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# 223512 3-Oct-2017 13:56
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In discussions about prison reform, social welfare, and similar issues, Finland is often cited as an example of how things should (or at least could) be done. Now the latest example, according to this RNZ article, is how Finland has eliminated homelessness. They have accomplished this by doing what seems blindingly obvious: They have given homeless people homes.

 

Instead of shelters, temporary accommodation, motels, police cells, vouchers, or whatever, they have just built homes and put people in them. What a revelation! Instead of trying to offer different kinds of ‘support’, the Finns seem to have decided that what is really needed is just housing. Once that is sorted then they see what other support may be needed to keep vulnerable people in those homes. This approach seems to be working. According to the article, there are no more rough sleepers in Finland.

 

What strikes me about this is the very different way Finland seems to approach this and other social welfare issues. In English-speaking countries, including New Zealand, we seem to have a ‘blame’ culture. This is just my impression. I haven’t conducted specific research on it. But there is also an item on the same RNZ page about a beneficiary who committed suicide after being threatened with prosecution by MSD for fraud. And the MSD annual report loudly proclaims "where we find evidence of fraud we prosecute," which seems to jump immediately to a conclusion of criminal intent with zero willingness to consider any other possible moderating circumstance.

 

People are quick to blame victims here. Somehow, it must be their own fault. If you are in prison, if you are poor, if your children are deprived, if you are homeless, if you are on drugs, if you are a beneficiary, you only have yourself to blame. You have a weak character. You are mentally deficient. You are morally inferior.

 

So why should we spend our hard-earned money helping others who only have themselves to blame? They got themselves into their mess. Let them get themselves out.

 

Well, one reason might be that Finland has a far, far smaller prison population than we do, and their crime rate is also lower. So it costs them a lot less. Another reason might be that since they have given homes to the homeless, they have discovered that also is saving them money. Maybe if we could just get over our need to punish people, we might actually find that there is a better way of doing things. It is something worth thinking about.





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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  # 1876731 3-Oct-2017 15:04
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Thanks for this @Rikkitic I will read it later. 





Mike
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  # 1876738 3-Oct-2017 15:27
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It would require the Government to override local planning laws to stop NIMBY objections,

 

It would be reasonably easy for the govt to do this, but there is significant political risk, and politicians don't like risk + the local councils will feel bullied,

 

Not saying it should not be done, just that the rules around building houses are not simple.....


 
 
 
 


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  # 1876760 3-Oct-2017 16:20
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Rikkitic:

 

In discussions about prison reform, social welfare, and similar issues, Finland is often cited as an example of how things should (or at least could) be done.

 

 

Not trying to burst your bubble, but what are their tax rates again?


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  # 1876772 3-Oct-2017 16:38
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Wiggum:

 

Rikkitic:

 

In discussions about prison reform, social welfare, and similar issues, Finland is often cited as an example of how things should (or at least could) be done.

 

 

Not trying to burst your bubble, but what are their tax rates again?

 

 

 

 

Their bottom tax rate is 6.5% their highest tax rate is 31.75% , New Zealand's is 10.5% and 45% 





Mike
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The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

There is no planet B

 

 


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  # 1876782 3-Oct-2017 16:57
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And also .. Finland's GDP per capita is more or less the same as NZ's ~40k and they only have about $1 million more people. 

 

I think a key difference is that they are well invested in high value industry with income streams from IP and manufacturing (with large market on their doorstep).





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  # 1876784 3-Oct-2017 17:06
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Wiggum:

 

Rikkitic:

 

In discussions about prison reform, social welfare, and similar issues, Finland is often cited as an example of how things should (or at least could) be done.

 

 

Not trying to burst your bubble, but what are their tax rates again?

 

 

You really suit your nickname :-)


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  # 1876884 4-Oct-2017 00:28
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I heard the Finnish government minister on the radio, saying that high taxes was what enabled them to pay for it.

 

They pay 24% VAT, 23% mandatory pension savings and far greater taxes for fuel, alcohol etc that NZ as well as the income tax etc. and they also have some fairly wealthy oil companies there.

 

Finland also is one of the few remaining countries with a very homogenous population (it is, I think, the most homogenous in Europe) and that possibly has a lot to do with why they have fewer social problems, are more prepared to pay to help each other and so on.






 
 
 
 




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  # 1876929 4-Oct-2017 07:27
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I don't know if Finland can serve as a model for New Zealand. It just seems to me that we are often quick to think of reasons why something won't work, instead of looking for new approaches that might make them work.

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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  # 1876968 4-Oct-2017 08:37
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MikeB4:

 

Wiggum:

 

Rikkitic:

 

In discussions about prison reform, social welfare, and similar issues, Finland is often cited as an example of how things should (or at least could) be done.

 

 

Not trying to burst your bubble, but what are their tax rates again?

 

 

 

 

Their bottom tax rate is 6.5% their highest tax rate is 31.75% , New Zealand's is 10.5% and 45% 

 

 

You forgot to mention VAT, standard VAT rate is 24%. One of the highest in the world. Us kiwis moan and complain about 15%.

 

Other services like food have a reduced rate.


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  # 1877017 4-Oct-2017 09:28
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Wiggum:

 

MikeB4:

 

Wiggum:

 

Rikkitic:

 

In discussions about prison reform, social welfare, and similar issues, Finland is often cited as an example of how things should (or at least could) be done.

 

 

Not trying to burst your bubble, but what are their tax rates again?

 

 

 

 

Their bottom tax rate is 6.5% their highest tax rate is 31.75% , New Zealand's is 10.5% and 45% 

 

 

You forgot to mention VAT, standard VAT rate is 24%. One of the highest in the world. Us kiwis moan and complain about 15%.

 

Other services like food have a reduced rate.

 

 

 

 

Different rates? But that's too complicated!






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  # 1877133 4-Oct-2017 11:28
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Geektastic:

 

Finland also is one of the few remaining countries with a very homogenous population (it is, I think, the most homogenous in Europe) and that possibly has a lot to do with why they have fewer social problems, are more prepared to pay to help each other and so on.

 

 

Sadly, I think this is a big factor.  Racial disparity is a significant problem here. 

 

 





Mike



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  # 1877164 4-Oct-2017 12:10
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The issue isn't about cost. It is about what a society is prepared to pay to make a better society.

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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  # 1877165 4-Oct-2017 12:13
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What I found interesting in a recent trip overseas, was things were pretty tense in Paris. Some of that was 'percieved' just due to the recent terror attacks, but there certainly seemed to be some... friction between races there. Compare this to Singapore where things seemed so much calmer. People are getting on with their days. I don't think I heard a raised voice, despite considerable mix of races. 


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  # 1877168 4-Oct-2017 12:23
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Rikkitic:

 

The issue isn't about cost. It is about what a society is prepared to pay to make a better society.

 

 

And charity begins at home, which means people will rather put money towards the health/well-being of their own family/relatives instead of an increased tax, where government gets to decide on who really needs it, and how to spend it.

 

Personally I think NZ has a much better system than Finland. Plus, us kiwis are a generous bunch, and many of us already give to plenty of charities regardless. Fins are not a very generous bunch.


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  # 1877176 4-Oct-2017 12:39
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Rikkitic:

 

The issue isn't about cost. It is about what a society is prepared to pay to make a better society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That is a complete contradiction.

 

Out of interest, do you support a 9% increase in almost everything you buy, to support this initiative?

 

Do you understand that those struggling to make ends meet now, will also have to meet these extra costs, therefore likely raising the number of people who would become homeless?

 

 

 

 


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