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Outlook Remains Bleak For Many NZ Children

Outlook Remains Bleak For Many New Zealand Children

"Putting public money into families by way of a single parent benefit seemed a noble and generous idea in 1973," says Lindsay Mitchell, petitioner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB, "But here we are almost thirty years down the track and still New Zealand's child poverty problem continues to grow. "

Addressing a UNICEF forum on July 1, Alliance leader, Laila Harre said, "Deep inequality that new right governments from 1984 to 1999 bequeathed us not only wrecked havoc in the lives of individual people and their children, it has also deeply damaged our capacity to develop."

Mitchell asks, " How does Laila Harre explain the enormous increase in benefit numbers which took place before the advent of the 'new right governments' ? Between 1975 and 1984 the numbers on the DPB rose from 17,000 to 53,000."

" Child poverty is largely the effect of living on a benefit, usually the DPB. Well before the advent of 'new right governments', the numbers of women going on the DPB was ballooning. Why? Because the DPB presents an income, a liveable albeit minimal one. It has given some women a source of power which they have abused and it has rendered fathers redundant."

"Harre's election promise to address child poverty predictably constitutes even greater wealth transfer. This will only aggravate the problem because government handouts undermine parent's ability and committment to do their best for their children."

" It is high time the Left acknowledged the vital role of the earning, two-parent family. To do otherwise will further bleaken the outlook for many New Zealand children," Mitchell warns.

Lindsay Mitchell
Petitioner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB
ph/fx 04 562 7944
e-mail dandl.mitchell@clear.net.nz

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