How are we actually going to heal NZ? Refund night schools, free school food, 4 year terms & tax Facebook/Google

I don’t think we appreciate yet how damaged we’ve all been because of the unique universal experience of the Covid lockdown.

It has distorted us, twisted us, damaged us all in very idiosyncratic ways. It has exposed not only the material impacts of poverty and inequality, it has also exposed the brittleness of our collective social contract from those already on the fringes of our society.

We need an urgent injection of money into welfare infrastructure or risk allowing the isolation to rot our shared concept of reality to a point that makes our country ungovernable.

Here are 4 silver bullets.

Refund night schools – One of the worst things Key did when he entered Office was destroy Helen Clark’s night school budgets. Sure that Italian Cooking class wasn’t generating Chefs, but the free night school classes allowed lonely disconnected people to have a social life. It allowed Schools to be used as community hubs and if well designed could become social health hubs and distribution points for community health outreach. We urgently need our people to have places where they can mix and mingle and engage because isolation sends them down fucking rabbit holes.

Free school breakfasts and lunches – Our truancy rate is going to cause a tumour of social cancer that will stunt this nations development. Feed all the kids in every school free Breakfasts and Lunches so that young peoples first experience of the State is kindness and not shit. Nothing will attract students from vulnerable communities like knowledge of Breakfast and Lunch. This policy would do more to put money back into the pockets of the poorest than any other single policy and lift educational achievements. Hungry kids don’t learn!

4 year terms – Government is hopelessly compromised by the shortness of our electoral terms, give them an extra year to get the structural stuff done.

Tax Facebook/Google – Use the people causing the disinformation to pay for the journalism to correct them! State funded journalism has the reek of bias, a journalism fund funded by ring fenced tax from the media industry is a solution to counter the mad extremism being grown by social media hate algorithms. Treasury doesn’t want to ring fence the tax, Grant should step in and tell them otherwise.

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Refund the social infrastructure of night schools to give communities spaces to interact with one another. Bring free nutritious food into every school to bring back truant students and keep the ones schools already have well fed. Give Government longer to fix the deep problems we have and tax the disinformation corporations to fund the journalism that brings people out from the rabbit holes.

If we don’t actively plan and fund ways to heal, the only options are a vast expansion of the surveillance state and criminalisation of free speech.

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