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Our children are not surplus to requirements

Bradford: Our children are not surplus to requirements

Green MP Sue Bradford today challenged the Government to address the issue of child poverty instead of trying to curry favour with business over growing budget surpluses.

The Children's Issues spokesperson said today's report by the Child Poverty Action Group, which showed among other things some children were kept from school on wet days because they could not afford a raincoat, was a huge concern for New Zealand.

She accused the Government of selling out New Zealand children in favour of hoarding mounting budget surpluses.

"I question the Government's motives when they would rather pump billions of dollars into the failing Cullen fund while our children can't learn because they're starving all day," said Ms Bradford.

"The government keeps telling us that something will be done 'next year', but that is simply not good enough when children go hungry in the face of desperate poverty.

"When Michael Cullen trumpets yet another surplus and good return for business, he is simply rubbing salt into the wounds of all those parents who simply cannot afford to give their children the best possible start to life.

"When report after report claims that 30 per cent of our child live beneath the poverty line, the only time to act is now. It's time for this government to get off the mat and do something for our children's sake.

"As a first step, I challenge this supposedly centre-left government to pick up my private members bill calling for a universal child benefit which will help give every child a good start to life regardless of their parents' income.

"The Labour Government in the United Kingdom has set a clear deadline to eliminate child poverty by 2020, and has set a strategy to achieve this. I call on the government to better this commitment and give our children hope by 2010.

"The future of our children is of paramount importance to all mothers and fathers, beyond all considerations of income. It's high time the Government realised this."

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