Kia ora koutou katoa,
This is final email update to you for 2011 on the Closer Together Whakatata Mai- reducing inequalities information programme. We will be back in touch early in the New Year and we wish you a Christmas season full of a generous spirit of hope, peace and love.
A Majority in Parliament to Support Reducing Inequality!!
With the final results from the election confirmed on 10th December, we can now say there is a narrow majority of political parties represented in Parliament that have a commitment to reduce income inequality. In total there are six parties with a total 61 seats out of 121 that are held by parties that have shown support for reducing inequality. Candidates from the Greens, Labour, Māori, NZ First, Mana and United Future all made some form of commitment in the lead up to the election.
In total 63 political candidates from 7 parties signed up to the Politicians Choice to reduce income inequality (http://www.closertogether.org.nz/home/politicans-choice/ ). In addition t he leaders of six political parties pledged support for reducing income inequality. Five of those parties were elected to Parliament: Greens, Labour, NZ First, Maori, & United Future. While Mana leader Hone Harawira did not give a formal pledge before the election, there was strong support from Mana Party candidates. Of the candidates who pledged we are pleased to report that 28 were elected to Parliament. Congratulations to you all and we look forward to supporting you to put into action your pledge to reduce inequality.
“The significant level of income inequality between groups of New Zealanders is well established. Persistent inequalities are compounded for Maori and Pasifika populations; and are particularly entrenched in an unacceptable incidence of hardship amongst children. Our biggest concern is that income inequality leads to the intensification of a whole range of social issues making solutions even more complex.
We believe the moral test of a society is not whether we add more wealth to those who are well off; but whether we provide enough for those who have too little. Our focus is on restoring our own ability to care for ourselves – in essence this is the strength of Whānau Ora, supporting our families to do for themselves.”
“I very much support your call for more detailed debate around the possible ways to reduce poverty and income inequality. United Future is committed to policies which support families and boost all New Zealanders’ standard of living by creating jobs, encouraging savings and investment and other wealth-creating initiatives.”
The new Parliament convenes this week and NZCCSS will be in contact with all the MPs and parties that have made commitments to offer our encouragement and support for any moves to put that commitment into action. The Māori Party obtained a commitment to a Ministerial Committee on Poverty as part of their confidence and supply agreement with National. Income inequality plays a huge role in addressing poverty and we expect that Committee to respond to the inequality issues as part of its work.
On 7th December the release of the OECD report “Divided We Stand” set of a huge amount of media interest: TVNZ Breakfast TV , TV3 as well as National Radio and NewsTalkZB. This report from the widely internationally respected agency is a “wake-up call” and you can access some of the information and data at the OECD website.
Closer Together Whakatata Mai Choice – Sign Ups
We end 2011 with 1569 people signed up to the Closer Together Whakatata Mai – reducing inequality choice. We will continue to collect sign-ups in 2012, it is an important and tangible way of showing your support and for networking with others who are concerned about inequality. So please continue to promote the Choice in your networks. Keep in touch and invite your friends and contacts to subscribe to Closer Together Whakatata Mai on Facebook and Twitter, as we use those networks for updates and information, as well as our Blog on http://www.closertogether.org.nz/blog/.
Nettie Holm Team Leader Te Whanau Putahi in Hamilton, Kim Workman, Director Rethinking Crime & Punishment, and Father Rob Devlin, Catholic Social Services, Wellington have all become Champions for Closer Together Whakatata Mai. Their statements are up on the website and in the latest Kete Kupu December newsletter.
Thank you for your support over the past six months that has been part of the worldwide movement to reduce the inequalities that harm us all. We will be taking a break over the Christmas period and will be back online mid-January. During 2012 we will continue to build the momentum for change and we hope to work with you to do this.
Ngā mihi o te wā me te Tau Hou,
Paul, Jo and all the team at NZCCSS