"The Government's new 'Ministry for Vulnerable Children - Oranga Tamariki'' will only scratch the tip of the iceberg when it comes to helping at-risk families and children - just like the Titanic did before it sank", says The Opportunities Party leader Gareth Morgan.
"It's great that National acknowledge we have a huge issue with the situation so many children are in - but slapping a new, stigmatising name on the front door, going through a whole costly reappointment process, and being happy to label these children for life, just isn’t clever. This latest move to even more extreme targeting is really about intensifying discrimination”.
There will always be some truly dysfunctional families the State has to work with, but at the moment the majority of families they deal with are simply struggling with the stress of poverty. These families want the best for their kids but are worn down by the endless grind of low incomes and spiralling rents.
"What's needed is a broader systemic change which deals with family poverty, addresses it before the stress of that situation drives families into the terrible situation of mental illness, violence, crime etc. The Opportunities Party’s Unconditional Basic Income package is all about doing just that”
"The UBI works by improving the way we do social welfare. It will directly benefit the children and families who've been left behind by our economy. Four ways that we shall achieve this are by:
1) A two hundred dollar per week payment to families who have children under 3 (or 6 in the case of adoption or fostering), in place of existing paid parental leave provisions;
2) An additional seventy two dollars per week to low income families who have children under 17, in place of existing in-work tax-credits like Working For Families;
3) Free full-time childcare for low-income families with children aged between one and three, where the parents are in paid work;"
4) Free full time high quality early childhood education for all from the age of 3-5
"We've worked out the cost of all this - and in concert with some of our other proposed changes, it's fiscally neutral. That means that we can afford to do all of this with no additional cost to the taxpayer."
"But more importantly, we've done the research and we know that the best way to help out children at risk is by attacking the root of the problem. This means focusing on the economic inequality and deprivation which leads directly to much of the abuse and neglect that too many of our kiwi kids suffer."
"Our UBI policy is ‘top of the cliff’ prevention; it avoids the 'poverty trap' problem of the way the Establishment political parties do welfare. Parents won't be penalized for seeking employment, children will be supported, and stay-at-home caregivers will be recognized and rewarded for their efforts. "
"This contrasts with the way things are currently, wherein many families on lower incomes are effectively 'working poor' who wind up facing an agonizing choice between working extra hours for the vitally needed income just in order to scrape by, and actually spending time raising their children. That awful decision arises because government assistance is inadequate due to the gap between tax credits and welfare entitlements."
“Families need cash now, not endless reshuffles of the Titanic's deck-chairs with ever-changing names of a government agency that is spiraling into deeper and more sinister targeting and labeling of victims of failed social policy. How does a family buy a bottle of milk from the supermarket just because the Ministry has a new name and set of hurdles for families to leap?”
"These governments of Establishment political parties have created a society that's far richer now, yet which paradoxically has far more families left behind and below the bread line. They dress this up by talking up how much they care about 'child poverty' - but what they're not telling you is that the issues are systemic. That it's "family poverty", rather than just "child poverty" which we need to solve."
"No other party is putting forward this sort of solution; for some reason they're far more interested in maintaining the 'ambulance at the bottom of the cliff' status quo rather than making truly meaningful changes."
"Ask yourself: if it were your family at risk, would you want assistance before things had become so bad ... or only once your children had already become another New Zealand statistic because none of the politicians understood the term “prevention”."
"By supporting The Opportunities Party (TOP) in this year's election, you're helping to deliver a serious shakeup that WILL help tens of thousands of New Zealanders who are presently missing out on being given a fair go."
For more information on this policy, please visit http://www.top.org.nz/top7