MEDIA WATCH: Of course NZ is one of the worst places to raise children – the surprise is our lack of shame


Come on.

Is anyone even surprised anymore?

Child wellbeing: New Zealand ranked near bottom of UNICEF child ratings

New Zealand is near the bottom of a UNICEF league table ranking wealthy countries on the wellbeing of their children.

Of the 41 OECD and European Union countries surveyed, New Zealand ranked 35th in overall child wellbeing outcomes – and UNICEF says that is failing children.

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The UN Children’s Fund rankings show this country’s youth suicide rates are the second highest in the developed world and only 64 percent of 15 year olds have basic reading and maths skills.

We have robbed tomorrow by giving yesterday everything today.

We are never allowed to ever analyse the 35 year neoliberal experiment in our economy, politics and culture.


Even though the statistics are as grim as this, we always find a way to worm out of providing any universal basic level provision of welfare.

Watch how NZers will tie themselves in absolute knots to prevent schools from providing free breakfasts EVEN THOUGH the cost is minimal EVEN THOUGH that might be the most nutritional meal of the day for that child EVEN THOUGH those children will perform educationally better with fewer behavioural issues because, you know, HUNGRY CHILDREN DON’T LEARN THEY FIGHT YOU FUCKING MORONS.

Sorry, I’m still carrying some bitterness for MANAs Feed the Kids Bill not getting through.

Look, our under funded social infrastructure, our ‘me first’ consumerism, our 35 years of neoliberal mythology, our disconnection from one another, our untreated pain, our lack of hope from grinding poverty in a first world country, our damaged masculinity, the intergenerational consequences of colonialism, our unspoken rage culture, our inability to express emotion beyond anger all of that combines into a ruthless stew of dispossession of the soul.

In a society that has no religious faith and all the cultural maturity of a can of coke, the bonds which keep us attached are frail and disconnected. In our fetishisation of individualism we have lost the central part of the human condition –  connection.

We have traded in our interwoven threads of whanau, friendship and kin for a rat race of success that few ever win and where many children are simply left behind.

Thanks to neoliberalism, we are further from each other than ever before. Damaged individuals competing for a self identity too fragile for the storms and tempests of life.

Look at the manner in which our suicide rates jumped after the neoliberal reforms of the 1980s, where we moved away from the communal towards the individual…

…we huddle frightened on these lonely rocks at the end of the world and slowly one by one slip off into the swallowing dark. Until we are prepared to confront many of the individualism-over-all myths and rebuild our tattered communities, our suicide rates and continued unsafe vacant lot kindergarten culture will remain reminding us of our whispered egalitarian deceptions.

This bitter neoliberal harvest from corrupted seed bears no fruit for the many.


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  1. Rolling back Neo Liberalism is THE job for NZ leftists in the next 3 years. Neo Liberal hegemony is so pervasive that it is almost the only political task, bar Climate Action, that we need concern ourselves with. The Reserve Bank Act, SOEs, State Sector Act and all the poisonous rest that either merge public infrastructure with private capital, or sell it straight out to the 1%ers! just roll over each election, regardless of which group of MMP parties make up the Govt. This has to stop, the Parliamentary Neo Lib Consensus must be smashed.

    It will take a broad social movement, across all sectors, like those that backed Bernie Sanders Campaign in the US to achieve. “Unite all who can be United to bury the toxic legacy of “Roger’n’Ruth”. There will never be a better chance to do it than during Covid 19, with a Labour or Labour led Govt.

  2. I feel deep anger at Grant Robertson for this Two Tier system. It is cruel, it is divisive, and it is dishonest. It is a punch in the gut to all those struggling to just stay alive and keep themselves together, who have been on a benefit. The system is broken. Why can’t they just admit that and so have reason to start really fixing it. It works like a slab of concrete being thrown over the bodies of those on benefits, both the living and those who have already given up the struggle to stay alive. I don’t even have words to express the anger and disgust that I feel – just, betrayal.

    • Sadly, betrayal is not a new phenomenon and has been the by-word of politicians of all ‘colours’ since the 1970s. It’s just that the manifestations of betrayal are becoming so obvious now (whereas previously TPTB were able to keep them well hidden).

      Even as I write, the mass media reports the symptoms of our demise without addressing any of the causes. All happy-clappy as the ship goes down, with plenty of opportunities for whingers to whinge.

      The most distressing aspect is the fact that whoever forms the next government, they will almost certainly continue the with the betrayal-of-the-people paradigm, and will continue to serve the interests of the [mostly overseas owned] banks and corporations and local opportunists.

      The only factor that will prevent such a scenario is complete collapse of the global financial-economic system.

      Whilst a major jolt is certain before the end of the year, we cannot be sure it will be big enough to demolish the entire global commercial system this year, and we face the prospect of yet more futile attempts by governments around the world, including that of NZ, to prop up failing systems and maintain the wealth gap by penalising the masses.

      NZ is in an almost unique position of being perceived as safe (despite the appalling health and suicide statistics) and is currently experiencing a massive inflow of people which is propping up many components of the economy that would otherwise already be down the drain.

  3. It’s a hard row to hoe eh Martyn. Even when we’ve got a woman in charge.

    Although these days, the definition of a Wo-(ease up roger)-man has become somewhat fluid – especially if you look at that horror story Judith. But then I guess she’s got an excuse (of a husband), and a lifestyle to feed

      • Yep, well it’s the reason I won’t be voting Labour this election. Evan after what has just hit the world, and perhaps one of the best opportunities ever to roll back the effects of the past 35 years, there are never-ending excuses why it can’t be done. (The market the market; the world has changed and we can’t cling to the past; rhubarb rhubarb, pivot pivot in this space.)
        We know who is really “change-averse”. It’s the neo-libs. There’s actually not much left to commoditise … but sure as shit they’re working on it. Citizenship, sovereignty and self determination went a long time ago
        What worries me most is that the longer it survives, the more violent the change will be when it comes (which is inevitable).
        And btw……it’s actually a 3 tier beneficiary system.

    • Exactly why I joined the Greens .
      They are the only party that have even bothered to think beyond 3 years ahead.

      From Feedback I have heard from a green party caller a lot of labour supporters want the greens in parliament and are going to split their vote as I will be in Chch Central to make it happen.

      • Yes, there are plans among the Greens that would have long term consequences for the neo liberal consensus ,- in lessening and helping to dismantle it. They will get my party vote, Labour will get my electorate vote.

      • Yes, I’m having a re-think. Courtesy of Sepubloodyloni, + Grant’s plan to extend/ make permanent (!!!!!!) the two tier sicko system, and Damien O’Connor’s absolute non-response to just under 6,000 cows shipped in a wonky boat to China, sunk and drowned. Sickening. I feel like I’ve had enough of some of this. Looking again at the Greens.

        • ‘Looking again at the Greens.’

          Good to see that.

          Don’t forget that the Greens promote squandering of energy and promote Planetary Meltdown.

          2012 was an extraordinary year insofar as there were massive storm systems in the Arctic which broke up ice and pushed it around, resulting in a record-low ice cover.

          Guess what: with no major storm systems, this year’s ice cover is close to the record low of 2012.

          The loss of ice cover probably won’t exceed that of 2012 this year. But when the thickness of the ice is taken into account we are in exceedingly dangerous territory.

          Once the ice disappears, if only for the summer initially, it will put Planetary Meltdown into ‘hyperdrive’ (no latent heat of phase change).

          What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic but affects the entire planet.

  4. Is there a source for that suicide rate figure (1.1)?

    I find the apparent sex difference fascinating, but am cautious about drawing too many conclusions without reading the primary source. For one thing; as suicidal stigma has changed over time, so might official cause of death be differently classified in different decades. At least newspapers can say more than “suddenly” when reporting suicidal deaths these days.

    But even with those caveats, it seems likely that the NZ male suicide rate has nearly doubled in these last decades (an increase from around 11 to 22/ 100,000/ year) while the female rate has remained stable (5-6/100000/ year). With a population of 5 million, that’s more than a thousand suicides a year now, and that’s before the pandemic (sample range ends 1999).

    • Those figures are a true figure of our suicide stats that I have been seeing for the last 10 years.
      Our Mental health figures are beyond deplorable and WE ARE NEAR THE TOP of world suicide stats for youth suicide. There has always been a higher male suicide rate in NZ than female due to our Guys are staunch and dont ask for help bullshit.

    • Whichever way we cut it, the rates are appalling. I daresay if we had a political and economic system more similar to the Scandinavian country’s, we not only would be wealthier and healthier, but we would get rid of all this tomfoolery and these neo liberal fake politicians that have lied to us for good.

      The only reason the argument against neo liberalism is closed down is because they know that once the NZ public become educated and catch a whiff of how they’ve been lied to and ripped off on behalf of the 1% for 36 years, – all hell would break loose and they would be tarred and feathered and thrown inside for treason.

      LETS DO THIS !

  5. Well, I would have thought the honourable Carmel Sepuloni who suggests that she has an understanding of policy, would know, in this budget, that we are spending more than $40 billion in family and tax benefits. There is no excuse for underfunding benefit rates because we aren’t funding it, it will be funded by a budget surplus. It’s funded with a surplus. Carmel Sepuloni is the kind of bitter idiot we expect from The Honourable Judith Collins and Gerry Brownly that talk about funding issues which is absolutely stupid because the whole thing is funded by surpluses.

    Frankly of the value of doubling benefit rates and that’s about for argument’s sake 4 billion, compared to the proposition of being mean and bitter which can barley fund a $25 dollar benefit rate increase out of $40 billion and has been demonstrated convincingly that it can be funded by the jobs subsidies scheme, and so the benefits of a Labour Government is the same as under National when National raised benefits by $25 but Labour didn’t even index it to inflation.

    I mean the joke of all of it. They have the Gaul to stand in front of there poll results compared to the real numbers which are being paid now and the fact is the single parent on a benefit trying to establish at least one substantial category of family, we pay them half as much less and Carmel has the temerity to issue virtue signals because the evidence shows that it has absolutely nothing to do with funding issues.

  6. Here is the relevant excerpt from the Greens Poverty Action Plan:

    A Guaranteed Minimum Income of $325 per week for students and people out of work, no matter what.

    A Universal Child Benefit for each child under three of $100 per week.

    A simplified Family Support Credit of $190 per week for the first child and $120 per week for subsequent children to replace the Working for Families tax credits with a higher abatement threshold and lower abatement rate.

    Additional support for single parents through a $110 per week top-up.

    Reforming ACC to become the Agency for Comprehensive Care, creating equitable social support for everyone with a work-impairing health condition or disability, with a minimum payment of 80% of the full-time minimum wage.

    Changes to abatement and relationship rules so people can earn more from paid work before their income support entitlements are reduced.

    A 1% wealth tax for those with a net-worth over $1 million.

    And two new top income tax brackets for a more progressive tax system that redistributes wealth.

  7. As soon as you even hint at criticism of the 35 year neo-liberal experiment you are immediately labelled alternatively or collectively: “communist”, “socialist”, “loony-left”, “tall poppy”, “economic saboteur”.
    New Zealand is really a very conservative country – despite our international reputation for being so open, progressive and egalitarian.
    Our horribly compromised MSM has made all proper debates on this subject taboo because they are part of the cause and great benefactors of the effect.

    • And it is also a very dumbed down country. Another method used by the neo liberal machine via media to act on behalf of the neo liberal. Gotta’ love all those cooking shows. And if that doesn’t suit, give em car shows or house renovation programs.

      The Romans knew it well, – give the plebiscites bread and circuses to shut them up.

    • Yes Mike the leftie;

      The toxic Media is our worst public enemy #1 and must be dismantled and replaced for speaking about the poor 99% among us all and all the deficiencies in this lopsided Neo-liberal system to feed the rich and forsake the poor.

      Micheal Josef Savage would have a heart attack if he came back to see the shambles we have now.

  8. “We are never allowed to ever analyse the 35 year neoliberal experiment in our economy, politics and culture.”
    Well, that’s not entirely correct is it?
    We’ve done so here exhaustively.
    What ‘here’ doesn’t have though is broader appeal and that, dear boy, is all about marketing.
    But lets get back to the term ‘neoliberalism’. What does ‘neoliberalism’ mean?
    Neoliberalism is a vague sweep-of-the-broom word, like religion. Religion means everything and anything that requires a certain adherence to a mystical belief system. Believe in God/s and the God/s will provide. All we have to do is follow that word. And if one’s belief fails to deliver, never mind that the churches get ever richer and more powerful, it always falls back on the hopeful believer to appease their God/s and when that fails, it’s always the follower’s fault for not believing enough or worshiping enough or being pious enough etc.
    The word neoliberalism encompasses a system of belief that has, within itself, different permutations of the word/s. It’s really a Swiss Army pocket word and it’s the creation of milton friedman to enable one or two people to justify their exploitation of the many others. After all, it takes many, many people to make one billionaire and it takes a very clever script written be evil geniuses to bullshit people into keeping quiet and to be still while neoliberals walk in, take our stuff and things then sell them off while we tank as a promising, modern and inclusive society.
    Neoliberalism, when applied to AO/NZ, was used as a mechanism to subtly disenfranchise those who worked ( very hard) to build a social infrastructure designed to make absolutely sure that people never had to worry about poverty, the misery that came from poverty, fear, anxiety and exploitation ever again.
    So why is it that we’ve been rendered powerless and without a voice? How did we get into such deep shit?
    Since we’re clearly powerless and since knowledge is power then we should probably power up and learn how it was that ‘They’ were able to do this to us.
    I’d start here with Prof Stanley Milgram if I were you.
    And read everything by this fellow:
    David Graeber, anthropologist and author of Bullshit Jobs, dies aged 59
    And now this.
    Sun Tzu
    The Art of War
    What most people in AO/NZ don’t ponder enough, in my opinion, is that we’re at war.
    And war, like ‘life’, depends entirely on how it’s observed.
    The Observer
    Alien life
    Are aliens hiding in plain sight?
    When I look into the media I see war while others see Celebrity Desert Island.
    If neoliberalism could be explained in a few words it’d surely be something like this.
    The very few have the very many mesmerised into working ever harder to create great wealth for those few while we doff our hats and give thanks for their exploitation of us.
    There needs to be substantive actions. Roger douglas MUST be taken to court, perhaps on charges of treason. His cronies MUST be subjected to a royal commission of inquiry as must their relationships between big business and foreign banking.
    It’s said “ To the victor, the spoils! “ Well, then lets stop being victims.
    I’ve always liked the idea of crowd funding a war chest to employ the best private detectives and forensic corporate accountants to go up our abusers like douglas and his cronies and his Big Business pals and have a good dig around.
    Would that not put The Daily Blog ‘out , and up there’? I mean way out, and way up there!
    Telling the world who already have us well and truly under the microscope that we, the AO/NZ people are sending in paid professionals to help find out exactly what it was that went wrong with a country that should, by any measure, be one of the richest countries in the world per head of pop’.
    At this point, while knowing what I think I know, I have to ask @ Martyn Bradbury? Are you one of us, or one of Them and I think you know what I mean?
    The Machiavellian confederate can be very cunning when cornered.
    I think you have an incredibly powerful war machine which is your TDB comprising of us et al so perhaps it’s time to load it up and fire off a salvo at our skanky little enemies?

    • .. ”There needs to be substantive actions. Roger douglas MUST be taken to court, perhaps on charges of treason. His cronies MUST be subjected to a royal commission of inquiry as must their relationships between big business and foreign banking.
      It’s said “ To the victor, the spoils! “ Well, then lets stop being victims.
      I’ve always liked the idea of crowd funding a war chest to employ the best private detectives and forensic corporate accountants to go up our abusers like douglas and his cronies and his Big Business pals and have a good dig around.
      Would that not put The Daily Blog ‘out , and up there’? I mean way out, and way up there!”…

      This needs to be done. It would only take one to be brought down and that would start the snowball rolling. After the global credit crunch, the legal machine started rolling looking for answers. Well , they successfully nailed Bernie Madoff.

      Its time, and the golden opportunity is now here, with this coming global recession to do some serious retrospective legal digging , and ,- if a successful prosecution for charges against NZ democracy and treason did not hold as they would be sure to pervert history for their defense, those responsible would nevertheless forever be tarred as traitors and fraudsters, – as well as educating the current NZ population as to who and how we are in such a pitiful state today as the trials inevitably ground on. And in the process create fertile ground through public receptivity for a complete rejection of neo liberalism in favour of a more Keynesian economic setting.

      I will add to CB’s links with another must read for all NZ’s.

      New Right Fight – New Zealand. Against the political New Right

  9. The NEOLIBERAL GREAT LEAP BACKWARDS clearly explained by Noam Chomsky:
    Noam Chomsky on Religion, Consciousness, Black Lives Matter #BLM, and Education

    What was power of and by the people for the people is stolen by private interests and the government split from the people’s concerns to serve vested interests such as property speculation for capital gain. The F.I.R.E sector of parasitic battening on of the REAL economy of real work and consumption. J.A. ‘s government is lost in the neoliberal matrix incapable of taking the red pill but instead dropping the ersatz blue pill of National Lite.

  10. ” We are never allowed to ever analyse the 35 year neoliberal experiment in our economy, politics and culture ”
    Totally correct but we have been conditioned not to analyse anything that is not entertainment or shock horror tittle tattle crap that passes as news or celebrity mania.
    Biased journalism particularly what we got during the shysters time in government have buried ant real common compassion for the nastiness of the ” let the market decide economy “

  11. Placing the blame on the inadequacy of benefits it, to me, an admission of defeat.
    The issue is people were deprived of meaningful work and the ability to support themselves and their families with dignity.
    That’s why we ended up with a Once Were Warriors paradigm that will shortly move to what were once the latest middle class.
    The reason for this is lower tax rates, less jobs, untrammelled immigration and ever decreasing real wages.
    All of which is exactly why globalisation was foist upon us.
    NZ has survived on nothing but increasing debt, asset sales to off shore interests, and cutting of government services.
    All as real wages head towards the eventual equilibrium of $4 per hour.
    Costs here will never decrease as our property market is an open market to the world’s wealthy.
    These are the issues we need to address, along with corporate welfare like WFF and the accommodation supplement.
    Then worry about benefits.
    Dragging kids out of poverty when they have no future is wasted energy.

  12. Sweet poetry, Martyn. My much more subtle cousin has just implicitly accused me of being brittle. All my understandings alight on me when I’m scouring the earth. Turn into proverbs naturally.

    But my naturally obnoxious acrid vein requires me to say the acid is in the arteries of the industrial revolution. Trump, Hitler, the British Empire are truer to us than the ideals that mushroomed off the sides of that plenty for some.

  13. Christ!. Where to begin. What’s really good to see is that there are a number of comments in response that show Koiwois really do care about the state of PSB and the need for independent voices in this ‘lil ‘ole nayshun of a team of 5 million that punches above its weight.
    So much so, I think I need a cup of tea and a lay down, but your proposals (@ Martyn) are a good start.
    There’s a new threat of the horizon as well – one which asserts that FTA ‘linear’ TV is now passe and one that allows the enablers to suggest that it is now all “old hat” …….. because………Netflix, and s-s-s-Spark, and whatever else. It’s one that doesn’t take account of the digitally divided OR the best use of a platform for delivery, OR their needs or those of our offspring. I think we’ve been here before too – before the neolibs gained ascendency when a Ralston and his gorgeous wife was perfectly happy to denigrate “State TV”, but who then went on to suck at its tit and all the treats and trinkets it had brought with it.
    (FTA – ‘linear’ [new buzz] will always be a delivery “platform” for news and currant affairs; the digitally divided; children; education; and various other uses)
    I’m not sure where to begin with f-f-f-f-Faafoi, but suffice to say that even given his background, it’s been in a strictly commercial background – one that he sees as the commercial interest trumping that of the commons – if indeed he even understands what the common ‘good’ is. (Sorry, but it isn’t just his body mass that’s getting a bit pudgy, but quite obviously the thought processes as well ………. steady as she goes, i-i-i-i-incrementalism, foodtrucks and payday loans at 100% are o-o-o-O-k-k-k-Kay).
    INCREDIBLY incredibly nice bloke as you are, please Chris! Get back to TVNZ, even as an autocue reader – and if not, you might even stand a shot at MTS (It might be a win win situation as well – someone half competent – or at least less of a p-p-p-p-procrastinator might get to take up the immigration portfolio.
    Failing that – go fishing! or start milking bulls

  14. You say it so well, Martyn.

    Yet, Labour … but thankfully Labour isn’t the US
    Democrats — we can choose to the left as I have done since 87.

    I always honk my weebly achievements. Just as I enjoy traffic jams in the opposite direction. Small victories.


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