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