Home > Dollars & Sense, Social Issues > Inside Child Poverty – Bryan Bruce asks…

Inside Child Poverty – Bryan Bruce asks…


Fathers in Sweden enjoying 9 months parental leave to look after their daughters.


“…  Here’s my challenge I will be sending to Housing New Zealand this week .

They own 70,000 properties. Why don’t they bulk buy electricity for those 70,000 properties so that the occupants can get cheaper power? It’s a win win situation.

Drier homes means better health for young kids. Means people won’t huddle together in one room to keep warm.. but it also means a dry house won’t rot and HNZ won’t have such a huge maintenance bill cause by mould and dampness.

I’ll let you know what CEO Lesley Mc Turk and the Minister for Housing Phil Heatley have to say.” – Bryan Bruce, Inside Child Poverty, 3 April 2012

Why not, indeed? If Comalco at Bluff could negotiate an absurdly low tariff for the power that they use to make aluminium, why can’t we – as a nation – do the same for low-income families?


Bluff aluminium smelter and Meridian in secret deal

The highly profitable Bluff aluminium smelter and Meridian Energy have signed the country’s biggest power contract, in a secret deal thought to be worth more than $5 billion over almost 20 years…

… Latest Companies Office reports show smelter company Rio Tinto Aluminium New Zealand made a $277 million profit last year, more than double the previous year’s gain.

… The new contract – understood to be about 4.7c a unit, about a quarter of the cost to the average home – covers the price New Zealand Aluminium Smelters will pay Meridian from the start of 2013 to the end of 2030, and will involve about 15 per cent of New Zealand’s power. ” – Source


It is not unusual for many other companies to negotiate bulk-buying deals. From Meridian Energy,


Rural co-operatives

We’re proud to be associated with New Zealand’s leading rural co-operatives.

We work closely with these groups to establish pricing, services and terms that specifically suit their members. If you belong to one of these co-operatives, you really need to be with us.


CRT Co-operative exists for one simple reason – to use the collective power of its shareholders to negotiate better deals and improve their individual profitability across all forms of agriculture.

The co-operative has a significant presence in the rural market with more than 25,000 shareholders who transact over $1 billion worth of business through the co-operative annually.

Meridian Mates Rates Pack

If you’re a member of CRT, you’re eligible for our Mates Rates Pack. This special deal includes an increased prompt payment discount of 12 percent (our standard discount is 10 percent) and a choice of variable or fixed term plans. We’ll also work with you to help find ways to reduce your electricity overheads. Source


As Bryan states, we’d be saving money in the long run, both in house maintenance, and fewer people with cold/damp-related diseases.

Considering how much profit powercos extract from every household and business in the country, we have no excuse not to do this.


Full Story


Making vast profits on the backs of society’s poorest is obscene.  This will have to be an issue for the incoming Labour-led government, post2014 (if not earlier). It will be a ‘litmus test’ as to how much Labour is really in touch with the under-class of New Zealand,


Full Story


If not, the Greens and Mana Party are waiting in the wings to assume that role. One way or another, this must be done.  Damp homes and sick children cannot be the face of New Zealand in the 21st Century. Not unless our long-term goal is to be the newest addition to the world’s  Third World Club.


Child with respiratory illness in Wellington Hospital. More than 25,000 NZ Kids are hospitalized year for chest infections spread by overcrowding and damp unhealthy housing.



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Inside Child Poverty

Children Against Poverty



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  1. Sharlene
    4 April 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Agree 100% with everything you’ve said, Frank!

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