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Parasites on Poverty Campaign - 10 Most Guilty

9 June 2005

Media Release:
Parasites on Poverty Campaign

The 10 Most Guilty MP’s

KEY
- Electorate
- Ranking on Average Personal Income of Poorest 10 electorates
(from Poorest to Wealthiest)
- Guilty MP
- Political Party

Mangere 1 Taito Philip Field Labour
Dunedin North 2 Pete Hodgson Labour
Wigram 3 Jim Anderton Progressives
Northland 4 John Carter National
East Coast 5 Janet Mackey Labour
West Coast-Tasman 6 Damien O’Connor Labour
Christchurch East 7 Lianne Dalziel Labour
Aoraki 8 Jim Sutton Labour
Manukau East 9 Ross Robertson Labour
Tukituki 10 Rick Barker Labour

  • These 10 MP’s represent electorates in New Zealand which have some of the lowest income communities in the country.
  • The Ministry of Consumer Affairs (March 2005 newsletter) says that some 15% of New Zealanders reported in a recent survey that “…they had borrowed for essential items such as paying for household groceries or to pay the power bill” Many of these people are in the electorates listed above.
  • Loan Sharks have mushroomed in the urban areas of our poorest communities over the past 2 years.
  • Figures also show higher densities of Pokie Machines in lower income communities than wealthier communities.
  • We are not aware of any of these MP’s having spoken out against the destructive effects of Pokies or Loan Sharks although Loan Sharks were a “one-day wonder” for Jim Anderton a couple of years ago but he has been silent while the parasites on poverty have raged out of control since then.
  • Some MP’s could count themselves lucky to have missed this Top 10. David Benson-Pope (11), George Hawkins (15), Chris Carter (17), Luamanuvao Winnie Laban (47), Trevor Mallard (50) all represent electorates where there are significant low income communities and where Loan Sharks and Pokie Machines are destroying families and communities.
  • At the other end of the scale the electorate with the highest average income is Epsom. Aucklanders will be aware that Loan Sharks, Pawn shops and Pokie Machines are not a feature of the urban landscape along Remuera Road, Parnell Road or in the Newmarket shopping centre.
  • Judith Tizard – Minister of Consumer Affairs – who represents the 4th most wealthy electorate is clearly out of touch with the reality of life in low income communities.
  • The deafening silence of our elected representatives concerning the mushrooming of Loan Sharks and the tens of millions of dollars sucked out each year from our lowest income communities through Pokie Machines is a signal that our MP’s are not representing the most vulnerable members of our community.

    These most vulnerable members are those on low wages/low income who cannot bridge the gap between family income and the money needed to keep the power on and food on the table.

    These are people with no choices who may make poor decisions re Pokies and Loan Sharks out of sheer desperation.

    We invite the 10 Most Guilty MP’s to declare their support for simple measures such as –


    (1) Loan Sharking

    a. A “simple English” loan form – translated as necessary – would be required for all lending (cash loans, HP purchases, car purchasing, credit cards, mortgages etc) This loan form would feature the amount borrowed; the total amount to be paid back; the finance rate (which includes interest charges and fixed charges) and the number, frequency and amount of repayments.
    b. Maximum finance rates would be set for all borrowing and related to the rate of inflation.
    c. Penalty rates for non payment would be set at the finance rate applied to the amount overdue.
    d. All commercial money lenders would be registered with all loan documents themselves registered (as occurs for bond payments in residency agreements)
    e. Failure to register and use the “simple English” loan form would remove any legal redress for a lender.
    f. A government funded education campaign for schools and the wider community with information on the dangers of debt and debt repayment.

    (2) Pokies

    a. Local communities (through local councils or local neighbourhoods) be given the power to refuse to have any Pokie Machines in their area through a community decision or a local referendum. (Currently local authorities have the power to ban NEW pokie sites but not those established before September 21 2001)
    b. A government funded education campaign for schools and the wider community with information on the dangers of Pokie Machines and the destructive impact of gambling

    ENDS

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