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Thriving children, liveable communities & sustainable resources

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, July 25th, 2014 - 14 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, election 2014, equality, greens, Metiria Turei, poverty, russel norman, sustainability - Tags:

This week the Green Party has been continuing it’s election focus on reducing poverty and inequalities (with a strong focus on its impact on children), and developing sustainable communities.  This brings into focus two current crises that we need to put every effort into tackling: poverty/inequality; and the destruction of our environment as a result of climate change and over-dependence on extractive resources.


This week, Russel Norman & Metiria Turei announced some key policies focused on these areas of crisis.

The underlying causes of both these crises is the profiteering, individualistic, and often short-term ethos of capitalism, especially the turbo-charged, consumerist, “neoliberal” brand of capitalism that has been running rampant in recent decades.

The Green Party has chosen to focus it’s election campaign on tackling these crises through some key areas, and practical policies,. These are likely to have meaning for large numbers of kiwi households living within our current context, dominated by media-fueled culture of misinformation, diversion, and individualism.

It seems, though, that the Greens have decided that it won’t have electoral traction to focus strongly on the impact on adults of of poverty and the inequality gap.

At the beginning of the week, Metiria Turei announced a policy of 20 hours free early childhood education for two year olds.  This is to be one plank an inter-related raft of policies focused on “thriving kids”.

Green Party 20 hours free ECE 2 yr olds

The Green Party today announced that its key social platform for this election will be to tackle child poverty and inequality by ensuring every child in New Zealand has enough to thrive.

The Green Party will make a series of policy announcements in the run up to the election which will cumulatively form a plan to ensure that every child has enough of what they need to thrive.

In the first of these announcements, made today, the party has announced a package to support families by extending access to free early childhood education and improve the quality of all ECE.

The key policy points in the Green Party’s plan for supporting families access ECE are:

  1. Extend the 20 Hours free early childhood education subsidy to cover two-year-olds, at an initial cost of $255 million. As the benefits of this successful scheme are opened up to at least another 40,000 children, more kids will get a good start in life and the burdens on their families will be eased.
  2. Provide $32 million a year to restore funding for 100% qualified teachers, as part of an ambitious plan to boost the quality of early childhood education and make sure every child gets the right care and support.

The cost of the package will be $297 million per year, rising to $367 million within four years.

The full policy is here.

The evidence has long been clear that the early years are crucial to a child’s social, physical and educational development; and that good early childhood care and education provisions can contribute living a positive and satisfying life as an adult.  The policy outline quotes some relevant sources, providing supporting evidence.

The outline then points out how this will help families on low incomes:

…for every dollar spent now on ECE, society saves anywhere between $3 and $16 down the track.

Subsiding high-quality ECE is a powerful equaliser, helping compensate for the harder start in life that many children face, and making a bigger difference to low-income families. It also smooths the path for families that have both parents in work because they cannot afford to have one at home fulltime with their child. According to a 2010 OECD study, New Zealand working families pay 28 per cent of their net income on childcare – the fourth highest percentage of family income in the group of 32 industrialised nations belonging to the organisation. Extending ECE subsidies addresses a shortfall in the support provided to some young families.

Yesterday Russel Norman announced a renewable energy policy that continues the focus on children, schools and their communities: the “Solar in Schools’ Policy:

Green Party Ra sun solar policy

The Green Party will help schools install solar and save money on their power bills by investing $20 million into solar PV systems in schools.

The $20 million is expected to:

  • Help around 500 schools install solar over three years
  • Result in 6.7MW of total installed capacity
  • Achieve annual savings of $1.64m (exclusive of GST) over the 25 year lifespan of the panels installed
  • Achieve total savings of $41m (exclusive of GST) over the 25 year lifespan of the panels installed
  • Allow schools to invest in other areas of teaching and learning with the money saved
  • Educate kids, staff, parents and the wider community about clean energy

These are very good policies, tackling urgent needs, and promoted in a way that will be meaningful to people in many households, especially those with children and young people.

We also need a strong surge of grassroots pressure to put more focus on the impacts of poverty, inequalities, and environmental destruction on people of all ages.  Children do not exist in communities that are separate from the lives of adults – young, old and in-between.

stop robbing poor to feast rich

As an older member of society, I am very happy for government spending to prioritise measures to ensure all children get the very best start in life.  This IS the key to a thriving society of the future.

And I really like the way the policies on environment are inter-linked with those aiming to tackle income and wealth inequalities, and produce livable collaborative communities.

We are all in this together.


14 comments on “Thriving children, liveable communities & sustainable resources”

  1. tinfoilhat 1

    Thanks for continuing to post on the issues that matter Karol, it’s all too easy to get distracted by side issues.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1


      • blue leopard 1.1.1

        +2 Thanks for informing us Karol.

        It is getting a bit noticeable that posts on apparent ‘distractions’ are gaining more attention than ones about policies.

        I guess the ‘distractions’ deal with symbolism and that symbolism speaks to the non-verbal element of our lives – which we spend more time experiencing than we do in actively thinking about principles and consequences.

        I guess this is why people are so vulnerable to manipulation when symbols, photos and insinuations are actively applied to shift ‘perceptions’ – this by-passes thinking altogether.

        I don’t think National would have the slightest chance of winning if peoples’ intelligence was appealed to. The manner in which National are campaigning is one of taking advantage of and cultivating democracy’s weakness -mob rule. Yet another reason not to vote for National….

        It is easy to decide who not to vote for however I am hard pressed on deciding who to vote for between Greens, IMP and Labour … That is where the posts on policies are invaluable….I guess I will be deliberating on that until the last day like last time…sigh….

  2. Chooky 2

    +100…the Greens are the ones to vote for imo…they are consistently good and on target

    …plus they have a brilliant female and a brilliant male leader….co-leaders…Maori and Pakeha

    ….the Greens lead the way in so many ways!!!!….to what is best in New Zealand!

  3. tricledrown 3

    New Zealand is no longer the caring sharing society .
    Those who travel overseas see abject poverty and when they come back they are no longer interested in the plight of our poor.
    desentstized however the 250,000 children living in poverty have only a 5% chance of breaking out of the poverty cycle.
    This will mean a bigger burden on fewer tax payers.
    Short sighted penny pinching by right wing govts mean a less prosperous future for everyone.
    While investing now in making sure these children succeed will mean a more prosperous future for everyone!

  4. Macro 4

    These are the sort of Policies we need.

    I expect to hear more sound Policy announcements from the Greens in the coming weeks. School “Hubs” is one. There is so much need out there and so little being done, the Social Service agencies are groaning under the increasing weight. The food bank in our town is nearing the bottom of its barrel. And with more redundancies in the coming weeks with the closure of yet another old firm (over 100 years of manufacturing) it will get worse. No wonder the local sunshine boy is keeping a low profile in the lead up to the Election!

    The drop in Dairy prices is seeing a lot of long faces around town, and it is noticeable with the sudden drop in Log prices too that the trucks have slowed. Thank goodness for that – we get our roads back again. What an incredibly stupid thing to do – to place all your hope in a few low value added products.

    “Hands off” government such as NZ has suffered over recent years has lead to a country that is now on it’s knees economically – only viable for the fortunate few, who selfishly think that everyone should be like them!

  5. Tracey 5

    hear hear.

    ALL kiwis have a right to thrive not just survive.

  6. Sable 6

    Yet more common sense from the Greens. Focusing on the genuine needs of New Zealanders. Now if we can just flush Maserati Mike and his Tory chums out of the MSM this country might actually stand a chance of amounting to something.

  7. Looking forward to the threeway leaders debates, more so now that Hoskins will be on notice for his obvious bias.
    MT and RN will do a great job on JK by sticking to policy and appealing to the sensibilities of voters… Like they have been for the past few years. The party certainly looks coordinated, unified and on target.

    • karol 7.1

      Are the Greens going to be included in the Leaders Debate?

      • The Al1en 7.1.1

        I did read somewhere they were being included, or might be, though not sure it’s a done deal.
        It should be a gimme given consistently polling over 10% and around 15%.
        I’ll try to fish the story out.

        • The Al1en

          “Meanwhile, National’s campaign team is pushing behind the scenes to include the Greens in the pre-election debates, but TVNZ has ruled this out.”
          “It is understood National wants co-leader Russel Norman as part of the debate to hit home to voters that a Labour win would also bring the Greens into government.”


          So I guess wishful thinking or the nats get there own way just one more time.

          • Tracey

            It ought to be based on current representation not poll based representation, which is not representation.

            In the next election, on this basis we might have 3-4 people in the leaders debate.

            In any event it is misleading to call it such when only two leaders are invited.

          • Tracey

            Big surprise. Not content with getting their number one fan as moderator, they want other things their way too.

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