Govt's child poverty denial an international embarrassment
29 October 2013
Government’s child poverty denial an international embarrassment
The National Government’s head in the sand approach to child poverty risks becoming an international embarrassment as the Children’s Commissioner turns to a philanthropist to fund a project to measure the number of kiwi children living below the bread line, the Green Party said today.
The Children’s Commissioner has today revealed that he has turned to a Wellington philanthropic trust to raise the $500,000 needed to measure and monitor child poverty after the Government said there was no point.
“The Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group on Child Poverty has today called again for proper targets for tackling child poverty, but the National Government won’t even agree to measure it,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.
“That the Commissioner Russel Wills has
needed to turn to charity to fund what should be core
Government business is a huge international
“The British Prime Minister set a target in 1999 to halve child poverty by 2010 and eliminate it by 2020. His Government established a Child Poverty Act.
“My challenge today is for the National Government to come to the table and make similar commitments on behalf of New Zealand children.
“By continuing to deny the extent of child poverty the National Government looks like cruel fools. Just because they have their fingers in their ears and their head in the sand doesn’t mean that child poverty will go away.
“They’ve got targets for tackling crime and educational under achievement, but won’t set targets for reducing poverty, which is the driver of almost all negative indicators. That is just stupid.
“The Green Party has committed to measuring poverty and setting targets for tackling it. We will task a Minister for Children with driving a child poverty strategy from an influential position at the Cabinet Table.
“The only way you can tackle child poverty is by acknowledging it. This Government is in denial about the extent of poverty in New Zealand and that is dangerous to the health and welfare of our children,” Mrs Turei said.