Jacinda Ardern channels Bob Hawke of 30 years ago, will have same results

Jacinda Ardern has declared she is going to halve child poverty within 10 years.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has set a target to halve child poverty within 10 years.

She will announce a three-year target shortly and is now developing a child well-being strategy.

My Government’s plan will roughly halve child poverty within 10 years and establish New Zealand as one of the best performing countries for children,” Ardern said at a church forum in Wellington to discuss the Government’s 100-day plan.

“We will make an historic dent in child poverty and reduce low incomes and hardship among our children to levels New Zealand has not seen in decades.”

She is going to reduce low incomes? Has she told the poor that yet? Her voters?

She announced three 10-year targets:

• Reduce the proportion of children in low income households (using the before housing measure*) from roughly 15 percent of all children to 5 percent. This reduces the number by more than half from 160,000 to 60,000.

• Reduce the proportion of children in low income households (using the after housing costs measure*) from roughly 20 percent to 10 percent. This is a reduction of 90,000 children from 210,000 now to 120,000.

• Reduce the proportion of children in material hardship from between 13 and 15 percent now to 7 percent*. This reduces the number of children in this group from 150,000 to 80,000.

Setting the targets are requirements of the Child Poverty Reduction Bill which requires Governments to set a target for reducing child poverty against four different measures, report publicly on child poverty under those measures and develop a strategy to reduce child poverty.

Ardern said she would announce the three-year targets before public submissions are made on the bill at select committee.

That means she hasn’t dreamed them up yet. Those are the targets, but there is still no plan on how to get there, and the targets are a moving feast as well based on the measures which are a calculation of a percentage of a mean. In other words she will never achieve what she claims she will.

Of course that is somewhat away from her promise to eliminate child poverty, but I guess it is a good start…or is it?

Bob Hawke made similar claims 30 years ago:

It was a momentary mistake that stuck with Bob Hawke and became, when all was said and done, one of his most memorable lines.

“By 1990, no Australian child will be living in poverty,” the then-prime minister told Labor’s election campaign launch on June 23, 1987.

It was a bold and unattainable declaration and, indeed, an errorthe script said “no Australian child need live in poverty”. Exactly thirty years on, it is a goal that still eludes us.

According to the most recent report by the Australian Council of Social Services, 17.4 per cent of children are living in poverty – that is, 731,000 children.

In the 10 years to 2014, the child poverty rate increased by 2 percentage points, in a period that included both the Howard and Rudd-Gillard governments.

Circumstances are much worse in single parent families, where 40 per cent of children live in relative poverty – up from 36.8 per cent in 2012.

“It shows that governments, since the Global Financial Crisis in particular, have set the wrong priorities both in social and economic terms,” ACOSS head Cassandra Goldie said.

ACOSS defines poverty differently for different households: for a couple with children, it is deemed to be those on less than $720 a week after housing costs.

Despite recently breaking the world record for uninterrupted economic growth, Australia’s overall poverty rate remains higher than the OECD average.

Ten years ago, Mr Hawke said he regretted his “silly, shorthand” remarks of 1987, and he “should have just said what was in the distributed speech”.

I wonder if Jacinda Ardern will have a similar regret in 30 years time?

Meanwhile…Donald Trump creates a million more jobs and gets workers thousands of dollars in bonuses. And Exxon are going to invest $50B in the US economy. Amazing what tax cuts can deliver…certainly more than Jacinda Ardern’s motherhood and apple-pie statements.


-NewstalkZB, SMH

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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