Ardern v English on poverty measures

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tried to reach out to Bill English and National over proposals to better measure poverty, but it has become a messy stoush.

RNZ: PM ‘saddened’ at claims Nats not consulted on poverty Bill

Reducing child poverty was a strong focus for both National and Labour during the election campaign, and the government promised a bi-partisan approach.

Ms Arden contacted National Party leader Bill English late last year about consulting on the draft bill.

In the letter dated 13 December, Ms Ardern included a “key summary of the proposed Bill”.

It said there would be child poverty targets but they would not be included in legislation so as to not “bind future governments to any particular target”.

The letter sought feedback from Mr English, along with an offer for a briefing from officials.

With the bill due to be introduced to Parliament tomorrow, Mr English told Morning Report this morning his party has had no opportunity to influence the shape of the bill.

Ms Ardern said she was “saddened” to hear this, as she had reached out last year.

“I hope we did provide that opportunity, again we have a select committee process to go through as well on top so I still hope we’ll get support from all parties.

She said she would happy to still work with National outside of the select committee process as the Bill progresses through Parliament.

English is miffed that the Government are dropping the Better Public Service targets

Mr English said the Better Public Service targets were a key component of this policy, which he raised in his response to Ms Ardern.

But there had been no chance to discuss the targets before they were scrapped, he said.

“The government’s on its timetable, it wants to get the Bill introduced before the end of the 100 days, I don’t think they ever seriously intended … that there would be a serious bi-partisan effort on it.”

This came up in question time in Parliament yesterday.

2. Rt Hon BILL ENGLISH (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does her Government intend to retain the Better Public Service Targets to reduce the number of people on a benefit by 25 percent, reduce the number of serious crimes being committed by 10,000, and reduce the number of children hospitalised for preventable conditions by 25 percent?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN (Prime Minister): No. We will have our own system for monitoring and reporting on performance against our priorities. Our targets will reflect our different priorities from the previous Government and will look beyond simple measures and, in fact, to underlying causes.

Rt Hon Bill English: Did the Prime Minister consider past success of selected targets that addressed areas of persistent social dysfunction, such as reducing welfare dependency, reducing reoffending rates for criminals, holding the numbers of children affected by child abuse, and lifting educational attainment among Māori and Pacific students?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I think it’s fair to say that probably all Governments share an ambition for reducing crime and improving employment. Our point is that we have a set of priorities that get to the root cause of some of the issues that we’re seeing in New Zealand. A great example, for instance, would be our ambition to measure and target directly issues like child poverty. That’s getting to the root cause of an issue rather than just some of the symptoms, as past Better Public Services (BPS) targets did.

Rt Hon Bill English: Why does the Government persist with the view that poverty in New Zealand is purely a function of income, when the evidence is overwhelming that low educational achievement, family violence, long-term welfare dependency, and serial criminal offending have a huge impact on persistent deprivation and material hardship?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Because the evidence points to material hardship as being one of the most consistent drivers of poor outcomes for children. We’ve never argued that that in and of itself was the only issue that needs to be looked at, which is why, of course, we’re also requiring—and will, as a Government, focus more broadly on—a child well-being strategy for the very reasons that the past Minister points out.

Rt Hon Bill English: So can the Prime Minister confirm that the Government is therefore going to abandon a focused approach to social dysfunction, caused by the factors that I’ve referred to, and limit its approach to addressing deprivation simply to the measurement of income?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: No, because, in fact, as the member well knows, we’ve also included material hardship as one of the things that we would like to include and hold ourselves to account on. Our point is that we, in fact, want to be broader in the accountabilities we hold ourselves to as a Government. The BPS targets that the last Government had were quite narrowly focused. They looked at symptoms rather than root causes, and in some cases were manipulated and didn’t lead to improved outcomes.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Will it help in the efficacy of future measurements that she discovered family and child poverty before she entered Government, not nine years after it?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: The Deputy Prime Minister makes a very good point. We have long held a view, based on research and evidence, that if we wanted to improve the well-being of children we could not ignore poverty as long as the last Government chose to.

Rt Hon Bill English: Has she seen comments by the State Services Commissioner, who said that the Better Public Services targets achieved real results: “More kids are getting immunised. Fewer kids are being physically abused. Participation in early childhood is on the increase. [And] 40,000 fewer working age people are receiving benefits compared with three years ago. That’s a whole bunch of things that change lives.”, and why does she think that achieving those things doesn’t change lives and ought to be stopped?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: This Government has no problem with the issue of targets, with priority setting, with goals as a way to drive the focus from the Public Service and the Government. Our point is we will have our own. In fact, the last Government changed their own targets several times during their time in Government, and it will not surprise the member that we have a different set of priorities—a broader set of priorities—than them.

Rt Hon Bill English: Can the Prime Minister confirm that the Government’s priority is the measurement of income only, and the other factors that determine material hardship and deprivation reflected in the targets set by the previous Government are now going to be ignored by the new Government—factors such as persistent—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I think the member—[Interruption] Order! I’ll just ask the Leader of the Opposition to shorten his questions up to one or two, rather than three or four.

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: No.

Rt Hon Bill English: Has the Prime Minister seen the data that show that maternal and baby care are much more likely to be satisfactory when mothers enrol with their lead maternity carer in the first trimester of their pregnancy, and has she instructed the Public Service to stop focusing on that measure, which was initiated in May last year?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I am being very consistent in the point here that we need to be much broader in the goals that we set ourselves. I take, for example, the rheumatic fever Better Public Services target that the last Government set. That did nothing to resolve the long-term driver of rheumatic fever, which is cold, damp, overcrowded housing. In the same way, if we want to improve maternal outcomes, we have to look at the barriers as to why women aren’t enrolling with lead maternity carers, and they are complex and often involve deprivation.

Rt Hon Bill English: Can the Prime Minister therefore confirm that the target that was set to lift to 90 percent the proportion of women enrolled in the first trimester with their lead maternity carer has now been abandoned, and if so, why?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: We have our own set of priorities. They will be replaced, and they’ll be released in good time.

Rt Hon Bill English: So can I take it, then, the Prime Minister is confirming that target has been abandoned, and people working in social and health services are no longer to be trying to enrol women earlier? And if she has abandoned it, what other measures has she taken to ensure that those women who weren’t enrolled will get better maternal care in the next 12 months?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: The implication that those who work in our health services will no longer be interested in the health and well-being of pregnant women in New Zealand is, frankly, an insult. Of course they are, but we’re also saying that this Government’s priority is that those mothers also have decent housing, that they are free of harm and abuse, and that they have decent incomes. We want to get to the root cause of problems, not just the short-term issues.

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79 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  January 31, 2018

    I’m with Bill on this one. Paula looking better already. Winston feeling the pressure of nicotine deprivation.

    Reply
    • Joe Bloggs

       /  January 31, 2018

      Bill lost the debate on poverty measures well before the election. He’s just filling in time before the inevitable spill that tosses him out.

      #deadmanwalking

      Reply
    • I don’t think that’s the reason he’s not looking well.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  January 31, 2018

        I was referring to his chewing. No, he doesn’t look well. I don’t think he’s been well for some time. I do know though, for me personally, when I gave up smoking after 25 years, I was decidedly unwell both mentally and physically . . having to communicate with people minus a fag hanging out of my mouth was hard. The headaches and shakes worse.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  January 31, 2018

          I chewed a lot of gum for a while when I gave up, although I have always disliked chewing gum. I didn’t have any withdrawal shakes or headaches, but I hadn’t been smoking for 25 years, of course, as I was in my 20s when I stopped. 10 years at the most as I began at 17….the routine ones were the ones I missed, like the one with the cup of coffee first thing.

          Reply
  2. David

     /  January 31, 2018

    Shows just how woeful she is, where does she think child poverty comes from, dysfunctional parenting and chaotic family life. National for all its faults was addressing the causes but lovely Jacinda won’t want to do that, far to confrontational

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  January 31, 2018

      Even Kerre McIvor agreed with Nationals measures for dealing with this issue.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  January 31, 2018

        no one is interested in what she thinks…she filled in for Smith…and the ratings must have fallen through the..floor..you may be her no.1 fan.

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  January 31, 2018

          Can’t stand her. A wet liberal in my opinion. Hence my point above. Ratings did fall through the roof. Only fellow wet liberals rang to say ” love your show Kerre.” Of course, liberals with a brain,would be with us Righties ,mourning his going. The fact is, like him or loath him, at least you received an in depth debate.

          Reply
        • Yes they are actually. Not me, not you but several tens of thousands tune in

          Reply
    • Just like with the education and migration portfolios, they’re showing their inexperience and the fact that they’re both irresponsible and utterly ideologically driven. It’s disgraceful these measures have been simply abandoned. The mother of the nation playing the martyr won’t work for long either

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  January 31, 2018

      National are always too little too late..9 years of stagnation and denial.

      Reply
      • alloytoo

         /  January 31, 2018

        What hole have you been in for the last nine years? Bill’s targeted investment approach has been a cornerstone of National’s policies.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  January 31, 2018

          meaningless …words…like..’trickle down’.

          Reply
          • PDB

             /  January 31, 2018

            Therefore we shouldn’t give bad parents money to ‘trickle down’ to their poorly looked after kids then?

            Reply
          • alloytoo

             /  January 31, 2018

            please find the words “Trickle Down” in any National social investment policy statement, announcement, interview etc.

            Reply
            • PartisanZ

               /  January 31, 2018

              Due to its entirely predictable failure to eventuate, they’d dropped “trickle down” by the time they came up with “Social Investment Policy” … which by its very nature is our social responsibility Tax & Transfer stream turned into a trickle …

              It’s a trick … ill …

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  January 31, 2018

              The only people ever to utter the words “trickle down” are Lefties, PZ.

      • Trevors_elbow

         /  January 31, 2018

        Geez the reflux is bad today ay Blazer…. you join that Murray Horton character he seens similarly bilious and irrelevant

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  January 31, 2018

          She seems to have two facial expressions-grinning like a horsecollar-ooh, I’m so girly- or frowning to show seriousness. Both are wearing thin.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  January 31, 2018

            The idea that giving selfish parents more money will magically cure their selfishness is so childishly naive as to make one wonder that any adult can believe it. It’s an easy solution, of course. It makes Labour look like the Fairy Godmother. But it won’t change the problem of children who go without because their parents are uncaring.

            Reply
  3. Blazer

     /  January 31, 2018

    Ardern just wiped the floor with English in Parliament…thats the reality…Bill looks pale…in fact…washed up.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  January 31, 2018

      Wiping the floor is a step up from her poor work résumé….

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  January 31, 2018

      She needs to do something else with that hair. Or the ears. One or the other.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  January 31, 2018

        A pair of sidecombs or hairslides would save her having to fiddle with it all the time. It’s a distracting mannerism that is out of place in a PM-it’s a teenybopper thing.

        Reply
        • Let’s not forget, Key used to fiddle with someone else’s .

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 1, 2018

            Old, tired, stale news-it hardly fiddling-he tweaked a ponytail a few times and the silly tart made a big hoohah about it to give herself her 15 minutes of fame which are long gone.

            Reply
  4. PartisanZ

     /  January 31, 2018

    National blames the poor for their own plight … Apparently all of the factors mentioned are their own fault. Poor educational achievement has nothing to do with the education system, only dysfunctional families et al … This ideology obviously appeals to many …

    Labour sees “a broader picture” and wants to address root causes … “not just the short-term issues” …

    The reality is probably a degree of both, although we don’t know the proportions and ultimately they are not two separate things … but I’ll take Labour’s approach any day

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  January 31, 2018

      Considering the National govt continued to pay out billions in welfare to ‘poor people’ you obviously missed the point that their approach to reducing poverty was a multipronged one & a long-term initiative.

      PZ: “I’ll take Labour’s approach any day”

      Which is what? Have you seen the detail? No? Is that because there is no detail from the new govt on which to base a considered opinion?

      “Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: We have our own set of priorities. They will be replaced, and they’ll be released in good time.”

      Reply
      • robertguyton

         /  January 31, 2018

        Good bye, Bill. Stop whinging, Nats, you had 9 years to make real what you are puffing and blowing about now.

        Reply
        • David

           /  January 31, 2018

          And Ardern has had 9 years, given this is the reason she entered politics, to actually come up with something because at the moment the clueless …. cant even put together a way of measuring something despite crapping on about it for years.

          Reply
          • robertguyton

             /  January 31, 2018

            Jascinda looks calm, in control and confident. Bill and co seem…out of sorts, out of place, out of Government!

            Reply
      • Blazer

         /  January 31, 2018

        Billions is still being paid to…rapacious landlords…are they..’poor’..too?

        Reply
        • High Flying Duck

           /  January 31, 2018

          Best take all the money off beneficiaries and renters then – just to teach the landlords a lesson!

          Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  January 31, 2018

          Not rich enough to build more rental houses and make even more money, B. Ever figure out why that is?

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  January 31, 2018

            building/developing is fraught with danger….and risk..as I told you,landlords buy not build,leverage and use negative gearing.

            Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  January 31, 2018

            Flannel. The cost of new housing has driven up the cost of existing houses and created a shortage. Rents although high are insufficient to generate adequate returns on these costs.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  January 31, 2018

              let me get this right…are you saying the vast majority of landlords build?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  January 31, 2018

              Fail. Try again.

            • Griff

               /  January 31, 2018

              The cost of land is the issue not the cost of building Alan
              Rampant immigration is probably the biggest factor
              70,000 new residents a year when we only have capacty to build 35000 new home’s
              Ponzi scam 101
              New investors input used to pay out existing investors.
              A.K.A
              Nationals policy on immigration.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  January 31, 2018

              The cost of building and the constraints on land use are both factors. As Dave and I pointed out yesterday the cost of building a simple two bedroom cottage is north of $300k without the land. Costs like that make build to rent uneconomic and housing unaffordable for many.

            • Griff

               /  January 31, 2018

              Bullpoop alan
              We just finished a 142sqm home on a difficult steep site
              Long and narrow to maximixe the views
              Heat pumps granite bench tops four bed two bath and separate scullery lots of glass. All added to cost.
              Way above a basic two bed standard .
              $350,000 all up
              We are at langs so you can add the cost of being well away from suppliers and labour

              Basic two bed closer to town on a flat site would be under $ 200,000

              When you talk rubish it makes your comments easy to dismiss

            • PDB

               /  January 31, 2018

              The average m2 cost of a new home in Auckland is around $2000/m2 excluding costs such as land, demolition of existing structures on site, structures (retaining walls, landscaping, driveways etc), getting utilities (water, power etc) to site, additional extras inside the house (heat pumps etc) and professional, council, and legal fees.

              When you talk ‘rubbish’ Griff it makes your comments easy to dismiss

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  January 31, 2018

              Pre-built small home $195k. Add delivery, site preparation, driveway, foundations, water, sewage, carport, consents, electricity supply/solar. Your costs confirm rather than refute.

            • Griff

               /  January 31, 2018

              No they don’t Alan.
              fwiw
              I did not bother adding.
              Within 400m of the sea so all stainless exterior fixings.Very high wind zone . Industrial grade cladding and roof,A 16sqm covered deck including glass balustrades,four meter run of stairs to get to the front deck. Scaffolding cost because of pole foundation height, sited to the back of half an acre 50 meters from services.Master builder guarantee.
              The $350,000 price included services, design, site survey and engineer report, council fees, The entire turn key package except landscaping.

              We took possession late November .

              $300.000 for a basic two bed rental cottage my arse.
              https://www.builtsmart.co.nz/transportable-homes-floor-plans-prices/2-bedroom-house-plans/40-2-bedroom-transportable-home-70sqm
              PLB70 – $113,340 gst inclusive
              This two bedroom transportable house comes with kitchen/laundry, a spacious lounge and bathroom positioned between the two bedrooms.
              The PLB70 comes with a mono-pitch roof as standard.

              If it costs you more than $35,000 to transport and hook up to services you are being ripped off .I know the price range because hopefully 1/2 the house for the block arrives tonight after being shifted 100 km from Auckland to Kiawaka.

        • alloytoo

           /  January 31, 2018

          Is Blazer related to Cathy Newman (CH4)

          “So what you are saying is……”

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  January 31, 2018

            People like Blazer think that owning investment properties is like having a money machine, but it’s not, especially at first. If the house is empty, the mortgage and rates still have to be paid.

            Reply
      • David in Aus

         /  January 31, 2018

        Labour’s approach? Jacinda and the Labour movement are for public servants. Accountability are not core values. Keeping up appearances and looking busy(while achieving little) are the core values.
        Why get rid of measures? Because it can make them look bad.
        Left-wingers are not results driven people they are about feeling good about themselves.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  January 31, 2018

          nice of you to share your wisdom…David on Uranus.

          Reply
          • david in aus

             /  January 31, 2018

            No worries. Never visited Uranus, Blazer. What’s it like? Do you and your friends enjoy it? Please, no brown-nosing Blazer.

            Reply
  5. David

     /  January 31, 2018

    She really does just talk in slogans and has perfected the theatrical concerned and earnest look but the substance, such as it is, is we are going to do some work to get try and find a way of measuring something. Like as Labour pointed out no one can live in a building consent no kid is going to have an improved life by having his relative depravation measured in a 1st world country with a cradle to grave welfare system.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  January 31, 2018

      She is very gushing and girly-wirly; all style and no substance. This is the government, not the school hockey team.

      Reply
    • robertguyton

       /  January 31, 2018

      You can’t help but like her; well, New Zealand can’t – you hard-boiled Natty-fans pretend to dislike her, but you don’t/can’t 🙂

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  January 31, 2018

        I can assure you that my dislike is not a pretence and nor is that of other people who feel the same about her. I find her annoying, shallow and devoid of dignity. Don’t tell me what I think. Not everyone in NZ admires girlish gushing and disingenuousness. There are plenty of people whose dislike of Ms Arden is not pretence. Why would people pretend to dislike someone ? It makes no sense.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  January 31, 2018

          I find her annoying, shallow and devoid of dignity.
          Hang on – that sounds like John Key? Except for the hair pulling thing – although that got annoying in tbe end.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  January 31, 2018

            Boring, you mean, as people went on and on about it. It became tired very quickly indeed.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  January 31, 2018

              I can’t figure out why David Seymour is in Parliament. His few questions in Question Time are obviously usually just a joke & even he knows it.

  6. Blazer

     /  January 31, 2018

    Dep leader of the Op and other..’front runners’

    Reply
    • High Flying Duck

       /  January 31, 2018

      You know that video was a satiric pisstake of another video…?

      Reply
    • High Flying Duck

       /  January 31, 2018

      This comic…genius.:

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  January 31, 2018

        satiric pisstake!…must have hit a nerve.BEnnett is queen B of the Natz female caucus…no one wants to mess with an ex truck stop waitress.She has had her time,and her limitations as a competent minister have been exposed.Losing weight will not…help.She is quite..repugnant,insincere and…unlikeable.

        Reply
        • alloytoo

           /  January 31, 2018

          “So what you are saying is she should be a Labour MP…….”

          Reply
        • robertguyton

           /  January 31, 2018

          Awful doesn’t describe her and goes nowhere toward describing her passengers! What an appalling lack of awareness – WHAT WERE THEY THINKING????

          Reply
      • Corky

         /  January 31, 2018

        Who is this Prat?

        Reply
    • Trevors_elbow

       /  January 31, 2018

      Yip. You have nothing so go diversion. Must be heart wrenching watching your chosen ones flounder….

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  January 31, 2018

        I wonder what scintillating career Blazer has, if he feels able to sneer at someone who worked her way up to be a cabinet minister.

        Reply
        • robertguyton

           /  January 31, 2018

          No one, Kitty, should sneer at a Cabinet Minister? Benchmark! Let’s all treat Winston with respect!!

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  January 31, 2018

            Did I say that ? I did not. Please don’t put words in my mouth. I know what I said, after all.

            I said that I wondered what Blazer’s career was, as he was sneering at someone who’d worked her way up to being a cabinet minister from being a waitress. Not the same thing at all. I see being a waitress as nothing to sneer at.

            Reply
      • robertguyton

         /  January 31, 2018

        Clearly…

        Reply
    • Corky

       /  January 31, 2018

      Good, decent, rightie sheilas.

      Reply
  7. All talk and zero substance. The Government already reports on various measures of poverty and material hardship. MSD publish this annually and the link to the latest is at bottom. So, all she’s doing is compelling the Government to do something that it already does.

    https://www.msd.govt.nz/documents/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/monitoring/household-income-report/2017/2017-incomes-report-wed-19-july-2017.pdf

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  January 31, 2018

      yes but the previous Govt often ignored or buried reports..they didn’t like.

      Reply

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