holidays etc. afforded. ”

        NO…you are confusing me with the left wing who love to focus on relative poverty, which leads to the wacky inclusion of things like Sky TV.

        I’ll tell you what poverty is. Poverty is a lack of basic necessities of life. Shelter, food, adequate clothing, and yes I include education. I do not include travel!

        No-one, and I mean NO-ONE in NZ should be in poverty because of our generous welfare system, our relatively low levels of unemployment, and high wage levels. Any one who is in poverty finds themselves in that position because of poor choices. And I defy anyone to put up an example that proves me wrong, a challenge I’ve posted here before that has never been answered.

        • By “travel” I do not mean going sightseeing, I mean travel to work, school, WINZ appointments and so on.

          Given the basic cost of living in New Zealand, our welfare system is not generous, and nor are our wages. We could of course, pursue policies such as full employment, which would reduce welfare costs by reducing the numbers reliant on welfare. We could rebuild our manufacturing base. But I am fairly confident your creed would reject such solutions since they would demand actual entrepreneurship.

          • “Given the basic cost of living in New Zealand, our welfare system is not generous, and nor are our wages.”
            Yes it is, more than generous.

            “We could of course, pursue policies such as full employment, which would reduce welfare costs by reducing the numbers reliant on welfare.”
            I’m not aware of any nation in the world, or of any political or economic system that has achieved full employment, so the notion is a nonsense.

            “We could rebuild our manufacturing base. But I am fairly confident your creed would reject such solutions since they would demand actual entrepreneurship.”
            Do you know what entrepreneurship actually is? Please look it up. As to our manufacturing base, what is so special about manufacturing? As long as enterprises can compete with the world and produce foreign exchange earnings, who cares whether it’s manufacturing, services, movie making etc etc.

            • “Given the basic cost of living in New Zealand, our welfare system is not generous, and nor are our wages.”
              Yes it is, more than generous.

              You wouldn’t even know how much the Unemployment benefit paid, IV… Only someone like you – who has never had to survive on welfare – would be ignorant of such matters.

              I’m not aware of any nation in the world, or of any political or economic system that has achieved full employment, so the notion is a nonsense.

              Of course you’re “not aware”.

              You’re comfortably ignorant in your own little National/ACT world.

              The answer, of course, is the former Soviet/Eastern European bloc. Whatever one might think of their economic system, and penchant for imprisoning dissidents, they had full employment.

              In fact, their laws reflected that all citizens had to be in (a) employment (b) looking after/raising children (c) in the military (d) in full time education (e) an invalid or ill/injured in some fashion..

              Otherwise, you ran the risk of being “KMK” (közveszélyes munkakerülő) – a “work evader”.

              Hence, 100% (or pretty damn close to it) full employment.

              Such is your knowledge of the work around you – sadly lacking in many respects.

              • “The answer, of course, is the former Soviet/Eastern European bloc. Whatever one might think of their economic system, and penchant for imprisoning dissidents, they had full employment.”

                Unemployment was ‘abolished’ Frank, you know, 1984 style. Unemployment ceased to exist only in the world of the media, not in reality. That’s what you can do in a totalitarian state. If you want proof, read this article, published in 1933, about why there was unemployment in Soviet Russia – http://www.garethjones.org/soviet_articles/unemployment_russia.htm.

                It is your knowledge that is sadly lacking Frank.

                • “penchant for imprisoning dissidents”

                  Oh what a beautiful euphemism for the murder of tens of millions of people. Beautiful, Frank. You do your comrades proud.

                • You claimed ” I’m not aware of any nation in the world, or of any political or economic system that has achieved full employment ” – I made you aware of it.

                  Referring to an article published in 1933 (!!!) only shows how desperate you are to defend the indefensible.

                  Try going back to 1848, maybe?

                  Or earlier?

                  • “I made you aware of it.”

                    No you didn’t. The soviet union had unemployment Frank. My cite proves you wrong.

                    “Referring to an article published in 1933”

                    Just so you understand, because you obviously didn’t read it, the article was written during the soviet era about unemployment. It proved unemployment existed in the soviet era Frank. Read and learn.

                    • As you clearly didn’t bother to read the cite, here is a salient extract:

                      “The second Five Year Plan, which began on January 1st, 1933, has seen the return of unemployment. More than 20,000 workers have recently been dismissed from several Kharkoff factories. Several thousand were dismissed from the Kharkoff Tractor Works. From another Kharkoff factory 8,000 were dismissed. In Moscow the number of dismissals has been great. In some factories about 25 to 40 per cent. of the staffs have been dismissed, while in some offices up to 53 per cent have lost their jobs.

                      It is impossible to estimate the total unemployed, for many of them are peasants who invaded the towns, found work in the factories, and are now being sent back again to the villages. No unemployment figures are published.”

                      You were wrong Frank. Yet again.

                  • Frank now you are making yourself look silly. 1933 was during the soviet era. The article proves unemployment did exist in the soviet era. Historians like to use material from as close as possible to the time of an event to verify details of that event. It’s called good scholarship.

        • You RWNJs are the ones who wank on about Sky TV, Lackofvalue. I think it, and anything else to do with Murdoch’s criminal enterprises, should be banned.

        • SORRY!! “Anyone in poverty finds themselves in that postion because of poor choices” -What a cliche!! This is SO far from the truth. You really do not have any idea do you. You try to live any kind of a life on an Invalid Benefit, because, stupid choice-Dah you went and got sick-naughty you-smack smack smack! Do that for 25 years and watch any kind of equality with those that are able disappear into oblivion. Qualify for ACC – I dont think so. You have to have an accident. The disability Insurance you had pay out – not willingly – had to be taken to court. Existing on food parcels to pay the vet. (Pets not allowed for the poor) Cheer up, go and have a coffee (coffee not allowed for the poor), actually, it seems from way down here LIFE is just not allowed. Take your middle class bashing, judgementalism and clap trap and shove it.

    • @ IV: Whoa there, sunshine!

      Seems to me you have no idea. Once again you are indulging in parroting right wing bullshitry.

      You’ve already admitted on the comments section under “Un-employment; under-employment; and the plain unvarnished truth”;

      February 7, 2014 at 6:30 pm ,

      … Some beneficiaries are bludgers. I have no idea the proportion, none, and I really don’t care…

      You admit not knowing how many beneficiaries are “bludgers” (however you define that term) and you still rant about it as if you have the facts?!

      Aside from being the stereotypical rightwing nutjob that hides behind a pseudonym because you haven’t the balls to own you own bigotry, what do you bring to this conversation?

      It can’t be intelligent debate. You don’t show any.

      *pffft!*

    • Try,

      * high accomodation costs
      * high power costs
      * phone costs
      * clothing costs
      * rising grocery prices
      * rising “voluntary” (*snort!*) school fees
      * increasing transport costs
      * increased prescription charges (courtesy of National)

      Those are the reality.

      And doing it all on the minimum wage is unsustainable. People cannot live on the minimum wage.

      It’s indicative that you refer to “Sky TV, designer clothing, cars ” to dismiss poverty. It’s a dishonest comparison and one we’ve come to expect from National/ACT supporters like you, IV.

      Especially this election year, as National faces being thrown out of office.

      No wonder you’re committing so much of your time trying to paint your Party in the best possible light…

      By the way, I’ll be increasing my writing and blogposting. Thanks for motivating me. 😉

      • And I look forward to reading more. It will be much more informative if you refrain from some of your more ridiculous claims (like there as no unemployment in soviet russia, or your claims about the unemployed and internet access).

  6. Yes, the way the U.s.a has bullied and harmed cuba and cuban’s is a ongoing disgrace.

    And our own greedy ‘wolf of wall street’ has made himself and other greedy rich types even more better of under national ….. While the poor get slagged …..

    Greedy, dishonest american bum-lickers ….. are they part of the job requirement for national mp’s ????

    Or is it just the leader who must be like this ????

  7. The problem with Cuba is there is still a US Embargo on the country so they are not allowed to trade with the rest of the world.

    Education and health standards are very high in Cuba despite the poverty. Before Castro evicted the US from his homeland Cuba produced 25% of the worlds sugar.

  8. ” . . . we don’t know how lucky we are.”

    If you missed it as a “live” broadcast, I recommend Brian Easton’s discussion, (RNZ , Friday 7 Feb), “Nine to noon” (Kathryn Ryan) for an intelligent, well-informed analysis of “The poverty gap”.

    ‘Lies, damned lies, and Government statistics’ is the theme of what Easton had to say. (I don’t suppose the PM was listening, however . . . . He doesn’t seem to like to be kept well informed on these matters).

  9. Two things upset me about being vilified for having a decent income.

    Firstly, anyone in NZ with good parents can get a high paying job. A good friend of mine grew up in an area where every doorstep exept his own was littered with beer crates, yet despite having escaped their own country with basically nothing his parents realised the value of education and encouraged and supported him – now he’s a hugely successful highly paid professional who eventually bought THEM a house.

    Secondly, the people in the so-called top 10% in NZ aren’t having a dozen kids they can’t afford, they’re averaging about ONE, and often having none. So what happens when little Johnny-only-child’s mum and dad die? He inherits a freehold house all to himself, while people who can’t afford a nice house split what they have 8 ways leaving their children with almost nothing – further increasing the divide between rich and poor.

    Family size is a deeply personal choice which nobody has the right to question – as long as each child’s needs are being met. But please, no matter how many children you have, fill every child’s head with HOPE, never tell them that they have no chance just because your parents didn’t give YOU one.

  10. $Skilled Work > $Unskilled Labour > $Beneficiaries, that’s how it is and should be.

    If people don’t like it, people need to advance themselves.

    Giving money to the poor won’t fix the issue, getting them to “work” will.

    You REALLY want to know what poverty is? Go to Africa. Go to China. NZ IS ABSOLUTELY FINE. Get over it.

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