Thursday, 15 December 2005

Poverty of imagination for Bradford

If you feel poor, you are poor. That's the message of Sue (Governments can do Everything) Bradford, who is re-defining what poverty means in an effort to get more government into more lives.

The poverty she is now highlighting is a poverty of experience. You might even call it a poverty brought about by a culture of dependency. Poverty, she argues, includes "children who have never travelled on the motorway they live next to, or who had never been over the Harbour Bridge, or who didn't know when their birthdays were..."

What Bradford describes is not the poverty you have when you can't pay your bills, it's a poverty of imagination, and poverty of imagination is one thing the parts of South Auckland she talks about is not short of -- that is, the parts in which state housing, state welfare, and the state's factory schools dominate. Otara and Mangere were planned, designed, built, and are still dominated by the state: As I argued in The Warrior Culture of South Auckland (Part 1 & Part2) it has produced a culture of dependence that can only be fixed by less meddling by the state, not more.

Bradford thinks governments can fix poverty in South Auckland. They can't. You can't fix a poverty of imagination with money; you can only solve it by encouraging independence.

She thinks governments can fix everything. She thinks, for example, that governments can fix housing. "South Auckland continues to suffer a critical shortage of adequate housing for low-income families. The Government should accelerate its state housing program," says Bradford.

Has she never considered that it is excessive government regulation of buildings and land that has caused the housing problem for low-income families by putting the price of decent housing beyond their reach? No, I don't suspect she has. But it has. As I've argued here recently, "The reason buying a first home is getting beyond many first-home buyers is not the fault of banks, real estate agents or 'greedy developers' ... it is the fault of a political market that has locked up land and over-regulated its use." As I've also mentioned a few times (here for instance), the Building Act and other associated meddling has helped building costs themselves double in only a few short years. And does she really want the government to be building slums while banning growth?

Perhaps, if she reflects, Bradford might join me in seeking to remove the government's meddling, so that low-income earners can once again afford to buy their own home. Or does she too suffer from a poverty of imagination, just like the people of South Auckland she criticises?

Says Bradford: "I call on this Labour-led Government to find the political will to transform and lift up the communities that these children live in." Bradford's been a busybody from birth, but surely even she can see that the government has done enough in South Auckland. It's time to pull back and let people get on with their own lives, and to learn from their own mistakes. I wonder when she will?

Linked Articles: The 'warrior culture' of South Auckland, Part 1
The 'warrior culture' of South Auckland, Part 2
Sprawl is good; regulation is not
A fairy tale of a leaky house or two
The 'deregulated' building industry...
Building slums while banning growth

Auckland, Urban_Design, Environment, Politics-NZ, Building, Politics, Architecture , Politics-Greens


  1. Peter, off the topic, apologies, just wondering if you'd seen this.,2106,3512589a12,00.html
    Porno tax for Italy. Additional 25% tax slapped on spanking the monkey, you have to admit this is government acting like private enterprise - it's a commodity probably as demand inelastic as oil... or air?

  2. 'Bradford's been a busybody since birth, but surely even she can see that the govt has done enough in Sth Auck. It's time to pull back and let people get on with their own lives, and learn from their own mistakes. I wonder when she will?'

    She won't. It doesn't serve her collective interests to acknowledge the patently bloody obvious.

    In the same vein, PC, I've just read an interview with the late Rod Donald in the latest edition of 'Investigate'. I highly recommend it; it's vital to know your enemy's thoughts.

    At the time of his death, I said that the only thing that could be said for him, as far as I was concerned, was that he was seen as the more reasoned face of the party.

    I take that back. There was no bloody reason in *his* rationale. His blueprint for NZ was, in a word, shocking. He would have had no qualms in forcing all manner of regulation upon NZers in the name of environmentalism; environmentalism being a pseudonym for communism.

    If there is an afterlife I hope the bastard's now living in a de-forested forest! No - even better - I hope he's working for a native logging company for less than the minimum wage!!

    I feel better already.

  3. Well I am sure Mr Loudon will do an expose on HER past fairly soon, since I'm aware of some of it - she is a Marxist, and she wouldn't think of giving the poor some of their money back.

  4. As one who lives happily in South Auckland, we do not need Ms Bradford or any other of the statist, we'll spend it for you" mob of pollies patronising us. What we do need is a Conservative approach to legislation, and the removal of the attitude which says that you can chase prostitutes, booze and snuff your head off in cocaine, as long as you leave Remuera to do it.

    South Auckland will be better when the Bradfords take the local street trollops to Remuera Road and subsidise them to set up their tiles in the Village.

    The risk to the old man's Beamer will be less than on Great South Road also.


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