TL;DR: Richie Poulton, the director of the world-leading Dunedin longitudinal study showing how devastating poverty in early life is, died yesterday. With his final words, he lamented the lack of debate about solving child poverty in this year’s election debate.
Elsewhere in the news today:
Winston Peters promised to sack Jack Tame in an interview with Jack Tame;
Chris Hipkins is likely to have to dial in his election campaign appearances this week because he caught covid;
New Zealand’s farmers face massive Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) import taxes from the EU if a National-ACT Government fails to push up the carbon price over NZ$100/tonne; and,
National is planning to switch indexation of benefits back to price inflation from wage inflation to save $2b, but is ignoring potential savings of $12b if NZ Superannuation was also switched to price indexation.
Paying subscribers can see more detail below the paywall fold and more of my analysis in the podcast above.
Top five in our political economy this morning
‘What do we need to address most importantly? Poverty.’
Richie Poulton, the researcher behind the world-famous Dunedin longitudinal study, died yesterday at the age of 61. He is inarguably the most-qualified person to comment on the causes and effects of poverty in Aotearoa. John Campbell wrote an obituary via 1News that included Poulton’s final comments on poverty, and how it’s viewed in this election.
I asked Richie whether the study has shown if there’s one thing in childhood, perhaps above all others, that steepens the climb to a healthy and happy adult life.
“Poverty,” he said.
“What was most important about that original finding,” Richie Poulton told me, “was that you can't really undo what happens during childhood. So the experience of intense or regular poverty is long-lasting.”
Anyone familiar with Richie Poulton knows his capacity to describe the science of Dunedin’s longitudinal study in terms that are richly human. But on that August afternoon he was making it political, too.
“This is where my research enters the personal fray,” he said. “This election is not going to be focused on children in poverty, because we're bored of that. We're tired of that. We're sick of that. We've tried that, haven't we? Have we tried that?”
“Yet, what do we need to address really importantly, really importantly?” he asked, as if out beyond the waves now, looking back to a fading shore. And he answered his own question with a single word. “Poverty.” John Campbell’s obituary of Poulton via 1News
Here’s the longer piece aired last night on TVNZ’s Sunday programme.
The one where Winston Peters promises to get rid of Jack Tame
This is just plain ugly. It’s a trainwreck of an interview that piles into a car-crash in slow motion, with a bad imitation of a mafia don thrown in for bad measure as Winston Peters threatens to sack Jack Tame mid-interview.
‘Bugger’: ‘Chippy’ loses his ‘chipper’ to covid on the day voting starts
PM Chris Hipkins summed up how he felt about testing positive for covid yesterday in a social media post — “Bugger.” He’ll now isolate for five days or as soon as he tests negative, his office says. That means he’ll probably miss tomorrow night’s leaders’ debate in Christchurch hosted by The Press, the editor of which said they were looking at the logistics of possibly having Hipkins zoom in.
This was his second-to-last chance to land blows on National Leader Christopher Luxon before the election on the 14th (!). And voting starts today.
What failing to meet Paris targets and a low ETS carbon price means
Be careful what you wish for, is a lesson the likely incoming National-ACT Government should take seriously. It is going out of its way to promise fewer measures to reduce emissions and has been vague about how Aotearoa will meet its Paris Target Agreements. It has dismissed Labour’s suggestion that allowing the ETS to do all the heavy lifting by ramping up the carbon price.
But Christopher Luxon and Trade spokesman Todd McClay should have a look at what’s happening in Britain. It’s now dawning on Britain’s businesses that last week’s abandonment by UK PM Rishi Sunak of various emissions reductions measures and the nation’s zero carbon target will actually hurt them badly.
That’s because the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), which New Zealand’s exporters are also subject to through our FTA with the EU, works by taxing imports through the difference between Europe’s carbon price and the original destination of the imports.
Here’s the detail in these article, and there’s a chart below. British exporters face hefty EU carbon tax bill after Sunak weakens climate policies - FT-free
Europe’s War on Carbon Goes Global as Border Tax Comes Into Play Bloomberg-free
By the way, New Zealand’s carbon price is NZ$65/tonne (€37/tonne), which is less than half the European price currently of €85/tonne. ACT, in particular, wants to dump our adherence to Paris. Perhaps it will need to check with its farmer supporters first. RNZ
Why not apply the indexation change to all receiving benefits?
One of the features of National’s fiscal plan on Friday was the confirmation of a return to inflation indexation from wage indexation for people on the main benefits, but not New Zealand Superannuation. The measure saves $2 billion over four years. NZ Super at $19 billion per year is a vastly larger expense than benefits at $3.5 billion.
National could easily pay for its tax cuts by indexing NZ Super to inflation…just saying.
The unfairness could not be more obvious. Here’s what happened before benefits were indexed to wages, rather than inflation. It shows what happened to benefits for families with children.
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John Campbell: Poulton, poverty and the real way to get tough on crime. Sanction beneficiaries now and watch their children’s troubled lives unfold for decades. 1News
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‘They feed off each other’: Fluoride politics come roaring back with a post-Covid flavour. Fluoridation has convulsed local politics for decades. But a new law and post-Covid mistrust in public health measures are likely to bring the issue back to a town near you. The Press-$$$ Charlie Mitchell
If that’s the solution, was there ever a crisis? National released its fiscal plan on Friday, and its rescue recipe was mild, to say the least. Sunday Star Times-$$$ Vernon Small
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Cartoon of the day
‘We’ll only cut the benefits of parents by half. OK?’
Ka kite ano