It’s convenient that the Prime Minister is out of the country today, because it’s probably too embarrassing to front up on those child poverty figures released this morning.
They have barely moved during her Government’s term.
Remember all the promises? Remember when Jacinda Ardern said "My goal is to eradicate child poverty in New Zealand"? Remember when she promised to lift 100,000 children out of poverty by 2020
Well, it’s 2020, that is so far from happening… it’s just gutting.
We expect centre-left governments to come and do the best they can for people at the bottom of the heap, because those people are there. We know they’re there. They’re kiwis, like the rest of us, doing it tough.
Some of them because they’re dropkicks. Some of them because they’re in a rough patch. But regardless, it’s the kids that hurt. They’re innocent, they don’t ask for the bad decisions or bad luck of their parents.
And Ardern was going to help them, but she hasn’t. Let me run you through some of what this government has done.
100,000 kids out of poverty, try 18,000, and that’s the generous reading of the figures.
Inequality, that’s got worse. Up to 33.9 on the Gini coefficient index, that’s worse than before the global financial crisis. Rents up to levels never seen before, and that’s partly because Labour drove rents up by giving extra accommodation money to students but none to families so they couldn’t’ compete.
Cost of living is increasing. Petrol taxes up. You know how easy this would’ve been to fix? Put up benefits, or feed kids at school.
Personally, I wouldn’t go for putting up benefit, but this government could’ve because its working group told it to by up 4 per cent. Yesterday, they lifted benefits by three per cent.
Food in schools? That’s my preference. There are 2500-odd schools in this country. This government rolled food in schools out to 31 schools.
I don’t know what this government needs to actually starting helping the people it’s promised to help. It has charities, NGOs, churches, unions, all telling them to get on with it.
Labour’s entire support base is telling them to help people, but they’re not. How can they expect those people to re-elect them or even respect them?
How can the Prime Minister ever say again that she will help the worst off and expect us to believe it?
Today’s figures haven’t just hurt the government’s credibility; they’ve hurt the Prime Ministers.
Good thing she’s not here to face the music.