When was the last time that John Key mentioned the ‘underclass’? In his Statement to Parliament at the start of last year – after Eddie called him out on never talking about the underclass – but he didn’t actually read that part of the statement. So, what has Key actually done for the underclass that he purported to care for so much? Nothing. He’s let poverty worsen.
By the numbers:
GINI coefficient (0 = perfectly equal distribution of wealth, 100 = perfectly inequal), 2007 = 37
GINI coefficient, 2009 = 38
Households reporting income “not enough” to meet everyday needs, 2008: 213,700
Households reporting income “not enough” to meet everyday needs, 2010: 295,200
Jobless workers, Sept quarter 2008: 179,100
Jobless workers, Sept quarter 2010: 243,500
Child poverty –
Number of children in benefit-dependent households, April 2008: 211,609
Number of children in benefit-dependent households, April 2010: 243,884
Percentage of children living in households below the poverty line, 2007: 22%
Percentage of children living in households below the poverty line, 2009: 25%
Diseases of poverty
2000 more child hospital admissions due to diseases of poverty than in 2007/08
If there’s one group of New Zealanders that John Key and his band of elitists has betrayed more than any other, it is the poor. He tricked many of them into voting for him with his ‘aspirational’ personal story and promises to save the underclass. But when he got into power, with the help of another person whose life was turned around by State support – Paula Bennett, he began cutting those same supports that helped him escape destitution.
Yes, we’ve had a recession but that’s no excuse. This remains an incredibly wealthy country. With the money that Key has lavished on the wealthy elite in tax cuts, he could have pulled hundreds of thousands of Kiwi kids out of poverty. Rather than that money being frittered away on overpriced bachs and overseas holidays, it could have been an investment in the lives of these young Kiwis that would have been repaid many times over int he decades to come.
But this is a National government, doing what a National government does – governing for the rich, screwing the poor.