The 3 reasons why the Politics of Kindness is failing children in poverty 


The latest child poverty stats are out and nothing is changing…

Child poverty: Rising housing costs punish children as more kids in ‘material hardship’

Rising rents and mortgages are helping to push children below the poverty line as the Government’s welfare efforts are yet to make a significant difference. 

The latest child poverty numbers show a slight reduction in the number of children living below most poverty thresholds. 

But there has been an increase in material hardship, with 4100 more children living without such items as two good pairs of shoes, and fresh fruit or vegetables in the home. 

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…there are 3 reasons why the Politics of Kindness is failing children in poverty.

Legacy – NZ never recovered from Ruth Richardson’s Mother of all Budgets that slashed benefits and caused the entrenched poverty we live with now. Not many NZers know this, but the cruel logic Ruth Richardson applied was they worked out the minimum calorie requirements of an adult and set the benefit just below those requirements. The belief was that if you made beneficiaries hungry, that would incentivise them to go to and get a job.

We’ve never recovered from this spite as social policy decision and we live with that legacy today.

Cultural – The 36 year neoliberal experiment in NZ had to impact everything. Politics, economy and most importantly cultural. if you succeed, it is TOTALLY your own to use as you wish, but if you fail, well that’s your problem and the State doesn’t need to care for your poor choices. In practice the de-unionised working classes have had pittance instead of real wage growth so they look at the welfare payment with envy and this envy is manipulated by the Right into voting resentment.

Political – The neoliberal welfare agencies are there to terrify and destroy the vulnerable who are unlucky enough to need assistance. Punitive sanctions, debt loading and sadists staffing the offices of misery all combine to ensure there is enough fear to push the vulnerable away. Labour had no idea they had won the 2017 election and so had no 100 day plan in place to reform the toxic cultures inside the public service with a mass purge.

Labour’s cowardice to anger the Public Service unions is their main reason why their policy is gong no where. After a decade under National, these departments are riddled with right wing sadists who get glee out of denying the vulnerable.

Because Labour failed to purge, the same toxic neoliberal cultures exist and that is the major reason why no policy Labour are promoting is gaining any traction because the toxic neoliberal cultures just have to wait this Government out and go right back to the damage they cause under National.

If and it is a big if, IF Labour get a second term, purging those toxic cultures must be a priority or all they will do for another 3 years is pay lip service and spin to explain why poverty isn’t being reduced.


  1. Alternatively, you could recognise that housing costs are the biggest reason poverty has grown or endures, and that the cost of land and its availability are the biggest factors in increased housing costs.

    Who decides how much land is available for housing (and what can be built there if available)? – central and local governments.
    Land use restrictions are entirely the creation of politicians.

    • It’s all of the above. The neoliberal world order was designed to ensure money flowed to the rich and away from the poor. The housing crisis, benefit rates, work conditions -they’re all symptoms of a system that is working exactly as it was designed to do.

      • Correct Aaron. Which is why we need an equivalent Bernie style “Not Me. Us” movement here. The social democrats are not going to go there with their current ossified Rogerite world view, but they will with enough pressure from the successor generations who will soon enough outnumber boomers at the polls.

        Generation is not some sort of over archingly useful political analysis. A lot of us boomers have fought hard all our lives for a better world, often with fleeting or not great success! and comment here too.

  2. Spot on post.

    Another sad example; Forest industry workers are being displaced due to fall out Internationally over ‘the virus’. Working class people that live week to week and need some help. Mr Robertson says the 13 week stand down for “Job Seeker Allowance” will not be shifted or waived. Labour is keener on sucking up to finance capital and appeasing middle class welfare recipients–e.g. neo rentiers than growing the working class vote. Feed the Forest workers and others fer crissakes–when there is a downpour or a few days without rain the dollars soon get allocated to the farming community!

    The Govt. could drop all beneficiary stand downs, abatements and sanctions right now–but they will not do so for the reasons Martyn outlines. In a dog eat dog society there must be winners and losers–especially losers. If labour does not start considering NZ’s generational working poor and implementing the Welfare Working Group recommendations they will be gone by the end of 2020 and a rare chance for transformation lost for the sake of pandering to middle class prejudice and beneficiary rage.

  3. 4) The labour government is a marketing exercise: “ let’s do this”, “know us by our deeds”, “ the politics of kindness”
    Catchy and utterly devoid of action. A boardroom with no company to run.

  4. 4) The labour government is a marketing exercise: “ let’s do this”, “know us by our deeds”, “ the politics of kindness”
    Catchy and utterly devoid of action. A boardroom with no company to run.

  5. It’s only going to get worse. You can’t have hundreds of thousands of additional people coming into a country on mostly low paid jobs or with zero incomes adding up to millions within a decade and think that will not take up housing and infrastructure. Where the hell do the woke think they live and obviously displacement is going to continue unless people still believe in magical thinking of the kiwi build and transitional housing placing…

    What idiot has immigration policy to import in future beneficiaries and export profits!

    Doh, NZ the land of rampant Neoliberals in Labour and National!

  6. Trying to find a word to describe seeing and hearing of hungry and living-in-poverty AO/NZ kids while foreign banksters sequester close to $6 billion dollars IN NET PROFIT a year out of our fragile economy while huts in Ponsonby are mortgaged to multiple’s of $millions to [them] is a word yet to be invented because none of the words I’d use adequately describe the personal rage I feel about that.
    ” Gosh!” Hardly cuts the mustard and neither fuck nor that most high powered word I’m not allowed to write here that sounds like ‘runt’ does the job either.
    Not even a phrase can be found for the tangled mastery of their dark work against us, aided and abetted by OUR politicians, and all because they wanted a s-wanky Mc Mansion, a Gin palace for the haaba dahlings and a penthouse for the hookers on coke while the wife shops at Prada.
    We have hungry kids for that!
    It’s just fucked. It’s fucked on all levels.
    But wait!? It gets worse.
    Prime Minister Jacinda Adern asked us… ” Lets do this?” I thought “OK. Lets do that”. So off I went and voted.
    I voted Labour and The Green Party. A farmer! Voting for labour and the greens! I know! The world should have stopped turning on it’s arthritic axis.
    But what a waste of time, but worse, a dreadful embarrassment. I actually trusted Prime Minister Adern.
    I trusted you @ MB because you endorsed Prime Minister Adern. I trusted the people who fell for her “Lets do this?” Mantra. And my heart is broken.
    I now have to lean stoically into my autumnal years as the hair falls off my head and bewilderingly grows lush and wavy on my arse I have to watch on as all hope fades.
    It’s like an alien invasion is occurring by some kind of stealth. A sneaky race of intergalactic polyester-people have invaded our planet and are quelling us with a cannon that fires beige, all-is-hopeless, bullets.
    Can I be frank. No, not that Frank. ( Where is he btw?)
    And to be clear.
    This is how it runs, son.
    Post colonial AO/NZ went full commercial/agricultural.
    Huge money was made from the export of wool and meat.
    So called ‘producer boards were established to sequester those export goods from the silly old fama dahlings.
    Think of those people who pinch the shit you buy on-line off the porch once delivered by a courier. That’s kind of what producer boards do. They take farmer produce, give the fama dahlings a minimum guaranteed price then that fama-dahlings produce is #A No longer theirs. And #B Is suddenly worth multiples of billions of dollars. Funny that. Aye Hugh?
    Let this sink in… Take your time. Settle down with a cup of Earl Grey and ponder this, dear reader…
    “…he was appointed to the board of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand…”
    Yes. He was.
    But wait? There’s more…
    “Fletcher’s wife is the Chief Justice of New Zealand Dame Sian Elias. ”
    Fletcher Challenge.
    Fletcher’s wife is the Chief Justice of New Zealand Dame Sian Elias. His brother Angus Fletcher, who was also involved with the family firm, is ex-husband to former Mayor of Auckland, and City and Government Minister Christine Fletcher. His older brother Jim Fletcher was murdered at his holiday home in the Bay of Plenty in 1993.[3]
    Moving on:
    Fletcher was a New Zealand Representative on the Trilateral Commission. In 2002, he was appointed to the board of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. He was subsequently reappointed in 2007.[4] He is also Chair of the board of directors of IAG New Zealand and a board director of Fletcher Building and Vector Limited.[5] In August 2007 he was appointed to the board of Insurance Australia Group.[6]
    But lets remember; fletcher was just one of a cadre of crafty wankers who found himself a very proud fox amongst some deliberately-kept-ignorant chickens.
    Apparently, the Red Shaver chicken is very cuddly and trusting.
    Sound familiar?
    Generations of swindles later and a once wealthy and rightfully proud country has been reduced to societal rubble while I hear financial reporters on RNZ gobble on positively about our billionaire sect and the profits of foreign banksters.
    Of course, being a billionaire comes with responsibilities.
    First on the list is how to hide just exactly how it was that those relatively young sociopathic narcissist’s became so incredibly, criminally, insanely rich from a country that makes, then exports wools, meats and fruits ?
    How? I mean that, literally… Just how the FUCK did they manage that? An hourly rate? Must be quite the rate aye boys?
    They, of course, will argue that they work incredibly hard. Long hours etc.
    Here’s a little fact.
    If I was to save a million dollars a year since 1066 I too could have a billion dollars.
    Starving kids / billionaires? You think there might be a connection? Huh ? You struggling to live? To pay the power bill? To pay your rent/mortgage/insurances/gas in the car/reg and wof the car/own a car?/ Dr/Dentist/Clothes that aren’t made from recycled plastic bottles? Serious, is a thing. Ask SIR steve tindal of The Ware House? Go on, ask him? One time Kiwi Bank NZ’er of the year.
    Things trucked along quite nicely until [their] greed was their own undoing and now, thanks to the internet, we can begin to see through their veil of bullshit and wankiness.
    Enter the wine box inquiry.
    It’s sooo funny that a catastrophe started with a cock up, like many do.
    Selling Citi Bank computers along with a box of floppy disk drives to a second hand dealer still containing dire info relating to Cook Islands money laundering by our proud and noble corporate elite was a cock up of biblical proportions.
    Even the SIS had to get involved in the scramble to cover things up, a fellow was murdered, arguably, and a winston peters was created out of radioactive pond scum to deflect and damage-control. ( No disrespect to actual radioactive pond scum intended. )
    And so here we are. In free fall with hungry kids and their mums and dads chasing the ghost to avoid that terrible sense of worthlessness that poverty besets upon the unlucky and unlovely. You poor people. My heart does truly break when I see wee Maori kids particularly with snotty noses and bear feet. You poor wee mites. It’s not your fault. It. Is. Not. Your. Fault ! You might break and shatter and when you do, you must remember; it’s still not your fault.
    You’ve been ripped off and betrayed. It’s not your fault.
    To paraphrase jonky when talking about that guy? What’s his name? I can see his face. Came here for the anti TPPA thing, was it? Was on stage? Was televised here? God. I’m getting old. A journalist? A Gay guy. American? Brilliant.
    ” Just another ‘Leftie pulitzer prize winning journalist. ”
    “Those who fail to exhibit positive attitudes, no matter the external reality, are seen as maladjusted and in need of assistance. Their attitudes need correction. Once we adopt an upbeat vision of reality, positive things will happen. This belief encourages us to flee from reality when reality does not elicit positive feelings. These specialists in “happiness” have formulated something they call the “Law of Attraction.” It argues that we attract those things in life, whether it is money, relationships or employment, which we focus on. Suddenly, abused and battered wives or children, the unemployed, the depressed and mentally ill, the illiterate, the lonely, those grieving for lost loved ones, those crushed by poverty, the terminally ill, those fighting with addictions, those suffering from trauma, those trapped in menial and poorly paid jobs, those whose homes are in foreclosure or who are filing for bankruptcy because they cannot pay their medical bills, are to blame for their negativity. The ideology justifies the cruelty of unfettered capitalism, shifting the blame from the power elite to those they oppress. And many of us have internalised this pernicious message, which in times of difficulty leads to personal despair, passivity and disillusionment.”
    ― Chris Hedges

  7. 2017——————-Labour Campaign slogan ” LETS DO THIS ! ”

    2020 —————–New Labour Campaign slogan ” LETS TALK ABOUT THIS .”

    Take your pick .Transformational my arse .

  8. Connections aren’t sin in a small country Countryboy. Sian and Hugh were both good people.

    Confront National and take a national poll about turning around the Jenny Shipley benefit cuts. And if not, EXPLAIN. The Left is all scaredy cats after you , pol sci Helen Clark. And you became the spokesperson for world poverty. Unless you have something to say you’re not much use. You remember our old country where we tried not to leave anyone behind. Or the ‘Looney Left’ as the Left’s spokesperson, Stephen Mills, described us on the RNZ Monday politics prog.

  9. Easy credit from the banks has fuelled rising house prices. Totally enabled by the government. Plus fabricated land prices by council limiting the supply. Plus fomo. I’d say this is the most significant contributor to poverty. It’s not that the aren’t enough houses, there aren’t enough affordable houses to rent and buy.

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