There are a lot of things I applaud in our current government. You only have to look at the carnage Covid 19 has been allowed to cause in countries such as the USA and the UK, for example, to realise that were it not for the decisive leadership our government has shown throughout this public health crisis many New Zealanders, perhaps me, perhaps some of you reading this post, would not be alive today.
But no government is perfect and this one certainly has a central flaw which it needs to address if we want to have a society where every child gets a fair chance at being the best that they can be.
And what’s that flaw?
Answer – it wants to practice the politics of kindness while clinging to the neoliberal economics of meanness introduced by the 4th Labour Government 36 years ago..
This is nowhere more apparent when you look at the numbers of our children living in households experiencing income poverty.
Despite introducing the Child Poverty Reduction Act in 2018 Child Poverty Action Group report we still have approximately
241,600 children living in households with less that 50% of the median income after housing cost are deducted ( the NZ poverty line)
167,600 of our children living households with less than 40% of the median income after housing costs are deducted
66,100 are experiencing severe material hardship.
If you gathered all these kids together what would it look like?
241,600 – imagine the entire population of Auckland’s Northshore
167,600 – imagine the entire population of Hamilton and add about 10,000 more
The shame of it is that the record shows (kept by Stats NZ) that today’s situation is roughly as it was in 2007.
The plight of these children was not met in the last budget.
That’s not kindness.
PS More detailed information can be found on CPAG’s site
Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.