Hutt News : September 20th 2011
16 HUTT NEWS, SEPTEMBER 20, 2011 POLITICS Yum-O Offer applie s to a small Milksha ke and Hot Dog. Only for a limited time. Off li ll Milk h k dH D $5 Only fo + Upgrade to large Milkshake 80¢extra 3623146AH Westfield Queensgate, Lower Hutt Ground floor opposite Life Pharmacy HN091151BM PRYOR DENTAL LABORATORIES LTD Established 1961 Rear of 93 Hutt Road, Petone 5012 Entrance in Riddlers Crescent FOR ALL YOUR DENTURE REQUIREMENTS • Quality full & partial dentures, relines & repairs • Mouthguards • Ground floor premises, ample parking • No obligation complimentary first consultation • All procedures carried out on site by qualified experienced registered clinical dental technicians Quality & satisfaction are our prime considerations email: email@example.com website: www.pryordental.co.nz Tel & Fax (04) 5664 712 A wilfully blind eye TALKING POLITICS GORDON CAMPBELL Given how the Rugby World Cup is dominating the news agenda, it was either brave or foolhardy for the Child Poverty Action Group to release its child poverty report on the first work- ing day after the World Cup opening ceremony. The conclusions of the report are disturbing. One in five New Zealand chil- dren live in poverty, with sub- sequent effects on their health, educational achievement, and productivity -- to the point where early and effective intervention could add some $2 billion to $4 billion to the nation s Gross Domestic Product and up to $1b to New Zealand tax revenues. Moreover, the current situ- ation is being perpetuated by the policy emphasis on paid work as the only effective way out of poverty. During a recession, though, work opportunities compatible with good parenting practices are few and far between. Such an emphasis, the report concluded, was therefore bound to fail. The reaction from Social Development Minister Paula Bennett was hardly her finest hour. At first, she declined to com- ment, saying she hadn t read the report -- although it had been released under embargo the day before precisely to give the media and politicians time to read the executive summary at least. Bennett s reading pace suggests she may need remedial help from Education Minister Anne Tolley s national standards policy. When Bennett finally got around to commenting, she dis- missed the report as a political document and a rehash of work the authors have done before. Child poverty? Yawn. She d heard it all before. Just as predictably, Labour leader Phil Goff sniped away at the Key Government s reluc- tance to raise the minimum wage significantly, or to support early childcare education and adequate funding for childcare. In addition, the Child Poverty Action Group report urged free childcare for all children under six and better funding for lower decile schools. Yet the report s main rec- ommendation -- that Working for Families tax credits should be made available to beneficiary families as well -- is opposed by Labour and National alike. In fact, it was the Clark Government s decision to offer its Working for Families pro- gramme only to those families in paid work that first rationalised a discrimination against ben- eficiary families that the Key Government has been more than happy to perpetuate. In that sense, Labour and National seem to be agreed about lending a helping hand only to the children of the deserving poor -- where parents are in paid work -- while denying the same assistance to the apparently undeserving chil- dren whose families rely on benefits as their main source of income. This distinction -- as the Child Poverty Action Group argues -- is perpetuating extreme hard- ship among the very families most in need. So long as Labour continues to present itself as the champion of only that segment of the poor who are in paid work, it can hardly be a convincing opponent of the next round of welfare reform that National is promis- ing will be a hallmark of its second term. Regardless, Labour does not seem willing to offer family tax credits to the taxpayers receiv- ing a benefit. This makes little sense. During boom times, benefici- ary numbers decline sharply as people readily take up the work available. Under current economic con- ditions, however, to insist on discriminating against benefici- ary families seems wilfully blind to the hardship currently facing many New Zealand parents, and their innocent children.
September 13th 2011
September 27th 2011