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September 24, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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Political Porn With Hamish

Problems I have: The Children Are Poor And Mitt Romney Exists

Child Poverty

You probably know the statistics by now. 270,000 New Zealand children are living in poverty. The issue has recently come to the forefront of political attention, following a one-two effort with David Shearer’s school lunches and Jacinda Ardern’s Child Poverty Bill. Only John Banks and Kim Dotcom have been bigger news.

Labour’s education policy is to provide all children in decile one-to-three schools lunch, aimed at improving educational outcomes which are being affected due to low quality or non-existent lunches being received by children. A Campbell Live story following the announcement highlights the gulf in lunch quality a decile 10 student and a decile one student are provided by their parents (bit.ly/ PJcDLZ).

The education policy should only ever be viewed as a short-term solution, not addressing the cause of why these children are in poverty in the first place; it is simply a band-aid solution. Jonathan Boston, from the University’s School of Government and co- Chair of the Child Poverty Expert Advisory Group, notes, in an interview he gave earlier this year (bit.ly/PrJhQp) that a two-step approach is required, one for the short-term and one for the long-term.

The lunches in school is a short-term solution and addresses educational outcomes being diminished due to hungry children but does nothing in rectifying why children are going to school hungry or without a nutritious lunch. It arguably diminishes parental responsibility, with the state playing the role of parents. However, those are two separate issues and one can be solved with a band-aid and one can’t.

Well done to VicLabour for proving me wrong.

In the Children and Young People of Auckland report to Auckland Council in May, Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft said depravation is clearly seen with the most serious of youth offenders from “third generational, permanent underclass.”

Notable reoccurring features were a lack of positive male role models, a history of neglect and abuse, and not engaging in school—the last being a common factor for 70 per cent of youth offenders.

Poverty has many causes. When a lack of positive male role models can be attributed though, it becomes plainly obvious why school lunches can only ever be short-term and why the government is encouraging more male teachers into primary school—they only make up 18 per cent of that workforce presently. Not only would further male teachers address issues regarding youth offending but it would also address boys’ weaker performance in school—something attributed to a lack of male teachers (bit.ly/ AAPkHs).

Romney Gaffe

The infamous secret recording of Mitt Romney talking at a closed door fundraiser has apparently cost him the election—according to writers at Bloomberg (bloom.bg/ OUhgzW), Business Insider (read.bi/Qhm5mV), and Huffington Post (huff.to/OFYAT1). Yet, casting our vision four years back, at this stage in the 2008 election, John McCain was leading in the polls, thanks to the announcement of Sarah Palin as his running mate. McCain, of course, would go on to lose the election, thanks to Sarah Palin.

When America learned a bit more about her, the tide turned and Obama became the 44th President, helped in part by Palin’s shockingly terrible interviews with Katie Couric—so bad, they have their own Wikipedia article (bit.ly/drUGwW).

A week is a long time in politics and there is still six more weeks until the election. Obama is now the clear favourite. His main task then is to avoid making a Romney-esque mistake before November’s first Tuesday.

For Romney, the race is slipping from his grasp. It doesn’t help that his party is divided nor having candidates like Todd “illegitimate rape” Akin in a state that could swing back to the Democrats after McCain won by 4,000 votes in 2008. There’s still time for Romney but the window is closing.

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