To John Key, Bill English and Anne Tolley,
One in five children in New Zealand live in poverty. This is not only a national crisis, but an entirely avoidable one, and it’s time to take action. Every year we delay is a year hundreds of thousands of our children cannot get back.Budget 2015 needs to be a budget to end child poverty.I’m calling on you to treat all children fairly in this Budget and boost the incomes of the poorest families in New Zealand by including children who currently miss out on adequate state support.
At least the demand is plain. Increase benefits.
Would it be fair to "all children" to take more money away from parents who have taken responsibility for their families and give it to parents who have not?
Would it be fair to "all children" to increase the motivation for drop-kick parents to produce babies as meal tickets?
Would it be fair to "all children" to further incentivise fatherless families?
I have an idea.
It's a compromise because I accept that in the short term, a boost in income might help some children.
The government could agree to increase the benefit payment IF the parent accepts income management. That means their rent and power are paid direct. They are issued with a payment card for groceries. The remainder is paid in cash. It wouldn't be much. But the children would be assured of a home, heat, food and a caregiver who isn't mentally wrung-out struggling to cope with burgeoning debt from money mismanagement. The last is often to their greatest detriment.
Parents who accept will be those genuinely motivated to do the best by their children. They'd quite probably also have no interest in extending the arrangement indefinitely.
If nothing else, it would be an interesting exercise testing a parent's commitment to their children.
I accept it's paternalistic, maybe even draconian. But it would meet what the petitioners want. More income for beneficiary children.
In respect to disadvantaged children, New Zealand dug the hole. We can't just keep digging it deeper.