Waatea News Column: Why is the Politics of Kindness failing our poorest children?

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The 2019 child poverty monitor report makes for grim reading…

  • 148 000 children in material hardship
  • 254 000 children live in low income families
  • 175 000 unable to afford healthy food
  • 100 lives lost each year because of this poverty.

Jacinda’s response to these statistics is glib. She argues that these numbers predate her new Governments attempts at poverty mitigation and that we won’t see the fruits of her harvest until 2020.

The problem for Labour is that the fundamental changes needed to be transformative simply haven’t happened in welfare. Labour are too politically frightened to do the things that must be done to eliminate poverty and those are…

  • 20% increase in benefits
  • tens of thousands more state houses
  • free breakfasts and lunches at all public schools

Labour can point to baby bonuses, increases in working for families and a winter electricity benefit but the soaring number of 14000 waiting for social housing and exploding food grants tell us that Labour have tinkered at the edges, they haven’t attempted to repair and heal this inequality.

The Politics of Kindness mean nothing if it is simply lip service. Jacinda keeps asking us to hold her to account.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Prime Minister, we want to hold you to account.
First published on Waatea News.

8 COMMENTS

  1. “20% increase in benefits
    tens of thousands more state houses
    free breakfasts and lunches at all public schools”

    Didn’t the welfare working group recommend a benefit increase closer to 50%? That’s what I remember from its report. Certainly, benefits have slipped seriously in cost of living terms since 1990.

    In any event, I agree with you. This country urgently needs a huge increase in the numbers of state houses. Forget Kiwibuild: the very poorest – of whom, and shamefully, there are far too many here – need state housing. And free food in state schools.

    Enough income, adequate housing and adequate food are fundamental human needs. In this regard, neoliberalism has inflicted terrible damage on our society since the 1980s.

    These are the things that this government should have done, and there is no excuse for it not having at least done some of it already. Raising benefits by the levels recommended, for instance.

    I’m not voting Labour at next election. What’s the point, if it cannot look after the most vulnerable?

    Kindness schmindness.

    • … ‘Enough income, adequate housing and adequate food are fundamental human needs. In this regard, neoliberalism has inflicted terrible damage on our society since the 1980s ‘…

      And yet we still have these neo liberal apes in charge in the main partys.

      Whats more, they care more about maintaining that status quo than our most vulnerable : our children.

      Michael Joseph Savage would be turning in his grave…

  2. Hey, at least the Greens have dropped their support for Labour’s “Fiscal Cap”. Surely the primary Parliamentary political struggle, bar Climate Action, is now rolling back Roger’n’Ruth’s neo liberal legacy which lives on daily in this Govt.

  3. Bernie Sanders Change never comes from the top down but from the bottom up.

    Bomber it is not just the benefit rates it is our poverty inflicted subservient wages and working conditions.
    And the Key – Joyce – English government worsened the situation with their slave economy immigration policy.
    This situation requires a counter revolution too the systems of 1984-1991 which is now the accepted orthodoxy right through the public service and the Labour party.

    The battle has begun overseas and Corbyn’s titanic struggle with that very system has shown how hard it is going too be too take back what was taken away forty years ago.

    The politics of kindness is just another slogan like the brighter future and climate change being this generations nuclear free moment to give the impression that we are doing something while in reality it is just a little tinkering.

    • Mosa: “….it is not just the benefit rates it is our poverty inflicted subservient wages and working conditions.”

      That it is. But it would not have been possible for successive governments, and employers generally, to drive down wages in the way that we’ve seen, were it not for the swingeing benefit cuts – for which Shipley and Richardson share responsibility, along with the pusillanimous PM Bolger for permitting it – of the very early 1990s.

      I’m pretty sure that I remember a commentator at that time, pointing out that the likely outcome would be the environment that we now have. And whoever it was turned out to be right. Prophets without honour in their own land, and all that…

  4. How about replacing all the useless bureaucrats with software?

    Cut all the ridiculous benefits like the Accommodation Supplement and Working-for-Families. Such benefits drive up rents and suppress wages. Reduce taxation for workers instead. The idea that government can spend workers money better than workers is ridiculous – probably sinful.

    There is far tooo much padding in the public sector. Just look at local councils and government working groups – cut, cut.

  5. There is a time lag. The report covers the National government NOT the current government. The report due out next year will only cover part of this government’s time in office.

    • Louis: “The report due out next year will only cover part of this government’s time in office.”

      Unconvinced. Benefit levels are WAY too low. Small wonder that we have the social problems which now afflict this country.

      The government ought to have acted on the welfare working group’s advice in respect of raising benefit levels. It has not; and there’s no indication that it has any intention of doing so.

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