Category Archives: poverty

Not so devious maids: Living with slavery

Slavery is alive and going on in homes around the world, including in homes in the UK, the US, Australia and New Zealand.  Large numbers of domestic workers (AKA, in archaic terms, as “housemaids”), have little power or employment rights, and do most of their work behind the closed doors of people’s homes. Yet mainstream movies and TV programmes, from Downton Abbey to Devious Maids tend to present such jobs as being for caring and protective employers and/or as being powerful and glamorous.


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Metiria Turei: A leader for our times

Metiria Turei has been a strong and influential co-leader of the NZ Green Party: a leader whose political direction has been shaped by growing up in meagre circumstances; a leader who hasn’t pulled the ladder up after her; a leader who can speak at significant Māori events with a deep understanding of cultural processes; a leader under whose watch there has been an increase in Māori candidates standing for the Green Party; a leader for our most difficult and complex times.

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Rise and rise again….

From myth and legend, and their Hollywoodisation, to the inspiring win by the Syriza Party in the Greek election, there are reminders that victory by the people, for the people are not won in a day.  Each victory inspires hope, but is also a reminder that it is one victory in a long campaign.

I watched Ridley Scott’s movie Robin Hood on TV this week. It’s an interesting movie but not a great one.  The visuals and accompanying sound-scape creates an imagined history of tough times under autocratic Kings – ones who forcefully stole the food and sustenance that resulted from rural villagers hard life of toiling in the fields. The despots called it taxes for the King.

In the movie Robin Hood’s driving motivation was expressed with a catchy line, and biblical overtones: “Rise and rise again until the lamb becomes a lion.”

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Renting for all ages

A couple of days ago I wrote about the “runaway housing madness“, that just keeps getting worse, while the government continues to favour the profiteering property speculators, investors. I pointed out some of the problems for renters.

housing-is-a-right not a business

Most news reports continue to play into the myth that everyone ought to be able to afford their own home.  This is not necessary, and certainly isn’t practical.  It creates pressure for the majority to try to get onto the home ownership ladder, creating a highly profitable context for increased housing speculation. Some of us choose to be lifetime renters.  Some have no choice but to rent for all their lives. Others of all ages may get into home ownership, but then become renters at a later age.

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The runaway housing madness

It is widely known there is a housing crisis in NZ, especially in Auckland and Christchurch, yet month after month, year after year, the house price inflation in Auckland keeps getting worse.  Clearly it’s the property speculators and land developers that have the power, and are leading the socially and economically destructive spiral.  They are exploiting people’s need to have somewhere to live, and making live an ongoing struggle for the least well off.

Auckland photo by Greg Bowker NZ Herald

Auckland photo by Greg Bowker NZ Herald

And now, an international survey has shown just how bad things are in Auckland.

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Honest politics: poverty an’ a’ that

After a week when Scotland failed to regain it’s Independence, and the politics of deception triumphed in the NZ general elections, there is a pressing need to develop a stronger and more honest politics: one that will work for all the people, especially those struggling with least. It’s not just something that’s needed in NZ.  The politics of deception is aided by powerful transnational corporations, and national government in powerful countries, and it just did not arise over night.

real-democracy3. Read the rest of this entry »