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Key’s excuses won’t feed and house children

David Shearer
Labour Leader

11 December 2012

Key’s excuses won’t feed and house children

John Key should stop making excuses and live up to the promise he made that as Prime Minister he would tackle the growing ‘underclass’ and protect our most ‘vulnerable’ citizens, says Labour Leader David Shearer.

“There are now 270,000 children living in poverty. The hardship rates have risen from 15% in 2007 - when John Key was expressing his ‘deep concern’ for every one of those children - to 21% under his watch.

“As Prime Minister, his record on child poverty is a disgrace. It’s time he stopped blaming everyone else and took responsibility for doing something about it.

“For starters, instead of arguing about the numbers, he should introduce an official measure so we know whether initiatives to combat poverty are working.

“He should adopt some of Labour’s policies too, including lifting the minimum wage, introducing a healthy homes guarantee so all houses are warm and dry and extending the food in schools programme.

“These ideas aren’t expensive. They’re a smart investment in the future of our children and our country. They will make a real difference to people’s lives.

“The reality is that National would rather spend $9 billion a year on tax cuts that go mostly to top earners than $1.9 million on extending KidsCan’s food in schools programme to 16,000 children.

“This Government’s priorities are all wrong. New Zealanders expect better from John Key.

“They expect him to live up to his promise to lift children out of poverty and give them the chance to reach their full potential. And after four years in power, he should expect to be held to account for his failure to do so,” said David Shearer.

ENDS

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