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: The PM’s Hair-Pulling Power Trip

There have been striking differences between (a) the account of the waitress involved in the hair-pulling incidents, and (b) the account being given by Prime Minister John Key. The version by the waitress is available here and is recommended to anyone yet to read it. By her account, there were multiple instances of hair-pulling and these persisted and persisted long after she had made her annoyance clear to Key – who had also been advised by his wife, and by other café staff that the behavior was evidently not being welcomed. More>>

ALSO:

War: What’s To Commemorate?

Gordon Campbell in Werewolf: Is there anything that can be validly commemorated on this 100th anniversary of Gallipoli? Beyond, that is, a fleeting sense of empathy with the thousands of soldiers killed or wounded on April 25 1915 and in the months thereafter, until the whole thing was finally called off in December 1915. More>>

MORE IN WEREWOLF:

ALSO:

Peter Ellis Case: Minister Declines Request For Commission Of Inquiry

Justice Minister Amy Adams has declined a request from supporters of Peter Ellis for a Commission of Inquiry on the basis that an inquiry cannot be used to determine the liability of any person. More>>

Quakes: New Process For Red Zone Crown Offers

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced a process to give everyone a say on the Crown offers to owners of vacant, commercial/industrial and uninsured properties in the Residential Red Zone. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Battle Obama Is Waging Over The TPP

For the past two and a half years, this column has been arguing that the fate of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal will hinge on whether US President Barack Obama can win Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) from Congress... Last week, the White House finally, finally unveiled a draft TPA Bill. More>>

ALSO:

Greens: Govt Breaks Free Doctors Visit Promise To Kids

Documents obtained by the Green Party show that the Government decided to fund only 90 percent of doctors’ visits for children suffering from an injury in an attempt trim the cost of the so-called “free” visits. More>>

ALSO:

Other Wars: Extension Of NZDF Commitment In Afghanistan

The New Zealand Defence Force’s commitment of mentors and support staff to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Afghanistan has been extended out to December 2016, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says. More>>

PM's Press Conference: Auckland Property Prices Increasing "Too Rapidly"

John Key accepted that Auckland property prices 'are going up too rapidly” in a press conference held today in Wellington, however he said that this is not anything new. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: ANZAC PMs Concerned About ISIL Bringing The War Home

Prime Minister Key and Prime Minister Abbott spoke of the bond formed between Australia and New Zealand in the “baptism of fire” of Gallipoli. Abbott stated that New Zealand and Australia’s values and interests are linked, and this is reflected in the joint operation in Iraq which will begin shortly. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news