Historic commitment to reduce child poverty

The Government has set ten year targets for reducing child poverty and hardship that will transform children’s lives and establish New Zealand as having one of the lowest rates of child poverty in the world.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern outlined the targets at a community forum in Wellington tonight. They follow the release yesterday of the Child Poverty Reduction Bill, which will set in law several measures of poverty, and require governments to set three and ten year targets to reduce it.

“We will make an historic dent in child poverty, and reduce low incomes and hardship among our children to levels New Zealand has not seen in decades.

“My Government’s plan will roughly halve child poverty within ten years, and establish New Zealand as one of the best performing countries for children. This is what most of us would expect of a country like ours.

Today, I’m announcing three ten-year targets under the Bill.

  • Reduce the proportion of children in low income households (using the before housing measure*) from roughly 15 percent of all children to 5 percent. This reduces the number by more than half from 160,000 to 60,000.
  • Reduce the proportion of children in low income households (using the after housing costs measure*) from roughly 20 percent to 10 percent. This is a reduction of 90,000 children from 210,000 now to 120,000.
  • Reduce the proportion of children in material hardship from between 13 and 15 percent now to 7 percent*. This reduces the number of children in this group from 150,000 to 80,000.

“These are ambitious targets that will make a substantial difference for children. Most significantly, by targeting reductions in the rate of children in low income households and hardship (not just the number) we are committing to keeping the rates low over time, rather than achieving one-off benefits that could quickly erode.

“We want to put an end to a political era that tolerated hardship and poverty among thousands of children, and refocus governments on what’s required to ensure all kids have the opportunity to thrive.

“My Bill also requires our Government to set three year targets which mark our progress toward the longer poverty goals. My intention is to make these intermediate targets ambitious in their own right. I will confirm these in time for public to have a say when the Bill goes through the select committee process.

“This Government has committed to putting children at the heart of its decision making. This is the right thing to do for children, and it’s the right thing to do for all of us,” says Jacinda Ardern.

 

*The four primary measures of poverty and hardship in the Bill:

1.  Low income before housing costs (below 50 % of median income, moving line)

2.  Low income after housing costs (50% median, fixed line)

3.  Material hardship (using the EU’s standard threshold which going without things such as healthy food, warm clothes, or delaying going to the doctor)

4.  A persistence measure (for low income, material hardship or both. The data is not currently available for this measure)

 

See more here: 100 days speech