If the Poor Are Worse Off, We’re All Worse Off

The Herald-DigiPoll last week cast an interesting light on the political debate as the election season approaches.  The poll showed that no fewer than 74% of New Zealanders thought that inequality had widened over the past six years – that, in other words, the rich had got richer and the poor comparatively poorer. On the […]

Unemployment Makes Us All Poor

Last Thursday’s jobless figures – the worst in thirteen years – show that the four years since the global financial crisis plunged the world into recession have seen New Zealand unemployment get worse, not better. And, as is always the case in a recession, the official figures inevitably understate the numbers of those seeking work. […]

Let Children Pay the Price?

As a young law don at Oxford in the early 1970s, I came to know Tony Lynes, the activist who had recently founded the Child Poverty Action Group in Britain. With his help, I set up a free legal advice centre in Oxford, and I have ever since had a particular interest in the issue […]

If Things Are So Good, Why Are They So Bad?

It is a measure of how subdued is the national mood and how modest are our current ambitions that we expect so little of our elected governments. Even nearly four years after our own home-grown recession began, we are, for example, expected to acclaim as a triumph of economic management the first signs of a […]

The Undeserving Poor

Some things never change. The rich have always claimed that their good fortune is a recognition of and reward for their superior virtue – with the inevitable corollary that the poor have no one to blame but themselves. The myth of the undeserving poor has a long and discreditable history. It has underpinned social policy […]