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Legacy politics has failed whanau, it’s time to act – Green Party

Today’s Salvation Army’s State of the Nation Report shows clearly why politics matters. Only the Green Party has a plan to end poverty. We have what we need to ensure all whānau and tamariki have what they need to live a good life.

“Political parties should always be judged on the difference they make to people’s lives. Today’s Salvation Army report is an indictment of successive governments. Politics to the bigger parties seems to be more about taking turns at running the country than it does about guaranteeing everyone has enough to live on,” says co-leader of the Green Party and spokesperson for child poverty reduction, Marama Davidson.

“The message from today’s report could not be any clearer: Labour and National’s politics of indifference have failed. It has failed our tamariki, it has failed our communities, and it has failed our country.

“It’s not as if thousands of children have been going hungry only since the election last October. Children have been going hungry, most especially Māori and Pacific, for many, many years; a stain on the record of every government of the last few decades.

“It is also true that the 311 families, who hold more wealth than the bottom two and half million New Zealanders, haven’t accumulated this in only the last few months. There has been enough money tied up in untaxed wealth to lift every single family in this country out of poverty for as long as anyone can remember. What is glaringly obvious though, is that neither Labour or National have had the political courage to use it.

“There have been tables without food, bedrooms without beds, and children without shoes for decades. There is no doubt that the last government was on the right track, but it still fell a long way short of what is needed. For decades, the Green Party has been the only party with the courage and ideas to end poverty.

“What angers me right now is that the situation now is only going to get worse under the current government. Food banks and charities have become New Zealand’s last line of defence against poverty. Which makes it even harder to fathom how any politician can come to work each day knowing that they are going to make life harder for thousands of people.

“How can a Minister read a report like this one today and think to themselves “I know what. We’ll cut people’s incomes”? Any government with a modicum of compassion would guarantee that the minimum rates of benefit will cover life’s basic costs. But not National. No, they’d rather people who depend on benefits go hungry and cold.

“This isn’t a question of ideology, but a question of care and decency.

“This current government is entrenching inequalities between rich and poor with little debate. This week it forced through a plan to cut benefit increases for no good reason, other than to ensure there is no debate.

“It does not have to be this way. The next three years are already shaping up to be the worst in living memory for families on the lowest incomes. But I am also more committed than ever to building an Aotearoa where everyone has what they need to get by. The next three years the Green Party are fighting for the people who need us the most – and every single day matters,” says Marama Davidson.

 

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