Susan Ryder didn’t watch much television over the weekend.
Thousands of New Zealand children live without the basics most of us take for granted, making it hard for them to learn and participate at school. ‘KidsCan Stand Tall’ helps disadvantaged children by supplying them with raincoats, shoes and food, so they can get the most out of their education.
And last weekend, the ‘KidsCan Stand Tall Charitable Trust’ held the telethon on TV3 hosted by, in the words of its radio sibling, “the royalty” of New Zealand television personalities. Oddly enough, that news did nothing to change my mind. I gave it all a miss and have no regrets in doing so. Here’s why.
KidsCan is well connected. It lists Borders, Adidas and Warehouse Stationery among its numerous sponsors. And in spite of not exactly ‘standing tall’ themselves right now, so are the All Blacks, with alumni Ali Williams and Doug Howlett among its patrons.
According to Williams, “literally thousands of (NZ) children consistently go hungry and suffer from increased illness in winter because they do not have a raincoat to keep them warm and dry.” He is quoted as being proud to support an organisation that “provides positive intervention.”
Howlett writes in a similar vein, being “extremely grateful for the opportunities” his parents provided for him and happy to be working with an organisation devoted to “levelling the playing field.”
The Trust’s website says this:
Children living in poverty can never be sure of receiving three meals a day, often filling their tummies on what they get out of the school water fountain. We are sure you will agree all kids deserve to have full tummies, regardless of whether their parents are good people struggling to make ends meet or those who waste money and neglect their responsibilities.
Let’s do some dissection. We have fiscal “poverty” in New Zealand after the recent news that the DPB can pay out more than $700 a week? We should make no distinction between good parents who are struggling financially and neglectful losers? Wow. Welcome to Socialism 101 where everybody’s the same and nobody’s to blame. It’ll therefore come as no surprise that the Trust also aims to “increase levels of self-esteem by encouraging equality.”
If there’s “poverty” anywhere, it’s a poverty of intelligence.
The Trust claims to provide free food for 8500 financially disadvantaged children every week, with many on the waiting list. Says Peterhead Primary School Principal:
I think the food items are fabulous, we’re so lucky. A huge thank you to KidsCan. There is nobody else that (sic) has supplied us with food and raincoats or has even suggested it.
And from a Western Heights (Rotorua) Primary School teacher:
There are children who don’t get dinner. They might get some bread and make a sandwich and you can see the unhappiness they bring with them.
In conjunction with Warehouse Stationery, the Trust claims to have distributed more than 35,000 raincoats to 111 poorer schools. And 8000 pairs of shoes have been supplied by Number 1 Shoes and distributed to the same “partner schools.”
From a Wairakei School teacher:
You saw them lift their heads up and just sit taller, kids are proud of the fact they’ve got them on. Getting those raincoats was an awesome time in those kids’ lives.
Three years at Teachers’ Training College and the best adjective she can find is “awesome,” but that’s another column. What of the children whose parents work really hard to cope without this largesse. Who make sacrifices to ensure their children are properly fed and clothed; who make do with cheaper or second-hand clothing; who refuse to use their low incomes as an excuse for parental neglect. They continue to be penalised for doing right while others are rewarded for doing wrong, all in the name of “encouraging equality.”
There are New Zealanders alive today who remember the misery of the Great Depression and the Welfare State that transpired. I wonder what Mickey Savage would make of his great dream now. This country is positively dripping in state welfare and yet the Trust is asking for private donations in order to supply toothpaste and toothbrushes to disadvantaged children. When will the penny drop that, ignoring the odious compulsion factor, history has shown state welfare succeeds only in creating many more problems than it solves. That welfare literally breeds welfare. That robbing Peter to pay Paul isn’t fair on Peter and ultimately doesn’t do Paul much good, either.
“Meeting the basic needs of kiwi children” is the proud mantra of KidsCan Stand Tall. Silly me. I thought that was the job of the families who are supposed to love them.
“I walked to school on a rainy day when I missed the bus. I was wearing my raincoat. Then I didn’t get sick” a pupil from Horohoro School in the Bay of Plenty is quoted as saying.
Which begs the question: If all those free raincoats and shoes have been given out to keep children warm, dry and prevent sickness, what happens when they grow out of them?
* * Read Susan Ryder’s column most Tuesdays here at NOT PC * *
UPDATE 1: PC says: I didn’t even know this was on (been avoiding the tube lately) so imagine how surprised I was to find that I’d been forced to donate anyway. ‘Cos that’s wot a gummint is for, you know.
UPDATE 2: And just what kind of organisation has everyone donated to? Take it away Russell Brown:
How much of the near two million dollars raised for the KidsCan Stand Tall Trust in TV3's weekend Telethon will go to meet the "basic needs" of children in poverty? You'd have to hope it's more than the 19 cents in the dollar that KidsCan managed to spend on its four charitable programmes last year.
Its financial statement to the Charities Commission for 2008 show that the trust raised $1.95 million last year, of which $1.5 million went in operating costs. . . .
As Mike King says,
Ha! Love it, only 19 cents in the dollar goes to the kids and 81 cents goes to admin... they should rename themselves the IRD.