Government’s landmark Child Poverty Reduction Bill wins National’s backing
The Government’s Child Poverty Reduction Bill has been reported back to the House with unanimous support from the Social Service and Community Select Committee, and will now be supported by the National Party, Prime Minister and Child Poverty Reduction Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.
The Committee received 632 submissions on the Bill, with the bulk of the feedback overwhelmingly positive. Submissions reflected the game-changing nature of this legislation, describing it as ‘historic’, ‘landmark’ and ‘with the potential to transform the lives and wellbeing of our children’.
Submitters have helped to strengthen the Bill in a number of areas, including:
- Making clear the Child Wellbeing Strategy is intended to assist New Zealand in meeting its international obligations relating to children, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- Explicitly requiring child poverty reporting to report on particular population groups of interest, including Māori.
“I want to thank all the individuals and groups for their passionate and thoughtful contributions on the Bill. They have been extremely valuable in helping to strengthen this legislation,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“These are important enhancements to the Bill. The Committee’s findings show the overall framework of the Bill is sound, and the fundamental approach is the right one. Public consultation has made the Bill even stronger.”
Ms Ardern says some changes were made in response to matters raised by the National Party that have ensured the Bill will now proceed with the bi-partisan support of both major parties. National’s changes were:
- Reporting annually on one or more ‘child poverty related indicators’ related to the broader causes and consequences of child poverty.
- Having regard to principles of early intervention and evidence-informed policy when developing the Strategy.
- Setting out how the Government intends to evaluate the effectiveness of policies included in the Strategy.
“It’s important to the long-term welfare of our children that this Bill is enduring and survives changes of Government. I thank the National Party for their amendments and their support of our Bill,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“While this Bill has been considered, the Government’s been busy on several other fronts improving the lives of our families and children. These include the Families Package which has seen 384,000 families’ incomes boosted, extending free doctors’ visits and prescriptions to under-14-year-olds, the winter energy payment to help out with heating bills and raising the minimum wage.
“This Government is committed to genuine change to tackle poverty and achieving our goal of making New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child,” Jacinda Ardern said.