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New Zealand Social Statistics


New Zealand Social Statistics


the following social statistics have been provided to support my comment in the discussion on conspiracy theories on Auckland Indymedia - front page.


Anthony Ravlich

Human Rights Council (New Zealand)


Social Statistics


The following social statistics also indicates, in a number of cases, the extremes New Zealand went to compared to other similar countries.



(1) Tribal systems offer no future so the poor and their children as well as ‘tall poppies’ are of little relevance.


Committee expert Maria Herczog, UN rapporteur for New Zealand on children's rights, said that infant and child mortality rates remained "staggering"…. that twenty percent of New Zealand children lived in poverty, and the high rate of Maori and Pacific poverty was of particular concern….that New Zealand lacked "an overarching comprehensive child policy" that integrated the Convention on the Rights of the Child into legislation and strategy frameworks ( Infant and child mortality rates remained "staggering" despite policies to tackle the issue, NZPA, Fri, 28 Jan 2011).


From 2004 to 2008, the reported number of substantiated child maltreatment findings for children 16 and younger had risen from 8,500 to 16,000. During that time, the total number of children in that age range remained at about 1 million (Human Rights Committee Concludes Consideration of New Zealand’s Fifth Report HR/CT/721 16 March 2010). Barnardos advocacy manager Deborah Morris-Travers “New Zealand doesn’t rate well compared with our OECD counterparts. We have the worst child death by maltreatment rate in the world” (‘New report reveals hidden costs’, Grahame Armstrong, Sunday Star Times, 23 August 2009,

The Child poverty Action Group state there are 150,000 (26% of children) in significant or severe hardship (2004, no official data available for 2007).


Also, UNICEF NZ said that of concern to the Committee [on children’s rights] was that no National Action Plan to guide policy on children’s issues had been implemented and matters that impacted on children lacked co-ordination. There was no single department or Ministry that took responsibility for children’s issues. “The Committee noted that children are fairly invisible in legislation” says Barbara Lambourn, UNICEF NZ’s Advocacy Manager.

She added: “There is no one batting for children at the Cabinet table. We have Ministerial portfolios for the elderly, for veterans, for disabled people, for women and even for the Rugby World Cup and for racehorses, but no Minister for Children. What does that say about the value we place on children and the matters that impact on them?” (UNICEF NZ supports better recognition of children’s issues

Wellington, 7 February 2011, Scoop).



This means the individual potential of many of the children largely from the beneficiary/under class sector is crushed at an early stage. This is very likely to take many years to overcome if they survive the mental health and criminal justice systems.



 (2) Professor Innes Asher, who has spent 30 years as a paediatrician and who works at the Starship Hospital, in The Porritt Lecture, Whanganui, on 3rd November 2010 (, gave the following statistics:


(i) UNICEF (2007): New Zealand rated 24th out of 25 countries in terms of Children’s Health and safety (infant deaths, immunization rates, deaths from injuries)

(ii) OECD (2009): highest rates of suicide among the 15-19 year age group; child mortality is higher than average; and immunization rates are poor especially for measles and pertussis;

(iii) Professor Innes Asher’s research compared NZ with other OECD countries where data is available for these diseases:

She states: “Rheumatic fever remains our worse indicator of our child health with our rates 14 times higher the rates of other comparable countries on a par with places like India; serious skin infections are double, whooping cough 5 to 10 times, pneumonia 5 to 10 times and bronchiectasis 8 to 9 times the rates in other OECD countries”

(iv) Professor Innes Asher’s research also looked at inequalities within New Zealand. The risk of disease in the most wealthy household areas in New Zealand compared with the most deprived 10% of household areas in New Zealand. She states: “…in the most deprived there are higher rates, but look at how high they are compared to the least deprived: meningococcal disease 5 times, rhematic fever 28 times ( a shocking figure), tuberculosis 5 times, gastroenteritis twice, bronchiolitis 6 times, partussis is nearly 4 times, pneumonia 4 times, bronchiectasis 15 times and asthma 3 times higher. These inequalities are in a supposedly egalitarian country. These differences show there are two New Zealands – one which is healthy and one which is not”.



The following are the social statistics relating to vulnerable children in the recent Green Paper.



Paula Bennett, Minister of Social Development, launched the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children at Aotea Square on Wednesday 27 July. However, no mention was made of including children’s rights in the New Zealand Bill of Rights 1990.


Page 2:


  • Child, Youth and Family confirmed 21,000 cases of abuse and neglect in 2009/10
  • Over 30,000 students are truant from schools on any given day
  • 7,342 school leavers left with no qualifications in 2009
  • 13,315 hospital admissions in 2008/09 were for children under five that could have been avoided. In the same year 1,286 admissions for all children were as a result of assault, neglect or maltreatment
  • 47,374 children (aged 0-16) were present, or usually residing with the victim, at an incident of family violence reported to the Police in 2010


Page 3:


  • Children in contact with Child, Youth and Family are five times more likely to have a Correction’s……by age 19 or 20 than a young person with no contact with Child, Youth and Family



Page 4:


  • At any point of time approximately 15 percent of children (163,000) can be considered vulnerable
  • Approximately10 per cent of children (90,000) aged 15 years live with some sort of disability – learning difficulties, chronic health problems (such as cerebral palsy), psychological disabilities or other physical disabilities



Page 5:


New Zealand research shows that approximately 6,000 children have significant behavioural problems before they even attend school


Page 6:


  • Truancy (reported in 8-12 per cent of 13-14 year olds)
  • Heavy and abusive cannabis use (reported in 10-15 per cent of 12-19 year olds)
  • Mental health issues (seven per cent of female students and three per cent of male students reported to have attempted suicide)
  • Criminal activity (8,000 Police apprehensions of 10-14 year olds in 2009/10)
  • Binge drinking (reported in 34 per cent of 12-17 year olds)
  • Early sexual activity and young pregnancies (4,552 births to teenagers in 2010)


New Zealand researchers suggest that at any one time 15 per cent of children (or 163,000 children aged under 18 years are particularly vulnerable. That is, without significant support and intervention, they will not thrive, belong or achieve. This figure is based on world-leading longitudinal studies that have followed children in Christchurch and Dunedin from birth to adulthood.


Within this 15 per cent are children who are significantly more vulnerable and at-risk of poor life outcomes such as learning and behavioural difficulties, mental and physical health problems, alcohol and drug dependency, criminal activity, imprisonment, poor education achievement and employability


Page 7:


Census 2006 figures show that 24 per cent of children 0-17 were maori, 12 per cent Pacifika and 10 per cent Asian


Page 28:


From available national statistics we know that 2,498 children (about fice per cent) entering school in 2010 had not participated in early childhood education and 15 per cent of children aged 0-4 years did not visit a GP in 2009 (for Maori tamariki the figure is closer to one-third)



Children going to school hungry 

"Earlier this week we saw media reports that 55,000 kids now go to school every day without breakfast” states Labour's Deputy Leader Annette King ‘Government in denial over rising poverty’, Labour Party, Fuseworks July 27, 2011).

According to the Child Poverty Action Group: “Every school day across New Zealand there are thousands of children going to school without breakfast," says CPAG spokespersonAlanJohnson.

"The reasons for this are varied and complex but our research indicates that low income and parents working long hours are at the heart of the problem, and that parental indifference or neglect, while a factor, are less of a factor than normally supposed.  But whatever the causes, children aren't to blame for their situation, and neither are their teachers and classmates who often have to deal with unfocused and sometimes disruptive children as a result of missed breakfasts” (Contact: Alan Johnson CPAG Co-director.  0274791958 ).


Children removed from parents



The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand citing a survey stated: “Many parents said their children had been taken away from them by Child, Youth and family and they had been denied custody or access (mhf discrimin report – Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand”


Figures released to the Herald revealed 42 babies were taken into CYF custody less than a day after their birth in the 2009/10 year - a total more than triple the year before. The article stated that ‘248 babies were taken into state custody in 2009/10, compared with 202 five years before’.

And that this ’sharp jump in the number of day-old babies taken into state custody has sparked fresh calls for an independent watchdog authority for Child, Youth and Family’ (‘Newborns in state care 'alarming'’, Jamie Morton, Jun 27, 2011).

 NZ youth OECD’s most disadvantaged


According to the NZ Institute, described as a leading ‘think tank’ states ‘New Zealand youth are more disadvantaged than in any other developed country. New Zealand is fourth-best in the OECD group for reading, numeracy and scientific reasoning. But we are the worst country for students dropping out of school early and staying unemployed (‘NZ youth OECD’s most disadvantaged’, Yahoo!, July 19, 2011).


29 August 2011: News from CPAG



Urgent action needed on Children's Health

Child Poverty Action Group calls on the government to put greater focus on families with children.  New data from the New Zealand Children’s Social Health Monitor shows children’s hospital admission rates for preventable diseases has continued to increase and that hospital admissions in 2010 were almost 5,000 higher than in 2007.  These are largely children from low-income and Maori and Pasifika households; and are often children in households reliant on an income-tested benefit.

CPAG spokesperson Dr Mike O’Brien says that New Zealand is in grave danger of repeating the mistakes of the 1990s, and losing another generation of young people to poverty-related illness. He says that instead of planning to get parents into jobs that may not exist, the government must immediately increase the assistance it gives low income families so they can provide for children now.    

“These figures leave no doubt that once again New Zealand’s policy settings mean children in the poorest households are bearing the brunt of unemployment, high food prices, and damp and overcrowded housing. The high price of fruit and vegetables is of particular concern as these are absolutely vital for children’s health but are likely to be cut back as families try to economise. We are punishing these children for something they have no control over. We can and must act to start to reverse this trend.

“The statistics clearly show that the households with children that have the lowest incomes are sole parent beneficiaries. Once again we call on the government to extend the In-Work Tax Credit, which is a payment for children, to all families with children. This would provide an additional $60 per week or more, money that could go to buying food, warming the house, or paying medical expenses.

“These children clearly cannot wait until the economy improves. These families need help now,” said Dr O’Brien. 


Associate-Professor Mike O'Brien,  CPAG Co-Director.

T: (09) 426 7788 | M: 022 523 0146











 (2) Tribal systems demand ‘unquestioning obedience’ and want to suppress any ‘bottom-up’ challenge.



The aim of the ‘tribal’ system is to crush individual and collective economic and social development. People with independent minds seeking truth, with leadership potential, can pose a ‘bottom-up’ challenge to the elites exposing their hegemony and human rights omissions in their favor.


There was mass exodus of New Zealanders. Estimates vary as to the numbers of New Zealanders who now reside outside New Zealand. It is variously given as between 700,000 and one million out of a population of 4.3 million (this included 100,000 Maori estimated in 2008 as residing overseas despite the Maori renaissance, ‘Maori overseas’, Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand). While, as described in the New Zealand tragedy, those at the bottom were terribly crushed and isolated and unless permitted to ‘speak out’ will just go elsewhere. The establishment employs numerous security guards to ensure people stay quiet.


According to the Australian Government department of immigration and citizenship as at 30 June 2009 an estimated 548,256 New Zealand citizens were present in Australia ( ). Although there are also significant numbers of New Zealanders living in the UK, the US and Canada (Statistics New Zealand based on 2001 data).

Kea New Zealand estimates there are one million New Zealanders living overseas. It has launched a global ‘census’ of expatriate New Zealanders, Every Kiwi Counts, aimed at connecting their estimate of one million Kiwis living overseas.

“New Zealanders living outside the country are some of our most talented people, and  already make a big contribution to the country’s future development,” says Sue Watson, Global Chief Executive of Kea New Zealand, which has 29,000 members around the world, states: “The OECD says New Zealand is the developed country with the highest proportion of its educated population living overseas. So connecting these people with home is arguably more important to New Zealand’s society and economy than any country of our type” (18 April 2011).

She was referring to research by Jean-Christophe Dumont (OECD) and Georges Lemaître, Counting Immigrants and Expatriates in OECD Countries: A New Perspective, OECD, Social, Employment and Migration Working papers, summary published 2005. This study found that among developed countries New Zealand has the highest proportion (24%) of its skilled workforce living outside the country, and that New Zealand is second among developed countries for expats holding tertiary degrees. Now New Zealand discarding ‘tall poppies’ and destroying the lives of many who were marginalized in society now seems to want them back.




(3) Tribal systems deny independent ‘bottom-up’ economic and social development and consequently people are unable to aspire above criminality and drug taking in times of unemployment:

(a) In 1998 there were two clandestine drug laboratories throughout the country. In 2006 there were 211 labs discovered. New Zealand, now has one of the highest addiction rates to methamphetamine in the world and methamphetamine is now the world’s worst drug problem, considered to be pandemic across the globe (MethCon Group Ltd

(b) According to the annual crime statistics violent crime increased by 9.2% in 2009 and disorder offending by 8% (Radio New Zealand News, 1 April 2010). Maori make up 51 per cent of the total prison population (Summary Record of the 2696 th meeting, Human Rights Committee, para 28, 15 March 2010).

(c) In November 2009 the Ombudsman's office revealed New Zealand children had the second-highest reported incidence of bullying in nearly 40 countries surveyed in a study.
   The study investigated year 5 pupils, including 5000 New Zealanders. The New Zealand children were reporting bullying incidents at double the international average, it found. (Child abuse remains unchecked, December 9, 2009, NZPA).

(d) Assault mortality, New Zealand is amongst the worst performers in the OECD, behind only Mexico, and the US, Finland and Hungary; life expectancy, 14th out of 31 countries; inequality, 23rd equal out of 30 countries (more youth in hardship than any other group) (nzahead, the New Zealand Institute, ;

(e) Police recorded 86,545 family violence incidents and offences in 2008; Police estimate that only 18% of family violence incidents are reported; half of all violent crime in New Zealand is family violence (Family violence is not OK, ). No international comparisons could be found.


(4) Tribal systems use social isolation as its major form of social control and this is particularly associated with mental illness:


(a) The Ministry of Health interviewed nearly 13,000 people for its in-depth Te Rau Hinengaro: The New Zealand Mental Health Survey, released in September 2006. It found that 46 per cent of New Zealanders will meet the criteria for having a mental disorder at some time in their life. Some 20 per cent had a disorder in the last 12 months. It found that 16% of New Zealanders have thought seriously about suicide (Controller and Auditor-General, Ministry of Social Development, http:// ).


(b) New Zealand now has 106, 910 more individuals are ‘too sick to work’ and in receipt of sickness and invalids benefits since 1985 (according to Broken Welfare, North&South, May 2000 the number was 31,090). In June 2009 the total number who are classed either as sick or as invalids is 138,000 (Controller and Auditor-General, Ministry of Social Development, ).


(5) Tribal systems are ‘top-down’ and strongly privilege higher social classes i.e. the focus of economic and social development of the State was on the middle classes and the Corporations:


(a) New Zealand remains a low wage economy, according to figures produced nationally and internationally. Statistics NZ’s last Census shows that around two thirds of New Zealand salary and income earners earn less than $35, 000 a year, says Business New Zealand employment relations policy manager Paul Mackay. This is evidence that wage inequality is growing: In 2000 a CEO could expect to earn eight times as much as the pay of the average worker. By 2006, the average CEO pay-packet was 19 times the average wage, according to a Sunday Times survey. (New Zealand as a low wage economy, 16 April 2007, ).


(b) On 1 April the adult minimum wage increased to $13 an hour, and for the training and new entrants (aged 16, 17) the rate is $10.40 (Department of Labour New Zealand, ). It can be seen that given this low waged economy young people have little chance of owning their own home (so why not just have a good time and forget about the future!). The average sale price of a house in New Zealand was $371, 555 in May (For people leaving the UK, June 11th, 2009, ). Homeownership rates are declining and private renting is growing. Census data reveals that between 1991 and 2001 the rate of homeownership in New Zealand fell from 74% to 68%. Rates have fallen for all levels of income, across all ethnic groups and most dramatically for the twenty and thirty-year-old age groups. There were 57,600 fewer owner-occupiers in those age groups in 2001 than in 1991. If these trends persist, the homeownership rate could possibly fall below 65% by 2011.This would mean that 80,000 fewer households would be homeowners than if the 2001 rate of homeownership applied. (Housing New Zealand, Area 3-Homeownership, The Changing Face of Homeownership ).


 (c) Proper figures on homelessness and food bank use, which are good social indicators, are hard to find. However, the Auckland City Mission estimates there are between 100 to 150 rough sleepers in Auckland (Auckland City Mission But this does not take into account the numbers living in their cars, garages, low standard boarding houses and living off the largess of friends and caring people.

Also there are no estimates available for the many beggars on the streets of Auckland. It also appears food bank numbers are up: For the April–June quarter, the Downtown Community Ministry (DCM) food bank has provided 164 more food parcels than for the same period last year.

DCM Community Project Worker, David Manuel says, “We have given out 715 food parcels to 238 people in the last three months. This is up from 551 parcels for the same period last year - a massive 30% increase.” (Press Release: Downtown Community Ministry, Foodbank Numbers Up, 4 August 2010,


There seems now to be an entrenched underclass which could be called New Zealand’s ‘untouchables’. In my view, while these people are kept alive they often have lives really not worth living.


Many visitors would notice that Auckland city, the biggest city in New Zealand, now resembles more of a retirement village.