I am watching the Bryan Bruce documentary on child poverty and am completely exasperated. So much is left unsaid. He blames Rogernomics for everything that is wrong with children's health. His slant is thoroughly political despite contrary pleading that child welfare is an ethical and moral problem.
New Zealand apparently used to be a socialist Utopia. That is stated baldly. Bryan Bruce, who looks of a similar age to me, grew up in a country where children got a free bottle of milk everyday and so we lived in paradise.
Putting aside non-fatal preventable disease, as I pointed out earlier, in 1960 the infant mortality rate was 23 per 1,000 infants. Today the figure is 4.8.
So let's frame those statistics in Bryan's terms when he says, "150 babies died in New Zealand last year who might well be alive if they had been born in Sweden, Japan or even the Czech Republic."
1200 children born today might well be dead if they had been born in the 1960s. Born into that socialist era when New Zealanders, as he put it, owned everything including electricity and the rail, and our agricultural products had guaranteed access to the British market.
Thank God we have moved on.
Sweden. He shows two Dads with their toddlers at a kindy-like centre. In Sweden parents get 480 days parental leave which they can share. Then they go back to work. Sole parent or not.
Here we have allowed sole parents to make a lifestyle out of benefits with no requirement to go back to work - if they have ever been in work. Mr Bruce didn't illuminate the circumstances of all the children on benefits be detailed. Never did he mention that most are on the DPB.
He took us into homes in East Porirua where the children and parent had moved into the one room that wasn't mouldy rendering them "over-crowded". Why didn't they clean the mould from the other rooms away? I have to do it upstairs in our house. The bathroom curtain has been bleached; then later dyed; and eventually replaced with a cheap Warehouse wooden blind. The bedroom windows and window sills need the blackened grime removed regularly. The walls feature some mould from time to time but I keep on top of it. This all happens because we can't afford to heat the whole house in winter. But we own it and want to protect it. In state houses it looks like the tenants expect someone else to do the upkeep, including cleaning.
I am angry and appalled. Not because the state is failing these people and their children. But because the PARENTS themselves are failing their children. Yes, some of their homes are irredeemable hovels needing attention but I also know that periodically the authorities come in and repair and renovate yet the results are not appreciated or cared for. Thus, over time, they degenerate once more.
Their children resemble their homes. In preventable neglected condition.