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National & ACT Ignore Human Rights Pledge

National and ACT ignore human rights pledge

Why are people sleeping in cars and lining up at food banks in our country?

Seventy years ago, our then Prime Minister Peter Fraser helped forge The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 25 asserts that the basics of life, such as food and shelter are human rights, not matters for charity.

It states:

1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance.

3. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

So where do today’s political parties stand on those rights?

A recent survey organised by documentary maker Bryan Bruce canvassed all parties that have the possibility of reaching 5% of the Party Vote in the upcoming General Election. Each was emailed a copy of Article 25 and asked whether or not they would pledge to uphold those principles if elected to govern, and would “not vote for any bill or budget which diminishes those rights for any New Zealander?”

The Greens, Labour, New Zealand First, The Maori Party and TOP all signed that pledge.

National ignored repeated requests for a response (except for Ian McKelvie), as did ACT.

Mana leader Hone Harawira did not sign, stating that he believed Mana’s policies “are better and far more comprehensive than those listed in the pledge.”

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not binding,” said Bruce, “but it concerns me that things we once declared were fundamental human rights are increasingly being treated as if they were matters for charity.”

“When I see people sleeping on the street and lining up at food banks,” I think, it’s time we asked ourselves some basic moral questions, said Bruce.

“Which is why I thought surveying the parties on their attitude to the basic human rights listed in Article 25 would provide useful information for voters to know as they decide who should govern us.”

“I think the results speak for themselves,” said Bruce.

“Parties who refuse to respond to repeated emails on matters of fundamental moral principle, do in fact send you an arrogant message ‘We’re not interested. We don’t care. Human rights are a nuisance and not part of our core business.”

“Well, I hope the electorate express a more compassionate view towards their fellow Kiwis this election,” said Bruce.


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