Monday, December 10, 2007

Childish tantrums in the House but plight of poor kids ignored

Matt McCarten has been writing a few good columns for the NZ Herald lately. Heres' his latest.

He talks about the fighting in Parliament, the Electoral Finance Bill , Cullen calling Key a "scumbag" and a "rich prick" , Mallard's bullying etc. Then this:
Meanwhile, in the real world, a serious report was published by the Paediatric Society on the health of New Zealand's children which should have got our politicians' attention far more than the Electoral Finance Bill.

In spite of the economic bonanza we have apparently enjoyed over the past decade, this report shows the proportion of children in severe or significant hardship rose from 18 per cent to 26 per cent. Unsurprisingly, poverty remains highest among sole parents, beneficiaries and their children, who number more than 200,000. It reports that 43 per cent of children in sole-parent families and 15 per cent of children in two-parent families live below the poverty line.

Ruth Richardson, when she was Finance Minister in 1991, slashed welfare benefits and these cuts were never restored. Before Rogernomics and Ruthanasia, the core benefit for a sole parent with two children was 92 per cent of the average wage. By 1999, it was 62 per cent and is now 58 per cent. So much for the trickle-down theory espoused by our leaders that the free market will make us all rich.

And what attention did we give this report? Our state-owned television channel invited the authors and officials on to Close Up. But the producers canned the story and replaced it with Nicky Watson's plea for help over her lost dog, Cricket.
Our Government has lost sight of what it means to run the country as it is too worried about losing the electon. Ensuring that Labour loses the election is the voters job - running the country is Government's job. Reporting the news is the medias job - and that does not mean it has to report news that the Government would prefer.


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