Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Lazy Left

The following is an excerpt from a piece by Jane Kelsey. It's about child poverty and the government's refusal to pay the In Work payment to beneficiary families;

First, as the Child Poverty Action group repeatedly points out, this condemns New Zealand’s already disadvantaged children to begin life of poverty from which they may never recover. Some 230,000 children pay that price simply because their parents are beneficiaries. New Zealand (and Labour) once believed in equality of opportunity. Indeed, Labour’s own 2002 Agenda for Children aims ‘to make life better for children’ and its social policy published in 2004 recognises that ‘poor child health is linked to poor adult health and also to broader poor outcomes including unemployment and crime’. No more.

The differential impact on Maori compounds the structural inequalities of colonisation. Maori and Pasifika families are often the poorest, largest and most benefit-dependent. Ministry for Social Development figures released in April 2006 showed 93,423 Maori children and 137,857 non-Maori children would be excluded from the benefits of the package. This represents 45.9 percent of all Maori children, 29.6 percent of Pasifika children and 12.3 percent of Pakeha children. Such discrimination negates the possibilities for these children to participate, belong and achieve within New Zealand society and constitutes another violation of the Crown’s obligations under te Tiriti o Waitangi. In economic terms, abandoning so many today’s children will deprive the country of the healthy, educated and socially stable adult generation we will need tomorrow.

My comment; The left is fundamentally lazy. Social problems are intrinsically linked to a lack of money. The lack of money is the fault of government policy. If government policy is changed and South Auckland or Ruatoria or Aranui families receive more money the lives of their children will be vastly improved.

Does anybody really believe that (apart from diehard socialists)? We've spent nearly seventy years trying this approach to little avail it would seem.

Kelsey's attitude is patronising (the poor have no responsibility for their own circumstances) dishonest (it is society's fault that brown children are disproportionately poor) and, above all, lazy (forcing government to pay more is all we need to do.)


spam said...

Its called an "in work payment" for a reason. In my mind, this is like campaigning that people who don't fly don't get airpoints, so the airlines should give them out free to everyone.

Gerrit said...


Is there an income figure published that sets the poverty line? Above this line you dont live in poverty, below this line you do.

Lindsay said...

Gerrit, First household or family incomes are equivalised (eg a household with 2 adults and 1 child with an income of $18,600 wuld be considered equivalent to a 1 adult household with an income of $10,000). Then the median is established and a line drawn. The EU uses 60 percent. UNICEF and OECD have used 50. Below these thresholds you are considered to be living in poverty. NZ doesn't have an official measure but commonly uses 50 or 60 (currently around $10,800 or $12,900 equivalised). A family of 2 adults and four children with an income of $35,000 would have it equivalised to $13,000 so they are just about on the poverty line using the 60 percent measure.

The great thing for govts is they can claim success in moving people, especially children, out of poverty simply by changing the way they measure it.
If you want to read more about measuring poverty try Working for Families: The Impact on Child Poverty, Social Policy Journal of NZ, Issue 22, July 2004. You can find it through publications at the MSD website -

Gerrit said...

Thanks for that.

The words poverty get spread around like confetti. I always wondered how much it was.

I qualify as living in poverty having just set up a business. (being asset rich but income poor).

Do assets get measured into the poverty line?

Will go and read the document you mentioned.

Lindsay said...

Good luck with your business. Do you want to give it a plug? Be my guest.
Unless your assets were generating income they wouldn't count in this measurement.

Gerrit said...

Dont get me wrong Lynsay, I'm not pleading poverty even though my last 6 months income was $2500. (profit from start up business see

Have shareholders contributions coming back as well as the money comes into the business but these are not considered as income.

Orders are growing all the time so onwards and upwards.

Was made redundant so ploughed savings, redundancy and a legacy into starting something completely different (but in an area I'm interested in)

Basically have swapped a marketing managers collar and tie for a pair of machinists overalls. (and loving every minute of it).

Who says your are to old at 55 to start something fresh!

Brian Smaller said...

Gerrit - it is people like you who are the heroes of our economy. Taking a risk, risking everything, to create something from nothing. Meanwhile the lefties just sit and demand more and more from the State. I hope that you succeed.