Child poverty report reminder of need for Bill

The latest report into the impact of poverty on wellbeing of Kiwi children shows why the Government has put children and families at the centre of its programme and will pass an historic Bill to tackle child poverty by the end of the Parliamentary year.

The Children’s Commissioner’s Child Poverty Monitor Review this year focussed on the impact that poverty and low income is having on the wellbeing of Kiwi children.

“Evidence that children in low income families are more likely to get sick, to leave school without a qualification, and to sometimes struggle to get food*, shows why this Government has made the wellbeing of children such a priority,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“By the end of this Parliamentary term, in a few days’ time, New Zealand’s first-ever child poverty reduction Bill will have passed with cross-party support.

“My Government’s goal is to halve child poverty within ten years, taking the rate of poverty and hardship among our children to world-leading low levels. But in order for us to meet our targets, children need us to act now. We have.

“In the past year the Coalition Government has lifted the incomes of more than 384,000 families by $65 a week, on average, now and $75 when the Families’ Package is fully implemented.

“We’ve extended paid parental leave, and introduced the best start payment for every child born in New Zealand, providing $60 a week for up to three years to support every family at the most crucial time in their children’s’ development.

“We’ve made it free for all children under 14 to go to the doctor and pick up a prescription. And we’re making homes healthy for our kids to grow up in, by building thousands of affordable Kiwibuild and state homes, passing laws that guarantee minimum standards for rentals.

“In a country with the resources of New Zealand, we have an opportunity and obligation to make our country the best place in the world to be a child,” Jacinda Ardern said.

*The finding on food insecurity came from a 2015/16 survey.