The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern entered parliament vowing to reduce child poverty. She even made herself Minister of Child Poverty Reduction. A popular call.
But the PM is in trouble. Her halo is slipping. The country has turned on her covid response and increasingly mistrusts her motives.
So yesterday she went back to basics and promised more money for the poor children: increased Family Tax Credits and Best Start payments.
This mirrors the US where Biden has increased child benefits against a great deal of evidenced opposition.
A typical critic says:
While money can help in the short run, the truth is that no country ever got out of poverty because of income redistribution (a point economist Thomas Sowell took great pains to demonstrate in his work). If such ‘redistribution’ could deliver such a happy outcome, the U.S. should have no child poverty at all. ~ Veronique de Rugy
The thrust of US opposition is that more 'free' money into poor families with children reduces work effort. That effort could run the gamut of none-at-all to less. But workless families and children don't mix well when risks of health, education, and safety outcomes are weighed up.
Since Labour took office the number of children dependent on a benefit has risen by 21 percent or 36,000.
It's a dereliction of duty to simply keep upping benefit incomes with no thought to how children in workless families fare. Many are at the bottom of the heap and will face lifelong struggles. How do parents with no work responsibilities integrate their children into that world?
But the PM is hostage to her promises and hellbent on delivering measurable income increases unrelated to work effort, while simultaneously and steadfastedly ignoring the unwanted side effects.
Lindsay Mitchell is a welfare commentator who blogs HERE.