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.
Just a short note today, because I’m in transit, and because I’m expecting to do a special edition of Poverty Watch early next week.
Two huge social issues collide, with predictable effects, in the interaction between poverty and education. Nothing highlights the Nats’ cynical attitude to poverty as the way they ignore it as a cause, while using its educational symptoms (the poor achievement of the poor) to push stupid ideological bandwagons like national standards and charter schools. On Friday The Herald had a short piece on the bleeding obvious:
Poverty a giant hurdle to learning
Damp homes and hunger our biggest test at school, say decile 1 pupils.
Poverty, to children in Glen Innes, means hunger, no proper shoes – and deafness associated with growing up in damp and overcrowded houses.
Three out of six 11-year-olds at Glen Innes School who agreed to talk about child poverty have needed hearing aids or grommets and believe this is because of the houses they live in. …
The Glen Innes children spoke to the Herald as Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills prepares to release the final report of his expert group on solutions to child poverty next Tuesday. A separate report issued today on the views of 278 children in low-decile schools also found children concerned about cold and damp houses, inadequate food, lack of money for sport and other activities, and being mocked and bullied for being poor.
The policies needed to address this situation are not national standards and charter schools.
The report backs up proposals in the expert group’s interim report in August for a “warrant of fitness” for all rental houses, a food programme in low-decile schools and higher family tax credits for young children.
Labour has proposed exactly such a warrant of fitness.
In other news briefly, “Poverty action group aims to help beneficiaries get full due“, and a lunchtime rally at Parliament coming up on 12th Dec. Stay tuned for more next week…
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