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Lindsay Mitchell: On child poverty, racism and colonisation

A just-published Listener article asks, "Why doesn't middle-class NZ care about child poverty?" It gathers views from half a dozen people including a principal, a teacher, an advocate against child poverty, a charity head, a Māori provider chair and Pasifika social worker. Apparently, they told the Listener that the middle-class has become indifferent to child poverty. Yet a careful reading of the piece finds it is primarily the Child Poverty Action Group advancing the idea that, "For middle white New Zealand, poverty is equated with being brown. This is where the indifference comes from." The Chief Executive of the Auckland City Mission goes further claiming active hostility to solo mothers, especially Māori: "As a society, the narrative is 'how dare you raise a child alone? We are going to make it as hard for you as we can - we will punish you.' And secondly, in our country, poverty has a colour. It is about racism and colonisation."

In fact, there are more NZ European children in material hardship than all other ethnicities put together. The table below shows there are 53,000 NZ European compared to a total of 47,000 combined other ethnicities (these are the most recent data reported in June 2021):

So poverty doesn’t have a colour. Saying poverty has a colour is a convenience for those who want to blame racism and colonisation.

The next thing of note from the above chart is that Asian children have relatively low rates of material hardship. Is this due to higher incomes? No.

The following chart shows that the percentage of Asian children in the poorest households is on par with Māori at 15%:

So low household income does not have a direct relationship with material hardship. How money is budgeted and what it is spent on matters. Asian families are also more likely to derive their income from work. The Ministry of Social Development long ago established that, “Standard of living data show that poor children reliant on government transfers are more likely to be subject to restrictions in key items of consumption than are poor children in families with market income.”

And yet both the head of the Auckland City Mission and convenor for the Child Poverty Action Group call for more government transfers. The former wants anyone raising children to receive in-work tax credits and the latter wants more tax from the “richest ten percent” to fund a universal child benefit (oddly missing that a universal child benefit would go to the children of the richest ten percent.)

The social worker from South Auckland would like to see the recommendations of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group established four years ago implemented. Either he or the writer of the piece claims a review “found that the Government had made no progress on implementing the report’s 42 key objectives.”

That is totally incorrect. For instance, sanctions for not naming the other parent were removed; the ‘subsequent child work obligation’ was abolished: the child support pass-on is implemented; benefits and abatement thresholds were increased; benefits were indexed to wage inflation and accommodation supplements were raised. (This is not an exhaustive list.)

The social worker who wants the recommendations implemented then goes on to argue that “Accommodation supplements hide the fact that rents are too high, so essentially the government is pouring money into private rentals.” High rents are at least partially a result of the government imposing unrealistic housing standards and scrapping tax deductibility, policies he would doubtless approve of.

This disconnect with economic reality characterises suggestions made when those “who see deprivation up close on a daily basis” are asked for their solutions to child poverty. Despite decades of redistributing wealth, the problem persists. Perhaps the prescription is wrong.

If the diagnosis is wrong, it probably is.

If the Chief Executive of the Auckland City Mission stopped for a moment blaming “society” for the poverty of sole parent children and instead reflected on where their fathers are, and why they are absent, a real remedy might reveal itself. Perhaps replacing fathers with the DPB all those years ago wasn’t such a good idea after all?

If the Māori provider chair stopped insisting that child poverty is the “product of colonisation” and reflected on why the children of low-income Asian parents do not suffer disproportionate material deprivation, a real remedy might reveal itself. Perhaps the strong work ethic that typifies immigrants to this country could be celebrated and emulated?

And if indeed the middle-class has become “indifferent to child poverty” perhaps it is because they can see through the many excuses for why it exists.

Lindsay Mitchell blogs here.

3,483 views65 comments


Great article, Im sick of the blame game, sick of having Maori shoved down my throat, sick of bullshit excuses, sick of bludgers, if I want to learn my ancestral language I wouldnt expect someone else to fund it, my parents would have done it (Scottish gealic, cant spell either). Im 75yrs old, have never been without work and believe me some of them have been shit, and I still work part time. If you want to see what really constitutes poverty mixed with bullshit take a look at the ones who dont seem to want to know what a bag of veges and a couple of loaves of bread costs, to view them park outside a KFC or Macas…


L indsay, What a great Article. Well Done. There is however a very old saying :-

"There are none so Blind as those who do not WISH to see".

So NZ has created a culture that whatever is wrong it is easy to blame Colonisation, the Government for never doing enough, and of course we do not seem to have ONE Politician with stones that is prepared to say to these people who have found themselves in difficulty "you need to make every effort to help yourself first, and then there is Government Assistance" The problem that is now the norm is that everything is Government Assistance first and NO effort on their own behalf.

I do accept that these…


Stephanie Hind
Stephanie Hind
Sep 20, 2022

Time and time again it is Thomas Sowell an American Economist who nails it. It is the state marrying solo mums which leads to this mess! Also the culture of the people most likely to complain about their own situation is manufactured.

Have you ever heard or seen an Asian solo mum talking about how unfair her life is? How the Government is not looking after her, is she sleeping in a car? I actually wonder if education is the answer because we have been pushing the message of no drugs or alcohol whilst pregnant for decades. Not to mention safe sex.

You reap what you sow. Dependency breeds dependency. Sigh!


It wasn't just the Listener that published this abomination. The NZ Herald ran the story over the weekend.

I'm going to wait for the outcome next year but I'm not holding my breath for a positive outcome, at which time there's a good chance we'll sell up and leave.

I've thought long and hard as to why Kiwis can't or won't see through this stuff.

So here are some thoughts:

The State Dependents are too dependent to risk seeing the money dry up if there is a new Government and will continue to vote Labour.

To give you an idea of how many people that is, here is an article which outlines what happened over the last couple of years.…

Replying to

You are smack on the money with your thoughts. 70 billion in the scamdemic alone and still pumping cash into the spin. They are trying to bankrupt us to sell us out to the bankers, NWO, WEF. Like JB, they are a clown show deliberately achieving their desired outcomes, while the media are complicit traitors. All the while most Kiwis sleep on and get drawn into their lies, BS and distractions.


It's really simple, just do not have kids unless you can afford to support them.

In this day and age there is no such thing as an accidental pregnancy, it's a conscious choice.

If you do choose to breed, your family becomes responsible for the child and the father must be named, his paternity confirmed by a DNA test and forced (that's right, Forced) to provide for his offspring. Nothing like a bit of compulsion to get results.

That would immediately put a stop to the mendacious beneficiary lifestyle that is relentlessly dragging this country down. Good luck finding a politician with the spine to promote or implement this, I'm looking at you Chris Luxon.

low morals, poor education an…

Aaron Shanahan
Aaron Shanahan
Sep 24, 2022
Replying to

Dead right JEL, it's always been a conscious choice.

Men??? Wrap the bloody thing.

Women?? The pill.

I'm not your go to for cash when you can't think for yourself.

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