Once again recent headlines prompt me to ask if in 2008 we really chose a brighter future after all.
A child advocate says New Zealand is sitting on a Polynesian timebomb if it does nothing about Maori and Pacific poverty levels.
Lobby group Every Child Counts has commissioned a report which says the country is “developing a brown social underclass”. It says of the 200,000 New Zealand children living below the poverty line, more than half are Maori or Pacific.
A Nat would tell you that you can’t fix poverty by “throwing money at it”. A superb piece by Tapu Misa addresses this.
Why is the idea of helping poor children so difficult to sell in a country with a supposed “socialist streak”? …
But child poverty advocates must wonder what it will take to get those hearts on the side of the 200,000 children growing up in poverty, as yet another dire report on child poverty is added to the growing pile, this time focused on Maori and Pacific children.
The second of two reports commissioned by the lobby group Every Child Counts, it arrived with a warning that New Zealand was sitting on a “Polynesian timebomb” that threatens to explode into the kind of violence seen recently in Britain.
Perhaps fear is a better motivator for action, though I somehow doubt it. Should we prefer the economic arguments? There are plenty of those in the Infometrics report, 1000 Days to Get it Right for Every Child, which argues for increased public investment in children’s early years, and estimates the economic cost of child poverty at about $6 billion a year, or 3 per cent of GDP.
The report counters an oft-heard line, repeated by John Key in the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children, that good outcomes for children have defied massive public investment. That makes it sound as if more money couldn’t possibly help.
In fact, we spend less than half the average in the OECD on our children, and our poor ranking for child outcomes (28th out of 30) reflects that low investment. Countries that throw the most money at children tend to get the best results. …
So, we don’t just spend our money badly. We skimp on our children.
Poverty. More cuts and beneficiary bashing. Youth unemployment. Little reason to hope for the future. Where is all this leading?
Wairarapa teenagers are feared to be involved in a mass-suicide pact.
After the sudden deaths of four teenagers, authorities and community groups are clamping down on frenzied social media messages which make claims of a pact among some teenagers to end their lives, and identify – often falsely – teenagers who have killed themselves and ways they have done it. …
Senior Sergeant Warwick Burr was aware of rumours of a suicide pact and said police were ready to take urgent action if they believed someone was about to commit suicide.
As a publicity stunt before the 2008 election Key pretended to be interested in “the underclass” for a bit. His message now is that the government has done as much as possible (bollocks). Where’s the brighter future John?