Photo Essay by Alastair Thompson
Talking about poverty at the Wellington People’s Center in central Wellington yesterday were a bevy of candidates (though none from the Wellington Central Seat) many of whom will almost certainly be MPs at the next election.
A Worm Speaks Up From The Cheap Seats
The View From The Back
Alliance Hutt South Candidate Anna Sutherland
Anna Sutherland, one of the few candidates present who will probably not make the cut (No. 27 on the Alliance List) outlined a series of concrete proposals to ease the lot of the least wealthy including reinstatement of family benefit and tax cuts for low income earners.
Green MP And Welfare Spokesperson Sue Bradford
Green MP Sue Bradford also had concrete poverty busting proposals including a commitment to eliminate child poverty (presently 1 third of NZ children grow up in poverty) by 2010. Changing the “culture” at WINZ was a key priority.
Labour List Candidate Graham Kelly
Former Mana MP Graham Kelly, now a list candidate and chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Trade Select Committee, blamed Ruth Richardson’s mother-of-all-budgets of 1991 for causing much of NZ’s poverty. He said the Government had tried hard to get Christine Rankin to change the culture in WINZ, but was very disappointed that so little had been achieved in increasing the numbers of people receiving the Accommodation Supplement and Special Benefit’s to which they are entitled.
National List Candidate Glenda Hughes
Rongatai National Party Candidate Glenda Hughes (No. 49 on the list) asked the audience not to assume that just because people were standing for the National Party they did not care about the poor.
United Future’s No.2 List Candidate Gordon Copeland
United Futue Candidate for Rongotai Electorate Gordon Copeland, received a shorter speaking slot than the rest and used his time to raise the alarming statistic that more than 50% of NZ children were likely to grow up in a fatherless household by 2010.
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party Leader Michael Appleby
Opening the Debate ALCP Leader Michael Appleby said legalising cannabis would help the poor as they would no longer have to pay for their pot.