Just a brief Poverty Watch today, before we start on the report from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner next week.
It’s very (very!) encouraging to see the number of perceptive, committed, compassionate young people that we have in NZ. The Net and other technology have given them tools to organise, and get their voices heard, that previous generations never had. And they’re making use of the opportunities! One inspiring organisation is Generation Zero, which has an environmental focus. Another is the P3 Foundation, which addresses poverty:
P3 Foundation is a youth-led, New Zealand based charity that inspires and empowers young people to eradicate extreme poverty in the Asia-Pacific.
Our organisation is made up of 130 young, passionate and committed volunteers who are driven by a collective desire to see the end of poverty within this generation. …
Why Are We Doing This?
1.4 billion people throughout the world are currently living in extreme poverty.
This means that they have less than NZD 2.25 per day to cover all essential living costs.
Those who live in these conditions do not have access to the most basic of needs: health care, clean water, food, peace, education – and the opportunity to pursue their dreams. At P3 we believe that this is unacceptable and that as a society, we are morally obligated to take a stand and do something to change this.
We also believe that it is in the best interests of each and every one of us to promote economic and social developments so that together, we can create a better world for everyone who is a part of it. After all, every person deserves the chance the follow their dreams.
P3 are thinking outside NZ, and thinking big! If only we had governments that were up to challenge. Check out the P3 web site for a list of projects, and information about volunteering. Thank you P3.
Here’s the standard footnote. Poverty (and inequality) were falling (albeit too slowly) under the last Labour government. Now they are on the rise again, in fact a Waikato University professor says that poverty is our biggest growth industry.
Before the last election Labour called for a cross party working group on poverty. Key turned the offer down. Report after report after report has condemned the rate of poverty in this country, and called on the government to act. Meanwhile 40,000 kids are fed by charities and up to 80,000 are going to school hungry. National has responded with complete denial of the issues, saying that the government is already doing enough to help families feed their kids. Organisations working with the poor say that Key is in poverty ‘la la land’.
The Nats refuse to even measure the problem (though they certainly believe in measurement and goals when it suits them to bash beneficiaries). In a 2012 summary of the government’s targets and goals John Armstrong wrote: “Glaringly absent is a target for reducing child poverty”…
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 economic terms National’s attitude makes no sense.