Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Will Key act on child poverty?

While the left lost the election, it looks like we've won another battle in the war of ideas, with John Key being forced to at least pretend he wants to do something about child poverty:

Prime Minister John Key has asked his officials for fresh ideas on tackling child poverty.

On his first day back at Parliament since being re-elected on Saturday, Key said he had ordered Treasury and Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet officials to start presenting new ideas.


Key said it needed to be done without narrowing the gap between the incomes of those on benefits and those working, to ensure people were still encouraged into work.

Breakfasts in schools, free doctors’ visits for young children and tax credits for low and middle income families were examples of policies that could be used to tackle the problem, as could programmes such as Whanau Ora.

These aren't new ideas; they're ideas recommended by the Children's Commissioner, and to which the government went "yeah, nah". If they're revisiting that rejection, that's great, and I look forward to seeing some action. OTOH, Key could just be spinning the wheels, trying to give the illusion of action while in fact doing nothing, as they've done with so much else. Which is why we need to keep up the pressure. Child poverty is an obscenity in a rich society like ours, and its entirely a matter of government choice. We need to make them choose to solve it, rather than ignore it.