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Comments on NZCCSS poverty indicators report



Comments on the release of the NZCCSS poverty indicators report

Child Poverty Action Group is a non aligned independent body seeking better policies for children. It is clear from the statistics in this report that far too many NZ families do not have enough money to adequately feed their children. For too long family incomes have been neglected. The Family Support Tax Credit should be used to reduce the incidence and seriousness of child poverty in New Zealand, but it has fallen well behind in purchasing power. It is not adjusted annually for inflation like social welfare benefits, and the top income level from which it reduces has been fixed for more than a decade.

Family assistance was increased in the form of the Child Tax Credit in 1996, but around 300,000 of the poorest children miss out on this help only because of the work status of their parents. These children have had only very small increments over the last 16 years, nowhere near enough to compensate for increases in food prices which have risen sharply recently. The CPAG calls on the government to immediately extend the Child Tax Credit of $15 a week to all low income children and engage in a fundamental overhaul of family assistance.

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