Child Poverty: Facebook Post Shows The Nats Don’t Care

By   /   September 13, 2017  /   10 Comments

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Maybe, the real problem is that privileged Young Nats have bought into the myth of meritocracy, believing that they own their successes and, by extension, the poor should own their failures.  

This cruel point of view completely disregards the cognitive ability and the circumstances that people are born into and the fact that most children born poor will remain poor and most people born rich will remain rich.

The Young Nats dug up the above letter from their archives and posted it on their Facebook page without acknowledging the fact that it was a repost from September 2014!!

Obviously, they are trying to blame lazy and irresponsible parents for children living in deprivation- another desperate and phony pre-election claim.

Recently Steven Joyce scored a spectacular own goal by dreaming up an $11bn hole in Labour’s budget. Perpetuating an old myth in order to mask the Government’s inaction on poverty is yet another own goal because it demonstrates the unwillingness of the Nats to understand and tackle poverty.

Young Nats mocking poor people

Did the Young Nats forget that their own leader has set a significant target for reducing child poverty? Doesn’t that, alone, prove that government policies matter and can make a crucial difference in levels of poverty in New Zealand?

It was precisely because of these types of ignorant arguments that, in 2015, child poverty experts, Jonathan Boston from Victoria University and Simon Chapple from Otago University, co-authored a book “The Child Poverty Debate: Myths, Misconceptions and Misunderstandings”.  

In their book, the authors debunked popular myths around the existence of poverty and its causes in New Zealand.

In reference to blaming lazy or irresponsible parents, the authors argued that the higher levels of poverty in countries like the US compared to Scandinavian countries, show that government intervention can make a difference, unless of course we are willing to assume that Americans are born three times stupider and lazier than Scandinavians.      

The increase in child poverty during the 1990s, when the benefits were reduced drastically, is another example of how policy impacts poverty.

Parents did not suddenly become more irresponsible in the 1990s. Also, it is the NZ Super that insures low levels of poverty among the pensioners, not the fact that people become less lazy on turning 65.

According to the authors, there is also evidence that “stress and anxiety caused by poverty are factors that contribute to poor parenting and harmful outcomes for children”.  

Maybe, the real problem is that privileged Young Nats have bought into the myth of meritocracy, believing that they own their successes and, by extension, the poor should own their failures.  

This cruel point of view completely disregards the cognitive ability and the circumstances that people are born into and the fact that most children born poor will remain poor and most people born rich will remain rich.

In medieval times the poor were referred to as “the unfortunate” for a good reason but the neoliberalists like to think of the poor as “losers”.    

The reality is that poverty hurts us all.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz argues that we all pay a price for poverty because of the impact that it has in so many aspect of our society: our democracy, our rule of law and our sense of identity.

Let’s hope, for the sake of our society, whoever gets into government next understands the importance of tackling poverty.

 

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About the author

Donna Miles

Donna Miles is a British-born, Iranian-bred, New Zealand citizen with a strong interest in human rights, justice and equality issues.

10 Comments

  1. Donna, is there a link to that Facebook post? I’d love to contribute a couple of points of my own…

  2. Priss says:

    “The Young Nats dug up the above letter from their archives and posted it on their Facebook page without acknowledging the fact that it was a repost from September 2014!!

    Obviously, they are trying to blame lazy and irresponsible parents for children living in deprivation- another desperate and phony pre-election claim.”

    The stench of entitlement is over-powering.

  3. WILD KATIPO says:

    … ” The stench of entitlement is over-powering ” …

    Regarding neo liberals , … it really blows me away that people actually do think like this , I never cease to be struck by it.

    How did we as a country ever let this sicko ideology gain such predominance ?…

    How could someone be that cognitively challenged that their own thought processes would cancel out on them and leave them only at the point of their own egos and gratification to the point of viewing others as somehow defective ?… don’t they have eyes to see others out there?

    Just bizarre.

  4. HC says:

    EQUAL RIGHTS for ALL, I’d say: The Young Nats should be given the same right and responsibilities as the poorest in our poor suburbs and schools, so their parents should only get the same income as the parents of the poor, so they can be as frugal and smart in using what they have to their avail.

    All else is a waste of time to discuss, make them poor, if they want the poor to be lectured, give them a first hand experience before they are allowed to do so, and if they do not like it, they should perhaps accept the poor need a lift in incomes, so they are more equal to the privileged, whose parents are working in well paid professions, in the office towers of the CBDs and in businesses they may run or work for.

  5. […] cash to pay for doctor’s visits. Shoes for children. Even lunch meals – which so many National/ACT supporters continually berate the poor for not providing for their kids – as Donna Miles reported on 13 […]

  6. Danyl Strype says:

    It’s probably true that people living on limited resources, under constant stress, sometimes make poor life decisions. If every child in this country had to start looking for a job the day they popped out of the womb, and put up with being sneered at and labeled “bludgers” until they did, everyone in the country would make a lot of poor decisions. So what?

    The whole point of having a society, instead of a country full of warring tribes, is that we can pool our resources to support people to make better decisions, and improve their situation. The more we do that, the less of our combined resources are wasted or under-utilized by bad decision-making. The more we lift people out of poverty and stress, the more of their time and attention they can put into finding ways to contribute back to the society.

    Austerity inevitably ends up costing the country more, not less. More surgeries and long-term health care that could have been avoided by early intervention. More imprisonments costs (both social and financial) that could have been avoided by maintaining a proper social safety net. More inpatient mental health care for people who could care for themselves, even work, with sufficient outpatient mental health care. Not only is it more human to care, it actually costs less and brings greater benefits. Austerity politics is a kind of infectious hallucination that makes people forget this.

  7. Amanda Vickers says:

    Can you please make the picture bigger of the fb comments. As they are they are unreadable, thanks

  8. Liberty4NZ says:

    If things keep going the way they are and the gap between rich and poor keeps widening, those million dollar smirks will be wiped off smartly when the people with the pitch forks come. I imagine it won’t be much fun having a multi-million dollar home if you’re a prisoner in it because you’re too afraid to go out. Did what happened in South Africa teach people nothing? New Zealand is in economic apartheid right now, and if we stay on this track the pendulum one day soon is going to swing too far.