Budget lifts up to 14,000 children out of poverty

Social Development and Employment
  • Child Support rules to be reformed lifting an estimated 6,000 to 14,000 children out of poverty
  • Support for immediate and essential dental care lifted from $300 to $1,000 per year
  • Increased income levels for hardship assistance to extend eligibility

Budget 2022 takes further action to reduce child poverty and make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child.

“For decades beneficiary sole parents have been denied money that is rightfully theirs by an outdated rule that has seen the Crown retain their Child Support payments.

“Amending the rules and treating Child Support paid to sole-parent beneficiaries as income, will lift an estimated 6,000 to 14,000 children out of poverty using the before housing costs (BHC50) measure. It is also anticipated it will encourage more parents to pay Child Support as they know it will go directly to their children.

“This policy is in addition to the range of measures implemented since taking office that have lifted 66,500 children out of poverty and seen reduction in child poverty across all nine measures used,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“This initiative means that Child Support payments for sole-parent beneficiaries will be passed on directly and charged as income for benefit purposes, as they are for most other beneficiaries raising tamariki. It is estimated that 41,550 sole-parent families will be better off, with a median gain of $24 per week,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“This will be the first time in New Zealand’s history that children of sole parents on a benefit will receive their full Child Support payments.

“Fixing this policy isn’t easy, and we will be introducing legislation amending this set of laws by the end of the year, with the change intended to come into effect from 1 July 2023.

“Budget 2022 also increases Dental Grants for low-income families from $300 to $1000. Increasing Dental Grants was a manifesto commitment and today we are delivering on our promise. Many low-income New Zealanders find it difficult to afford immediate and essential dental care, and increasing the level of the grant will ensure more people can receive the urgent help they need.

“Low-income people who are eligible will see the amount available more than trebled, and the dental work no longer needs to be for emergencies only.                            

“Alongside this, late last year the Government announced we would be making hardship assistance such as food grants, dental grants and recoverable assistance payments available to more New Zealanders. Budget 2022 locks in this change and makes it permanent.

“Budget 2022 is further proof of our ongoing commitment to lifting children out of poverty and supporting our community sector,” Carmel Sepuloni said.