Written By: - Date published: 7:57 am, September 10th, 2017 - 98 comments
Categories: bill english, child welfare, Deep stuff, election 2017, Media, national, paula bennett, Politics, poverty, same old national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: Checkpoint
Over the past nine long years it has been really difficult getting National to even acknowledge that there even was child poverty. Before 2008 National talked big. John Key gave speech after speech about the underclass and how Labour was failing. He even took a young Maori woman Aroha Hudson to Waitangi in the Ministerial Limo in an attempt to show that he was actually a decent human being and could be compared to Norm Kirk.
History will show that he failed but his attempt had some of the greatest PR minds working overtime to make it work, at least in terms of publicity. And Aroha and her Whanau thought after a while that he was actually a dipshit.
I must apologise for my tourettes. As the possibility of ridding our country of this Government grows larger the frustrations of the past nine years are boiling up.
So this week we had Bill English announce a target for reducing child poverty which accepts that there are children living in poverty.
It has not always been this clear. Not so long ago now Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett scoffed and joked at the idea that there should be an official measurement of poverty. If you want a reason to make sure she never has a any political power in the future then watch this video.
Haha get that? If there is no official measurement of child poverty then we do not have to do anything about it.
And suddenly during an election campaign Bill English gets concerned about child poverty. From Newshub:
National leader Bill English committed to a target to bring 100,000 children out of poverty within the next three years, at tonight’s Newshub Leaders Debate.
Mr English said that in April next year National’s families package would bring 50,000 kids out of poverty.
“If we can get elected within two or three years we can have a crack at the next 50,000 children, getting them out of poverty,” he said.
“There’s two things you need to do, one is lift incomes the other is get inside the very toxic mix of social issues which we know are family violence, criminal offending and long-term welfare dependency. We’ve got the best tools in the world now to support rising incomes with cracking the social problems.”
When host Patrick Gower asked him if that was a commitment to a target to bring 100,000 children out of poverty, Mr English said yes.
Good on him. No New Zealand Government should tolerate child poverty.
But why has it taken so long?
And it really feels like this Government is being kicking and screaming to finally commit to doing something a responsible Government would have addressed years ago.
Checkpoint had this program last Friday comparing the lunchboxes of rich kids and poor kids and the difference was depressing. The programme clearly showed what was happening in our richest and poorest schools.
English’s response to the programme was as banal and as uninformed as you could ever imagine.
"If it’s happening at all, that’s too much." Bill English on being told 15 of 26 children in a decile 1 classroom came to school w/ no lunch pic.twitter.com/ES2sG0iEny
— Checkpoint (@CheckpointRNZ) September 8, 2017
You would think the Prime Minister of the country would have an idea about how badly fed the country’s poorest citizens are.
Russell Brown had the perfect response.
Even if this *were* down to bad parenting, it wouldn't matter. Hungry schoolchildren is a generational calamity. So screw your moral hazard. https://t.co/wRGmiRBpxo
— Russell Brown (@publicaddress) September 8, 2017
Remember there is only two weeks to go. Make sure your family are enrolled and voting.