by NZ CATHOLIC staff
AUCKLAND — A demonstration against child poverty is one thing, but ongoing action
is needed marchers heard in Auckland on September 6.
The Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Diocese of Auckland along with Young Vinnies Auckland, various religious and other Catholic agencies walked in solidarity with the Child
Poverty Action Group in a Hikoi to End Child Poverty.
Around 1000 people marched from Britomart up Queen St to Aotea Square to draw attention to the fact that one in four New Zealand children live in poverty, as defined by the Office of the Commissioner of Children.
Demonstrators ranged in age from children under one to grandparents in their 80s.
Cries of “justice and action” were heard and brightly coloured banners spoke of the urgent need to take steps to eliminate poverty.
Justice and Peace Commission chair Shane Coleman said, “Demonstrations such as these are very
important, as they highlight to our political leaders the dire state of the most vulnerable in our community; our children and families”.
“Pope Francis recently said, that we need to say, ‘No to an economy of exclusion’. Every person has the right to live life to the fullest and our children are no exception. Our
politicians need to make significant changes to social and economic policies so our young people have a bright future,” Mr Coleman said.
Candidates from all the main political parties addressed those in Aotea Square. They all promised to make significant changes to the lives of children trapped in the cycle of poverty.
Social Worker and 2012 NZ Community Hero Henare O’Keefe told the crowd “that love is the most
powerful force on the face of this Earth. How do you put that into a KPI?” he said. “There is a poverty of benevolence within the corridors of power.”
Mr O’Keefe challenged the crowd that the hikoi needs to follow with action. “It is of no value unless you make this hikoi a living, breathing entity. Take it home with you,” he said.