* Average taken from figures from 2008-2009 to 2010-2011 financial years. Source
** Child Poverty Action Group’s estimate of annual cost to provide breakfasts for the poorest 30% of primary and intermediate schools ($18.9 million) Source
Wandering through my Twitter feed, I came across Scott Yorke’s tweet about his latest post at Imperator Fish which contains the chart above.
While I know, like and respect some of the consultants with whom I have worked in my time in New Zealand, these figures only increase my concern about the real costs of the culture of consultation that exists today and raises more questions about who benefits from the same.
Acknowledging that one infographic can never tell the full story and recognising the private sector can spend money however shareholders will allow, I would guess that the true cost/benefit of, and the tangible return on, public sector consultation would be almost impossible to calculate without employing yet more consultants.
On the other hand, the cost of poverty – whether first hand for those in its grasp or the consequential impacts elsewhere in the economy has been diligently recorded in the quarterly Vulnerability Report from The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) since it was first published three years ago. It makes for sobering and occasionally harrowing reading.
As a former public sector social responsibility manager, I know that there are no easy answers to child poverty and the associated health implications or to addressing the cyclic issues that keep families in poverty and debt. As a citizen who immigrated seven years ago to give his own four kids a better start in life, it troubles me that many in this country are unable to do the same and seem to have little hope of ever doing so.
That the government seem to diminish, marginalise, or worse blithely ignore the issue is unconscionable.