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Children’s health monitor damns Govt inaction on poverty

Spokesperson for Children
Health Spokesperson

9 December 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Children’s health monitor damns Govt inaction on poverty

Revelations that one in five New Zealand children are reliant on a benefit as the main source of their family’s income highlights the National Government's failure to lift our kids out of poverty, say Labour MPs Maryan Street and Jacinda Ardern.

“The latest update of the New Zealand Children’s Social Health Monitor shows that social and economic inequality is growing and it's hitting our children hardest,” Labour's spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says.

“Children reliant solely on benefit recipients are often our most deprived. National has done nothing to address the drivers of poverty, with its ministerial committee and White Paper failing to prompt any meaningful change.

“The report shows families living below the poverty line are much more likely to postpone going to the doctor, more likely not to pick up their children’s prescriptions, and to live in damp, mouldy homes.

“Hardship like this should not be commonplace in New Zealand. These parents want to work. But with unemployment rising to 7.3% in the September quarter of this year, the work simply isn't there.”

“The report also tracked hospital admissions for conditions like asthma, skin infections and other acute respiratory conditions. It revealed an increase over the past three years, with admission rates remaining much higher for Maori and Pacific children,” Labour's Health spokesperson Maryan Street says.

“While immunisation rates may be improving, this increase in hospital admissions shows that we are still not getting it right for our children.
“When you look at our economic and health indicators by ethnicity, the figures for Pacific and Maori children stand out. While the Government has health targets, it has no plan to improve the health of our most vulnerable.”

“That's why we are again calling on National to support our Members Bill – The Child Poverty Eradication Bill, which would require government to focus on setting meaningful targets to reduce the impacts of poverty on our children,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Let's be clear, poverty is making our children sick. Now more than ever the Government needs to focus on reducing poverty rates. Until it does, we will all pay the price.”

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