Real Issues Blog
18 October 16
“I know that’s not PC, but you know, that’s me,” said Judith Collins last week as she commented on child poverty at a police conference. Cue Metiria Turei, co-leader of the Greens, who alleged that Collins was displaying “deepest ignorance” and making “a foolish statement” because Collins reportedly had said that child poverty is “primarily” due to “a lack of [parental] responsibility.” + more
10 October 16
Right and left don’t seem to make much sense of the world anymore. Perhaps, as New York Times columnist David Brooks writes, the ideas of revolution and reaction better describe today’s political climate. Are we currently in the “Age of Reaction,” as Brooks contends?+ more
Danielle van Dalen
03 October 16
“All we really want is a little control – and to make that 6 o’clock yoga class once in a while.”
This was the conclusion in a recent New Zealand Herald article about the benefits of flexible work. But the increased interest we are seeing in a more flexible modern day workplace misses the bigger picture.+ more
30 September 16
Anyone advocating for euthanasia or assisted suicide should have to answer this question: How many wrongful deaths is Parliament prepared to risk if these practices are legalised? What is the number? What is the acceptable error rate, where error means wrongful death?+ more
19 September 16
The annual release of MSD’s suite of income and material well-being reports usually spark a statistical squabble about the number of children or families in poverty (and who is to blame, of course).
Much of the debate this year, however, was rightly focused on the rising impact of a lack of housing affordability, as most poverty and hardship trends were considered to be “flat or falling.” This doesn’t make for attention-grabbing headlines.+ more
12 September 16
I have heard New Zealand being described as “as beautiful as heaven and as lonely as hell.” If that's so, it doesn’t bode well for us all - as a 2010 study by Holt-Lunstad, Smith, & Layton highlights that the long-term effects of loneliness brought on by social exclusion is “equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day and to drinking six units of alcohol a day.” + more
Danielle van Dalen
05 September 16
Traditionally, it is those relying on the social welfare system that come to mind when we think of New Zealanders struggling to get by. However, an OECD report claimed that “on average 7 percent of individuals living in households with at least one worker are poor in the OECD area.” For poor children in New Zealand, that number is around 40 percent. Recent findings from Otago University also support this, suggesting that half of New Zealand’s homeless adults are either working or studying. Astonishing.+ more
29 August 16
In this debate we’re discussing whether or not we want our government to allow certain people who meet certain criteria to kill themselves with the assistance of another person. To reduce the threshold for such an act down to 'a debilitating illness that is inconsistent with my identity'—or, the way I saw life turning out for me—is irresponsible, and would prove impossible to define in any legally meaningful way. + more
22 August 16
Contrary to the sticks and stones rhyme from our childhood, we all know that names can hurt. Names are not just names; they have a profound and long lasting impact. On this count, the name for the Ministry that will replace Child, Youth and Families is a missed opportunity.
Last week, the Government decided to stay the course despite the dissenting of many and proceeded with the “Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki”—the Te Rēo words meaning the “health or wellbeing of children.”+ more
15 August 16
The Reserve Bank has done a fantastic job over the last 27 years, doing what it is supposed to do with clarity and vigour. Long gone are the heady days of 18-19 percent inflation and 20 percent interest rates that we experienced while singing along with Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream its Over,” replaced with years of stable general levels of prices (low inflation). It seems, however, that this long-term success has led to “expectation creep” from politicians and the public. + more
Danielle van Dalen
08 August 16
Politics and policies can change lives. However, policy is just an idea until people do something to enact it. For real life change to occur for people in poverty, we need to focus on the relationships they have with the people delivering government support.
You’d be excused for thinking it’s impossible for government to incorporate relationship into their work. However, the British government seem to have found a solution in the Troubled Families Programme.+ more
27 July 16
Declines in personal savings and fertility rates in the West are stark indicators that may help explain how economic insecurity fosters phenomena like the rise of Trump and the decline of the EU through Brexit. Both movements are driven largely by the wills of older Americans and Brits facing increasingly uncertain futures—in large part because they had fewer babies and saved less than their forebears.
Where savings and fertility decline, immigration rises to plug the growth gap—a controversial flash-point and common proclamation by demagogues in these debates. But rising immigration—whether it concerns you or not—is just a visible sign of deeper issues. + more