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

 


Voting – a Valentine’s Day Special

Voting – a Valentine’s Day Special

While some of us celebrate this traditional Day of Love with a Significant Other or date and others of us rage against tradition or bemoan the fact we have no current romantic love, others of us count our blessings that we still have family to love and yet others can’t even afford a home or food for the ones we love!

This year, as we come up to the time of elections, I hope we can all THINK about what sort of policies we want to vote for and whether they will protect not just our own loved ones but everyone’s families in New Zealand.

Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS) is a Christchurch based community group working with people on benefits and low incomes, so we see a lot of poverty issues for a large group of people through no fault of their own.

For most of us, we receive a little more each year in income, but this doesn’t quite cover the rises in cost of living that is increasing fast. For those at the bottom – the lowest wages and benefits, there wasn’t enough to start with and things get worse every year. There is not enough money in a benefit for most people’s essential costs. This leads to debt for many as they try to survive in the short-term but making things worse in the long-term. For some, it will mean sub-standard housing or over-crowding as families cannot afford to rent their own home. For most on this low income, it means that they cannot afford the healthy food they need each day to be able to continue being able to function mentally and physically. This means any workers in the family may suffer from illness and any children in the family will be affected in their ability to learn at school. Too many people also catch what should be preventable diseases from these situations.

This isn’t just affecting people on low incomes. This affects the whole country as the cost of making people better or supporting people with inadequate education is much higher than ensuring these people learn and don’t get sick in the first place! It is simple maths that means people of all income brackets should support a System where all citizens can afford their basic needs.

BAS supports the message of Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and the Salvation Army who both say to political parties in election year that New Zealand must tackle the root causes of child poverty. This should be done with bold policies across sectors (income, housing and health) to make any progress. As to make a real difference, we need well thought out policies that address ALL the underlying causes (and symptoms) of poverty.

We agree with Dr Carpenter of CPAG who says, "Every child deserves to thrive, and any changes introduced by the Government need to include a comprehensive plan to reduce poverty. A parallel social policy programme that addresses poverty and the problems it creates would be ideal. Inadequate incomes result in struggling families having to go without basic necessities such as food, a warm and dry home, and adequate health care. These stresses have a harmful effect on children's learning and development and educational success."

For children to stay healthy, families need enough money for nutritious food, facilities for cooking, laundry and personal hygiene. They need access to hot water, soap, clean towels, clothing, shoes, bedding and basic first aid. Money is also needed for adequate housing and doctors’ fees. These are the kind of things lacking in some poorer households but should be present for everyone in New Zealand. Too many people, including hundreds of thousands of children, are living in poverty in New Zealand. Do you think this is okay? If not, look at policies that will change things for the better.

We share the concern of the above groups that little has been accomplished in the last few years to change these facts.

So what has this got to do with love? If we love our families and our communities, we will create a better society for everyone, one we can be proud of! Be considerate and caring of one another and give your support & vote to policies that will improve the whole country. What we need is a society that appreciates everyone, that looks to understand & support, rather than judge. Greed and Selfishness didn’t work; let’s try sharing and caring.

* Vote with your conscience not just your back pocket *

Written by Rebecca Occleston, Speaker: Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS)

Beneficiary Advisory Service is a non-profit group in Christchurch who help people on benefits and low incomes with their problems with Work and Income. We are specialists in Welfare Law and provide advice, information, support and advocacy. Visit our website at www.bas.org.nz

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

To date, the Opposition has continued to occupy itself with the marginalia of the issue. E.g. whether Key did or didn’t know whether Barack Obama would be present at the US briefing last week on IS, or whether New Zealand’s military involvement is or isn’t already a fait accompli.

It might be better to tackle the issue, head on. Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn.
More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Tea Breaks 'Gone By Lunch Time'

“How cynical that on the eve of Labour weekend, the National government is pushing through legislation that takes away the statutory right to tea and meal breaks along with collective bargaining protections, and makes vulnerable workers jobs even less secure." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Tertiary Education: Students Doing It Tough As Fees Rise Again

The Government is making it increasingly difficult for Kiwis to gain tertiary education as fees continue to rise and access to student support becomes even more restricted, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. More>>

ALSO:

Housing, Iraq: PM Press Conference – 20 October 2014

Prime Minister John Key met with press today to discuss:
• Housing prices and redevelopment in Auckland
• Discussions with Tony Abbott on the governmental response to ISIS, and New Zealand’s election to the UN Security Council More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news