Child poverty doco 'apolitical' - filmmaker

  • Breaking
  • 23/11/2011

By Ally Mullord

The Electoral Commission has confirmed it received one complaint about the TV3 documentary Inside Child Poverty screened last night.

The commission were unable to say who the complaint was from or its substance.

The documentary looked at child poverty in New Zealand and made the case that free market philosophies had contributed to the country’s relatively poor standing in the OECD on this issue.

Inside Child Poverty drew a strong response from online commentators – the video, which screened last night, has been ‘liked’ over 4,000 times on Facebook.

Watch Inside Child Poverty on demand

However, some viewers said the documentary favours Labour’s social policies and shouldn’t have been screened so close to the election – one commenter on TV3’s Facebook page called the programme a “blatant advertisement for the parties of the left”.

Filmmaker Bryan Bruce says Inside Child Poverty was intended to be apolitical and he’s “not interested in answering anonymous people”.

“If you look at the documentary carefully… I talk about 30 years of decisions by politicians,” he says. “It doesn’t support a particular party."

Labour leader Phil Goff told Firstline this morning that his party’s policies are “almost a blueprint” of the changes Mr Bruce calls for in Inside Child Poverty.

Poor housing was one issue the documentary highlighted; cramped conditions and poor insulation contribute to the country’s high rate of preventable childhood diseases, including rheumatic fever and skin infections.

Mr Goff says “it should be a condition of rental housing that the house is adequately insulated… beginning with state housing” and Labour will address this.

The disease rate would also be lowered with better access to healthcare for low-income households and more medical professionals in schools – and Mr Goff says Labour wants to ensure 24-hour access to free healthcare for under-sixes.

“We’ve got to make sure that every one of our children has a right to healthcare automatically, without the income of their parent depending on the quality of that care.”

However, Mr Bruce says many of the documentary’s recommendations “have nothing to do with the Labour party at all”.

“There are a lot of policies in there – getting aid directly to children, not through their parents, that’s not a Labour party policy." 

The Greens and Mana have also responded to the documentary; both say New Zealand’s current child poverty rates are a result of former Labour and National Governments.

Green party co-leader Metiria Turei says National “will make inequality and poverty worse”, especially welfare reforms, which may mean children are left in “potentially unsafe situations” when their mothers return to work.

Ms Turei says the Greens’ policies to address child poverty would include introducing minimum standards for rental properties and extending Working For Families tax credits, and cost $360 million a year for the next three years.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira says New Zealanders should be “horrified and embarrassed” by the documentary’s content, and neither Labour nor National have policies to address child poverty.

What political parties do with the information inside the documentary is up to them, Mr Bruce says.

"I tried to make a credible, apolitical documentary... if a party want to claim it, that's a matter for them." 

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source: newshub archive