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Transience hurting most vulnerable

Children’s Spokesperson

Transience hurting most vulnerable

High ‘churn’ in some of our poorest primary schools highlights the need for Government policies to focus on secure housing and decent work opportunities, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

A report by the Child Poverty Action Group, The revolving door: Student mobility in Auckland, shows that rates of transience are higher in low-decile areas and poorer communities.

“Frequent moving between schools affects a child’s learning. For those children who can least afford to be left behind it is a double whammy – upheaval at home and upheaval at school.

“The solution, as the report points out, is political. The Government needs to commit to policies that ‘ensure families have stable, affordable accommodation and that economic growth provides steady, well-paid jobs’.

“Asked in select committee today what the Government was doing to address the problem, Paula Bennett claimed that although secure tenancy was an issue, vulnerable families in state houses would be protected from tenancy reviews.

“There is no guarantee of that and the fact remains that the majority of families experiencing poverty live in private rentals.

“Ms Bennett’s argument that assisting with bond payments would also help doesn’t cut it either.

“None of those responses get to the heart of the issue.

“These families move regularly because they just can’t afford to pay their bills. They are struggling with high rents and insecure tenancies in the private rental market, and all the stress that brings. In turn that affects their kids.

“Labour’s housing policies – which will lower housing costs and make home ownership affordable - and its commitment to increase the minimum wage and focus on decent sustainable work, are all about putting families at the top of the agenda.”

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