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Denial doesn’t make child poverty go away

Jacinda Ardern
Social Development Spokesperson
Spokesperson for Children

30 January 2013

Denial doesn’t make child poverty go away

The Government doesn’t just have a blind spot when it comes to child poverty, it has a major case of denial, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson and Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern says.

“John Key, the same man who said he was ‘deeply concerned’ about the scale of child poverty, is now trying to dismiss its impact by linking it to a few ‘isolated examples’ of children going to school hungry.

“That shows just how out of touch he is. Charities currently feed close to 40,000 children through food programmes in schools, while estimates put the number of kids going hungry far higher.

“These are often kids who are also missing out on the experiences most of us regard as part of growing up in New Zealand, kids who are missing out on the basics like warm clothing in winter.

“Child poverty is hardly a hidden problem, nor is it small. The Children’s Commissioner is well aware of it, social agencies know it’s an issue, yet the Prime Minister continues to deny it.

“Just yesterday we had a local charity group launching a dollar-a-day campaign - similar to ones they run to help kids in Third World countries – for Kiwi kids in need.

“Mr Key might be content to brush off the arrival of a campaign usually only found in Third World countries as being nothing to worry about, as he does with anything else to do with child poverty. I’m not, and nor is Labour.

“Any level of child poverty is unacceptable. It's time for some leadership that not only acknowledges the problem, but acts to address the causes.”

ENDS

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