National are consistently attacking the vulnerable in society – those who cannot fight back and complain. This is where a lot of their cuts are aimed at – those who need it most. Be it in health, education or welfare.
And in several recent health and education National cuts have hurt the most vulnerable – our children. Not just the massive Early Childhood Education cuts of Tolley, which affect the futures of all our children, but cuts hurting those at the bottom even more.
This government’s policies that are seeing us head back into recession, maintaining high unemployment, and cutting the value of the working poor’s incomes are seeing 2000 more children admitted to hospital last year compared to 2007 – with the bulk of those extra patients being from low-income families.
[Assoc Prof Cindy Kiro] said there was “a range of worrying trends”, particularly for children under four years old, Maori and Pacifika children and children of sole parents and beneficiaries.
“Sixty per cent of those below the poverty line are children. That’s the really important point, people don’t understand that,” Ms Kiro said.
Children are paying with their health for this government’s policies.
They’re also paying with their education, as those with specialist needs miss out.
Kids Farm in John Key’s own Helensville is being closed, with the 13 troubled youths it was working successfully with being transferred to Kaipara College – who get funding for 5 of them. That’s 13 young men who’ll end up back in crime and anti-social behaviour, making life worse for everybody, because Kaipara College won’t have the resources to deal with them. Former police officer Grant Gray, who along with his wife has given his last 10 years turning many kids lives around at Kids Farm, says:
“What happens to these youth that don’t fit into mainstream? When you create an underclass of unemployed and unskilled people then crime rates go up.”
Young women are missing out too. In Christchurch student mums are being cut from the school roll. Have a baby, lose your education and your future is the punishment set up by warped morals of National. So that we can support and complain about these women on the DPB for the rest of their lives, as we cut every opportunity for them to get off it, no matter how they try. Just like Paula Bennett cutting the Training Incentive Allowance she used.
Those are recent examples, but it’s not a recent phenomenon – it’s easy to bring up examples like the shutting of the Te Hurihanga residential youth offender facility that was so effective at diverting our young from crime. The pilot was expensive, but pilots are. When you roll things out on a larger-scale the costs are much more reasonable – and a whole lot less than having those young men committing crimes and being incarcerated for a large section of their lives.
It all adds up to a National prescription. Screw the poor, give them no ladders to climb, and spend the money saved (in the short term, before we have to pay for the prisons and benefits) on your rich mates.
That’s “ambitious for New Zealand”.