Friday, February 17, 2012

Risk of poverty grows for sole parents

Surprise was expressed to me that more children in poverty are now in two-parent families than in sole-parent families, according to the latest Salvation Army report (the information originally comes from the Household Incomes Report). Notwithstanding that  how poverty is measured will effect what percentage sole-parent children make up of the total, using the standard below 60 percent of the median after- housing- costs equivalised household income, in 2009 it was half. The percentage has dropped back because more two-parent families are experiencing a drop in incomes due to the recession.  As 73 percent of sole parents are on a benefit, the likelihood of their income dropping is less than for a two-parent employed family.

But the following chart provides context. It compares the percentage a group makes up of those in poverty and compares it to the percentage the group makes up of the general population. So in 2010 sole parent households made up 24 percent of households in poverty but only 7 percent of all households. Hence their poverty risk ratio is the highest at 3.43

Sallies say government has "no moral authority"

From the latest Salvation Army Report entitled The Growing Divide, this appears on the first page:
‘A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.’ GREEK PROVERB
That must mean something about the older generation acting in the interests of the younger I guess. Don't they? Parents do it all the time. And even governments try I think to improve the lives of future generations. I am not saying they succeed but are nevertheless generally well-intentioned. But by inference, the Sallies don't think so. At least not about National. The report refers to the current government as having no "moral authority", brave (or foolish) for an outfit that gets a good part of its funding from the government. If the government has no moral authority should it be using taxpayer money to fund the Salvation Army? This is what the report says:

Given how close the election result actually was, what sort of mandate can Mr Key now claim? In pure political terms he can now begin to limit welfare entitlements and to sell off public assets, even though fewer than 35% of eligible voters actually supported his party and his plans. The problem that Mr Key and any other Prime Ministers elected with such a limited mandate have is not about power, but about legitimacy. They simply do no have the moral authority to exercise sweeping changes because the majority of people—either by dissent or by absence—have not given this to them.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sole mum actually receiving equivalent of $43,000 salary

I listened to a couple of parliamentary questions asked today by the Greens and Labour relating to the fuss they are making over a sole mother of two on the DPB turning (almost) to prostitution to pay her study fees (false advertising perhaps?) But that's not all that was false.

Chester Burrows was answering on behalf of Paula Bennett. It was dull and silly. The new Green MP couldn't form her supplementaries in the required form. Fair enough. She is  new. But if she is going to spend her salary flying the protester in question down to Wellington to talk to the media she really needs to have the story straight. According to Burrows, figures in the NZ Herald about the beneficiary's potential subsidies were misrepresented and she is receiving the equivalent of a $43,000 salary from the taxpayer.

The transcript is now available:

 Ms Wysocki was quoted in an article from the New Zealand Herald, and the subsidies available to Ms Wysocki are not those quoted in the New Zealand Herald. The reporter was given an indication of those subsidies orally; he chose not to write them. It is important to note that Ms Wysocki receives the equivalent of a salary of $43,000 a year plus her entitlement to 20 hours’ early childhood education. I think most New Zealanders would find that an equivalent salary of $43,000 is sufficient, or at least reasonable.

Golly, these whingers really need to get a grip. Lots of people would like to study for an alternative career but can't manage it for whatever reason. Don't try holding the taxpayer to ransom because you are on a benefit. Especially when the assistance you already receive is way over that which many receive from a paid job.

What began as a discretionary emergency safety net in 1968 is now expected to furnish all manner of demands.

"Aoteoroa is not for sale"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Staggering the rise in Super eligibility

 The following is the current situation in the United States. It is simple to understand.

Why on earth aren't we doing the same - at the very least?

To draw full retirement benefits, the following Social Security Administration age rules apply:

Born in 1937 or earlier – Full retirement can be drawn at age 65
Born in 1938 – Full retirement can be drawn at age 65 years and 2 months
Born in 1939 -- Full retirement can be drawn at age 65 years and 4 months
Born in 1940 -- Full retirement can be drawn at age 65 years and 6 months
Born in 1941 -- Full retirement can be drawn at age 65 years and 8 months
Born in 1942 -- Full retirement can be drawn at age 65 years and 10 months
Born in 1943-1954 -- Full retirement can be drawn at age 66
Born in 1955 – Full retirement can be drawn at age 66 and 2 months
Born in 1956 -- Full retirement can be drawn at age 66 and 4 months
Born in 1957 -- Full retirement can be drawn at age 66 and 6 months
Born in 1958 -- Full retirement can be drawn at age 66 and 8 months
Born in 1959 -- Full retirement can be drawn at age 66 and 10 months
Born in 1960 or later -- Full retirement can be drawn at age 67

Remember that while you can begin drawing Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, your benefits will be 25 percent less than what they will be if you wait until your full retirement age as shown above..... On the other hand, if you wait to retire beyond your full retirement age, your Social Security benefit will automatically increase by a percentage based on your year of birth. For example, if you were born in 1943 or later, Social Security will add 8 percent per year to your benefit for each year that you delay signing up for Social Security beyond your full retirement age.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Caught on camera

Yesterday youngest one spied an odd-looking cicada shell fixed to our garden wall. Then she realised that it was strange because it was the actual cicada hatching. We watched the process for a couple of hours. Yes, it takes a long time. Fascinating...

...well. Not exactly David Attenborough and I guess you had to be there......

NZ Herald continues to talk up child poverty

Reinforcing their recent series about income inequality, a NZ Herald editorial contains this statement:
The proportion of children in poverty - defined as households with less than 60 per cent of the median income to live on after paying housing costs - has risen from 16 per cent in 1990 to 26 per cent today.
The following table appears in the most recent Ministry of Social Development Household Incomes Survey:

Dear Editor

The NZ Herald has recently devoted a great deal of energy and space to the issue of child poverty and inequality. One editorial contained the statement, "The proportion of children in poverty - defined as households with less than 60 per cent of the median income to live on after paying housing costs - has risen from 16 per cent in 1990 to 26 per cent today." 

The official source for poverty measurement, the Ministry of Social Development's Household Incomes Report, shows that using the 'fixed-line after housing costs 60% threshold', the proportion of children in poverty fell from 37 percent in 2001 to 22 percent in 2010. Using the other measure, 'moving-line', the percentage fell from 30 to 25 (with a dip to 22 percent in 2007).

Also ignored regarding income inequality is, "Income inequality peaked in the early 2000s, then fell from 2004 to 2007 as a result of the WFF package, and in 2010 was lower again than in 2007. The lower figures in 2010 compared with 2007 reflect two changes: (a) the recent (2009 to 2010) decline in real incomes for the top two deciles (lower investment returns especially), and (b) a small real gain for lower deciles." 

Personally I would favour lower tax rates over the Working For Families programme which produces inefficiencies and disincentives. But the fact remains income inequality has been reducing nationally. It would seem your series is asking readers to believe that Auckland is following a different trend.