Latta vs rich List

Nigel Latta’s TV programme on the New Haves and Have Nots has reignited the debate on inequality.

Eric Crampton counters the assertion inequality is growing:

. . . First, as noted last night, inequality has not been increasing. There was an increase from the mid 1980s through the early 1990s, and it’s been flat since then. Last night I put up the Gini time series, but that’s hardly the only measure of inequality. Let me here quote the Ministry of Social Development report:

Overall, there is no evidence of any sustained rise or fall in inequality in the last two decades. The level of household disposable income inequality in New Zealand is a little above the OECD median. The share of total income received by the top 1% of individuals is at the low end of the OECD rankings.

That’s one of their big bolded summary findings. Inequality is flat, we’re hardly out of line for the OECD, and whatever you think about inequality in NZ, it’s not being driven by the top 1%. . . .

Whether or not he read that, Latta added to the debate with a Facebook post:

And… for all those people out there who dispute the fact that inequality has been steadily increasing in this country… and who argue the ins and outs of the statistics from the most recent Household incomes survey… and even the man on Newstalk ZB who just said the episode was all just “socialist propaganda”… well, all those people might be interested in the fact that in the latest National Business Review Rich List Survey the collective wealth of our rich-listers has more than doubled since 2004 from $22.3 billion to $51.2 billion in 2014.

You can call that any one of a number of things, but I don’t think you can look at those numbers and say that inequality has been “stable” since the 1990’s.

So, you know, there’s that.

To which responds:

. . . Meantime, is the Rich List 2014 exhibit A for growing inequality?

It’s worth noting the Rich List isn’t stuffed with cigar-chomping bankers or sweat shop owners or other Dickensanian characters.

Take the wealthiest new entrant, Ian McCrae (Orion Health) or Rod Drury (Xero) who had one of the biggest jumps in personal wealth this year.

Both of these sell-made CEOs have roughly doubled their software companies’ workforces from around 400 to more than 800 a piece over the past 12 months. 

Those are high quality jobs. As are the 1500+ employed by Rich Lister John Holdsworth at Datacom, which has shot up the TIN100 rankings to become our second largest high tech exporter (just ahead of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, founded by the Rich List Paykel family).

Companies on the TIN100 (and NZTE/Callgahan Innovation-backed list of our largest high tech companies) piled on staff last year — and would have added more if not for a skills shortage. The TIN100 is stuffed with NBR Rich Listers too numerous to name, but it includes Sir Peter Jackson, and the Gallagher Family.

Many make a broader contribution. Xero has fostered a shoal of smaller NZ software companies that support its platform. Holdswoth and Morgan each invest in dozes of startups, as does another Rich Lister Sir Stephen Tindall (and there are many other examples of investing in new businesses; I’m just pulling a handful from the tech scene). Morgan is also investing further afield including multiple projects in Africa aimed at creating sustainable businesses. 

It’s also worth noting that Drury and McCrae’s companies are barely gouging and exploitive by nature. Xero will only succeed against rivals if it makes it easier for small businesses to do their books. Orion Health has had wins around the world for its software, which among other things makes it easier for healthcare providers to put patient records online and share them others who need access. But its biggest success as been in the US on the back of the Obama reforms which have made healthcare more accessible. Orion is helping to make our hospital system work better too. That’s a good thing.

It’s true Rod Drury’s wealth has increased four-fold over the past couple of years, but it’s not like he got there by reaching into workers’ back pockets. It reflects the value that NZ, Australian, US and other investors have ascribed to his company’s shares.

Drury and McCrae have also made useful contributions to the debate around ICT infrastructure and public education., among other areas.

Not all Rich Listers have made such active investments in terms of employment or otherwise contributing to the economy. Some have merely seen the value of properties increase over the past year, with mixed results for middle and working class NZ. And not ever retailer on the Rich List is about to get a medal from the CTU. But it’s notable that the largest retailer, Sir Stephen Tindall’s The Warehouse, introduced a living wage programme over the past year (or Career Retailer Wage as the chain calls it). There are counter examples, but across the Rich List there are lots of examples of good jobs being created and even, like Sir Stephen, a few examples of closing the gaps.

Most wealthy people are wealthy because they have worked hard and taken risks.

They have earned their wealth and most have made a positive contribution to both the economy and society in doing it.

A very few might have got ahead at the expense of others but most get ahead by creating wealth which not only helps them it also helps others, by creating jobs and providing goods or services.

There is no doubt there are people in dire circumstances in New Zealand but the statistics on how many and comparisons with others don’t matter nearly as much as the people who are in need.

The easiest way to reduce inequality is to make the rich poorer but that won’t help the poor.

The real problem isn’t the gap between rich and poor but whether those at the bottom have enough and how easy, or difficult, it is for them to improve.

Some in immediate need require immediate direct help.

The key to helping the rest is improvements in their education, health, and helping those who could work but aren’t to move from welfare to work.

38 Responses to Latta vs rich List

  1. Psycho Milt says:

    So, which is it? Are you with Crampton in saying inequality hasn’t actually increased, or are you with Keall in trying to justify the increase? Or is your position “It didn’t happen and anyway they deserved it?”

  2. homepaddock says:

    None of the above. Regardless of the gap and whether it’s changed, what matters isn’t who’s got how much but whether everyone has enough.

    Clearly some don’t have enough and helping those who can help themselves to do so and ensuring those who can’t are protected is where the energy and solutions must be directed.

  3. JC says:

    I’m with the people who are dealing with the numbers all the time and are reproducing them officially. That means inequality is flat over both Nat and Labour Govts for up to two decades and is in line with OECD averages in several important areas.

    I’m also against anyone who deliberately scews his programme by excluding emphatic evidence that inequality is not increasing.


  4. Andrei says:

    Most wealthy people are wealthy because they have worked hard and taken risks.

    They have earned their wealth and most have made a positive contribution to both the economy and society in doing it.

    The secularist form of Brian Tamaki’s prosperity gospel.

    There is an element of truth to this of course but it isn’t a truth with a capital “T” – or anything near it.

    The people who are well off are that way because they contribute more?

    Or because they were born with a silver spoon?

    Or because they were granted body beautiful?

    Or because they are better scam artists?

    Sometimes the difference between a successful businessman and a Mafia Don is hard to detect.

  5. homepaddock says:

    Andrei – A few people are born into wealth, a very few might become wealthy through luck and a few do it illegally.

    I know a few in the first category and am fortunate to know no-one in the 2nd and 3rd.

    But I do know a lot of people who are well off as a result of their own efforts. None were born with silver spoons, none of them are wealthy because of how they look and none who are scam artists.

    There is an element of luck in life – good and bad. Anyone I know who is well off has had their share of both, the difference between them and those who don’t succeed is they’ve worked hard to overcome the bad luck and make the most of the good.

    That doesn’t mean everyone who works hard becomes wealthy, but very few will become wealthy without hard work.

  6. Southern says:

    I don’t know many rich people who are self made, only Doctors with their own practice. Most wealthy people had it given to them by mum and dad and then they either grow it or blow it.

    Thing is, people like Latta make it sound like something that is just happening now, maybe they should read more than just their text books and they will see the gap has been there for hundreds of years. Remember that wee thing called slavery, there was a bit of a gap then ah. All that has changed is things are better reported, better viewed and people like Latta has better platforms to preach from!

  7. TraceyS says:

    Andrei, I wonder, did you consider that some people are better off because they are talented or naturally skilled and know how to make the most of these things? Take Nigel Latta as an example.

    Through my time I have met many adults and children who are dirt poor but are amazing writers, cricketers, singers, runners, or superb networkers. Some are incredibly beautiful, or have terrific physical strength, and others are amazing at making friends and influencing people. Many I would even class as gifted, some exceptionally so. In general, I haven’t observed that people with tangibly less are any less talented. They just don’t have the same advantages open to them to develop and use what god gave them. And that is where the focus should be shone – equality of opportunity.

    Here is a true story of inequality of opportunity:

    As a child I was identified as an “exceptional” student by a primary school teacher (although he didn’t tell me). He told my Mum and she didn’t know what to do with that information so she finally got around to telling me when I was 36. It didn’t matter because in the one year he taught me for he instilled in me a faith that my potential was limitless.

    At high school nobody ever discussed university with me – ever – not once. This despite coming second in my class in Form 1. The girl who beat me went on to become a doctor. When my School Cert results came in the Science teacher was congratulating a group of girls on their results then she looked at me over her glasses and just frowned with a look of disgust that said “you fluked it”. She didn’t speak a word and she didn’t have to. Perhaps I didn’t deserve it either. I had not written beyond the title page in my exercise book that year, that’s how early on the tuning out had occurred.

    University wasn’t presented as an opportunity because, little to my knowledge, I’d been judged by my parents’ status in the community. Everyone was focusing on whether I was getting lunch, whether there was violence at home, and things like that that I felt were none of their business. Yes I had lunch every day – it wasn’t great but it was something. No I wasn’t experiencing violence at home. We were poor, very poor – I mean not as poor as John Banks was growing up – but poor enough to be really cold in bed on winter nights.

    Nor did anyone at home ever mention university or even polytech. I’m not sure my parents even really understood what it was all about. I was expected to pass school cert and get married before having a baby (in this order). Sexually transmitted diseases and drugs were to be avoided and I was cautioned against appearing “hard” which to my mother meant smoking, using too much makeup, and coarse language. That was it. Oh and no tattoos! Pretty much everything else was OK.

    I was never expected to live my life any differently to the way my parents lived theirs. But it is alright with them that I did. And at the age of 20 when I was earning two times what my mother earned in her laundry job was there any guilt from me or envy from her? Absolutely none at all! Amazing considering that we were working for the same organisation and her job was incredibly hard physically. Mum had other skills and could have used them. I encouraged her to. When she finally got a better job she quickly decided it wasn’t for her and went back to the same kind of work she had been doing. That was her choice and I respected her for it.

    You see there is nothing else as important as being able to make your own choices in life. Being born into a poor situation should not be a life sentence. People should be free to choose to live as they were brought up or not if they so choose. This means that they need equal opportunity to get skills, education, or develop their talents and abilities to their utmost potential.

    I fail to see how focusing attention on the unattainable advantages of the rich will achieve this. The focus must be on the unattainable opportunities of the poor. And in this regard, the intangible attitudes of the influencers in society (teachers, community leaders, families, policy makers) is at least, if not more, important than the tangibles which can be measured in dollars and cents.

    To end this I would like to say that “Psycho Milt” bothered me with what he wrote: “Or is your position “It didn’t happen and anyway they deserved it?” Why does she have to have a position? Why must you categorise her or her views?

    Forcing people to adopt positions, putting people in this camp or that camp – this is prejudice. Prejudice limits people no matter which box it puts them in; rich poor or otherwise.

  8. Marc Williams says:

    Thank you Tracey, well said. I think NZ may be the best country in the world to enable everyone to have an opportunity to succeed. I only watched a bit of the Nigel Latta documentary, but what I saw was fairly depressing – I turned off after a woman was explaining how all our problems would be solved if only all those “billions” of taxes being avoided by the big companies were more vigorously pursued by the IRD. I don’t blame Nigel for the balance of the program – he doesn’t actually submitt the final product. But I do question the motives of the Producers and Director. Who were they by the way? Knowing them may be the most revealing “fact” about why the program was so unbalanced in my opinion.

    By the way, does anyone know someone given a job by a poor person? Sometimes, when things go wrong, they end up poor, but that was never the intention. This criticism of wealth is so bizarre – poverty will be the direct result of eliminating it.

  9. Andrei says:

    Tracey you miss the point

    I believe in the “equality of opportunity” with all my heart and soul – delivering it. now there’s the rub

    No my point is that people are very good at self deception and thus tend to see something that advantages them personally as being for the benefit of all

    And that the advantages they enjoy in life have come about because they have some inner virtue.

    In this world there will always be inequality, it is unavoidable.

    How we deal with it and how we deal with other people is what really counts.

    It’s a values thing Tracey and as this discussion illustrates as a society we value material prosperity, i.e. money, above all else and ,subconsciously perhaps, measure a man’s worth by what he has or doesn’t have

  10. homepaddock says:

    Southern – I am fortunate to know self-made people – several are farmers who came up the hard way through work like shearing or share-milking; some had urban businesses careers and they used any excess to save or invest wisely; a few started in trades and got their own businesses; one started as a carpenter, got into insurance and very quietly gives away huge amounts to help others. . .

    Tracey, thank you for your contribution.

    Marc – “By the way, does anyone know someone given a job by a poor person? ” – good question which highlights the importance of job creation which depends on business success which can, lead to personal wealth.

    Andrei – “In this world there will always be inequality, it is unavoidable.

    How we deal with it and how we deal with other people is what really counts.”

    You are right about this but not the conclusion in your next paragraph:

    “It’s a values thing Tracey and as this discussion illustrates as a society we value material prosperity, i.e. money, above all else and ,subconsciously perhaps, measure a man’s worth by what he has or doesn’t have.”

    It is a values thing but this discussion isn’t about valuing material prosperity above all else.

    The discussion was sparked on the programme which is concerned about inequality.

    That has become one of the preoccupations of what Bill English calls the measuring class. But the difference between rich and poor isn’t the problem, it’s whether those at the bottom have enough (although exactly what that is, is debatable) and how to help those who haven’t got enough.

    That this is about material welfare doesn’t in anyway discount the important of morals and values.

    What and how much you have, in material or other senses, doesn’t make you good or bad, it’s what you do with it.

    I had a Presbyterian upbringing in both the religious and practical sense. My parents were not as poor as Tracey’s but they had little to spare for anything but necessities. They instilled in my brothers and me the values of hard work, personal responsibility and the importance of doing as we’d be done by. That included the imperative to help ourselves when and where we could and the responsibility to help others in need.

    That a discussion focuses on material things doesn’t mean they are most important.

    I know people who have worked at least as hard as wealthier people but have not had the same material rewards because of the choices they’ve made. That in itself doesn’t make them better or worse because as you rightly say it’s how we deal with others that really matters.

  11. Andrei says:

    So how many boilermakers are in the National Party Caucus Ele?

    How many ex Hillside Workshops Boilermakers are in that Caucus?

    Is the Labour Party Caucus any better?

    Looking at the makeup of the National and Labour parties caucuses goes a long way to explaining why Lawyers and Accountants prosper while boilermakers might languish on the dole IMHO

  12. Gravedodger says:

    One uptick seemed sooo inadequate Tracy, good on you.

    I started watching Latta’s effort and got a little way past Hugh Fletcher’s contribution, was it the only or the first?
    SWMBO who is more laidback and forgiving than me gave up first.

    Born with a silver spoon, jesus wept, more like a solid gold five tonne excavator and with his missus collecting in my view a grossly excessive salary as the CJ.

    Ultra rich socialists have me reaching for the gripe water not because of envy, havn’t got time, energy or inclination for such wasted emotive crap.
    Entirely down to, if they feel they have a right to preach, first give it all away then after they have gone a little way along the road in bad shoes, hungry and crestfallen give it your best shot, I might just give it five minutes of my time that I could have been supping from my half full glass.

    Funny that such emotive, shallow, carefully presented crap emerges from the State Broadcaster in the run up to the election. Last time it was the equally propaganda driven drivel from Bryan Bruce.

    Selling it is not the answer, currently TV 3 and Radio from Can-West is just as bad.

    Make funding more contestable and responsive in matters of balance, grow a pair National stop funding terrorist rockets from my tax money.

    ps might get a glass of Pinot Noir and sit through it but might increase the contents insurance as my nice TV could be in danger.

  13. homepaddock says:

    Andrei – how many boilermakers have there even been in parliament?

    I don’t know any but Jo Hayes served her apprenticeship as an arc welder and several other Nats at least started their working lives working with their hands.

    Have a look at National’s candidates – I think you’ll find more there who at least started their working lives working with their hands and with a greater variety of careers than you will in Labour’s line-up; and most came from modest backgrounds.

    While what they did before entering parliament is important, serving their constituents and the country well while there is even more so.

    Knowing when to go and having something to go to after parliament is important too and again National does much better at that than Labour.

  14. RBG says:

    TraceyS’s life story yet again! I wonder what Nigel Latta would make of her regular boasting of how she got where she is today. We haven’t heard policy details about National’s plans to help low wage workers, perhaps they plan to send TraceyS on a speaking tour to inspire the poor.

  15. homepaddock says:

    RBG – many of us use personal anecdotes, Tracey’s is relevant to the post, your criticism is personal and unwarranted.

    National’s policies are business and people friendly, making it easier to employ more people and pay them better and taxing them less.

  16. Gravedodger says:

    Perhaps RGB you could give us something as revealing about your background as that which Tracy gave us.
    It sure gives credibility in spades wheras You apparently base your opinions on lernin not that that ever stopped an OPMs advocate telling what the peasants what they should do.

    You clearly missed Mr c’s email about concentrating on the issues.

  17. Andrei says:

    Well look who the long suffering taxpayer is giving a helping hand to today – Auckland’s Glitterati surprise surprise

  18. homepaddock says:

    Andrei – I’m not going to try to defend that. Even party loyalists like me have to agree to disagree on some policy.

  19. JC says:

    I had a look back through my Bookmarks and was surprised to find over 20 links to reports on inequality.. its obviously been a bit of a fad in the last year or two.

    I remember the odd detail from most of them but for simplicity its reasonably easy to say that Eric Crampton’s latest covers most of the bases especially when you look at all the links he and other NZ economists have supplied.

    Basically we can say that NZ scores pretty damned well on most equity scores and have nothing to be ashamed of there.

    We do have a problem with our “long tail” in education and an usual skew in universities where we perhaps underfund the university itself in favour of making it easy for students. In the economy thats just about here now there wont be much room for many more lawyers, accountants and BAs in political science and something of a gulf between secondary schools and skilled trades.. I’d cut student funds to university in favour of trade type schools like Germany. We would reduce the need for migration to fill the trade gaps we have and reduce such programmes as WFF.


  20. TraceyS says:

    RBG, what things have I “boasted” about achieving? A higher-tertiary education? A happy family life? Choices regarding present and future? Independence (financial and personal)? Gosh, I never knew that these are such terrible things to attain that they should not be openly and freely shared! Should you decide to post your own story I would gladly read it and not judge you for being open, transparent, and forthright. People need to tell their stories. Some need to listen more.

    I recently had the good luck to hear Wiremu Edmonds and his wife Marsella tell their stories.
    Proud they are – and they let us all know of their many achievements. So should they be proud too. Marsella spoke of the high sales she achieved in her job after the tragic death of their son. Was she boasting? Hell no! Success is a double-edge sword when it comes about though pain or struggle. Wiremu spoke of his achievements on the back of his PhD (Pig Hunting Degree).

    Their story struck a chord with me (sorry her comes another personal anecdote) because my father was struck by a tree which broke his body to pieces when I was about nine years old. There was no sick leave, ACC or anything because he had irregular working arrangements. Our family was severely affected by hardship. We had no savings, no family help, nothing to fall back on. Eventually he won a payout from ACC but in the meantime we ate and were clothed off the proceeds of anything that could be sold including any family items handed down to Mum.

    One of the messages Wiremu got across was “we don’t need politicians” to help improve safety “we don’t need unions”. We know what to do without being talked down to. I suspect this is the same when it comes to poverty…we don’t need politicians telling us how to address it and we don’t need the unions doing it ether. We know.

    The best thing that policy makers, or TV presenters, could do to address poverty is listen to those who know how to get out of it. I didn’t see that in Nigel’s documentary. Oh, and politicians should ensure there is not depravity for those who want to stay right where they are. Not everyone wants to chase goals of a financial nature but they are valuable members of society nonetheless.

  21. Gravedodger says:

    RGB 4 hours and 30 minutes and a big fat silence????

  22. RBG says:

    Sorry to keep you waiting Gravedodger, but some of us still have to work. Late lunch today, late finish, now I have some online time and that’s as much personal stuff I’m prepared to share today. Not boasting says TraceyS, but whether the subject is education, labour relations or welfare, we get told over and over about she overcome a disadvantaged background and paid off the mortgage. Whether it is John Key, John Banks or TraceyS, personal success stories don’t help those who are currently disadvantaged, because the message is ‘I got here thanks to my cleverness and hard work, so those of you who are still poor must be stupid and lazy’. Maybe that’s not what you intend to say TraceyS, but thats how it comes across. It sounds like you use your personal success story as justification for a government not to increase support for the disadvantaged today.

  23. Southern says:

    Hey Andrei – my bro in law is ex Hillside. I know plenty of his mates who are and they are all pretty much centre right, and well off. The redundancies help them to start businesses, pay off debt, do well in general.

  24. Mr E says:

    That might be how it comes across to you RBG, but not me. I have only felt admiration for Tracey and her achievements.
    Then again I have never been a poppy chopper. I wonder what drives you to such behaviours.

  25. Roger Barton says:

    Observation would lead me to conclude that RBG is very keen to help the disadvantaged by issuing them other peoples’ money. The solution to everything. Tracy’s mode of operation is clearly wrong in RBG’s world. Just get with it Mr E!

  26. RBG says:

    I do not say that being able to work and educate yourself out of a disadvantaged start is wrong, you lot twist and distort things. But I do question what (almost) weekly re-telling of the story does, it sounds like boasting and does not offer solutions to current issues. As for ‘other peoples money’, the best example of someone benefiting from that is our ex-financial trader PM.

  27. homepaddock says:

    RBG – you criticised Tracey for telling her own story. Other commenters find it inspirational and so do I. When I was dealing with the lives and deaths of my sons who had profound disabilities I found it very helpful to read about other people who had dealt with similar and different adversities. Tracey, and anyone else, is very welcome to use personal anecdote in comments, at the very least hers show she is talking from experience and that experience can help others.

    I see solutions in her stories – don’t let yourself be dragged down by circumstances and that education, work and saving can lift you from poverty.

  28. TraceyS says:

    We often hear it said that highly successful people work worked their way there from a tough start are outliers and it is unrealistic to expect others to follow in their footsteps. Richard Branson is a good example of someone disadvantaged by dyslexia. It doesn’t mean that everyone with dyslexia can achieve what he has. This is the danger of holding up wildly successful role-models.

    But what about moderately or even modestly successful role models? Why can we hold up such people and listen to their stories? In New Zealand these people typically lie low and prefer to blend in rather than stand out. But why can’t they be identified and their methods explored and shared with others? How about a doco about ordinary New Zealanders who came from a really tough start who have turned out modestly well? There’d be tens of thousands to choose from. Sound boring does it? But to me taking their stories and advice is a far better idea than taking their money and spreading that around.

    What can happen with money is it just disappears very quickly. My father’s share of the house money was gone within a year after the family home was sold. Another relative won first division in Lotto (seriously) and they are right back where they were. Money doesn’t solve all the problems. If it did, we would have no poverty.

  29. TraceyS says:

    *who* worked.

  30. Gravedodger says:

    Quite so TraceyS,
    ” Money doesn’t solve all the problems. If it did, we would have no poverty.”

    That is the wiffy sausage in the socialists souffle, many who understand such things, world wide, consider our welfare one of the most generous and yet our problems seem intractable.

    I wonder what people will say when the suffocating degenerating effects of our welfare blanket are thrown back and citizens revert to helping their neighbour, pulling themselves up without standing “In” the bucket, realising free money was just taken from that neighbour, working is more rewarding than lying on a couch with a stubbie of beer and children are the most precious asset any parent possesses.

    It is a poverty of spirit, aspiration, self responsibility and self reliance.

  31. RBG says:

    You suggest a documentary about people who have worked their way out of poverty TraceyS, perhaps I wasn’t too far off the mark when I joked sending you on a speaking tour might be part of National’s policy to help the poor. What gets me is that you lot have decided that what would benefit the disadvantaged most is advice, that’s bloody patronising! Some of TraceyS’s family are useless with money and Gravedodger declares beneficiaries to be lazy drunks so that means we can pretend NZ doesn’t have a problem with inequality and just blame the poor (as per usual)

  32. TraceyS says:

    May I ask… are you disadvantaged yourself RGB?

    If you are not, then are you assuming, on behalf of those who are, what is patronising to them and what is not?

    I think there’s a word for that beginning with “p”. You know it.

  33. RBG says:

    Why don’t you pop down to the local foodbank TraceyS and ask them whether they’d rather you gave a donation or an inspiring talk. Find out which they’d consider patronising.

  34. TraceyS says:

    I’m sure the foodbank would be enriched if you wanted to stay for the day and talk and listen to people as they came in. It’s not about giving advice, but sharing ideas, smiles, skills, understanding, and hope. Is that better than waltzing in, handing them a $50 note, then carrying on your merry way? I reckon it is. But there’s no reason why someone can’t do both.

  35. RBG says:

    I’ve worked at a foodbank TraceyS. Your suggestion that ‘sharing ideas, smiles, skills, understanding and hope’ is better than money is patronising bullshit.

  36. Mr E says:

    “I wonder what Nigel Latta would make of her regular boasting”

    “it sounds like boasting”

    “I’ve worked at a foodbank TraceyS”

    Tracey mentions the P word – I would like to mention the H word

  37. TraceyS says:

    Ok, RBG, so you don’t want volunteers turning up offering any help they feel willing and best able to offer? That’s a bit sad!

    We didn’t have foodbanks when I was a kid, but we did still have (and need) charity. It just happened in a different manner back then. People would come round home and drop things off – clothes, food, necessities. A neighbour used to give us matted hand-knitted jerseys that she had shrunk in her new automatic washing machine. It would have been a crime to make anyone wear them so Mum pulled them down and used the wool to reknit with. One time she made dresses for us out of some curtains she was given. Some of the items were of better quality. But it’s her imperfect support, friendship, company, and connection that I saw Mum valued the most. Eventually one of the neighbours who was in a supervisory role helped Mum get a job. It was cleaning, but a regular income, and just what she needed.

    I realise that well-meaning people sometimes get it wrong and inadvertently insult others when they are not meaning to. Maybe I’m guilty too? I don’t know. This is something I saw over and over again growing up. But they were at least trying to help. Dad looked at those with money enviously but over time we saw fortunes change and I realised that all is not what it seems when it comes to money and material possessions. There is an enormous difference between money and value.

    I’ve never volunteered at a foodbank but do give a substantial amount of my time to unpaid work in my community and also make donations of money and we give away excess food we grow. I certainly do have the skills to make soup in a soup kitchen but I’ve got other skills which would cost more if someone had to buy them so I offer those instead because it seems the best way to make a difference. If you think this is patronising then I feel very sorry for you and would hesitate to say that it is not helping the disadvantaged to turn your snobby nose up to any sort of help because you prejudge that help as patronising on their behalf. Let them be the judge.

  38. Southern says:

    It would appear TraceyS that in RGB’s world, one is not allowed to be successful in business and thus employ people, keeping them out of the food bank.
    Maybe he needs to jump in a time machine and go and live in Soviet Russia, communism worked really well for the peoples there…..

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