Friday, August 17, 2012

Labour betrays kiwi kids

Last election, the Labour party did a good thing. After years of denying that its discriminatory Working For Families "in-work" payment denied assistance to those who needed it most, they listened to the evidence, and agreed to (slowly) universalise it in order to eliminate child poverty. Now, less than a year later, a Green bill to implement that promise has been drawn from the ballot. And Labour is saying they will only back it to first reading, and (implicitly) that they intend to abandon the policy they ran on last election.

This is why you can't trust Labour. They've got no backbone - and no consistency. Today's promises will be forgotten tomorrow. Principles-driven, evidence-based policy? You won't get that from them, unless the "principle" is keeping the apparat in perks.

Child Poverty is an indictment on our society. It undermines core Kiwi values - that everyone deserves a decent start in life, regardless of who their parents are - and imposes long-term costs on our future. A decent centre-left party would make its elimination a centre of their platform - and if the public disagreed, they'd have the argument and win it (because the evidence about this is absolutely overwhelming, and the values it challenges are widely shared). Instead, Labour is again saying that they are happy for this shame to continue. They think its a Bad Thing - especially when Paula Bennett doesn't care - but when push comes to shove, they're not willing to do anything about it. Its a blatantly hypocritical stance, and one that doesn't make them any friends, either with their own supporters or with others.