English out of touch on poverty

Finance Minister Bill English’s suggestion that poor families in New Zealand are better off than those in other developed countries shows how disconnected he is from the reality in his own country, the Green Party said today.

“Bill English’s comments show he’s in denial about what we’re actually seeing in our communities, which is food banks with empty shelves and more people begging on the streets,” Green Party social development spokesperson Jan Logie said.

“When people are working hard and still can’t afford to pay the rent or put food on the table, it’s clear the economy is broken.

“Things might be different in the Koru Lounge, but the reality is that while National’s been in charge, New Zealand has become a country where it’s increasingly common for families to be forced to live in their cars and kids to go to school hungry.

“It doesn’t have to be like this. The Government could and should be building more houses for lower-income people to live in, but it’s choosing not to.

“We have 42,000 hospital admissions every year for kids whose cold, damp, often overcrowded houses are making them sick – and the Government could have chosen to fix this long ago.

“Bill English’s suggestion that he’s doing everything he can short of ‘confiscating people’s assets’ is a bizarre response that shows his Government has run out of ideas.

“We need a government with the ideas to fix the broken economy, like extending tax credits to all families, ending underinvestment in education and healthcare, and encouraging job creation by shifting investment out of property bubbles and into productive businesses,” Ms Logie said.

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