Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party
John Key’s admission that he has broken his 2008 pre-election promise to help those he labelled the “underclass” is a warning that his word cannot be trusted, says Labour’s Social Policy Spokesperson Annette King.Key breaks his promise to help the “underclass”
John Key’s admission that he has broken his 2008 pre-election promise to help those he labelled the “underclass” is a warning that his word cannot be trusted, says Labour’s Social Policy Spokesperson Annette King.
“John Key came to power on the back of some big promises. He said he’d tackle the growing underclass, make them a ‘policy priority’ and take seriously his duty to ‘protect our most vulnerable citizens’.
“Now – just 40 days out from the election – he’s had a road to Damascus moment where he accepts he has failed and that the underclass has grown under his watch.
“When I told him Kiwi families were hurting – he said it was all about ‘lifestyle choices’. When I told him the food banks I’ve been visiting for the past three years are helping more families than ever, he scoffed at me.
“Now he accepts that’s a fact. But at the same time, his own Social Development Minister is slashing the number of food grants available to needy people by 20%, according to figures in the NZ Herald today.
“It’s about time National accepted the harsh reality facing many New Zealanders.
“There are up to 270,000 children living in poverty – half of them are from working families.
“It costs more to go to the doctor. An extra 5000 children have been admitted to hospital over the last three years with conditions like skin infections and respiratory illnesses.
“Parents are paying up to an extra $45 a week for early childhood education Rent, power, petrol and milk prices are also up under National.
“The median household income has fallen by $80 a week after inflation. Prices have increased by 5.3% over the past year – more than twice the rate of wages and salaries at 1.9%.
“The chief executives of our biggest 47 companies received pay rises averaging 14% last year – but John Key continues to claim that the gap between the rich and poor in New Zealand is not growing.”
“There are now 60,000 more beneficiaries and 49,000 more Kiwis out of work under National. Yet John Key has no plan for job creation or lifting incomes. Labour does. Labour will create a strong economy that provides opportunities for all New Zealanders so they can look forward to a prosperous future.