by Jan Logie
Yesterday, in reference to the budget Bill English noted “We don’t believe that there is a solution to poverty in general so I wouldn’t expect any large scale intervention”?
Goodness. I guess all the work of the Expert Advisory Group on Child Poverty, consisting of much esteemed doctors, and professors and community workers, was for nothing. The Minister of Finance does not believe their 72 recommendations amount to a general solution to poverty.
Poverty is created. It is not part of nature. We can see this very clearly when we contrast the wealth of old and young and see that only 3% of people 65 and over live in poverty compared to 25% of children. This difference is directly a result of Government policy and the universal provision of Superannuation.
Nationally and internationally we have seen multiple examples of poverty significantly increasing and decreasing, due to Government policy decisions. Poverty for working families in New Zealand significantly decreased after the introduction of working for families. The in-work tax credit lifted thousands of children out of poverty but has not helped the one in five children whose parents’ study or are on a benefit. The Children’s Commissioner’s expert group, has recommended a universal child payment, which reaches the poorest kids, as an effective way of helping many children in poverty.
Government is responsible for the social and employment environment in which we all survive or thrive.