Child Poverty In New Zealand:
Campbell Live NZTV Channel 3, last night, 29th August, 2012, gave us more facts about poverty in New Zealand. It is estimated that 270,000 children in New Zealand are living below the poverty line. This is an incredible injustice, that New Zealand, one of the biggest producers of dairy foods, meat, vegetables and fruit in the world, should have so many children who are starving or malnourished, and who are living in sub-standard conditions.
Many children are coming to school hungry. It was heartening to hear the headmistress in South Auckland talking about the way her school, with the help of dedicated volunteers, offers breakfast and lunch to many students each day. Her school has raised enough money so that they can build a proper kitchen to make the food preparation easier. Many schools in NZ are operating similar meal-schemes.
John Campbell’s show has brought us many programmes in the past year which have highlighted this povery problem we have in New Zealand, a problem borne, basically, from the growing divide between the rich and the very poor, and the escalating cost of food and housing.
John Key’s government INCREASED GST TAX on essential food items a year or two ago, as if food wasn’t already more expensive in New Zealand than anywhere else in the ‘Western’ world, and despite the evidence that many families were already struggling because of low wages – or no work at all – and high rents.
Campbell’s show gave us the show-down: The problem of poverty in New Zealand has just been researched in a government document which the Child Commissioner discussed on ‘Campbell Live’. This report reveals that 270,000 children are living below the poverty line, with inadequate housing, and not enough food. It seems that the most eminent of our politicians are blind to the facts unless they have them spelt out in a report such as this.
It was good to hear the Commissioner for Children saying on public telly the things which most of us are aware of already, but which some people need reminding of – including our National Party leader John Key, Hekia Parata, Paula Bennett, and his other asides – That many children are hungry. The report is a reminder that looking after our children NOW, and caring for them, making sure that their families have enough money to make ends meet – to pay the rent, the electricity bill, the phone, pay school fees, transport costs and STILL have enough left to feed the family properly, is the most important consideration of all. over and above military, roading, changing the school system, and other considerations. It is about time that our right-wing government acknowledged this.
Having enough money to feed the family after all other expenses have been paid, is conducive to happy, healthy households. Happy, well-fed children learn well.
For all families to have enough money NOW so that they can live properly, with dignity, and give their children a chance at education, will go a long way to creating a happy society and reducing our crime numbers in the future. Statistically it is a reality that putting money into families pays off. Less government money needs to be dished out to hospitals, counselling, police work, court work, or government dole payments, if children are cared for properly during their school years so that they can take advantage of the education system. Food comes first. Nobody can achieve any good thing if they are starving.
Making sure children are fed properly means that they will learn better, have better self-esteem, and give them a good chance at contributing in some useful way to society later on. Education gives people choices, as we all know. So we should be doing everything within our power, collectively, to ensure that no-one is deprived of a decent life and education in this country. Food, shelter and a happy family come first. Education next.
First things needed are food and a house, which both help to create a happy family. Then education. No use putting all these millions of dollars into re-fashioning our education system in the belief that it is the system which is the reason children are failing. Because the reason so many Maori, Polynesian, and Europeans too, end up leaving school early, barely able to read and write, is because of poor economic and social conditions: It is not the fault of the education system or its teachers. I am sure that John Key and his ministers fully realize this, but they continue the pretense that it is the school system and teachers themselves who are failing these children, so that they can continue to ignore the fact that so many children are living in poverty.
John Key, Hekia Parata and Paula Bennett are, in my opinion, deliberately trying to divert the public attention away from the underlying cause of our education failures, which is poverty, to blaming teachers and the education system.
If they truly had caring hearts for the suffering children in our communities, and the struggling families trying to cope with sub-standard wages and housing, then they would NEVER have put more GST tax on essential food items such as milk, chesses, butter, meat and fish, and fresh vegetables and fruit.
This National government under John Key have done a great injustice to the majority of families in New Zealand – They have taxed, and continue to tax the poor through the food they eat, and have kept rents high, whilst they gave to themselves and all other rich people, huge tax cuts.
No Taxing on Gains From Property In New Zealand: There is a capital gains tax put on the rich in the UK, and in most other wealthy nations, but the rich in New Zealand get away scot free. There is no capital gains tax in New Zealand, which is another way that the property-owning rich here continue to get more rich, whilst the poor, who have to rent their houses from the rich, pay phenomenally high rents and are kept poor. New Zealand at the moment is a corrupt and unjust society.
Families need to be helped NOW, so that more under-priviledged children can lead happy childhoods and get to succeed in the system. This will make New Zealand a happier place for all.