Dr Sue Bradford is a lifelong community and political activist. Much of her work has been with unemployed workers’ and beneficiaries organisations in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as with Auckland Action Against Poverty 2010 – 2016. She was a Green MP for 10 years (1999 – 2009), after which she completed a PhD in public policy at AUT (2014). She currently works for Kōtare Research & Education for Social Change in Aotearoa.
Poverty discourses and racial justice
Societal knowledge of poverty is often shaped by what we hear from politicians, what we read in the news and what we see on TV. These depictions tend to show particular groups as the ‘face of the poor’ with little recourse to proportional accuracy. This skew of representation increases stigmatisation of the poor, making punitive attitudes towards them more likely and precluding effective interventions that may address the causes of poverty. Māori often bear the brunt of this racialisation, deepening the negative impacts on individuals and whānau. In this ‘fireside chat’ Dr Rose Black hosts a conversation with Dr Belinda Borell and Dr Sue Bradford, considering the dangers posed by racist tropes in discourses around poverty and inviting an exploration of the inherent complexities and ambiguities surrounding the issue.