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We can guarantee our kids the essentials, reduce the gap between the haves and the have-nots, build a stronger community, and put children at the centre of political decision-making, the Green Party said today on the ‘twelfth day of Christmas’.
“Every child needs a warm, dry, secure home, safe food to grow healthy and strong, quality public education, and a safe environment. If we can guarantee them these essentials, we guarantee their opportunities for life,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.
“We can achieve these things for our kids by putting their interests at the front and centre of our decision-making.”
Every day for the last twelve working days, the Green Party has highlighted issues related to inequality and child wellbeing, and presented Green solutions to those issues.
“We have demonstrated that there are practical, achievable policy solutions that can guarantee our kids the essentials,” Mrs Turei said.
“Christmas is the ideal time to reflect on how well we are doing for our kids. This year, with foodbanks overflowing, child health indicators showing concerning trends, and a Government on the brink of radically overhauling the welfare system, child health and inequality are issues of real concern.
“Several key reports in December show the scale of the challenge, including the Children’s Social Health Monitor, the monitoring report on how well we’re meeting our obligations to disabled people, and the final report of the Alternative Welfare Working Group.
“The Greens have put these issues on the political agenda in 2010. In May we released ‘Mind the Gap’, a package of Budget solutions that would close the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots, and help to guarantee child wellbeing.
“In the months since, inequality and child wellbeing have become topics of political debate and discussion.
“But while other parties have made overtures to child wellbeing, the Greens remain the only political party to have backed up our support for children with costed policy initiatives.”
The Greens’ solutions include:
Building 6,000 new warm, dry state houses in the next three years (creating 28,000 jobs in the process)
Extending Working for Families tax credits to children whose parents rely on a benefit (ending a discriminatory practice introduced by Labour and continued by National)
Making the first $10,000 of income tax-free (offset by the introduction of a comprehensive Capital Gains Tax)
Introducing a progressive pricing system for electricity (bringing down the power bill for thousands of families and creating an incentive to conserve power at the same time).
“These solutions have attracted wide support from the NGO sector, who work with the consequences of growing poverty and inequality every day.
“In 2011 we will continue to advocate for these solutions, keep these issues on the political agenda, and fight for the interests of our kids to take centre stage,” Mrs Turei said.
“In the meantime, I wish for a safe and happy Christmas for every New Zealand child.”