Thursday, August 18, 2011


A while ago I challenged whether we have Poverty in New Zealand following a Green Party claim it was as high as 30%.

Some took me to task in that their definition is based on a relativity and therefore we do have poverty in our society.

My dictionary defines Poverty as "unable to access the necessities of life".

A couple of days ago Mike Hosking, who delivers my weekday connection to what is happening in the world related a bit about a slum suburb of Mumbai, or Bombay as I understand it, called Dharavai.

Covering less than a square mile 500 acres (200 Ha), it is described as an "Administrative Ward". Sandwiched between two rail corridors, low lying, subject to flooding, with poor "fresh" water and almost no sewer (the main outlet for that is an open "creek"). As of 2006 there was ONE TOILET per 1440 residents
Population approaching one million souls, it is self contained as to business/residential activity based on leather, pottery and textile industries and recently it has become the recycling center for Mumbai.
Latest figures suggest there are around 5,000 businesses and 15,000 'single room factories'.
Total turnover is 'estimated' at between $500 million and $650 million US pa. That was turnover not income, I am unable to access an individual citizen income pa.
It was once described as Mumbai's biggest slum but has since been overtaken by four others.

Christchurch Hagley Park covers about 80% of the area of Dharavai so put 750,000 souls with their homes, work, and access, deliver substandard water and put the sewerage into the Avon River. Deliver welfare with Charity, throw in the still very apparent Caste system, a decent bloc of Tamils with the Hindus, the Buddhists, a few Christians and other assorted sects and tell me how to RELATE Dharavai to my image of 'relative disadvantage'.

A picture of Poverty might become apparent, then again you could just ask the NZ Green Party or their socialist big brothers, who are going off about an effort to better target youth welfare to be more effective and beneficial.


kevin said...

Kevin McCloud from the UK Grand Designs prog, has been screening on NZ Tv in a reality/doco filmed in the same place... reality indeed.

merlene said...

The slum you write about consists of families with 3 generations to each family. Grandparents, Parents and children, their culture is inclusive. It might reek of poverty, but they all look after each other?
Maybe this economic meltdown is warranted? So we may put things into perspective about how we look after our families?

Steve said...

'Relative disadvantage' is used to define poverty because what people think the 'necessities of life' are changes from time to time and place to place. Is running water a necessity? Is access to the internet a necessity? To participate fully in modern NZ society the answer is yes.
Oh and just because some people suffer more than others doesn't mean they are the ONLY people that suffer... this form of argument is an overworked and transparent silencing technique.

gravedodger said...

@ Steve maybe just maybe I would like to see the emotive word POVERTY that is too often used inappropriately replaced with a more accurate descriptive ie disadvantaged, poorly prioritised, wasteful, ignorant, poor choice, selfindulgent, for activity and actions that deprive the young and in particular the vulnerable young of what you arguably label necessities in New Zealand.

kevin said...

My recent observation is that the folk who can least afford to smoke are right into it. Same with booze. I don't know what they eat but they spend mega on ciggies and grog.

Anonymous said...

I had a rental in Porirua and the poverty stricken people that rented it were consistently $140 a week better off because they didn't pay the rent. I bet they didn't declare income from cockroach farming either. I'm cynical about poverty in NZ. Someone old in the family home being forced out by the rates bill fits just as easily for me as someone with a drug habit who makes poor choices.

Barnsley Bill said...

Define poverty. Having to buy red instead of black.
Luckily I have not had to do that for a while now.

Anonymous said...

Gee Barnsley, why are you so insecure that you feel you have to gloat about how rich you think you are? It's a wee bit lamo no? Besides JW is for tasteless status whores.

Majid Ali said...

Please for Christ sake help this poor boy from Haiti

WAKE UP said...

The recent black flash mob in USA all wore hoodies and had mobiles.

merlene said...

Things seem to be developing to the point where these issues are beyond poverty? Why do i get the impression our lives now are about survival?