Excellent work by RNZ, following up on previously redacted documents to expose this sham:
Govt told policies wouldn’t allay child poverty
Official papers reveal the Government was told its policies would do little to cut child poverty in the short to medium term.
The advice is included in a report Radio New Zealand first obtained under the Official Information Act last October. But the advice was withheld when the paper was released at that time.
In the paper dated 1 February 2013, officials wrote that the Government had a credible and wide ranging programme to address poverty which targeted a number of its causes and effects.
“The Government’s primary approach for addressing child poverty is to promote social mobility through paid employment driven by economic growth, clear work expectations and improved educational performance while ensuring that New Zealand’s social security safety net continues to support people who cannot support themselves.”
In last year’s release the following paragraph was deleted, but this time it has been included.
It reads: “However, in the short- to medium-term this programme is not likely to result in a large reduction in measured child poverty using an incomes or material deprivation basis. Recent experience with the Working for Families package has shown that it is possible to achieve significant direct reduction in poverty, but doing so requires significant additional investment.”
So social mobility policies do not address poverty in the short to medium term. The problem of poverty in NZ is immediate. “Social mobility” rhetoric, like the thoroughly discredited “trickle down”, is just a smokescreen, a cover for taking no effective action.
Even the Nats have conceded this with their recent (grudging) increase to base benefit rates (credit where it’s due but more is needed).
The only way to decrease poverty is to increase incomes. We need to raise wages and benefits. According to international evidence higher benefits makes people more likely to want to work. According to both the OECD and the IMF decreasing inequality would be very good for the economy.
We know what we need to do. Why are the Nats ignoring all this advice?
Update: Almost simultaneously – Govt aware it’s doing little to help child poverty: report