Written By: - Date published: 12:19 pm, November 8th, 2012 - 43 comments
Categories: child welfare, local government, Metiria Turei, poverty, spin - Tags: darien fenton, libraries, nick smith, Peter Dunne, phil twyford
NActUF are very good at using finely-honed, diversionary and distorting spin. However, when debating 2 Private Members’ Bills yesterday, already lacking 1 needed vote before the day began, government speakers couldn’t even be bothered trying too hard. Often in the debate son the first readings of these bills last night, the hypocrisy was glaring and the spin clumsy (full of tired right wing cliches). On the other hand, Green and Labour MPs produced some very good speeches, demonstrating the difference between left and right wing principles.
The two Bills were Metiria Turei’s Income Tax (Universalisation of In-work Tax Credit) Amendment Bill— First Reading, and Darien Fenton’s one to entrench Free Public Library services. The top award for say-one-thing-do-another hypocrisy is shared by Nick Smith and Peter Dunne. The top prize for half-arsed clumsy spin goes to Maggie Barry.
Metiria Turei delivered a very good speech on child poverty, in introducing the first reading of Bill in October. It is worth reading the entire speech because it lays out some of the shameful and appalling facts of child poverty in NZ. Something certainly needs to be done to fix the unfair Working for Families tax credit. Turei didn’t claim her bill would be the long term solution but said:
So here is my first step towards that fair future for our kids. My bill that we are debating tonight will relieve the worst poverty for these 150,000 children
In her speech concluding the first reading last night, Turei compared statistics from the 1980s to the present, for child poverty in NZ and Australia (1 minute into the video). They are damning. Child poverty has gradually decreased in Australia, while it has stayed shamefully high in NZ.
The Bill failed at its first reading by one vote – Banks and Dunne voted against it – shame on them! (Ditto for the Public Libraries’ Bill). In the General Debate yesterday, Turei makes a final plea to Peter Dunne to support her Bill. She asked Dunne to honour a pledge he made before the 2011 election. Dunne had signed a pledge with a group, ‘Closer Together’ (1.30 mins into video), which stated,
As a politician I choose to commit to building a fairer New Zealand, and will actively support policy measures that reduce income inequality and ensure that will bring people closer together.
around the same time Dunne wrote:
I very much support your call for more detailed debate around the possible ways to reduce poverty and income inequality.
In another staggering example of doublespeak, Nick Smith and other Nats said they wouldn’t be supporting Darien Fenton’s Bill to entrench free public library services because:
….. and then Maggie Barry waffled on about Labour’s Nanny state. Maggie clearly hasn’t been near a public library lately and knows little about how they operate.
In contrast, Phil Twyford gave an excellent speech. He begins by outlining the difference between the NAct government’s individualistic, user-pays ethos, and the left’s philosophy of social inclusion and collective provisions. He referred to the history of the rise of public libraries, at the same time as the development of public education and a belief in inclusive democratic participation. He was laughing with utter disbelief (3.23 mins into video) at Nick Smith’s hypocrisy, after what he did with ECAN. Now, in this Public Libraries’ debate, Smith was arguing that the NZ government shouldn’t tell local governments what to do.
Jacinda Ardern also gave a very impassioned speech in response to Nick Smith (video begins with Nick Smith’s summation of his speech). In her summation Fenton highlighted the diference between the Auckland-based MPs, by saying that, after her speech, Nikki Kaye will not be able to show her face anywhere near any public libraries, and just lost a load of votes.
The contrasts between the government and opposition speeches for these two Bills, show exactly why we need to end this destructive, hypocritical government; and why we need to replace it with a government based solidly on democractic, inclusive and fair, left wing principles and policies.