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Report proves Government’s poverty denial is harming kids

New report proves Government’s poverty denial is harming kids

A new report from the Children’s Commission shows the National Government’s poverty denial is threatening the lives of three out of five children living below the breadline, who experts say will spend at least seven years being poor, the Green Party said today.

The Children’s Commissioner Russel Wills has today released the First Child Poverty Monitor, which publishes four poverty measures, after the Government refused to measure poverty and set targets for its reduction.

“The report reveals shocking details about the extent of persistent poverty among kiwi children and the horrendous impact this is having on their health,” Green Party Health spokesperson Kevin Hague said.

“The Commissioners’ reports found three out of five children in poverty spent seven years or more being poor. Medical experts commented that this has life long impacts on a child’s health and wellbeing and can even lead to death from preventable diseases.

“The National Government won’t measure poverty because it doesn’t want to know, and doesn’t want ordinary caring New Zealanders to know, the real extent of child poverty and the harm that National’s policies are causing.

“The National Government has chosen to deliberately not know the real extent of the harm poverty is causing children, because it doesn’t suit it to know.

“That denial is harming New Zealand kids and condemning a quarter of them to poverty that could last for years and could lead to sickness or even death.
“According to Dr Jean Simpson, Director of the NZ Child and Youth Epidemiology Service, it is essential for New Zealand to have a set of standard child poverty measures in order to know if policies are making a difference in children’s lives.
“These reports show that hospital admissions from diseases of poverty, such as respiratory and infectious diseases have increased under National.

“They show that children from poor neighbourhoods are up to six times as likely to be hospitalised with some conditions, such as rheumatic fever and skin infections, than other kids.
“Last Thursday Social Development Minister Paula Bennett belittled child poverty in New Zealand saying it was only “relative” poverty as if that meant it was insignificant to the children living without an adequate income.

"This Government has already been shown up for failing poorer kids in education, after the OECD pointed out last week New Zealand had one of the least equal education systems in the developed world.

“This latest report blows the Governments’ poverty denial out of the water. The Green Party is committed to establishing proper poverty measures and working towards the elimination of poverty in New Zealand,” said Mr Hague.


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