Overshadowed by the political smears that have dominated the past few days, the Tick for Kids campaign was launched (video) to put our children at the centre of the election campaign.
In their media release supporting the campaign, the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services nailed the inequality issue:
NZCCSS is calling for government policies that lift the household income of vulnerable families so they can provide a healthy standard of living for their children. Policies such as paying a universal child benefit (e.g. by extending the In-Work Tax Credit to parents who are not in work) will help reduce child poverty. Policies like these make a contribution to reducing inequality and consequently lifting children out of poverty.
Other issues in the campaign are health, education, disability, housing and refugee and migrant children.
We know that the right can’t tackle these issues seriously. We’ve seen the situation for Kiwi children only get worse over the past five years. Punitive crackdowns on beneficiary families, school closures, eroding incomes, refusing to expand the Food in Schools programme to all schools, running down early childhood education: the National-ACT-United Future-Maori coalition has been bad for kids.
Meanwhile, Labour has the BestStart policy to ensure all families with newborns get a basic level of support, restore funding to ECE and provide free antenatal classes. The Greens have a package of policies including after-school care and free GP visits for all under-18s. Mana believes feeding the kids should be our first priority as a nation.
And a leftwing coalition which reduces inequality, raises wages, rebuilds our social safety net and creates meaningful economic growth benefits all Kiwis and their families.
What do you reckon?