Child Poverty March

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 pm, September 6th, 2014 - 14 comments
Categories: democratic participation, hone harawira, poverty - Tags: , ,

There was a great protest up Queen St today, as 1000-odd people (including me & my family!) marched against child poverty, and government and societal inaction over it.

TVOne.  Herald.

Henare O’Keefe – wow.

I’m sure the media cameras loved Lucy Lawless, and Jacinda and particularly Hone made great political speeches (Meteria didn’t seem to speak as powerfully as she normal does), but 2012 New Zealand Community Hero Henare O’Keefe stole the show.

If anyone wasn’t motivated to action after hearing him – they must have stone hearts.

So Hone’s breakfasts in schools bill seems the first target to get through (as the bill’s already on the order paper from this term) – and we need to make sure that Labour, Greens, Internet Mana, Maori Party & NZ First (who have all pledged support) have a enough seats in the house to get it through.

Then we need to raise the minimum wage, and …

So really, we just need a centre left government so we don’t have the horrific statistics of 260,000 kids in poverty in our country, but someone who will do something about it.

14 comments on “Child Poverty March”

  1. karol 1

    Thanks for this report, Ben.

    Yes. We need a change of government & a change of direction. Good to see all the support across various parties.

  2. mickysavage 2

    “Our opponents say more children are living in poverty than when we came into office … [a]nd that’s probably right.”

    John Key

    • karol 2.1

      Yes, that comment came to my mind, too. key, keen to be PoTUS and wallow in (alleged) “celebrity” glory – and glib about the rise in child poverty under his watch. Unbelievable!

    • Hanswurst 2.2

      He’s referring to children in Australia.

      • mickysavage 2.2.1

        Is he? I wondered if the comment was one big piss take. The words I replaced with … were “Key tells me” so the meaning seems clear …

        • Hanswurst

          I was referencing his staggeringly stupid excuse a few years ago that he was referring to Australian wages when he said that he would “love to see wages drop”. If the MSM had given appropriate prominence to the number of stupid excuses and backtracks Key had made, NZ would have voted him out years ago, simply on the grounds that he’s a dick.

          This is another of those, but I doubt it’ll get much oxygen.

  3. Ad 3

    CPAG have done sterling work sustaining this onto public discourse. It will now confront any future government. As it should.

    What I expect to see emerge from the Whaleoil/Act/Collins leftovers however is populist anti-“poor-pimping” sentiment. Big sections of New Zealand area as bitter and resentful against “bennies” as they are against criminals. Whaleoil and others could easily reconstitute themselves as the Garth McVicars of beneficiaries.

    Arise, New Zealand’s version of the Tea Party.

  4. crocodill 4

    It wasn’t very fair of TVNZ to reduce Alfred Ngaro’s comment to an ambiguous soundbite. He should have had far more time to string up a rope for himself. The only way anyone in Te Atatu could stand there saying National are solving the problem would require them living with diving goggles and earmuffs permanently strapped to their head, and only ever leaving home to drive immediately down the motorway and off at Gillies Ave.

    Having said that, I find the whole protest thing, “unrealistic”. What we see now is the consequence of a range of rotten cultural attitudes and one particular perspective that also happens to be a definitive part of what it is to be “kiwi”. Money, yeah money is great, but that won’t solve poverty by itself. This mythical “gap” between rich and poor isn’t solely about money. The “gap” is caused by a deliberate attempt to distance oneself from other people – so many different motivations for that. When I was growing up, they encouraged it at school. Our whole mindset is based around who is up there, and who is down there. Ironically, at the protest we have an celebrity protesting against her way of life and an important part of her identity and those who want to stop poverty making use of her celebrity – a direct contradiction to what needs to happen culturally to reduce poverty. There is no positive use of celebrity or privilege. None. Tourism only makes things worse. (Nothing personal Lucy, love your work… lol)

    Regardless of who wins next election, no one will wake up the next morning and be free of poverty. Even if they woke up in a fantastic utopian reality they wouldn’t be free from the effects for years, maybe not even until the day they die. It will take an equally strong deliberate attempt by those who don’t want to live in inclusive “equalised” communities to begin doing the opposite to even start to address what we now think is poverty.

    There is a much simpler way to address poverty for this election:

    You don’t need to care about children or anything in particular. All you have to do is accept the causes and effects and think, ok, if we do the opposite, will that result in a positive long-term commercial/financial outcome for “us”?

    No one has yet tried to do the opposite to see what happens. The experiment is being run by people who are purposely shrinking the market. Surely the rich stand to benefit from a larger group to exploit? So increase the wealth and ability of the group = more resources to exploit= more money for you. No one can squeeze cash from a stone. God it’s so simple only a complete idiot would not try it.

  5. Ad 5

    Crocodil, what 3 concrete policies would you want implemented by the next government to decrease financial suffering for children under 13 in New Zealand?

  6. karol 6

    Sunday Star Times has an article on Aroha of McGehan Close on page A4. It’s on Stuff but not visible on the main page:

    Once she was the poster girl of John Key’s rise to power. Now, the girl from McGehan Close says she would never vote for National and has no plans to return home from Australia.

    As a young woman in Auckland, she says, there were no houses, no jobs, no hope: “There was nothing left in New Zealand.”

    In 2007 Aroha Ireland, then aged 12, had become the face of what John Key, leader of the Opposition at the time, called New Zealand’s underclass.

    Key had labelled her community in Mt Albert’s McGehan Close a “dead end” and “the nation’s street of hopelessness” created by the Labour government.

    He has now had six years to turn things around, but Aroha is not convinced. She has no plans to come back to New Zealand, where she could find only part-time work on the minimum wage in a fast-food restaurant.
    Back in 2007, her mother Joan Nathan famously castigated Key for insulting their community.

    As an olive branch, Key took the young girl to celebrations at Waitangi that year and got Nathan a job at MP Jackie Blue’s office. Things briefly looked up for the family. But after the first term of Key’s government, Aroha moved to Australia and her mother was back on the benefit after being made redundant from her job with Blue.

    Three years later Aroha, now 20, feels she was used by Key – and the Prime Minister won’t be getting her vote.

    “The last time I spoke to him was when he took me to Waitangi Day. After that I have never heard from him again. I absolutely believe that I was used as a publicity stunt,” she says. “I wouldn’t vote for National.”
    She recently returned home to visit her mother. She couldn’t believe how expensive the price of living in New Zealand was compared to Australia.

    “Petrol has shot up – $2 for petrol, really? I also brought about seven or eight items from one of the supermarkets and it came to a total of $78. No wonder people can’t fill their fridges. I’m glad I got out of New Zealand when I did.”

    Over the past four years she has seen her mother’s financial situation worsen. “My mum works full time and she is still struggling really bad,” she says. “It is like she is worse off.”

  7. Foreign waka 7

    This is what Mr Mandela had to say about poverty:

    “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

    I guess Mr Key and Mr English disagree. As do all land gentry really. You need poor people to have control of the profits.

  8. Bannis 8

    ‘… the beginning is people just don’t have enough income .. income is so low that food becomes a discretionary item’ Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson discussing the Family 100 Research Project on 95bFM,

    In the debates about child poverty the main issue being ignored is that of income adequacy. At the candidates’ meeting at the Otago Medical School on Friday the ‘other elephant’, the inadequacy of benefits, was completely overlooked. Since the cuts of 1991 all households on benefits have struggled, but most particularly those with children. Read the Incomes paper to be discussed next Tuesday 5.30pm at St Johns in the City, Wellington, if you’re in any doubt.

    We were swept away by the wave of good feeling at the people’s generosity for Kids Can and John Campbell’s collection. However we are worried that such events should become a normal part of solving child poverty. It is dealing with the symptoms not the cause. And incidentally, it was appalling to see how much of the huge collection of cans were baked beans and worse, spaghetti – not the most healthy foods for children!

    While we can understand the popularity of this appeal and the urgency of dealing with hungry children by doing something now, we deplore the creation of a charity that may become the established way of dealing with this problem. This is a classic capitalist ploy of entrenching charitable solutions where the state system should be taking the action. Children have the human right to adequate sustenance and should not be dependent on charity.
    At the Anti-poverty Hikoi on Saturday Papatoetoe South school principal Mark Barratt said he witnessed the effects of child poverty every day. Barratt said in his experience with poor children and parents, a low minimum wage was the root of many problems. “If you haven’t got enough money, it doesn’t matter how well you budget.” He was critical of the government outsourcing responsibility for addressing the issue to private companies like Sanitarium and Fonterra. He believed all political parties needed to work together to address child poverty and related economic issues. See link: Poverty

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