Child poverty in New Zealand

I realise this problem is not limited to this country.

One of this morning’s news articles…

Desperate kids scavenging for food – GP

Published: 6:41AM Friday May 11, 2012 Source: Fairfax

Stories of children scavenging through pig slops and downing entire bottles of antibiotics out of hunger are an “embarrassment to the country” says a Kaitaia GP.

Doctor Lance O’Sullivan said he had been doing what he could to fight the effects of child-poverty in his region but it sometimes felt like an uphill battle.  “I’d like to say they were just stories, but they are both cases that have been brought to my attention and one I actually attended on.”  Dr Lance O’Sullivan said for things to change, “people actually needed to hear about this”.

He said he was recently told by the concerned owner of a local garage that children were ferreting through a staff-room pig bucket of scraps looking for food, and about six months ago treated a young child who drank an entire bottle of antibiotics because they were hungry.  The family was so poor they were unable to pay for the petrol to get the child to the doctor, so Dr O’Sullivan made a free-of-charge house-call.

“When I got there and opened their fridge to look at the medication it was immediately clear why the child did it. There was nothing there apart from some milk, a little bit of butter and about five or six full bottles of medication.”

Dr O’Sullivan said an additional $12 million the government was funding toward the prevention of rheumatic fever was a welcome move, but that was only one symptom of the poverty children were facing.  “If children are that deprived of food it’s going to severely affect their ability to function, their ability to learn, which will have a downturn affect on their ability to gain employment further down the line.

My thought:  Maybe those elected into power and those who have excess wealth could spare a little of what they do not need, if they have the means, if their personal situation allows, as a show of solidarity?  It can only be good for their soul amongst other things.

Related article

  • Shock look at NZ’s child poverty;  21st Nov 2011;  Click here

An entity helping to deal with the problem…

Much love,


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