To prevent poverty give people more money
Income Equality Aotearoa New Zealand Inc. ¾ Closing the Gap
19th Jan 2016: To prevent poverty give people more money
The idea of giving the poor more money might make some rabid right wingers foam at the mouth, but it’s actually one of the best solutions to reducing inequality, and thus poverty.
A number of groups concerned about NZ’s growing inequality – and all the social problems that brings for everybody regardless of wealth – are becoming increasingly strident about the need for action as we approach another election year. Closing the Gap is no exception, says spokesperson Peter Malcolm.
“Those of us who having been trying to draw NZ’s attention to the consequences of rising inequality are getting fed up with the lack of solutions being implemented. Everyone involved in various social sectors around New Zealand knows that our lowest socio economic groups have more health problems, low quality housing and lower education outcomes because they have less money than is needed to participate fully in society.
“There is a raft of ideas that various experts have suggested but the government is reluctant to spend now to save in the long run. Instead they just shuffle funds around by tinkering at the edges.
“What poor families really need is more money. The government’s weak response is to give beneficiaries with children an extra $25 a week starting April 1st. Sure, that will help some families but it is really tip of the iceberg stuff.
“It’s time NZ politicians became bold. We need to implement innovative ideas if we are going to address the problems we have had. Taking a leaf out of Finland’s book and seriously look at implementing a universal basic income would be a good start.
“While those who live a life of privilege or have pulled themselves up by the bootstraps will cough and splutter about handouts and individual responsibility, you don’t have to be an academic to realise why research shows that poor people do better when they are given more money.
“We can all understand that a hungry, sick kid living in a crowded, un-insulated house with parents who struggle to make ends meet – whether they are beneficiaries or the working poor – is unlikely to do as well at school as someone who is well-fed, sees the doctor when sick and lives a life of relative comfort.
Closing the Gap calls on New Zealanders who care about their fellow citizens and want NZ to be a compassionate country once more to put pressure on the government to give the poor more money.
“After all,” says Malcolm, “ We all expect that we will be given enough money to live on over the age of 65 and are justifiably proud of our superannuation scheme’s universality. Why then can’t we be as generous to those at the bottom of the heap earlier in life. We will all benefit from making our society more equal.”