The meanness and pettiness of Nats in power

Last night, Parliament debated NZ First MP Tracey Martin’s Bill to ensure children in the long term care of family members were able to access a clothing allowance currently only available to children in foster care.

Many of these children are being cared for by grandparents after their parents have died, or have been put in the care of their grandparents when they were at risk or had been harmed in the care of their parents.

Often the grandparents and other family members caring for such children are on NZ Superannuation or have given up full-time work to be able to properly provide the support these children need. Many of these families are really struggling financially.

Families caring for foster children can get up to $1600 per year for clothing for those children, but those receiving an orphan’s benefit or unsupported child benefit do not get that allowance. In practice this means many of these children go without or have hand-me-downs while fostered children get new clothes.

These grandparents and other family members are stepping in to do the best for their family. It hurts them not to be able to provide as well as the State. If they didn’t step in and the children were in State care there is no question the children would be worse off emotionally and developmentally. It’s wrong that stepping in means the children are worse off materially.

The Government accepted the injustice of this – it’s hard to argue against. But, bizarrely, they would only agree to parity from 2018.

Affected children and their carers have been writing to MPs asking us not to make them wait until 2018. I thought that was fair enough, so I introduced an amendment last night to bring parity forward to commence this year.

I had obtained the support of the Greens, NZ First and Labour for my amendment, while the Maori Party and United Future were considering it.

Suddenly, National stepped in and threatened not to support Tracey’s Bill at all unless NZ First voted against my amendment.

To me, that’s just plain mean and petty.

3 Comments Posted

  1. I care for my nephew, along with my two youngest children. The alternative for him was state care,I receive the Unsupported Child Allowance. I treat him exactly the same as my children no differentiation, school fees this year including camps, 600.00, uniform 400.00 (a small allowance means I am only in the hole 350.00 for this part. ) Recreation around 600 – 700 (holiday camps another 600.00.) Clothing well who knows because I dont count it would scare me, , pocket money (another allowance foster carers get ) 1040.00 per year, Phone costs (so he can stay in touch with his father and siblings 1200.00 per year. Medical costs 400.00.
    I used to be a social worker, I know that what foster carers get is a pittance for the hard work of raising someone else s child. I have had to give up full time work, potentially another 15k lost opportunity. National and Labour know all of this. The losers in this are the children, not my nephew in this case as I would do it again rather than risk the brokeness that comes from being unwanted. It is not his fault that e is in this situation but nor is it mine!… It takes a village to raise a child. Shame on John Key and Bill English!

  2. It is the limited economic thinking of Government and the well off urban journalists about the true nature of resource deprivation. If the resources we need for day to day life are held in a market that is limited by climate change, resource depletion and limit (eg. food, clothing material, productive and housing land mass) then monopolised markets only create slaves out of the work force. An example, land and housing sales are counted as growth in the economy, but the inflated value of that cost in rents and land values is not counted as inflation. The poor become slaves.

  3. National will continue to do this until and unless the press shines a bright light on them. At which point they will shrivel and die, or scuttle under the rocks.

    They are without honor… and they hate the Green party.

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