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

 

Discrimination against our children cannot be justified

6 March 2012

Discrimination against our children, our greatest taonga, cannot be justified

On Children’s Day, Sunday 4 March, Child Poverty Action Group launched a major nationwide appeal for donations to hold the Government to account for policies that have contributed to child poverty. Childhood poverty has lifelong consequences on health, education, and social and economic participation. “Children’s day reminds us to treasure our children, it is time for us to actually do this” says Dr Susan St John, CPAG’s economics spokesperson.

Since 2004, CPAG has challenged the Government over its discriminatory policy regarding the In Work Tax Credit (IWTC), a child-related family assistance payment. This controversial payment worth at least $60 a week is specifically for children, and is one of the means government uses to reduce child poverty. But only some low income families get it, while 230,000 children live in families that are excluded. “It is no wonder we have such a poor record on child poverty,” says St John.

In November last year, CPAG’s case was heard in the High Court. The Judge ruled that the IWTC does discriminate against some of our poorest children, but such discrimination is ‘justified’. CPAG argues that this discrimination cannot be justified on moral or ethical grounds, nor on the grounds that it is supposed also to be a work incentive. “We believe all kiwi kids have the right to a fair go” says CPAG.

The IWTC, a payment to help with the costs of children, is withheld from parents who are in receipt of benefit income, or are unable to work a minimum number of hours per week even when work is not available, or when parents cannot meet the work requirements because of their child-caring responsibilities, disability or sickness. Families lose the IWTC even when they lose work because of events beyond their control like recession, illness or an earthquake. The needs of their children do not change, but they are given a significantly lower amount for them.

CPAG launched its 2012 CPAG Appeal Campaign on National Children’s Day with an exclusive screening at Academy Cinema of Bryan Bruce’s ‘Inside Child Poverty’, the documentary that sparked a national conversation and a NZ on Air controversy.

Campaign leader, Janfrie Wakim, said: “We are preparing to appeal against lawful discrimination against children to the Court of Appeal, and if we fail there, to the Supreme Court.” Wakim explains: “Until now, the Office of Human Rights Proceedings at the Human Rights Commission has paid for CPAG’s top legal team. The Office is pledging to provide our junior counsel, but can no longer fund our senior counsel, court fees or expenses. Although our senior counsel has committed to do some of the work pro bono, we still have to raise the money to cover the rest of the costs.”

At the launch, special guest, Bryan Bruce, the documentary’s multi-award winning producer and presenter, spoke in support of the Appeal, saying: “Children’s health and well-being is an ethical and moral issue, not a political issue. In trying to generate wealth in this country, we are bankrupting their future.”

The other special guest was Jazmine Heka, the 16 year old from Whangarei inspired by Bruce’s documentary to launch a nationwide petition: ‘Children against Poverty’.

Although New Zealand has signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the rights of our poorest children are being ignored.

CPAG calls for public assistance to end discrimination against our poorest children.

Click here for more information.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Fallout From The Barclay Tape

This is hardly a case of cleaning out your desk and being turfed out onto the pavement.

As others have pointed out, the disgraced Clutha-Southland MP will remain on the public payroll for three months until the election, and for three months afterwards. More>>

 

Ombudsman: Canterbury Schools Reorganisation Mishandled

An investigation into the Canterbury schools reorganisation after the February 2011 earthquakes has found significant gaps and flaws in the Ministry’s engagement and communications with schools and communities. More>>

ALSO:

Law Commission: Contempt Report "Protects Right To Fair Trial"

The proposed Act limits what news media representatives and bloggers can report on court proceedings, but it also makes clearer than the current law where the line is between contempt and freedom of expression. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Our Refugee Intake (And Uber’s Woes)

On figures released this week, there are currently 65.6 million people worldwide who have been displaced from their homes by war, famine or other external causes… More>>

ALSO:

IGIS Report: GCSB Support For Groser WTO Bid Not Illegal

“The inquiry has found that the GCSB did not act unlawfully or improperly in providing assistance to the New Zealand government campaign”, Ms Gwyn said. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: Pike And Houses

There were questions on Pike River mine re-entry after new video from inside the drift was released over the weekend. English maintained a human effort would not be feasible irrespective of any future coalition demands from NZ First. He said the government would continue to work with families on non-manned re-entry. More>>

ALSO:

Flogging A Dead Horse: NZ First Seeks New s59 Referendum

10 years on from the so called “anti-smacking” law - NZ First calls for a binding referendum. NZ First MP Tracey Martin told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that the law change has had a “chilling effect” on NZ parents including herself. More>>

ALSO:

Always Interesting: Internet Party Has New Leader

The Internet Party has a new leader: Suzie Dawson... She currently resides in Moscow, Russia, where she has applied for temporary asylum due to severe persecution she reports being subjected to by those whose corruption she worked to expose.More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog