Child poverty? Debt Menace?

Loan Shark Flyer

Loan Shark Flyer (Contact details hidden.)

There has been a lot of hand-wringing recently here in New Zealand about child poverty, citing the numbers of kids who go to school hungry, or with no lunch. The Opposition and the Church have joined an internationally driven campaign for higher wages, a ‘living wage’. But this campaign has some serious flaws in its New Zealand setting. Kev has already commented on this.

Children in themselves have no power to earn, so child poverty always should point to the adults who have left the child in this position. As local Mayor Michael Laws calls it, ‘piss-poor parenting’. Here I agree with him whole-heartedly. People who call themselves parents should have the brains and the drive, as well as the sense of responsibiity for their offspring to feed them properly, and provide the bare necessities at least. No, it’s not a matter of too little money on the benefit. We are on National Superannuation with little extra, and we manage to feed and clothe everyone adequately.

But this is because we do not waste our resources.

I believe that much of the ‘child poverty’ in New Zealand is because of terrible choices made by parents – choices that involve spending scarce money on cigarettes, alcohol and gambling. This country has a really bad record for the normalisation of gambling, even in the kindergartens where the fund-raising raffle is an annual fixture.

But there is another menace in the neighbourhood, that even further preys on poor families, this time targetting the Polynesian community in particular. There was a flyer put in our letter box yesterday, advertising loans –  $1000, to be repaid at $50 per week, for 8 months. Continue reading

Advertisements

Injustice in Equality: churches promote inflation.

Guest post by Kevin O’Brien, retired Charted Accountant and former consultant to the Government of (then Western) Samoa. (Reposted from 18 Feb 2013 with tags.)

 

The living wage claim imbroglio has done us good in having to examine wages and living costs: I am not so sure it has done us right. It took a bit of looking to find the paper setting out the claims to a “living wage” of $18.40/hr; they were not on the Anglican Church Family Centre web site [1], in whose name they were, but on the Living Wage NZ site who commissioned them. [2]

The claim then is political – a creature of the unions and the ultra left greens with the churches donning social-justice robes and blessing all, other than those who ultimately have to pay. The politics of envy are writ large: bosses and others must be richer, so they can pay, to match our spending aspirations. If the boss class hasn’t got it, then the Government must have. Someone needs to pony up to satisfy our unrequited hunger for more.

I suspect there is sin somewhere in the midst of this. Is it right to heavy employers, a.k.a. bosses, to pay more when no more is going to come their way to meet the extra demand? Is it right to set demands for pay in excess of minimum reasonable needs? Is it right to pay a single 18 year old straight from year 13 at high school the same hourly rate as an experienced single worker, or one a few years further on who has a spouse, and the population replacement minimum 2 children, the same hourly rate also? If justice is about balance where is it here? Are ability and contribution of a worker to producing residual income to be ignored? Continue reading

Injustice in equality, Churches promote inflation

Guest post by Kevin O’Brien, retired Charted Accountant and former consultant to the Government of (then Western) Samoa.

The living wage claim imbroglio has done us good in having to examine wages and living costs: I am not so sure it has done us right. It took a bit of looking to find the paper setting out the claims to a “living wage” of $18.40/hr; they were not on the Anglican Church Family Centre web site [1], in whose name they were, but on the Living Wage NZ site who commissioned them. [2]

The claim then is political – a creature of the unions and the ultra left greens with the churches donning social-justice robes and blessing all, other than those who ultimately have to pay. The politics of envy are writ large: bosses and others must be richer, so they can pay, to match our spending aspirations. If the boss class hasn’t got it, then the Government must have. Someone needs to pony up to satisfy our unrequited hunger for more.

I suspect there is sin somewhere in the midst of this. Is it right to heavy employers, a.k.a. bosses, to pay more when no more is going to come their way to meet the extra demand? Is it right to set demands for pay in excess of minimum reasonable needs? Is it right to pay a single 18 year old straight from year 13 at high school the same hourly rate as an experienced single worker, or one a few years further on who has a spouse, and the population replacement minimum 2 children, the same hourly rate also? If justice is about balance where is it here? Are ability and contribution of a worker to producing residual income to be ignored? Continue reading