Last night Metiria Turei spoke to an audience at Christchurch’s Cardboard Cathedral. The event was live streamed online. She was passionate and informative.
Unlimited material growth is impossible. Therefore the key to social responsibility is the just distribution of social and natural resources, both locally and globally.
Kihai nga rawa o te ao e tipu haere tonu. Waihoki, ko te mea nui ke ko te kawenga papori, e whiwhi ai tena ki ona tikanga ano ki era rawa, ki te wa kainga nei, ki tawahi ranei o te ao.
She read from letters she has received outlining appalling treatment at the hands of WINZ. She told more of her own story. Some of what she spoke of mortified me.
We are past tinkering around the edges of our safety net system for the vulnerable. The nets is in tatters. All that remains are a couple of strands of rope used to lash those unfortunate enough to need help.
Metiria Turei: How many people on a benefit have committed suicide in the last 5 years?
Hon ANNE TOLLEY: I do not believe that the MSD has ever collected those sorts of statistics.“
For more on this exchange read here
Turei is describing a system that is beyond broken. It appears designed to wear people down, not support them to rebuild their lives.
We all make mistakes but not everyone has families who love them and who have the resources to help us through it. When the State provides for our most vulnerable they represent us, and our views toward those vulnerable. When this is passed over to outside agencies/businesses we are abdicating our responsibility to one another. We create a divide between those who have and those who do not. We put up an invisible wall so the comfortable do not have to see the suffering. We take notice when the poor rob us, beat us, or violate our comfort and then we act. With anger, derision, and revenge. That is why Law and order populist electioneering works.
There is little or no discussion of incomes during this election. English crowed that wages had increased more than inflation but ignored that housing costs are not included in the inflation measures. Until base incomes go up everything else is throwing a pebble in the pond and hoping to empty it.
When profits are down, or times hard, wages do not rise. It turns out that in some businesses in the good times you do not get a wage rise either. You need to be grateful you still have a job
Kirk Hope, chief executive of BusinessNZ, said the increase in company profits meant jobs were more secure.
360 years ago this was written about the poor of Britain
“… the sufferings of the poor are indeed less observed than their misdeeds; not indeed from any want of compassion, but because they are less known; and this is the reason why they are so often mentioned with abhorrence and so seldom with pity… They starve and freeze and rot among themselves, but they beg, steal and rob among their betters.” Hanoverian London, George
The Greens propose to attack poverty at its source.
- Increase all core benefits by 20 percent
- Increase the amount people can earn before their benefit is cut
- Increase the value of Working For Families for all families
- Create a Working For Families Children’s Credit of $72 a week
- Remove financial penalties and excessive sanctions for people receiving benefits
- Reduce the bottom tax rate from 10.5 percent to 9 percent on income under $14,000
- Introduce a new top tax rate of 40 percent on income over $150,000 per year.
- Raise the minimum wage to $17.75 in the first year and keep raising it until it’s 66 percent of the average wage.
The National Party appear to still deny the existence of poverty so do not address it in any detail. New Zealand First lacks detail and appears aspirational in nature rather than specific. Labour has a Families Package .
The Greens Policy is very specific. We all have the right to thrive not just survive.
So please, listen to Turei’s speech and her answers to questions from the floor, and you can no longer claim ignorance of the suffering going on in your city or town. What you choose to do with your knowledge…