Editorial: The Government must act on poverty
Such is the screamy headline. Â That’s then followed by
Unicef’s latest report on child poverty in rich countries in the years after 2007 includes a special criticism of New Zealand.
“Australia’s increase in spending on families had a more positive impact than the ambitious tax cuts implemented in New Zealand, where poverty and inequality stagnated.”
The last part, at least, is blunt but fair – whichever way you dice it, poverty levels in New Zealand are flat.
Perhaps, one might argue, that is still an achievement after years of recession. The National Government has not cut such social spending as the Working for Families tax credits, a help to many low-income families during the past 10 years. But Australia’s success begs the question: why are we not doing more? Prime Minister John Key says it’s all about the economy – Australia famously bucked the global slump after 2007.
“A strong economy is the No 1 way to lift youngsters out of poverty,” he says.
This is at least an incomplete view. It must be relevant that the Australian government launched what one group of academics calls a “massive policy response” to the financial crisis, putting “billions of dollars into the pockets of low and middle income families”.
Until journalist at large either understand, or stop deliberately lying about how “poverty” is measured, we will never make any progress. Â The way it is statistically defined means that the larger the difference between the higher and lower earners in a society, the higher the child poverty. Â Read more »