Gerry Brownlee, speaking at the National Conference in Christchurch has drawn attention to increasing hardship for many New Zealanders, especially Maori. Many families experiencing severe hardship are single parent families on benefits.
What does it mean to be in "severe hardship" in New Zealand?
Severe hardship constitutes the lowest standard of living of seven levels.
The following table shows the constraints on children's consumption.
Here we can see that while only 37 percent went without a play station or X-box (or participation in these items) 65 percent said their children wore poorly fitting clothes or shoes.
Many poor people have topsy turvy priorities. This is why they are poor and why they stay poor.
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