Damien Grant has written a very unusual column in today's NZ Herald. I don't really follow the logic but was engaged nevertheless. Let's see if I can paraphrase, making some sense of it in the process.
First he says child poverty doesn't exist in NZ. Not by the UN definition. And the NZ definition is a silly invention, based on the latest Children's Commissioner report.
Then he leaps to poor African children saying he'd rather spend any available money he had upgrading his cellphone than sending it to them. Hence he doesn't care and neither do many others (unless they are sponsoring a child to massage their own ego.)
So if we don't even care about real child poverty in Africa why should we care about invented child poverty in NZ?
Then he ends with an after thought about the office of the Children's Commissioner being abolished.
Um. Well, I agree with some of sentiments, especially the last. But comparing Africa and NZ doesn't work for me.
We've sponsored children for longer than we've had our own. But their photo is not on our $2,000 fridge. Frankly I find the idea of being some sort of phantom parent onerous and worry when World Vision sends cards for you to write a little message to your assigned child. Personally I think it's pointless but do it because I'm concerned that other sponsored children will get messages and photos, and mine will feel left out if they don't. The reason we sponsor World Vision is because we believe in the work they do in making communities self-sufficient or more self-sufficient.
But child poverty in NZ is an entirely different kettle of fish. Here we hand out fish instead of fishing rods. Trite. I know.
My views on how welfare has created child poverty have been well and truly canvassed so no more to say there. But instead of simply not caring we need to be saying to idiots like the Children's Commissioner, I care about the problem (neglect, under-achievement, avoidable ill-health for instance) but I don't give a fig for your diagnosis or solution.
I don't know where I fit into Damien Grant's world.
19 minutes ago