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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why some NZers believe child poverty is the parents fault

Thanks to Chris Trotter and his must read blog on why so many NZers bewilderingly think 'blame the parents' is a social policy when dealing with child poverty.

I have to admit to being astounded that now the grim reality of poverty in NZ is on display, that the two responses seem to be denial, as expressed by the NZ Herald in their attack on John Campbell's work on highlighting child poverty, or 'blame the parents' crap that just seems heartless and ignorant at the same time.

Chris explains that the gap between the haves and the have nots in NZ is now so extreme that the haves simply can't comprehend the reality of poverty for the have nots. We seem to have mistaken a small socially flat country for an egalitarian one, with inequality at its historically highest ever, this denial isn't sustainable for our country.

When I listen to the well to do and nicely heeled in their leafy suburbs rant about beneficiaries and the 'choices' they seem to have made, I think of the Herman Melville quote...

"Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well housed, well warmed and well fed."

My guess is that the NZers who say 'blame the parents' over Child Poverty are the same people who will be utterly unaware how the benefits were decided by Ruth Richardson during the 'Mother of all budgets' welfare cuts. I'm certain that if those NZers knew that benefits were set beneath the daily nutritional needs so that beneficiaries were hungry on purpose as a disincentive to be on welfare in the first place, their misplaced 'blame the parents' indignation would evaporate.

That Labour did nothing to reverse that National Party cruelty for 9 years is an eternal shame for the left.

We need to feed these kids, and we need to feed them now. When Serco is telling the London Stock Exchange that they will make $29m in revenue from their private prisons, I simply won't accept we can't find the money to feed our hungriest kids. Jesus wept, it's costing us millions to stay in this pointless Afghanistan War, we've got the money, we just need the political will.

Blaming the parents for hungry children might make you feel more self-rightous NZ, but it doesn't deal with the reality that poverty brings. It's time many NZers got over themselves, peered beyond their gated community thinking and started supporting the feeding the kids movement.

I don't care who is to blame when we can be the solution. Let's feed our hungry kids. Now.



At 30/9/12 10:00 pm, Blogger Hans Stoltenberg said...

How can Labour's inaction for 9 years be a shame on the Left. Have you looked at the political compass lately? If not - here it is: http://www.politicalcompass.org/nz2011 Labour are not a Left-wing party anymore.

At 19/10/12 9:19 pm, Blogger Unknown said...

nice article and quote of Herman Melville . Thanks for sharing this with us.


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