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Too many Kiwi kids caught in poverty trap

Judith Collins MP - National Party Welfare & Family Spokeswoman

02 March 2005

Too many Kiwi kids caught in poverty trap

National Party Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins says the damage done by Labour's ham-fisted approach to welfare has been highlighted in a new report that shows New Zealand has some of the worst child poverty rates in the world.

"According to Government statistics, nearly a quarter of a million Kiwi kids are growing up in households that are dependent on a benefit. About one third of Maori children are in that position.

"A life spent living on welfare is no life at all. National is determined to get more parents working. It's impossible to argue against all the research that shows children do much better when they have one or both parents working.

"That must be accompanied by a fairer tax system that helps make work pay for those making the transition to the workforce," says Ms Collins.

In its recently announced welfare policy, National signalled its intention to require sole parents on a benefit to be available for part-time work or retraining once their youngest child reaches school age. National will also require parents who survive on welfare to present their children for medical checks, vaccinations, and ensure they attend school.

"This is no more than any responsible parent is expected to do.

"Labour continues to tolerate entrenched welfare dependency while tinkering around the edges of this significant problem. The first step in beating child poverty is getting real incomes into the home.

"Child poverty is the inevitable outcome of the low expectations that Labour has been placing on families and beneficiaries" says Ms Collins

ENDS

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