… then maybe more attention would be given to the increasing numbers of people struggling to get the necessities of life. And then maybe people would be pressuring for solutions other than the short term band-aid of charitable giving. I’m glad charities are doing some very caring work, and that many people are donating to them.
But as Anthony Robins has been posting about every week: our government is not doing anything to put an end to poverty or the social destructiveness of large income inequalities.
This morning the NZ Herald reported record levels of people queuing for packages outside Auckland City Mission:
Fuelled by the highest rate of unemployment in 13 years, the queues snaking along the pavements outside the Auckland City Mission have nothing festive about them.
“I keep saying every year it’s unprecedented … but I’m almost beyond words when I look out there,” said missioner Diane Robertson. “This is nothing to celebrate.”
More than 100 people were lined up on Hobson St and round a corner into a neighbouring lot yesterday, some since 5am, to receive charity – Christmas food parcels and donated gifts for children.
The majority did not want to appear in the newspaper. “Maybe if I had won something or it was something lucky,” a woman said.
Ms Robertson said the mission’s clients were struggling with unemployment and entitlement cuts. “They’re losing options.”
And the continuing recession was adding people to the queue as those on low incomes fell into the same poverty cycle as beneficiaries.
“As an agency we really try to get people off benefits and employed – make life better than it’s been,” Ms Robertson said. “But right now we’re just alleviating poverty, because there’s no place to go.” …
A woman in the queue, who did not want to be named or photographed, said she had left her Papakura home at 4.30am to get some gifts for her children. Her sister had driven her into the city. She said this year had been particularly difficult.
“It’s been hard. Really hard.”
She was thankful for a bit of help to put on some kind of Christmas for her family, she said.
Another woman said it was her first time at the mission after hearing about it through a friend. Rising prices at the supermarket had been crushing, she said.
Maybe it’s time to revisit the ground breaking book The Spirit Level, which has been the focus of several Standard posts in the past. It provides detailed evidence of the destructive impact on society of high levels of inequality. There was this post from Anthony Robins, Equality of Opportunity; and this one from Bunji that was the 6th part in a series: Digested Read – Spirit Level 6: Future Options.
Meanwhile, today we have learned that NZ went into a double dip recession in 2010.
New Zealand suffered a double dip recession in the wake of the global financial crisis, with the second leg coming in late 2010, new data has revealed
Statistics NZ today released gross domestic product figures for the September quarter showing the economy grew by 0.2 per cent, slightly below most economists’ picks.
Back then Bill English, John Key et al were trumpeting their policies as ones that would begin the economic revival to a brighter future. But as Labour MPs remind them today, those policies just benefited the well off at the expense of those on the lowest incomes.
Labour finance spokesman David Parker said the double dip recession came at the same time that National’s ‘tax-switch’, that raised GST, came into force.
“National has trumpeted its tax switch as a boost to the economy. But the truth is it kept growth negative and held the economy in recession,” he said.
“National’s tax switch was not only unequal and unfair, it choked off demand and the economy shrank.”
Finance Minister Bill English today said the economy remained on track for moderate growth over the next few years, “despite growth predictably easing a little in the September quarter”.
Annual growth – from the September quarter 2011 to the September quarter 2012 – came in at 2 per cent, after the revisions English said.
Brighter future: always on the way, never arrives for those on the lowest incomes.