Child Poverty in New Zealand

August 16, 2018
August 16, 2018 Admin

Child Poverty in New Zealand

For the past month I’ve had the privilege of traveling around Europe with my mum, sister and brother. I am incredibly grateful to have been able to experience all that I did, and amongst all of the positives, one negative thing that definitely stuck with me was the presence of poverty in areas surrounding world famous tourist sites like the Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum. Seeing Buckingham palace, and how lavish it was emphasised for me exactly how colonisation negatively affected Aotearoa.

Colonisation created poverty by allowing certain people to have absolute economic and social power over an entire population. There are over 40,000 people currently homeless here in Aotearoa, which is 40,000 people too many. A few weeks ago,  I wrote a spoken word piece about child poverty in Aotearoa, which I feel is more relevant now for me than ever.

Editor’s note ‘John Key’ is Aotearoa/New Zealand’s former Prime Minister, ‘King Tuheitia’ is the Maori King appointed by the Tainui tribe in Aotearoa, talk of the ‘flag’ is in relation to a national competition/referendum on a new flag design which ultimately resulted in Aotearoa keeping the status quo, ‘Nikki Kaye’ was a former government minister under John Key,


Picture this,

John Key is holding 75 million dollars in his left hand,

And the death certificates of the 150 children that died from poverty in 2010 in the other,

His heart is plastered to the union jack,

It races as his hands flick through the banknotes,

Like the toy sized bodies that are piling up in our cemeteries,

He has this inherited sense of loyalty,

To a fraudulent monarchy,

It makes him ignore the buzz of his phone,

It’s Kingi Tuheitia,

Who’s ringing for the hundredth time,

He wants to know why the leader of his country,

Salutes the queen of another,

Mr Key presses decline,

Opening up his twitter,

He retweets new flag suggestions,

Kiwi’s with laser beam eyes,

Blazing holes into the hollow stomachs of poor children,

NZ herald clickbait catches his eye,

“Kiwi kids living in poorest areas three times more likely to die”

But he’s roped into the royal families’ latest diet,

What Prince Harry eats for breakfast,

Is more important than what kiwi kids aren’t eating,

He hears a knock on the door,

Putting down his phone, he lifts his chin,

It’s Nikki Kaye,

She’s come to tell him that he should go with the silver fern flag,

You know the one she says,

The one that has a leaf for each headstone that’s being erected with another child’s name on it,

He smiles,

I like the silver fern Ms Kaye,

Except have you seen this one?

It is about the Maori meeting house,

The pae out front where people usually leave their shoes is empty,

Because the kids run around with goosebumps on their feet,

And pneumonia in their lungs,

They laugh at the absurdity,

Scheduling a wine tasting session on Waiheke for the following week,

She stands up to leave,

Her seat is still warm when he asks her about the kids,

She tells him not to worry,

She’s proposing a $160 million dollar bill to make languages compulsory in all schools,

The schools that are littered with empty lunch boxes,

That teach kids with stunted growth from malnutrition,

What a lovely idea,

Mr key praises,

He waves goodbye and reshuffles the papers on his desk,

This time he has the 75 million dollars neatly stacked before him,

The death certificates,

He’s scrunched up in his fists,

He flings them into his rubbish bin,

Playing eenie meenie miney mo with all the flag suggestions,

It’s making him tired,

His apple watch tells him that it’s home time,

He kisses the sovereignty goodnight,

As another child closes their eyes for the last time.