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Discriminatory policies penalise poorest NZ kids

Discriminatory policies penalise poorest NZ children

Discriminatory policies which are penalising New Zealand's poorest children must be sorted, according to the Public Health Association.

The PHA says government officials must respond to a Human Rights Commission request to meet to discuss the Child Tax Credit, which is being denied to about 300,000 children. The request follows a complaint by the Child Poverty Action Group that the Child Tax Credit policy is discriminatory.

PHA director Dr Gay Keating says the Child Tax Credit of $15 per week is available only to working families on low incomes but children of beneficiaries miss out.

"It is clear government wants to reward low income working families but the end result is that many children of beneficiaries are being deprived of an adequate diet, access to sporting activities, heating in winter and warm clothing."

Dr Keating says it is appalling that children of parents on a sickness benefit, who are unable to work, are being penalised. Government should not be penalising children because of the circumstances of their parents, she says.

"The extra $15 each week would pay for fresh fruit and vegetables for the children in that family or allow the household to pay for heating in winter or for the children to take part in sport."

The PHA is calling for the Child Tax Credit to be extended to all low income families.

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