Poor people: they just need to buck up their ideas and change their attitude… oh wait minute

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TrickleDown

The New Zealand Herald recently posted the opinion piece, ‘Poor’ should stop playing the blame game by Eva Bradley a highly successful young business woman. In her article she offers a diatribe in relation to poor people blaming the government for, well, their poverty. Hedley goes on to deny the existence of ‘The War on the Poor’ in New Zealand while speaking its rhetoric in her article. She holds some pretty pervasive beliefs when it comes to poverty, mainly based on her own anecdotal experience and not on fact or reality. The only evidence she uses to back up her position was from a study by a Washington ‘think-tank’. She stated

“This month a Washington-based think-tank concluded that of 130 countries, New Zealand was the most socially advanced in the world. We got an A+ for personal rights, freedoms, access to schooling, tolerance for minority groups and good water and sanitation.”

The Index used in the study Bradley cites to measure how socially advanced we are left out “indicators such as the employment rate and income inequality” as the New Zealand Herald indeed reported. So basically, the two things that really contribute to growing poverty in NZ were not a part of the study. In New Zealand we do not imprison activists and people who identify as lesbian or gay are able to marry which certainly makes us more socially advanced than other countries but this does not mean we do not have economic disparities.

The book Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis Edited by Max Rashbrooke points out “in a mere 10 years, the financial economy in 1997 went from being 15 times greater than the real economy to 70 times greater than the real economy by 2007.” What many social activists and people in poverty are “whinging about” is a serious gap between the rich and poor – which is very real.

“The gap between high and low incomes has widened faster in recent decades in NZ than in most other developed nations” and “Across all adults the top 1% owns three times as much wealth as the poorest 50%”.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

This widening gap between rich and poor is one of the reasons the Occupy Movement was born, and why millions of people from all ages, religions, economic positions and races came out demanding more economic responsibility. They highlighted the fact that most of the world’s wealth is concentrated in just 1% of the world’s population.

People who joined or supported the Occupy Movement knew that all this money the superrich where clinging to would never “trickle-down” to the masses – something which politicians had promised us for decades would happen. In essence this Trickle-down economics can be summed as the idea that by giving big business and the super-rich massive tax breaks, this would benefit poorer members of society by improving the economy as a whole. It didn’t. As Economist George Reisman said while discussing trickle-down economics…

“Of course, many people will characterize the line of argument I have just given as the ‘trickle-down’ theory. There is nothing trickle-down about it. There is only the fact that capital accumulation and economic progress depend on saving and innovation and that these in turn depend on the freedom to make high profits and accumulate great wealth. The only alternative to improvement for all, through economic progress, achieved in this way, is the futile attempt of some men to gain at the expense of others by means of looting and plundering. This, the loot-and-plunder theory, is the alternative advocated by the critics of the misnamed trickle-down theory”

I am not saying this is third world misery, what I am saying is there is plenty of wealth around that people can see, it’s just not in their own pockets. So when parents encourage “their children to hurl abuse at our leaders” perhaps the abuse is warranted? John Key in one way or another subscribes to trickle-down economics he is just not that open about it. In his first term he gave tax cuts to high income earners and companies. He said it would boost the economy because these people would have incentive to earn more which would create jobs. As the Labour Party reports, “Since 2010 National have been promising there are 170,000 jobs going to be created, but they never come, instead we have an additional 60,000 people on benefits since they took office.”

Low income families and those in poverty know they are being screwed and John knows he is screwing them.

Bradley went on to say, “The difference between my upbringing and consequent position in life compared to those encouraging their children to hurl abuse at our leaders and blame them for their struggle is largely one of attitude.” Clearly she is not big on parents raising their children to fight for equality or encouraging them to become thinking beings who want social change. Summed up, Bradley seems to believe the only factor you need in life to pull yourself out of poverty is to be raised with the same belief system she was, “with hard work and commitment, I could achieve whatever I applied myself to”.

Apparently Bradley justifies her strong stance on ‘those poor people’ because she was in fact “…a child of relative poverty myself, growing up in a single-parent home”, she appears to believe poor people just need to stop their “whinging”. Hedley pulled herself out of “relative poverty” so why can’t other people? The problem with her position is, it is akin to when white people say “I am not racist but…”. Just because you came from a low income family or y’know sometimes you like to rough it and hung out with poor people, does not mean you now magically have some kind of authority when it comes to understanding the poverty trap.

Bradley happily points out she is a “white middle-class professional” – just because you acknowledge your white privilege does not mean you understand it. Or though there are more Pākehā in poverty than Māori, poverty impacts Māori more “acutely”. A conclusion the book Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis reached was that “10 Pakeha households live in poverty, 1 in every 5 Māori and Pacific households live in poverty.” Bradley needs to take a class in the systematic oppression of the indigenous people of Aotearoa. As Martyn Bradbury points out

“Māori had 95% of their land appropriated and alienated between 19th Century and 20th Century. (Compensation for the almost complete loss of an economic base in just over a century? A mere $1.4Billion in Treaty settlements. A steal at twice the price you might say. Not only have Maori been ripped off, but they are also forced to live in poverty with the reality of generation’s worth of being ripped off. Insult to injury, jowl by blistered jowl. “

I admire women like Bradley, who in a world that so vehemently tells women to shrink themselves she has carved out a highly successful career in multiple industries dominated by men. What I do not admire are people who perpetuate damaging myths and ideas in relation to the poverty trap. Who cannot grasp the over-arching systems which have and continue to oppress people who are struggling to rise above the poverty line.

128 COMMENTS

  1. Awesome article.
    Thankyou for saying all that.

    I can’t say it any better.

    Some people, like her in your article, haven’t got a clue about what other people go through. How their lives are affected by acts of crime, and neglect, and disabilities, and the ensuing poverty that prevails.

    We charge our government to do what is right, not what is damaging to the people.

    In my opinion and belief, this woman with her heart of stone, has future aspirations to become a National MP, and she is an idiot to boot!

    Well written Chloe King!

  2. Look, she’s just dumb. There are many more like her: people who don’t understand economics or politics and have a tough time understanding that macroeconomic policies effect the rate of unemployment.

    They don’t need to be humoured or convinced, only mocked.

      • It’s not just National. No NZ government has pursued a policy of full employment for decades.

        For example, your hero Milton Friedman argued that we must tolerate a certain level of unemployment because lowering it beyond that level causes unacceptable levels of inflation.

        If such policies are enacted, then blaming individuals for unemployment is somewhat silly.

        On the other hand, it would have been perfectly acceptable to blame people for unemployment under the Keynesian consensus, because it aimed at full employment.

      • And another thing Gosman.

        Pray explain to us why New Zealanders who became unemployed due to the Great Recession are somehow to blame for the actions of American mortgage lenders and investment bankers.

        • Tom says:
          April 30, 2014 at 6:08 pm

          And another thing Gosman.

          Pray explain to us why New Zealanders who became unemployed due to the Great Recession are somehow to blame for the actions of American mortgage lenders and investment bankers.

          Oh, it’s obvious, Tom…

          The unemployed, solo-mums, invalids, low-paid, blue-collar workers – they were all seated around the Board tables in Wall St and City of London financial houses, making inept decisions based on greed, rather than common sense.

          After all, the 1%; the Oligarchs; and their sycophants could never for a moment accept responsibility for their decisions.

          Easier to blame others.

          Just as Dear Leader does, quite frequently; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/taking-responsibility-national-style/

        • I never stated they were. However you stated that the author of the opinion piece in the Herald was dumb and didn’t understand economics. You then went on to claim it is macroeconomic policies that effect (sic) the rate of unemployment. What macroeconomic policies of National led to the increased unemployment then since you are so clever?

        • How did all of them contribute to increased unemployment? Please give examples of how the policies led directly to the increased unemployment we now have.

          • The main one would be in choosing laissez faire as the ethos for governing. Hands off. The market (poor myopic entity that it is) knows best and will provide.
            Cut the public service.
            Play favourites and pick winners.
            Intervene to rescue when the Market blows another fuse.
            Fail to invest in affordable training and upskilling for its work force.
            Misunderstanding the role of welfare – and a total failure to realise that this is a transition era when ‘business as usual’ cannot work.

            Those, and many more out of the reactionaries’ tool kit for wrecking the capacity and efficacy of the nation.

            One thing you could never accuse National of being: conservative. The party lacks the intellectual discipline and foresight for such a stance.

            • Andrea the only way that the state can ‘provide’ (not create) jobs outside of the market is by direct employment by the Govt. This costs you and I money, and results in either a rise in taxes, or an increase in borrowing. The less the state spends, and the more the private sector is encouraged to grow, the less the Govt has to dip into our pockets.

              • Intrinsicvalue says:
                May 1, 2014 at 6:13 pm

                Andrea the only way that the state can ‘provide’ (not create) jobs outside of the market is by direct employment by the Govt. This costs you and I money, and results in either a rise in taxes, or an increase in borrowing. The less the state spends, and the more the private sector is encouraged to grow, the less the Govt has to dip into our pockets.

                But, Anonynmous ACT Supporter Intrinsicvalue, Dear Leader said it was indeed the role of the State to create jobs!

                I quote,

                “We agree with you, it’s the government’s responsibility to do everything within it’s powers to try to get people jobs.” – John Key, 17 November 2011

                http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/readers-reporter/5977596/Key-and-Goff-Q-A-Creating-jobs

                Mind you, he was probably spinning his usual right wing National-ACT bullshit propaganda-lies (much like yours) – but the sentiment is essentially correct.

                Anyway, considering that we had only 3.4% unemployment in 2007, and it’s roughly double that now (with more under-employed); and considering that 95,000 New Zealand workers lost their jobs due to the recklessness and greed of Wall Street capitalists – I say it would be fitting to tax them dry to create new jobs is appropriate.

                They created the mess – they can pay to clean it up.

            • NZ has a lower unemployment rate than countries that have a far more interventionist approach to macroeconomics e.g. France and Italy.

              • Gosman says:
                May 2, 2014 at 6:01 am

                NZ has a lower unemployment rate than countries that have a far more interventionist approach to macroeconomics e.g. France and Italy.

                As usual. Gosman, you mis-represent the real situiation.

                Under-employment is much higher and when official employment is defined as working one hour (or more) per week, whether paid or unpaid, then you are telling only half the story.

                Tricky, aren’t you, Gosman?

                  • Gosman says:
                    May 2, 2014 at 12:50 pm

                    You have evidence that the rate of underemployment in NZ is higher than is say France?

                    WTF does France have to do with it?

                    Why not Finland? Fiji? Or any other place starting with “F”?

                    We could go through the alphabet if you like. Do we start with the “A’s”, or “Z’s”? You choose. (I know you love Zimbabwe. So start there.)

                    Or – and here’s a thought – you could simply address the point I made; under-employment is much higher and when official employment is defined as working one hour (or more) per week, whether paid or unpaid, then you are telling only half the story .

                    Try sticking to the point. It might be a novel experience.

                    • Ummmm… Frank I think you will find France comes in to it because we are discussing if more interventionist policies lead to lower unemployment and I pointed out that the real life example of France does not support this view. You argued that in NZ we have a high underemployment rate for some reason. This is irrelevant unless our underemployment is higher than the nation’s we are comparing ourselves to.

                    • Well, sunshine, let’s focus on new Zealand then, shall we, rather than falling into your little pointless diversions.

                      As I pointed out above, official unemployment has been falling whilst under-employment has been rising.

                      Under-employment, as defined by Statistics NZ;

                      Employed: people in the working-age population who, during the reference week, did one of the following:

                      * worked for one hour or more for pay or profit in the context of an employee/employer relationship or self-employment

                      * worked without pay for one hour or more in work which contributed directly to the operation of a farm, business, or professional practice owned or operated by a relative

                      * had a job but were not at work due to: own illness or injury, personal or family responsibilities, bad weather or mechanical breakdown, direct involvement in an industrial dispute, or leave or holiday.

                      Source: http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/HouseholdLabourForceSurvey_HOTPDec13qtr/Definitions.aspx

                      As I pointed out – and which you’ve pointedly ignored (too inconvenient?), under-employment has risen;

                      “Over the year, the total number of under-employed people increased by 27,200 to 122,600. As a result, the under-employment rate increased 1.0 percentage points to 5.3 percent. “

                      Source: http://www.stats.govt.nz/~/media/Statistics/Browse%20for%20stats/HouseholdLabourForceSurvey/HOTPDec13qtr/HouseholdLabourForceSurveyDec13qtrHOTP.pdf

                      So, never mind about diversions to France, Finland, or Fiji, – focus on our own country, Gosman.

                      Even someone like you has to admit that if unemployment is falling and underemployment is rising, the figures for the former are questionable?

                      It’s not a difficult question, Gosman. No research required, just a bit of clear thinking.

                    • Underemployment is not really an issue unless NZ’s rate is unusually high. You haven’t provided any evidence to back this up beyond stating it has risen and this is a major problem. I have yet to see why it is a major problem. Even one of the articles you linked to barely mentioned underemployment.

          • Is this example, from this very thread, good enough for you Gosman?

            LONG COOL SALLY says:
            MAY 1, 2014 AT 6:58 PM
            “and if you are seeing extended periods of downtime and a 50% downsize of the industry, maybe the industry is sending you a signal” – no actually mike, it was john key that sent the signal, when warner brothers rode on into wellington, jumped into bed with key, who most helpfully changed new zealands employment law, to the detriment of film workers and the benefit of a huge American corporation.
            i’d hate you to be under any illusion as to why it became increasingly difficult for those in the film industry to survive. not through anything we might have done, but because of foreign intervention and keys backstabbing and politically injurous changes to employment legislation.
            you are ill informed mike if you dont understand the backstory behind the legislation aimed at hurting a sector of industry that i relied on. once again, happy to help
            – See more at: https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/04/30/poor-people-they-just-need-to-buck-up-their-ideas-and-change-their-attitude-oh-wait-minute/#comment-216504m

      • Not producing the promised 170 000 jobs would rank pretty high. Closing the gap with Australia? Post-election Key forgot about it.

          • I suppose outright lies are all you have left to offer.

            The precariat watch the job market closely – we know.

          • @ Anonymous National-ACT Supporter Intrinsicvalue; the problem is that you continue to distort other people’s statements. Your comment at May 1, 2014 at 7:10 pm is a sheer distortion (as usual from you),

            Actually there were 452,000 jobs created between 2008 and 2011 … so that committment was well and truly met. The problem is that due to the GFC and the recession NZ was already moving into prior to it, NZ lost 465,000 jobs in the same period.

            What the article actually stated was,

            These showed nearly 452,000 jobs created between 2008 -2011 but almost 465,000 were lost.

            Your insertion of ” the GFC and the recession NZ was already moving into prior to it” is one of your regular lies that you promote on this blog. (Dunno why – you get challenged on it every time and revealed as a fabrication).

            Interesting, you left out this bit from the article you linked to,

            We need around 30,000 new jobs a year to accommodate population growth. In the 2011/12 June year we fell far short of that with just 13,000 new jobs.

            The HLFS shows employment growth (57,000 new jobs) averaging 1.3 percent a year in the two years to June 2012. But 44,000 of those jobs were recorded in 2010/11 (two percent growth). In the latest June year, the growth fell to 0.58 percent (and the population increased 0.63 percent).

            As usual, Anonymous National-ACT Supporter Intrinsicvalue, one has to check the information you present for what you leave out, rather than what you give.

            National has failed at job creation, and the promise of 170,000 new jobs has not eventuated.

            Despite the HLFS March Quarter unemployment expected to fall, the question is, what is happening to under-employment? Are the unemployed simply shifting to the under-employed category, where is you work one hour a week (or more), whether paid or unpaid, you are officially counted as “employed”?

            Source: http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/HouseholdLabourForceSurvey_HOTPDec13qtr/Definitions.aspx

            • “Your insertion of ” the GFC and the recession NZ was already moving into prior to it” is one of your regular lies that you promote on this blog.”

              No Frank, you’ve been called on this many times. The NZ economy was tanking from the early part of 2006, well before the GFC. The Labour Govt had embarked on a high spending low growth plan that had killed economic growth, and by the time National took over the economy was in recession and the internal deficit was heading for over 1bn$.

              Those are all facts in evidence.

  3. I think you mean Eva Bradley. We have to put up with her columns every Saturday where I live. She’s always like this. She makes a virtue out of being ignorant on every subject she writes about. She complained one time about all this focus on Kim Dotcom, and another time about all the petty things being discussed in politics in the media (citing Labour and the Greens but not National) but not the policies, which was absurd as she obviously has no interest in knowing their policies. She’s a Hawkes Bay wedding photographer, and I think a good friend of figures in the National Party.

    You can see some of her wedding photography here:

    http://www.evabradley.co.nz/

    • Yes, she writes articles for the Wairarapa Times Age about really important things such as the inconvenience of having to queue for something. Honestly, she writes a load of twaddle and I’m told she is an award winning journalist. Not sure what award or who awarded it but they sure made a mistake. She tries to write like Rosemary McLeod but has neither the wit or intellect to bring it off.

  4. She also grew up in Havelock North and consequently her version of poor is she didn’t have the biggest house on the street or the latest gizmos or the flashiest clothes. However she still grew up in the lap of plenty, amongst the middle class. Thereby forming the networks, contacts and know how needed to increase her position of privilege she didn’t know she had.

  5. Ms Bradley is just another right winger who completely ignores how much of her own success is due to good luck, good health and state support. Such a pity the Herald gives space to someone so full of their own brilliance, yet clearly stupid.

    • Hang on a minute Corokia. You are making some wild assumptions here. On the three reasons you give as contributing to her success;

      Good luck. That could happen to anyone as easily as bad luck. I can tell you that anybody that you may look at with envy and judge as being ‘successful’ are guaranteed to have suffered a veritable shitstorm of what you would refer to as bad luck along the way. Successful people deal well with those failures and move on.

      Good health. Some of the most successful people I know have suffered some terrible health setbacks. That can happen to anybody and we must all have faith in our no strings attached colourblind public health system.

      State support. If you mean a ‘free’ university education, I am of the opinion that you are just trying to ‘stir the pot’ in a political point scoring fashion. There is a myriad of state support available these days. Benefits related to employment, marital status, veterans and number of dependants to name a few. There are grants to cover subjects such as special occasions, relationship break ups, home insulation, travel, doctors visits and even gender reassignment. There are top-ups to cover things like rent costs, unforeseen situations from fridge breakdowns to house fires and school uniforms. Then there are ‘free’ doctor and dental visits for children, 50-80% regional council subsidies on bus travel, 70% subsidies on the price of a swim in almost all council run public swimming pools and libraries in the country. Not to mention access to museums, parks and recreation and public playground facilities, all installed ‘for the public good’ and subsidised by the taxpayer and ratepayer.

      In my opinion it would take a particularly mean, envious, spiteful and uninformed person to refer to Ms Bradley as “clearly stupid.”

      • I do not envy Ms Bradley. I am a successful businesswoman , but unlike Ms Bradley I do have empathy for those less fortunate than myself and don’t consider telling people to take responsibility for themselves to be compassionate or useful advice.

        • Ok. I’m a successful businessman in my own right as well.

          What if I was to decide one day to throw it all away and go off the rails. I become a law breaking, antisocial stoner. I would lose my business (no matter, someone else will pick that up and run with it), my wife of 26 years (probably on to a benefit), my children (if not physically lose them as they are teen and older, I would lose their respect and their belief in the morals, standards and work ethic I have taught them). I would also lose my good health status as the drug use takes hold and I don’t care about my health any more as I am too stoned to care and the health system is free anyway. I get thrown out of the rented house I am in because of the mess and the damage from the party the other night when my new mates came round and need emergency accommodation.

          All this is preventable, but I don’t care. I now have no respect for myself or anyone else. Rich pricks tell me to buck up my ideas but what do they know, they are not me. I am now totally dependent on others for my health, welfare and cost of living.

          As you can see, I have stopped caring and, most of all, I have stopped taking responsibility for myself. Whose fault is my present predicament?

          • Thanks Mike for that imaginary scenario about someone who makes bad decisions and whose predicament would be their fault, but in a caring society would still get medical treatment, food and shelter and whose family (whose fault it wasn’t) would get state support.
            Are you suggesting that most poor people are poor because they (or their families) chose to be drug users?

          • How about this much more plausable scenario…
            …you have an accident and are permanently disabled to the point where you can no longer work. Neither ACC nor private insurance will cover you due to it being labled an exsisting “degenerative condition”.

            Rapidly depleting funds while you wait years for the appeal against the ACC decision mean that you are forced to seek assistance from Work and Income, to your great embarrassment. Your friends who at first were empathetic are now clearly avoiding you due to the social stigma that goes with being a beneficiary unable to contribute.

            Your wife stays with you (for now) wiping your ass because you no longer can and ACC won’t fund that either. The DHB won’t fund it because they consider it to be ACC’s area. After so long together you can tell your wife resents having to leave her full time position so that she can care for you – this means neither one of you is working.

            Oh no….all ACC appeals are now exhausted. You get to live the rest of your life in poverty, isolation and shame.

            • My comment in the thread bellows applies once again, this (hypothetical) situation should qualify for a full suite of assistance from the various government departments.

              An interesting trend is developing around the comments on this thread. One common bond ties them all together. The common bond? The quality of government assistance. We both argue a common point and that point is that public services on the whole don’t offer good value for money. I was talking to a man this morning (a job interview) who was saying work for him is just drying up. First it was full time, then it was 35 hours, then it was full time between 3 employers, then 20 hours between two. He is presently claiming a benefit and topping it up with the odd paying job.He wants to take my full time job 60km away and is prepared to relocate. The job here provides accommodation ( a 5 bedroom house as part of the package). He owns his own house where he is now. He asked me…”can you help pay to relocate me?” WINZ will not help because they say that he can sell his house to pay his relocation costs. In his opinion, WINZ want to see him destitute before they are prepared to assist him into a full time job.

              In my opinion, WINZ view every benefit they pay out as a cost. To assist this guy in to full time work would be an investment. It is my firm opinion that there is a hardcore of individuals out there who are rorting the system for all they can get. They purposefully put themselves in a position of being unemployable. Some may refuse to move to where the work is, others may refuse to drop a drug habit, refuse extra training, add to an already long criminal record, or just fail to turn up to work or explain why. I have seen them all. No work ethic, inter generational drug and mental health issues and such low self esteem and respect for others that they are seen as a multiple risk in any workplace.

              The challenge for WINZ is to draft and enact rules some see as unfair or draconian to protect themselves (and the taxpayer) from these louts. These are the people that even yourselves must admit that they need to take a bit of personal responsibility. They are the looooong “tail” on the welfare system who are ruining it for you. They are the dead money WINZ worry about. You need to stop protecting these people. Both hypothetical situations you have given are legitimate cases and you know it. And don’t think those people only exist only in the welfare queues. They are dotted all through the workplaces too. Getting paid too little and offering a negative return to the employer. The employer doesn’t care, so they don’t care, so the employer doesn’t care ad infinitum.

              The key to all of this is to figure out a way to reserve welfare for the legitimately needy and force the idiots to take some responsibility for themselves for once and face the true financial, psychological and societal costs of their lifestyle.

              You may claim that access to a benefit is a fundamental right, but with rights come responsibilities. If this is ever going to be a fair, compassionate and democratic society, society itself needs to face up to the “wreckers and haters” of society, the law breaking, anti social, physically violent individuals who have actively decided they don’t want to be part of a co-operative and inclusive society. Some people may be all of the above, others only one of the above, others may not know or admit that they are part of the problem.

              The all inclusive no strings attached well paying welfare system you advocate does too much to protect these people. The cost of that protection is forced to be borne by other more deserving and decent citizens.

              • Mike – “Both hypothetical situations you have given are legitimate cases and you know it.”
                You presented a hypothetical situation (I didn’t) and you have not answered the question….
                “Are you suggesting that most poor people are poor because they (or their families) chose to be drug users?”

                Your complaints about people who abuse the welfare system reminded me of this quote

                “When we make welfare policies based on the minority who misuse welfare, we cause harm to those who need it.”

                I don’t know who said it.
                You Mike, seem to be saying that all welfare recipients should be presumed guilty of trying to rip off the system. As I understand it, in this country we still presume citizens are innocent unless proved guilty.

                As for your suggestion to “force the idiots to take some responsibility for themselves for once and face the true financial, psychological and societal costs of their lifestyle.”- so do we just let addicts die in the street and their children starve? Withdrawing state support from those who make stupid decisions would surely increase crime.

                • Now now Corokia. Calm down and read my post again, and when you read it properly this time, you will see that I am actually on your side on this one.

                  No, I did not suggest that poor people are poor because they chose to be drug users. I merely used that as one example of how I might hypothetically go off the rails. While we’re on the subject though, it would help me if you could give me a good reason or two why one would “choose” to be a drug user to the extent that it harms their employment prospects, family life, financial situation and ability to reason.

                  I will not dwell too much on what I have already said, suffice to say that it is an unfortunate fact that there need to be safeguards in place to protect the welfare system from fraud and the unfortunate consequence of that is frustration and possible denial of entitlements from legitimate users. The amount of money available to fund welfare is finite. There is, in my opinion, a hard core group of beneficiaries abusing and overloading the system who are ruining it for legitimate beneficiaries. That group are denying the legitimate users the welfare they deserve.

                  • @Mike You said “give me a good reason or two why one would “choose” to be a drug user to the extent that it harms their employment prospects, family life, financial situation and ability to reason.”

                    I addiction is a serious social and mental health issue, there are many reasons why people get addicted and find it hard to stop taking drugs or to kick the boozes. I myself have had problems with alcohol and it can be very hard to just “give up” even when it is seriously impacting your life in a negative way. Perhaps doing a bit of research on addiction might serve you well.

                    Last year, tax evaders cheated the country of between $1 and $6 billion, while welfare fraud cost $39 million. So perhaps we should also vilify and condemn the rich as welll as the poor?

          • .

            mike says:
            May 1, 2014 at 10:46 am

            Ok. I’m a successful businessman in my own right as well.

            What if I was to decide one day to throw it all away and go off the rails. I become a law breaking, antisocial stoner. I would lose my business (no matter, someone else will pick that up and run with it), my wife of 26 years (probably on to a benefit), my children (if not physically lose them as they are teen and older, I would lose their respect and their belief in the morals, standards and work ethic I have taught them). I would also lose my good health status as the drug use takes hold and I don’t care about my health any more as I am too stoned to care and the health system is free anyway. I get thrown out of the rented house I am in because of the mess and the damage from the party the other night when my new mates came round and need emergency accommodation…

            One question, Mike.

            Why.

            As in – why would someone go off the rails like that?

            Are you trying to tell us that ” successful businessman in [his] own right” wakes up one morning and decides to chuck it all in; no reason given; just for the sake of it?!

            By what bizarre logic do you posit such a scenario?!

            Because, really, your scenario is so bizarre that you could justify just about any idea you wanted. Just change a few words. Hey presto, lock up all children because, hey, they might go “off the rails” and start randomly killing cats…

            See what I mean?

            Try again.

            • My point was that of blame. In Corokia’s opinion, it is never the fault of those less fortunate that they are in their predicament. Never. My argument is that there will always be a SMALL percentage of individuals who are in fact to blame for their predicament, abeit only a small percentage.

              Exactly as there is a small percentage of wealthy parents who neglect to teach their children the value of money before handing over the family fortune, only to watch it squandered by a spoilt brat.

      • Mike, there is bad luck and bad luck as you well know. I have a family member with an intellectual disablity (and physical) and believe me no matter how much personal responsibility she takes she will always be on a benefit. I employ a guy who was in a car crash (passenger) at 19 and has no use of one arm or leg and a brain injury. He is still on his 80% of the income he was on at 19yrs, 20 years later. Luck has everything to do with your life outcomes.

        • I agree with you 100%. The examples you gave are now and should always be eligible for a benefit.

          You have no argument from me.

      • I’m glad you put quote marks around ‘free’ doctor visits. They’re rarely that.

        Just wondering: is all this assistance you cite strongly promoted? Or is it all word of mouth? Because WINZ has a track record for not promoting what people are entitled to – and they can put up an obstacle course fit to baffle the SAS on the way to getting it. Try it sometime.

        • No, it’s still mostly word of mouth. You have to know EXACTLY what assistance is available before you ask them unless by some fluke you strike a very sympathetic frontline worker who detests the system as much as we do and genuinely wants to help.

      • Mike says:
        May 1, 2014 at 8:19 am

        […]

        State support. If you mean a ‘free’ university education, I am of the opinion that you are just trying to ‘stir the pot’ in a political point scoring fashion. There is a myriad of state support available these days. Benefits related to employment, marital status, veterans and number of dependants to name a few. There are grants to cover subjects such as special occasions, relationship break ups, home insulation, travel, doctors visits and even gender reassignment. There are top-ups to cover things like rent costs, unforeseen situations from fridge breakdowns to house fires and school uniforms. Then there are ‘free’ doctor and dental visits for children, 50-80% regional council subsidies on bus travel, 70% subsidies on the price of a swim in almost all council run public swimming pools and libraries in the country. Not to mention access to museums, parks and recreation and public playground facilities, all installed ‘for the public good’ and subsidised by the taxpayer and ratepayer.

        You’ve never had to access state support (eg; WINZ), have you, Mike?

        Do you even know what the unemployment benefit pays?

        Oh, and referring to “access to museums, parks and recreation and public playground facilities” I’m sure is very helpful to struggling families trying to pay rent, power, phone, food, etc, on pitiful income.

        You might as well say, “Let them eat cake”.

        You simply have no clue how the “Other Half” live, do you?

        Neither does that very foolish woman, Eva whatshername.

  6. Poor Eva Bradley. She credits her mother with installing the ignorant ideology of personal responsibility in her. Personal responsibility is little more than greed repackaged – and Eva Bradley seems proud of her greed. So sad to see such ignorance in a person that appears to have so much going for her.

    The individualists who have been seduced by our oppressive ideology often speak of ‘poor parenting’. Maybe Eva is a product of poor parenting – her mother failed to teach her about empathy and understanding.

    Eva probably means well, but she’s just a victim parents with lazy thinking. People like Eva try so hard, but in the end they just struggle to think beyond their simplistic upbringing – I call this the ignorance trap, or the ignorance cycle.
    Eva drives me to speak out against bad practices such as ‘personal responsibility’. We all need to speak out against the discourse of individualism, otherwise more people’s lives will be lived like Eva – such wasted potential

    • Wow fatty! Great work of fiction. I love these obviously tongue-in-cheek, waaaay out there, so poorly informed it couldn’t possibly be anything other than the ravings of a madman-type rants. It would be absolutely hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic.

      Imagine thinking that personal responsibility is somehow a bad thing, or that a self-made woman asking no help from anyone is greedy.

      Greed. I don’t think you know the meaning of the word.

      • Poor Mike…gets a taste of his own logic and can’t handle it.
        I was just playing the ideological mirror, don’t get mad at me because your reflection is ugly

        • I have no idea what your point is. That post has nothing to do with logic, mine or anyone else’s.

          • If you’ve installed Eva’s rhetoric into your children, then you’re what I call a bad parent.
            Feel free to debate this in any way you wish, but if you talk about individual responsibility, or economic independence, you are doing nothing more than justifying my view.
            I don’t see commercial or economic success as being ‘successful’ or anything to be proud of. All it means is that you’ve had some help and luck along the way.

            A previous comment you made above highlights the pointlessness of your economic success:

            “What if I was to decide one day to throw it all away and go off the rails. I become a law breaking, antisocial stoner. I would lose my business (no matter, someone else will pick that up and run with it)”

            I’ll ignore your nasty comment linking ‘weed’ and ‘going off the rails’…the important part is where you acknowledge that someone else will simply fill in the space you currently exist within. You are nothing more than a cog in the capitalist machine, just like the homeless person, just like the beneficiary, just like the CEO of a multinational corporation. Your existence has almost nothing to do with your efforts or skills – you are just you.
            Being privileged and successful is nothing special – I should know, because I’m both, and I’m one of the laziest people I know. Probably just as lazy as you.
            I hope your children find a role model who can teach them empathy and how to fight for a better society

            • Of course I’m a cog in the capitalist machine. What could possibly be bad about that? I may be a cog, but I am a cog with a home, a cog earning my keep on my terms and my destiny is not decided by bureaucrats or politicians, unlike a homeless person or a beneficiary.

              Of course I advocate personal responsibility, and I do it for two reasons; 1) because it puts me in control of my own life, on my terms. If I abdicate my obligation of responsibility to myself and how I treat others, my life and everything I do will then be controlled by others, on their terms, by their values. I become a pawn to someone else with completely different values to my own.
              And 2)What sort of an example am I setting for the next generation, my children, society, my employees and my tax paying peers to expect them to look after me….they have enough to do looking after themselves.

              If me (or anyone else) didn’t strive for economic success, who in the world do you expect would pay through taxation for the social and welfare expenditure you advocate?! Those less fortunate amongst us know the value of those of us who give what we can afford to a worthy cause. And don’t forget that if I wasn’t an economic success, I would be lining up for a share of the welfare paid for by other economically successful people like you. Economic success gives us life choices. One of my favourite advantages it offers is the chance to invest (in my case) in plant and machinery to make life easier, more productive, less hard work, less risk and the chance to be lazy, if by lazy you mean better work/life balance, spending more time with family and partaking in better quality housing/education/food and leisure experiences.

              What is nasty about linking weed with going off the rails? There are those who abuse marajuana just as there are those who abuse alcohol, legal highs or aerosol can fumes with varying and sometimes ugly results. My comment was merely a statement of fact.

              My existence and well being has EVERYTHING to do with my efforts and skills. Without effort and skills, I would not have the quality of life for me and my family that I have now, not to mention the respect I receive from my peers. Can you honestly say that there is not a struggling beneficiary out there who wishes he had less skills or wishes he didn’t put any effort into anything he has ever done, wanted or valued?

              Quality of life is all about SWOT, Strenghs, Weaknesses, Opportunities and threats. Learn to balance and exploit those in yourself and good will come.

              • lol…you write such drivel Mike. You assume that the ideology we’ve had over the last 30+ years is the objective truth.
                Its people like you that has made lose faith in democracy – how can we run a society with your logic as the norm?

                Your achievements have bugger all to do with your self-drive, or whatever you tell yourself.

                You only have respect from people like yourself – those who can’t think beyond neoliberal discourses. I have no respect for you or people who think like you.

                The weed and going off the rails is classic ‘drug war’ mentality. The war is lost and statements like that will be laughed at here in 20 years. They’re already laughed at in places that encourage empathy and treat drug abuse as a health issue.
                Why are you so worried about ‘threats’? Who is a threat to you? Who are you scared of being jealous of?
                You should learn to help other people – it’ll give your life the meaning you are searching for. Then you’ll never be threatened by the possibility of becoming jealous of others.

                • And therein lies the problem. “How can we run a society…”. ‘We’ don’t run societies, societies run themselves, or should do anyway.

                  I get it now. You are a communist. You believe in central control. You believe in government ownership, rationing, equal as opposed to fair and in mind control. You detest personal achievement, individual thinking, industry, progress and the success of others. You hate fair exchange of goods and services, independent thought and goal setting. You despise people who set goals and who are prepared to go the extra mile to gain what is important to them.

                  You have absolutely no respect for private property rights, fair reward for fair input. You see school prize giving night as oppression of those who missed out and job promotion as a conspiracy. Envy is your motivator, oppression your goal. You believe that ‘work will set you free’. You think that expenses should be privatised but profits should be socialised, and that I somehow don’t deserve the rewards of my work.

                  I am an honest, decent law abiding person. I am taking time out of voluntary work (riding for the disabled) to as I type this. How dare you accuse me, of all people of being a “bad parent” because I care more for people, my family and my own community than some guy in a suburb in a North Island city who cares as much about his own people, family and community as I care about mine.

                  Why would you lose faith in democracy because of people like me? I am only one person, only one vote. The main problem we all have with democracy is that it encourages populist politics. Politicians who put aside their core values in favour of saying what they think the majority want to hear to try to get votes. I have always believed that the problem with a democracy is that the majority rules even if the majority is wrong in some way. Democracy doesn’t necessarily give us a right and just government, but a popular government that the majority want. In a democracy it is just as easy to pass laws against murder as it is to pass laws against painting your house white.

                  I am a self made man. Everything I have is the result of my effort. Risk versus reward. It has been my lifes work to develop a reputation as a trustworthy person of good moral character which has resulted in me and my family playing a major part in our local community in both private and community based projects. It is not me who feels threatened or jealous.

                  I can absolutely assure you that there is nothing that I do or believe that interferes with yours or anyone else’s ability to go about their business in their chosen way. In fact, the taxes, rates, levies and donations of time and money that myself and my family contribute to society in general, not to mention the contribution that our business makes in the task of keeping your family in affordable good health should not be underestimated or overlooked.

                  We all do what we can fatty. Have a little respect.

                  • “You are a communist. You believe in central control. You believe in government ownership, rationing, equal as opposed to fair and in mind control. You detest personal achievement, individual thinking, industry, progress and the success of others. You hate fair exchange of goods and services, independent thought and goal setting. ”

                    I’m probably more of an anarchist, however, I guess in a way I’m a Communist. I mean real Communism as in the state disappears, not your version of Soviet authoritarian communism. You really need to think about who’s shaping your thoughts about communism.
                    You’re also way off in what I believe in. I’m not for government control – I want the people and society to control and share. I don’t want equality, I want equity which is fair (I’ll leave equality to ACT). I want people like you to be free of ideological and capitalistic mind control. I don’t detest industry and progress, but I do detest how we currently perceive both – I’d like to see them based on ethical concern rather than dollars. I love independent thought – that’s why I despise your logic. I also love fair exchange of goods and services, that’s why I see capitalism as problematic, and late-capitalism (global neoliberalism) as unethical. I also set goals and achieve them regularly – not because of any special strengths I possess, but more because of the social and cultural capital I have access to (one goal I will never set is economic success, not because I dislike economic success, but by itself it is destructive to others – and I have faith in myself as a person to achieve more than that)

                    “You despise people who set goals and who are prepared to go the extra mile to gain what is important to them.”

                    Nah, I despise people like you who chase the empty goals set by our consumerist culture. Despite what you think, you’ve never set a goal in your life. You just chase the empty dream and seem to have achieved it – well done, hi-five to you Mr ‘Aspiration’.

                    “I can absolutely assure you that there is nothing that I do or believe that interferes with yours or anyone else’s ability to go about their business in their chosen way.”

                    Really? So the device you’re using to spew out to us all isn’t the result near slavery conditions? Well done. Where did you get the precious metals from?
                    You are the first person in NZ I’ve met whose actions haven’t perpetuated the suffering of other humans. You really are moral (whatever that means).

                    “We all do what we can fatty. Have a little respect.”

                    Soz, no respect for you until you learn some humility. Maybe you should set learning humility as your next goal…

                  • Mike, you are ranting. You’re at risk of bursting a blood vessel in your head.

                    Step away from the computer terminal. Have a nice warm glass of milk and a gingernut.

                    Then a lie down.

                    • Yes, I thought you were going to say that Mr Macskasy because I seem to have suddenly lost my right to free speech due to a comment or two not making it through moderation.

                      Ok, I’ll try another angle. Fatty is an ageing hippy idealist. In short, a conspiracy theorist who believes that we all walk around in a zombie-like daze buying ‘stuff’ because some invisible force is messing with our minds and telling us to buy stuff because we need it, otherwise we will never be happy.

                      That’s ok. I accept that. He can believe what he wants to believe. We all do what makes us happy. Except you and a lot of the people on this blog. Unless of course it makes you happy to always complain that the only reason you are not a multimillionaire is because some two bit flash in the pan politician is stealing ‘your’ money. Or that he has too much money and it just makes him look silly. Study the system, learn what society wants and provide it. I have been told I’m a bastard by a guy who applied for a job here when I asked him if he had a criminal record. He held it against me for ‘forcing’ him to tell me he had done time. And that was my fault! A dear friend of mine came in to $80000 via a deceased estate and spent it on a Holden HSV Clubsport. Because it made him happy. Happiness is peace of mind. Who am I to tell him that was a ‘bad’ decision. His money, his decision.

                      Fatty is welcome to his opinion. But he must understand that if he chooses to live on a parallel universe to the majority, he will always be seen as ‘out there’ by the majority.

                      My beef with people like him and you is your belief that you can create a ‘fairer’ society by confiscating income and redistributing it at the point of a gun, your belief that ‘the only reason why hard left redistributive socialism hasn’t worked in the past is because the wrong people were in charge.’

                      You and yours will continue to be viewed by the majority as radically left wing loose cannons who cannot be trusted in any position of power. You are seen to subscribe to the politics of envy and advocate redistribution of earned income to the unearned by force of legislation. You appear to have little or no respect for private property rights and seek to socialise the just rewards of the middle class whilst condoning and trivialising the (sometimes unrealised) poor life choices made by some of those less fiscally fortunate.

                      You seek the political power to oppress the ants to feed the grasshoppers, and judging by the language and name calling you often use to address your guests to this blog, a little humility would go a long way.

                    • Your rant was as amusing as it was misguided Mike, I ain’t no ageing hippy. I’m probably younger than you and never had much time for hippies. I enjoy their philosophy and take a lot from it, but the whole ‘drop out’ thing ain’t for me – because it means people like you will run the show.
                      The rest of what you said is also nowhere near reality. I could have devoted my life to making money, but I just get no enjoyment out of consumption and zeros in the bank account. At the end of the day it all goes back in the box and the more I have, the more other people suffer. I’ve got plenty thanks – I have more objects, belongings and money than I need. I’ve seen and experienced things that money couldn’t buy. I’ve travelled and achieved a lot without money. Money comes and goes. Time just goes. Sadly, the poverty of others continues thanks to the hogging of resources by a few.

                      No politician has stolen money from me, and I have no desire to steal what you think you’ve earned. How can I steal, or be stolen from, when what exists doesn’t belong to individuals?

                      I also don’t think that “hard left redistributive socialism hasn’t worked in the past is because the wrong people were in charge”…The wrong person has never been in charge of socialist/communist states, just like the wrong person has never been in charge of capitalist economies. I’ve always blamed systemic issues.

                      That goes for you too Mike, you’re just an outcome of our systemic pressures – the outcome is greed, risk aversion, worried about being jealous etc.

                    • Mike says:
                      May 4, 2014 at 10:51 am

                      Yes, I thought you were going to say that Mr Macskasy because I seem to have suddenly lost my right to free speech due to a comment or two not making it through moderation.

                      Mike, it’s not your right to free speech I’m criticising – it’s what you’re saying with it.

                      And what you’re saying is uniformed, prejudiced garbage.

                      I hope that’s clear enough for you?

              • Mike says:
                May 2, 2014 at 1:35 pm

                … Economic success gives us life choices.

                The corollary to which, is, that is you’re not successful in a neo-liberal world, you have very few life choices…

                That is the poisoned challice you offer us?!

                Yeah, fuck nah.

                • Yes. That is exactly what I’m saying.

                  But economic success comes in many different forms and is seen differently by many different types of people. Economic success is a conduit towards emotional well being and work/life balance. For instance, one of my employees considered the highlight of his time working here to be the boss giving him time off to go to an Aerosmith concert. “Good band, good wages, good woman. What more could a man ask for?”

                  Bless him.

                  • lolz…that’s not economic success for the worker Mike. That’s just the boss banking some emotional capital so you can use it on your worker when you want some overtime to increase your efficiency.

                    What about all the other times when your lust for more productivity has cost your workers quality of life?

                    Every worker greases their boss, it seems to have worked on you. Behind your back they laugh at you and call you all sorts of things.
                    If you think I’m wrong you have no idea how workers act towards bosses and managers. You have a serious case of ‘Kim Jong-il-ism’ if you think your workers love you.

                    Getting time off to go to a concert – whip-de-fuckin-do. Forget Marx’s point about exploitation through surplus value – Mike has defied the laws of capitalism by letting his workers have a few days off.
                    Do you drink your coffee out of a cup saying “Greatest boss ever”.

                  • Sorry, Mike, but your devotion to neo-liberalism is sadly misplaced.

                    It has been an unmitigated failure with;

                    1. entrenched high unemployment;

                    2. a growing underclass;

                    3. Falling home-ownership rates;

                    4. Lower and lower wages;

                    5. Greater state surveillance to monitor the poor; powerless; alienated; and disaffected;

                    6. Rising inequality.

                    I’m not sure how you’re measuring “success”, but so far the only “trickle down” is the One Percent pissing on the rest of us. And while I have no moral judgement against “golden showers”, it ain’t my thing.

                    Funny thing, Mike. Unless you are part of the top 1% I’m not sure why you care so much for them and their wealth?

                    They sure as heck don’t give a toss about you (except your money maybe).

  7. This is exactly what Ms Bradley is talking about. Eva Bradley is obviously doing well in her chosen career and is a success in her own right. She attempts to impart a little free advice to those people struggling with their lot for one reason or another and what response does she get? “[hasn’t] got a clue”, “this woman with her heart of stone,” “she is an idiot,” “she’s just dumb,”[doesn’t] understand economics or politics,” ignorant on every subject she writes about.”

    Well excuse me, but from where I’m standing Eva Bradley certainly does have a clue, she not an idiot, is certainly not dumb and understands only too well how important it is to read the market.

    And as for the suggestion of a suspected heart of stone, those less fortunate would do well to notice that she does in fact have room in her heart to offer a clue and a morsel of timely advice to a group of people who firstly could do with any advice they can get, and secondly, she has no reason in her busy life to give a second thought to these people except out of compassion.

    It makes me wonder whether critics of Ms Bradley’s column actually want to help themselves or not.

    • Mike, I think it’s fair to say Eva is dumb or an idiot…it just depends how you measure intelligence.
      I don’t really measure intelligence based on spelling / grammar, wealth, being able to click a camera, or knowing a lot about a narrow field (eg, many academics).

      I base intelligence on being able to understand other people’s experiences and situation. For many of us, empathy is the best measure of intelligence.
      And yes Mike, that makes you a dumbass.
      There’s some free advice for you.

      • Oh oh. Running short of the thought processes required for informed political debate, poor Mr Fatty resorts to name calling.

        The parts to the puzzle are as follows; does the person have a decent lifestyle? If no, how did said person get to this point and what led to the situation? What can we do to help said person? What can said person do to help themselves? Is said persons present situation causing hardship or sacrifice of others? Where do we start to change the situation?

        Or maybe we could try your version; does the person have a decent lifestyle? If no, who can I blame? Where is my money?

        Empathy is most important, but it doesn’t buy the groceries. Well…not your own groceries anyway.

        • Mike, when I called you a ‘dumbass’, that wasn’t name calling. I came to the ‘dumbass’ conclusion through careful consideration of your lack of empathy, your inability to consider other people’s structural oppression, the self-satisfaction you get for being a neoliberal pawn, and your ignorance about the way personal responsibility is socially constructed (not objective).

          I’m sorry if you thought ‘dumbass’ was name calling. If it makes you feel better you can think of it as name calling, but really the term ‘dumbass’ sums up everything you seem to stand for. Think of the term ‘dumbass’ to be an all encompassing concept that you embody with your morals and ethics.

          • That’s ok. Coming from you it was water off a ducks back to me anyway!

            However I do still struggle with the idea that you somehow think that I live a life that doesn’t bring me satisfaction. I don’t consider myself to be obsessed with or locked into the consumer culture. Now if I lived in town on the ‘kiwi quarter acre dream’ and paid retail price for all mine and my family’s food, metered water, car(s), fuel, firewood, electricity, tradesmen, subscriptions, rent, meat, sewerage and rubbish disposal and leisure activities, maybe I would. Because all I would probably have to offer for sale to fund that lifestyle would be my work skills.

            So in a nutshell, I would import all of the above on to my section, and export work skills and shit out a pipe.
            Now that sounds like a goal to aspire to!

    • excuse me is right. i’m sorry but (reputed) poor? what fucking planet is she on? i’m nearly 50, i’ve worked nearly all my life in the film and tv industry, working long hours and with extended periods of ‘down time’. not because i wanted to but because that is the reality of my job. in the last 15 years my industry has now shrunk by over 50%. I’ve saved and scrimped to survive in the times when there was no work, until i could do it no more. I now live on a subsistence while i attend university to gain a degree in the hope that it will lead to better long term employment. there are many like me, working hard, can-do attiitudes and striving to survive as best they can. The best piece of advice i could counter offer ms bradley is to gain some perspective, some compassion and to stop being such a smug, self satisfied know it all little brat and blaming people for circumstances outside their control. we most certainly do want to help ourselves, without the denigration and abject smugness from YOU, and this neo-liberal snob. she’ll be snapped up by the National Party before you can say ‘heartless bitch’.

      • So, no comment from Mike here. Long cool Sally doesn’t fit your stereotype does she Mike?

        Stop blaming people for circumstances outside their control- Well said Sally!

      • I hope for your sake your university degree is not in the arts. A degree does not guarantee you long term well paid work per se, unless it is in a field where your skills are in demand, and if you are seeing extended periods of downtime and a 50% downsize of the industry, maybe the industry is sending you a signal.

        It is interesting to note that in the space of less than a day, the left wing self professed ‘compassionate and empathetic’ commenters on this thread have gone from “[hasn’t] got a clue, heart of stone, she’s an idiot” and “she’s just dumb”, to your little gem of “self satisfied know-it-all little brat.” Doesn’t sound very compassionate to me.

        On the subject of compassion. Compassion is doing what you can in the form of empathy and self sacrifice to help those less fortunate. If you need to legislate to secure ownership of the first 30% of a taxpayers income as if by entitlement, then attempt to take the glory of being generous, empathetic and compassionate, you are denying the REAL donors the chance of the credit where credit is really due. in anyone else’s language they would call that some kind of a scam. I have never seen such outright hostility as that expressed in this column by people who claim to represent those in need, claim that the ‘rich pricks’ don’t pay enough and somehow ’cause unemployment’, yet aggressively insult, petty name-call and claim ‘you need to give more’ whenever they get given anything.

        • “I hope for your sake your university degree is not in the arts”

          How predictable, a follower of STEM barbarism.
          Steven Joyce will be glad to see he has another disciple who has been blinded by his ideology.

          • yeah, just like eva, full of ‘advice” that the poor people need to hear for their own good. do this, do that, dont do this, dont do that. full of posturings and pontificating for our own good. you’re not eva’s ‘better half’ *cough* are ya mike? yanno, riding in on your white charger ready to defend the neo-liberal way of life and blaming the terrible poor people for their obviously bad choices and judgements, their inability to succeed and ‘step up to the plate’…. that have nothing to do with economic policy, employment instability, and legislation aimed at keeping the terrible poor people in their place.

            don’t give up your day job mike, one day you too could sit in a big fat seat on the ACT or National bench with your sanctimonious piety and wonderful winning ways.

            • “and if you are seeing extended periods of downtime and a 50% downsize of the industry, maybe the industry is sending you a signal” – no actually mike, it was john key that sent the signal, when warner brothers rode on into wellington, jumped into bed with key, who most helpfully changed new zealands employment law, to the detriment of film workers and the benefit of a huge American corporation.

              i’d hate you to be under any illusion as to why it became increasingly difficult for those in the film industry to survive. not through anything we might have done, but because of foreign intervention and keys backstabbing and politically injurous changes to employment legislation.

              you are ill informed mike if you dont understand the backstory behind the legislation aimed at hurting a sector of industry that i relied on. once again, happy to help

              • Not one film worker had their terms and conditions of work altered as a result of the change to the employment laws introduced in the wake of the Hobbit dispute.

                • http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/warner-bros-sought-job-law-change-film-the-hobbit-nz-135087

                  except for this…. and that certainly was a change if you were an ’employee’ of a company previous to this.

                  or this
                  “The Bill seeks to make film industry workers independent contractors by default, avoiding the definition in current employment legislation of what constitutes an “employee”. Jim Roberts, partner at law firm Hesketh Henry.

                  and if you don’t think that changed the situation for a number of workers i’d say you reside on another planet. I have in the past been an ’employee’, and at times a contractor. No holiday pay, no sick leave, no stat holiday work because they don’t want to pay penal rates. doing ACC, GST, buying your own gear…. i could go on, but i think i’ve probably said enough to put things in perspective.

                  • I repeat – Not ONE film worker had their terms and conditions altered as a result of this change. All this did was clarify the existing position for them.

                    • Can you prove that Gosman?

                      Or are you just making it up (again), as you go along?

                      And are you capable of independent thought rather than parroting the official National-ACT Party line?

                    • well Gosman you’re wrong. when i worked at weta for lord of the rings i was on an employment contract. i had paid annual holidays, paid days off for stat holidays, sick days, and worked a 10 hour day on a wage.

                      not the case on the hobbit after the legislation was changed.

                      an apology any time soon would be fine. yanno.

                      about now…or a bit later, when you have time to pull your head out of your arse and stop spouting shit…:-)

                      when you don’t know what you’re talking about, i suggest the best advice would be to just shut your mouth for fear of being made look a fool.

                    • Did you sign a new contract for the Hobbit or were you on the same contract you had previously signed?

                    • Because if you signed a new contract for a new movie then your terms and conditions haven’t changed. You simply are on a DIFFERENT contract with DIFFERENT Terms and conditions, It is only changed if you signed a contract under one set of conditions and then during the contract period they change it on you.

        • its none of your business what i choose to study, having worked in the arts all my life so people like you can come home, sit down and watch telly, or go to a movie. because i loved my work and i was bloody good at it, however i realised a while ago it was not sustainable no matter how hard i worked and how good i was at it. i did it because i loved it, and because i worked on some brilliant enlightening documentaries. so gaining a degree in the arts when i have a wealth of experience would be more of a waste of time than arguing with a right wing whiney boy.

          however i’ll tell you, i’m doing communications, and of course there is no guarantee of a job… for anyone….that’s exactly the fucking point! no matter how hard some people strive, how hard they work, how much they study, they still might not find decent well paying work. life is not equal, its not fair, its certainly not balanced. and people have ups and downs, just as the economy does, and they strive, and they pull themselves up by their boot straps, and they work hard to better themselves, or in some cases, just to surive. But when 1% of this population holds as much wealth as 50% on the bottom rung, that tells me that something is terribly wrong with the neo-liberal economic model that has nothing to do with people and their striving. happy to help mike, you just keep digging your pit with your gabby gob while you smugly sit looking down on the poor poor people waging your war of words. me, i’m off to finish an assignment on framing of agendas in the news system, fancy that!

          • Goodness me Long Cool Sally, for someone who ‘loves her work and is bloody good at it’ you sure do have a lot to complain about!

            Well done on your decision to further your studies, ‘they may take shirt off your back, but they will never take what’s in here (he says pointing to his head). I can’t remember who famously said that, but it is so true.

            As a wage or salary earner, we really only have skills, education and experience to offer an employer. The remuneration offered will then usually be a reflection of what those skills are worth to the market or industry you are in. In my experience, at best you will get paid more for a better education, at worst, your extra degree won’t bring much more income, but will give you more work opportunities and less down time. A win/win.

            So in the immortal words of Fatty in a previous post, good luck, as Fatty insists that it was luck and only luck that got me to where I am.

            • how very predictable mike, you and eva and the elite right wing are full of’ warm, sage and wise’ *cough* advice to the snivelling, ungrateful poor, yet when the poor wish to be heard, and offer counter opinion, we’re full of complaints… that’s our problem isn’t it? too damn lippy and uppity for the likes of you. don’t you just wish we’d learn our place and be damn GRATEFUL for your ever deigning to speak down to us?

              snort….on ya mike, i think i’m more than well aware of how the system works, thanks ever so much for once again offering me some ‘cold hard facts of life’ that i actually got the gist of 25 odd years ago….

              • I have never once said or suggested that I look down on the poor. That is entirely your idea.

                As I have explained before, I am not right wing and don’t subscribe to right wing ideals. I am centreist.

                Instead of flying off the handle and aggressively jumping to totally the wrong conclusions, you need to relax, imbibe an illegal substance and remember that this is as good as it gets.

                The New Zealand political system is far more reflective of your ideals than mine.

                • the mantle of Condescension suits you so well Mike, hypocracy is SUCH your colour.

                  you don’t need to articulate your superiourity towards the struggling lower classes, your posts just reek of it. perhaps sitting back and chilling on a bong may help?

                  of course you’ll probably just knock back a dozen beersies, bravely thumping your chest and posturing about how terrible marijuana is instead. but thats a totally different kettle of legislation hypocracy

                  • I have never once said or suggested that I look down on the poor. That is STILL your idea.

                    What makes you think that in my leisure or relaxing time I “just knock back a dozen beersies?” Maybe that would be the sort of thing I would do if I was a ‘chest thumper’ or my childrens age. No, I would rather read among other things. Non fiction is my tipple. I’m a sponge for facts and figures.

                    And no, marajuana is not my thing. I have tried it in the past, but definitely not now for one good reason……it is against the law. I have too much to lose.

                    • *cough* ‘And as for the suggestion of a suspected heart of stone, those less fortunate would do well to notice that she does in fact have room in her heart to offer a clue and a morsel of timely advice to a group of people who firstly could do with any advice they can get, and secondly, she has no reason in her busy life to give a second thought to these people except out of compassion.
                      It makes me wonder whether critics of Ms Bradley’s column actually want to help themselves or not’…

                      just ONE example of your looking down on the poor. my my what a short memory you have. i don’t have time to trawl through the rest of your tedium to point them all out. oh yes, insinuating that you know better than I about the field i should be studying was another example of your belittling view of those in a position currently less fortunate than yours. how very dare you think you can pontificate upon my choices that come about due to circumstantial changes in my life. not everything is under our control at times, not everone’s life goes as planned, not everyone has the opportunities that some have, and not everyone is as fortunate at times in their lives as others. whether this is fleeting or temporary, compassion speaks of understanding the frailties and foibles of man and giving not sneering advice but sympathetic understanding to their condition.

          • “i’ll tell you, i’m doing communications, and of course there is no guarantee of a job”

            Communications is one of the most underrated subjects at universities I think (I wish I studied at least some papers in communications). One of the things we need in society is a better understanding of how we communicate, and how power is held and transferred through all methods of communication.
            It’s a shame Eva doesn’t understand how her communication shapes discourses and disempowers vulnerable people. Also a shame Mike doesn’t understand how powerful and abusive his terminology is too.

    • Mike,

      Nobody is dissing her for being successful ..good on her but for the Herald to afford her a weekly column to spew out absolutely patronizing and ignorant bullshit then she deserves our disdain

      • “[hasn’t] got a clue, heart of stone, she is an idiot, she’s just dumb” and “[doesn’t] understand economics or politics” don’t sound like “good on her” comments to me, let alone criticisms around the Heralds subject matter. They sound like the spiteful, mean and envious rankings of a madman.

        • The righteous indignation of those with an appreciation of their own privilege at the baseless nonsense of Bradley have every right to declare their anger at such a pathetic and spiteful attack on the poor. Your attempt to make the issue an ‘envy’ one is childish nonsense.

          • Ok, have it your way Mr Bradbury. Let’s just call these comments the spiteful and mean rantings of a madman.

            Job done. Still more or less accurate.

            • yes eva’s comments could be described as such. well done mike, top of the class in observation. bless

            • Mike.

              You might become terminally or seriously ill in your future – then you might need support from WINZ, or the public health system.

              Or you may be the victim of a violent crime some time in your life, or injure yourself at work – then you may need support from ACC.

              This would soon sort out your patronising snob-attitude.

              Then you can become one of the people ‘her’ is talking about and to, in her silly-dumb article!

              • FYI. I have been seriously ill in the past. Seriously. I have been the victim of a violent crime as well, but was unaffected physically as I caved in to his demands early. The emotional scars I fear, however, will never really leave me completely. I work in an industry that ACC consider to be one of the most dangerous (accidents wise) and I have had my fair share I can tell you! I have never had a need for the services of WINZ.

                As for her and my alleged “patronising snob attitude.” This is an interesting one. You see, what we see in the media and outlets such as this are comments from people who claim to represent the poor. They talk of the stresses involved in everyday life living under the pressures of welfare dependence, physical injuries or health disabilities, financial constraints, mental illness, discrimination, unemployment, underemployment, poor quality education, health system waiting lists, lack of opportunities and assistance gaps. There is a plea from these correspondents for empathy, assistance, understanding and financial assistance in order for these people to cope. I may not have seen extreme poverty, but I have personally experienced my fair share of hardship, physical (major) and mental illness (anxiety and depression), discrimination and workplace bullying. Now I’m not trying to compete or gain sympathy from anyone, but what I am saying is that I am offering an opportunity. You complain of the frustration of unemployment, I, as an employer, offer suggestions of how you may improve your chances from an employers point of view. You tell me you can’t afford to do this or that. I tell you I couldn’t either and here’s what I did to get myself in to a position to be able to. You talk of the frustration of nobody knowing what it’s like to be stuck in a rut, then not only refuse even the smallest suggestion of how you can start to get out of that rut and move on, but you actively try to discredit and insult the messenger as if that may help.

                I find it amazing that you are so accepting of your lot as being ‘your destiny’. You talk of undeserved privilege and show envy toward those you consider to be in a privileged position, yet pour scorn on any suggestion as to how you may start the journey towards being in a position you may now only dream of. It is as if you openly ask for sympathy and understanding, but resist or fail to notice an opportunity to improve the situation. Your political representatives are certainly not backward in their demands for what they see as an entitlement to a share of our wages and salaries, thats for sure! I am starting to wonder if maybe you are just a bunch of glass half full whingers who actually WANT to stay in relative poverty or hardship just so that you can boo, hiss and pour scorn and schadenonfreude on the ‘rich pricks’ that have what you would gladly have at the blink of an eye. Maybe you feel more comfortable complaining about life than actually getting out there living it.

                In the chess game of life….it is your move.

    • Hogwash.

      She’s a bloody wedding photographer.

      Weddings have gone from being public declarations of commitment to being part of what I call the potlatch sector of the economy. People spend ridiculous amounts of money on them for a one time show off. An entire wedding industrial complex has built up around this patent waste of money.

      Our society wastes a fortune on pointless status competition that is in the end nothing more than a potlatch, and people like Ms Bradley have the temerity to lecture the rest of us while they waste resources on pointless frivolities that do little to improve the human condition.

    • I have not read any of Ms Bradley’s musings.

      From what is reported here, however, she has yet to learn that taking personal responsibility takes many forms, not simply her form.

      It would appear that some interpret ‘personal responsibility as never applying for any form of charity or state assistance, no matter how dire their circumstance. That’s their choice. If that choice bolsters their self-esteem through hard times, it was useful to them.

      Others see things differently. They make different choices. They are not ‘wrong’ or ‘weak’ or ‘lazy’ for doing so. They make the best choice they can in their particular circumstances.

      Neither side will win over the other by being rude or handing out unsought advice.

      This may have been forgotten in the sheer delight of anonymously slagging each other.

    • i think most of us could do without her ‘wasting her precious time’ dishing out ‘advice’ to the underclass. Compassion? spare me the fucking rhetoric. Ms Bradleys only agenda is benefit bashing and to condescend to tell the struggling poor how miserably we’re failing in a neo-liberal capitalist economic model that many just can’t ever pull themselves out of, no matter how hard they try or what unfortunate circumstances befall them. lets just say that compassion was the last thing on Ms Bradleys mind when penning her vitriolic diatribe against those in the lower social-economic bracket

    • Mike says:
      April 30, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      This is exactly what Ms Bradley is talking about. Eva Bradley is obviously doing well in her chosen career and is a success in her own right. She attempts to impart a little free advice to those people struggling with their lot for one reason or another and what response does she get?

      Crap.

      That is utter sophistry on your part, Mike. I notice it is the last subterfuge of Right Wingers who have run out of rational arguments.

      It’s not a little free advice that this country needs. It is,

      1. Jobs

      2. Fair wages

      3. Good social services

      4. Affordable housing/rents

      5. Affordable electricity

      6. Healthy, affordable food

      That’ll do for starters.

      A little free advice smacks of an ignorant, ill-informed young woman (and you, by the way) who has no idea what is going on around them.

      As Herman Melville once said,

      “Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed.”

  8. I suspect that those who are Poverty Deniers do so because, as the famous line went in a movie, “The Truth? You can’t handle the Truth!”

    Tis very much so with poverty. To accept the truth of poverty and how it grinds people down over time means having to do something about it. And many people simply do not want to engage in doing anything about it.

    It’s easier to deny it.

    This is precisely the same for Climate Change Deniers; by denting anthropogenic climate change, it means the Denier is cleared of any responsibility to address it.

    People like Bradley are fairly common throughout society. Their reality is one of a close circle of friends and family of their own class. When they say “oh, I know plenty of poor people” – what they mean is “I’ve watched ‘Once Were Warriors’. (Or talked with someone who heard a story from a friend who was married to the brother of my hairdresser’s mum who lived down the road from…

    You get the picture.

    This “silo-isation” of society is made worse by tv networks that prefer to broadcast cooking porn programmes; home improvement voyeurism; US sitcoms; and misogynistic crime shows – instead of programmes that show what is happening in New Zealand. (Bryan Bruce and John Campbell being the rare exceptions.)

    It’s deeply troubling when New Zealanders know more about the break-up of Gyneth Paltrow than the social pressures on low-income families.

    And the irony is that as communications via the internet and a plethora of TV channels increases exponentially – so does peoples’ ignorance on issues.

    I’ve thought for a long time that there are two movies which show the possible future of human society under neo-liberalism/Indivilidualism; “Soylent Green” and “Idiocracy”.

    George Orwell posited in Nineteen Eightyfour;

    “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”

    He was wrong. There is no boot. If you want a vision of the future, the human face is glued to the Shopping Channel – forever.

  9. The Rich Listers are the parasites in this country, many have never done an honest days work in their lives and have merely made their money by the stroke of a pen.

    I doubt whether John Key has ever got his hands dirty.

  10. “trickle down”
    The operative word is trickle and down is just bullshit – classic Orwellian doublespeak.

    New Zealand is #1 on social progress across a wide range of indicators. As with all these ratings and indices it comes down to the weightings.

    New Zealand ranked in the bottom half of the 130 countries for suicide (76th behind the best) and obesity (115th).

    Despite a propensity towards suicide and overeating, which seem slightly at variance with “social progress”, fundamentally she’ll be right.

  11. Eva’s rant is a marking event, staking a claim for acceptance and status by the far right wealth.

    She has no wish to understand more than that.

    • she did send me an email which kept defending her points but at the same time palmed it off as “an opinion piece” which was meant to justify the fact she did little research in relation to the social issue of poverty. I think opinion piece or not, if you speak on these issues you need to be informed on them or else you do what Eva did; stereotype, make assumptions and spread disinformation.

  12. I’m going to be 40 this year.
    I have been working all my life (not just as an adult) at many occasions in more than one job at a time. I, also have two university degrees.
    I have been working in low pay jobs all these years; agriculture and healthcare mainly. Part from choice (I enjoy doing these jobs), and part because I couldn’t get other jobs I applied for.
    All I ask is to live healthy and respectfully.
    The combination of low pay, high and rising cost of living don’t allow me that – according to this government that’s my fault. As a person that reflects on life often, I been trying to understand what did I do wrong?
    I wasn’t greedy enough I should put money and material goods as first priority when looking for a job; not my personal satisfaction for helping others in need and not the feeling that, I made a difference in somebody’s life – that my job has a purpose – other than putting money in my bank account.
    I will never own a house but I would like to know that I can live with dignity from my labour, without worrying about my basic needs of food and shelter every payday.
    Since I’m going to be 40 this year, I know it’s only going to get harder.

    • Good post.

      I don’t own property either and in today’s New Zealand that makes you a second class citizen. There is no defence for long term renters who get moved in 42 days at a landlord’s whim.

      I too think about it often.

    • Stories like yours is why I wrote this article, I hold multiple degrees but I work shit bar jobs so I can then make art and write and engage in politics the three things I am most passionate about. Sometimes I go to oz to earn twice as much in a week than I do in NZ. I am 28, I often have to move back home when I cannot find enough work, it gets depressing. For the first time I have savings but only because I went overseas for high wages. I worry about my future, a lot. Because as you said it is only going to get harder.

      You should not have to worry about your basic needs @BAR as I said their is plenty of wealth around just not in your own pockets…

  13. People need to recognise what the real function of “news” media is today . Apart from advertising, it’s primary goal is to shape public opinion, via propaganda according to the agenda of the policy drivers.
    As seen in the above Herald opinion piece, the aim is to keep repeating the idea of blaming the poor for their own demise, until it has become firmly embedded as a popular belief.

    Here is a very good article, on corporate media propoganda techniques , which , once you’re familiar with them , you can observe them in use nearly all the time. Even though it’s aimed at Americans, the same thing applies to NZ, because the media here is also corporate owned.
    http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/a-citizens-guide-to-understanding-corporate-media-propaganda-techniques/

    • “news ideology is seen as an intellectual process over time, through which the some of ideas and views – notably on social and political issues – of a particular group is shaped, but also as a process by which other ideas and views are excluded or marginalised. (Stevenson, cited in Deuze”, 2005), and Reese (2001) states “the ideological perspective can be seen as a global factor of influence on journalistic decision-making process, enabling us to analyze how media symbolic content is connected with larger social issues, and how meaning is constructed in service of power. Elite peoples – policians in mainstream media – have a far greater. and disproportionate voice than those they pontificate about. All mainstream media in New Zealand is owned by Fairfax (Australia) and APN (Irish ownership). the definers of news in NZ have interest only in profit and maintaining the hegemonic point of view.

  14. We are still being told by MSM the Neo-Liberal Experiment was a success, it was a load of codswallop, it basically stripped the Nations Asssets and handed them over to the Banksters for chickenfeed.

    Now we as citizens pay handsomely to use these services ie the Banks, Telecommunications and Electricity Suppliers making massive profits and remitting them offshore to the parent companies.

  15. Ms Bradley is like the earlier versions of Deborah Cone-Hill, Kerre McIvor. Ms Bradley has not really experienced Life in all it’s myriad capacities yet.

    As such she is to be pulled to one side, and required to read set philosophical texts, learn about history of the ancient world, history of the modern world, and perhaps gain some empathy. In short, be educated.

    • goodness me, don’t tell mike that! he’s ever so helpfully pointed out to me that a degree in the arts, (or social sciences and humanites) is an absolute waste of time! but then empathy doesn’t appear to be his strongest suit….he holds a royal flush of condescension up his sleeve and a disdain for the arts. and he holds those that work in the arts field in such contempt… probably whilst munching on popcorn and watching a dvd or a locally produced television product (not that we have very many of those any more since National scrapped the TVNZ Charter in 2008)…..meaning there is little imperative to create New Zealand content now TVNZ is merely profit driven

    • I do feel she seriously lacked research and I think if you are going to make commentary on social issues like poverty that is fine but read as much as you can and and try to understand as much as you can in relation to what you are commentating on. She just sounded like a fox news anchor – uninformed, discriminatory and right wing as fuck.

      • Read what exactly? You do realise there are two sides to the poverty debate don’t you? It isn’t a black and white issue as you seem to make out here.

        • Gosman, you clown!

          Since when are your right wing views any thing but based on a black and white perception of the world?!?!

          You have the most cyclopean, mono-coloured, blinkered view of things than practically anyone else I’ve read!

          Jesus wept!! 😀

  16. Hey everyone Eva did in fact email me over the my article she mainly defended her point/s but she was respectful. I do tend to agree with some peoples comments on here that perhaps she lacks research and life experience (or not who knows). This is the email I sent back to her:

    Hey Eva, I actually think people making personal attacks on you where incredibly unnecessary I read people calling you “stupid” and saying some pretty mean personal stuff, which is both immature and unhelpful. I predominantly write on issues such as rape culture, women’s rights and violence against women, I have at times received horrible personal attacks ranging from calling me “an ugly fucking feminist” and emails telling me someone is going to come rape me (I have only had one of those but I hear from other feminist writers this is stock standard). I really do know how you feel in relation to personal attacks. What I did in my own article was to unpack your opinion piece I did not attack you personally in either my article or on your FB page. I truly apologize if you feel I did.

    Clearly you are a highly intelligent, motivated and passionate person, I did 5 year of art school, and your photography is technically incredible and visually stunning. You are very good at what you do and I admire how well you have done with your writing. I hope to do the same.

    I understand it is an opinion piece, and 600 words is very short to cover the social problem of poverty. I just hope next time if choose to write on social issues like poverty, you take the time to really look at the scale of it and understand it from differing positions. Your opinion piece really did parrot a Murdoch rhetoric and you stereotyped poor people, even if you did not mean to. You also used a study which did not back up your own opinion which leads to disinformation.

    Eva, you have a strong public voice, that is widely read and you could easily become a leader for young women, it would be cool to see someone like you speaking up against shit like ‘the wage gap’ instead of making some big assumptions about poor people.

    • Which study did she use that didn’t back up her own views ?She did reference a US think tank’ s analys which placed us at the top of a list that involved a number of social measures. This did seem to support her view that NZ is not as bad as some would make out, at least compared with other nations.

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