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Candidates face up to poverty

STARKLY different responses to the growing gap between rich and poor were offered by Wellington Central candidates at a Wadestown churches’ forum on 31 Oct.

Marian Hobbs (Labour) said the answer was jobs. Labour would play a “brokerage” role to help job creation, plan the right skills training, value all schools rather than making them compete with one another and treat job-seekers “with dignity”.

Richard Prebble (Act) said 80% of the poor had left school without being able to read and write, had a baby before they were 20, or split from their child’s father. Act would extend the “Early Start” scheme for at-risk families, and test all school pupils to ensure they could read, write and do arithmetic.

Phillida Bunkle (Alliance) said it was an issue of values. “Competitive individualism” meant inequality. The Alliance would raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for “basic social services” for all, and “regrow our economy by investing in businesses that will provide the jobs”.

Sue Kedgley (Greens) also advocated raising taxes on the rich, plus import duties to protect local jobs.

Anthony Walton (Future NZ) supported a “parents as first teachers” scheme to give parents the skills and the resources to bring up their children.

•This Sunday (7 Nov): National, NZ First, United, Christian Heritage; St Luke’s Church, Pitt St, Wadestown, 11.30am.

ends

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