Poverty Watch 9

Written By: - Date published: 11:32 am, October 27th, 2012 - 13 comments
Categories: class war, national, poverty - Tags:

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.

This week, two very different parties illustrate two very different attitudes to poverty. First up is aspiring Nat coalition partner, Colin Craig’s Conservatives:

‘No free lunches’ for hungry kids, says Colin Craig

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says there should be “no free lunches” for children sent to school without any of their own.

In a release this afternoon, Mr Craig says research showing children that go without lunch don’t learn as well is “missing the point”.

It isn’t “missing the point” at all, it’s making a point that you want to ignore.

“The issue is not whether lunchlessness is detrimental to learning,” he says. “Rather the issue is a parents’ duty to provide for their children.”  Mr Craig believes providing lunches in schools will encourage “delinquent behaviour”.  “While free lunches sound appealing, they are actually a way by which the Government enables the continuation of delinquent parenting. Such proposals are an unwitting, well meaning, but destructive response.”  …

Research by the Ministry of Health shows roughly 20 percent of Kiwi households with children run out of money for food.

Prepared to let kids suffer for the circumstances or (in some cases yes) the failings of their parents – that’s “compassionate conservatism” for you.

On the other hand The Greens have launched a program to raise funds for a campaign on poverty – Take the Step:

End child poverty: Take the Step

New Zealand should be the best place in the world to grow up. But for 270,000 Kiwi children currently in poverty, that’s just not the case.

Persistent poverty damages a child for the rest of their life. And it damages our country. We’re spending over $6 billion a year on preventable crime, illness and lost educational opportunities – the direct cost of keeping kids in poverty.

Many of our poorest children are excluded from getting the same support the state gives other kids who need it, because their parents don’t work enough.

These kids need champions to make sure Parliament understands that ordinary New Zealanders want the best for all our kids, regardless of who their parents are.

An email to Green supporters sought donations – the actual wording was “We need your support to run a strong campaign that will radically reduce child poverty in New Zealand” – which fringe right wingers tried to portray as somehow misleading. Those who can’t or won’t do anything to help tackle child poverty have nothing better to offer than to attack those who can and will.

Poverty Watch always ends with the following list, the National government’s response to rising poverty in NZ:

• National has not yet set any target for reducing poverty
• ?

13 comments on “Poverty Watch 9”

  1. millsy 1

    Would Colin Craig then close down the school dental program then? Or remove hearing/eye tests in the school system? Would have have opposed free school milk if he was around in 1937? What about MMR injections?

    • fatty 1.1

      No Millsy…Colin Craig would have welcomed school milk from the 1930s to the 1960s because during this era Jesus considered it OK to help the poor. But then those evil hippies turned up with their devilish ideas about women, gays and brown people being equal. As a response to this, in the 1980s, Jesus demanded individual responsibility and declared it OK to hate on poor people.
      There are some Christians who have misread the word ‘love’ in the New Testament, and for some strange reason (possibly communism) continue to help poor people…my guess is these heathen Christians will go straight to hell.

      • Dr Terry 1.1.1

        When you consider the Colin Craig’s of the world, you begin to better comprehend Ghandi who said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”.

        • fatty

          true…it was a cheap shot, and I know there are many Christians who are against our current economic ideology. Especially many Christian charity organisations…they actively fight against neoliberalism.

  2. Colin Craig and his ilk desire a society where people in need would have to prove that they are deserving of help/,No naughty solo mum or out of work able bodied teen would be availble for a “hand out” ., A return to control bybthe pious religious right of the Victorian days, What bothers m is that there are still people who vote for these policies and support such dangerous people like Craig .

    • David H 2.1

      There’s always one who pines for the ‘good ol days, when they can pillage with impunity. And as for the supporters, thankfully they are few and far between.

  3. Treetop 3

    Graig should have seen the family on Campbell Live on earlier in the week. Dad a mechanic off work for nearly a year with a crook back, mum a nursing student, four boys aged about 4 – 9. They have no home and spend a few days to a couple of weeks where ever they can find shelter. A Green MP has written to Housing NZ on their behalf. The family are left with $24 each week and a friend has loaned them a car. One of the children has school sores, probably from unhealthy rental accommodation which the family could no longer live in.

    I will keep saying until the next election that government housing stock has to increase by 50,000. It costs a fortune for a family of six to live. Single people on low incomes cannot afford market rent either.

    I would like to ask Graig what does he expect the above family to do?

    Graig does not understand just how far a school lunch goes for a hungry child.

    • Treetop 3.1

      In total nationally there are 871 priority A on the HNZ list, 66 of those are in the Wellington area. The family live in Wellington, not in Christchurch as the article states.


      If a prob with the link please fix as it splits when I type it.

    • Dr Terry 3.2

      Is there anything that Craig does understand? Perhaps he sometimes gains a glimpse into his own heart of stone.

      • AsleepWhileWalking 3.2.1

        Colin Craig is a landlord himself which is how he built his wealth and a doubt he gives a shit about a homeless Wellington family.

        From his stance on free school lunches I’m guessing Conservative Party Policy also extends to frowning upon Working For Families which is another way of parents failing to provide an adequate financial buffer before having children.

        What is their stance on abortion? Is that “delinquent”….but not being able to feed children is also “delinquent behaviour” of parents…can’t have it both ways.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          There should be no free lunches for religous schools either. All their state funding should be removed forwith. As should state money to private schools.

          I’m more than happy to promote that those schools outside the state system should stand on their own two feet.

      • mac1 3.2.2

        Dr Terry, your comment about heart of stone recalls lines from a song I heard on Friday night at a concert involving the music of Kurt Weill. The song is “Lotterieagents Tango”

        “If you carry a heart of flesh,
        harden it to stone and wonder not
        that it is not equally successful.
        Be tough before great poverty……

        Build a tower of stone about yourself,
        You don’t hear them outside shrieking.
        Be blind, be deaf, permit no guilt,
        You’ll forfeit money and profits.
        Never deny the crown of profits:
        Interest and compound interest.”

        From ‘Der Silbersee,” written in Germany in the Thirties.

  4. xtasy 4

    So while Colin Craig goes on about “morals” of his preference again, what is his position on paying workers a living wage then? If parents on low wages or benefits would actually have incomes, so that the exorbitant rental costs in places like Auckland and Christchurch would not force them to “prioritise” a roof over the head, power to light, warm and power the home and needed applicances, and even could afford school clothing, transport and so for their kids, maybe they would even have enough for a packet of weet bix and stuff after paying utilities?

    But no, Colin Craig will hold public prayer meetings, so manna will rain from the heavens to feed all the needy, water will be turned into “grape juice”, as wine is forbidden, to quench the thirst, and all will be happy thereafter, so no such signs in the hand of a kid asking for help will be seen anywhere in NZ Aotearoa, God’s (dis) “own(ed)” country, yeah right.


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