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Russel Norman: Let's treat the real causes

Russel Norman: Let's treat the real causes

Green Media Release 29-1-08

John Key's speech today failed to address the real causes of the pressure on New Zealand families and communities, says the Green Party.

"We welcome the spotlight being placed on these important issues of education and youth justice, but we were looking for initiatives that would make it easier for New Zealand parents and families to provide the stability that young people and children need", says Dr Russel Norman Green Party Co-Leader.

"We were hoping that National might decide to support flexible working hours for parents of dependent children, a Green members' bill that National opposed in Parliament. But no.

"We were hoping that National might come out in support of an expanded program of state housing so that parents don't have to keep moving from house to house as their rents rise. Nothing disrupts children's education and community connections more than moving house all the time. But no.

"We were hoping that National would support increasing the minimum wage, to take the pressure off working families. But no.

"We were hoping that National would support a universal student allowance and moving towards fee free tertiary education so that all young people could get access to tertiary education regardless of which neighbourhood they grew up in. After all John Key got free education. But no.

"We were hoping that National would support more funding for our schools to provide lower student to teacher ratios and more support for literacy within our schools. Again, no.

"Instead, National's plan threatens to make public schools compete with private tertiary providers for students, and, offers young people an incentive to drop out.

"Instead we got compulsory boot camps for troubled youth. Boot camps might work on reality TV but in the real world all the New Zealand and international evidence is that they don't work.

"Crime is an emotive issue, youth crime is even more emotive. It's easy to win support by exploiting people's fears, it is much harder to offer real and constructive solutions. The National Party has clearly chosen the easy route."

Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman's video response to John Key's speech is available here:


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