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Survey: Families Too Poor To Feed Children

Child Poverty Action Group
PO Box 56 150
Dominion Rd

7 November 2003
immediate release

National Survey: Families Too Poor To Feed Children

Nearly a quarter of all New Zealand families cannot afford to always eat properly, according to the 2002 National Children's Nutrition Survey released today by the Ministry of Health.

The figures for Maori and Pacific Island families are worse: 36% of Maori and a whopping 53% of Pacific Island families report that they cannot always afford to eat properly.

“When a quarter of New Zealand’s children - including over half the young people of Pacific Island heritage - are being malnourished due to poverty, not only is it an indication of structural neglect, but it’s also damaging our future economy,” says CPAG spokesperson Janfrie Wakim.

“As well as all the health problems malnourishment causes, including weakened immune systems, malnourishment is a barrier to educational achievement.

“Malnourished children are more lethargic, less able to concentrate and more likely to have days off school due to sickness.

“They can never reach their full potential – a personal tragedy for them, and an economic crisis in the making for our country, as our future workforce won’t be operating at full capacity.”

The Child Poverty Action Group calls on the Government to make the Child Tax Credit available to all low income families, and to fully adjust levels and thresholds of family assistance to catch up what’s been lost to inflation over the past 15 years.

Since 1986, the poorest one-child young family in New Zealand has had a rise of only $5 a week in Family Support. To take inflation into account, their Family Support should now be around $74 a week. Instead, it is only $47.

“With figures like that, it’s not hard to see why families can no longer afford to give their children basics like food,” says Ms Wakim

For more information
Call Janfrie Wakim
Ph 5200201

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