Ardern matches English’s poverty pledge

In the second leaders debate last night Bill English stole a march on Jacinda Ardern.

Ardern had a vague ‘vision’ about eliminating child poverty, while English made a specific claim plus a pledge. This morning Ardern matched that pledge.

RNZ:  Labour would lift 100,000 children out of poverty by 2020 – Ardern

During last night’s Newshub leaders’ debate, National Party Bill English promised to set a specific target for reducing child poverty.

He said 50,000 children should be lifted out of poverty through the government families package announced in the Budget in May – and, if National was re-elected, further initiatives could double that result.

Ms Ardern told Morning Report this morning that she could match that promise.

“We can lift up about 50,000 as well, when it comes to the extra 50,000 that is something that we of course will have to set targets around in government,” she said.

“He said he’ll do 50 [thousand] based on his tax package, the extra 50 [thousand] I’m assuming that means he’s going to have another tax package.

“If that means he’s going to only target low-income families, look, that’s positive. I believe we can match that.”

When asked if Labour would commit to the same number by 2020, she said yes – measured as 50 percent of the median income.

Sounds good, but I’m not sure how you can lift people ‘out of poverty’ when it is measured by a measure based on median income.

Leave a comment


  1. robertguyton

     /  September 5, 2017

    Key, English, National denied that there was poverty in New Zealand, said it couldn’t be defined, made every possible excuse for doing nothing about it and now, in the fading moments of the 11th hour, English “passionately” promises to cure it, and “stole the march”???

    • PDB

       /  September 5, 2017

      The fact a govt can sign a piece of legislation and suddenly 50,000 kids are lifted out of poverty tells you all you need to know about poverty estimates. Key etc have always said there is poverty in this country (as there is in all countries) but no where near the levels suggested by left-wing groups/ organisations.

  2. Corky

     /  September 5, 2017

    Again we must ask the question about the quality of Jacindas advisers. Having a coherent answer, with facts; figures and a vison on such a polarising issue like child poverty, I thought would be politics 101.

    • Blazer

       /  September 5, 2017

      Politics 101 National style…we’re gunna’…..gunna Bill firing shots all over the show,hoping to hit a HIGH FLYING…DUCK.

    • robertguyton

       /  September 5, 2017

      Again we must ask the question about English’s ethics – ignore and deny poverty for almost a decade, then at the last minute, claim to champion it’s eradication?
      How easily fooled some folk are.

      • Patzcuaro

         /  September 5, 2017

        It’s called hanging on to power

      • Patu

         /  September 5, 2017

        Don’t get me started on ethics.
        “What is a sackable offense for a minister Bill???”.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  September 5, 2017

        You seem to be missing the point that poverty has fallen under National and material hardship has fallen quite drastically.
        This isn’t pie in the sky future stuff for an election, it is the continuation of National’s ongoing policies – such as increasing the housing supplement, changing WFF, raising benefit levels, introducing free doctors visits for under 13 yr olds etc.
        Remember even the Greens were happy enough to vote for the budget due to its help for lower income families.
        Labour voted against it…

      • alloytoo

         /  September 5, 2017

        For the last decade Bill’s been working on his “Social investment” strategy, This is his long term plan for poverty which is actually attracting positive attention around the world.

  3. Blazer

     /  September 5, 2017

    first put thousands into poverty….the lift them out!If he doesn’t meet the target ,it will be…its like going to the gym to lose 10 kilo’s…and only losing 500 grams.

  4. adamsmith1922

     /  September 5, 2017

    I suspect Ardern’s advisers know she lost badly last night as she has been all over the media explaining her position on tax, especially CGT and poverty . Explaining is losing.

  5. I am surprised no-one has commented on this neat observation:

    “I’m not sure how you can lift people ‘out of poverty’ when it is measured by a measure based on median income”

    Merriam-Webster defines poverty thus: “the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions”

    So it is essentially a relative concept, with quite different real meanings in a civilised Western society like ours and a backward African society like Somalia. One could thus, effectively, ‘lift people out of poverty’ simply by lowering the country’s average standard of living. I wonder which one of them is most likely to achieve that?

    Poverty is, in truth, just a meaningless, albeit conveniently emotive buzzword. It is useful for deflecting attention from the real requirement of a government – which is to run the country efficiently. It can then – and must be – held to account morally by a strong, socially-motivated Opposition Leader, which I think Jacinda Ardern could well become.

    The Opposition is, in my view, a role actually more important than that of Government, which is fundamentally just to run a strong economy, without which everything collapses, starting with the lives of the poor. A good Opposition can leave those nuts and bolts to the Government and put its mind to assiduously preventing it losing sight of the ordinary folks’ quality of life. Given suitable roles I rather think these two could make a good team.

    • phantom snowflake

       /  September 5, 2017

      Poverty can be defined both RELATIVELY and ABSOLUTELY, though I’m picking you already know that.
      Life must be so comfortable for you now that you have neatly defined poverty out of existence: “…meaningless…emotive buzzword.” But should you ever become bored in your bubble, it may be that your Empathy Bypass is reversible.

  6. Kabull

     /  September 5, 2017

    The 2017 Budget was quite clear about the target for reducing poverty on 1 Apr next year, with the tax and family support package.

    The Finance Minister’s budget speech ( includes this:

    ” The Package particularly focuses on assisting low income families with young children and those experiencing high housing costs.

    154,000 families in the lowest quintile will benefit by an average of more than $35 a week, or $1,840 per year.

    It is expected to lift 20,000 households above the threshold of severe housing stress, and reduce the number of children living in families receiving less than half of the median wage by around 50,000.”

    The changes to make this happen have already been passed into law (despite Labour NOT supporting it). What English said last night was that given continued good economic performance he would expect to be able to lift another 50,000 in 2 – 3 years.

  7. David

     /  September 5, 2017

    It was a real gotcha moment from her when she said the reason she was in politics was because of child poverty she got the numbers horribly wrong and then after climbing into English promised to lift just 29000 out of poverty with no details. Bill said the tax cuts and family package lift 50,000 in one go and Labour have promised to overturn this.

  8. Belledejour

     /  September 6, 2017


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