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Child Poverty Action Group Response to Laila Harre

Child Poverty Action Group Response to Laila Harre's speech


PRESS RELEASE MAY 12 2002

CHILD POVERTY ACTION GROUP

www.cpag.org.nz

Child Poverty Action Group is a non aligned independent body seeking better policies for children.

We note with dismay the government's attempts to stifle debate around the issue of low family incomes and child poverty. Laila Harre has correctly pointed out that Family Support has been neglected and that 30% of New Zealand children live in poverty. Her observation that the basic shape of the income support system was much as Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson had left it, has been labelled by Steve Maharey's Office as 'gratuitously offensive' and her speech banned from the government's web site. But in fact she has understated, if anything, the position today for many low families compared to the late 1980s.

In the mid 1990s, instead of properly adjusting family support for all children to compensate for inflation, the child tax credit was introduced, but for some children only. Those who miss out on this weekly $15 per child payment- around 300,000 of the poorest children -have had a serious loss of the purchasing power of their Family Support. There are no provisions for any inflation catch up in the pipeline and fiscal projections do not show any allowance for future increases. In the meantime the price of housing, milk and other basic necessities continues to rise

CPAG congratulates Laila Harre for bringing this matter to the attention of concerned citizens and deplores any attempts to remove such an important issue from public scrutiny.

Contact person: Janfrie Wakim [CPAG Exec] 09 520 0201


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