The government continues to ignore inequality in New Zealand, this week shamefully defeating three bills designed to help those at the lower end of the socio-economic scale, says equality advocacy group Closing the Gap.
The Healthy Homes Bill was intended to ensure that every rental home in New Zealand has a heat source and is insulated. Damp and cold rental homes are a major contributor to health issues which often affect children’s ability to learn. But rather than work for the social good of the community, the government, supported by ACT, chose to save landlords money.
Similarly, two bills designed to put food in schools were voted down. Aimed at providing breakfast and lunch to children in low decile schools, the bills sought to help children perform better at school, hopefully enabling them to break out of poverty.
“It’s time for the government to get its head out of the sand,” says Peter Malcolm of Closing the Gap. “We know there are people in New Zealand who cannot afford to feed their kids every day. We know that there are people living in substandard housing. And we know that the consequences of these social ills are far reaching.
“Earlier this week we had medical research showing us that the overuse of antiobotic ointments is causing resistance to develop. Much fuss was made about the over prescribing of antiobiotics. Why isn’t anyone asking why we need so many anitiobiotics in the first place?
“Clearly inadequate income and poor living conditions contribute to recurrent health problems. Closing the Gap wants the government to stop putting the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff and start preventing social problems by addressing inequality.
“Defeating three bills designed to do just that indicates the governnment has no intention of doing the right thing.”