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No more research please, time for action

No more research please, time for action on poverty

Green Social Services Spokesperson Sue Bradford today said nobody would be surprised at a new study showing that 20 per cent of New Zealanders were suffering hardship.

The report from the Ministry of Social Development released today shows that 20 per cent of New Zealanders are experiencing some degree of hardship and five per cent are facing severe hardship. The report follows an MSD briefing to the incoming Government earlier this year showing 29 per cent of New Zealand children are below the poverty line.

"The time for research is over. It is time for solutions and action," said Ms Bradford.

"Everybody knows that poverty is a critical issue facing many New Zealanders, especially families with children, and we challenge this Government to make tackling poverty its number one priority. We are sick of all the talk while nothing changes."

Ms Bradford challenged the Government to support the Green Party's policy on ending child poverty by 2010, through the introduction of a universal child benefit of $15 a week for the first child and $10 a week for all subsequent children, plus a range of other measures, including reform of family assistance overall.

"Last month a number of agencies, including the National Council of Women and the Institute of Public Policy, released their 'Making it Happen' report because of their frustration with a lack of action from the Government on ending child poverty, and the Greens share their disappointment.

"Successive Governments have known that about a third of our children are growing up either on or below the poverty line but fixing the problem has never been a priority.

"There is a clear relationship between poverty and health, education, child development, social and family relationships and housing. It is crucial for the long-term future of this country that we break the cycle of poverty," said Ms Bradford.

"To break the cycle of poverty will require a solid commitment from the whole of Government and we are not seeing that commitment now. The time for more research is well and truly over."

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