Here’s to a New Zealand Where Everyone is Able to Afford Shoes and a Raincoat for Their Kids

No disrespect to KidsCan, but the handing over of the 100,000th raincoat to a school child as they did on July 4th is not a cause for celebration. It is a tragedy. It should have been a national day of mourning.

It means that 100,000 children live in households where there is not enough money to buy such basic items as shoes and raincoats.

Prime Minister John Key and Social Development Minister Paula Bennett should not have joined the ‘celebrations’. The buck stops with them.

In the Great Depression children had to go to school without coats and shoes. But we are not in the Great Depression. There is plenty of money to go around, plenty to make sure that everyone has a liveable income. It is the role of the government to ensure that this is distributed equitably.

The government has all the tools it needs to do this – starting with ensuring that benefits are sufficient to live on. The government could raise the minimum wage to a liveable level. The government could reinstate a proper progressive tax system and where people pay according to their means.

There is no excuse. A New Zealand where everyone can buy their own raincoat and shoes is a very humble goal, not some utopian ideal. Any government that relies on charities to clothe its people has failed. It’s as simple as that.

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