Committed public servant? Give up your paycheck for children in poverty, by Bennett Morgan

NZ Poverty

Public servant: A person in local, state or national government who performs duties for the public. When did this stop becoming true of politicians?

The answer may lie in their obscenely large paypackets forked out by the New Zealand taxpayer. It is a commonly repeated mantra of both those inside the chambers, and by taxpayers on the outside, that the parliamentarians residing inside the marble walls of parliament house are employed by the people through the pleasant system of democracy. If this were the case, if the role of a parliamentarian was a humble service to one’s country and one’s constituency, as opposed to one’s party and self interests, would it really be expected of MPs to take home their pay? Or, at the very least, their still annually increasing pay increases?

The current pay rate a backbench MP (including lowly ranked members of the party list of all parties) takes home is a stunningly hefty $156,000 per year with an annual pay increase of $8,200. The mere thought of how much New Zealand’s career politicians of more than thirty years must have soaked up in their decades on the leather couches doesn’t bare considering if you’d like to avoid watering of the eyes. It’s considerate to mention, however, that some MPs do the honourable thing and donate their money to the many New Zealand charities in need.Prime Minister John Key is among the few who have openly claimed this as fact, although this statement has never really been assessed on a bipartisan level and thus cannot be truly confirmed nor denied. What cannot be denied is that the Prime Minister, with his $428,000/annum salary should be donating to charities – which, if true, would account for nearly three million bucks over his (to date) seven year period in office funneled into various charities.
The average New Zealander, meanwhile, collects $45,800 (Statistics New Zealand) over the course of a year. The people supposedly working and serving for them earn $110,000 in excess to that.

(To read more of this article, follow the link below…)

300,000+ Kiwi kids now in relative poverty, by Simon Collins


The number of Kiwi children in relative poverty has jumped over 300,000 for the first time since 2010 – but it’s because of record inequality, despite falling absolute hardship.

The Ministry of Social Development’s annual household incomes report shows that the numbers below a European standard measure of absolute hardship, based on measures such as not having a warm home or two pairs of shoes, fell from 165,000 in 2013 to 145,000 (8 per cent of all children) last year, the lowest number since 2007.

Children in benefit-dependent families also dwindled from a recent peak of 235,000 (22 per cent) in 2011, and 202,000 (19 per cent) in 2013, to just 180,000 (17 per cent) last year – the lowest proportion of children living on benefits since the late 1980s.

But inequality worsened because average incomes for working families increased much faster at high and middle-income levels than for lower-paid workers.

The net result was that the number of children living in households earning below 60 per cent of the median income after housing costs jumped from a five-year low of 260,000 in 2013 to 305,000 last year, the highest since a peak of 315,000 at the worst point of the global financial crisis in 2010.

In percentage terms, 29 per cent of Kiwi children are now in relative poverty, up from 24 per cent in 2013 and only a fraction below the 2010 peak of 30 per cent.

Unicef national advocacy manager Deborah Morris-Travers said the increase showed that the Government’s reliance on economic growth as the way out of poverty “does nothing for those on benefits and on very low fixed incomes”.


Kids Aren’t Expensive, But That Other Thing Sure Is – by Anna Barton

An article after our own heart! “The Forever Years” loves this, encouraging reading and something we should all be mindful of as we raise our children. Many thanks to Anna Barton from New York, USA for her great article! 🙂

Kindness Blog

Kids Aren’t Expensive, But That Other Thing Sure Is - by Anna BartonMy husband and I have always wanted a lot of kids. (Of course, “a lot” is a relative term, depending what your social circles look like, but for the purpose of this post, we’re going to call “a lot” more than 3. Ha.)

Over the last 6 years, when we’ve made our feelings known, we’ve often been met with one particular phrase: Kids are so expensive!!

Well, on the one hand, I suppose they are. Depending on your particular situation – medical bills, dental care, school tuition, etc. all definitely add up. So I’m not trying to be flippant with what I’m about to say, but I do think it’s an important distinction to be made when one is saying how “expensive” children are.

Kids aren’t expensive. Greed is.

Kids don’t “need” designer clothes, Etsy outfits, brand new everything, more shoes than they can wear before they grow out of…

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They’re Spoiled. You Are the Problem. By Julie Holly

date-01-january-3000This article was kindly shared on “The Forever Years” by Julie Holly from the USA, mother and author of “Peacequility” (see link below). Thanks, Julie.

Julie, Peacequility

Julie, mother and author on the blog “Peacequility”

I didn’t realize our kids were spoiled until I noticed all the debri everywhere. My name is Julie and I have spoiled kids.

I don’t know when or how this happened, but I’m pretty sure it began in-utero. Can I blame Babies R Us and all other maternity products marketed to shame us? You’re not a good parent unless you have the Jacuzzi baby tub (dismiss the fact you’ll only use it for three to four months) or the playpen that has every gizmo and gadget on it (that’s in addition to the myriad of toys you should have for every stage of development), and you must have a plethora of outfits since you never know what’s going to happen….oh the fear of the volume of the unknown blow-out, spit-up or other bodily fluid incident that could occur!

Yes, that’s when it began, when we looked at the pee-stick and decided we were going to be the best parents ever. Did I mention we were broke, flat broke?

Hindsight, I realize God stretches every penny we’ve ever had as my husband and I work our tails off. But that’s just it, we work our tails off.

We call it love when we take our son to karate, a birthday party, when we buy our daughter a new Frozen item she loves so much from the dollar spot at Target or the millionth pack of gum, after all, it’s sugar free, nearly zero calories and only a dollar which is all the justification needed to create “happy” kids. If it’s not too expensive or bad for the body, the momentary hesitation turns into a reticent, “I suppose there isn’t a reason not to say yes.” After all, today’s parents are supposed to say yes as often as possible.

Exhaustion, you know the exhaustion many women experience at the beginning and end of pregnancy, nearly snapped the final glow stick for this mama, but nothing gets my feathers ruffled quite like seeing the money we earned lying on the ground.

True story.

At five we gave our son a couch to sell on “Craigslist” to help raise money to purchase an older friend’s Lego collection. He met the buyer, he demonstrated how to pull the couch out and he nailed negotiating the transaction. (Yes, it was a proud mama moment.) He eagerly worked around the house and was able to add hundreds of coveted Lego bricks to his collection.

This boy understands how money works, he knows it will get him what he wants.

dollar up close

Yet there it was, the money he earned from recycling earlier that morning, lying limp on the orange seventies linoleum in our kitchen. Casually I suggested putting it in his bank. Arrogantly he shrugged and walked away…and so did his money, straight into this mama’s pocket. Oh, and yes, I did use that same dollar to pay his commission for his weekly chores. Shameless, I know.

dollar crumpled

Glad you caught that that last part. Our family is facing a paradigm shift and freeloaders must pull their weight. Want to eat? Get your work done. Isn’t that how it works for adults? You work, you get paid and purchase the items you need, like food and clothes. No, we don’t make them pay for food or clothes (yet…) but we have enacted a policy that chores must be done prior to mealtimes and I’m sure they’ll thank us for teaching them to work when they are able to hold down a job and eat when we’re dead and gone.


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The first week under our new regime, our son clearly explained, “I’d rather have nothing, not even a home, than have to do this work!” Mind you, the worst of his treacherous work is taking out the trash, emptying the dishwasher and scooping our dog’s poop (though he is a large dog and leaves some hefty messes). I told him that we could arrange for him to live with a homeless person for a few days and see how he likes living hungry, cold and uncomfortable. You’ll be glad to know He was shocked at my casual offer and declined.

We’re taking a new approach because figuring out how to live in this crazy world is hard enough. There’s no sense in having to figure out how to earn a living on top of everything else, and who knows what the world will look like when they must pull their own weight. There’s definitely a recoil going on, but boy-howdy, their tasks are getting done and everyone is having more down time than before. The future for this group of converts is looking bright!

So how about you? Are your kids spoiled or how have you prevented it?

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