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MUST READ: Dobbing in is a frightful blot on the face of a failed welfare system

By   /  September 29, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  17 Comments

The latest statistics on dobbing in highlighted by Radio NZ this week should send a shudder down the spines of every thinking person in New Zealand.

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The Child Poverty Action Group rethinking welfare in the 21st century speech

By   /  September 17, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  3 Comments

let us acknowledge that it has been a long harsh winter for far too many children. The Families Package was too slow coming, and for the 140,000+ children below the very lowest 40% poverty line it has been a drop in the bucket.  Without a longer-term goal of systemic reform, short term improvements can seem like tinkering and band aids.  Or even worse, they may create the illusion the problems are solved.

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Myths that hurt children

By   /  August 27, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  26 Comments

Blaming WFF for low wages is a bit like pointing to our high rate of suicide and blaming it on the existence of the mental health services.  The true cause of low wages is found in casualised hours, precarious employment, automation, globalised labour markets and falling wage share of output due to loss of union power.

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Working for families is a payment for children

By   /  August 2, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  19 Comments

The debate about WFF including  Matthew Hooton’s extreme view that WFF is communism by stealth is full of sound, fury and little substance.  Eric Crampton contributes a more academic approach to support the view that Working for Families is an employer subsidy.  

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Is Working For Families really ‘Communism by Stealth’?

By   /  July 23, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  19 Comments

Matthew Hooton (19th July, NZ Herald) trots out the tired old John Key scarecrow of ‘Communism by stealth’ to debunk Working for Families (WFF). Hooton even wants to blame WFF for the nurses’ strike and low productivity.

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Policy changes to a festering sore are sadly in the far distance:

By   /  July 11, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  9 Comments

An injustice that is so obvious requires immediate action- not delay until some report is written by the very people that don’t want change and have just argued that very position in court.

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Universal Super – No steps forward. Two steps back?

By   /  June 16, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  18 Comments

Better off people can simply save less in other funds if they are forced to contribute more, while the poor just get poorer. On retirement, low income workers may get little advantage from their forced saving as they will need a top-up to get just to the level of NZ Super.

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We can help solve child poverty – here is one crucial way how

By   /  June 5, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  11 Comments

There is an ample supply of housing overall, but it is poorly distributed in terms of size and price. Increasingly large gains in house values are accruing for the already wealthy while the poorest households suffer excessive rents or lose housing access to housing altogether.  

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MUST READ: Does this budget turn the tide?

By   /  May 22, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  19 Comments

Let’s be clear, the family poverty inherited from the last decade of entrenched poor policies, sheer neglect or deliberate attacks on living standards won’t be fixed overnight. We get that. We know the PM has solving child poverty at her core, and her values and integrity are the best thing that has happened to children for a very, very long time. But CPAG is the critical friend and has to say the hard stuff on behalf of children.

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MUST READ: The fiscal stranglehold

By   /  April 19, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  8 Comments

When the Fund is included, New Zealand’s net debt level becomes extremely low. Treasury projections in the fiscal update December 2017 show net debt including the fund actually disappears by 2022!  Time to stop the fiscal panic please.

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The huge white elephant landlord in the tax living room

By   /  April 3, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  33 Comments

Labour’s ring-fencing is just tinkering. Losses from one property are still able be to be offset against others that make profits or carried forward and written off eventually.

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MUST READ: It needs to be more than a BBQ Jacinda

By   /  March 13, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  23 Comments

MSD are prepared to pontificate in court for days about how married couples have greater economies of scale than two singles living together and how society expects partners to support each other. The 21st century has passed them by.

Why do we concede power and deference to these unelected officials?  Is it time to give up on the courts?

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Can National stop digging please?

By   /  February 15, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  15 Comments

National just doesn’t get it.  Bill English’s persistence with the accusation that Labour had an $11.7 billion fiscal hole in its figures was, by far, his biggest mistake as Simon Wilson in the NZ Herald says. But did they learn? Even in the face of clear political damage they kept digging.

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Use of Nudge theory: The Winter Energy Payment

By   /  January 17, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  21 Comments

Behavioural economist Richard Thaler, the father of ‘nudge theory’ was awarded the Nobel economics prize in 2008. In New Zealand we see his influence in the auto-enrolment, opt-out design of KiwiSaver.

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Further fraying of the social welfare net

By   /  December 15, 2017  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  8 Comments

One of the clear threads is the move to a greater reliance on the complex stigmatizing regime of supplementary hard to access add-on means-tested assistance. Core benefits are not enough to live on and low wages are far too low.

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Housing is the critical issue for the election

By   /  September 19, 2017  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  22 Comments

We are not doing policy development well in New Zealand. Labour now has a real chance here to get it right. There would be time, for example, to investigate the risk-free return method first discussed by the McLeod Tax Review committee in 2001, and more recently by the Gareth Morgan foundation.

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