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Money over Compassion

Saddened by Motivation:

Money over Compassion

I just read the article in the New Zealand Herald (Monday 5th September 2011) “Tapu Misa: Cuts hurt kids instead of making parents work” and agreed wholeheartedly with what she was saying about children living in poverty hurting the country financially and that we should be helping.

But I was rather disappointed by some of the comments showing people still think that most poor people can’t manage their money or wouldn’t use money they get to help their children. By all means, I have no problem increasing funding to schools and community groups that help the poor, but if people on low incomes, including benefits do not have enough money for their basic costs, they start at a disadvantage that only worsens with time. How many people on low incomes have to decide on warmth, medication or food for their family? For example, if you need a car to get to work but cannot afford the warrant / rego this week you could then get a ticket for $200 which you also can’t pay! This also increases stress already present in people on incomes so low they can’t quite afford enough food each week. There are always unexpected costs that crop up from time to time, and on a benefit you cannot afford to save for these.

I find it quite saddening that money may motivate people more than compassion. However, I am glad Tapu Misa points out that helping the poor have enough for all their necessary costs will save the country in the long term eg on medical costs from preventable illnesses caused by poor heating, bad nutrition etc.

Beneficiary Advisory Service supports the work of Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and all others who work with poorer families to try to increase the quality of their lives, giving value to their existence and increasing their participation in the community. I quote from CPAG’s press release on 4th September:

“New Zealand has a terrible problem of child poverty, accumulated in large part by the government operating very poor policies for children over a long period of time. Child poverty diminishes the very fabric of society, now and for the foreseeable future” says spokesperson Susan St John.

Beneficiary Advisory Service is a Christchurch based Community Group 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 to hundreds of people every year. We can be contacted on 03 379 8787 or at bas.cprc@gmail.com

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