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Supporting child poverty community action

10 December 2004 Media Statement

Supporting community action to address child poverty

Progress made in addressing child poverty in Manukau demonstrates the value of coordinated, community-based action, Social Development Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Speaking at the first annual review of the Collaborative Action Plan on Child Poverty in Manukau, Steve Maharey congratulated local community groups and government agencies for recognising that child poverty is a complex problem that requires innovative, proactive solutions.

The plan, which resulted from cooperation between over thirty agencies and organisations, set out to pool resources in order to understand the problems faced by children and families and to identify ways to address them.

"One year on, the Collaborative Action Plan on Child Poverty in Manukau stands as a model to the rest of New Zealand," Steve Maharey said. "The plan set a clear goal for the community: the elimination of child poverty. Community initiatives like this are important because local people know best the opportunities and particular challenges they face.

"The groups and agencies involved have moved to address the full range of issues that contribute to poverty including housing, nutrition, education, and parental employment. I am particularly pleased that government agencies have demonstrated flexibility and creativity in partnering effectively with local organisations.

"Poverty – especially child poverty – is one of the most daunting challenges faced by governments around the world. In New Zealand, we are making tremendous progress in addressing child poverty with the second-lowest unemployment rate in the OECD, paid parental leave, and our $2.75 billion dollar investment in low and middle-income families with the Working for Families Package.

"More work needs to be done. I hope that other communities follow the lead of Manukau by coming together and partnering with government to meet one of our greatest challenges."

ENDS

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