It’s not what you think

As a Gen x this sums it up perfectly how we are feeling.

The First Ten Words by Rich Larson

Chris Cornell, 1964-2017

Chris Cornell died early Thursday morning. His band Soundgarden played a show on Wednesday night at the Fox Theater in Detroit. Two hours after the show ended, he was gone.

For two days, I’ve been working on a piece to pay tribute to him, and it’s been a struggle. Usually when I have a problem like this it’s because I’m staring at a blank screen trying to figure out what I want to say. That’s not the problem this time. The problem is I have way too much to say.

I’m not going to sit here and claim to have been a huge fan of Soundgarden. I didn’t dislike them, I just had to take them in small doses. I was a fan of Cornell. I love “Seasons,” the solo song he had on Cameron Crowe’s movie, Singles. It’s a droning acoustic song about isolation and the…

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Apologies still outstanding

Site Title


As we check the post again to find an empty mailbox we can’t help but wonder what happened to the apologies that we were supposed to get as requested by the Mental Health Commissioner.

Almost four  years after Ross’ suicide the Mental Health Commissioner delivered his findings that the clinical care was a significant deviation from expected standards.


  • 16 February 2017  the report came out. They had one month to write their apologies.
  • 16 March 2017  no apology received.
  • 10 April 2017 the report went public on HDC website
  • Today is 20 May 2017 (three months later) and we just heard from the Commissioner that they are reviewing recent correspondence from Dr Richard Mullen and the Southern DHB hence the delay.

I can think of a few scenarios why there is a delay in our apologies more than four years after Ross died…..

  • They retracted their apologies.
  • They changed their…

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Art of Friendship

What we all need right now…

Steve McCurry's Blog

One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.

– Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Luoyang, China

Myanmar (Burma)

There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship. 

– Thomas Aquinas

Loikaw, Myanmar (Burma)

There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends.
I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.
– Jane Austen


A true friend freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly,
takes all patiently, defends courageously, and
continues a friend unchangeably.

– William Penn


Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work.
If one falls down, his friend can help him up.
– Ecclesiastes 4

Pagan, Myanmar (Burma)

Katmandu, Nepal


Chiang Mai, Thailand

Kampala, Uganda

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand,
not the kindly smile…

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The King and The Cross.


Ode to being in your late 20’s in the 90’s

Were one becomes bored with the landscape

And decides to venture forth to foreign lands

A head full of concurring other people’s cultures

Knowing you could be like other Kiwi’s from the antipodes

Therefore, you jump into a tin can with wings

The excitement almost too much to bear

Dumping your bags in the backpackers

Without even a proper look at the room

One rushes out into the night, for a stiff drink or two

You meet a chap standing by a corner

And ask him about a famous bar you had heard of, does he know where it is?

Due to your small Island culture you ask him to come along

Whilst playing pool, you are neither in front of the eight ball, or even behind it

As you both realize that you both have a lot in common

He asks if you would like to partake in a taste of heroin

Your not so long ago past pops up and says

“oh yes please, that would be rather splendid”

One has immediately forgotten the four treatment centers it took to weave your way out of

How in one of them you passed a girl in the hallway on the phone asking her Daddy to send in a helicopter to get her the hell out of there,

And when you asked her if you could hitch a ride she screamed the hallowed walls down

Three days later the glorious sea washes you up onto the grass behind the police station

In the Kings Cross

Where there is no King or Cross in sight

Only a lot of other homeless Kiwi’s

Your commonality glues you together

Along with all the other cultures that lost the battle with the King and the Cross

One becomes simply another invisible person to all passes by

Therefore, you sit up and paint a face to hide a face

Unaware of who is looking back at you in the mirror

It was going to take a lot of cash to keep the beautiful ocean of heroin running through your veins

In the land of the long white cloud

One could strut about like a pink flamingo

Use your wit and charm to anchor in a John

Whereas off from the King and the Cross

Were the Pot has a Point

One has to stand in line and strike a pose

You are introduced by your chosen name

Waiting to get plucked from obscurity

There is no rock to sit on and sing your song to pull them in

Thankfully, more population means more cliental

But alas no William in sight to Tell

Those whom bear the cross

Would try to burden you with its weight

As you sink into the soft grass

Whilst the needle rest gently beside you

As it has woven a new tapestry

All the way down to your soul

Your bones walk to the exchange

Were a nurse gives you a shiny new kit with needles for your tapestry

One does not lift their head to look into their eyes

Because then you would see your broken soul reflected back in theirs

You watch the King taking up the battle for the Cross

The Italian brigades are winning a lost fight

You jump the rails to Cabramatta

Were the Terracotta Army stands strong amidst  the war

Your eyes linger on the ground

But this time,only as a sign of respect

As you place the powder by your heart

While you read the writing on the wall

Painted in stark colours

One needs to rest so you can swim again

You stay in the land of the Terracotta Army

In a house with no walls

The guns begin to frighten you

So the shelter posts you back to where you came from

Washing back up a completely different person

The landscape is moving from a water-colour to an oil painting

As the fabric of your tapestry has no need for thread  and needle anymore

The thimble has  been buried

There is no more mystery about Love and War.


Jazzy Bell  October 2010.


What Vivienne Westwood taught me about a sustainable life and the weight of water.


I have just finished reading the biography about Vivienne Westwood written in 2014, and I feel deeply inspired and thoughtful, especially because of the state of the planet because I am also a grandmother and I worry a lot about the world that my grandson will inherit. Water is now as rare as diamonds, by that I mean clean, safe to drink water. North Dakota is shining a light on this as well with the protest that is happening there.

I first felt a sense of fear about  drinkable water when I was living in Istanbul, Turkey in 2003 .There was no drinkable water, all water had to be bought into the apartment via huge containers and the taps in the kitchen and bathroom were there just for decoration. I was told never to use them, even for washing the dishes we had to use bottled water and boil the jug. Coming from New Zealand this was difficult for me to get my head around. That is until recently when a neighbouring town had an experience of contaminated water bores that lead to over 5000 people getting very ill from the drinking water and 2 people died and several cases of Gillian Barr syndrome reported as a direct result from this contamination.

This led me to think about water and how now the weight of water feels very heavy on my chest. The first time I experienced that sensation was when my cousin tried to drown me in the water race that was on the farm near my house. My cousin had a family batch next to our house and would stay for some of the holidays. It was in that water race my first alter was born, she is 3 years old, and her name is baby Jane. The word cousin has the word sin in it and my cousin was trying to wash away the sin of what he had just done to me by trying to drown me.

Water has many meanings. Water can do many things, it can sustain life, it can take life away, and at the same time, it can birth new life.

Everyone has a different perception about water, from an individual through to a businessperson. A businessperson’s perception will cloud the water from an economic perspective and an individual will have a multitude of different perceptions about water now being as rare as diamonds.


What one person sees when looking at the same diamond in front of them is coloured by their own perception. So therefore, if you put two people in front of the diamond, they are the exact same age, same date of birth and female. Both parties will see the diamond differently, both will see the colours differently, both will see the shading and light differently, both will see the refraction differently, both people will have different dreams, memories and reflections associated with viewing the exact same diamond in front of both their eyes. Both of them will be having different thoughts about the diamond at that exact same time in that moment in time, even if parts of their thoughts have a common thread, they will both not be having the exact same thoughts attached to the diamond at that moment in time.


For me to be one of the two people viewing the diamond is a problem, because for me I have seven other people whom at the exact same time are viewing the same diamond.


All my seven people are of different age groups, so therefore, this affects their age group view on perception and all seven have all had very different lives. For a very long time they were unknown to me, while I was losing time, they went about living their life, and collecting their very own experiences, that has a part to play in their perception.


One likes art more than another, all have different tastes in music, all read differently, some are more dyslexic than the rest, and they all like very different movies. Some like to garden more, two just want to sit on their bum watching TV all day, two hate that we walk everywhere. All have a sweet disposition, some more bubbly than the rest when interacting with other people. Intelligence is different due to the age difference, which is annoying. All love physics, four more than the others do, and the rest are aware of the importance of physics, or sociology or anthropology and philosophy, or see the connection of them all.


So if I was in front of a diamond with another person in the room at the exact same time viewing a diamond. My others would affect my perception of viewing the said diamond.


Perception is a major roadblock in life and like a dam on a river, there is cracks in the research left floating around it. It is a field that has people either sinking or swimming with the tide. The business model for information that is projected out to the public is controlled by the perception of mainstream media. The perception of Christians that climate change does not exist leaks far out into the world. This leads to the dumbing down plague that is infecting and contamination of us like most of the water on the planet. The public’s perception is now shadowed by this like a dark thunderous cloud.


The commerce model poses questions about ownership. Bottled water now is a highly tradable commodity. The word sustainable now has more meaning than ever before in this throw away world that we have inherited and bought into, only to pass onto our grandchildren. Indeed, it is such a sad way to live within the constraints of sustainability, to have to change ones perspective and embrace this new way of life is not easy or comfortable. Nevertheless, the concept has been around for many centuries.


The American Indians from North Dakota are shining a light on this with the protest over the oil pipeline. Since I was 15 years old, I have been carrying around with me a poster written by Chief Seattle in 1854, called ‘The Earth is Precious’.

I feel deeply that Chief Seattle’s wise words, which have been described as ‘the most beautiful and profound statement on the environment ever made’ need to be spoken by everyone at this time in history, before it is too late.


Chief Seattle also said ‘How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? If you do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?


In this chaotic world and life in cities, I adore his reminder of the most important things in life; ‘The clatter only seems to insult the ears, and what is there in life if a man cannot hear the argument of the frogs around a pond at night? The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind itself, cleaned by a midday rain, or scented with the pinon pine’… These words are a reminder of what is important; Mother Earth needs to be honoured before as Chief Seattle said ‘Where is the thicket? Gone.

Where is the eagle? Gone.

The end of living and the beginning of survival’.






Living with poverty post the economic collapse.

As I am writing this, the New Zealand Government is having an emergency session at parliament to change the rules around government owned land. They are wanting to make it easier to sell it all off, which means it can be put into the public sector for building developers to buy it and then they can easily ‘Land Bank’ this land, it can sit there while they wait for the value of that land to go up. The Auckland house market has just reached the status of the average house now being valued at one million dollars. Land banking is making this situation worse.  When a government sells state houses, built to house the less advantaged families, what does that say about a government?

When forced off your land to move further afield and yet the cost of petrol and parking means this does not equal your income. What are families supposed to do? How does one then have time to spend with their family in the hope of having a good relationship and grow so called productive children, when all of your time is spent travelling to work and stressed about the cost of living.

Added to this is the high cost of food. When the food prices go up it is more difficult to make healthy food decisions. With bad food choices comes bad health as we have being seeing for quite some time now. This leads to higher stress and very bad health, which then leads to an already overloaded heath service that is underfunded for far too long. When a hospital has to ask charities to help them raise money for vital equipment, we are then in big trouble as a country.

Mental health crisis’s are on the rise, with suicides nearing the status of being our number one killer, and when asked about their wellbeing in the build up to taking their lives, research has shown it is because of stress in nearly all of them.

The great divide between the political left and right feeds these problems. The terms left and right were coined during the French Revolution (1789-1799). People of left leanings which in this country means Labour and Green Party supporters, generally care about housing, health, the environment, social issues, social equality and egalitarianism and have concern for people whom they perceive as disadvantaged relative to others. People on the left support trade unions and believe in government intervention in the economy. Social progressivism is important to people of the left, supporting the abolition of all slavery, voting rights, civil rights, multiculturalism and supporting same sex marriage etc.

Right wing politics hold and believe that social stratification and social inequality are inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable, typically defending the position based on natural law, economics, or tradition. Hierarchy and inequality may be viewed as natural results of traditional social differences or competition in market economics, beliefs in the so-called free market and individual initiative.  Right wing libertarians do not like limits to personal freedom or anything leading to social uniformity and mediocrity. Some even see individualism as harmful to society. The book, The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins seems to fit well with people of the right wing.

Only registered voters have a voice when it comes to any change being able to happen. A problem that can arise from a housing crisis is that people are forced to move a lot and this can lead to being left off a local voting register, especially when a post office chargers so much for a change of address. To have a voice we all need to vote with our feet, either in the national election in November next year (2017) so we can have a change of government, or another option is that it takes 10% of all registered voters to call for a referendum, this is in our constitution, and we must all always remember that.



The New Zealand Government Consitutional Law and the Housing Crisis.

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After reading a report into the housing crisis in New Zealand, the high homeless stats that have come out and how now the National party are disputing those stats, I decided it was time to have a  read of New Zealand’s consitutional law, which I have loaded as a link called (cabinet rules) above. I am also including some of what I see as important paragraphs that I have copied into this and they are done in Italic form.

Below is what I believe to a vital components that appear to have been forgotten? It seems the Government has lost its way when it comes to the Intention of both of our constitutions that govern how we are supposed to treat people in this country.

The role of the public service

The role of the public service is stated in some detail in legislation, particularly in the provisions of the State Sector Act 1988, the Public Finance Act 1989 and the Official Information Act 1982, as well as a great number of particular statutes. Constitutional principles and that legislation support four broad propositions (among others). Members of the public service:

x are to act in accordance with the law; x are to be imbued with the spirit of service to the community;     

Towards more open government

Over recent decades the processes of government have become more open. Notably, in 1982 the Official Information Act reversed the basic principle of the Official Secrets Act 1951: the principle now is that official information is to be made available to those seeking it unless there is good reason for withholding it. Those reasons relate to public interest such as the national security and law enforcement, and to private interests such as confidences and privacy. Underlying that principle are a number of purposes, including enabling the more effective participation of the people of New Zealand in the making and administration of laws and policies, and promoting the accountability of Ministers of the Crown and officials, with the consequence of enhancing respect for the law and promoting the good government of New Zealand.

The emphasis on greater transparency in decision making and policy development is also to be seen in the legislation governing the government’s spending and fiscal policies (especially the Public Finance Act 1989), and in the operation of the parliamentary select committee processes.

Individuals, autonomy and majority rule

In a range of ways, including those just indicated, individuals and communities do participate directly in political and governmental processes important to them. There is for instance much emphasis in law and in practice on those exercising public power giving fair hearings to and consulting those affected by the exercise of that power. Also relevant is the enactment of the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act 1993

A balance has to be struck between majority power and minority right, between the sovereignty of the people exercised through Parliament and the rule of the law, and between the right of elected governments to have their policies enacted into law and the protection of fundamental social and constitutional values. The answer cannot always lie with simple majority decision-making. Indeed, those with the authority to make majority decisions often themselves recognise that their authority is limited by understandings of what is basic in our society, by convention, by the Treaty of Waitangi, by international obligations and by ideas of fairness and justice.


The international context

Major changes in science, technology, communications, trade patterns, financial systems, population movement, the environment and many other matters of international concern mean that more and more law is made through international processes. The powers of national governmental institutions are correspondingly reduced. This has important consequences for national and international constitutional processes. Under changes to parliamentary procedures, Parliament has a greater opportunity to scrutinise and comment on the more significant international treaties before they are ratified by the Executive.

Changing the constitution

In theory, many parts of the constitution can be amended by legislation passed by a simple majority of the Members of Parliament. That power is, however, restrained by law, convention, practice and public acceptance.

Some limits on constitutional change arise from the international obligations which have just been mentioned.

Certain key elements of the electoral system can be amended only if the people in a referendum approve, or three-quarters of the Members of Parliament agree. The provisions thus protected concern the three-year term of Parliament, the membership of the Representation Commission, the division of New Zealand into general electoral districts, the voting age, and the method of voting. In accordance with that requirement, the amendments made in the last 40 years to those provisions have been made only following agreement between the major political parties in the House or, in the notable instance of the change to proportional representation, following a binding referendum (which had itself been preceded by an indicative referendum). 

It also appears to be accepted, at the level of convention, that those voting requirements also apply to any proposal to amend that protective provision. Similarly, Standing Orders provide that an entrenched provision should be introduced by the House only by the vote which would be required for the amendment or repeal of the provision being entrenched. The 1986 Constitution Act itself was enacted with general bipartisan support in the House. And recommendations to the House for new Standing Orders, in accordance with convention, are adopted by consensus in the Standing Orders Committee. 

Other constitutional changes arise from legislation enacted in the regular way, such as the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, from decisions of the courts, from new prerogative instruments, and from changing practices (which may contribute to new conventions). Some matters are better left to evolving practice rather than being the subject of formal statement. But such development, like other changes to the constitution, should always be based on relevant principle.


2.23 Portfolio Ministers in most cases have responsibility for appropriations in one or more Votes, which are administered on their behalf by their departments. Ministers seek authority from Parliament for their appropriations, each of which is limited by type, amount, scope, and period. Ministers are responsible for decisions on the spending from within these appropriations on:

  • outputs provided by their departments, Crown entities and other bodies;
  • other operating expenses, such as social welfare benefits or official development assistance; 

Of Note Social Welfare Benefits are written into our Constitution. That means we have a right to them in times of need.


  • Compliance with legal principles and obligations

    7.60 Ministers must confirm that bills comply with certain legal principles or obligations when submitting bids for bills to be included in the legislation programme. In particular, Ministers must draw attention to any aspects of a bill that have implications for, or may be affected by:

  • The links above are of the latest report into child poverty in New Zealand from the Ministry of Social Development. One part shows that New Zealanders in the bottom 10 percent of income earners were now spending more than half of their income on housing.
  • I believe the report is full of the National Party line that wants people to think all is rosy, when it clearly is not. The report is full of bias.
  • The report used the Gini Coefficient of Inequality as a form of measurement as I have shown below. Sadly all the countries in the OECD still use this form of measurement and I believe it is now outdated as a method post this latest financial crises that started back in 2008.
  • Gini Coefficient of Inequality


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    This method calculates the Gini coefficient (G) of inequality with bootstrap confidence intervals. A Lorenz plot is produced when a single variable is specified for analysis, otherwise the summary statistics alone are displayed for a group of variables.


    The Gini coefficient was developed by the Italian Statistician Corrado Gini (Gini, 1912) as a summary measure of income inequality in society. It is usually associated with the plot of wealth concentration introduced a few years earlier by Max Lorenz (Lorenz, 1905). Since these measures were introduced, they have been applied to topics other than income and wealth, but mostly within Economics (Cowell, 1995, 2000; Jenkins, 1991; Sen, 1973).


    G is a measure of inequality, defined as the mean of absolute differences between all pairs of individuals for some measure. The minimum value is 0 when all measurements are equal and the theoretical maximum is 1 for an infinitely large set of observations where all measurements but one has a value of 0, which is the ultimate inequality (Stuart and Ord, 1994).


    When G is based on the Lorenz curve of income distribution, it can be interpreted as the expected income gap between two individuals randomly selected from the population (Sen, 1973).


    The classical definition of G appears in the notation of the theory of relative mean difference:

    – where x is an observed value, n is the number of values observed and x bar is the mean value.


    If the x values are first placed in ascending order, such that each x has rank i, the some of the comparisons above can be avoided and computation is quicker:

    – where x is an observed value, n is the number of values observed and i is the rank of values in ascending order.


    Note that only positive non-zero values are used.


    The small sample variance properties of G are not known, and large sample approximations to the variance of G are poor (Mills and Zandvakili, 1997; Glasser, 1962; Dixon et al., 1987), therefore confidence intervals are calculated via bootstrap re-sampling methods (Efron and Tibshirani, 1997).


    StatsDirect calculates two types of bootstrap confidence intervals, these are percentile and bias-corrected (Mills and Zandvakili, 1997; Dixon et al., 1987; Efron and Tibshirani, 1997). The bias-corrected intervals are most appropriate for most applications.


    In order for G to be an unbiased estimate of the true population value, it should be multiplied by n/(n-1) (Dixon, 1987; Mills and Zandvakili, 1997). This corrected form of G does not appear most literature, but there are few situations when it is not the most appropriate form to use.


    In the context of measuring inequalities in health, Brown (1994) presents a Gini-style index, seemingly calculated from two variables instead of one. The two variables comprise distinct indicators of health (y, e.g. infant deaths) and population (x, live births) for n groups sorted by a composite measure of health and population (e.g. infant mortality rate).


    Gb based on two variables (e.g. infant deaths and live births) will be very similar to G calculated from a composite measure (e.g. infant mortality rate). In most situations it is more natural to think of inequality of the composite measure. Another reason not to use Gb is that its statistical characteristics are not well studied.


    StatsDirect does not provide a separate function to handle distinct health and population variables when calculating Gini coefficients, instead you should use the single composite health/population measure.


    The Pan American Health Organisation (2001) gave the following illustration:


    Country GNP per capita infant mortality rate (IMR) live births infant deaths
    Bolivia 2860 59 250 14750
    Peru 4410 43 621 26703
    Ecuador 4730 39 308 12012
    Colombia 6720 24 889 21336
    Venezuela 8130 22 568 12496


    Positive non-zero observations = 5

    Bootstrap re-samples = 2000

    Bias = 0.057218


    Brown’s Gb = 0.1904


    Gini coefficient = 0.19893

    Percentile 95% CI = 0.023645 to 0.219277

    Bias-corrected 95% CI = 0.151456 to 0.241304


    Unbiased estimator of population Gini coefficient = 0.248663

    Percentile 95% CI = 0.029557 to 0.274096

    Bias-corrected 95% CI = 0.18932 to 0.30163



    This example uses too few groups for reliable inference from G.


    Technical notes

    The percentile confidence interval is defined as:

    – where g* is a Gini coefficient estimated from a bootstrap sample and a is (100-confidence level)/100.


    The bias-corrected confidence interval is defined as:

    – where g* is a Gini coefficient estimated from a bootstrap sample, G is the observed Gini coefficient, α is (100-confidence level)/100, ϕ is the standard normal distribution and k is the number of re-samples in the bootstrap.





  • Donald Hirsch and Laura Valadez from the Centre for Research in Social Policy at the Loughborough University Published this link in blue below, in June 2015 which shows a far more comprehensive and far more real cost of living that is more inclusive.
  • how-much-does-the-official-measure-of-child-poverty-under-estimate-its-extent-by-failing-to-take-account-of-childcare-costs_1
  • 1                  The Problem


    Relative income poverty counts the number of people in households with incomes below 60 per cent of the median.  Incomes are adjusted by household composition through equivalisation, a process that applies weighs to adults and children according to their number and age.  However, one imperfection of this measure is that it fails to account fully for variations in what different households need to spend to reach an equivalent living standard.  As well as household composition, large variations can be caused, for example, by the costliness of housing in a given part of the country, by disability and by the generation of a particular income level requiring large expenditures on childcare in order for the family to work.  


    Any poverty measure will always be an approximation; it would never be possible to match up each individual household’s situation and detailed costs with their income. However, the three factors mentioned above – housing, disability and childcare – are hard to ignore when discussing poverty measurement. Each can impose huge differences in costs.  Moreover, in the UK, costs associated with each of these factors can generate additional income from state transfers (housing benefit, DLA/PIP, childcare element of tax credits/Universal Credit).  Perversely, this means that an additional cost can in some cases increase a household’s income relative to the median, when their disposable income (after the paying for the cost in question) is in fact the same as or lower than someone without this additional cost (depending on whether the benefit payment partially or fully covers the cost).


    This problem has been dealt with in the case of housing costs by the reporting of income both before housing costs (BHC) and after housing costs (AHC), as DWP’s Households Below Average Income does.  Disability costs would be harder at present to deal with in this way because they are difficult to identify precisely, and cannot be estimated through an income survey (except, very indirectly, via the level of disability benefits). On the other hand, childcare costs are reported in the Family Resources Survey (FRS), which is used to measure the income distribution and poverty.  However, to the best of our knowledge, childcare costs have not been taken into account for producing a poverty measure in a similar way that AHC has been produced.


I concur with their argument that shows a new income measure is needed, which they have called: Income after Housing and Childcare cost (AHCC). As it stands now only the cost of housing is measured, and nothing else is included, not even food which we all know has been rising in cost at a very fast rate. As they have stated children with disabilities or special needs which sadly cost a lot more are also not included in the standard measure, neither is petrol or indeed anything else and this is where I see a huge problem with the model used by our Government and indeed all Governments in the OECD to measure poverty and the crisis we now have with housing.

In the Ministers report the criteria under the Human Rights that he used, I believe is also to low, post the stock market crash of 2008. Unless this is looked at again we will not see any changes happen. The poverty line needs to moved to a lower point that is more inclusive and then the Government needs to really do the job of taking better care of its people and have a serious look at the housing crisis that is only getting worse every single day post 2008.

Below is from the Conference Board of Canada:

Is world income inequality increasing? 

At the 2011 World Economic Forum in Davos, income inequality and corruption were singled out as the two most serious challenges facing the world.1 Zhu Min, a special adviser at the International Monetary Fund, told delegates that “the increase in inequality is the most serious challenge for the world. . . . I don’t think the world is paying enough attention.”2

And in a recent keynote address to an OECD policy forum on income inequality, Richard Freeman, professor of economics at Harvard University, noted that “the triumph of globalization and market capitalism has improved living standards for billions while concentrating billions among the few. It has lowered inequality worldwide but raised inequality within most countries.”3

Is Freeman correct? Is income becoming more concentrated among a relatively small group of people? And if so, what are the consequences for the starndard of living of the many, today and in the years ahead?

Current headlines certainly seem to support Freeman’s remarks. Forbes magazine’s 2011 list of billionaires—the Forbes Rich List—revealed that the world’s 1,210 billionaires set a record for combined wealth of $4.5 trillion. While the U.S. has more billionaires on the list than any other country, middle- and low-income countries have their share as well.

Freeman’s forum remarks also make an important distinction between income gaps among countries, such as the income gap between Canada and China, and the income gap among individuals within a single country. In other words, are you examining whether the gap is increasing between rich and poor countries or whether the gap has increased between rich and poor people within one country? It is entirely possible that the income inequality within one country, like China for example, may be increasing while at the same time the gap between the average income in China and the average income in richer countries is shrinking. Freeman’s comments suggest that inequality worldwide has decreased, but inequality within each country has increased.

How do we measure world income inequality?  

The Conference Board has analyzed world income inequality using three methods.

Method 1: Calculate the income gap between rich and poor countries

This method calculates the average income of high-income countries (as defined above) and compares it with the average income of low-income countries. The difference between the two is called the “income gap” and is tracked over time.

Method 2: Calculate the overall world income inequality using the Gini index measure

The Gini index is the most commonly used measure of income inequality. Named after the Italian statistician Corrado Gini, the Gini index calculates the extent to which the distribution of income deviates from a perfectly equal distribution. It ranges from 0 to 1. A Gini index of 0 represents exact equality (that is, everybody has the same amount of income); a Gini index of 1 represents total inequality (that is, one person has all the income and the rest of the society has none). An intuitive way of understanding the Gini index is that the number corresponds to the share of total income that would need to be redistributed in order to achieve exact income equality.5 So, for example, a world Gini index of 0.55 means that 55 per cent of the world’s income would need to be redistributed in order to have exact income equality.

Method 3: Calculate the income inequality of each country and compare them

As noted earlier, it is entirely possible that the income inequality within a country may be increasing at the same time as the gap between the average income of that country and the average income in richer countries is shrinking.

For this reason, we need to also look at what is happening to income inequality within each country.

In New Zealand there has been a rise in importing immigrants to the job market and as quoted below we are also seeing the effect of this on market forces which fuels the housing crisis.

Market forces, particularly skill-biased technical change (SBTC) and increased globalization, are creating a rising demand for highly skilled labour. Edward Lazear, chairman of the U.S. President’s Council of Economic Advisors, explained this in a 2006 speech: “In our technologically advanced society, skill has higher value than it does in a less technologically advanced society.”11 As developed countries import more low-skilled-intensive goods and export more skills-intensive goods, jobs in low-skilled industries are lost in those developed countries.

With this crisis we need to focus on Branko Milanovic’s wise words;

Branko Milanovic argues that even if market forces are partly to blame for rising income inequality, the idea that governments should not intervene in the market should be rejected. The question of global income inequality cannot, he states, “be taken out of the social arena by evoking ‘the market.’ The market economy is a social construct, created, or rather discovered, to serve people, and thus raising questions about the way it functions is fully legitimate in every democratic society.”13

Andrew Samwick, economics professor at Dartmouth College, divides the period from 1929 to today into four distinct eras based on income inequality:16

  • The Great Compression: 1929–1947

This was the birth of the middle class in the United States. Real wages for manufacturing production workers rose by 67 per cent, while real income of the richest 1 per cent fell by 17 per cent. This resulted in the gap between rich and poor narrowing (compressing). 

  • The Postwar Boom: 1947–1973

This was an era in which growth was widely shared—real wages for manufacturing production workers rose 81 per cent, and the income of the richest 1 per cent of the population increased by 38 per cent. 

  • Stagflation: 1973–1980

This was a period in which all groups lost ground. Real wages for manufacturing production workers fell by 3 per cent, and the income of the richest 1 per cent fell by 4 per cent.17 

  • The New Gilded Age: 1980–2007

Incomes in the richest group soared, while they stagnated in the other groups. Between 1980 and 2007, the income of the richest 1 per cent rose 197 per cent, although the income share of the richest 1 per cent is still slightly below its peak in 1928. 


We are now in a new era post the collapse of 2008 that has changed everything in the world.

More research is showing that using the gini method of measuring wealth by income-inequality before accounting the impact of taxes and all the other variations that happen within a household is simply not working in this new era of economics.

Perhaps consumption is a better measure of the economic well-being. Once all costs have been taken out you have a clearer picture of a household. Then we can have a more honest and real-time view of the housing crisis that has  also happened because of the economic crisis that is effecting those not in the 1% of the population.