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Green campaign for Universal Child Benefit

26 October 2001

Green campaign for Universal Child Benefit

Green Social Services Spokesperson Sue Bradford will introduce a bill into the next private members ballot seeking to establish a universal child benefit.

With International Day of the Child this Sunday Ms Bradford said her bill was timely and needed more than ever.

"One third of children in this country live in poverty and it is absolutely unacceptable," she said.

Ms Bradford said her bill bill will restablish a universal benefit for children along the same lines as the Family Benefit that was scrapped in 1991.

"One of the greatest tragedies of our so called egalitarian society occurred when the Family Benefit disappeared. Not only did it provide a safety net for children, it was also often the only discretionary income some mothers had.

"The Family Benefit was also the mechanism by which many low income families capitalised themselves into their first homes."

Ms Bradford said her bill would provide a payment of $15 per week for the first child in every family and $10 for subsequent children. The benefit would be paid to the child's primary caregiver regardless of their circumstances.

"We are not doing nearly well enough for the children of New Zealand and my bill will be a small but important step towards improving the quality of life for children in this country," she said.

"The time is right for this bill and I would urge every party in this parliament to join with the community and church groups and support it fully."

Ms Bradford said while the bill would provide a measure of financial relief to struggling families, support for it would also be recognition that the current situation for New Zealand children is an outrage and that there was a commitment to doing something about it.


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