It’s a sad day in New Zealand when we have to rely on charity to feed children at school and provide shoes and raincoats because their families don’t have enough to live on.
I agree with Brian Rudman’s column today where he connects the dots between yesterday’s announcement to allocate $2 million a year for five years to bolster corporate-sponsored breakfast in schools programmes and the legal case the Child Poverty Action Group is taking to provide a $60 per week in the form of the Working for Families tax credit for the 230,000 children in families where the parents are not in paid employment.
The government has also allocated $1.5 million over the next three years to KidsCan – a registered charity set up in 2005 that supplies raincoats and shoes and some health services to 4500 children a day at 279 low decile schools across the country.
The money will go a long way to ensuring kids have the basics and are able to learn. However the government is not paying the full cost of either of these programmes. We are relying on corporates and charities to provide the type of social security the state used to provide which was the envy of developed countries worldwide.
And where does the rest of the money for the KidsCan come from? According to the charities website in 2012 the organisation received $836,225 in grants and sponsorship.
On the KidsCan website they list the many organisations that have funded them. I counted at least six trusts that distribute money from pokie machines and when I looked at just one of those pokie trusts I saw that their machines were located in some of the poorest areas in New Zealand including Manurewa, Tokoroa and Wairoa.
It seems crazy to me that the government abrogates its responsibility to support our most vulnerable and relies on a charity to do that work which in turn relies on money from organisations that rob kiwi kids of their futures.