Ardern wants cross-parliament support for anti-poverty measures

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wants to avoid political bickering over putting some priorities on reducing child poverty levels. She will set ‘flexible targets’ later this week. I wish her luck with that, but  National campaigned on reducing poverty so should broadly support further measures if they make sense.

Stuff:  PM Jacinda Ardern hints the Government will set flexible child poverty reduction targets

The Prime Minister has strongly hinted the Government will set child poverty reduction targets with enough flexibility to make it hard for the Opposition to vote against them.

In her weekly press conference Jacinda Ardern, who is also the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction, said legislation for child poverty targets would be announced on Thursday and she wanted to steer away from the issue being seen as “political”.

“I think most people would agree that regardless of the political party you’re in we all have a goal to improve the wellbeing of kids. What I want to see is successive Governments commit to focusing on lifting children out of poverty.”

Ardern said her bill, which would be introduced in the new year, came out of recommendations from the Children’s Commissioner, not her own party.

“In my mind that was a good starting point to try and build some consensus”.

“My view is that we will not get a long standing consensus on issues like child poverty and like climate change until we can get over the three-yearly political cycle.”

As a result Ardern said she had drafted the bill keeping in mind “what is most likely to succeed in Parliament” to try and get Opposition support.

While there should be some debate and, if genuinely warranted, holding to account, but it would be good to see Parliament working positively to address problems with deprivation, especially involving children.

“In approaching child poverty we want to make sure this isn’t just a slogan,” said English.

“The practicalities are that after the Government’s done the package on the first of April they won’t have anymore money to do anything about lifting incomes, and they don’t seem to be that interested in dealing with the social dysfunction that keeps families in poverty.

“Whatever target they set it will be impossible for them to lift incomes beyond the number of kids who come out of poverty from this first package. They won’t have the cash to do a second round because they’ve spent all the money on tertiary,” he said.

That’s a bit of a negative prelude from English.

Much may depend on the details of the package that Ardern announces later this week.

37 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  December 11, 2017

    The devil will be in the detail & probably in a few National Party debaters.

  2. alloytoo

     /  December 11, 2017

    Already Decile 1 schools have been told to expect cuts to successful programs in order pay for the free tertiary bribe for Australians and others.

    • Gezza

       /  December 11, 2017

      Interesting. Says who – do you have a link to something that backs that up?

      • alloytoo

         /  December 11, 2017

        Teachers in decile 1 schools. (and no I won’t name them or the school in a public forum, the left are notorious about witch hunting the unfaithful).

        Lets wait and see, I would hope to be wrong.

        • Gezza

           /  December 11, 2017

          One school? A teacher in ONE school has told you this? Do you happen to know who they voted for, out of interest?

          • Alloytoo

             /  December 12, 2017

            Witchunting begins

            • Gezza

               /  December 12, 2017

              Paranoia and/or ridiculous hyperbole sets in. What I am saying to you is have you actually just heard a National voter whinge & that’s about it? Nobody expects you to name the school or the teacher, just to back your claim up with something other than claimed hearsay.

          • Alloytoo

             /  December 12, 2017

            THE school is one of many in the program, and the comments came from people involved in managing THE program

            • Gezza

               /  December 12, 2017

              So, is it a Partnership school? Is it actually up & running? And I’m still waiting for any evidence to back what you say.

        • Gezza

           /  December 11, 2017

          Let me just clarify – you talk about not naming THE school, so I am currently dubious about your claim of being told by teacher(s). Nobody expects you to name the school. But where is the official advice to the effect you claim? Is it on a website? Can you post a scanned copy. All you have done so far is make an unsupported claim.

  3. PartisanZ

     /  December 11, 2017

    From ‘MMP under threat?’ earlier –

    ““The families package, which is part of the Government’s 100-day plan, will include the Winter Fuel Payment, Best Start and a boost to Working for Families [is expected to lift 50,000 children out of poverty]. It will replace the planned tax cuts of the previous Government, which was going to lift 50,000 children out of poverty”.

    How fucked-up is this? The new government draws a kind of “Year Zero equivalence” on child poverty.

    “What I want to see is successive Governments commit to focusing on lifting children out of poverty.” says Ardern, in recommending, “a new law that will “take the politics out of poverty” and bind future Governments to set targets to reduce child poverty.”

    Danger, Danger Will Robinson!!!

    Despite my loathing of the 3 year election cycle, we must be very wary about binding future governments to anything. Today, as a result of such binding, we are largely ‘governed’ (or econopolitically managed) by the Fiscal Responsibility Act. I notice, strangely, such bindings always tend towards absolute minimum amounts?

    Reducing child poverty … family poverty … why don’t we just call it f*^k+ng POVERTY FFS … in Aotearoa New Zealand may ultimately cost a shitload more than we expect. It may cost “whatever the F*** it takes” …

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  December 12, 2017

      That Does Not Compute…That Does Not Compute…

  4. PDB

     /  December 11, 2017

    PG: “That’s a bit of a negative prelude from English.”

    But true, Labour only has the ‘give them more money’ approach whilst ignoring the social issues, welfare dependency etc.

    • PartisanZ

       /  December 11, 2017

      … should read “while ignoring the social issues that lead to welfare dependency, a relatively small component of the overall poverty issue in Aotearoa New Zealand”

      • PDB

         /  December 11, 2017

        …should read “child poverty” which is grossly overstated in NZ.

        • PartisanZ

           /  December 12, 2017

          … should read “there’s no such f*#ken thing as “child poverty” …

          • PDB

             /  December 12, 2017

            … should read “there’s no reason for “child poverty” in NZ with all the support, money and services we already offer families and children…

    • Gezza

       /  December 11, 2017

      Ardern promised on tv to retain Whanau Ora – this was National’s proposal for targetted wrap around assistance to turn around dysfunctional families.

    • robertguyton

       /  December 11, 2017

      Negative? Bill English? Gedaway!

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  December 11, 2017

    Passing a law to set child poverty targets costs nothing – and does nothing.

    It’s fatuous meaningless posturing. Any Government can set child poverty targets without passing a law and would do so if it actually meant to do something.

    • Gezza

       /  December 11, 2017

      Just one minor point, Al. Passing a law doesn’t cost nothing. It actually costs hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  December 11, 2017

        Yes, I know, but it is rounding error on most Govt budget items.

  6. wackAmole

     /  December 11, 2017

    “they don’t seem to be that interested in dealing with the social dysfunction that keeps families in poverty.”

    That says it all really – 2 competing visions for how to deal with child poverty.

    In fact from the post I can’t even tell what Ardern is getting at talking about “flexibility”.

    • Gezza

       /  December 11, 2017

      It seems to include the ability to do backflips, 180° turnarounds, & all sorts of contortions, so far?

    • I think we have to wait for her announcement later this week on what measures she intends to take.

    • Blazer

       /  December 12, 2017

      English looking comfortable in his new roll as a…meathead.

    • duperez

       /  December 12, 2017

      The old, “Housing crisis? What housing crisis?” face.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  December 12, 2017

        I don’t believe that he or anyone else actually said that.It was a distortion of what was said.

        I heard that the most vulnerable have to wait about 48 days for housing. That doesn’t seem too bad to me; yes, I know that seven weeks can seem a long time, but they are going to be housed at the end of it.

  7. If I remember rightly, Ardern’s first comment on poverty after the election was that she was going to change the way it was measured – instant reduction expected.

    • Blazer

       /  December 12, 2017

      National’s old …sleight of hand with unemployment and crime…stats.

      • PartisanZ

         /  December 12, 2017

        “Sleight of hand” … a very good description of politics as we know it …

        Who has the power to change it? Oh … ultimately …. WE do …

        Or do we?

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  December 12, 2017

          There’s nothing to stop anyone joining a party. There’s nothing to stop them standing for Parliament.