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Metiria Turei’s speech at the Green launch

Written By: - Date published: 4:10 pm, August 17th, 2014 - 40 comments
Categories: greens, Metiria Turei - Tags:

Aroha mai, Aroha atu.

When love is given, love is returned.

 

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei

Address at the Green Party Election Campaign Launch 2014

AUT, 17 August 2014

 

Aroha mai, Aroha atu.

 

When love is given, love is returned

 

This is the Aotearoa that I love.

 

The Aotearoa where thousands of Kiwis worked to save our most treasured wild places, protecting the birthright of our children and grandchildren.

 

The Aotearoa who fought the asset sales to stop others from stealing from our children the gifts of our grandparents.

 

The Aotearoa that warmed up the homes of thousands of our children, so they and their families could be warm and dry and above all healthy and well.

 

That is the Aotearoa that I love.

 

I am proud to be here today – standing before you as one half of the best leadership team of the best political party in New Zealand.

My friends, there has never been a more important time for the Green Party to be in Government.

 

Because as much as we love New Zealand, she’s in trouble.

 

Today as a nation we face twin crises – an environmental crisis and an inequality crisis.

 

Earlier this year, at our AGM, Russel outlined the Green Party’s plan to tackle what I think we’ll all agree is the biggest environmental crisis of all – climate change.

 

Our Climate Tax Cut – a charge on pollution, the revenue from which all goes back to families and business – will ensure New Zealand is part of the solution to global climate change, rather than part of the problem.

 

Today, I am going to outline our solution to New Zealand’s second pressing issue – inequality.

 

This is a matter very dear to me.

 

I entered politics because I wanted to ensure that everyone, no matter their ethnicity, class or background – had much better opportunities than I had.

 

I have learnt, through my experience of poverty, the value of safety nets, what you can achieve if you are not left to fend for yourself.

At the beginning of this year I stood in front of many of you at our annual Picnic for the Planet and declared that inequality will be the defining issue this election.

 

It was really important for me that my daughter Piupiu was there that day.

 

Piupiu was born in 1993.

 

At that time, New Zealand was in the grip of a free market fever that saw our country become more unequal faster than anywhere else in the developed world.

 

The rate of child poverty swelled from 11 per cent in the late 1980s to nearly 30 per cent of all New Zealand children by the time Piupiu was born in 1993.

 

Ever since then, throughout  Piupiu’s entire life, successive Governments have tolerated shocking levels of deprivation and poverty among our children.

 

Aside from a bit of tinkering here and there, they’ve done nothing really to solve it.

 

So now, with just 34 days left to vote, I say it’s time to demand an end to child poverty in New Zealand once and for all.

 

The Green Party wants to make sure that every child in this country has enough of what they need to thrive.

 

Child poverty can be eliminated.  We have the tools and techniques. It is now, simply a matter of choice.

 

I know what National will say. We can’t afford to help kids. We need to grow the economy first.

 

How many times over the last 25 years have we heard this?

 

If National was right, how come GDP grew by 38 percent between 1988 and 2013, yet child poverty doubled in those same years?

 

We have had nearly three decades of rock solid proof that wealth doesn’t trickle down, especially not to our kids.

 

Over the past six years under National, half of all New Zealanders have seen no rise in their incomes at all.

 

Yet the wealth of the top ten percent doubled in the past ten years.

 

There are now 35,000 more children in severe poverty in New Zealand than there were before National came to power.

 

That’s the equivalent of the city of Gisborne populated by these kids living in severe poverty.

 

A total of 205,000 New Zealand children living in severe poverty.

 

More often than not those kids are going without the basics, like fresh fruit and veges, raincoats, medicine.

 

They’re three times as likely to be admitted to hospital, five times as likely to die of cot death, and twenty seven times as likely to have rheumatic fever, be a sick adult and die young.

 

We’ve got to the point where families work two or more jobs, and still live in poverty, still live in homes that are wet, and cold and their children go without.

 

It does not have to be this way.

It’s time, today, right now, to demand an economy designed to work for everyone, not just a few.

 

I am proud to announce today that in Government the Green Party will implement a billion dollar plan to reduce child poverty, paid for by a new top tax rate of 40 percent on the highest incomes.

 

Our plan will roll the Family Tax Credit and the In-work Tax Credit together to create a more simple child payment that goes to all low and middle income families in New Zealand.

 

But the difference is our new Children’s Credit will deliver an additional $60 a week, $3000 a year, for these families who currently miss out.

 

This additional payment will in no way affect those low and middle income families currently receiving Working for Families payments, but it will mean more support for those children who currently miss out.

 

This money will transform life for these kids. It’ll mean the difference between having warm clothes, school books, lunch, and turning on the heater when they are cold.

 

This is the quickest, simplest and most cost-effective way to reduce child poverty – and one that has majority public support.

 

The Children’s Credit will represent a dramatic reversal of 22 years of discrimination against the poorest children that started with the scrapping of the universal family benefit in 1991.

 

But we won’t stop there. We will also remove another discrimination that denies support to the poorest new-born babies.

 

The Green Party believes all babies deserve to thrive.  We will extend payment of the Parental Tax Credit to the 13,000 newborns whose parents are reliant on a benefit or student allowance.

 

They too will have help with the costs of a new baby.

 

The Parental Tax Credit will be worth $220 a week for 10 weeks, $2,200 for these families.

 

This payment provides support to those parents who don’t qualify for Paid Parental Leave.

 

I was stunned to recently discover that the Minister had rejected her own officials’ advice that babies born to beneficiaries had the most to gain from this financial support.  They said in their first weeks of their life such a payment could improve these babies long term wellbeing.

 

But, Paula Bennett said no, leave the poorest, tiniest babies out.

 

We won’t leave these babies out in the cold. We will support them.

 

Raising the incomes of our poorest families through the Children’s Credit and the Parental Tax Credit is at the heart of the Green Party plan to tackle child poverty.

 

For a quarter of the price of National’s tax cuts to the wealthiest New Zealanders we can reduce poverty and its effects on the poorest children.

 

We will also invest $500 million per year in new children’s health and education programs to reduce the harm caused by poverty.

 

It’s clear that as well as reducing poverty at its source, schools need better support to address the impact that hunger, illness and a lack of resources has on children’s ability to learn.

 

We’ll establish schools in lower income areas as hubs, where the health, social and welfare needs of children and their families can be met, all on the same site.

 

Kids at these schools will be fed through a national school lunch fund; cared for when sick by dedicated school nurses; and their parents will get the support they need to work, further their own education and be engaged in their kids learning.

 

We’ll provide free after school and holiday care in decile one to four schools.

 

We’ll extend free healthcare to all children up to age 18, ensuring over 290,000 teenagers can see their GP without having to worry about the bill.

 

And we will help struggling parents by providing 20 hours free early childhood education to two year olds, saving families up to ninety five dollars a week.

 

What a plan!

 

Make no mistake, this billion dollar investment in the health, education and financial welfare of children and families will reduce poverty in our country and loosen the grip poverty has on the lives of our kids.

 

Tackling inequality is a moral imperative.

 

We cannot pause, we cannot wait, we cannot do this by halves.

 

As I watched Piupiu grow from a child into a young woman, I saw poverty spread like a virus in the 80s and 90s as a direct result of decisions made in the Beehive.

 

Now is the time for political decisions that end poverty.

 

National’s inaction over child poverty stands in stark contrast to its decision to find $4 billion to cut the taxes of the wealthiest ten percent of New Zealanders.

 

Just as we will use the tax system to tackle climate change through our carbon charge, we will also use the tax system to tackle child poverty.

 

Today I am announcing that in Government the Green Party will bring in a new top tax rate of 40 percent on incomes over $140,000.

 

Every cent raised will go directly into our plan to alleviate child poverty.

 

This will affect only 3 percent of all taxpayers, but the revenue raised will make the world of difference to the hundreds of thousands of children who need it.

 

We’ve set the tax threshold at $140,000 so MPs’ salaries are captured.

 

I want to make sure that I, and my parliamentary colleagues, old and new, are part of this solution.

 

We will be proud to be part of it. Because it is a good thing.

 

My family will still live well – And so will other families.

 

My daughter will still have security and a good education and a chance at a great future – and so will other kids.

 

We will also raise the trust tax rate to limit the risk tax avoidance that can arise when you raise the top tax rate.

 

It is only fair that those who earn more progressively pay more – this is what countries with low rates of child poverty do.

 

Our tax system is the key to solving poverty.  If we want a fairer society we need a fairer tax system.

 

New Zealand currently has one of the least progressive tax systems in the world.

 

Our top rate of income tax is the fourth-lowest in the 34-member OECD – it’s much lower than Australia and the UK, which sit at 47%, the USA and Norway at 48% Canada, 50%, Denmark, 56%, and Finland 57%.

 

Plus we have no inheritance tax, no gift tax, no death duties and no general capital gains tax.  That’s why we will introduce a capital gains tax, excluding the family home.

 

The reality is, we are failing to properly tax wealth and our poorest kids are paying the price.

 

I want to be clear, the Green Party has no bone to pick with wealth – the problem in New Zealand is not that some people earn more money, it’s that the benefits need to be shared more fairly.

 

We can earn increasing amounts as a country but still be poorer if our wealth is not shared around. The last 25 years have demonstrated that fact.

 

I didn’t get into politics to watch the divide between the haves and have-nots grow ever wider.

 

Hundreds of thousands of kiwi kids will be much better off under the Greens bold plan – and those children need us in Government right now.

 

We will unleash the potential of thousands of children, and send a message to every child that every single one of you matters.

 

These are practical, effective solutions ready to go.

 

It is just a matter of choosing to put children first.

Friends and colleagues, in 34 days time, we can make history, by becoming the first ever Green Party in Government in Aotearoa.

We have lead the opposition for the last three years and we are ready to lead in Government.

We have the experienced leadership needed to take our country forward.

We are the political voice for a strong and growing Green movement in Aotearoa.

We have a group of united MPs and new candidates ready to serve.

We have the policies to transform our economy and build a stronger New Zealand – one in which we are mindful of others and mindful of our ecological limits.

The Green Party is ready to step up and with at least 15% of the party vote we will have a major influence in a new progressive government.

Voters have a real choice on September 20.

A Government prepared to tackle the two greatest issues of our time, climate change and inequality, or a Government in denial of both.

It is time for cleaner, fairer, smarter New Zealand.

Now is the time to say:  Aroha mai. Aroha atu.

 

We are more than just individuals, little islands of our own.
We are a country of people, a community at the bottom of the world that cares for one another, looks out for one another, and provides for one another.

 

That returns the love we are so generously given.

 

Let’s show our love for New Zealand on September 20.

 

Party vote Green.

40 comments on “Metiria Turei’s speech at the Green launch”

  1. disturbed 1

    Good speech Metiria,

    “That returns the love we are so generously given.
    Let’s show our love for New Zealand on September 20.”

    Fix our appalling railway also to help the environment please!!
    Then bring us back to a kinder, gentler caring egalitarian society before we destruct please Greens.

    As you are bringing us a Minister of Youth how about a Minister of egalitarianism society as well.

  2. karol 2

    Excellent. Bold, and fairly straightforward.

    I was stunned to recently discover that the Minister had rejected her own officials’ advice that babies born to beneficiaries had the most to gain from this financial support. They said in their first weeks of their life such a payment could improve these babies long term wellbeing.

    But, Paula Bennett said no, leave the poorest, tiniest babies out.

    We won’t leave these babies out in the cold. We will support them.

    Bennett and her cronies must go!

    Much better policies from the left.

  3. Glenn 3

    Can we get a video of this? I enjoyed Davids speech on the screen but I can’t find this one anywhere.
    I’ve been party voting Greens while dear wife pvs Labour over the last decade. This year we decided to go with IMP. This speech has got me thinking though. IMP or Greens…decisions decisions oh hell!

    [lprent: I will look for it. I was pretty busy with several things throughout this speech. But it looked pretty damn good to me. So did the standup afterwards.

    Couldn’t find anything either. I’ll ask the Greens but it will probably be tomorrow. The Labour one took some time as well. ]

  4. If the Greens were offering something that might conceivably reduce the proportion of children being raised on benefits within the year of their birth (which is the overwhelming factor relating to child poverty, neglect and abuse, I’d be inclined to vote for them. However, their policy seems to be to fund an increase in children being raised on benefits within the year of their birth, which inclines me more towards hoping Metiria doesn’t get anywhere near being able to influence government policy in this area.

    • karol 4.1

      The Greens’ whole package includes also focusing on education, health and community support. This ensures children have a good start in life.

      Keeping children (and adults) starving, in ill health and poorly housed, costs us all more in the long run.

      • Chooky 4.1.1

        +100 karol…and they are the advocates for the environment…New Zealand the way it was….where our heart and soul is …..with sparkling clean rivers, lakes , oceans and shorelines …healthy thriving flora and fauna…pristine bush and treasured National Parks…sustainable farming ….and a small manageable population…a New Zealand for all New Zealanders

        …a New Zealand that the old Maori revered as the Goddess Earth Mother… Papatuanuku ….treasured Mother Earth…the Gaia Mother Earth who sustains us All .

      • Psycho Milt 4.1.2

        The Greens’ whole package includes also focusing on education, health and community support. This ensures children have a good start in life.

        Well, that’s the theory, anyway. Practice tells us that being raised on benefits long term very strongly militates against children having a good start in life. The Greens’ view is that that’s because beneficiaries are short of cash, but their view comes more under the heading of “wishful thinking” than “evidence-based policy.”

        New Zealand the way it was…

        …when children were raised by two parents who earned their own living. Yes, it would be great, wouldn’t it?

        • karol 4.1.2.1

          The reason they don’t get a good start in life is because:

          poor education

          poor health

          poor community networks

          And all those are addressed in the Greens’ package.

          Actually, back in the day it was one household breadwinner, a woman dependent on a husband being fair in providing her with a reasonable amount of money, and a safe and secure environment – wasn’t always that safe secure or economically fair.

          Back in the day, there were stronger community networks in most places.

          It takes a village…..

          • Psycho Milt 4.1.2.1.1

            Meh. Growing up with two parents doesn’t imply any particular organisational model for those parents to follow.

            And stuff like poor education, poor health and poor social networks are more the result of people who shouldn’t be having kids, having them – dishing out more cash for having kids won’t address that problem.

            • tricledrown 4.1.2.1.1.1

              Hey milt better educated people have less children making sure these children have stable family home reasonably handy to a school .
              food in their bellies reasonable standard of clothing!
              And not $400 + weekly rental forcing families into sheds and cars !
              Itinerantcy is one of the biggest causes of poor education outcomes because children of poor families are having to move on regularly seasonal low wage jobs and having no money after rent for food all add up to failure by this govt !
              Unlike john key when he was growing up his mum paid small rent had child allowances etc
              PM you are trying to tar all Beneficiaries with thesame brush!

            • Puddleglum 4.1.2.1.1.2

              And stuff like poor education, poor health and poor social networks are more the result of people who shouldn’t be having kids, having them

              How does that connection work, Psych Milt?

              Also, why do you start with “people who shouldn’t be having kids, having them” when you could equally (i.e., logically equally) start with “poor education, poor health and poor social networks” lead to “people who shouldn’t be having kids, having them”?

        • tricledrown 4.1.2.2

          Having children brought up on poverty costs more for taxpayers in the long term that’s why right wing men don’t understand that when that child leaves school their chances of being employed in a good job in good health a very low costing you in your retirement Psyco misogynist only sees the shorterm!

        • Tracey 4.1.2.3

          so when you say evidence based policy, do you mean when a Ministry does the research and provides advice to the Minister and from there policy is developed?

        • tricledrown 4.1.2.4

          PM When labour was last in office the Number of beneficiaries was well down only 83,000 on the DPB for less tan average of only 2years!
          Now under National DPB numbers up by 30,000 with longer stays
          Same with unemployment down to 70’000 with an average stay of only six months under National over 2 years average stay on UB1
          Get some facts before you Bene Bash.
          With having initials PM its hard to believe anything you say!

    • Adele 4.2

      Kiaora Psycho

      You must surely be aware that a baby pops out of a vagina and not a vacuum.

      Child poverty has a history spanning decades and unraveling its effects will hopefully not take decades more. The Green policy sounds sensible and achievable. By focusing on giving the best care and attention to the babies and mothers united, the change you desire will occur.

      How many well educated young women do you know willingly choose to live life on a benefit – by having babies?

    • Tracey 4.3

      Are you for the status quo, or is there a party with a different policy from the status quo, other than greens that you are currently supportive of?

      • Psycho Milt 4.3.1

        No party seems to be actually doing anything useful about this, but Labour seems the least hopeless.

        The Nats seem to focus on making life on a benefit so miserable that no-one will want to take it on – that seems punitive and unlikely to succeed, given that a lot of these people on benefits had a pre-beneficiary life a lot suckier than anything Paula Bennett might come up with.

        The Greens appear to want to tax useful parents more so they can dish out cash to wasters with children. That’s a recipe for more wasters with more children and a hefty useful-parent voter backlash, so it really would be better not to go there.

        Labour has in the past concentrated on getting people out of poverty by getting them into paid work, and (in theory, if not always in practice) ensuring that paid work actually pays enough to live on. If they’d focus a bit more on extracting cash from the deadbeat sperm donors creating these waster ‘families’ and seeing to it that raising children on a benefit isn’t an available career option, they’d be doing better, but their approach at least isn’t as crap as that of the Nats or Greens.

        • Tracey 4.3.1.1

          Thanks psycho

          Can you post your basis for thinking that directing money toward the new born babies of beneficiaries will lead to more beneficiaries having babies?

          • Psycho Milt 4.3.1.1.1

            There are two bases: a theoretical one, which posits that what you subsidise, you get more of; and a practical one, which is the rapid increase in beneficiaries having children after we started subsidising it in the 1970s. In layman’s terms: we’re currently getting seeing somewhere around 20% of kids on a benefit in the year of their birth, and it has a lot to do with raising kids on a benefit paying better than unskilled labour. Increase the payments, increase the attractiveness of raising kids on a benefit.

            • Tracey 4.3.1.1.1.1

              hmmmmm…

              How many people do you think see being a beneficiary parent as a job choice, as a percentage of population, and of beneficiaries?

              • I’m not sure we’re talking about people who are big on conscious-choice decision-making, here. But the fact it’s effectively a career for thousands of unskilled people suggests some level of choice, or perhaps a lack of making a choice for alternatives, is going on.

                • tricledrown

                  So psyco misogynist what about john Keys mum and Paula Bennett they didn’t deserve a hand up

                  • You do know that the fact some people actually use these benefits for their intended purpose isn’t an argument for ignoring widespread abuse of the benefits, right? Because your comment suggests you don’t.

                    • tricledrown

                      We on the left are more interested about ways to create meaningful jobs and making sure kids get a decent start in life so they can function as Adults you on the right are more interested in bullying damaged people who have had lifetimes of abuse and neglect who are not good ta making decisions for themselves!
                      Unemployment was at 3.5% when this corrupt govt came in to power they handed more over to their National party mates in South Canterbury $1.6 billion than it would take to fix poverty in the Land of milk and honey!
                      Now their is Questions at the Fraud trial around Bill English’s roll in the biggest welfare Cheque ever written in New Zealands History!

                    • We on the left are more interested about ways to create meaningful jobs and making sure kids get a decent start in life so they can function as Adults…

                      Correct. That’s exactly what we’d like to see – at issue is only how effective particular policies would be in achieving that.

                      …you on the right…

                      Incorrect. You seem to have mistaken me for someone else.

                    • karol

                      You do know, that abuse of the benefits by some claimants, doesn’t justify keeping the vast majority of honest beneficiaries living below subsistence level?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      People have a right to live their lives as they see fit, and not live in a parental supervision surveillance state. It’s that simple.

                      Give people a dignified life in society on something above poverty level income so they are not scrabbling around to survive, then sure, ask more of them.

                    • You do know, that abuse of the benefits by some claimants, doesn’t justify keeping the vast majority of honest beneficiaries living below subsistence level?

                      I suspect we’re operating very different definitions of the word ‘abuse’ in this context.

                      People have a right to live their lives as they see fit…

                      They don’t have the right to have taxpayers fund whatever life they see fit. Also: indeed I do think it’s a bad thing for people to live with the state in a parental role over them – which is what long-term beneficiaries are doing.

                    • tricledrown

                      psycho Milt your pushing the dirty trickle down theory ACT policy your just repeating the lies!
                      practicing propaganda 101 technics of wearing down and baffling with BS.
                      You are the only RWNJ posting today.
                      you haven’t answered the question why haven’t the ACT National coalition reduced numbers on benefits !
                      Your just being cynical and pathetic!

                      [lprent: PM isn’t a RWNJ, you only have to read his posts at No Minister to understand that.

                      Personally I’d describe him as a bit of a social conservative (and I suspect he would even agree).

                      However there are many like him on the wider left. Please don’t be an ideological conservative and label everyone who disagrees with you as being something else. It is usually better to listen to what they actually have to say and then rubbish them on that (if you can). ]

                    • you haven’t answered the question why haven’t the ACT National coalition reduced numbers on benefits !

                      As a lifelong opponent of National and a somewhat less-long opponent of ACT, I don’t feel in any way accountable for their policies.

                      Personally I’d describe him as a bit of a social conservative (and I suspect he would even agree).

                      Yes. In this one respect I am a social conservative: that children are in most cases much better off being raised by both their biological parents who are earning their own living. I just find it depressing that something so mundanely self-evident counts as social conservatism these days.

            • Puddleglum 4.3.1.1.1.2

              Hi Psycho Milt,

              Overall, the birth rate has dropped markedly over the last fifty years (as it has in many countries).

              The number of births by teenage parents is less than half of what it was in the 1970s:

              Professor Natalie Jackson, who heads the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA), says debate on this issue needs to be informed by statistics. Contrary to the message that New Zealand’s teenage fertility and sole parenting rates are skyrocketing:

              · In 2011, 2.8% of New Zealand’s teenage women (15-19 years) gave birth. This is higher than Australia (1.7%), similar to the United Kingdom (2.4%), and lower than the USA (3.9%). It is less than half the 1972 level (6.9%).

              · At the 2006 Census, the median age of solo parents in New Zealand was 42.9 years.

              1.4% were younger than 19
              14.6% were 20-29 years
              84% were 30 and over

              • It’s great that the number of teenage births has dropped. But the drop since the 1970s is mainly due to couples becoming couples older and having children older. We have a pretty consistent level of children being raised on benefits within their first year, somewhere around 20%. It dipped slightly during 5th Labour, but only slightly. That 20% is the most at-risk group for you-name-it when it comes to bad outcomes.

  5. disturbed 5

    On TV1 Monday morning John Key in answer to Allie Pugh’s question;

    “What do you think about the Greens Billion dollar Child poverty scheme”
    JK said “Greens are writing the checks we cant afford!!”

    NEWSFLASH; Answer, John Key, – we cant afford a bill for a 13 billion dollar roads of National Significance plan of a holiday highway and others that are really just more roads for trucks either!!

    Does dumb Key know that a healthy population is a productive population?

  6. Sable 6

    A little flowery but the sentiment is a good one and the plan solid. Lets see come September if New Zealanders are really the caring people they claim to be.

  7. tricledrown 7

    Disturbed Key has had another BrainFade forgotten how the state prevented him from poverty by providing him with cheap housing and his mum a benefit.
    Maybe their was some mineral deficiency in his diet that has caused his remarkably convenient flippants on fire forgetfulness!

  8. tricledrown 8

    PM children brought up in poverty causes a $6.5 billion a year drag on our economy

  9. Sylvan 9

    Helping the poorest parents to look after their children is not only morally right and humanitarian, but also good economic sense. Invest early to prevent health and welfare costs in future. I can’t understand how this has been forgotten/pushed out of the conversation, as it was well understood in the 60’s and 70’s, and we are reaping the benefits of it with a healthy productive cohort of adults in the baby boomer generation. Talk about pulling up the ladder behind us…..

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