Written By: - Date published: 11:40 am, July 22nd, 2018 - 89 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, benefits, capitalism, Carmel Sepuloni, child abuse, child welfare, class, class war, crime, Dr Deborah Russell, families, housing, human rights, labour, national, Politics, poverty, prisons, welfare - Tags:
Michael Joseph Savage would be turning in his grave. And this shows what an important job this Government has and what a crap job the last Government performed. The United Nations recently expressed incredulity at our statistics concerning child poverty, housing, incarceration and violence.
The report is a couple of months old but the issues identified will require long term fixes.
New Zealand’s child poverty, inadequate housing, incarceration and violence has “shocked” a United Nations committee reviewing the country’s human rights record.
Members of a committee overseeing the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) were last month incredulous at some of New Zealand’s worst statistics, chief human rights commissioner David Rutherford said.
Rutherford attended the review in Geneva along with various New Zealand NGOs, as part of a delegation led by Justice Minister Andrew Little.
The committee asked Little about New Zealand’s progress on policies and legislation that would ensure the population had access to equal economic, social and cultural rights.
Rutherford said many New Zealanders were familiar with issues like health disparities and domestic violence.
But the statistics “came as a shock” to some of the members of the UN committee, he said.
“It was empowering to observe the incredulity at some of our worst statistics. They were shocked by statistics on child poverty, inadequate housing, the incarceration rate and violence, abuse and bullying, which didn’t seem to sit well with our status as a developed nation.”
Little said once he had answered some of the questions from the committee on these areas, members were satisfied with the direction the Government was taking on them.
“They give pretty good scrutiny to what’s happening in New Zealand in the two sessions I had with them and it was certainly a very constructive dialogue.
“It certainly wasn’t gilding the lily at all, it was about acknowledging what we can do better and acknowledging what we are doing well.”
The final report is not yet out but should be published on the Human Rights Commission website.
These are an affront to the New Zealand way of life and are the result of calculated malevolence on the part of the last Government. You could see it as in budget after budget cuts and tweaks were made to Government funding the effect of which was to slowly but inevitably make the situation worse.
Deborah Russell summed up the situation well when describing the 2016 budget:
Very quietly, a cut here and a decrease there, a failure to keep up with inflation in one place, and ignoring increasing population in another place, the Government is walking away from New Zealand’s longstanding social compact.
And what did the last Government think? Well John Key’s biggest regret was not getting his vanity flag project through, not that the lives of thousands of kids had been blighted.
So all eyes on this Government. Carmel Sepuloni has worked hard on the issue of child poverty with the implementation of the Families Package and the change in the way that WINZ functions two highlights.
Phil Twyford has been energetic on housing in areas such as halting the hounding of housing corporation tenants where traces of methamphetamine were found in their flats, and the start of planning for Kiwibuild. His destruction of the ludicrous notion that New Zealand does not have a housing crisis and his proposals for change are really heartening.
In relation to incarceration Andrew Little is grappling with long needed changes to the Criminal Justice system to reduce incarceration rates. The prospects of there being a political consensus are remote. National clearly will prefer to play political games than to effect meaningful change.
And violence rates? Well solve these other problems and the incidence of anger and violence will reduce.
The UN is right. We should be ashamed about how those who are the most vulnerable in our society are faring. Which is why progressive politics is so important.