The Dominion Post yesterday published a letter from documentary producer Bryan Bruce, responding to my latest Curmudgeon column. In the interests of fairness I reproduce it here:
Karl du Fresne's column on my Inside Child Poverty documentary contains many errors. He states that its message was "the welfare state has failed our poor ". Wrong.
The message was that the free market economic model fails about 20 per cent of our children. We need a "fair market" economy.
Du Fresne says the solution I propose is more welfare spending. Wrong. I suggested we spend smarter, re-distribute the existing money, spend more on prevention, and spend less on crisis management. I also advocated bypassing parents to get the aid more directly to children, as happens in Sweden.
He says, "Socialists never bother to ask where the money comes from". Wrong again. I asked, "So how are we going to pay for free meals and free health care for children" and supplied five possible sources and solutions within the existing welfare budget.
I don't expect balance in an opinion piece, but I do expect accuracy. Children don't get to choose their parents.
Solving the child poverty problem won't happen through poverty of mind and spirit.
I guess it was a bit much to expect him to apologise to the nation.
I note Mr Bruce does not address the glaring falsehood from the nutty professor who in the face of established facts declared that Labour 'always built up and improved the state housing stock and National always ran it down'.
Also the glaringly obvious basic fact of housekeeping that a bit of ventilation and cleaning can mitigate mould and dampness.
Mr Bruce's response to your column seems quite right. The doco didn't advocate merely throwing more money at the worst off. It advocated these things:
1. Free after hours medical access for children.
2. Medical services available at schools.
3. Free healthy meals at schools.
To pay for these, the main source is to use the money that is going towards curing diseases to be put into these preventative measures. So it would actually save the government money, not cost more.
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