Saturday, May 30, 2009

CPAG: Action group for the poor or cheerleaders for the left?

Child Poverty Action Group released a list of nine things it wanted to see the Government do to "reduce the effect of the recession of New Zealand's children". CPAG researcher Donna Wynd says poverty is damaging and urged action in light of the recession.

After the 2008 budget, the CPAG congratulated Labour and applauded the Greens for its home insulation progress in Budget08. There was no nine point plan criticising the Labour budget. This year, the CPAG criticised the budget for not doing anything for Maori. There was notably no CPAG release after Budget09 congratulating National on the home insulation programme announced as a result of the Greens memorandum of understanding. It's a much better deal than the Greens would ever get out of Labour. But CPAG are primarily Labour supporters, and Donna Wynd was a candidate for the Greens at the last election hoping for a Labour government. Is that why CPAG can't be seen to be too complimentary of National?

On the latest wish list was this:
Tax capital gain from residential property in a fair way, for example by using the risk-free rate of return method.
Like that's going to do anything abut child poverty. Why on earth can't the CPAG be a proper action group on poverty and at least promote things that WINZ already provides? Things that most poor families don't apply for because they don't know they can. Like up to $1100 of free food grants a year, and advances for those who can't pay power bills? That is more than a third of the amount of an In Work Payment that the group considers beneficiary families should be entitled to - and taking advantage of entitlements will reduce the effects of a recession.

The Child Poverty Action Group had a post-budget breakfast yesterday morning. Russel Norman was there - paying for his cab, of course. Wonder if he congratulated his former candidate about her suggestion of taxing the rich to pay for things like ending child poverty? Naa - he probably had a chuckle at Roger Douglas' expense, given Douglas had to vote for the removal of National's tax increases and vote for the Green's home insulation fund.

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