Now I really am worried. Selling state houses is bad enough but a taking a ‘social investment focus’ to deal with child poverty?
“The Treasury will issue a Request for Information inviting submissions from people who work with vulnerable New Zealanders as well as others whose input might help us invest to get better results.”
Apparently the government needs help to find:
- Effective ways of identifying and engaging the children and families most at risk of poor education, criminal justice and employment outcomes.
- How existing services or support could be improved to deliver better outcomes for the most at-risk children and their families.
- Issues not currently being addressed that affect at-risk children and their families.
- New interventions, services or arrangements that could deliver better outcomes.
For issues not currently addressed they could take a look at any number of reports, eg Our Children Our Choice.
It is like the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff picking out only the children most seriously injured and ignoring the rest and ignoring the ones about to fall down the cliff. Working for Families was very selective like that. Only some of the 230,000 poor children were deserving enough to be helped adequately.
And don’t expect anything from the Government in the short-term.
“Information collected will be used to identify where existing government services can be improved, or where new localised or citizen-centred services can be trialled as part of Budget 2015. Initiatives could be funded through new spending or reprioritising existing expenditure.”
This is enough wriggle room to drive a bus through. Ominously trials, not real policy change are signalled. If there is any extra spending it will be only for the very poor, and most likely paid for by chopping off the meagre payments to those not quite so poor. That is called ‘reprioritising’.
The targeting approach is being taken to absurd depths. Worryingly, the inclusive policy of free visits to the doctor for all under 13 is inconsistent with this approach. Post-election, will a shrinking of the ‘budget surplus’ be blamed for a change of heart on this one? It would be nice to be wrong.