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

Werewolf Issue #49: Gordon Campbell Interviews Laila Harre

For 25 years, Labour and National have been in virtual agreement about the basics of economic policy, and differed mainly on how to go about managing its social consequences.

Such is the power of the economic orthodoxy that when opposition parties arise – say, in the shape of the Greens – their “credibility” is measured by the extent to which they give the appearance of learning and abiding by the ruling consensus.

The tension between the desire for change – and the inability of the current political framework to deliver it – creates openings for populists of all stripes. It is what has made the emergence of Internet Mana so interesting. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Electorate Deals

For all the talk yesterday from Prime Minister John Key about National being transparent about its electorate deals in Epsom and Ohariu, that transparency is entirely front-loaded. More>>

ALSO:

Greens: Oil Drilling Face-Off With Labour

The key policy points in the Green Party’s plan to protect our beaches from oil spills are to:
1. Prohibit deep sea oil drilling; 2. Implement compulsory shipping lanes for coastal shipping; 3. Build Maritime New Zealand’s oil spill response capability; and 4. Introduce a stronger legal framework so that when accidents do happen, the New Zealand taxpayer does not have to pay for the clean-up. More>>

ALSO:


Nick Smith v Fish & Game:

Minister Told Of FBI Investigation, Says INZ: Coleman Must Quit Or Be Sacked Over Dotcom Case - Harré

Immigration New Zealand has done the right thing in distancing itself from Jonathan Coleman’s claims that ministers were not aware of FBI involvement in Kim Dotcom’s residency application, says the Internet Party. More>>

ALSO:

Valedictory Season: Maori Party Founders Say Goodbye

Two major Maori MPs gave there farewell speeches to Parliament Thursday outlining their history, experiences, triumphs and regrets. More>>

ALSO:

Resignation Not Accepted: Transport Minister Breaches Aviation Security Rules

"Running late for a plane at Christchurch Airport, I without thought breached airport and airline security rules by entering the gate lounge through a door usually used for exit only..." More>>

ALSO:

TAIC Report: Urgent Recommendations After Melling Rail Accident

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has made four urgent recommendations to KiwiRail following the accident two months ago (27 May) when a Matangi passenger train collided with a stop block at Melling Station, Lower Hutt. More>>

ALSO:

Red Tape: Local Regulations Go Under Microscope

The Government says it is accepting nearly all of the recommendations the Productivity Commission has made on ways to improve local regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Spending Questions: Claudette Hauiti To Step Aside At Election

National Party President Peter Goodfellow confirms that he has received notification from List MP Claudette Hauiti that she plans to step aside at the 20 September election. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news