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Mana: Child poverty is not a game

Mana: Child poverty is not a game

Mana's Social Wellbeing spokesperson Sue Bradford says Mana is the only party that doesn't treat child poverty as some sort of a numbers game.

'Every time I hear the other parties talking about it I cringe,' she says.

'They all say it is important, then go on to explain why they are not going to do anything about it until the economy is fixed, or exports increase, or they can fit it into their fiscal plan.

'They treat it like some sort of academic exercise and coldly dissect where it fits in to their long term plans.

'They just don't get it.

'If a child is hungry you give them some food. You don't think about how the child fits in with your budget priorities, or balance their hunger up against a research and development programme, cleaning up a river or anything else.

'You give the child some food. Then you make sure they have a warm, dry and secure place to live.

'Once you have done that you start looking at budget priorities.

'Everybody understands there is not unlimited money and resources, but there are some things you just take care of and then make your budget fit with the priorities you've chosen.

Ms Bradford says over the last couple of decades New Zealanders have been trained by neo liberal politicians and economists to discard their natural inclination to nurture and care for the next generation.

'As a nation we need to reclaim our values from the soulless money men who understand everything about making themselves rich, but nothing about basic human values.

'Mana would start addressing child poverty tomorrow if we had the power to do so.

'It's simple. Buy some food and give it to kids at school.

'Build 20,000 state houses and put people into them.

'Channel accommodation benefits into home ownership.

'Lift the minimum wage and make the first $27,000 tax free.

'Create socially useful, decently paid jobs for the unemployed.

'Lift welfare payments to an amount people can actually live on, and pay the extra 'In Work' tax credit in relation to all children, not just some.

'It is time for New Zealanders to collectively demand that their parliamentary representatives break through the imaginary barriers that are stopping us from doing the decent thing.

Mana candidate for Waitakere, national spokesperson on issues of Social Wellbeing.

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