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Champions for Children

Written By: - Date published: 8:02 pm, September 11th, 2012 - 33 comments
Categories: child welfare, class war, greens, poverty - Tags: , ,

The Greens have started a new programme – Champions for Children. See their press release, and 3 News coverage:

Greens want your help to end child poverty

The Green Party is calling on ordinary New Zealanders to join a new campaign to tackle child poverty. …

As the first step, Ms Turei is asking the public to email Prime Minister John Key and ask the government to support her bill to extend the in-work tax credits to the children of beneficiary and student families.

The Green’s web page is here:

Take The Step – Be a Champion for Children

Kids don’t get to lobby politicians or vote in elections for policies that keep them healthy and safe. They need someone to champion their cause – and that’s where you come in.

Become a Champion for Children now and we’ll keep in touch with you with activities, tasks and events you can participate in individually or with others to help end child poverty in our country. …

Good stuff. We should all sign up. We need to make alleviating child poverty the election issue of 2014.


33 comments on “Champions for Children”

  1. Mr Burns 1

    But if you want to really do something about child poverty you will have to increase the state’s resources. And if you want to do this you will have to increase taxes. And old rich owners of nuclear power stations will find that their accumulation of wealth will slow down slightly.

    You are joking aren’t you? 

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      I wonder if the Greens will let you join as a member if you show them how you will have the whole town glowing green?

    • mike e 1.2

      Mr burns sorry to upset your theory but those children if given help to get out of poverty may need their bedrooms heated at night so power consumption will go up and you will make more profits and be able to pay the increased taxes.

  2. Herodotus 2

    Kids don’t get to lobby politicians or vote in elections for policies that keep them healthy and safe.- No, but they have parents to champion their cause, and many/most take into consideration such matters in casting their vote. Isn’t that also why education policies play such a major part at election times e.g. ECE

  3. gobsmacked 3

    Metiria Turei was grilling Bill English (Acting PM) in Parliament today …


    The Greens’ bill (mentioned in the OP) will probably not have the numbers to get past first reading. But at least they are building on the momentum provided by last week’s authoritative report. Labour are focusing on the schools/nutrition angle, which is fine, but it’s only a small part of the issue. If they are serious about child poverty, they need to back the Greens more strongly – or offer alternatives.

  4. Bill 4

    Is that like those formally banished concepts like ‘vision’ and ‘strategy’ being used to build a concrete basis for potential wideranging ‘policy’? Seems the Greens are much more in tune with the concerns of the left, (including Labour Party members/activists) than Labour, no?

  5. deemac 5

    Extending WFF to people who don’t work is a daft way to approach the problem.
    It undermines the whole basis of WFF, which is to reward work.
    The obvious answer is a universal Child Benefit – NZ is one of the very few OECD countries that does not have such a scheme.
    Universal CB is popular because every family gets it, cheap because it isn’t means tested and progressive because it goes to the mother/caregiver directly instead of being swallowed up in the pay packet.
    And if you are worried about rich parents getting it, you can tax it.
    What’s not to like?

    • fatty 5.1

      Any kind of universal benefit removes the stigma associated with benefits…and neoliberals love the fact that beneficiaries are stigmatised. Neoliberals love the idea of deserving/undeserving. It makes them feel superior and poor people are blamed for being poor…the rich people who hog resources/assets/money cannot be blamed if we use targeted benefits. The greedy poverty producers use benefits to disempower and demoralise people.
      That is why they don’t like it

    • toad 5.2

      The Greens also support introducing a Universal Child Benefit, but it would be paid at a much lower rate than the In Work Tax Credit component of Working For Families, and would not necessarily be a first term priority. The main advantage of a Universal Child Benefit is that it can be capitalised, as the pre-1991 benefit cuts Family Benefit was, and therefore would give many families the deposit needed to purchase their first home.

      However, introducing a Universal Child Benefit at the rate of the In Work Tax Credit would be prohibitively expensive given the crap fiscal and economic circumstances that will be the legacy the Key Government leaves to an incoming Labour-Green one. It would address child poverty issues, but would be a much more expensive way of doing this than extending the In Work Tax Credit to beneficiary families.

      Longer term, perhaps the extended IWTC could be transitioned to a higher rate of Universal Child Benefit than that proposed in current Green policy, but the Greens have decided that addressing child poverty is the highest priority, and the most effective and least expensive way of doing this in the short term is extending the In Work Tax Credit to beneficiary families.

  6. Tracey 6

    “WFF, which is to reward work”

    Working For Families was a method of raising the minimum wage by stealth, wasn’t it? Effectively acknowledging that many folks simply do not have enough money to do right byt heir children. I fail to see how that could not apply to beneficiaries. However I am happy to call it something different for those receiving benefits, like, a living assistance

    • Glg 6.1

      WFF is just the government subsidising employers, it saves them having to give people pay rises so they can live with dignity. But strangely, it’s not regarded by those who receive it as welfare. Which it is, no different from the unemployment benefit.

      • Tracey 6.1.2

        “The data will be used to inform government policy and to target schemes to help people move back into work. ”

        Oh good, that’s revolutionary, data creates jobs for the out of work.

        • idlegus

          my wife & i get wff with our one child & we totally understand it is welfare (& appreciate it!). without it we would be well under the poverty line, we both work low paid jobs (myself at nz post & her in retail*), but time rich as they say! i expressed my out rage on other blog sites & fb & stuff comments etc about how unfair it was to demand dpb mums have to send their children to ece & have children compulsary immunised & not us, wff recipients. (for the record, my 4 year old has been in ece since she was 3, & she is fully immunised).

          isnt it funny how all the lines are being blurred? im a passionate lefty but believe in personal choice. i support maori with their private water claims. the world has gone mad, or maybe its a sign that the present system is indeed flawed & collapsing.

          *just as a side note, my wife works for a well known large book chain & shes been there for nearly 20 years & is one of the senior people at her branch & is repsonisible for things like banking & locking up, & shes paid maybe $1 over the minimum wage!, thats why we have hungry kids going to school. (not my child tho, shes well fed, we doing fine, thought who knows what the future will bring)

          • blue leopard

            It really is quite shocking and saddening to read your side note 🙁

            This is dreadful; that a large book chain would skimp on wages. My understanding being that the larger the business the better economy of size they have for making profit, I openly acknowledge I also hold an assumption that they will also get around taxes somehow… and then they can’t even be bothered to pay their staff well. Really sucks.

            When I spend money, and when I have a choice, I make a conscious effort to choose to spend in establishments that treat their staff well and pay them well. I don’t mind spending a little more in the event that it supports better employers.

  7. As the first step, Ms Turei is asking the public to email Prime Minister John Key and ask the government to support her bill to extend the in-work tax credits to the children of beneficiary and student families.

    So, Champions for Beneficiaries then, not Champions for Children. Good luck with that.

    • toad 7.1

      Working for Families was very effective at bringing the children of parents in work out of poverty, but because of the discriminatory In Work Tax Credit component, not nearly as effective at bringing the children of parents who cannot work or cannot find work out of poverty.

      And don’t forget that the Greens also propose to progressively increase the minimum wage until it is 66% of the average wage. That will have the effect of bringing more working families out of poverty as well as maintaining an incentive for people on benefits who can work to move into lower-income employment – a far fairer incentive than the current denial of the In Work Tax Credit to beneficiary families provides imo.

      • prism 7.1.1

        toad 7.1
        Points to note.
        I think the Working for Families tax credit is only available for full-time workers – I think that has been decided as 30 hours. Is that right? I thought I heard Bill English say so this morning on radionz. So does that mean a parent with child responsibilities, the most important job needing to be done well, and who is also working because she wants and needs to get some work if only for a few hours, allowing for her need to be there for her child, doesn’t qualify for WFF credit?

        And of course the very machiavellian design of the benefit system keeps people in poverty despite what the govmnt says. They lie in their teeth, which are false. There is the system of allowing earnings of just enough to keep managing then slapping the 80%? surcharge on the rest (is this applied marginally or to all the earnings) and also be on the gross amount, not the net amount after tax that the beneficiary actually receives. I would be happy to be put right by someone who actually knows what the system is now, but don’t bother to reply if you’re just full of sh.. opinions.

        The costs of administering all this, and slicing and dicing everything and watching the money that goes out, comes in, that might come out or come in, perhaps through a part-time partner not declared who might be helping out in some useful way, and on and on, is enormous.

        If we found a way to pay for useful assistance to assist good parenting that would be sad because so many people love to denigrate others, pick on someone perceived as lesser. But a new department properly funded would help by having a case manager, and to find the beneficiary, if they couldn’t themselves, some work for part of each year, to attend parenthood classes from the beginning, to have a special taxi round at low cost for beneficiaries in each area that could pick them up in groups for medical appointments etc.

        We could afford this and get the massive improvements that would flow if the whole nit-picking people-hating department was slimmed down and had to work at getting positive results not just saving money and stamping on beneficiaries fingers when they knock them to the ground.

        • toad

          The work thresholds for the In Work Tax Credit component of WFF is 20 hours a week for single parent families, and 30 hours a week for two parent families.

          However, if there is still an abated benefit entitlement the family will be ineligible for the In Work Tax Credit component of WFF even if a parent is working at or above the threshold hours.

        • mike e

          Prism 70% of income over $80 dollars is taxed + other special benefits are reduced even under the $ 80 mark ie like the housing supplement so the poorest people in the country are paying the highest taxes .
          That why I like Gareth Morgans Idea of one guarateed minimum income’
          It would put an end to this Nasty benefit bullying.

    • Tracey 7.2

      Reading isn’t your strong suit is it PM?

      • mike e 7.2.1

        Given unemployment is nhere to stay it is cruel and demeaning to make those children suffer the consquences of poverty!
        PM you are a callous Ignorant Narcissist.

    • Colonial Viper 7.3

      So, Champions for Beneficiaries then, not Champions for Children. Good luck with that.

      Would you prefer Champions for Multimillionaires? Oh National already does that.

  8. Tracey 8

    The greens are clever and compassionate. I signed up and wrote an email to Mr Key while I was there supporting Turei’s Income Tax Bill. Used my own words though.

    • Carol 8.1

      Email done!

      • Carol 8.1.1

        …. and a quick (auto?) response.

        I wonder if this is the 1st and last response I’ll get?

        On behalf of the Prime Minister, Rt Hon John Key, thank you for your email.

        Please note that although email increases the speed of delivery, it may not be possible to provide you with the rapid response users of email may anticipate.

        The fact that you have taken the time to write is appreciated. You can be assured that your views will be noted.

        Yours sincerely
        The Office of the Prime Minister

        Will my views REALLY be noted, or just ignored?

        • lprent

          Oh no, you will get a response. Just not to your question/email.

          You have just added yourself to the email lists of Nationals contact management software. expect to get a considerable increase in spam emails about how great John Key is…..

        • Tracey

          I didnt get the auto reply…

  9. alex 9

    This will not only be the defining election issue, it could also be the defining issue of the future coalition.

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