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Judith Tizard – Labour’s Marie Antoinette

8 June 2005

Judith Tizard – Labour’s Marie Antoinette

Consumer Affairs Minister Judith Tizard’s response to the explosion of loan sharking in middle and low income communities is reminiscent of Marie Antoinette who when told of the plight of the poor who had no bread to eat in 18th century France is said to have responded “Let them eat cake!”

Tizard’s own Ministry reported in June that 15% of New Zealanders borrowed in the previous 12 months “…for essential items such as paying for household groceries or to pay the power bill”

With figures like this there is no surprise at all that under Labour there has been an explosion of loan sharks/pokie machines/pawn shops throughout New Zealand’s middle and low income communities.

Tizard’s response on TV3 was words to the effect that “…we can’t hold peoples hands all the way through the process. Lots of people make good borrowing decisions every day”

The fact is that these people have no choice but to go to loan sharks to help feed their families and keep the electricity on. Not only has Labour allowed poverty to grow unchecked in the past 6 years but it refuses to put in place the simple steps which would help protect our communities from the predatory action of loan sharks and pokie machines.

It’s clear that Judith Tizard would not survive on the low incomes faced by hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders. A few weeks in a cold draughty house with just weet-bix, bread and butter would be a reality check for this out of touch Labour Minister.

We have been heartened by the response to the campaign from communities all around New Zealand in the past 24 hours. Decent New Zealanders are appalled at the actions of loan sharks and want action. Likewise they want local communities to have the chance to say no to pokie machines in their streets and neighbourhoods.


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