Welcome to Poverty watch, a weekly update on the National government’s lack of response to the urgent and growing issue of poverty in NZ. A lot of background issues and links are set out in Poverty Watch one two and three.
I was planning a special edition of Poverty Watch this week, focusing on the release of two important reports, the Children’s Social Health Monitor 2012 Update Report released on Monday, and the Children’s Commisioner Expert Advisory Group’s report on Solutions to Child Poverty (EAG Report) released on Tuesday.
As it happened though, other Standard authors covered the headline messages in various posts, Killing our kids, Help our kids!, This, and there has already been a bit of discussion. So instead I’m going to read these reports in detail, and cover bits of them in Poverty Watch posts over the next year.
I think it’s fair to say that between them the reports paint a bleak picture. 270,000 children need our help. 600 children have died from poverty related causes over the last five years. It’s a disgrace. To me the two things that absolutely highlight the callousness and stupidity of this National government are that…
(1) The costs of child poverty are in the range of $6-8 Billion per year, but the Nats refuse to spend the $2 Billion that would be needed to really make a difference. Even in purely rational economic terms National’s attitude makes no sense.
(2) The Nats refuse to even measure the problem: “John Key also ruled out new legislation which would set out an official measure of child poverty and require the Government to set a target to reduce it”. They believe in measurement and goals when it suits them to bash beneficiaries, but not to address child poverty. Words fail me.
This is the last edition of Poverty Watch for the year. I’ll be back next year to dig in to the reports. See you then.