Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Child poverty is not rising but falling

John Boy Key is considering funding Hone Harawira’s “Food in Schools” bill, saying, "There is some merit, obviously, for food in schools - the Government has been supporting that in terms of a number of programmes."

But as Lindsay Mitchell points out, and as you’d expect with Hone Harawira (whose whole career is built on artifice), the very bill to which they’re considering lending their support starts with a lie :

From the bill’s Explanatory note:

"Growing levels of poverty in New Zealand have resulted in too many parents being unable to afford to provide their children with breakfast before school and/or lunch at school, or being unable to afford to provide their children with sufficiently nutritious meals before and during school."
The latest data available shows that levels of child poverty are declining:

The shaded area shows that the percentage of children living in households with income below 60 percent of the median … household income (referenced to 2007) has fallen from 37 percent in 2001 to 21 percent in 2011…

So even by the standard of “poverty” used by politically motivated “Child Advocates” (i.e., that “poverty” is a relative thing, measured as a percentage of others’ wealth or income), and despite the loud and repeated claims of these advocates, the number of children in impoverished homes is not rising but falling quite substantially. Fallen by nearly half.

In addition, as Lindsay shows, the hardship suffered by those families under this relative line has got no worse since the mid-1980s.

You’d think instead of talking up “rising child poverty” the so called advocates for impoverished children would be celebrating these results—and they would be, if ending child poverty were their real goal.

1 comment:

  1. This is a candidate for unintended consequences if I've ever seen one. The effect of this bill will be to give more irresponsible parents the mandate to not feed their children. And who could blame them, if the government has taken on that responsibility in addition to everything else (health care, education, appropriate forms of discipline, etc).


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