An unfortunate advertising placement; child poverty; and breathing air



mike hosking - simon collins - 300000 plus kiwi kids now in relative poverty - nz herald


I was reading Simon Collins’ piece on child poverty in the Herald, and a small advert caught my eye… (See image above)

I’m not sure if Mike Hosking wants to be associated with our mounting child poverty crisis. It’s simply not his style. More accurately, it makes people like him feel queasy and uncomfortable. Rich people don’t like feeling uncomfortable – that is what wealth is supposed to eliminate. It reminds Hosking, and others like him, that whilst he is enjoying their wealth, others are surviving their poverty.

That sticks in his mind, deep down, somewhere, in the places where his parents tried to instill values of fairness in him when he was a child. That makes him resentful.

That is why the affluent; the rich; the powerful; the Comfortable Classes,  hate the poor so much. Otherwise, why do they invest so much time writing so defensively and caustically, when a blogger like Chloe King airs her views, in defence of the poor and the powerless? What is Chloe King to them?

Why bother?

TDB Recommends

Because they feel guilty.

Especially when she reminds them why they should be feeling guilty.

When  Mike Hosking made his views on child poverty perfectly clear on 9 April;

“Children cost money. If you can’t afford it, don’t have them. It’s not hard.”

– he was in full vengeful retaliation mode.

This was Mike Hosking – mouthpiece for the Comfortable Class – sheeting blame for poverty to the victims who have to endure it.

It would be like the victims of the Great Depression being blamed for being out of work; no money; and relying on soup kitchens to survive each day.

Now, when I was young, growing up, we lived off my dad’s sole income; mum stayed home and herded us kids. Dad’s income paid for the mortgage, food, power (a bill once every two months!), fuel for the car (an American  gas-guzzling, noisy, metal beast that I swear was a reincarnated T29 Soviet tank  in a former life), insurance, doctor’s visits (medicine was free – remember that?), and even a camping holiday to Taupo or somesuch place. We weren’t rich by any means. But dad’s income was sufficient for the things that average Kiwi families enjoyed.

And funnily enough, we didn’t need mass consumerism or seven day shopping and other such nonsense to get by.

The point is this; not being able to “afford kids” is like telling someone they are not worthy to breathe the air or drink water.

When did an act of nature become dictated by the amount of money a person had? Especially in New Zealand – a country  once upon a time we thought to be egalitarian?!

If our fellow New Zealanders “can’t afford” to have children, I suggest it’s not the cost of having children that is the problem. It is the inadequart income being earned by New Zealanders that is the core problem (I refuse to call it an “issue”) here.

In his article, Simon Collins presented two charts showing the growth (or lack thereof) of incomes since 1982;





Notice how incomes for the lowest paid have stayed low – even after Working for Familes was introduced in 2004? The lowest ten percent have moved from $15,400 to $17,700. Last year, they failed to be counted as Collins pointed out;

The report does not include figures for the poorest 10 per cent of households, who include most beneficiaries, because the names of benefits changed in 2013 and some beneficiaries appear to have reported only how much they received since the new benefit names were created, missing out their incomes for the first half of the 2013-14 year.

Very convenient for the government, no?

Meanwhile, the top ten percent have increased their income by fifty percent, from $50,200 in 1982 to $75,400, last year.

Let’s be clear here. When right-wing ‘pundits’ and cheerleaders for the rich deride the poor for having children, this is barely-coded moralism and victim-blaming.

It is attempting to paint the poor as suffering “deeply flawed character”, almost to a DNA-level.

In fact, many right-wingers openly refer to welfare recipients as “inter-generational”; the subtle nod to ‘bad DNA’ being made without recourse to the more clumsy eugenics policies of you-know-who.

By blaming the poor for the temerity to have children, the Right shift the blame and deflect attention from the real question; why are people so poor that they cannot afford to raise a family as we used to, before the advent of Rogernomics?

Is it because, since 1986, Baby Boomers have voted seven tax cuts for themselves?

Is it because, as taxes were cut, GST was introduced and increased, as was user-pays in areas such as education?

Is it because simple things like medicine has gone from being free – to five dollars for each item?

Is it because trade unions are no longer able to advocate for their members, and wages have not kept pace with productivity, as this chart from the New York Times showed for US workers (and most likely applies here as well)?




Yes. All of the above, and more.

The next time a right winger is ranting on about the “breeding poor”, remember that what they are really trying to say is;

… it’s their fault they are poor; they are unfit humans. Their bank accounts prove it.

… it’s not my fault I’m paying less tax than my counterparts did, thirty years ago. I just voted for it.

… only the Comfortable Class should breed. For we are superior because we have the moral fortitude (and good genes) to make money and keep it.

… don’t bother me about the poor. I’m trying to enjoy my Beluga caviar and Bollingers, thank you, without being reminded…

Well, too bad.

We will continue to remind you.

Don’t choke on your bolly.





Create a society that values material things above all else. Strip it of industry. Raise taxes for the poor and reduce them for the rich and for corporations. Prop up failed financial institutions with public money. Ask for more tax, while vastly reducing public services. Put adverts everywhere, regardless of people’s ability to afford the things they advertise. Allow the cost of food and housing to eclipse people’s ability to pay for them. Light blue touch paper.” –  Andrew Maxwell, Irish comedian





NZ Herald: 300,000+ Kiwi kids now in relative poverty

The Daily Blog: Now we got bad blood – being poor in a rich world

Newstalk ZB: Mike’s Editorial – The cost of a child

NY Times: Bill Marsh/The New York Times
Sources: Robert B. Reich, University of California, Berkeley; “The State of Working America” by the Economic Policy Institute; Thomas Piketty

Previous related blogposts

When the teflon is stripped away

Mike Hosking as TVNZ’s moderator for political debates?! WTF?!

Mike Hosking – Minister for War Propaganda?




hosking - National - flag - wanker



= fs =


  1. I like to ask people to engage in the veil of ignorance, and unsurprisingly none would choose to be at the bottom of society – however they are happy to continue to vote for a government which actively keeps people at the bottom (more often than not people are also ignorant to the veil of ignorance!!). There are major gaps between causation and effect in NZ society.
    Love your work Frank!

  2. Wow, wouldn’t it be great to see that article in the Herald instead of Hoskings sycophantic stooge drivel

  3. Perhaps its just human nature, but those who have a vested interest in promoting and maintaining a class society inevitably see themselves in the upper classes, never any lower. It seems to be an integral part of right wing ideology that you always compare yourself with others simply by means of the monetary value of what you own. I personally class the worthiness of people by what they do, rather than what they have.
    In this regard it is easy to class Mike Hosking. What he does in personally attacking people who he sees as inferior to himself shows his complete unworthiness, especially if he regards himself as a journalist.

    • What hypocrisy! In your two posts in this thread, all you have done is attack other people! And worst of all, in your first post it was to state that anyone who supports the current government is ignorant.

      Does it never occur to you that people who have differing views to you have minds of their own? That hey may well have a superior education, world experience, intelligence? Or do you think that the majority of people should be forced to adopt your views at the point of a gun, like those other darlings of the left, Mao, Stalin, Che Guevara?

      And I doubt Hosking (who I also detest, albeit for different reasons) thinks the worth of a person is measured by his bank balance. I am willing to bet he values sucess for its own sake. The income is a by-product of that success.

    • You’re right there Mike, but I look at how the creative arts are doing in a culture. Er… dormant? Indubitably.

    • Two posts? Sorry, my friend, I can only count one, apart from this reply. Hypocrisy? How’s that? I think right wingers are shallow and greedy by nature. To be hypocritical I should logically think that left wingers (like myself) are paragons of virtue. I don’t think that. Where is the hypocrisy then? I am also not forcing my views on anyone, with a gun or otherwise. TDB is very good about publishing views from people with opposite ideologies, in direct contrast to Whaleoil who only publishes those comments who agree with him. But if you want to appear on the TBD you should expect to be challenged, not cossetted.

  4. Brilliant piece of work Frank. Many thanks.

    I was also raised in an egalitarian society. I remember it well. That was the socio economic structure, when one wage was adequate to feed a family, keep a roof over the family’s head and amongst other things, Kiwis, particularly children were valued beyond all else.

    Wasn’t that the very same society FJK and Hosking were also raised in? You know the one, that which provided FJK with a state supplied home! And let’s not forget both FJK and Hosking were recipients of a good FREE education all the way through from primary to tertiary level as well!

    Now we have two income families, living close to the poverty line, courtesy of NatzKEY and its unscrupulous cronies promoting a low wage economy!

    This country couldn’t sink any lower if it tried!

  5. Child Poverty is just an irritant to John Key and Mike Hoskings.

    It’s not news. It’s just parents who don’t care about their kids that are a problem. It is not news, it’s just bad parenting pure and simple.

    Bring on the Rugby World Cup and Ritchie McCaw that is real news?

  6. Nice tie in with Chloe King’s piece, Frank. Can’t add much more to what you’ve said except that Hosking is a disgrace and TVNZ should be ashamed for giving voice to such an odious little man.

  7. Frank,

    Having children is optional. Why do some poor people insist on having a whole bunch of them when potentially good parents in the middle class hold off kids because they can’t afford them? I can think of two possible reasons:

    a) They’re not very smart and just have children by accident

    b) They’re actually quite smart and know the welfare system will pick up the tab (using money stolen from the middle class otherwise known as ‘tax’)

    I suspect that in the long run the structural details of welfare in western nations is exacerbating the problem rather than solving it.

    • Righto, Andrew, some questions for you regarding your statements;

      Why do some poor people insist on having a whole bunch of them when potentially good parents in the middle class hold off kids because they can’t afford them?

      1. How many “poor people insist on having a whole bunch of” children? Can you give us some figures?

      2. Why should the ability to have children be predicated on costs, when it is income that is insufficient?

      3. Doesn’t this mean that only the well off can have children?

      4. Is it the fault of children that they are borne to poor families?

      5. What should be done to children where families lose their income (eg, after the GFC/recession) and move further into poverty?

      6. Do you know how much ” the welfare system will pick up the tab ” amounts to per family or child?

      7.If “they’re not very smart and just have children by accident”, what should be done to the children?

      8. Do you know how many are “not very smart and just have children by accident”?

      9. What do you think might happen if there were more jobs and decent wages paid to low-income families?

      10. Why was it, once upon a time, that one income was sufficient to pay the mortgage and raise an entire family – whereas now, even two incomes are often insufficuent?

      You’ve given us your views, now feel free to demonstrate to us, by responding to the above ten questions.

      And here’s the “Bonus Questions”;

      11. If only affluent people have children, who do you think will pay your superannuation? Because I doubt if the top ten percent can breed enough children to grow into workers, to pay for the super of several million retiring baby boomers.

      12. If the children of poor families are given a decent education, with jobs, and good wages, do you think that will pay for everyone’s super?

      No rush. Take your time.

    • Excellent point Andrew.

      So you want to practice eugenics?

      May I recommend “Mein Kampf” by Mr A Hilter. Get it in translation unless your German is adequate. You’ll find he too shares your ideas.

      Glad to help old chum…

  8. The wealthy are so detached that they just DON’T HAVE A FCKN CLUE … Kiwis are patient and tolerant people but I think we’re approaching a time when middle-class Kiwis are going to start looking long and hard at moneyed elitists in NZ – including the entitled attitudes and habits of those in government, because they’re not at all interested in stepping into line, sharing the load or bearing any of the weight required to support the nation … think about this people – what has Key and his self-indulgent governance done for NZ lately? Who are his concerns for?

    NZ ISN’T and has NEVER BEEN ABOUT WEALTHY SELF-PRESERVATION, but with John Key waving his Elitist flag to the global elite around the world, who are flying here in their private jets to hide, things won’t get better.

    Let’s face it – whether you’re aware of what’s been going on in NZ or not – practically everything in NZ, thanks to the Key government, has/is being politically geared toward profiting the wealthy at the expense of middle-class Kiwis who are trying to support struggling Kiwis while the wealthy weave along on their merry way, without a care in the world, happy as always to leave someone else to fix the problem, clean up the mess or pay the bills.

    … Make a choice NZ …

  9. Think NZ … John Key is trying to create a new NZ – one with a new flag/therefore no Sovereignty – a corporate/TPPA NZ stripped of its history, its culture, and it’s natural resources. Corporate NZ – no Treaty/Constitution and no indigenous Maori with sufficient mana and integrity to safeguard Aotearoa’s lands and resources or to guide/lead NZ, and stand against greed and global corruption… John Key’s NZ is a sideshow, dedicated to catering to needy Corporates, Elites and mindless U.S. celebrities …

    NZ’s middle-class are only good for providing necessary support to poverty-stricken NZ, and paying over-inflated rates/taxes for flashy new Convention Centres, and showy new cities which will be constructed to have all the toys necessary to entertain foreign elites coming to settle in NZ from around the word, while Cantabrians continue to suffer or are driven out of Christchurch completely …

    What has the Key government done about any of this “man-made (HAARP) earthquake” suffering/destruction which was wrought on the people of Christchurch NZ?! So many still suffering hardship while waiting on Insurance companies – again, what have government done about it? It’s intentional NZ!

    … start looking long and hard at what’s going on and who looks to gain/profit … Make a choice Kiwis.

  10. The telling part of your article Frank, is that the deep and bitter irony of this ad placement is utterly, completely, and irrevocably lost on those of the neo-liberal religion.

    O tempora, o mores

    or in the case of our hungry children:

    O Tempura, no mores…

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