Photo Of The Day

Photo: Stephanie Sinclair Addisu, 23, and his new bride Destaye, 11, are married in a traditional Ethiopian Orthodox wedding in the rural areas outside the city of Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. Community members said that because of his standing as a priest, Addisu’s bride had to be a virgin. This was the reason Destaye was given to him at such a young age. According to the UNFPA, in 2010 there were 13.8m girls married by age 18 in sub-Saharan Africa. This will increase to 16.5 mill in 2030.

Photo: Stephanie Sinclair
Addisu, 23, and his new bride Destaye, 11, are married in a traditional Ethiopian Orthodox wedding in the rural areas outside the city of Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. Community members said that because of his standing as a priest, Addisu’s bride had to be a virgin. This was the reason Destaye was given to him at such a young age. According to the UNFPA, in 2010 there were 13.8m girls married by age 18 in sub-Saharan Africa. This will increase to 16.5 mill in 2030.

Trading Childhood For Marriage

Destaye’s wedding wasn’t what she had always dreamed of. She wasn’t celebrating her union with the man she loved.

She was 11 years old, being forced to marry Addisu, a 23-year-old Ethiopian Orthodox priest who had chosen her to be his wife because she was young enough to ensure that she would still be a virgin. That day, she felt ashamed.

Read more »

Pimping the Poor: Twyford style


When media and politicians pimp the poor they usually do two things.

They pick a poor example to suit their cause, but they get the headlines so they consider that a win. They also expose the alleged poor person and all their past.

That is what Phil Twyford has done in pimping the story of the Laurents of Hamilton.

They have moved house nine times in 10 years.

On one occasion, a landlord returned from overseas and moved back into the rental home. On the other occasions they’ve been forced to move because the Hamilton rentals they were living in were sold.

That’s nine times they’ve called the removal trucks, nine times they’ve packed up their lives into boxes and nine times they’ve hunted for a place to stay – in just 10 years.

Aucklanders have been buying into the Hamilton property market, making it difficult for Hamilton families such as Debbe Laurent, 47, Mark Laurent, 43, and their four children, to make the leap from renting to owning.

They’ve been trying to save for a home but Auckland’s raging property market, lending restrictions, property investors, rising house prices and a cut to the official cash rate (OCR) were factors working against them.

“This is our ninth place in 10 years because every single house has been sold out from under us,” said Mark Laurent.

“With the exception of one,” said Debbe Laurent.

They were in one house for less than six months before it was snapped up and have only been in their current dwelling since March.

“The house we were in before was put on the market at Christmas time, it was sold at the beginning of February and we were given six-weeks to move and there was nothing in the price range we could even consider to afford,” said Mark Laurent.

The Laurents’ four children need plenty of space at home. They also needed a place close to their children’s school to reduce the disruption.

So far so good, we have a good wah wah wah story for the media to push.

Phil Twyford and Sue Moroney from Labour did their part in pushing the story out there.  Read more »

Killer Houses! The media’s new whipping boy

1940s State house

1940s State house

Why have people started dying of cold houses now, when generations before survived them just fine?

The media are in a frenzy about people dying in “cold houses”. It is the fault of the government, the fault of poverty, but somehow never the fault of the occupants of the so-called “cold house”.

In 1937 Michael Joseph Savage helped move in the first state tenants in what was heralded as a world first, a game changer of the times. Affordable state provided housing.

This was the way of the future we were told. And many of these state houses are still in the housing stock.


Michael Joseph Savage helping move furniture into the first state house

Yesterday Duncan Garner stood outside a state house and moaned about how cold it was, how heartless Housing New Zealand was and how terrible and it was the fault of everyone else that an obese man died in a cold house filled with his 6 children. Apparently it is the state’s fault he couldn’t afford heating. It was the state’s fault he had heart problems and obesity problems not to mention pneumonia.   Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo: Dorothea Lange

Photo: Dorothea Lange

This photograph became an icon of the Great Depression: A migrant mother with her children burying their faces in her shoulder. Katherine McIntosh was 4 years old when the photo was taken. She said it brought shame — and determination — to her family. “The picture came out in the paper to show the people what hard times was. People was starving in that camp. There was no food,” she says. “We were ashamed of it. We didn’t want anyone to know who we were.”

Read more »

The poverty scam

What is poverty?

It’s a good question since the left-wing likes to claim that some number of children live in poverty. They constantly bang on about poverty and child poverty.

But the reality is that in New Zealand there is no real poverty. Poverty has simply been redefined to suit their agenda to control the narrative.

James Bartholomew looks at the same redefinition of poverty and what it is reality in the United Kingdom.

The word “poverty” is bandied about as never before. Labour politicians, columnists for The Guardian and The Independent, representatives of charities such as Oxfam, use the term repeatedly, suggesting that poverty in Britain is a major and even a growing problem. Very rarely does anyone on radio or television dare challenge this idea. But what do we mean by the word “poverty” today? And how does our idea of poverty compare with that of the past?

Flora Thompson experienced poverty in late 19th-century Britain and later described it in her famous trilogy of books known as Lark Rise to Candleford. She was brought up in a small village in rural Oxfordshire, the daughter of a labourer. In that village “some of the cottages had two bedrooms, others only one”. If there was only a single bedroom, a curtain or screen would separate the parents and the children. The cottages were often “a tight fit, for children swarmed, eight, ten, or even more in some families although they were seldom all at home together”. The only way to pack them all in was for “beds and shakedowns” to be “closely packed” so that the “inmates had to climb over one bed to get into another”.

There was no running water and, of course, no electricity. The only lavatory for each household was “either in a little beehive-shaped building at the bottom of the garden or in a corner of the wood and toolshed known as ‘the hovel’ ”. It was “a deep pit with a seat set over it”. Once every six months the pit would be emptied creating such a stench that it “caused every door and window in the vicinity to be sealed”. As for food, “fresh meat was a luxury only seen in a few of the cottages on a Sunday”. People mostly depended on bread and lard. “Fresh butter was too costly for general use” and “milk was a rare luxury”.

Shoes and boots were barely affordable, to the extent that “how to get a pair of new boots for ‘our young Ern or Alf ’ was a problem which kept many a mother awake at night”. Obtaining clothes was “an even more difficult matter” so that “it was difficult to keep decently covered”. Labourers sipped their beer slowly in the evening because they could only afford half a pint. The girls were sent out to be servants in richer households when they were between 11 and 13.

Going back further in time to the beginning of the 19th century, many ordinary people could not afford shoes at all and wore clogs instead. People died of starvation in 1846/47 in Scotland as well as in Ireland during the potato famine. Indeed, Britain was affected by more than 95 famines in the Middle Ages, such as the one in 1235 when about 20,000 Londoners died of starvation and many resorted to eating tree bark in an attempt to survive.

Read more »

So poverty is now defined as having no pajamas

The Herald on Sunday has announced a new campaign, giving away pajamas to the poor.

The Herald on Sunday is today launching a campaign to provide much-needed pyjamas for some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable kids.

We have teamed up with the Middlemore Foundation to support its annual Jammies in June campaign.

The initiative is in its third year and we’re calling on readers to help raise a record $40,000 and 10,000 pairs of new pyjamas.

Cash donated will be used to buy more pyjamas, as well as blankets, socks and other items to keep Kiwi kids toasty this winter.

Herald on Sunday editor Miriyana Alexander urged readers to get behind the campaign.

“The foundation does a fabulous job, and I’m delighted to lend our support to this pyjama fundraiser,” Alexander said.

“It’s confronting to think so many Kiwi kids might be going to bed cold this winter — but that’s the reality.

“Please join us to ensure thousands more can go to bed snug and warm this winter.”

Read more »

They pimp the poor in Australia too, but a bogan mayor has sledged the media back

Fairfax, the NZ Herald and John Campbell all love to pimp the poor.

In Australia they have been doing it too, but one resident plus the local mayor have gone feral on the media.

SBS has been slammed for offending Mt Druitt residents and making fun of a man with dementia in a new show.

The three-part taxpayer-funded series Struggle Street — produced at an estimated cost of $350,000 an episode — has been described as “publicly funded poverty porn”.

One of the promo clips for the series features Ashley Kennedy, 53, who was diagnosed with dementia during the filming, passing wind on the front step of his house and shouting and swearing.

“When I saw that promo I was shocked and horrified. They showed my husband farting on national TV,” Mr Kennedy’s wife, community leader Peta Kennedy, 55, said yesterday.

“When we signed up for it we thought it was supposed to be about people’s struggles and going through their problems and getting back on their feet, but this is awful.”

Read more »

Nearly 20% of all children continue to be born into welfare dependency

Lindsay Mitchell blogs:

If there is one statistic that epitomises the state of modern family under decades of benefit influence it’s the following.

Each year I put the same question to MSD (adjusting dates obviously):

At December 31, 2014, how many benefit recipients aged 16-64 had a dependent child born in 2014?

This time the answer  is 11,149 – or 19.4% of all children born in 2014. Still nearly one in five.

While there is gradual and steady improvement (below are the percentages for the last 10 years) the pattern remains well entrenched (largely independent of the economy), a point I have made repeatedly over the years: Read more »


No surprises here, being poor makes you stupid

The Daily Mail reports on a study that confirms that being poor makes you stupid, with brains on average 7% smaller.

Poor children develop smaller brains than their richer classmates, according to two US studies.

Neuroscientists who studied the brains of more than 100 young people found that the surface area of their cerebral cortex could be linked to family income.

The region of the brain studied is responsible for language, memory, spatial skills and reasoning.

Columbia University found children in families that earned less than $25,000 ( £16,900) a year had surface areas six per cent smaller than those whose families earned $150,000 (£68,500) or more.    Read more »

Daniel Hannan on poverty and why Nelson Mandela was wrong

Daniel Hannan is a thinker, and an eloquent speaker.

He has challenged Nelson Mandela’s thinking on poverty and explains why Mandela was wrong.

“Like slavery and apartheid,” Nelson Mandela told 20,000 people in Trafalgar Square ten years ago, “poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”

They were inspiring words, and the crowd duly went wild. But the old man was talking utter, unadulterated bilge. Poverty is not “man-made”: it is the primordial condition of all living organisms, including humans. It is wealth that is “man-made”.

As usual Hannan is straight into it without hesitation.

Perhaps 100,000 years ago, our distant fathers hit on the idea that, instead of having to do everything themselves, they could specialise and exchange. If Ug is particularly deft at making flint weapons, let him stay behind and concentrate on what he’s good at while the rest of the tribe hunts and brings him a share of the meat. While we’re about it, Og from the neighbouring clan has a rare gift for making fishhooks: why not trade some of them for Ug’s flints?

From that simple discovery came, in due course, wheels and printing presses and spinning jennies and skyscrapers and antibiotics and the Internet. The greater the number of people drawn into a commercial nexus, the more each individual can concentrate on improving his or her particular métier. The hours which we need to work in order to support ourselves fall, giving us more free time – both to employ in leisure pursuits and to come up with yet more ingenious inventions. People became longer-lived, more literate, more comfortable, better-fed, taller, more numerate and more numerous. They also, incidentally, become more peaceable: far from being ruthless or selfish, capitalism joins men and women together in a cats-cradle of mutual dependency. That, in a nutshell is the history of homo sapiens.

Read more »