John Key and me

John Key and I have a similar background in some ways.

We both come from a childhood of deprivation and honour our parents for their hard work and unconditional love.  As children, we both had access to a state education, to free healthcare, to a state provided home and state support for our parents when they needed it and for us, through the Family Benefit.  Our parents lived through a period where full employment was a state priority.

And now we are both the leaders of political parties with the power to make  decisions about children just like us.  Not our own children.  Our own children had the benefit of the state’s commitment to social investment and the subsequent mobility it gave us.  But children like we were.

The difference between us is that John has eroded those same social supports that gave us a leg up.

State housing is much more difficult to get these days and much less secure because of his policies.  State education is underfunded and undermined because of his policies.  Healthcare for children is more limited and less effective. The parents of today’s poor children have less money, less security, and less respect because his National party fails to acknowledge how harder it is for parents and families these days.

He is in no position to lecture anyone about his childhood when he leaves the new generation of poor kids without the state supports he and I had.

54 thoughts on “John Key and me

  1. Apparently this sense of benevolence and community responsibility has evaded the Glen Innes protesters. It matters not to them they are sitting in houses that, if sold, the proceeds could be used to buy 2, 3 or 4 replacement properties. Nor does it matter that (for some) their families have grown up and the houses are now too big for their needs. Nor does it matter they have been sitting on the pigs back for years or even decades paying considerably reduced rents for prime location properties. No, all they care about is themselves and their selfish demands to continue to live the lifestyle (subsidised by the rest of us) they are accustomed to.

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  2. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10853897

    “Yes, let’s work on improving housing conditions and ameliorating the worst effects of poverty.

    But trotting out the tired mantra about poverty causing poor educational performance – as opposed to being correlated with underachievement in school – does no one a service, least of all those who are in most urgent need right now of solutions.”

    Nothing to do with “poverty”. It has everything to do with the parents.

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  3. “In Dunedin, for example, in a right-of-way off Filleul St, one report cited a block of terrace houses with outside toilets emptying into an untrapped sewer, giving the area a foul stench, as well as making the location highly unsanitary for the residents.

    In some Auckland suburbs, conditions were hardly better according to another researcher, with household waste piling up and putrefying on sections, sewerage leaking on to the streets, rodent infestations erupting, and outbreaks of typhoid, polio, diphtheria, and even the plague being recorded.”

    Conditions were a lot worse back then, Meteria, yet these children performed in schools and prospered. How could this possibly be?

    Could their parents have been more responsible than they are now?

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  4. “Nothing to do with “poverty”. It has everything to do with the parents”

    Then the statistics will show an even spread of educational achievement across the board then Arana. The children from very poor homes will not be overly-represented in the lower end of the educational performance data.
    I’ll call back when I’ve checked. Whadda ya reckon I’ll find?

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  5. You’ll likely find correlation, not causation.

    Parents who don’t have their act together enough to look after their kids are unlikely to have their act together enough to save, work hard and prosper either.

    If poverty is the cause of poor performance, then how come many kids from poor families – particularly the children of poor Asian and Indian immigrants, for example – do so well at school?

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  6. Co-re-la-tion, eh!
    I suppose that means if those who are poor became wealthier, their children’s educational performance would improve? There would be a correlation? You think?

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  7. The claim of a cause and effect link between social-economic position and education is scurrilous. While it is true there is a statistical correlation, it does not follow that one is the cause of the other. Almost universally wealthier people expect their children to get an education whereas this is not the case at the bottom of the heap. People should have equal merit-based opportunity (and by world standards NZ is pretty good at this) but noone should expect an equal outcome for all. Put the work in – get the rewards. I know there is a few bleeding heart “throw more money at everything” sort hanging around here but I don’t see any uneducated people in positions of influence in the Green Party. Thus, it’s obvious the party supports my position.

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  8. I think it is time to call it like it is and be honest.

    We have child poverty because mainstream New Zealanders don’t care. This is unique in OECD nations.

    The reason is because the mainstream do not feel connected to those involved – so there is a lack of empathy for them – largely because the child poverty is associated with those other people – non white people on welfare.

    So those who want to end child poverty are in the minority.

    Now I have commented, photonz will probably turn up and provide his version of the dompost editorial and comments on this topic – so I won’t need to link to it.

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  9. Greenfly says “Co-re-la-tion, eh! I suppose that means if those who are poor became wealthier, their children’s educational performance would improve? There would be a correlation? You think?”

    The funny thing is what you are scoffing at what the Green Party thinks will fix the problem.

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  10. SPC says “I think it is time to call it like it is and be honest.
    We have child poverty because mainstream New Zealanders don’t care.”

    No – if you WERE honest, you’d say child poverty is because of one reason.

    Because parents haven’t bothered to work to get themselves qualified and in a sound financial and emotional position BEFORE they planned their family – if they bothered to plan at all.

    If everyone did that, we wouldn’t have child poverty.

    Or you could just blame everybody and anybody EXCEPT the ones actually responsible – like you’re doing.

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  11. So the low skilled, working poor who get tossed out of their jobs in a recession are to blame for their penury?
    What about when families collapse or the breadwinner gets chronic illness? Their fault again for not having enough socked away for a rainy day @ 13.50 hr?

    That’s pretty mean spirited, photonz1.

    There are lots of reasons for poverty. Some people absolutely fail to take responsibility for their own lives and welfare, but plenty just get dealt a bum hand, particularly during a recession.

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  12. photonz –

    1. we don’t have full employment, people lose jobs, people lose working partners. Circumstances change.

    2. if we leave children to be raised in poverty, they are less likely to be healthy or to succeed in school. They will be less capable of being employed. Do you really expect these people to then forgo having families?

    They won’t. So the current approach will not end inter-generational poverty.

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  13. The post by Turei nails it.

    John Key’s mother had both a low rent house and there were jobs (full employment). There was more accessible (and free) health care for children. Sure there was variable educational results – but then there were jobs for all (from age 15).

    People are surviving on benefits, while paying market rents. Rentals are no better insulated than then but power costs are so much higher and thus health problems are the result. Basics such as healthy homes and food in poor area schools are required to ensure some chance of educational success. And on-site medical presence/improved checks in some schools (and more complete cover from Well Child B4 School) also.

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  14. SPC asks “Do you really expect these people to then forgo having families? ”

    No. But I do expect them to work themselves into a financial and emotionally secure position BEFORE they have kids.

    If they did that, it would significantly lower every problem you can think of, from abuse to poor health to crime to poverty to poor education.

    Anybody who sees no problem with people having far more children that they can ever look after properly, has no geniune interest in solving child poverty.

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  15. photonz1 – “Anybody who sees no problem with people having far more children that they can ever look after properly, has no geniune interest in solving child poverty.”

    You are spot on.

    But let’s make sure that those parents that perhaps did not plan so well can still get the help they need *if they want it*.

    A good place to start: Basic parenting, budgeting and homemaking skills are often lacking. Providing these basic educational courses should be inexpensive: either through the internet, public TV or government engagement with community leaders (churches etc). Easy.

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  16. “If they did that” …? If … is not a policy.

    How do people who end up young adults in ill health and without the education to be in secure employment get to be in the position to be able to provide for a family?

    It’s a diversion from helping those children being raised in poverty now – so that they will have the good health and edcuation required to be able in a position to provide for the families they have. Doing nothing at this point is what leaves the what if question around for another generation.

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  17. I’m a child. I have a choice between rich parents, and poor parents. Only one set of parents will love me.

    I choose those who will love me.

    This is the real cause of the education problem. Parents who do not care.

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  18. “The funny thing is what you are scoffing at what the Green Party thinks will fix the problem.”

    Even funnier, Photonz1, is your complete inability to detect irony.

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  19. “No – if you WERE honest, you’d say child poverty is because of one reason.”

    If you were a bit smarter AS WELL as honest you’d say “There is more than one reason for child poverty” and recognize that fixing blame does not fix problem.

    Reaching for the punishment stick as if that is going to help the CHILD’S problem. Really contemptible

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  20. There is a lazy criminal underclass out there. The bleeding hearts who idolise them need to be reminded this sort will just as soon screw them over too. I much prefer supporting people in real 3rd world and developing countries many of whom honestly want to get ahead and don’t have this developed world hangups and welfareism.

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  21. Yes.. methinks the ‘$50mil man’ has long forgotten where he came from, else he wouldn’t act so smug.. & uncaring about the 49.9% who did not vote for the Key-party in 2011

    Not everyone who came from a state house becomes PM or has a holiday home in Hawaii (most are unlikely to ever do so !)He talks about creating a brighter future.. I say “who does he have in mind ?” maybe the 50.1% who voted for him ?? those on ‘planet key’!!

    Kia-ora

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  22. We live in a world now where there isn’t (and won’t be) full employment. There are people having kids who have (and know they have) no hope of supporting them and look to the state for complete financial support.

    This is another facet of the elephant in the room. The welfare state was never equipped (and never will be) to support those who (for whatever reason) can’t pull their weight most of the time; it allows take and requires give, it can do hand-ups but not hand-outs.

    This is another of those issues where many of the answers are quite ugly. SPC alludes to the problem in his 1:15 post. We the people may one day decide that “they won’t” is not an acceptable situation. Like I said. Ugly.

    There is no such thing (in NZ) as “child poverty”: there are children living in a situation of poverty. This is not an isolated problem that waving the public-sympathy-engendering “child poverty” banner enables it to be solved in is isolation, it’s just a dot waiting to be joined…

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  23. Greenfly says “Even funnier, Photonz1, is your complete inability to detect irony.”

    I was probably a shocked that you said actually said something about a topic instead of just abusing somebody.

    Greenfly says “The children from very poor homes will not be overly-represented in the lower end of the educational performance data.”

    The problem is that parents who don’t give a shit about their kids future, didn’t really plan for them in the first place, and largely see them as a hinderance to their lifestyle, are far more likely to be poor.

    Giving them an extra $100 or $200 a week doesn’t suddenly make them nice people, suddenly make them wise in their decisions, or suddenly make them care more about their childrens future.

    Again it comes back to getting parents to plan to be financially and emotionally secure BEFORE they have their family.

    If everyone did that, most of the problems would be wiped out.

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  24. “Giving them an extra $100 or $200 a week doesn’t suddenly make them nice people, suddenly make them wise in their decisions, or suddenly make them care more about their childrens future.”

    No one has said it suddenly would, so I guess you get the “Strawman of the Week” trophy again, photonz1.

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  25. I will cite one such real world example:

    62 years old, single, living in (taxpayer subsidised) housing corp flat in one of the more expensive areas in Auckland. Invalids benefit – been on it most of his life. Sold the matrimonial house after a marriage breakup and kept his share of the proceeds (believed by me at $100k plus representing considerable capital gain) hidden from WINZ. He bitterly complained when WINZ cut back his $130 p/w “special benefit”, which he was receiving in addition to Invalids, Disability, as as far as I know, Accommodation. Always broke, he has a $150 p/w smoking habit and credit cards maxed out. Didn’t stop him from buying a $1,600 F&P washing machine. Seems to have a constant stream of “tax free” cash coming in, and has even dealt cannabis, which he also failed at his money manangement is so poor. He knows every trick in the book and has managed to swindle a GP into giving him 5 year medical certs. This individual has managed to surround himself with other bludgers. Meet one, get to meet their friends. He is not alone. Actually his friends are even worse – their crimes are not victimless.

    I have news for some of the people present in the Green Party blog. I think it is safe to assume you are middle class (or at least educated) yuppies to be voting for the Green Party and engaging in online political discourse.

    If the benefit system was to suffer a “novapay”, you will be the first in the firing line. The person I have described (and his even worse friends) will have no hessitation in doing you over for money to buy stuff (including drugs). Even with a working benefit system there is crime everywhere. But you ain’t seen nothing compared to what will happen if it breaks or even has a hiccup. There will be chaos and your bleeding heart will count for nothing, nada, zilch.

    Don’t bother calling the Police – they will be too busy guarding your idols of worship – MP’s and the like.

    Just like pure capitalism doesn’t work, neither does pure socialism. There is plenty of times when the Welfare system needs a stick.

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  26. “I have news for some of the people present in the Green Party blog. I think it is safe to assume you are middle class (or at least educated) yuppies to be voting for the Green Party and engaging in online political discourse.”

    You are present in the Green Party blog. Does the description suit you?

    But I’m glad you at least admit that your assumptions are just that, rather than pretend your assumptions are factual.

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  27. What a 62 year old in a housing corp flat has to do with CHILD poverty is more than my weary eyes can see, unless he has persuaded some child to have kids with him, this is not the problem and whatever he is doing it clearly has little to do with the law. All we have here is an anecdotal example of bludging… not related to children.

    I have pointed out that giving aid in kind rather than in cash would end this sort of meaningless drivel from the right. The exceptions that they take such exception to are not nearly so frequent as the tax cheats of the wealthy to which they turn a blind eye, but surely we MUST punish the poor for their poverty, lest they be encouraged to continue it.

    Idiots.

    However that may be they are numerous idiots “Surely God must have loved idiots, he made so many of them”… and the answer for this is to take the issue out of their realm entirely. Make aid that keeps CHILDREN out of poverty a matter of support in kind rather than in cash.

    This reduces somewhat, the influence of parents over their children and puts more reliance on the State to bring them up, but it will put an end to the crap that keeps getting shovelled into the public discussions.

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  28. bjchip, the same people who oppose policies to deliver full employment also object to standards for rental property and food in poor area schools.

    Basically they don’t see those who are surplus labour or non work tested beneficiaries as fit to be parents.

    Rather than help them with the children they already have, they would deter them from having more, and others yet to have children from having them. This scorched earth policy also impacts on women raising up children without employment or working partners.

    It’s essentially class warfare, where those losing employment and partners are seen as losing their prvileged place in the middle class.

    But it’s particularly stupid, as the children being raised in poverty will cost more in future health care and welfare costs than it would to invest in this not happening. After all, the cost of standards for rental housing and food in poor area schools is quite low.

    This is opposed in principle, rather than grounds of cost. On the specious grounds that good parenting somehow stops a house from being unhealthy to live in and makes the cost of power heating it affordable. And the parent struggling to pay the power bill to keep it warm has the spare money for sufficient food etc.

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  29. BJ says “This reduces somewhat, the influence of parents over their children and puts more reliance on the State to bring them up, ….”

    The problem is, the more you put the responsibility on the state, the worse you make the problem.

    The solution is parents taking MORE resposibility for their children – not LESS.

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  30. SPC says “bjchip, the same people who oppose policies to deliver full employment also object to standards for rental property and food in poor area schools.”

    Personally, I think full employment is a good thing. Five years ago there was a job for anyone who wanted one and we still had over 3% unemployment. So the real unemployment rates is effectively 3% less than whatever the published rate is.

    Standards for rental property is a really good idea – I’m all in favour of that.

    As for food in schools, far better to educate parents how to prioritise that it’s more important spending 50c on breakfast for their kids than spending $30 at the pub.

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  31. The underclass of long term welfare recipients doesn’t give a stuff. They are not here to read various Green Party adherents gossiping about them. Most of them don’t even have Internet. Some don’t even have electricity. It’s been cut off because they had “other” priorities and by “other” I don’t mean feeding their children. You’d better believe these sort are far from isolated. You’ll find out for yourself if “bene day” ever fails to eventuate.

    Who do you think are a lot of the late night customers at BP buying pies within minutes of benefit payment time? Who do you think are the customers for those obscene home Delivery trucks? Quite a growing business that.

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  32. bjchip “I have pointed out that giving aid in kind rather than in cash would end this sort of meaningless drivel from the right”

    But that is NOT green party policy. What the policy is, is that the green party will tax the productive members of society more (how much more remains to be seen), including company tax rates ( putting more jobs at risk) and they will give more money to people who are already spending what they get on drugs and gambling, in the whistful hope that they will suddenly start looking after their children instead of putting the children in tumble driers. But, yeah, thats povertys fault. And we must give them real money, otherwise we are affecting their “mana”. They are quite happy to live and breed while fully relying on the state, and we have to worry about their mana. Yeah, right.

    How this policy will help the environment is unclear. But we do understand that the environment is to poor cousin of the Green parties agenda, don’t we. When did Metiria last write a piece regarding the environment? How many tons of CO2 and airmiles have Kennedy Graham and Gareth Hughes got against their names. Haven’t they heard of video-conferencing. Aren’t they the ones saying business must operate differently. Don’t the same rules apply to the green party elite. Apparently not.

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  33. Photo still believes there is enough left on welfare for a family, after rent, clothes, bills, transport, health and power, for food, let alone going to the pub.

    Remember Ruth Richardson deliberately set welfare 20% below the costs of living at the time, just like Basher Bennett now, thinking that screwing people on social insurance will magically create jobs..

    Even a full time job on the minimum wage is not enough to keep a family. Hence the subsidy to employers whose business can’t afford their employees, WFF.

    As for home delivery. How do you get your groceries when the nearest shop is 6 k’s from the rental you can afford, there is no public transport and no car. Taxi?

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  34. Some continue with their impulse to punish children for the errors of the parents.

    There really is no excuse for such errors.

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  35. “The problem is, the more you put the responsibility on the state, the worse you make the problem.”

    Sorry mate. Responsibility is something you TAKE, and if your complaint is about irresponsible parents there really is only one other entity that can take the responsibility for the situation of the child.

    Which in fairness means to do the same thing for all the children, not just the poor ones.

    Wingnuts only have one answer, and that’s stick. You only respect one thing, and that’s money. You only have one hate, and that’s the state.

    …and they happily condemn children to poverty to service that one-eyed point of view.

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  36. A good place to start: Basic parenting, budgeting and homemaking skills are often lacking.

    Indeed, and the answer is not to start a new layer of education, but to get the ones we have back on solid ground.

    The current fantasy, that all children are equally able to learn and so should follow the same curriculum, is a major part of the reason for so called “child poverty”. (I say ‘so called’ because children are not poor, they are mistreated by parents who do not provide the basics of food, clothing and shelter for them, despite the state providing a safety-net for them if they do not earn what is mandated as a minimum amount.)

    When we had a learning capability filter mechanism, (called 11+ and 13+ in my world,) we used it to stream together pupils with similar learning capacity and focus their curriculum on preparing them for the life-style and standard of living they were most likely to have as adults. With classes like Domestic Science, home handywork, etc., the so called “dumb” (they were NOT dumb, but that’s how they were treated in the 80s when the system fell apart,) were given the tools they needed to have a good life on the income they could expect.

    Today, we have children leaving school who think the five food-groups are frozen, instant, canned, TV and takeaway! These are not the intelligent going on to numerate university degrees that I see at weekends stocking up on fruit and vegg for $20.00 at the farmers’ market in Victoria Street, these are the ones we abandoned as school-kids because we wanted to give them the same education as those ‘clever’ kids. THe fact that they can fill a shopping trolley with fruit and veg for $20 doesn’t mean anything to them; they don’t know what to do with the stuff because their parents didn’t and school never tried to teach them.

    When our society recognises that the miracle of humanity is its diversity, and recognises that a really bright kid from a really poor area will do amazing things with a good education, and that a really dumb kid from a really rich area will not survive based on the ‘good’ education they are given but unable to benefit from, the sooner we will have again a society that works as an integrated whole, rather than the haves and entitled-to-haves that make up the majority of our society today.

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  37. @Kerry Thomas
    “As for home delivery. How do you get your groceries when the nearest shop is 6 k’s from the rental you can afford, there is no public transport and no car. Taxi?”

    This is a great example of how out of touch the sizable university educated middle class bleeding heart clique in the Green Party is.

    These “home delivery trucks” do NOT deliver groceries. They deliver Iphones, stereos, GPS units, washing machines and other consumer items at THREE TIMES the cost of going to Bond & Bond / Noel Leeming. You heard me right! They are loan sharks pure and simple. But yet I don’t blame them. If your customer base is so stupid they can’t see what an obvious rip off it is, why not take advantage of the opportunity?

    The people running these are not stupid. This is how they work: They charge 3x the going retail price, because they have to source the items at retail. The NZ importers for major brands won’t supply them. They divide the cost over a period of time (normally a year) in to weekly payments. Then, wait for it, they demand 1/3 of the weekly payments (ie: 1/3 of the period to pass) before they will deliver.

    One such company (Distinctive yellow trucks) has moved out of their traditional area of south-central Auckland to West Auckland. I see them often. If they come around here they get told where to go.

    This is the real world and it’s where a lot of benefit money (paid to the long term benefit dependent under class) is going along with pubs, TAB, alcohol cigarettes.

    The people who make excuses for them are as out of touch as the people who romanticise the Urewera gang as a bunch of men playing harmless games in the bush, despite in most instances having never visited the area let alone lived there.

    If bene-day ever fails to materialise you will see a quick breakdown in society and the blinkers will come off and romantic notions count for nothing.

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  38. Somebody once said (paraphrase) ‘If the wealthiest were a little less wealthy, then the rest could be a little better off’ !!
    Unfortunately this Govt. is stacking the economy to create the opposite.. the gap between rich & poor is getting wider & the wealthiest are getting, even wealthier.. whilst the dole queues get longer & poverty in Aotearoa reaches all time highs (falling into 3rd world conditions ?)

    Shame on those who just want to blame the poor for being poor & give a rousing 3 cheers for the ‘fat cats’ who are growing fatter. Maybe you should google ‘Animal farm': we are all equal, but some were MORE equal than others!

    Kia-ora

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  39. I have to wonder how you guys manage to type sentences with all the stereotyping you do. Greens, Poor people, Schools… all get the same treatment. Anything to justify your claim that somehow you have earned your good fortune and therefore have no obligations to your fellow humans.

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  40. @Michael… I should like to see some evidence that something you say is actual fact. Never saw a sign of such things in lower class Porirua or Cannon’s Creek, nor here in the Hamilton region. The closest thing would be the “rent-to-own” mobs or the payday loan mobs… the loan sharks.

    I know that people exist who prey on the poor, but it takes a special type of stupidity to think that Greens make excuses for their operations.

    We support the a more equal opportunity for kids and a degree of respect for people who happen to be poor. THAT is true… but your twisted analysis and vision… pitiful.

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  41. Michael asks “If your customer base is so stupid they can’t see what an obvious rip off it is, why not take advantage of the opportunity?”

    I reckon this question is possibly at the heart of what is wrong with NZ today. It may well be at the heart of human nature it seems.. well some of us anyway.

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  42. “I reckon this question is possibly at the heart of what is wrong with NZ today. It may well be at the heart of human nature it seems.. well some of us anyway.”

    It may shock you to learn that there are people out there who are so ignorant and stupid they have turned it into an art. These are the sort who are on a benefit or low paying job – who go and run up $20k or $30k of consumer debt, to buy all sorts of crap that I don’t have and can’t afford, and then when they lose it all they whine about how hard done by they are. There was a recent article about this on 20/20 (“Living in the Red” 18th October, 2012) and this is far from isolated….

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  43. Michael

    Couldn’t agree more. I drove through one of the areas classed as ‘deprived’ recently, made up almost entirely of state houses. What can I tell you: I didn’t see one that didn’t have a SKY dish on its roof. If this is how our lowest decile families chose to spend their money, fine; just don’t come to me with your hand out claiming you can’t afford food for the kids.

    AND YES BJ, it was one of the areas you commented on.

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  44. “We support the a more equal opportunity for kids and a degree of respect for people who happen to be poor. THAT is true… but your twisted analysis and vision… pitiful.”

    Pfft!!! Having been an involved member of the Green Party, I can say from experience, the Green party is full of middle class university educated WORKING people – most of whom have equally low tolerance **in reality** for slackers.

    Actually, the slackers and bludgers (whom we are discussing here) are generally more greedy and selfish then those on the “right” who they deride… such is the irony.

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  45. Lessee…. a basic Sky subscription is ? per month ?

    The Sky dish looks exactly the same as the ? Freeview dish ?

    The Freeview is ? per month ?

    The whole country is switching to ? digital ?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Is there a reason behind your BS or is it just that you like to run down the people in the neighbourhood because there are Satellite dishes all through it? True, they’d be better off without any Television at all, the garbage being shown makes it little better than a brain tumor, but you haven’t actually made any point at all. The people I knew in those neighbourhoods worked plenty hard with what they had.

    We may have a low tolerance for “slackers” but we don’t automatically characterize someone who needs assistance as a slacker, which is what you are doing and persist in doing.

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  46. The other thing about Sky dishes is that they don’t take them down again once a subscription is cancelled. The last three or four houses i have lived in has had one, but i have never used one.

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  47. Oh BJ,
    stop being an apologist for all. There are good and bad people, there are good parents and bad parents.

    Like a young couple, who both worked for minimum wage, had two children, gave up smoking, drinking and entertainment so their kids could be fed and clothed. They put great emphasis on the childrens’ education (in a bottom decile school,) and made sure they got all thre help they could contrive to do homework and strive for good grades. The couple gave up everything for their teo children.

    Those children are now a lawyer and a doctor. Their parents live a very comfortable life, need for nothing and have luxuries they never dreamed of when they had young children – buit the chldren dreamed for them and now deliver for the parents.

    An object lesson – yes, if you’re going to have kids do the best you can for them and they’ll pay you back with love, and – if they get ahead – the material things will come eventually.

    This is not a rare occurence, except in New Zealand. It did, however, happen in New ZEaland. The family arrived as refugees, the parents spoke no English, but the never gave up and decided to live a life of welfare and complaint. Their reward is not in heaven, it’s right here in Wellington.

    IT CAN BE DONE ON MINIMUM WAGE – but it takes commitment and deferral of pleasure, something we, as a society, don’t ask for or encourage.

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  48. One can infer from the facts you present, that you are proving my point rather than testing it. Think about the abilities of kids who become a Doctor or a Lawyer. Think a little about what those professions imply about their native intelligence. Which (among other things) implies things about their parent’s native intelligence.

    For every story you can come up with I am quite certain I can find 10 where the parents worked every bit as hard but could not make it happen… because they weren’t lucky and weren’t smart.

    There is no denying that there IS a small group of people who are making a career out of being poor. The system isn’t as surely honest as we might wish… but you count up the criminal fraud of that group and how they are punished when they get caught, and then count up tax evaders and how they are punished when THEY get caught. The difference is pretty striking and not in a good way.

    We tolerate one and hammer the other. Fair? Not in a pigs eye.

    Once again, I have often presented the notion that we should be doing child support in kind rather than in cash. It makes only a small difference in the effect on most children but it resolves a small issue that you and Michael seem to see as larger than a planet.

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  49. Ah some people don’t like the truth… C’mon, give the man a dollar – I dare you to. Stop wasting your time pontificating on socialism in theory and actually show by personal example!

    Otherwise I will have to conclude this is in the same realm as solar power and green jobs. So much talk in the Green Party and so few with anything tangible to show!

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  50. We tolerate one and hammer the other. Fair? Not in a pigs eye – AGREED

    we should be doing child support in kind – Aren’t you American? Don’t you know what happens to food stamps, the 40% discount for cash that so many are happy to pay so they can buy booze and fags?

    a small issue that you and Michael seem to see as larger than a planet – sorry, don’t know what issue you are talking about. The only issue that strikes me that way is the lack of education appropriate for the probable life-style of the pupil.

    Just FYI, if you take the story I related about the two parents with two kids, multiply it by about three million and you have the story of Singpore; a country with no poverty, a predominantly middle-class society, and mandatory savings of 27% of income for ‘retirement’. (yes, it’s borrowed against to buy homes – which it is used to build in the first place.)

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  51. “we should be doing child support in kind – Aren’t you American? Don’t you know what happens to food stamps, the 40% discount for cash that so many are happy to pay so they can buy booze and fags?”

    +1 This is already happening here! People exchanging (and discounting) their WINZ credit for cash.

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  52. Dave – When I say to support children “in kind” rather than in cash, I am not in any way talking about something as easy or easily rorted as food stamps. The support I described goes directly to the child. Singapore isn’t New Zealand. We’ve done the differences between Singapore and the rest of the world several times here as it is one of the favorite irrelevant examples brought by the far right.

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  53. OK
    Singapore – off the menu

    So exactly what support are you proposing, and how does a 4 year old go about using that support?

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  54. What a lot of angry people. I wonder how many of the anti poor have ever befriended a poor family. The sort where mum works at two cleaning jobs and pays higher tax on the second one, even though the combined pay for the two is miserable.

    Why is a woman who cleans, showers, and assists an elderly person or an invalid only paid a pittance yet someone who sells IT soft ware for an international company earns of $100K plus perks annually?

    Both are working, but the one in the ‘profit for shareholders’business is paid much more.

    There are good poor people in this country, there are Island and Maori parents who love and care for their children, make no mistake. Many of you, like the media, can only see the mote in the other person’s eye, you ignore the large piece of wood in your own.

    Every day we read of workers being stood down, others are supposed to work harder and longer to fill the gap, Where are these people who have lost their jobs going to earn a decent living?

    I hope these nasty minded people who stand on soap boxes and scream abuse at the poor never have to stay in a public hospital, where these same poor will treat them with respect as they mop the ward floor, help them shower, or bring their meals, and I hope it changes their outlook.

    I get so upset when I see blogs like this in New Zealand, we were once an equitable society, which gave a job and home to John Key’s parents after they came from the UK. Which incidentally had given asylum to his mum and her mum when Hitler was going to roast them.

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