Many politicians carry on excessively about poverty in New Zealand. The Labour party in particular makes much about the issue. Yet after nine years of their policies and nearly 3 years of National’s continuation of Labour’s policies apparently the problem isn’t going away.

I have an office in Manukau, I spend a lot of time on the streets of Manukau and we have issues, but the issues aren’t poverty, if they were we would be able to fix that. What we have is structural state reliance. That is far more insidious that just poverty.

I saw on Lindsay Mitchell’s blog a link to an interesting comment about poverty.

On Friday Danny Watson was talking about the issue and there was a call from a Samoan 35 year-old female called Kathryn who talks to Danny Watson about the word ‘poverty’. What it means to her living in Mangere Central; what it means to her mates and why the rest of us should stop using it.

I have trimmed the audio to so you don’t have to stream 50 odd minutes, and just left Kathryn’s comments.

Have a listen.

NewstalkZB – Danny Watson talking with Kathryn about poverty

Kathryn is right, we don’t have poverty in New Zealand, we have poor personal choices. Some people, like Martyn Bradbury, crap on about poverty from their comfy downtown apartments but they actually know nothing about it. They talk about beggars on the street and people living in cardboard boxes but the bottom line with those people is that we have a welfare system and if they choose to live on the streets then so be it. There is help in New Zealand for those who aren’t too proud or too stupid to ask for it.

But the real problem we have is the systemic welfarism that robs people of dignity, drive and purpose. After 60 years of welfare I think it is time we called enough on the dreadful experiment that is welfare. It hasn’t worked, it has actually made things worse.

I just wish there was a government or a party that had the intestinal fortitude to realise that talk of ‘entitlements’ and continuing the same is what is dooming this country and alternatives need to be explored and explored fast.

I wrote yesterday about only having net taxpayers having the vote and all sort of pinko apologists cried aloud that I was evil and heartless and anti-democratic, yet they missed what I was really trying to say.

New Zealand is doomed so long as we continue to have a burgeoning class of people who receive more from the state than they contribute through their taxation. We need less people in need of state assistance, not more. Yet the socialists and the commentariat classes who wring their hands of the issue only have one answer to the problem of poverty and that is to vest even more money at the bottom 40%. Well if that was the answer then we would have solved the problem a long time ago.

It is time for something different, it is time for a better way. If only there was a politician or a party that could show us that.


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  • diabolos

    I think a lot of people had a similar reaction to the post – i think you are wrong with your reasoning re entitlements and spending more money. Many on the ‘left’ (if there is such a thing) see that employment is the issue. They dont see Key and Bennetts methodology as doing any more than satisfying the angry mob with their pitchforks. Either we wait for the ‘trickledown’ effect of slow moving policies – or we inject correction into the equation would be the way many left-leaners would view it. I view society as an ecosystem – you cant tinker in isolation without equal and opposite reactions. You cant raise the minimum wage to $15 without driving businesses to the wall – if its done or perceived in isolation. I see this issue in the same way.

    I dont like going to some parts of South Auckland – partly a real and justifiable fear of damage to property or self – and a large dose of prejudice on my part too. Yet one day at the Cavendish Drive intersection with Great Sth Road one day – a vanload of refuse tumbled out of a van i was driving as i took off at the lights – the rear hatch latching was faulty. The ONLY people who helped (and there was some heavy stuff on the road – luckily no damage to other vehicles) were a group of rough, tough looking island boys who were on the intersection washing car windows. They were real hard cases and they made light work of moving some heavy pieces of junk metal and roofing iron to the side of the road – to let the traffic move. Im old enough to (i hope) be able to say, that it was not as bad as it is currently till the 90’s. The Lange led Government started the rot – and people like Richardson and Shipley continued it. Clark and Cullen rode the wave of success in isolated areas – and failed to address issues below the surface. We are going to have to spend money – but its got to be targetted at employment – not punitive rhetoric and actions. Just an opinion.

  • reid

    Quite right Cam.

    I’ve said many times on Kiwiblog the key is in people’s own minds. It’s in changing their thinking so they become self-disciplined, moderate and wise. That’s free and you don’t to be educated, you just have to have common sense.

    A lot of people on welfare look around and blame others for their own situation. I think it’s an ego protection thing. Their circumstances are so confined compared to others they see around them on the street, month after month and year after year, that in order not to feel about themselves for being so significantly less capable than many others their same age and level of education, they blame others, which begats their entitlement attitude, since it’s not their fault they’re where they are, it’s somebody else’s. It’s fucking mental, but this is what they think.

    You’re right, politicians need to start talking about this and telling people who have this attitude they need to change it and this is how. Only an extremely foolish parent would tolerate such a negative attitude developing in their own child and evidently today in NZ we have tens of thousands of people who really do think like this. Well fuck it, what pray tell is wrong with talking about and putting in processes to stop this in its tracks? What sort of political leaders would tolerate this? Are they fucking stupid? Either by not recognising it or by not knowing what to do about it? FFS. C’mon you fucking morons, start earning your gold plated salary package you tossers.

  • diabolos

    Sorry to comment again Cam – just a footnote – i do agree that using the term poverty is not essentially correct. I am just suggesting that it begins with employment. We cant escape the fact that its easier to exercise controlled coercion (wrong word i know) and stimulus on people who are working – or who have work opportunities in front of them – rather than on people who are locked into nil opportunity mindsets. Perhaps its more a poverty of spirit that is a more accurate description. Old adage – buy a man a fish and feed him for a day – teach a man how to fish and he feeds his family forever. Both sides of the argument i reckon are right – and equally both sides are wrong.

  • S.Beast

    Did you hear the earlier part of the interview where it says that those women HNZ spent a million or so to take to court are now on the waiting list for some new units HNZ are building? Really?? WTF!

  • SexyBeast

    Did you hear the earlier part of the interview where it says that those women HNZ spent a million or so to take to court are now on the waiting list for some new units HNZ are building? Really??

  • SexyBeast

    Did you hear the earlier part of the interview where it says that those women HNZ spent a million or so to take to court are now on the waiting list for some new units HNZ are building? Really?

  • Don McKenzie

    You are ‘bang on’ Cam.

  • reid

    diabolos, I agree employment is what lefties say is the solution. But this doesn’t mean they are right and this time, they’re not.

    The answer is in changing a long term welfare recipient’s attitudes. Many of them simply lack confidence. Their good will is there but they have just through repeated rejection lost their confidence. There are ways to help people with that.

    There are others who are as I said above and theirs is not a confidence issue so you use different methods.

    I’m sure if I thought about it there are other groups as well, but this is what we as a society don’t do. For some reasons there’s a hesitation amongst the general populace to call this for what it is. Everyone knows it goes on but we musn’t talk about it, seems to be the general attitude. To me this is fucking nuts. How the hell is it going to do anything except get worse, unless we do talk about?

    I mean, we’ve tried not talking about for 60 years now, and what we have is a growing pool of entitlement-driven multi-generational lifetime welfare recipients, so obviously something isn’t working and one wonders whatever the fuck that might be. Well, some people wonder, other people wonder why the fuck someone doesn’t suggest another way, like talking about it, just as an experiment.

    So lefties don’t call people on this because in their bleeding heart fantasy world where they live 24/7/365 not even coming out into the real world at Christmas time, they seem to think that tackling these attitude problems would be vewy hurtful to the long-term welfare wecipients and no-one wants to be a gwaet big meany, do they? This appears to be their thinking, notwithstanding the very thing which gives them a bleeding heart in the first place is their knowledge that Liarbore weally weally cares about the poor and dispossessed. It’s fucking mental, isn’t it. I’d really hate to be a lefty.

    • diabolos

      Problem is mate – the rejection stems from fighting in job lineups of between 300 – 1000 people for $13 an hour jobs – and im talking about on average 200 plus per job on many occasions. I know – I am an employer. And they are also fighting with hordes of migrants (im not anti migrant – just policy) many of whom are on student visas and their aim is to get permanent residency. Whats more they are seemingly being assisted to do so. You can only fill a cup so much before it gets full?

      You can counsel and educate people till the cows come home – but there has to be something to push them into at the end of that. Im all for tackling attitude problems – god knows theres a lot of them evident even in a blog like this … but no point in setting people up to fail – again.

      Not all left leaning people are monsters mate – some if not most of us understand and live in – a very real world. Labour hasnt cared about the poor and dispossessed and neither has any other party. They’ve all ruthlessly pursued goals in isolation from the ecosystem that is a country composed of real living breathing people. Starting with Spencer Russell onetime Gov of the Reserve Bank – admitting that the price of keeping inflation down – was creating unemployment and competition for jobs. You can use the word Fucking as much you like – and mental … but ultimately no one is born Left or Right or centre. We are people – and its ideologies that really screw the world up. The poor and dispossessed do exist – the dispossessed are also many of the poor little buggers coming out of a flawed education system for a start. They start that way – and on it goes.

      Reid – employment and a ‘whole of economy and society’ plan is the only way forward. And it isnt merely MMP’s fault that pollies buy votes by tinkering in isolation with the delicate mechanisms of the state and society. They are all like untrained mechanics – doing what a horde of onlookers and the polls tell them to.

      Its not about being a great big meany to use your derisive term … its about do you want the shit to hit the fan in the nearer and nearer future or dont you. Dont confuse me with Sue Bradford or Matt Mccarten or other extreme thinkers. I know you cant raise the minimum wage and stand back and watch miracles happen. I also know you cant enact draconian punitive measures in an economy with no jobs and uncontrolled incoming migration – and thinks its all going to magically trickle down. Fact is many companies are posting good results via retrenchment or restructure. Cant blame them – they have stakeholders – thats where the state has to step in to take up the slack or to use the vernacular “shit (most definitely) happens…” – like it or lump it your very own nice Mr Key – had to become an interventionist whenever something went wrong. Guess he is a lefty by definition?

      • reid

        diabolos if this doesn’t appear below your comment, apologies, sometimes mine just seem to jump to the bottom, anyway, thanks for your thoughtful response.

        I’m not suggesting we ignore employment reality is the only way to make a difference it’s just while the left believe the govt must intervene through policy in order to provide them while the right believe the govt should do the precise opposite in order to provide them, the other side normally undoes whatever the other side just did, when they get in, so society experiences continuous unemployment.

        Clark publicly claimed it was one of her main focus areas but in reality she simply manipulated the stats e.g. by shifting them to the sickness benefit. I don’t recall a single thing her govt did to make the life of industry easier, hence generate employment, apart from the Chinese FTA. She did nothing here, hence the whole thing collapsed as soon as the hollow state of the economy under Cullen’s management became apparent when the GFC struck. Her lack of action is the root cause of today’s unemployment rate.

        The Nats aren’t helping, they obviously don’t know what they’re doing either, still, the unemployment should go down with the ChCh rebuild and while that’s temporary it should get at least a few thousand hopefully more, of the long term unemployed, into the work habit and that can’t be a good thing.

        Yes I do recognise the current parlous state of the economy thus 100’s of applicants for every job. It’s not going to get any better anytime soon. Either the US or Europe or both, is going to crash, either this year or next, then watch out. Contrary to popular myth, the GFC hasn’t faded away and it’s curious it’s the very same people who failed to predict it who are once again, completely wrong, when they say it has.

  • reid

    Yes, really. Some of us think this is a political move to avoid a media spectacle on the eve of the RWC but most people just think it’s fucking stupid.

    The official line is a legal precedent has been set, we can, in fact, kick out unreasonable tenants, we’re not required as a country to house people who do whatever the fuck they like around the neighbourhood making life unpleasant for all around them. No, now, those sorts of people can indeed be booted out, and it only cost a mil, to find that out. Not to mention of course the legal aid we provided to the mob gals, that’s probably around a mil, as well. It’s about justice, you see. At any price, it must be had. How else was the QC going to be able to afford both the audi AND the new beemer for his wife? Crikey, get with the program people.

    So yeah that’s about it, really. Next time someone acts like total arseholes in a taxpayer funded situation, the next time anyone does that, we’ll probably really, really mean it when we serve them with an eviction notice and instructions on how to complete the legal aid form.

  • Mr Blobby

    If throwing money at the problem was the solution we would have solved the problem several thousand years ago.
    If it didn’t work 1000 years ago what makes you think it will work 1000 years from now.
    The problem is attitude and mind set.
    Instead of can do what we here from these people is fuck you.
    The short answer is we have travelled down the wrong road to far there is no going back. We have reached the position where to many voters are dependant on the various government handouts and will vote in their own self interest.
    Look to history a civilization grows in size and consumes resources, when it reaches a point where it has consumed all the resources and it collapses. A period of chaos follows and out of the ashes a new Empire emerges and so the cycle continues. You can see similar symptoms like a cold virus it grows and then eventually dies out.
    More and more people will opt out of what they see as an unfair situation and join the winning team and become 1st class citizens with all the rights and none of the responsibilities. What some see as poor personal choices others see as lifestyle choices? Who is right the Payer or Payee.
    Sorry Guys and Girls. I wish it was different I really do.

    • diabolos

      Blobby – i hate to disagree – but where do you get the idea that too many voters are dependant on Govt handouts? That simply isnt true.

      You can only squeeze an orange so much till nothing comes out.

      You seem to suggest a post apocalyptic world complete with Tina Turner and thunderdome?

      • Mr Blobby

        Do the sums Pensions, benefits, working for families etc etc etc
        Under our democracy the Government has to get close to 48% to Govern, a voting block as small as 5-10 % can sway an election, Grey Power, teachers as examples come to mind. Some 40% + of voters rely on some form of government assistance, or work for the Government.
        The scales have tipped in favor of the vested interest groups and as you said, you can only squeeze an orange so far.
        Tina Turner is not really my type. The reality is that our whole social welfare system is like a big Ponzie or pyramid scheme. At some stage you run out of new contributors. The next generation is in for some very hard times. They will have to pay for their education, provide for their family if they choose to have one, fund our retirement, fund there own retirement. Not to mention fund and repay today’s debt. This will impact on the quality of their lifestyle. If they decide that the situation is unfair they may opt not to play the game.
        This situation will likely hit countries burdened down by high levels of debt, aging populations and excessive social services like early retirement first. Look to Japan and France to see how they handle it. Recent civil unrest in Europe as there Governments tried to reign in spending is just the start.
        Rest assured our time will come.

  • Oldlogger

    Mr Blobby has it right.
    When you are adding up those on govt handouts diablos, don’t forget:
    Work for families
    DPB……..let’s make a list. Who can help me out?

    • diabolos

      No mate he doesnt have it right.

      There are many people who dont want to be on welfare – and the punitive attitude of many on this blog are no help to them.

      The percentage of the populace is low – but the political capital for Key is high. Persecute those who cant fight back and satisfy a few selfish rednecks.

  • Chris

    Her comments are simply one big generalisation. She’s referring to the visible minority of which there’ll always be some, in the same way there’ll always be a small number of white-collar crooks – it’s impossible to stop it. The benefit system is okay for people like you, Cameron, who probably just claim the basic benefit and get by fine, like me too when I was on the dole a few years ago, but it’s when people’s circumstances mean they need the extras like the disability allowance and special needs grants etc, that’s when the screws come down and shows how inadequate our welfare system is for a lot of people. We also have to realise that we’re not all the same and we can’t expect everyone to have what it takes to get by in the dog-eat-dog system we’ve created. Whining on about a tiny minority who’re always going to be there, tarring everyone with the same brush isn’t going to solve anything and is just a fat waste of time. We just have to accept that some people, because of no fault of their own, just can’t cut it, and accordingly we shouldn’t blame them. Kathryn should look at the majority of people on benefits if she’s looking to offer a more accurate analysis.