Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Working for children?

Sunday 14 November 2004

Working for children?

Does the ‘Working for Families’ budget work for children? The latest major publication from Child Poverty Action Group, Cut price kids, poses the question and gives the Budget package the thumbs down.

The authors, economist Dr Susan St John and sociologist, Dr David Craig, subject the package to a detailed analysis and show convincingly that the package suffers from serious design flaws. As a consequence it fails the 175,000 poorest children in New Zealand.

“The biggest flaw in the package was to shift the focus from specifically addressing the needs of children in poverty to rewarding parents in paid work,” said Peter Gerrie, chairperson of the Wellington Branch of Child Poverty Action Group. “As a consequence Working for Families has failed the most vulnerable children in New Zealand.”

Two statistics in particular put the scandal of child poverty in this country in stark relief. First, the Government itself acknowledges that approximately one in three dependent children are below the poverty line used by government officials. Second, 150,000 dependent children (or 17 percent of all children) live in households with a gross income of $20,000 or less.

“It is important to acknowledge the Government’s stated intention of reducing child poverty. That is an important development. For many years there has been either outright denial of the existence of child poverty in this country or simply a disregard for it. The Government has acknowledged its existence and has taken an important step in attempting to reduce it. Regrettably its initiative has been subordinated to the attempt to shift adults back into the paid workforce,” continued Peter Gerrie.

“No one is disputing that paid work is the most effective means of getting out of poverty. Nor do we challenge the use of incentives to encourage people back into paid work. But the priorities are all wrong if that means leaving 150,000 dependent children to languish in the worst manifestations of poverty in contemporary New Zealand,” Peter Gerrie said.

Not only does Cut price kids subject the Working for Families package to a detailed analysis, it also draws lessons from Australia and the United Kingdom. Finally it makes a number of very important recommendations about what needs to be done now.

“The Working for Families package does redistribute income and many low and middle income families will benefit. Now let’s acknowledge unfinished business and develop a comprehensive plan for the elimination of child poverty by an agreed date. It will take time to develop such a plan; it will take even longer to eliminate child poverty. In the meantime the immediate need is relief for the poorest children irrespective of whether their parents are working or not”, concluded Peter Gerrie.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news