2022 ‘Well-being’ Budget will not feed hungry children


The government had a clear choice this budget: they could spend $900 million placating the so-called ‘squeezed middle’ or use this sum to act decisively to reduce child poverty.

In spite of Treasury’s advice, and in the face of mounting evidence the social fabric is rapidly shredding they chose the former.  

Budget 2022 will give a meagre $350 over 12 weeks to all and sundry who are not on benefits and can show a 2021 tax return of under $70,000. Don’t expect when it stops in November there will be a miraculous reduction in living costs and a political payback of gratitude. 

And too bad if you don’t have a tax return.  But how lucky are those who have a low taxable income and live in a high-income household? They don’t need this handout and may well spend in ways that contribute to higher inflation.

Not so the poorest families. They don’t get even the $350 from Budget 2022. But if they had enough money, they could relieve the supermarkets of their unsold wasted food and take the pressure of foodbanks. This is scarcely the kind of spending that would drive up prices, yet Grant Robinson suggested he could not help the poorest families because it would be ‘inflationary’. What immoral nonsense.  Government policy has allowed the richest to get much, much richer with untaxed capital gains and accumulated savings during Covid-19 lockdowns.  Inflation does not touch them and their lifestyles: instead market prices are no brake on their excessive spending on luxuries, travel or on hoarding scarce resources for their renovations in the midst of a housing crisis. 

Currently many families who do not get the full WFF must borrow just to subsist. They fall further into that vicious poverty trap of repayments leading to less disposable income requiring even more borrowing. When families have no money left to feed their families and must borrow, beg for supplementary assistance and/or seek food parcels from charity we can expect disease, crime, domestic violence, despair even suicide to grow.

The budget’s own child poverty report analysis in the well-being budget   shows that targets on child poverty are not going to be met with current policy.  The $900m could have paid the In-Work Tax Credit, that part of WFF the worst off don’t currently get, to all families on benefits for two years. After that time, as it would be clear how important it is to make this payment permanent to achieving child poverty reduction goals.

It would mean an extra $4,000 per family per year for those so poor they need a benefit or part-benefit. It would be highly focussed spending that went to only the very poorest children. Come on Labour- you have the political capital, just to do it!

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Sadly, the political gamble in not doing what the PM promised for child poverty has been judged less damaging than ignoring the Opposition’s faux concern about the ‘squeezed middle’. 

But the ‘squeezed middle’ needs more analysis. The major problem for many working families is steep Effective Marginal Tax Rates, that is when they earn extra, after tax and loss of social assistance they are little to no better off.   Low-income working families took an extra poverty trap hit this April when the government tightened the targeting of Working for Families with an increased clawback of 27% over the unadjusted threshold of household income of $42,700. 

If the threshold was lifted to at least $50,000, where it should be, families could gain $1971 per annum. Instead, this budget offers these families an extra temporary payment of just $350 or $700 if there are two earner parents.  

Shame on Labour who have just set up another review of WFF to revisit the issues for reform that are patently obvious. The committee will present ‘options’ to consider by the end of the year. How much time and money will this unnecessarily delayed review take?  Perhaps there will be some changes announced in the 2023 budget for 2024? Oh wait, that assumes Labour are re-elected. If ACT have any say, expect things to be even more dire for families getting Working for Families.  



  1. Most of us probably accept that Arden’s concern about child poverty looks like an electioneering gimmick which is now superfluous with children being commodified from Oranga Tamariki up, the damaging impacts of deprivation seemingly unseen by the ineffectual Ministers of Children and Family Violence, and public concern surfacing only when or if it impacts directly upon them with ram raids and so on. The police can get blamed for the antisocial behaviours which they have to sort, but if Robertson and co think that the effects of poverty can be somehow deferred on economic grounds, then they need their heads read, not another review to placate any public concerns. Middle class has always been squeezed – which doesn’t make prioritising the interests of the rich ok, it isn’t, but saying that the children of the poor don’t matter is wrong, unjustifiable, and very socially stupid.

    • Canne even read through your complicated explanation but it captures Labour’s hypocrisy entirely. It scores us Lefties but their professionals tell the MPs it’s the way unless they want to disturb the boat’s passage, but that is what the Left and reality demand.

      In the day of Norman Kirk they had a mass movement, now they have professional advisors. Indeed, Jacinda and Grant. Trickery can get you along a bit more.

    • There was one last year for about 9 months behind closed doors that resulted in the inflation catch up required in law, after cumulative inflation since 2018 exceeded 5%, To make it ‘fiscally neutral’ they then increased the clawback to 27% and left the threshold fixed. Ironically this has clear work disincentive effects and means that low income working families actually have less WFF in real terms

    • the thing is they ain’t classless they pretend to be but the ‘administrative class’ is as much a social class as any other….

    • Gin hag. And apart from this deliberate entrenching of social divisions, and apart from malnourished children being expected to remain physically and mentally healthy, and to perform well at school, the ongoing daily stresses for mothers in particular trying to feed and clothe children adequately, is something which can impact upon them for the rest of their lives. Previous women like the odious Shipley and Richardson and ladder-kicking wrongly-evicting Bennett, have gotten away with participating in the war upon women, and it is dumb founding that a Labour woman appears to perpetuate it, with a big smile.

      • What does it say about Labour and the Labour government currently running the country?
        Oh yeah, Labour is doing fuck all, in fact is heaping insult to injury. But go ahead dude, be scared of Act, who is a third party in opposition.

        • Now what it is that you would like them to do, spend more?, can’t do that Willis is complaining already, increase benefits?, done that 1st April, match benefits to inflation?, imagine the outcry from you then.
          See the problem is and Kraut is correct the money getting to the parents but not to the children.

          What is your solution and saying Labour increasing benefits, winter energy payments is fuck all whilst ACT will get rid of them is the most insulting thing I’ve ever heard.

          Eagerly awaiting your solution on how to get the money to the children?

  2. “A Budget of Paradoxes.”
    “Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em,
    And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.
    And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on;
    While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on.”
    A great and enduring problem, and a nightmare for many now, is The Terrible Lie. The Great Aotearoa / New Zealand Institutionalised Lie.
    ” What lie is that, then? ” You might ask. Well, if you have to ask that question then you’re not paying attention.
    Now’s your chance to pay attention. So, pay attention!
    We only have one export sector worth considering.
    Agriculture. And that is all. That’s all AO/NZ has, and has had, in terms of earning foreign revenue is agriculture.
    ( Are you eye rolling? Are you hungry AND eye rolling? I doubt it. )
    Agriculture. That, is all we have to give us the first world lifestyles we enjoy today. ( But not you hungry wee kids. You’re fucked.)
    Agriculture is our literal and financial Cornucopia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornucopia
    Agriculture is our ONLY literal and financial Cornucopia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornucopia
    Unfortunately, I seem to be the only one who fully comprehends that. Not even farmers themselves understand just how vital and important they are. They, instead, hide behind the hills hoping to not be noticed, mainly because they’ve been bullied into submission by the MSM that only a Dominatrix could understand and would certainly be in envy of.
    Hungry kids in AO/NZ !? A country that can, purportedly, feed 40 million people is many things but the one thing that it is more than other thing that it is, is that it’s a FUCKING CON-JOB FOR CHRIST’S SAKE !
    Sorry. That just slipped out.
    You do realise, don’t you, that the prices of food in the supermarket cartels ISN’T the prices farmers get? You do know that, right? The farmers who grow the food get a mere percentage. Buy a wool jersey for $200 ? The farmer might get .70 cents a kg. A kg of wool will make 2 x $200 jerseys. Buy a pack of mince at about $16.00 a kg ? I’ve seen big fluffy beef cows for sale at about $3.50 a kg and the farmer had to get the cow to a point of sale. After two years of feeding, drenching, loving and wandering about amongst.
    There are not that many, actually, who will be knee deep in the Good Spillage spewing out of the country Cornucopia but they are there, I can assure you.
    They’ve waded knee deep into an unbelievable income stream, streaming out of our farmlands and into their pockets. Best of all? It’s food and clothing fibre etc. NOT, the latest iPhone, NOT the latest absurdly expensive Electric Fizz Mobile not none of that there fancy, useless ‘technologies’. When the belly’s full, all else is art. But when the belly’s empty, nothing else matters except eating. It’d pay most of you to go to bed thinking about that and then wake up and start thinking about that again.
    The riche, lazy, useless, mafioso-like scum in the mercantile firms, banks, money lending ‘institutions’, insurers, investment houses, real e-snake agencies, sundry money pimps and lets never, ever forget our awful, awful politicians, sucking on the public tit we engorge for them while making life ever harder for the victims of their lies and greed know that what they’ve got is a fatted calf that they’re milking to death and you and you and you stand back with your blank minds and gaping maws spooling drool as you’re very existence is put at risk because ” Yeah! Hate on cockies an’ that now pass the spuds and sausage Karen? ”
    I must have missed Mass Hypnosis Day when everyone in AO/NZ was hypnotised by the MSM in to behave in a manner that’d make a leaping Lemming blanch with poor performance shame.
    Here’s the thing. If our farmers were unfettered by narcissistic sociopaths in positions of self appointed power and a false sense of entitlement there’d be mountains of food in every province that the poor could help themselves to for nothing. And we’d still have enough funds derived from exports to live like we should be living. In good health, in peace and in Paradise in our beautiful AO/NZ.
    The reason we’re not is on YOU and YOU and YOU !
    Not fucking me! Look what I’ve just done? LOOK!
    I’ve just spent nearly two hours putting energy into this comment and it’ll pass through your minds like shit through a goose. I might get the odd “ No one asked ya to do it mate” Or “No one’s payin’ ya’ t’ do it” And that’s true of course, and that’s not why I do this. I’m doing this for revenge. You’re being fucked without the kissing! You’re being exploited mercilessly by underserving plutocrats, your kids are hungry and your rental’s now unaffordable. The price of gas is mental and public transport more resembles a scene from Mad Max. Our kids are going beyond feral and into the realms of criminal and all the while the Post Farm Gate plutocrats are greedily feeding on your misery while making ‘good coin’. Aye Boys?

    • Well done Countryboy…Two hours well spent…I think some farmers do know they are vital and important to the New Zealand economy….Some have been doing it for several generations and use modern science with a blend of animal welfare practices in sympathy with the land ….Not all of course…..Being an animal lover myself I can appreciate healthy stock …I love animals with gravy , onions ,potatoes , peas…the fact that a farmer has given his best is very comforting…..Anyway….keep up the good work….I enjoy reading your comments….Thank you…

    • CB You write some amazing comments, initially they come across as crazy as fuck, but if you actually read them, it turns out that they are pretty much bang on the money more often than not. It is sad that we live in such a paradise and yet so many people are unable to afford to feed themselves properly. The truly evil “farmers” are the bankers, investors, developers & politicians who treat their “stock” (the good people of Aotearoa) abysmally while raping & pillaging the environment for extreme profits. Keep up the good work.

    • Over the last ten years I have invested quite some time, energy and money into encouraging my garden to produce fruits and vegetables. Last night my partner cooked our dinner- potatoes, kale & sausage from the butcher. (salt from the supermarket) It was really good, as I reflected on the labour, the fertiliser, compost and the goodwill of the worms, I realised that years of patience and experience had enabled the equivalent of one mouthful of out of a whole week’s food to be grown at source. So yes, food production is art, discipline, skill and commitment. This story shows in graphic detail the disasterous effect that politicians (or the ruling administrative class whatever you like) can have on people’s lives: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-10847487/How-worlds-organic-farm-nation-led-hunger-economic-ruin-writes-TOM-LEONARD.html
      It’s quite scary now that people are starting to think that food comes off the internet- kia kaha countryboy

  3. I see our Prime Minister can still afford cheese.
    She’s forever making cheese rolls.
    I bet the hungry children she has betrayed would love one.

  4. One thing they can do is end the requirement to pay back debt while on a benefit – move such debt to the TD system (where it is only repaid on employment).

    • On debt repayment it is amazing that when it suits the government they can write off $1.9 billion of debt owed by the DHBs so they can move forward under a new control .
      How many lives have been effected by delayed surgery due to budget restraints.How many leaders like the incredible David Meates in Chch were hamstrung and eventually forced out by fighting for more money while constricted by a unachievable budget.
      Will the new model attract more staff on the front line or will it just increase the out of touch seat warmers in Wellington

  5. Sad reading here…And 15% GST taken from every dollar spent to pay for the wealthy…We put a tax on tax here in New Zealand…Council rates , fire levy’s , earthquake levy’s all have GST added….Perhaps the ACT party are correct and all these government departments the seem to be nothing more than feel good high earner employment agencies could be gone by lunch time .Do we get value from these departments and the other lower level agencies. Peter Dunns children commission thingy hasn’t stopped the problem of child poverty..in fact it seems to have increased…Even Adern herself can’t stop child poverty. What do these organisations do all do…meetings , reports , refurbishing offices , ….perhaps as the money is budgeted for , we should cut out the middleman and just give all children in New Zealand cash into their bank accounts….the hungry kids could buy McDonald’s and KFC….at least they get something…what they spend it on is their business…..This would make a lot of people in Wellington unemployed , but the hospitality industry is crying out for staff…instead of buying lattes they could serve them…At least they are serving something , unlike they are doing at the moment …

  6. Personally, I feel that the $350 over 12 weeks was a perfectly acceptable move by the government in an attempt to reduce the financial pressure felt by the public amidst high inflation. It encapsulates everyone except for the high earners. This is fair on workers and beneficiaries alike.

  7. “Come on Labour- you have the political capital, just to do it!”

    Oh no they don’t! They sense a growing revolt in the polls. This is a government that never really had a viable plan of action – just pretty words. So now they’re just scrambling to patch over the damage they’ve already inflicted.

    • “Oh no they don’t! They sense a growing revolt in the polls. This is a government that never really had a viable plan of action – just pretty words. So now they’re just scrambling to patch over the damage they’ve already inflicted.”

      Quotation from 2016.

  8. “What do these organisations do all do…”

    Bureaucrats, they do what they always do and always have done whatever they want. When they get a new boss in government then they do some “change management” they centralise or decentralise or re-centralise or restructure. Change always results in new positions with new higher salaries. Change is a method to spend on themselves. Meanwhile, the long-suffering ‘clients’ get the same service named differently but with cost of change carved out of it.

  9. who cares ‘cabbage not’ how people spend is up to them hopefully most will spend it wisely some will not..you can’t fix stupid but you can help the majority.

    just like the stupidly over leveraged and indebted ‘squeezed middle’ really how about that for fecklessness?

    • Yuri the Cosmonaut Who Never Landed on The Moon
      That “squeezed middle” thing…yeah, bit of a bad joke but it was a tactic and it worked because Luxon knows that Labour are purely reactive in their strategies. Robertson, like a dumb snapper, snapped at the bait and reacted with a silly package that is already forgotten. Goes to show how shallow politics are these days. eg: “Hey Gagarin, I can’t afford to fill up my boat!” “Ok Kraut, here’s a 1000 bucks. Happy fishing.” Roberston…no sorry Ardern should have said: ” Dear NZ Squeezed Middle, we have investigated this ‘squeezed middle outrage’ and we found it’s a red herring. So no assistance this time, you’ll do just fine for now!”
      PS – have you noticed how Labour has kept her away from that stuff in the last few months…hardly heard from Ardern until now – hooray, she’ll be live on that corny Late Show with her mate who is so damn unfunny and cheesy, his name should be Stephen Colby!

  10. They are terrible as we old, true, NZ Left know. Pretty strong now, us last, in positions of power. As you point out it’s all a matter of a slight contribution if they have ideals. No big thing.

    I remember Grant on the pub programme trying to maintain he was a Savage level social democrat. Don’t regret the two predecessors to Ardern.

  11. Oh well we’ll see.

    How many food parcels will be dished out in the next 18 months?

    15 million? So far it’s just ticked over 12.5m.

    Maybe if Doctor Cindy declares NZ is at War with both Russia and China, nobody will notice so she can spend a couple of hundred million dollars on a mini War in the South Pacific with China and also Russia if it decides to return the ‘serve’ with a little nuke or two.

    Will the US rush to assist lil ole NZ or tell her to fuck off? Because of NZs nuclear-free zone/moment is still in play?

    I wonder when shell announce the removal of NZs Nuclear Free Zone legislation?


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