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Best Start Policy a good start for children

27 Jan 2014:

Labour's Best Start proposal announced today represents a very significant step forward. CPAG welcomes the acknowledgement that New Zealand doesn't want to be a World Vision society where poor children get their basics from charity.

CPAG is delighted to see this recognition that a new approach is needed. Child poverty cannot be addressed without cost and bold moves are needed.

Spokesperson Susan St John says, "Children aged 0-3 years would get a substantial and much needed boost through 'Best Start'. This would impact significantly on the child poverty rate for this group, which is currently higher than for children as a whole. It is strongly child-related, so families with two children under 3 would gain a maximum of $120 a week and removes work-based discrimination."

"It also recognises the work of caregivers in these early years and closes some of the gap for those who miss out on paid parental leave. This policy is significantly more inclusive than exists currently and it would also bring us more in line with the Australian situation. The increased investment in early childhood education for all is most welcome and would have a very positive impact.

Dr St John says, "This is just the beginning of a long overdue reform process - there is still much to do. Struggling families with older children are also desperately in need of assistance. However, a start has to be made and CPAG congratulates Labour for not turning its back on this issue in favour of empty, work-based rhetoric."

CPAG says the three State of the Nation speeches this week show welcome signs of a growing focus on the needs of children.

ENDS

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