Monday, 8 August 2011
at 11:21 am by Julie
I get really fed up with the narrative that seems to go with child poverty, as exhibited by the number of kids going to school without breakfast, that seeks to blame the parents. When food is short in a household often mum is the first to cut her rations. This is not a situation where there are gluttonous parents hoovering up all the food and not caring that their kids are hungry. It is a situation where there are families in our society who cannot afford to buy food. By framing it as the former we can Otherize it - it's Their fault, they are not like me/us, and it's therefore Someone Else's Problem. To accept it's actually the latter I guess we may need to step up and recognise that our society is something that we can have some say over - we make choices, particularly political choices, that have consequences for others. To change society is daunting, but shouldn't the systems we live in serve rather than hinder?
Observation the Second - There are not enough jobs
There's been multi-purpose whining about how the youth unemployment rate is a direct result of the abolition of youth rates. Employers are supposedly giving jobs to older people instead of youf because they can't get away with paying less than the adult minimum wage for young workers. Older people are competing for places that traditionally went to the young uns because they are losing their own jobs, or their financial situations have changed resulting in the need for second and third incomes. I really noticed over the weekend the high number of shops shutting, empty commercial spaces for lease, and a large number of retail sales that looked like the immediate precursor to closing down (shelves emptying out, no new stock coming in, quite big discounts on everything). I also spotted a lot of older workers in the kind of retail jobs that used to be predominantly filled by those in their teens or early twenties. The layoffs, public and private, don't seem to be getting much media but they are real, and it's definitely a buyer's labour market at the moment.
Observation the Third - A lot of people are moving to Australia for better prospects
In the 90s most of my friends were people I met through university, where we were studying together, and so hardly anyone I knew shifted to Australia. Then in the 00s a lot of my peers did the OE thing, and some have not come back, but very very few actively moved across the Tasman as a result of a failure to find work here. Lately week after week I feel I'm hearing of a new acquaintance, relative or friend who is making the shift. Then there was the woman on Nat Rad from Christchurch last week who sounded very bitter about the lack of support for her family to stay.
What is this Government actually doing about job creation? Whatever happened to whatever mysterious wondrousness came out of the Jobs Summit? The Market is not providing; for kids, for their parents, for young, for old, for inbetween. When do we start asking questions about the system we live in, not the individuals caught in it?