100,000 reasons to vote Left

Written By: - Date published: 1:20 pm, November 25th, 2011 - 9 comments
Categories: child welfare, election 2011, greens, labour, poverty - Tags: ,

I thought about making my last pre-election post about a policy comparison, item by item, between Nat and Labour.  But in the end I decided that, for me at least, it’s a simpler decision than that.  There aren’t five or ten or a dozen policy reasons to vote for the Left in this election. There are 100,000 reasons to vote for a Labour / Green government. Every one of them is a child.

We all know that NZ has appalling stats on child poverty, and that it is doing real damage to our society.  3 News have run a real campaign on the issue this year – journalism at its best as a force for social justice.  This culminated in an excellent documentary on Tuesday night.  If you didn’t catch it you can watch it online here.  It created quite a stir, especially the headline claim:

More than 100 New Zealand children who died last year would probably have survived had they lived in Japan, Sweden or the Czech Republic, a new documentary shows.

But will we actually do anything as a result? The number of kids living in poverty was falling (at last) in the later years of the last Labour government, and it is rising again under National. The question is, how much do we care?

The Greens have excellent child welfare policy. As do Labour, who have promised to put children at the centre of policy.  Labour, The Greens and The Maori Party collectively signed a pledge on child welfare.  The mainstay of Labour’s plan is a (fully costed) $2.6 Billion pledge to tackle child poverty head on, and make a real difference.  The response from child care organisations was excellent, calling the plan comprehensive and brave.  Both Labour and The Greens say they can lift 100,000 children out of poverty.

National’s response was the usual nonsense about perpetuating a “welfare trap”.  Pathetic. (Lew has an excellent discussion of the Nats’ impoverished response to child poverty.) Welfare levels were at historic lows under the last Labour government.  People want to work.  There is no welfare trap, there’s a no-jobs trap.  But even putting that aside, the Nat response is the usual blinkered, short term thinking.  The costs of child poverty to society, even in narrow monetary terms, are estimated at $6 billion annually (see this excellent summary from Grant Robertson). Labour’s $2.6 Billion plan for action is far cheaper than doing nothing.

So that’s it really.  In the end its pretty simple for me.  I’m asking you to vote for the Left this election, for 100,000 reasons. Cheers.

9 comments on “100,000 reasons to vote Left”

  1. ianmac 1

    Totally agreed. Well said.

  2. I have every intention of voting left Anthony, I myself think polls are not right especially the TV polls.
    what left leaning voter who is already having a hard time making ends meet wants to spend .75c on a txt vote when they can walk to the polling booth on Saturday and vote Labour.

    Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer we will have a Labour government again, a government of the people not a government of the money markets.

  3. freedom 3

    Have just finished catching up over a cold one up with one of the makers of that documentary and he hopes it has helped to focus NZ on the issues that really matter. He is somewhat humbled by the response to what was a difficult and necessary project. Kia kaha NZ

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    Both Labour and The Greens say they can lift 100,000 children out of poverty.

    Good, but when there’s 200k children in poverty, not good enough.

  5. Karl Sinclair 6


    I wonder what the life expectancy for the quintile income distribution of NZ for 2011 might look like if I extrapolate data (fudged) from the UK income v life expectancy study then creatively display it in terms of life years lost compared to the top 20% on income earners….
    I would probably conclude that being Poor SUCKS the BIG KUMARA….
    Income per week Population Lives years lost
    Under $190 683,800 5,675,540
    $190 to $389 667,300 4,203,990
    $390 to $699 700,500 3,012,150
    $700 to $1,079 689,600 1,586,080
    $1,080 & over 690,100 N/A

    Note: no attempt has been made to conceal how cxxxp this data anaylsis may have been, unlike the Asset Sale Analysis by the Nats….

  6. Galeandra 7

    When Pete G happens by, ask him why UF declined to watch the documentary when given the opportunity, at least according to Russell Brown in his comments to Lew’s post: ‘Bruce offered advance screenings to major and minor parties so they wouldn’t be blindsided by it. National and United Future declined to watch it.’ Came a bit close to the bone perhaps?

  7. Maui 8

    “National set for election and victory but no majority as ‘Teapot
    Tape’ scandal dents National & benefits NZ first
    A Special Election Eve New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows Prime
    Minister John Key’s National Party set to be re-elected, but falling
    short of gaining a majority in its own right. National has 49.5%
    (down 3.5%) of the party vote well ahead of second party Labour
    (23.5%, down 1%) and a surging Greens (14.5%, up 1.5%).”

    25 November, 2011 | http://www.RoyMorganOnlineStore.com

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