Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Alliance policies have improved lot of the poor

June 10

Alliance policies have improved the lot of the poor

The reduction in poverty reported by the Government in the 2004 Household Economic Survey is largely the result of policy initiatives of the Alliance when it was in coalition with Labour.

Alliance Co-leader Jill Ovens says income-related rents in State houses, paid parental leave and job creation through Government intervention were all Alliance policies introduced during the Labour-Alliance Coalition, 1999-2002. These helped to turn around the destructive effects of benefit and wage cuts under successive National Governments during the 1990s.

"The National Government, which acted on the advice of Don Brash, then head of Treasury, deliberately drove down wages by attacking unions, cutting benefits and manipulating interest rates to create high unemployment. Whole communities were plunged into poverty. This is exactly what would happen again if they were allowed anywhere near the reins of power," she says.

However, while the reported reduction in poverty is heartening, Ms Ovens says far more radical policies are needed to ensure every New Zealander has a decent standard of living.

"Income-related rents only apply to those fortunate enough to be in State housing. The vast majority of low-income workers and beneficiaries are in private rental housing with exorbitantly high market rents, or they are struggling to cope with rising interest rates on mortgages in an overheated housing market."
The Alliance says the Government needs to make a major investment in building State houses to provide decent housing for families. Other interventions in the housing "market" would include significant low-interest, no deposit loans delivered through the Kiwi Bank and capital gains taxes to dampen down property speculation, as well as rent controls and stronger tenancy protection.

The Government is claiming a rise in real incomes for low-income families, but the reality is that despite economic growth of around 4% a year, wages have not risen at anything like that level for low-paid workers, Ms Ovens says.

"The most significant finding of the report is the widening gap between rich and poor. Some are benefiting from the Labour Government's policies, but this is at the expense of the vast majority of ordinary New Zealanders."

The report says more than one in five children in New Zealand are living below the official poverty line – a figure that increases to 42% of children in sole parent families living in poverty, reflecting the inadequacy of benefit levels and wages.

Ms Ovens says that although the percentage of children living in poverty has come down, the only acceptable level is zero poverty – "anything else is a disgrace".

She says the Alliance Party is standing in the election to fight for decent wages, secure jobs, free public health and education, and public control of essential services such as electricity and transport.

"The bottom line is that everyone must have equal access to a good basic standard of living and the Alliance is the only party that stands for a transformation of society and redistribution of wealth that would address the fundamental causes of poverty."

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Supreme Court: Worksafe Decision On Whittall Pike River Prosecution Unlawful

The question in issue on the appeal was whether WorkSafe New Zealand acted to give effect to an unlawful agreement of this nature when it offered no evidence on charges against Peter William Whittall for breaches of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992...

The Supreme Court... has found that the decision to offer no evidence was made under an unlawful agreement to stifle prosecution. It has granted a declaration to that effect. More>>

 

Cullen To Chair: Tax Working Group Terms Of Reference Announced

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash today announced the Terms of Reference for the Tax Working Group and that the Group will be chaired by Sir Michael Cullen. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them. More>>

ALSO:

Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>

ALSO:

Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>

ALSO:

Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election