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.

green_party_leaders_russel_norman_and_metiria_ture_4dec906e26

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

      +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 7.1.1.1

          “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.”

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10303335/Labour-claims-Hoskings-biased

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

          • Tracey 7.1.1.1.1

            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 7.1.1.1.2

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

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • More proof National not delivering for New Zealanders
    The Ministry of Social Development’s latest Household Incomes Report is more hard evidence of the growing poverty in New Zealand, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National claims to be delivering for New Zealanders. This report puts the lie ...
    2 hours ago
  • Strong support from medical community for Healthy Homes Bill
    More than a thousand medical professionals, medical students, and other New Zealanders have shown their support for Labour’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    5 hours ago
  • Labour will fund Buller Health Centre
    A Labour Government will fully fund the Buller Integrated Family Health Centre in Westport, confirming its commitment to the people of the West Coast and the role of central government to fund essential public services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David ...
    6 hours ago
  • National’s affordable promise for Auckland more smoke and mirrors
    The 26,000 additional houses National plans to build in Auckland on public land over the next decade include fewer than 5,000 affordable homes, while more than 60 per cent will be available for speculators to buy, says Leader of the ...
    10 hours ago
  • National out of touch over immigration
    National’s abrupt backflip on their recently-announced changes to immigration shows they never understood the problem and just came up with a confused knee jerk response, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Regional communities and businesses were quite right to ...
    1 day ago
  • English out of touch on homelessness
    Bill English’s comments that he doesn’t know why people are complaining about the blowout in the number of homeless families the government is putting up in motels just shows how tired and out of touch National is after nine years, ...
    1 day ago
  • All Kiwis to have same standard of cancer care
    Labour is promising that all New Zealanders will have access to the same level of cancer care no matter where they live in the country, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “As someone who has survived cancer I ...
    2 days ago
  • Infrastructure announcement too long coming
    “What took you so long?” is Labour’s response to the Government’s announcement of a new infrastructure investment vehicle. Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says Labour announced its policy in 2015 to debt-finance infrastructure and service that debt with targeted ...
    2 days ago
  • Time for a breather on immigration
    National has no idea how to house the record number of people entering New Zealand, let alone cope with the pressure on health, education, and transport from this record population growth, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. ...
    4 days ago
  • Labour to invest $4 billion in education
    Labour’s Education Manifesto will bring positive change across the education sector and is backed by a massive investment, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Labour’s plan will see an extra $4 billion invested over the next four years. It’s organised ...
    4 days ago
  • National’s shame: worst homelessness in the OECD
    National’s legacy is a housing crisis that has given New Zealand the worst homeless rate in the developed world, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    4 days ago
  • Labour taking action on school donations
    Labour will end so-called voluntary school donations for the majority of parents across the country under its $4 billion plan to revitalise the education sector, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Labour has always been committed to a world-class free education ...
    4 days ago
  • Labour to work with Queenstown to build more houses
    Labour will work with Queenstown-Lakes District Council, iwi, and the Community Housing Trust to build the modern, affordable housing Queenstown desperately needs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    5 days ago
  • Nats blow the Budget on motels after bowling state houses
    National is spending $140,000 a day putting homeless families in motels, the legacy of nine years of selling off and knocking down state houses, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    5 days ago
  • New revelations in Joanne Harrison report
    The State Services Commission’s report into the treatment of whistle-blowers by Joanne Harrison has revealed new accusations against the convicted fraudster, says Labour MP Sue Moroney.  “The report found that four staff inside the Ministry of Transport who had raised ...
    5 days ago
  • Snafu at Princess Margaret
    Jonathan Coleman has to stop the stalling over a new building for mental health services in Christchurch to replace the quake damaged Princess Margaret Hospital, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “The Government must accept that Christchurch is still recovering ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s fiscal plan to build a fairer New Zealand
    Labour will re-build our housing, health and education while responsibly managing New Zealand’s finances, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.  “Under Labour’s Fiscal Plan we will deliver big investments in the services we all need and care about, invest ...
    6 days ago
  • Nats show they’re the tax dodgers’ best friends
    The government is taking the knife to IRD at a time when we need a highly skilled department to ensure that multinationals and speculators don’t get away with dodging tax, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour secures the future for NZ Super
    A Labour Government will secure the future for New Zealand Superannuation so we can continue to provide superannuation to those retiring at age 65, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “One of the first things a Labour-led Government will ...
    1 week ago
  • Multinationals must pay fair share of tax
    A Labour Government will crack down on multinational companies that are dodging paying their fair share of tax, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “New Zealanders are missing out by hundreds of millions according to the IRD because multinational companies can ...
    1 week ago
  • ACT’s approach to children backward and ill informed
    Act’s new deputy leader’s claim that Labour’s support for families could “extend the misery of child poverty and even child abuse” is ill informed and offensive, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Canterbury hatchet job a disgrace
    The Government’s glib acceptance of advice that the Canterbury District Health Board doesn’t need more money is a hatchet job and a disgrace, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson David Clark. “To claim that the DHB was using tactics to leverage more ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Quality for Kiwi kids at ECE
    After more than a decade of rapid growth in the number of children participating in Early Childhood Education (ECE), it’s time to take stock and map out a clear plan for the future, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to boost ECE quality
    Labour will ensure kids get the best start in life by boosting funding for Early Childhood Centres to employ 100 per cent qualified and registered teachers, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour will stump up a million dollars for Maniototo Hospital
    A Labour led Government will make a million dollars available to rebuild the Maniototo Base hospital in Ranfurly, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.  “This will be a much needed boost for a long overdue rebuild that has ...
    2 weeks ago
  • No vision for the West Coast
    The West Coast welcomes any Government investment in our region but the lack of any real alternative vision for the West Coast’s economy is disappointing, says Damien O’Connor Labour’s West Coast-Tasman MP.  “The establishment of a Mining Research Unit will ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s youth work scheme too little too late
    After nine years, National’s belated attempt to provide work opportunities for unemployed youth should be seen for what it is, a half-hearted, election gimmick from a party that’s ignored the problem till now, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis won’t fall for Joyce’s spin
    Steven Joyce’s embarrassingly obvious spin on Labour’s Families Package won’t fool anyone, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour prioritises families and public services
    Labour’s Families Package delivers a bigger income boost to more than 70 per cent of families with children than Budget 2017. By not spending $1.5 billion a year on tax cuts, Labour is able to do more for lower and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis can’t sleep in your ghost houses, Nick
    The Government’s housing infrastructure announcement is another Nick Smith special – over-promising with no detail on delivery, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour helps older New Zealanders and low income families with winter heating bills
    Labour will further boost its commitment to warm, healthy housing with a Winter Energy Payment for superannuitants and people receiving main benefits, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Everyone deserves a warm, healthy home to live in. But that’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must rule out retrospective override for Ruataniwha
    National must categorically rule out using retrospective legislation to override the Supreme Court’s decision that the land swap of conservation land flooded by the proposed Ruataniwha Dam was illegal, says Labour’s Shadow Attorney General David Parker. “Having not got their ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Flavell’s failure a win for Māori landowners
    The Māori Development Minister’s admission that his unpopular Ture Whenua Māori Bill won’t pass into law prior to the election is a victory for Māori landowners, but only a change of government will keep the Bill gone for good, says ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Stats confirm growing housing shortfall
    National’s failure to fix the housing shortage has been starkly illustrated by new statistics, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Systemic abuse of kids in state care
    After admitting there was systemic abuse of children in State care the Government must do the right thing and launch an independent inquiry, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Migrant worker exploitation needs sharper focus
    The astonishing number of employers found guilty of exploiting migrants shows that migrant exploitation is a serious problem in New Zealand, says Labour Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “A total of 53 companies have been banned from recruiting ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minister faces questions over dam debacle
    Today’s Supreme Court ruling dismissing an appeal to allow a land swap for the controversial Ruataniwha Dam is a victory for our conservation estate and Hawke’s Bay ratepayers, but leaves the Conservation Minister with serious questions to answer, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Too little too late on Wellington housing
    The announcement today on social housing in Wellington by the National Government is a pitiful and cynical election ploy, says Labour’s Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson. “In 2012 Housing New Zealand emptied out the Gordon Wilson Flats, taking 130 places ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Foreign trusts wilt in the sunlight, but more transparency needed
    The fact that the numbers of foreign trusts registered in New Zealand has plummeted after the Government’s belated and reluctant imposition of a new reporting regime, in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal, shows the need for a transparent, ...
    3 weeks ago