Palmerston North, 8 November 2015 – In his speech to the Labour Party Conference Andrew Little said;
‘Most Kiwis believe we owe it to our kids to give them a better life than we had.
But this government has turned a blind eye to appalling rates of poverty in this country.
That’s why the children’s wards of our hospitals are seeing Kiwi kids sick with third world diseases.
It’s why Emma-Lita Bourne died in a state house because her home was mouldy and unhealthy and no one was willing to help.
We must never let anything like that happen again.
New Zealand, we are a better country than that.
We’ve got to turn the page on the last seven years;
We’ve got to turn the page on rising inequality, on child poverty, on the housing crisis and on cuts to our health system…
We still have 305,000 children living in poverty. 305,000.
2 out of 5 of those children have a parent who is working.
This can’t continue. It is unjust and it’s not who we are.
We all know this, but we’ve turned our backs for far too long.
Well, that ends today.
I’m committing our party to a new principle:
We will not tolerate poverty in New Zealand in the 21st century...
We’ll work towards 100% qualified teachers in ECE centers so every kid can get the best start in life.
We’ll feed hungry kids with our food in schools programme and we’ll make sure every child grows up in a warm, safe, dry home with our Healthy Homes Guarantee.’
[Re-published in-part via the Labour Party website]
Fine words. Words conveying a strong message.
Now Andrew Little needs to follow up those words of hope by doing something simple and at little cost to the tax-system; announce a new role of Minister for Children, and take on the position himself.
John Key has allocated the portfolio of Minister for Tourism to himself, and takes his role ‘seriously’ by regularly holidaying on the sun-drenched, warm-sands, of a Hawaiian beach. Nice for him. He gets a very nice tan out of it.
Andrew Little should do the polar opposite; take on the role of Minister for Children, and show the people of New Zealand where the priorities of a real Prime Minister should be.
Come the day after the next election, the plaque on the Ninth Floor PM’s office should read;
Rt. Hon. Andrew Little
Minister for Children
He’ll miss out on the suntan, but his reward will be true legacy-making stuff.
And better than a new flag, any day.
= fs =