Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Self Inflicted Poverty a Myth


Approximately 270,000 New Zealand children are living in poverty according to the Government appointed Children's Commissioner. It has been claimed that 50% of all children experience poverty at some stage in their lives. Third world diseases like rheumatic fever, caused by poor and overcrowded housing, is costing the country over $21 million a year. Untreated nits and malnutrition are increasingly being reported by Kidscan and growing numbers of children are being supplied with shoes and coats for the Winter months. New Zealand has one of the worst levels of child health and safety (29th of 30) in the OECD.

Rent and power bills are climbing well above the CPI, while the median family income is falling. Maori and Pasifika families have suffered most with the median Maori family losing $40 a week in income over the last four years and Pasifika families $65. The median New Zealand European family gets by on $580 a week but the median Pasifika family survives on $390, almost $200 less and, as this is the median, around half subsist on less. There are many stories of parents who have nothing left to buy food after paying rent and the "working poor" are causing an increase in food parcel demand. The recession is still used as a reason to to keep a tight rein on wage increases despite the fact that the top two quintiles of earners have seen a steady rise in incomes and our richest saw a 20% increase in wealth last year.

John Key and his National Government have been slow to respond to the child poverty crisis and have finally given in to much pressure to introduce a breakfast in schools programme. Even though they refuse to measure the extent of poverty in New Zealand John Key estimates that around 10% of children will access the breakfasts.

The Government's reluctance to support children in New Zealand is because of the view that it is the parent's role not the Government's. Many stories of abuse and neglect are used to support the idea that it is mainly poor choices and bad parenting that is the cause of child suffering. Paula Bennett has focussed on a dob in an abuser scheme rather than address the causes of poverty directly.

Young mothers are being encouraged to work as soon as they are able but, as many earn the minimum wage and can only find casual work, the economic benefits are often limited. Employment does not necessarily mean improved outcomes for families. The Government made it compulsory for beneficiaries to send their children to an education centre once they reach three years of age, but while there has been a huge growth in numbers of private early childhood centres, many have empty places because parents can't afford to use them. 

Despite the obvious evidence that families are struggling because of dropping incomes and increased costs, there is still a perception that poverty is self inflicted and not the result of Government policy and growing inequities. Here is a sample of some comments on two blog sites, the Green's Frogblog and Keeping Stock (one of the more restrained National supporting blogs):

"Structurally ANY race of people who have more kids then they can feed, school, control, etc are going to have problems."

"Structurally ANY race that eats too much corned beef and not enough vegetables are going to have problems."

"Structurally ANY race that tithes 10% plus of earnings to churches is going to have problems." 

Fact is loser parents breed loser kids and continues the cycle, not only that…the tax money of those who do make a proper go at life ends up funding
a) their benefit and housing

b) the consequences of their addictions

c) police wages to counter their criminal activity

d) social services to deal with their fkd up kids

e) all of the above when their kids turn out just like them
Not to mention higher insurance premiums from the burglary, car theft and vandalism.

Genetically the darker races less developed, more violent \ agressive and seem to lack the intelligence to live amongst normal people.

once this programme starts it will be there forever .. You will NOT be able to stop/suspend it ever because it will become an entitlement.

free condoms to all those bsprout say are in poverty .. there you go, problem solved

It is questionable whether the government should be using our tax dollars for charity. Surely that is the proper pursuit of bona fide charities? When governments start charity for the sake of charity alone (I.e. without a genuine governance reason such as improving education outcomes) then there is nothing to prevent them from increasing that charity to unmanageable proportions. 

While this Government continues to pursue policies that perpetuate the shift of wealth to the already rich and deny a living wage to our poorest, the effects of poverty will continue.


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