Dopey PM is a disgrace! | The Jackal

29 Aug 2012

Dopey PM is a disgrace!

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

The expert advisory group brought together by Children's Commissioner Dr Russell Wills to find solutions to child poverty released its recommendations yesterday.

Its members include AUT accounting expert James Prescott, Major Campbell Roberts of the Salvation Army, Professor Ritchie Poulton of the Dunedin School of Medicine and Philippa Howden-Chapman, a public health expert.

Among its recommendations for the longer term was a universal child payment for under-6s.

The payment would be highest while the child was a baby, when costs were high, and would decline through childhood.

Co-chair Dr Tracey McIntosh said the payment was about ensuring children had the best start in life. "Investment in the early years has a particularly strong link to better outcomes for disadvantaged children."

Mr Key said yesterday he welcomed the report but ruled out reinstating universal child payments, which were ended in the 1990s, or tax breaks for parents, another recommendation.

He called a return to a universal child payment a "dopey" idea.

"We went away from that some years ago in New Zealand - we have a very targeted system through Working for Families - it's highly proportional to your income; so we make much larger payments to lower income families."

The only one being dopey around here is the Prime Minister. Key doesn't seem to understand that Working for Families doesn't apply to the majority of children living in poverty, namely those from welfare dependent families. The scheme is therefore not proportional as it seeks to disadvantage those in the most need.

National is of course opposing the Greens bill (PDF) to make the scheme fairer, mainly because they want a certain amount of the community to live in hardship to keep wages low.

The best they can muster as an argument to oppose Catherine Delahunty's changes is that extending Working for Families' tax credits to beneficiaries shouldn't happen because beneficiaries aren't working.

Clearly this is a juvenile point of view from the rightwing who simply doesn't have any solutions. It's not the name that's important; it's the effectiveness of the scheme to ensure a reduction in the amount of children living in poverty that matters.

Key also seems to be arguing that the current measures to reduce child poverty are adequate. He's therefore completely failing to acknowledge the dramatic increase in inequality under National's governance. New Zealand now officially has 270,000 children living in poverty. That's a quarter of all Kiwi kids growing up impoverished and in need.

Inequality has increased in New Zealand the fastest of all OECD countries since National gained power in 2008. In a developed democracy with ample resources, this is a complete disgrace! Any Prime Minister who allows this to happen on their watch is a bloody disgrace as well.