Ardern created a new ministerial position in 2017 and awarder herself this ministerial job. The official title is, “Minister for child poverty reduction.” So dedicated to this job, in her maiden speech, she was quick to launch into her passion about reducing child poverty. She also showed that she knew that, just by lifting peoples income a fraction, does not necessarily pull people out of poverty.
Here is an excerpt
Labour lifted 130,000 children out of poverty through Working for Families, but that does not mean that many do not remain there still
She also went on to claim
we have a responsibility to continue the momentum of the previous Labour Government and to finally rid ourselves of poverty in Aotearoa New Zealand. This is our collective challenge.
These words were spoken in December 2008 as the Clarke Government was replaced by Keys government.
Interestingly Ardern also said the following important piece of info at the beginning of her maiden speech.
Maiden statements are a bit like words spoken in a heated argument; like it or not, they will come back to haunt one. Today I will share with members the words that I wish to haunt me: my values and beliefs, and the things that have brought me here. I do so in the hope that should I ever abandon them, I will have the good grace to leave.
The last sentence is the key line, and why Ardern goes so easy on the indiscretions of her team. If she was to hold herself to the same standards she would be required to figuratively “fall on her sword”
Let’s look at why.
Firstly, the fact is that in Keys first term, he created the first measurement of child poverty to see how they were tracking. One of the subtle differences between National and Labour is National focus heavily on data. If you measure something then you know how you are tracking.
Labour remove many of these measuring systems and prefer to fly blind, but one of the measures that remains is the Child poverty indicators.
There are 9 of them and out of those 9, 7 are purely a statistic of relative income. A simple way of judging what percentage of the average income are the poverty stricken families on. This is how labour were able to say they brought 130,000 children out of poverty, because their income went from below 50% of the average wage to above 50% a flick of a pen brought them out of poverty.
The above is purely a simple accounting trick, increase the amount everyone on a benefit receives by $25 to $100 per week and suddenly 130,000 are no longer living in poverty. Oh but they are. But this shifts a chunk of people into a different column in the ledger and job done.
Fortunately, 2 of the measures are tangible, they are called material hardship. These measure the actual reality of living in poverty. They measure things like children having more than 1 pair of shoes, whether they are eating healthy meals etc. Actual results of poverty.
Whilst on the election campaign Ardern made a big point that she had improved 7 out of the 9 indicators of child poverty. This one statement, when I saw her make it in a debate with Judith Collins made me spit out my beer in disgust. And it was a nice craft beer too.
How disingenuous can one be when they made such a point of being held to account about their results.
The fact is the material hardship indicators have worsened under her watch. As Minister of child poverty reduction, she saw children’s material hardship worsen, and then she obfuscated that the indicators meant she had improved their lives.
This is bad but this week we see it is even worse.
The Child poverty action group has stated
Child advocates are dismayed by the lack of progress in welfare reform since government-appointed experts recommended a complete overhaul nearly two years ago.
The child poverty reduction group made 42 key recommendations and 126 detailed recommendations to the government as to what to do. I assume Ardern, as Child Poverty Reduction Minister, was aware of their plethora of recommendations.
So what happened to these recommendations?
Out of the 42 key recommendations 23 have no ecidence of being implemented, 17 have been minimally implemented and 7 partially implemented and none have been fully implemented.
Out of the 123 detailed recommendations, 107 havent been implemented, 6 have been minimally implemented, 9 have been partially implemented and 4 have been fully implemented.
This is why she does not hold many to account in her own cabinet, if she was to be held to the same account she should sail off into the sunset. We all know that wont happen.
The fact that she made herself the minister to reduce poverty, made thing worse, lied about it and failed to implement more than 3% of the child poverty measures that the action group recommended is why I can not take this woman seriously.
I have written to Ardern regarding homelessness issues that has affected my household and it is infuriating that she is so keen to bring in more refugees etc when the emergency housing list continues to grow.
the graph below is the rise of people waiting for a home in NZ