I hate children and want them to starve…

…is the sort of accusation being used by supporters of Mana’s “Feed the Kids” bill. Abuse like that has been directed at me.

The “you’re with us or against us” approach to promoting policy usually doesn’t work well.

Especially when “you’re against us” is extended to “if you don’t support a bill that does a little at the bottom of the cliff then you hate children and want them to starve”  style attacks are used to try and guilt people into changing their minds. It’s more likely to have the opposite effect.

Here are more examples of the emotive rhetoric being used to try and promote the “Feed the Kids” bill:

Frank Macskasy at The Daily Blog:

As a nation, it is almost as if we have embarked on a deliberate course of increasing poverty and ensuring the advent of the next generation of impoverished New Zealanders.

It’s ridiculous to suggest that anyone in New Zealand wants to embark on “a deliberate course of increasing poverty”.

Why is there money to subsidise irrigation in the South Island or grants to businesses – but not put a bloody bowl of fucking weetbix and milk in front of a starving kid???

Frank, the Government (actually the taxpayers) already give a considerable amount of money to families and directly and indirectly to children.

Ah, and did you realise that irrigation allows cows to produce milk for the Weetbix? And did you realise that milk was already being given to schools?

Macskasay again in a new blog post, Why Peter Dunne won’t “Feed the Kids”:

So what’s up with Peter Dunne and his awful, cold-hearted response to the crisis of child poverty afflicting this country?

One could imagine ACT and National MPs voting against the “Feed The Kids” Bill – those people either have freezer coolant in their veins, or are ideologically wedded to rugged Individualism and Personal Responsibility (except when National is held to account for it’s stuff-ups and policy failures) that includes perpetuating poverty on a nationwide scale.

That sort of language is what you would expect from a activist wanting to try and score political points, not someone who genuinely wants to try and get support for a bill. Abuse and overstatement rarely gets anyone to change their minds.

And in comments on a previous post here, Macskasy:

So what you’re really saying is that we have to let children starve, in order to teach parents a lesson?

I said nothing like that, nor do I think that. Theodore disagreed:

…that’s PRECISELY what you’re inferring Pete. Own your comments. That’s exactly the consequences of your words.

Actually Frank was referring to someone else’s comment. I didn’t infer anything of the sort. But disagreeing on the best way to deal with the problem results in bizarre accusations without any foundation.

And Martin Bradbury has joined the accusers:

But it’s true Pete. If you allow your self sanctimonious and astounding self-rightousness that blames the parents for hungry children as your justification of not supporting feeding the kids – you do hate children.

Pathetic nonsense.

The very people who sing the ‘blame the parents’ right wing song and dance routine are the exact same fucking people who have NO IDEA that the mother of all budgets set the benefits just below the nutritional minimums so that those on welfare are hungry enough to not want to stay on welfare.

Blaming the parents is a disgusting cop out and should be denounced with the contempt it deserves.

Some parents are to blame.

Most parents see feeding their kids as a priority and do their best, some in difficult financial circumstances.

I grew up in a very poor household, often food was very basic but I always had food. Most of my clothes were hand me downs, I used to help my mother unpick old jerseys so they could be recycled, my socks sometimes had more darns than original wool, and the only family holiday we had I don’t remember because I was a baby at the time. My father had to get extra work, my mother worked night shifts. I know what it’s like being a poor kid. But I was never a starving kid, because food was always made available by my parents.

Some parents have addictions to things like drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and they don’t always put their children’s needs first.

And some parents are simply poor parents.

Excusing all parents of any blame and just giving them more money will not solve poor parenting.

And giving all kids more (kids already get substantial state assistance from before they are born) means there is less available for those who really need extra help.

But this debate is unlikely to address or solve any of the issues due to the nature of the debate – too much emotive and abusive rhetoric. It’s much easier to dismiss that than a reasoned and reasonable argument.

By the way, for the last ten years I have donated each month to a charity that helps families and communities to feed their kids better. I also provide support within my family, to my children and my grandchildren.

Of those of you who are making accusations that I and others hate kids and want kids to starve, how much do you personally contribute to feeding children?

Leave a comment

3 Comments

  1. Darryl

     /  11th May 2013

    Well spoken Pete, your the type of person who really does care about children and I agree with you 100%.

    Reply
  2. Steve

     /  11th May 2013

    The argument ” if you don’t support us then you must hate us” was successfully used by the supporters of sodomite marriage so no doubt it will be used again.

    Reply

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