Debunking the myth that poor will fail at school

The NZEI and PPTA aren’t going to like this news, neither are the naysayers in the Labour party, who all claim that it is poverty that is holding kids back educationally.

That, it turns out, is a myth.

There is nothing inevitable about the weaker academic performance of poorer pupils, says an analysis of Pisa tests by the OECD’s Andreas Schleicher.

Mr Schleicher, who runs the tests, says the high results of deprived pupils in some Asian countries shows what poor pupils in the UK could achieve.

The most disadvantaged pupils in Shanghai match the maths test results of wealthy pupils in the UK.

Mr Schleicher says it “debunks the myth that poverty is destiny”.

On Monday, Education Secretary Michael Gove said individual schools in England should take Pisa tests, so that they could compare themselves against international standards.

The latest Pisa – Programme for International Student Assessment – test results were published last year by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, ranking developed countries in terms of how well 15-year-olds performed in tests in reading, maths and science.   Read more »


Herald editorial on state house changes

The Herald Editorial discusses the changes the government have made to state housing.

An era ended yesterday. The idea that a state house was awarded to tenants for life has been consigned to history. Legislation that put an end to this idea passed through Parliament late last year, remarkably with little comment. The law came into effect yesterday just as quietly. From now on, tenants will face a review every three years to see whether their income or circumstances have improved.

The absence of much protest suggests the public attitude changed long ago. Yet it shows some courage on the Government’s part. Sooner or later an elderly person is going to be evicted from a house she loves in a neighbourhood where she has lived most of her life, so that a family may be given the three-bedroom home she has occupied alone, and she will be on television.

Normally Housing New Zealand would be able to offer her a smaller but reasonably alternative home. But another historic change that took effect yesterday means the corporation no longer decides who gets a house.

The role has been passed to the Ministry of Social Development, which will assess applicants’ housing need as part of all forms of assistance they require. That makes sense and should make the system fairer.  Read more »

Real change

I watch a lot of videos for this job.  Mostly it is just fluff and I may not watch them all the way through.  This one I couldn’t tear myself away from.  Intelligent, sober, capable people are homeless while just trying to get the basics met.  There is no mandatory Sky TV for these people.

And somehow some of our politicians have most of us believing we have true poverty in our country.

I’m not buying.

REAL CHANGE from adam michael becker on Vimeo.


Guest Post: Clear correlation between one parent families and deprivation

Lindsay Mitchell has provided this superb post, one that should be shown to every MP in the parliament…and every media person who plies their trade pimping the poor.

The reality that single parent families are responsible for much of the growth in relative child poverty is gaining traction. These two graphs highlight this dramatically. They are a bit dated but nothing has improved since.

They come from a Counties Manukau DHB report so use the health decile rating system whereby 1 is wealthiest and 10 is poorest

The first shows that in the wealthiest decile over 90 percent of children live in two parent families while in the poorest just over half live in two parent families:

Proportion of children living in deciles by  one or two parent family status Manakau and NZ 2001

Proportion of children living in deciles by one or two parent family status Manukau and NZ 2001

Read more »

A different perspective on poverty

Barnsley Bill blogs at No Minister about what he experiences of poverty in the Far North.

It isn’t dissimilar to what I have seen sharing an office in the depths of Manukau.

The politicians certainly wouldn’t go the places we have been to understand and get a grip on poverty…such as it is.

Like many I had dark and not altogether poorly founded thoughts on why we have so many people in the North who seem utterly incapable of functioning as a reasonable and useful member of our 21st century society. Until I began this project my preconceived notions were without much research, rigorous thought or first hand experience at what the daily struggles of the underclass are.

So, in other words I was in pretty much the same boat as the overwhelming majority of people and especially every Labour and Green MP, all MSM left wing commentators/ journalists and the legion of useful idiots that are trotted out to bang on about poverty and the starving children.

Let me tell you.

I am dealing with close to 100 families from Whangarei to Kaitaia that will never join the mainstream. They are almost entirely hopeless in every aspect of their lives. But none of them have kids that are starving, in fact they are using techniques and schemes to travel through life that are incredibly complex and would stun most of you if you witnessed them first hand.

I am sick to death of seeing stories about WINZ being heartless/inflexible/mean.

Bullsh*t, WINZ will pay your speeding tickets, your lawn mowing, your rent, power, phone and any other manner of bill if you rock up and turn on the sobs. The lurks and perks are fantastic if you know how to play the game. And by far the best way is to keep getting knocked up. Most of the families I deal with have a male and female parental unit under the same roof and anything from 3 to 11 children. But the Male parental unit is registered at a different address of course. You need to do that to defraud the state with DPB. Gets a bit tricky when dad gets convicted and given home detention. I have three “Dads” having holidays at Auckland addresses currently because they are wearing a bracelet. You see if you are cheating WINZ it pays to have one partner notionally living in a different city.   Read more »

The real poverty trap is mathematical, automatic, and unavoidable

Statisticians have discovered thousands more children and the elderly living in poverty than have been reported previously.

Revised figures have found an extra 20,000 children, and about 32,500 more people 65 and over who rent their homes, who are classed as in poverty because they live in households earning below 60 per cent of the national median income after housing costs. The revisions lift the number of children in poverty from 265,000 to 285,000, or from 25 per cent to 27 per cent of all children.

The changes are even more dramatic for the country’s 147,000 elderly who did not own their own homes in last year’s census. Last year only 28 per cent of them, or about 41,000 people, were counted as being in poverty – a figure now revised to 50 per cent, or 73,500.

The revisions are mainly because the accommodation supplement was double-counted in all estimates of after-tax income reported by Statistics NZ, Treasury and the Social Development Ministry since 2009-10.

Treasury and Statistics NZ said the figures were produced jointly by the two agencies and “neither agency had an overview of the complete process to ensure the anomalies, once identified, were properly explained”.

Poverty my ass.  In New Zealand not a single human being needs to go without a meal and a roof over their heads.  We have some of the most expensive social welfare programs per capita in the OECD.  Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Moving Shot of a Child Fairy Soldier Looking on in Central African Republic.

A Child Soldier Wearing Fairy Wings, Looking on in Central African Republic.




Bludgers be bludgers

The story in the Sunday Star-Times this morning about bludgers making a nuisance of themselves is just another case of the bludger class proving they are bludgers.

Growing numbers of beggars are filling the streets of our two biggest cities, where some claim to be making as much as $200 a day.

Police have noticed a significant recent increase in people begging in downtown Auckland and are warning against giving them money, saying much of it goes towards drugs and alcohol.

Wellington social service agencies also say there has been an increase in begging – although those in the capital claim their income from begging is “meagre”.

Queen Street beggars spoken to by Fairfax Media agreed their numbers in the central city had been growing in recent months.

Beggar Tuari Ropihana, 18, had been in West Auckland until three months ago but moved to Queen Street because he said, “the police came down hard on us but not as much here”.

Ropihana said he spent the $50 he made each day on food, clothes, socks and new undies, but others he knew spent the money on drugs.

“They are saying that everybody that begs or hustles spends money on drugs … a lot do but not everybody.”

What hogwash…he spends $50 a day on undies socks and clothes? I call bullshit on that.

I bet professional bludger Tuari Ropinahi is also on a benefit of some sort, even though he claims he isn’t, and should now be investigated. He clearly doesn’t need the dole now he is a professional con-man hoodwinking people into thinking he is on the bones of his arse.

There is absolutely no need for beggars in this country, we have a comprehensive welfare system. This is nothing more than a lifestyle choice.

Another Queen St beggar who didn’t want to be identified agreed there had been a lot of new beggars moving to the central city. “People are finding it hard to find jobs. The ones that are out there, the younger ones, they are only out for the drugs.”

He said he regularly made around $200 a day and spent that money on cigarettes, bus fares for meetings, food and hot drinks.

“There are a lot of kind people, a lot of generous people. But I really hate doing this. Once I get me a house I can find out what’s happening in the workforce.”

Again complete horseshit. Spends $200 a day on fags, food and bus fares? Where is he travelling to? Wellington? You can get breakfast at Maccas for under $10, same with lunch even in a food court, so that is $20, a few coffees and drinks throughout the day is another $10, and dinner can be had for well under $15, total spend $45 with the wind up its arse…where is the other $155 going? He surely can’t smoke that many ciggies.

The journalists simply accept their bullshit. Or the journalists want to accept their stories so they can pimp another story about how poor we all are because we have beggars in our streets.

“Poorly thought through, poorly targeted, and unlikely to effectively solve the perceived problems”

Labour’s flagship child policy has been universally panned…now that people are picking over the carcass of the detail, such as it is, they are finding more and more problems with the policy.

It hasn’t been the “Best Start” that Labour was hoping…Economist Grant Kiernan writes at interest.co.nz about the problems.

Firstly, let’s be clear that there are problems with defining exactly where the “poverty line” is.

There are a lot of children around the world who would be happy with one pair of shoes or the opportunity to attend school. And in New Zealand, what we think of as poverty today is very different to what would have been seen as poverty 100 years ago.

On this basis, poverty in an absolute sense has been largely conquered – even globally when compared with 40 years ago.

Much of the poverty talked about today, especially in a New Zealand context, is relative poverty, which is much harder to define and, in some people’s thinking, less important.

Importantly, though, Nobel-winning economist Amartya Sen argues that “absolute deprivation in terms of a person’s capabilities relates to relative deprivation in terms of commodities, incomes and resources.”  In other words, in a wealthier society, the goods and services we require to “fit in” and be part of the community are greater.

As a result, when defining a poverty line we need to ask what bundle of goods defines a fair minimum in our society for a given household type. For example, access to the internet is arguably a necessity for integration in modern New Zealand society, even though it didn’t exist 20 years ago and is not necessary for basic human survival.

But wherever you want to draw the poverty line, either in absolute or relative terms, it is clear that line should not be drawn at a household income of $150,000.  Read more »

Cunliffe’s shoe lie now coming out

The omnishambles of David Cunliffe’s state of the nation speech continues..now into the 6th straight day and now it is the shoes lie that is being exposed.

When David Cunliffe tried to hit home the message that many Kiwis were struggling this week, he chose a simple, heartbreaking example.

Not only was one in four living below the poverty line ‘‘one in five don’t even have two pairs of shoes to wear to school’’ the Labour leader said in his state of the nation speech in Auckland.

Later in the week Cunliffe was challenged by Prime Minister John Key in Parliament to quote the source of the claim (as had Right wing commentators), but he did not do so.

His office is now ignoring questions on whether he sticks by it, but the foundations are shaky.

Staff confirmed that it was based on the report last year of Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills, which said 17 per cent of children (which is one in six, not one in five) were exposed to ‘‘a range of economising behaviours’’.

These included having at least two pairs of shoes in good repair, but could also mean parents cut back on fresh fruit, limit heating or avoid going to the doctor to save cash.

So Cunliffe and his staff lied again…but it is worse than that, they are conflating results.  Read more »