NZ now ranks at bottom of developed world


The latest Unicef report has us languishing at the bottom of the developed world in relation to the health and welfare our children and youth. This report was based on the data our government collects and concerningly, with regards to child poverty, a ranking wasn't provided because of a refusal to follow standard practice (an admission of failure?). In many documented areas we are seriously neglecting our young people (ranking numbers are determined by the data provided from a maximum of 41 developed countries):
  • Child Poverty (41/41?) I consider that we must be by far the worst in the developed world for child poverty when the Government refuses to use the same measures as other countries so that we can be ranked. Our Children's Commissioner and the Child Poverty Monitor currently state that 14% of our children suffer from material hardship. We have a much higher threshold to determine this and require 7 elements to recognise hardship, while most other countries use only two. The US is ranked 33 out of 37 for child poverty and they have 21% of their children in households living below the poverty threshold. 28% of our children live below the poverty line and 16% live in jobless households, so I would surmise that we could be the worst. We also have the most expensive housing in the world and a homelessness problem that has exploded in recent years. Between 2006 and 2013 homelessness grew by 25% and involved 1% of the population and 53% of our homeless were families with children. Now that shortages have become increasingly pronounced over the four years since then, I would suggest around 2% of the population is now homeless and many more are living in substandard housing. Third world diseases like rheumatic fever are now common place here, and are directly related to housing poverty. New Zealand is clearly too afraid to provide relevant statistics to enable us to be ranked. 
  • Teen Suicide (34/34) We are the worst by a great margin. The median number of teen suicides per 1,000 for developed nations is around 7.5, while 15.5 of our 15-19 year olds take their own lives. This is a shocking indictment on the ability of families to support their teens and our severely under-resourced mental health system. I can imagine few developed countries that would lock struggling youth in adult prisons because of a shortage of youth facilities. Those specialised youth facilities that do exist are run like prisons for hardened criminals. Youth prisoners can be locked in their cells for 19 hours a day, which is classified as torture, is emotionally damaging and unlikely to support rehabilitation.
  • Jobless Households (35/37) 16% of our children live in households not supported by employment. Benefits have not kept up with inflation and many of these beneficiary families will be experiencing high levels of poverty. There are also those in real need who don't receive a benefit, despite entitlements, because of bureaucratic difficulties and many are forced onto the street with no income at all. 
  • Environmental Awareness (34/36) The National Government forced National Standards in Education on schools, requiring a heavy emphasis on literacy and numeracy above all other learning areas. Consequently our 15 year olds have less understanding of the key environmental issues facing our planet then most other countries. Given that our waterways have become seriously degraded over the last ten years, and we have the highest number of species facing extinction in the world, this is concerning. Only 49% knew something about at least five environmental issues, while the average in other countries was 62% (82% for Portugal). Keeping our young people ignorant of New Zealand's many environmental crises is a form of state control to reduce any scrutiny of our current policies. New Zealand has also been globally ridiculed for its weak climate change targets, we are little better than Trump. 
  • Teenage Birth Rate (36/41) We have one of the highest rates of teenage births (23.3 births out of every 1000). With increased alcohol consumption and binge drinking amongst young females we are also experiencing greater numbers of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. While it is hard to put an accurate figure on numbers it is estimated that between 1 and 5 births in every 100 have FASD and a large proportion is likely to come from younger mothers.  
  • Inequity in Education (34/39) We have one of the greatest disparities of educational achievement when related to socio-economic influences. Private and high decile schools capture significantly more funding and resources per student than low decile schools. 
  • Inclusive Economy (34/40) The unemployment rate for Maori youth is almost 26% (14% for non-Maori). 90,000 young people in NZ have no training or job to go to. Despite what the government says about our economy, the jobs available in NZ are predominantly low waged and insecure compared to most other developed nations. We also have a youth rate where we employ young people at lower rates than adults who do the same job. We have a large number of casual, minimum waged jobs and we also work amongst the longest hours
  • Homicide and Bullying (33/40) We have the second highest rates of bullying in the OECD and concerning levels of youth committing violent crimes. Family violence is a massive issue in New Zealand and violence begets violence. 
  • Child Murder (31/37) the number of children in NZ who have been murdered is a national shame. We have the worst levels of family violence in the developed world but our violence counselling services are underfunded and our social worker numbers have been reduced. The damning review of CYFs resulted in the development of a new Ministry, but unless it is properly resourced we risk repeating the same horrific mistakes. Domestic violence costs the country around $7 billion (estimated around 525,000 harmed last year) and the Government's injection of a paltry $347 million over four years will not even scratch the surface nor pay for the social workers needed to do the work. 
  • Neonatal Mortality Rate (28/36) New Zealand used to have a world regarded Plunket system and many rural maternity hospitals to support mothers and babies. Over the last decade or so we have seen mothers pushed out of maternity wards because of a lack of beds and rural hospitals closed. Plunket struggles to offer the same level of service as in the past. 
  • Reducing Inequality (26/41) New Zealand was once considered an egalitarian society but since the 1990s we have experienced the highest increase in inequality in the developed world. Our efforts to address this are well less than average. Norway, Iceland and Finland have been the most effective at addressing child poverty, there is no real reason why we couldn't follow their lead rather than following neoliberal policies being pursued by the US and UK (which clearly don't work). 
  • Food Insecurity (21/41) In the land of milk and honey, where we export more food than we can consume, a high percentage of our children go hungry or suffer from a poor diet.  Milk is cheaper in the countries we export to and 32% of our children are obese or overweight, largely due to poor diets. This Government removed the requirement for healthy food in schools. Charities like KidsCan have had to take on the Government's responsibilities regarding providing food and basic necessities. KidsCan claims that almost 300,000 children live in hardship, 1 in 4 don't have the basics and 3,855 are missing out because the charity does not have the resources to meet demand.
  • Education Performance (15/38) A decade ago our children's academic performance put us in the top 4 in the world, we have now dropped to 15th. 71.9% of our 15 year olds currently achieve baseline competency in reading, mathematics and science (Finland and Canada have over 80% achieving this). We have a long under-achieving tail and yet our special education support is severely underfunded and our school support staffing is under resourced. 
The shift to the bottom of the world for our care of children and youth has been a steady process for at least three decades, as neoliberal policies have replaced the welfare state vision of the first Labour Government. The "applied Christianity" ethos of Michael Savage, and the idea of the Government leading a caring society, has been replaced by viewing the support for the vulnerable as a cost to be avoided and doing as little as possible. Under this National Government, over the last nine years, the word "crisis" is being increasingly used and most could have been avoided with proper planning and investment

The belief that more can be delivered with less and the use of narrow targets has created an overworked, under qualified and stressed social service and medical workforce. Consequently we have a rapidly growing prison population and facilities bursting at the seams. Prison staff are forced to resort to long periods of lockdown and physical restraint rather than running decent rehabilitation programmes. Over a billion dollars is being spent on new prisons and yet rehabilitation and the substandard housing and social pressures that contribute to offending have token amounts invested.

Our failing prisons, struggling hospitals and social services, extreme housing crisis and low wage economy is forcing more and more families into lifestyles and living conditions that are rapidly becoming third world. New Zealand should be the best country in the world to bring up children and youth. We have a relatively small population, abundant resources and were once a world leader in education, child health and family support. We are now ranked near the bottom because of poor governance, neoliberal austerity measures and a lack of compassion.

We need a change of government and the strongest policies to address poverty come from the Green Party. Party vote Green to ensure that there is a strong coalition partner for Labour and real progressive change can be achieved. The future of around 295,000 children, currently suffering in various degrees of poverty, is dependent on who we vote for over the coming week!

Comments

Maria Roberts said…
We sure do need a change in government!
bsprout said…
September 23 here we come!
squidface said…
Nah, but we're gonna keep voting National, aren't we, because "they're good with the economy", or some shit? Understand that the same issues were present last time round, and clearly the public's response to those issues then were "meh, whatever". NZers are not a people who, as a whole, are heavily engaged with their politics. And as Gareth Morgan sort-of implied on the TOP website (or that's what I'm taking from it), a lot of NZers are too selfish; there are too many of us who can't bring ourselves to separate our own selfish interests - a mild tax break here, a few (thousand) more rich Chinese migrants there to prop up my faux-millionaire landlord fantasies - to do, or at least recognise, what's best for a country that is rapidly falling from grace.

I fear we may not see the return of a more caring, thoughtful, long-term planning style of governance until the generations (that do not need naming) that have been most heavily brainwashed and materially rewarded by the myths of free markets and American-style capitalism have mercifully kicked the bucket. Is it too pathetically optimistic to hope that a Labour-Greens combo would undo much of the damage? Or are we too far gone?...
bsprout said…
I am more hopeful than you, Squidface. In 2014 I do believe voters would have voted out National if they had a real choice, but the alternative was a dog's breakfast. Labour couldn't decide on who should lead them and eventually chose the wrong one and he refused to work with the Greens. Mana, The Internet Party, Labour and the Greens were all at loggerheads and fighting amongst themselves almost as much as attacking National and Kim Dotcom was stirring and giggling in the background. The "great reveal" that was supposed to expose National's corruption, once and for all, was a gigantic fizzer.

Voters had a choice of continuing with a Government that obviously wasn't that great, but wasn't destroying the country too dramatically, or voting for something that was likely to implode shortly after being elected.

This time we have Labour and the Greens working together, stable leadership, some strong alternative policies and a more obvious mess that needs a fresh approach to clean it up.

Spread the word ;-)
With scary numbers like those, it is unlikely that the many NZ expatriates (such as myself) will not want to come home - not even for a visit!!! If I were voting, I would vote for Labour. Why you guys dumped Helen Clarke, I will never know. But like clockwork, every 3 terms there seems to be a change of government. Very few governments last more than 3 terms before they get dumped. Robert Muldoon, David Lange, Jim Bolger (although he was ousted by jenny shipley in a coup-d'tat) and even Jenny did not last past the next election!! I think I am showing my age now11 LOL
bsprout said…
Most governments do last more than one term, but I agree, Francesca, with elections coming around every three years there is a reluctance for long term planning and changing established cultures. As a Green I am hoping people see a Labour/Green Government as a good mix of progressive policies that will make a change for the better.

The focus on presidential campaigns (just the two main leaders) has been counter-productive. The Labour and Green candidates have some strong credentials and would do a much better job as ministers than National's arrogant and ideologically driven lot.

I also hope we can change the current governance style to be more democratic and focus more on evidence and good process.


nikwin said…
My neighbour (an otherwise lovely and caring man) has explicitly said that he thinks kids in NZ deserve (yes - deserve!) to suffer and die in poverty. That is the mindset we are dealing with.
bsprout said…
Nikwin, I am sure there are lots in New Zealand like that. Our culture could learn something from many other cultures that truly care for their children and elderly, many are not "developed" nations either. Parenting is not given high status and aged care has become a profitable industry where care is often substandard. Since the 1980s we have developed a culture where profits come before caring :-(
Louise Blair said…
Said over the last 30 years... to all the people saying it's nationals fault... they haven't been in for 30 years....
bsprout said…
Louise you are quite right, the current problems have generally got worse over the terms of different governments. Some improvements were being made under Labour (Working for Families) in their last term which reduced the numbers of children in poverty, but under National this progress was reversed.

National Governments do not have a good track record. It was Ruth Richardson's 1991 Mother of all Budgets that drastically cut benefits, caused child poverty to double within a year and shifted us dramatically to a low wage economy. It was also National that changed building regulations that resulted in $13 billion of leaky building repairs. Many of the newer damp unhealthy homes that many families are forced to live in are because of National's preference for industry driven compliance. Pike River was the most dramatic outcome of this policy.

This National Government has also had plenty of good advice and prior warning about what is happening and chose to do very little. This is an ideologically and lobby driven government that tries to do the minimum it can get away with, and this only creates more costs and suffering. The top quintile of income earners and property owners have done exceptionally well but few others.

Nine years under National has caused:
-Environmental degradation to get far worse
-Our education system plummet in the world rankings
-Social housing stock reduced and poorly maintained. Bill English claims it will cost around $1.5 billion just to get existing houses up to scratch, let alone make up the 30,000 housing shortfall.
-We have become the most expensive country for housing in the world.
-Our levels of corruption have increased (tax haven, high level bribes, OIA requests delayed and refused)
-National has no plan and no idea of what to do, most policies have failed and the country has suffered from mismanagement (Solid Energy, Novopay, transport chaos, Sky City debacle, Christchurch recovery mismanagement). Our public and private debt has exploded.

A Labour/Green Government will have the expertise and responsible policies to turn things around.

National employs more PR people than policy analysts, don't believe the spin.

JonL said…
I left NZ 11yrs ago....not planmed....just sort of happened as things do. I now look aghast at the country I intended to return to sooner or later.... I just don't think I want to...even though all my family are there, most of my memories and history... I'm finally going back for a visit this year...I really hope it's not too bad, but 30 yrs of neo-lib destruction (I include you as well Labour) doesn't tend to leave a country in a healthy inclusive state.
squidface said…
In response to Louise Blair, yes some of these problems pre-date the current National government, but they have made it their modus operandi to double down on these problems and cement them as hard as they can. I was staggered to read today on RNZ that Nat ministers have actually claimed that housing affordability is better now than when they took power in 2008:
http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/333326/mbie-ignored-warning-over-housing-affordability-measure

Last paragraph in the article.
This is the type of dishonesty and sleaze which, to me, defines National. Utter, utter disdain for the truth, and absolutely no obligations to accountability. You want alternative facts? There's your alternative facts.

Remember that John Key once called the highly-regarded investigative journalist Glen Greenwald a "loser" when Glen reported on something that displeased his Baron-of-Banking John Key. Loser, hmm now what other well-known politician likes to use that word?...

And bsprout, I remember the vox pops from the news around the Panama papers. It was tragic. People... just didn't care. Were they edited to make it sound that way? It is possible. But the fact that any people at all aren't bothered by this show the problem, not understanding what it really means and stands for - the exact opposite of the popular notion of what NZ is supposed to be about (fairness, equality and other things that now seem like myths). We are in a very real sense turning into a little mini-America.
bsprout said…
The National Party is attracted to easy money, quick fixes and a cavalier view of ethics and good process. It has lost billions of taxpayer funds through sheer incompetence (Solid Energy, tax cuts, Novopay, emergency housing, motorways that don't pass basic cost/benefit analysis) and the people who have paid most dearly for its mistakes are the most vulnerable as services are cut to accommodate them. The tax cuts given early on were not cost neutral, as claimed, because they were not offset by the increase in GST as hoped and wiped billions from government revenue. The borrowing that occurred was not really all about the Great Financial Crisis (our banks never collapsed), but to manage financial incompetence.

Interestingly the Green Party, in opposition, regularly quotes from advice that Treasury, Ministries, special reports and commissioners have provided to the Government, but has been ignored.

I agree Squidface, the US (and the UK) have provided many models for this Government when better ones have existed elsewhere. Ideology, not evidence, rules!
k1w1abroad said…
Agreed bsprout - this dates back to the 1980s and 1990s policies - anyone could have seen this coming - people demonstrated, protested, campaigned - but we weren't listened to. I'm living overseas now and as wonderful as NZ (still) is - it's not the country I grew up in.
bsprout said…
K1w1abroad, you are right, many people have protested and lobbied for change but it is hard to turn around a culture of individual responsibility that has become imbedded. The Green Party's election campaign is based around the idea of being "Stronger Together" to shift thinking back to a feeling of community and supporting each other.

We are very competitive sporting nation, but our best sports teams work well together and if we want our country as a whole to work and function well, we can't allow so many of our team to end up operating with a fraction of their potential. The strength and resilience of our country is dependent on as many as possible thriving and engaging positively in our communities and economy. At least 25% of our "team" are seriously struggling and living third world lives. If 25% of our All Blacks or America's Cup squads had that level of dysfunction it would be a national crisis and yet we appear to be happy to condemn around 30% of our children to futures shaped by poverty, violence and depravation.

It's not logical to most of us except those that profit from a cheap workforce and corporate subsidies.

I hope you can still vote from where you are and can help make a change ;-)

Sad and true - lots of deprived kids out there but is that the fault of successive Governments? I don't believe it is. We have a welfare state that allows people to believe they have a right to others money, a right to avoid work, a right to all of the things those who work hard and save have. The welfare state has made education seem unnecessary as Nanny State will provide. Those with good educations, drive and a willingness to work hard and start at the bottom of the pile seem to be doing just fine. They are our entrepreneurs, our employers, our administrators, our contractors, our medical profession, teachers and the list goes on and on. Wake up New Zealand - get educated, become adaptable, be willing to work hard, long hours and all, don't expect others to carry you - your future is your all and it isn't going to be a free feed but it is possible. Enough said I guess.
Anthrodude said…
What a pleasure to read a grown-up, well-written exchange of comments. Thank y'all, including your *devil's advocacy* alastair.I get where you are coming from - in 1972 I took a year out of my initial career ss s geologist to study humanities. That was when I read everything Ayn Rand wrote, including subscribing to the Objectivist Journal and Objectivist Newsletter. I may have been looking for an intellectual framework yo replace the Catholicism that I thought my way out of in my first year uni 1967. I finished the BA in anthropology in 81-82 in Auckland, and after post-grad studies in sustainability science and planning at CRM in ChCh 84-85, I became committed to a greener eorld view. And I watched as the Ayn Rand cult spread like a Ponzi pyramid scheme through the ruling elites in the 80's and 90's...
George Lakoff has identified as "the strict father" the cognitive frame of the American christo- and crypto-fascist ideologues, in what Jim Wallis called "God's Politics" (2005 book). And yes, alistair, you have a point, it is possible for permissive and ideologues of the left to overlook the creation for the distribution of wealth. But, hello, who are those who work hard? ..after paying the rentier class and being manipulated by all kinds of "market forces", the working poor have bugger all left over to save. I was amazed to see last year documentary story-telling about Ayn Rand in the intro to the ?BBC doco on the new cyber-mandarins, "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace". Poor Ayn Rand was sn aspergic sociopath. These stats about the radical breakdown of New Zealands QUALITY OF LIFE are the tragic underbelly of Generation Ponzi whose political focus for over 30 years has been crude stats about our unsustainable STANDARD OF LIVING. We are witnessing now the Collapse of Globalism (John Ralston Saul, 2005). What time is this? It is the "interregnum?. In the coming months we need to articulate a positive nationslism, avoiding the opportunists and populists for a sane, humane and ecological role for our Treaty Nation state.
k1w1abroad said…
I can't vote from where I am (lived overseas for more than 3 years). Australia - where I live now - enables and values its overseas voters (they have polling stations overseas). Not NZ. I have a whole lot of thoughts - but I will just leave it there. I really miss the country of my birth - but it's not the country I grew up in. My heart breaks to see these kind of statistics.
bsprout said…
Alastair, I think you have been captured by spin. New Zealanders have a reputation for hard work and only 5% of our employable population are unemployed. The countries with the largest so called "Nanny States" are the Scandinavian countries and yet they have the most resilient economies that have survived past financial crises virtually unscathed. It is a myth that a large percentage of our employable population is dependent on welfare for all their income, by far the biggest and growing cost is our guaranteed superannuation. It cost us $12 billion in 2015 (probably around $14 billion now) and takes up around 16% of crown revenue. In comparison supported living benefits cost $1.4 billion and much of that will be serving genuine need.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/69348442/new-zealand-superannuation-the-facts-and-the-fiction

While I wouldn't deny our retirees their inflation adjusted universal state income, it is very different for struggling families whose benefits are not inflation adjusted. Only 5% of our elderly suffer from poverty, while at least 30% or more of our children experience poverty at some stage in their lives. We care for our past workers well but do little to support our future income earners.

What I find most concerning is that we have a rapidly growing demographic called the working poor, they work hard but cannot afford to put food on the table, pay their rent or meet the needs of their kids without support. Employers have not shared increases in productivity with their workers and wages have now been stagnating for many years, while food, accommodation and electricity costs have soared. The Working for Families tax credit is essentially a wage subsidy for employers who refuse to pay living wages (apparently it is uneconomic to pay wages that people can live on). The accommodation supplement is a subsidy for landlords and that has ensured that rents are kept higher that what a natural market would support. When I last checked the cost of both is approaching $8 billion a year.

As you would have seen in a link on my original post, it is only the wealthy who can easily access learning support and guarantee and good income. Statistics and research shows that now it is unlikely in NZ that someone born poor will be able to lift themselves out of poverty.

Spending on families and children is actually an investment in our future not a cost. We need to consider our welfare spending as providing a "hand up" rather than a "hand out" and fund the right kinds of support to make that happen. Instead of an ambulance at the top of the cliff to catch those who are struggling before they fall, the Government is just building more prisons instead.

Anthrodude, lets hope for a revolution of new ideas, that "Ponzi" victims can vote for, so that we can begin to build a resilient and prosperous New Zealand that recognises our ecological restraints.

k1w1abroad said…
Agreed about the "corporate welfare" and many of your comments bsprout - my husband's wages here in Australia were cut by a new employer (the staff had to agree to it if they wanted to keep their jobs with the contractor) - wages and conditions are being driven down across his industry so it's not necessarily going to be better anywhere else. As a result we get the equivalent of the Working for Families tax credit and some other benefits.
While we're very appreciative of this and other assistance - it is as you say a wage subsidy for employers.
Poulsenviews said…
Tip of the iceberg. Two areas which have long been ignored, and probably still are, due to social pressures, are child abuse by mothers and abuse of boys. These often go unreported, but both issues are widespread and this is no secret to anyone. Boys who have been victims of abuse - physical, sexual or otherwise - have traditionally received zero support in New Zealand, in spite of certain pretences, and this due to a superficial perspective of the problem in a society which has been brainwashed by state media to perceive men almost solely as aggressors.
Hemabibani said…
selfish interests is what drives nations, and this means every-bodies interests are bound to conflict with each other, and in the accumulation of human interactions in a society generating injustice, what in turn happens, that these small injustices snow-ball, and you see this massive injustice on a social scale. Very well written article, it is very disheartening.
BayBee said…
What makes any of you think a change of government will make the slightest difference? Same old ivory tower politicians removed from real people's issues, on their big politician salaries. The one or two who do know about this world have to play in-party and cross-party games to get caucus & parliament to listen -usually to no avail. Then they have their eye on the three year election event horizon -so are too scared to upset Joe Public voter.
Change?? Yeah Right
Labour and NZ First have too much invested in the status quo to make meaningful changes. AND the changes they are suggesting are out-dated recycled Chardonnay-Socialism and nationalistic jingo-ism.
Please don't get people's hopes up that Labour/NZ First will make the slightest dent in these issues
bsprout said…
BayBee, I hope that you realise that although Labour Governments could have done more to help those in need, by far the largest negative impacts have come from National Governments. It was Ruth Richardson's "Mother of all Budgets that saw child poverty almost double with a year (8% to 15%) and inequality increase dramatically as the value of wages fell. It has always been National's agenda to cut taxes for the wealthiest, reduce spending on government services and remove regulations (resulting in poor mine safety and leaky buildings).

I note you have missed any reference to the Green Party and yet it could be a significant player in the next Government. If that were so it would bring greater transparency in decision making, greater use of evidence and higher levels of investment in the future. The home insulation initiative of the Greens through an MOU with National in 2008 has probably made the most difference to struggling families than anything else National has done.

Have a look at some of the well costed and practical Green policies (more will be released over the next few months):
https://www.greens.org.nz/policy
Onthewarpath said…
All you silly people, The National party is a corporation run by the world bankers and they are not for the people but for greed. They got in last election because it was set up for them to do so and not because people didn't vote. The green party isn't going to do any better with there policy of bringing in more refugees as that is only going to make things worse with more demand on housing, health, education and employment
bsprout said…
The problem, Onthewarpath, isn't with the refugees (New Zealand is ranked 90th in the world for our per capita support) but with the level of infrastructure development with this Government. Housing, education, employment and transport.... provision should keep up with immigration (refugees are a tiny %, but should be a bigger one). You are right, we need more people to vote this time.
k1w1abroad said…
Agreed bsprout re: Ruth Richardson - her policies personally caused me much economic stress and devastation (don't want to go into details)
Jacqui said…
Why don't we stop talking about it NZ and actually do something about it? If we all collectively gather to lobby government that the statestainstead of our nation is not good enough instead of attacking each other we might actually get somewhere. There should be no one under the poverty line in NZ at all, let's actually show love for each other and rally together for change and stop swallowing the bullshit that nothing can be done. Seriously wake up NZ, learn to love your neighbours as yourself and it's about time we acted! Whose on board?
bsprout said…
Jacqui, It is the current Government that believes that poverty should be tolerated, no amount of lobbying will shift it. What we need is a change of Government and one that includes a good number of Greens.
Alvis said…
There's a song out about the decent of NZ into the third world, or is it back to the middle ages? Released to coincide with the election: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJVSf1IV5ts
It's not just a change of government that needs to happen, it's a whole new way of thinking.

New Zealand is the only developed country that I know of that has mortgage rates between 4 to 6%. Living in Europe, most mortgage rates are between 0.9% and 1.6%. This places a huge strain on the everyday economy of nearly every single person in NZ. A lower interest rate means more money to spend. More money to spend means more jobs, more jobs means less unemployment, and the state gets back the money by not having to pay out so much Welfare.

It's a simple equation, but everyone puts their hands over their eyes and chooses to ignore the fact that you're being robbed, and that the system is shooting itself in the foot.

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