Historic day for New Zealand children
New Zealand’s first Bill to reduce child poverty will help transform children’s lives and set a path to New Zealand having one of the lowest rates of child poverty in the world, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.
Today Parliament passed the final stage of the Child Poverty Reduction Bill, which will oblige this Government and all future governments to set targets to reduce levels of poverty and material hardship among New Zealand children.
“This is an historic moment for New Zealand’s children,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“A country with the relative abundance of New Zealand can and should be the best place in the world to be a child.
“This Bill has been a priority for the Government since day one. I’m incredibly proud that almost all parties in Parliament have supported it today.
“That ensures that the progress our government makes for children will be sustained, and improved on in the future.”
Under the new legislation, governments will report on and set targets to reduce poverty and hardship using a range of specified measures.
Each government will also develop a comprehensive strategy to promote the overall wellbeing of children and young people, including their education, health and personal safety.
The Coalition Government’s ten year targets will more than halve the child poverty in New Zealand and reduce the percentage of children in poverty to levels not seen in decades.
The ten year targets are:
- Reduce the proportion of children in low income households (using the before housing measure*) from roughly 15 percent of all children to 5 percent.
- Reduce the proportion of children in low income households (using the after housing costs measure*) from roughly 20 percent to 10 percent.
- Reduce the proportion of children in material hardship from between 13 and 15 percent now to 7 percent*.
“We’re already taking action to reduce child poverty and hardship, but we’re just getting started” Jacinda Ardern said.
“Our Families Package will lift the incomes of more than 384,000 families by $75 a week when fully rolled out, doctors visits are now free for all children under 14, we’ve started rolling out initiatives to support young people and children’s mental health, and we’re building thousands of state homes, while also improving the quality of rentals.
“The Government’s goal is for New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a child, for every child. This legislation will focus us on doing the work required to make that happen,” Jacinda Ardern said.