by Metiria Turei
John Key and I have a similar background in some ways.
We both come from a childhood of deprivation and honour our parents for their hard work and unconditional love. As children, we both had access to a state education, to free healthcare, to a state provided home and state support for our parents when they needed it and for us, through the Family Benefit. Our parents lived through a period where full employment was a state priority.
And now we are both the leaders of political parties with the power to make decisions about children just like us. Not our own children. Our own children had the benefit of the state’s commitment to social investment and the subsequent mobility it gave us. But children like we were.
The difference between us is that John has eroded those same social supports that gave us a leg up.
State housing is much more difficult to get these days and much less secure because of his policies. State education is underfunded and undermined because of his policies. Healthcare for children is more limited and less effective. The parents of today’s poor children have less money, less security, and less respect because his National party fails to acknowledge how harder it is for parents and families these days.
He is in no position to lecture anyone about his childhood when he leaves the new generation of poor kids without the state supports he and I had.