Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Ending Child Poverty is Not Dopey!
It has been estimated that the cost to our economy for poor child outcomes is around 3% of our GDP which equates to around $6 billion a year. This includes costs in health, welfare, remedial education, crime and justice expenditure and lower productivity. We have one of the lowest expenditures in the OECD on children in their early years and one of the poorest records for child health and safety.
A universal weekly payment of around $120 for all children under six would cost the country around $2 billion a year, the same amount as it has cost us annually to provide tax cuts to the wealthy. It cost $1.7 billion to bail out South Canterbury Finance and the government is spending around $14 billion on roads that we largely don't need.
A $2 billion investment in our children when they are most vulnerable and most deserving of support (the first 6 years are crucial for their long term prospects) will obviously pay dividends over time. Given that most families with young children are struggling, a universal payment will mean the majority of recipients will benefit and it will reduce the costs of managing the payment if it goes to all children.
The Prime Minister's response to a universal payment for children - "Dopey!"
I'd like him to look at just one of the 270,000 children currently living in poverty in the eye and say that again.
(Key's responses to Metiria's reasonable questions and Simon Bridges remark that she had "been smoking too much of the dope again" were just deplorable.)