3 solutions to Child Poverty & how can the MoE manage to screw up a free lunch? 

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Child poverty report shows no measurable improvement in housing conditions, hospitalisations, food security

A new Government report into the lives of the country’s poorest children has shown no measurable improvement in housing conditions, preventable hospitalisations, or food security.

Reducing child poverty has been a hallmark issue for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who appointed herself minister for child poverty reduction. In the lead up to the Covid-19 pandemic, tens of thousands of children had been lifted above income and material hardship since 2018.

The latest Child Poverty Indicators report, published by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) on Thursday, showed that over broader measures including potentially avoidable hospitalisations and regular school attendance, any improvements were marginal or uncertain due to patchy data.

And the uncounted effect of the Covid-19 pandemic continued to loom over the Government’s ability to improve the lives of more than one in 10 children who live in poverty and hardship.

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3 immediate things to alleviate poverty right now if Labour had courage.

1 – Raise in Welfare with no MSD claw backs 

2 – Indexing Working for Families payments in line with the wage index

3 – Universal Free School Lunches and Breakfasts

The first would help out by an extra $50 each week, the second would help out families with an extra $1900 each year and Feeding every kid a free nutritious Breakfast and Lunch would be the single greatest means to lift educational achievement than any other educational policy.

It would directly remove a huge weekly cost to the poorest amongst us, would greatly reduce truancy and would build life long positive ends to education.

Only the bloody MoE could screw up a free lunch…

Schools advised to discourage kids from eating home-packed lunch over government supplied ones

Schools have been advised to discourage kids from eating their own home-packed lunch, and to wait until kids are hungry, to provide the Government’s free lunches.

But that’s policy a high school principal says doesn’t “sit right with him”.

On its website, The Ministry of Education gives advice for schools for the Ka Ora, Ka Ako programme, under a heading “how to get the most from lunches”.

It suggests schools create a 10-15 minute time slot for the provided lunch only, “while food from home stays in students’ bags”.

The advice also recommends schools wait for kids to get hungry before providing the lunch.

“Choose a time for lunch that will give your staff and ākonga the most opportunity to benefit – healthy food tastes better if you are hungry,” it says.

…kids are reluctant to eat because of the stigma attached to eating them, that’s why they need to be universal and the issue of uneaten lunches needs to be addressed by a better system for distributing uneaten lunches with the homeless.

Labour need to be as bold on poverty as they have on property speculators. If looking after the poorest amongst us isn’t our main concern on the Left, then what the fuck are we here for?

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Until you address intergenerational welfare and resulting intergenerational poverty seriously this is problem that will continue to get greater. Welfare spending WILL NEVER outpace cost of living in a neoliberal, global economy in any country and/or form of non-communist government.

    The only answer is limiting/reducing the number of people on welfare.

  2. – If looking after the poorest amongst us isn’t our main concern on the Left, then what the fuck are we here for?

    Yes, I ask myself this all the time…

  3. With all Government failures this quote comes to mind…….. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

    ― Upton Sinclair

    So in this case, change understand to ‘fix things’……

  4. none of your ideas will work if rents continue to climb to absorb the extra money landlords will know the tenants have to spend.
    Long term state housing would fix so many problems . Since covid there is office space sitting empty which could be purchased by the state and reconfigurated into flats. This would be better than paying huge motel bills .

    • My big point that I eluded to last time you spook to me about how wonderful my education was that you can’t control market behaviour. These are the type of failures that end in world wars. Yknow I think people like you need to embrace reality. We the left help people into jobs and those who can’t join our better brighter future we give them dignity. We don’t leave anyone behind.

  5. Haha. Martyn, You show your middle class white Privilege.
    Governments throwing money at problems DOES NOT SOLVE THEM.

    Your whiteness thinks that it will change behaviour. ie kids will get fed when the Bennie is increased.

    John Keys Gummint did that, what was the outcome?

    Free lunches & breakfasts.
    Your article shows what happens when the gummint gets involved.

    • The only expanding industry that John Key had was tax avoidance that is the peak of the Natuonal Parties skill, knowledge and achievements for all the years they’ve been a government.

  6. I would be quite OK with free lunches at at all schools. Be around $1 billion or so per year, but I reckon it would be money well spent. It is common throughout the US and the UK. Not really radical at all.

    • Yes but we still see a bunch of unemployed professors with advanced degrees in economics trying to prove that a policy like feed the kids afvantage maori and disadvantage white folk, is to expensive would let there scummy Brown parents off the hook and they bash there kids and steal from poor defenceless pakeha. That’s all of Judith’s poll numbers right there.

    • Of course. When I taught school in Nth London years ago, the school lunchtime dinners were outstandingly good – the equivalent of the Sundays when everyday Kiwis could afford a leg of lamb or a roast of beef – and often with gloriously unhealthy puddings which the pc brigade would probably wail about now. Teachers got them free if we volunteered for playground or library duty, and I did. The large school cafeteria, with its view of grey squirrels playing in trees, provided a more helpful environment for students than NZ government lunches packed in disgusting little square plastic boxes, so I am told.

  7. Going on about “child poverty” is intellectually dishonest – because it’s using emotional appeal rather than reason.
    If kids are poor it’s because their parents and families are poor. And the bottom line on poverty in this country is not low wages and benefits – it’s the lack of state housing and out of control rents. If everyday living was affordable wages and benefits would suffice.
    What is it that this so-called Labour government doesn’t get?

  8. ” he only expanding industry that John Key had was tax avoidance that is the peak of the National Parties skill, knowledge and achievements for all the years they’ve been a government ”

    And they ( Key, English ) got knighted for it yet Helen Kelly did more for the struggling casualties of those viscous anti worker labour laws and pathetic health and safety regulations and WAS NEVER RECONGNISED!

    This country needs to have a long hard look at what we value in our leaders and the many who give so much for doing what is right.

    • Mosa – The knighthoods etc have become a joke. Never forget, that one of the first priorities of the Key govt was to restore the Queen’s Honours, and offer them retrospectively to N Z honours recipients, and how they all came crawling back pathetically to get them, except for Jim Bolger. Knaves like John Key and Bill English knights ? This is comic book territory.

      But there are many of us who will always remember good women like Helen Kelly, and Sue Bradford, and hold them dear in our hearts, and be warmed by knowing that they existed, and may come again.

  9. 1. MSD needs to learn how to leverage their ‘buying power!’
    2. Remove GST from all food, like Australia has done.
    3. Benefits increased to 70% or 80% of the average wage
    4. Discount electricity(Gas) by the difference btw the adjusted benefit to the average wage.
    5. Don’t subsidise the employer when people get a job, give that directly to the new employee, about $22,000 all up.
    6. Offer landlords, companies a tax incentive to discount cheaper rent after increasing all taxes on the rich and increase corporate taxes.
    7. Make the first $40k tax-free or a low tax threshold of 5% to 10%
    8. Remove secondary tax
    9. Strengthen employees working conditions to reduce injury and burnout

    All this can be done within current budgets.

  10. How much is achieved without rent control?

    Any improvement in the support provided to the tenant” class can be sucked from them by the landlord class via rent increases.

    While there is a housing shortage, there is windfall profit (not just in CG) to those charging rent.

    Hardship results when governments do not intervene in such markets.

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