Tag Archives: National Party

Let Them Eat Cake

Who is David Wales, and what does he know about school uniforms? Well his official titles are acting head of sector enablement and support for the Ministry of Education as well as head of Special Education.

Wales in a recent New Zealand Herald article about the costs of school uniforms http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11793406  said that it was up to parents to make informed choices when deciding which school to send their children to, he went on to say that “Parents should ask about the expectations and likely cost of school uniforms before they enrol their children.” Continue reading

Howling At The Moon

I am so glad I don’t live like blanket man did, that is the extreme end of homelessness, I am part of the vision of the national Governments property owning democracy, Continue reading

What price integrity? Four dollars today at Pak n Save

Today in New Zealand we had a budget delivered, with great fanfare John Key announced his massive attack on poverty.  A huge 25.00 per week for single parents and low income families.  In this case a low income family is counted as someone who is earning less than 17.50 or so per hour for a 40 hour week.  In my town that won’t even pay for one of my children to visit the doctor, it would take 10 extra weeks to gather enough to pay for a couple of fillings, it might pay for one child’s school uniform and fees for the year, how is that going to impact on child poverty? In the mean time the rent will have risen and taken care of the 25.00, school fees will have risen because the rise in the general grant will only be 1% this year, not even the rate of inflation.

I had a stark reminder of the face of child poverty tonight.  I was shopping at a supermarket and the guy in front of me was making a single purchase, a can of infant formula.  He had a worried expression on his face and ran his fingers through his change seeming to count it, he placed the tin on the counter and said how much is that?  17:99 said the checkout operator, I’ll have to come back he said, the operator shot a glance at me and I at him, we both knew he wasn’t coming back, the look of desperation and sadness on his face told me everything I needed to know, it was like I could see the wheels moving in his head, where can I find $4:00,

It was cold and wet outside, his clothes looked inadequate for the weather, they had clearly seen better days and his feet were blue from the cold, rubber Jandals were what he was wearing.  Ill pay the balance I found myself saying, “what was that he said, I’ll make up the difference, he said” no mate I can’t accept that”, I said it’s not for you.  Been there done that I said to make him feel better, not quite true I have been broke before but always enough food in our house.  He handed over the $14:00 he had and I paid the rest, he turned to me tears in his eyes and said you don’t know what this means, I think I did, he turned and left and I was filled with regret.  Four miserable dollars, I should have paid for the lot, invariably I will have the same amount of money at the end of the week.

The checkout operator said it was the hardest part of her job watching as people put things back as they didn’t have enough to pay, and she said it’s not tobacco and alcohol going back it is food, bread butter.  She said it is hard, she feels the tears welling up and there is nothing she can do, she is not allowed to.  She said it was the first time she had seen somebody do something about it like I had, she said I was a good man.  Well you know what I think about that moniker, from some of my posts (https://kiwipaulspoetry.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/if-someone-tells-me-i-am-a-good-man-one-more-time/) a good man, like heck I am.  I couldn’t stop and tell her why I wasn’t a good man, I just thanked her and left.

I am not telling this story because I want people to know that I am a kind man, I am relaying the story to show the face of poverty.  For me the decision to pay for the balance was easy. It is about retaining my integrity, looking myself in the mirror, if I thought that by my lack of compassion a baby was going to miss out on food then that is just too bloody awful to contemplate.  I don’t care if he smoked or drank, although there was no evidence of the above and if he had put formula back on the shelf and bought tobacco or alcohol I would have given him the edge of my tongue. Judgemental? Absolutely.  So an easy decision to make.

The question is how do I make it right for the children living in cold, damp overcrowded houses, the children who don’t get to the doctor, the children who just don’t eat right. How do I make it right for the pensioner shivering in the cold because they are scared of the next big power bill?  How do I make that right, it is just as unacceptable…

I intend to write on this over the next few weeks (as usual with a few distractions) tonight I am grateful for friends, family, warmth and love.

Paul

The Buck Stops here…

I watched a lengthy interview of Paul Keating the other day.  It traversed his time in politics with Bob HawkeInline images 1  Keating and Hawke are  both ex Prime Ministers of Australia, with Keating serving as Treasurer to Hawke.  The interview was candid and interesting, there was one thing that I found refreshing.

Australia had a recession, not as bad as New Zealand’s and the economic medicine that was prescribed was not as nasty as ours.  The neo-liberals did not reign supreme over there.  Some of this is due to the fact that there was a minerals boom in Australia that set a whole lot of other economic indicators in place, however they did have a recession.

In life and in politics it is very rare to hear people take responsibility for their actions, however it is both liberating and honourable to do so, all care and no responsibility seems to be the catch cry of many politicians and CEO’s. John Banks was on TV acclaiming his acquittal of electoral fraud charges as innocence, what a crock of the proverbial.  A man who cannot remember a helicopter ride to the mansion of Kim Dotcom is hardly reliable. The defence of accepting someone else doing the paper work is disingenuous and morally bankrupt.  More so because Banksie campaigns on morals and presents himself as above reproach.  Banks made a fatal mistake, he forgot the cardinal rule and that is the piper has to be paid.  When Mr Dotcom was languishing at the courtesy of her majesty on remand, he needed a kindness.  Banks ran like a scalded cat, the rest they say is history.  But enough of how he got into the situation it is how he got out of it.

I don’t like Banks or his politics, just to put it out there and I was not unpleased to see his grubby little arrangement become undone.  However if he had smply come out and said I stuffed up, I got it wrong, I should have checked it is not good enough, I would have supported him.  I would have had no choice because he would have been practicing what I preach. I would have supported him staying in Parliament and supported a discharge without conviction, because in doing so he would have been setting the right example.  In doing so he would have provided the best defence and shut up the critics baying for blood, and set the example.

Back to Keating, you see Paul Keating said that in the end, no matter the outside influences, the policies etc he was  Treasurer Minister of Finance when the recession struck and he was responsible. I don’t remember what he said at the time  and revisionist judgements are not the best but he said it was my responsibility it happened on my watch, end of the story.

Contrast this to our present day pollies, they will do anything to avoid taking responsibility.  The trouble with politics is that it is turned into a giant game of gotcha, which is driven by vested interests.  Health housing, welfare education, all the same.  We in New Zealand have tried to run with a budget approach to these things which are driven by the ideology of low tax and the neo-liberal mantra of privatisation and the nonsense of competition and market forces, which are euphemisms for corporatisation and the shifting of wealth from the bottom to the top.  We cannot have world class education and low taxes, the same with health and even housing but nobody wants to tell the truth because that is the equivalent of a bucket of cold sick for breakfast so what do we get.

What we get is secondary taxation in the form of health insurance, ever rising school fees, and the commodification of basic housing just a tip of the iceberg.  Those who cannot are cast onto the heap essentially, this is a short sighted approach that is costing us all dearly financially and in real terms.  It is reflected in crime, abuse and many other negative social indicators, it is reflected in children living in poverty, short of food, clothes and above all else love and affection.  It starts in my opinion in a very basic place and the answers begin in solving that.  It is not solved by increasing benefits, more money spent on health and education the solution lies in housing, in my next blog I will explain why, as to Banks, Key, Little, Dot Com et al, learn to take responsibility and be accountable.

Paul

Equal Under The Law (The Motto of Graham McCready)

Son of an alcoholic, a recovering alcoholic, perennial battler for justice, love him or hate him, if you read about his life you should respect him, Continue reading

The Non Housing Crisis

In my last post I talked about an Australian company attempting to impose sweat shop type activities in New Zealand, conditions that would not be tolerated in Australia, Continue reading

Cotton On wants sweat shops in New Zealand as well as overseas.

I have been looking for a long time, scouring the shelves, watching out on face book, hearing stories, and facing disappointment on a regular basis.  I had begun to doubt my sanity, surely I must have found it by now.  This elusive treasure that I have been seeking is Continue reading