The latest child poverty stats are out and nothing is changing…
Rising rents and mortgages are helping to push children below the poverty line as the Government’s welfare efforts are yet to make a significant difference.
The latest child poverty numbers show a slight reduction in the number of children living below most poverty thresholds.
But there has been an increase in material hardship, with 4100 more children living without such items as two good pairs of shoes, and fresh fruit or vegetables in the home.
…there are 3 reasons why the Politics of Kindness is failing children in poverty.
Legacy – NZ never recovered from Ruth Richardson’s Mother of all Budgets that slashed benefits and caused the entrenched poverty we live with now. Not many NZers know this, but the cruel logic Ruth Richardson applied was they worked out the minimum calorie requirements of an adult and set the benefit just below those requirements. The belief was that if you made beneficiaries hungry, that would incentivise them to go to and get a job.
We’ve never recovered from this spite as social policy decision and we live with that legacy today.
Cultural – The 36 year neoliberal experiment in NZ had to impact everything. Politics, economy and most importantly cultural. if you succeed, it is TOTALLY your own to use as you wish, but if you fail, well that’s your problem and the State doesn’t need to care for your poor choices. In practice the de-unionised working classes have had pittance instead of real wage growth so they look at the welfare payment with envy and this envy is manipulated by the Right into voting resentment.
Political – The neoliberal welfare agencies are there to terrify and destroy the vulnerable who are unlucky enough to need assistance. Punitive sanctions, debt loading and sadists staffing the offices of misery all combine to ensure there is enough fear to push the vulnerable away. Labour had no idea they had won the 2017 election and so had no 100 day plan in place to reform the toxic cultures inside the public service with a mass purge.
Labour’s cowardice to anger the Public Service unions is their main reason why their policy is gong no where. After a decade under National, these departments are riddled with right wing sadists who get glee out of denying the vulnerable.
Because Labour failed to purge, the same toxic neoliberal cultures exist and that is the major reason why no policy Labour are promoting is gaining any traction because the toxic neoliberal cultures just have to wait this Government out and go right back to the damage they cause under National.
If and it is a big if, IF Labour get a second term, purging those toxic cultures must be a priority or all they will do for another 3 years is pay lip service and spin to explain why poverty isn’t being reduced.