The government is proud of their surplus, which at 0.7% of GDP isn’t quite as dramatic as the 9% of GDP deficit they had in 2011. But as soon as we have a surplus, National starts salivating over tax cuts. Continuing where I left off, here’s some other priorities.
Today the antithesis of tax-cuts – actually looking after those at the bottom of the economic heap.
Despite Judith Collins’ assertion that crime wasn’t connected to poverty – quite a few who know better disagree – perhaps we could save a couple of billion prison spend if we invested in our kids earlier. And if we look at the balance of migration a bit closer, and invest in getting those already citizens the skills we need in our economy, we might have fewer families in poverty too.
Even ideas like provided healthy school lunches don’t actually cost that much – and could save a lot of family time across the nation preparing lunches…
Of course there is a big intersection between Child Poverty and the Housing problem – having a healthy home that doesn’t cost most of your income makes a huge difference to how well you can provide for your family. That home being healthy makes a difference to our rising health costs too. (That is expensive, and I’ve already covered…)
Still, some more direct action will be needed too – looking at something like Labour’s Best Start program ($60/week for young children), would make a significant difference at a bit under $300 million/year. Extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks (most OECD countries have at least that) would be about half that again.
Labour and the Greens have each had comprehensive Child Poverty policies the last 2 elections, John Key has mainly just talked about it for every election he’s been part of. Colin James:
Key used to insist he wanted his legacy to be what he does for disadvantaged children. He declared child poverty his third-term focus. Assessed by missing necessities in a child’s life, the numbers are still sad.
The fact that he hasn’t dismissed the Labour-Green-Maori homelessness report’s findings is at least a start – but will he use that surplus money to actually do something about it? Or just more talk, with maybe a little spending ‘dribble’ like the benefit raising (kudos – but not enough, with 2-300,000 kids still in poverty)?