Welcome to Poverty watch, a weekly update on the National government’s lack of response to the urgent and growing issue of poverty in NZ. A lot of background issues and links are set out in Poverty Watch one two and three.
On Thursday Bryan Bruce’s excellent Inside Child Poverty documentary was re-run on TV3 (as recommended by the Child Poverty Action Group). This documentary, as you will recall, first screened four days before the last election, and created quite a stir. The National government, immediately after the election, were so embarrassed by the screening that they immediately vowed to address the issues raised and end child poverty in NZ. Ha ha – just kidding. The National government, immediately after the election, were so embarrassed by the screening that they immediately initiated steps to make sure that showing such a programme during an election campaign can’t happen again. All part of their abiding commitment to free speech and democracy. Just ask ECAN. But I digress.
In other poverty related news Sam Kuha ended his 30 day hunger strike for child poverty, and met with Paula Bennett for the view from Planet Key:
Ms Bennett acknowledged times were hard for many Northlanders but told him she could not keep handing out money. Instead she had to try to fix the causes, in particular some young parents’ poor parenting skills.
There and I thought the cause of poverty was not enough money, not enough jobs, and a government that doesn’t give a damn. (Am I grumpy this morning or what?) The same beneficiary bashing attitude underlies the Nats’ legislative agenda. The Child Poverty Action Group tells it like it is:
Social Security Bill – Poorly researched and ideological
Thursday, 29 November 2012, 3:57 pm
Press Release: Auckland Action Against Poverty
Auckland Action Against Poverty will present their submission on the Social Security Amendment Bill to the Select Committee tomorrow morning at 10.35am, says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson Sarah Thompson.
“We will be letting the Committee know that we think this Bill is poorly researched and ideologically driven, and will go down in history as a cynical, invasive, petty, dishonest, illogical, authoritarian and counter-productive piece of welfare recession.
“This Bill will change the aim of state welfare from a safety net to a tool of behaviour coercion.
“Those in need of state assistance are going to be asked to jump through hoops that others are not and control over their lives will be taken away from them.
“Only the noble poor – those deemed morally worthy of our help – will be given help – and they better not make mistakes. … “The welfare system will become an interfering, invasive Nanny State with a big stick – for no gain. Punishment is not the way to change behaviour.
“We will be letting the Select Committee know that what we need is Decent Job Creation, a living wage, recognition that care work is real work, a raise in the benefit payment rate and the full reinstatement of the Training Incentive allowance, not this counterproductive piece of welare recession”.
Want to help the CPAG? Here’s how.
One last snippet. Yet another group of doctors, this time the Paediatric Society, make a call for action:
Poverty and the adverse impact it has on children’s health was among the subjects discussed at the Paediatric Society’s annual conference, which wrapped up in Palmerston North yesterday.
An estimated one in five children in New Zealand live in poverty. A raft of preventable diseases, including rheumatic fever, skin infections and respiratory illnesses are reported at much higher rates in low socio-economic areas. …
Prof Asher urged her colleagues to talk to their local MPs, Ministry of Health staff, service groups, schools and anyone else they could share their knowledge with. She gave numerous statistics comparing New Zealand’s record on child health with other OECD countries, the correlation between poverty and several diseases and between government policy and rates of poverty.
Co-convener and housing spokesperson for CPAG Alan Johnson spoke about New Zealand’s shortage of affordable housing and the economic and government factors that had driven it. Poverty in New Zealand was not because of a scarcity of resources he said, but because of how those resources were distributed. Poverty existed because society allowed it to.
Never fear, the Nats are hard at work redistributing resources. Upwards.
Poverty Watch always ends with the following list, the National government’s response to rising poverty in NZ:
• National has not yet set any target for reducing poverty