Wednesday, October 29, 2014

National's failure on child poverty

National has failed on child poverty, according to the UN:

New Zealand's child poverty rates have come down by less than half a per cent since 2008, according to the Unicef report Children of the Recession.

By contrast, Australia reduced its child poverty rate by more than 6 per cent over the same period, and Finland and Norway, countries with similar populations, reduced theirs by more than 4 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.

Key is hiding behind the Christchurch earthquakes and the global financial crisis as excuses for this lack of progress - but those countries also had to deal with the banker-induced recession. No, the real difference isn't because we had disasters, but because those countries have policy where we do not. Which simply illustrates a point made long ago: the level of child poverty is entirely a matter of choice by the government. Other countries choose to have a lower level than us, and set policies appropriately. Whereas for National, its just not a priority, ranking behind forking out tax cuts to the rich and pollution subsidies to polluters and farmers - policies which collectively cost us billions.

The message is clear: if we want action on this problem, we need to elect a government which will make it a priority, rather than making excuses. Sadly, we won't have that opportunity for another three years. How many kids will suffer stunted lives and restricted opportunities in the meantime?