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‘Zero tolerance’ for child poverty

‘Zero tolerance’ for child poverty

Associate Maori Affairs Minister Tariana Turia says ‘zero tolerance’ is the correct approach to eliminate child poverty.

Mrs Turia was commenting on a report released yesterday by the Child Poverty Action Group at a function in the Beehive.

“The statistics of child poverty are shocking, and the future prospects look even worse, when you consider the lasting effects on the health, education and social development of our young people,” she said.

“Poverty is not a new issue for tangata whenua. Many of our whanau have lived in entrenched poverty for so long it has come to seem normal. This is totally unacceptable, and we must have ‘zero tolerance’ for child poverty.

“This government is determined to improve the social and economic position of children and low income families. Income-related rents, increased funding for primary health care and early childhood education and welfare reform have already improved life for thousands of families. But we must not rest until child poverty is eradicated.

“Whanau development is my priority across all my portfolios. The whanau must always be the primary guardians of our children. A family-centred approach to policy must empower the whanau to care for their own. The government must be careful not to destroy the fabric of whanau relationships, by ad hoc interventions in the lives of individuals that do not take account of wider whanau viewpoints.

“I support the whole-of-government approach promoted by my colleague Steve Maharey. Government agencies must co-ordinate and work together to support whanau and communities to achieve their own development goals.

“We must recognise the potential in all our whanau, and focus on solutions. This approach is challenging, but critically important. Lack of action now will cost our whanau and our children dearly in the future,” said Mrs Turia.

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