Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Let’s take a lead from Mandela on child poverty

Let’s take a lead from Mandela on child poverty
A Christmas message from Brendan Horan

The festive season is upon us and for most of us plans are well underway for Christmas Day and the holidays we will share with whanau and friends into the New Year.

This is a time for children and as the proud father of two happy and healthy children, Kiahi and Leilani, it’s wonderful to see the sheer joy on their faces as they anticipate the visit of Santa and being surrounded by the people that cherish them most on Christmas Day.

But for very many New Zealand children the next few weeks will be a desperately bleak time as the swirl of gift buying and giving, of stocking up and excessive consumption, emphasises to them the deprivations they are required to put up with as a result of the poverty they are trapped in.

This sad truth was brought home to us this week when the first Child Poverty Monitor report (www.childpoverty.co.nz) was released by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner. It contained some deeply disturbing facts.
• There are 265,000 children living in poverty in NZ today. That is one in four children.
• 17% of children go without the basic things the majority take for granted. They are constantly hungry, cold, alone, sad.
• One in 10 children lives in severe poverty that often results in hospital admission.
• Three out of five children living in poverty will live this way for many years.
• The poverty rate for Maori and Pasifika children is double the rate for pakeha. Half of all children living in poverty are Maori or Pasifika.

We should all be truly ashamed by this. How can we as a nation, held up as progressive and with one of the better performing economies in the developed world, be failing those that need us most to this extent? And the trends show no sign of abating.

The Expert Advisory Group that the Children’s Commissioner brought together for this exercise has identified the very many things that have contributed to this, and have offered up a very robust set of well-considered recommendations.

It is up to this and future Governments to address this abysmal situation and take up these recommendations. But we as parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents need to do our part as well by speaking our minds and taking action in our communities.

No child of Aotearoa should go toward this or any other Christmas without joy or hope in their heart. So let’s spread the aroha a little further and embrace those in need.

The final word on this should go to a truly great man who passed this week, Nelson Mandela. While remembered first and foremost for the part he played in pulling down the apartheid regime in South Africa and bringing democracy to his people, Mandela was a staunch advocate for the under-privileged and poverty-stricken.

One of his most famous quotes on this subject is one we should all heed this Christmas:

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And ACC Work Of Sir Owen Woodhouse

With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy.

In its original incarnation in the early 1970s, ACC had been a globally innovative “no fault” scheme whereby accident victims surrendered their right to sue those responsible – on the understanding that they would receive compensation at a level that, as Woodhouse famously stated, would be sufficient to enable accident victims to fully participate in social life... More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Bad Transnationals: Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award

It won the 2011 Roger Award and was runner up in 2012, 2009 and 08. One 2013 nomination said simply and in its entirety: “Blackmailing country”... More>>

ALSO:

Select Committees: Tobacco Plain Packaging Hearings

The Stroke Foundation is today backing the Cancer Society and Smokefree Coalition who are making oral submissions to the Health Select Committee in support of proposed legislation to remove of all branding from tobacco products. More>>

ALSO:

Milk: Oravida Asked For Cabinet Help

New evidence released by New Zealand First today reveals Justice Minister Judith Collins used her position to manipulate the Government to help her husband’s company, Oravida, after the Fonterra botulism scare, says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>

ALSO:

With Conditions: Ruataniwha Consents Approved In Draft Decision

The Tukituki Catchment Proposal Board of Inquiry has granted 17 resource consents relating to the $265 million Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in a draft decision that would open more of the Hawke’s Bay to irrigation. More>>

ALSO:

Fast Lanes, Campervans: Labour 'Making The Holidays Easier For Kiwi Drivers'

The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Royalty And Its Tourism Spin-Offs

Ultimately the Queen’s longevity has been one of her most significant accomplishments. A transition to Prince Charles while the monarchy was in the pits of public esteem in the mid to late 1990s would have been disastrous for the Royal Firm. Far more congenial representatives have now emerged... More>>

ALSO:

Privacy (Again): ACC Demands Excessive Privacy Waivers

Labour: “This is just another example of ACC under National deliberately acting to deny treatment and compensation... Those who did fill in the form have effectively been victims of yet another ACC privacy breach. This time Judith Collins knew it was happening..." More>>

ALSO:

IPCC: Many Pathways To Substantial Emissions Reductions Available

A new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that global emissions of greenhouse gases have risen to unprecedented levels despite a growing number of policies to reduce climate change. Emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades. More>>

ALSO:

Bowels: Green Light From Labour For Cancer Screening Programme

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today committed to a national bowel screening programme, starting with extending the current service to the Southern and Waikato districts. More>>

ALSO:

Dotcom Speaks To Mana AGM: Negotiations With The Internet Party To COntinue

The MANA AGM decided unanimously to continue negotiaitions with the Internet Party. Within a month further negotiations, further consultation with MANA branches and a final decision on whether to proceed with a relationship is expected. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news