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Archive for 18 May 2013

Budget 2013: Suffer the little children… to starve

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Emmerson insects meals in schools

See:  UN urges: Eat more insects! (Seriously)

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As the growing crisis of child poverty continues to dominate the country’s attention (and so it damn well should!), National  raised  expectations by dropping  more than a few  hints,

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Poverty, housing key Budget features

Acknowledgment:  Poverty, housing key Budget features

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But National’s 2013 Budget yielded no real  solutions to the growing problem of hungry children in our schools.

With 275,000 children living in poverty, John Key and Bill English could not come up with any initiatives to combat this shameful problem,

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child poverty - hungry children - budget 2013 - bill english - john key

Acknowledgment: Key tight-lipped on food in schools

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Key’s response was that  feeding children was an important issue but was also “somewhat the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff“.

I’m sure that hungry kids in schools throughout the country will understand that  this rotten government (aided and abetted by John Banks and Peter Dunne) refuses to offer even a simple bowl of weetbix and milk or toast and butter because – god forbid – it might be an “ambulance at the bottom of the cliff“.

Using such logic, we should offer not offer any medical assistance to half the people in our hospitals. Many are suffering from obesity-related diseases; cancers caused by tobacco use; alcohol-abuse related injuries or diseases; etc.

Are we prepared as a nation to bar people from hospital just in case they contributed to their own misfortune?

Before anyone thinks we should, they may want to review their own lifestyle before passing judgement on others.

Meanwhile, our well-paid and well-fed (courtesy of tax-payers) elected leaders were doing very nicely for themselves at post-budget events,

As Prime Minister John Key and Finance Minister Bill English tucked into post-Budget meals, they kept their mouths closed over the Food in Schools programme.

Providing breakfast and lunch to needy kids was discussed as part of the Government’s plan to tackle child poverty, but the details weren’t included in yesterday’s Budget.

The programme was expected to involve extensive partnership with companies and community groups already involved in providing food to hungry students.

Following a post-Budget breakfast of bacon and a chocolate muffin, English today said an announcement would be made in the next couple of weeks.

Acknowledgment: IBID

Well, I think we can all be relieved about one thing. At least our beloved politicians are eating well.

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John Key - no starving children here

Acknowledgment: Getty Images

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A Conversation with  JONS  (Judgemental & Opinionated National Supporter),

Frank: “We have a real problem in this country with children going to school hungry and without food.”

JONS: “It’s the parent’s responsibility to feed their kids. They need to lay of the booze and baccy!”

Frank: “Only a minority are wasting their money on alcohol and tobacco. For many families, there’s just not enough left over from a minimum wage of $500 a week Especially after $300 in rent or mortgage, $50 for electicity, plus phone, plus medication, plus car costs, etc are all taken out.”

JONS: “So, they shouldn’t have kids then!”

Frank: “Really? So only those on higher incomes should have children?”

JONS: “Yeah. Can’t afford’em, don’t breed’em.”

Frank: “Is that the kind of society you want to live  in? That parents who earn below a certain income shouldn’t have kids?”

“JONS: “Sure.”

Frank: “Ok. So let’s extrapolate from that. Let’s say it takes a household with children about $70,000 a year to live on.

Does that sound about right?”

JONS: “Yeah, sure.”

Frank: “Ok, In the year ended December 2011, there were 61,403 (live) births in New Zealand”

JONS: “Ok…”

Frank: “The number of households with kids in New Zealand earning over $70,000 is 26%.

26% of 61,403 is about 15,965…

So if only families who earn $70 grand or over can have kids, the next question is; who is going to pay for the superannuation for a couple of million baby boomers in retirement? Because 15,965 children growing up into tax-paying adults is not going to be enough  to pay the superannuation bill, is it, JONS?”

JONS: “Ummm…”

That’s right, my dear National supporters. You can put aside your blind prejudice against the poor. The kids that are hungry at school today, are the future taxpayers of tomorrow. They will be the ones paying for our retirement.

So we better take damn good care of them, eh?

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Previous related blogpost

Why Peter Dunne won’t “Feed the Kids”

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Brain fades and balls ups

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John Banks - John Key - David Shearer

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On 20 March, Key made this curious remark, regarding Shearer’s stuff-up over his undeclared New York bank account,

“You don’t get cut any slack from the Labour Party when you say (you’ve made) a mistake but when they make one they don’t want anyone to have a look at it.”

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – IRD knew of Shearer account, but not Parliament

There are two points of interest regarding that remark,

1. “…but when they make one they don’t want anyone to have a look at it.”

Not true.

As Vernon Small wrote in the Dominion Post on 21 March,

He was right to front-foot it by doing the rounds of the press gallery to disclose his blunder and face the music. It would have played must worse if he had left it until the next register of pecuniary interests was published.

Acknowledgement:  Fairfax media – Shearer’s bank blunder threatens chances

Yet again this is another prime  example of Key willfully mis-representing facts to suit his own purpose. His ability to “bend the truth” is unparalled by any other Prime Minister, whether Labour or National.

Shearer actually fronted to journalists and made a candid admission of his stuff-up.

When is the last time Key or Banks did the same?

2. You don’t get cut any slack from the Labour Party when you say (you’ve made) a mistake…”

Why should Labour (or any other Party) cut any slack” for the National-led government?

Did National “cut any slack” for Labour when Helen Clark was Prime Minister? No, the Nats were relentless in their disparagement of Labour. In fact, they were often quite brutal,

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Showers latest target of Labour’s nanny state

Acknowledgement: Scoop – Showers latest target of Labour’s nanny state

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National launches its Food in Schools programme

Acknowledgement: Scoop – National launches its Food in Schools programme

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(Note: National never proceeded with it’s “Food in Schools” programme, and the policy was quietly dropped soon after they were elected into power in November 2008. see:  Govt guarded on free school meals)

And this little ‘beauty’ in abusing Labour, in this January 2008 speech by John Key,

” Under Helen Clark and Labour, our country has become a story of lost opportunities. 

Despite inheriting the tail wind of a strong global economy, Helen Clark has failed to use that momentum to make significant improvement in areas of real importance to New Zealanders.  She has squandered your economic inheritance by failing to build stronger foundations for the future. 

Tomorrow, Helen Clark will tell us what she thinks about the state of our nation.  In all likelihood, she’ll remind us how good she thinks we’ve got it, how grateful she thinks we should be to Labour, and why we need her for another three years. 

Well, I’ve got a challenge for the Prime Minister.  Before she asks for another three years, why doesn’t she answer the questions Kiwis are really asking, like:

  • Why, after eight years of Labour, are we paying the second-highest interest rates in the developed world?
  • Why, under Labour, is the gap between our wages, and wages in Australia and other parts of the world, getting bigger and bigger?
  • Why, under Labour, do we only get a tax cut in election year, when we really needed it years ago?
  • Why are grocery and petrol prices going through the roof?
  • Why can’t our hardworking kids afford to buy their own house?
  • Why is one in five Kiwi kids leaving school with grossly inadequate literacy and numeracy skills?
  • Why, when Labour claim they aspire to be carbon-neutral, do our greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at an alarming rate?
  • Why hasn’t the health system improved when billions of extra dollars have been poured into it?
  • Why is violent crime against innocent New Zealanders continuing to soar and why is Labour unable to do anything about it?

Those are the questions on which this election will be fought. 

Helen Clark thinks she can hoodwink Kiwi voters into giving her another three years to answer these questions.  Well, I say she’s had nine years, she’s had her chance and she’s wasted it. The truth is that as time has gone on, Labour has concentrated more and more on its own survival and less and less on the issues that matter to the people who put them there.”

Acknowledgement: National Party – 2008: A Fresh Start for New Zealand

So when Key whinges about the Labour Party not cutting him “any slack”, Key might consider that he gave as well as he got when he was in Opposition.

That is the role of Opposition – to criticise, challenge, and question. The alternative would be a quick trip down the road to join the club of authoritarian regimes.

By the way… how is John Key’s list of criticisms that he levelled against the Labour Government on 29 January 2008,

  • Why, after eight years of Labour, are we paying the second-highest interest rates in the developed world?
  • Why, under Labour, is the gap between our wages, and wages in Australia and other parts of the world, getting bigger and bigger?
  • Why, under Labour, do we only get a tax cut in election year, when we really needed it years ago?
  • Why are grocery and petrol prices going through the roof?
  • Why can’t our hardworking kids afford to buy their own house?
  • Why is one in five Kiwi kids leaving school with grossly inadequate literacy and numeracy skills?
  • Why, when Labour claim they aspire to be carbon-neutral, do our greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at an alarming rate?
  • Why hasn’t the health system improved when billions of extra dollars have been poured into it?
  • Why is violent crime against innocent New Zealanders continuing to soar and why is Labour unable to do anything about it?

Except for interest rates (which is not controlled by governments – which Dear Leader should have known), none of John Key’s  list above has improved in any measurable manner.

He’s probably forgotten it by now.

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Disclosure

This blogger is not a member of the Labour Party, nor has any preference in who leads that Party.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 23 March 2013.

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