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History in the Making for our Tamariki

History in the Making for our Tamariki
Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader of the Maori Party
Tuesday 3 June 2008

Māori Party Co-leader, Dr Pita Sharples, today congratulated the Child Poverty Action Group on their historic challenge that kicks off today in front of the Human Rights Review Tribunal in Wellington.

“This is truly history in the making for the tamariki of Aotearoa” said Dr Sharples.

Although the legal case challenging the Inwork tax credit was formally lodged in 2002, the background to the case dates back to the former National -led Government’s introduction of the Child Tax Credit in 1996.

“We have a situation in Aotearoa, where for the last twelve years, it has been considered lawtul to discriminate against children whose parents can not work the requisite hours, or who are on a benefit” said Dr Sharples.

“In money terms that’s about sixty dollars that our poorest families, with 1-3 children, are being denied” said Dr Sharples.

“But it is also a denial of basic human rights that we in the Māori Party can simply not tolerate” said Dr Sharples.

“Week after week, the tally of tragedies influenced by poverty continues to rise” said Dr Sharples. “We know that one in five children are living in poverty; that between 2000 and 2004, the number of children living in poverty increased by a third, with children of beneficiaries worst affected”.

“The Budget Advisors, the foodbanks, the Salvation Army, the KidsCan coordinators, our GPs, our shopkeepers, our schools know all these figures as just part of the course” said Dr Sharples.

“We commend the Child Poverty Action Group for standing up for children, for consistently speaking out about the persistent diseases of poverty, for documenting the stories of children living in severe or significant hardship”.

“Of course, I believe every taxpayer in this land would prefer that this case hadn’t needed to come to court, to involve the international experts and the expenses that no doubt the Crown will incur in presenting their defence” said Dr Sharples.

“Wouldn’t it all have been much simpler if Government had simply removed the need for the case at all, by removing the discrimination and ensuring all children receive the support they need to be healthy, well educated and strong”.

ENDS

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