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Equality with the stars

By Don Franks

NZ Prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s bearing of a baby while in office has understandably launched many words.

Michelle Duff writing in the NZ Herald enthused: " When her partner Clarke Gayford is excited about being a stay at home dad, it's equally inspirational.

It sets a precedent. It normalises powerful women and nurturing, caring men. It decimates outdated ideals of where a mother "should" be - at home, with the children, while dad earns the money. It smashes those boring boxes and makes room for new shapes, new ways we can all live our lives.

It creates a conversation about pregnancy, and motherhood, and what's expected, and what sucks. It means we are thinking and talking about how workplaces and attitudes can be improved”

Something in that I think. Just, not in Duff’s mind numbuing fairytale conclusion:

“ One last thing, Apart from a few naysayers, New Zealand's reaction to its Prime Minister's pregnancy has basically been a collective "Sweet as". As a country, we're mostly cool with this, which suggests we're well on our way to true equality.”

“We” are nothing of the sort.The trend has been in the opposite direction, for decades. Kickstarted by the fourth Labour government’s anti worker Rogernomics, inequality increased markedly in New Zealand in the late-1980s and 1990s.Today, the distribution of wealth among households in New Zealand is skewed heavily in favour of those at the top.

The wealthiest 20 per cent of households in New Zealand hold 70 per cent of the wealth, while the top 10 per cent hold half the wealth. According to a recent Oxfam report two Kiwi billionaires have a combined wealth greater than the bottom 30 per cent of the adult population of New Zealand. This, while increasingly, full time workers are driven to food banks to get by, while working people sleep in their cars, while New Zealand babies born today, next week and for the foreseeable future enter a life of poverty and hopelessness. No party in parliament has anything approaching a radical programe to turn this injustice around. Every party in parliament is committed to supporting capitalism, the root cause and perpetuator of inhumane inequality.

It’s alway nice to see another baby, we need them for the future, Just as urgently, we also need a social revolution.


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