Tuesday, December 24, 2013

National's New Zealand

National's New Zealand: wage-suppression through one-sided employment law. A jobless "recovery". Cuts to state housing and to welfare. 265,000 kids in poverty. An indecent society of haves and have-nots. I've talked about this all year, but what does it mean in practice? It means kids asking Santa for something as basic as a roof over their head for xmas:

Santa Claus says he is going home emotionally exhausted as poverty-stricken children ask not for toys but basic necessities this Christmas.

Robert Fisher, 74, who has been a Santa at Auckland's Westfield WestCity in Henderson for nine years, said at least half a dozen kids a day asked him for a house because their families were sleeping in cars.

"It's worse this year than what I can remember," he said.

Housing is a human right. And its the government's job to deliver it, not Santa Claus's. Our government is failing at the basic task - and the wider task of ensuring that everyone in our society has a decent standard of living.

As for what to do about it: yes, you can (and should) donate to your local food bank and other charities at xmas. But this is a political problem, and it has a political solution. Our government chooses, through its economic, welfare, housing and other policies, how much poverty it is willing to accept, and how far it will let people fall. It chooses, through welfare, health, education and child-support policies, whether all kids will get a good start in life, or whether their prospects will be blighted by their parents. The present government, a government of, by and for the rich, has chosen to tolerate, even exacerbate poverty, rather than impose on their wealthy supporters. We need to elect a government which will choose differently.