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Auckland City Mission Launches Winter Appeal

MEDIA RELEASE
27 June 2005

Auckland City Mission Launches Winter Appeal
For Children Living In Poverty


The Auckland City Mission’s winter appeal launched today with a plea for the public to help bring down New Zealand’s appalling child poverty rate, now the fourth worst in the developed world.

“New Zealand has some 175,000 children living in poverty. In Auckland, this means one in three children can’t access the basics of life,” says Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson.

“We are now ranked 29 in the world for child poverty. Only Mexico, the United States and Italy have worse statistics. What does that say about how New Zealand views its children?”

“We are providing more food parcels and delivering more crisis intervention around housing and accommodation than we did three years ago. What does that say about the poverty level in New Zealand?”

Ms Robertson believes part of the problem is that people perceive poverty as only a food-related issue.

“In reality, poverty is much broader than that. Poverty is about not having enough food, enough warm clothing and living in unheated, damp or overcrowded housing.”

Already this winter the Auckland City Mission knows of parents unable to afford to take their children to the doctors, or if they can, only having the money to pay for half the medicines prescribed. The end result is the child is unlikely to fully recover,” says Ms Robertson.

With the arrival of winter, warm bedding is at a premium.

“We support Auckland families living in cold, damp garages or in overcrowded housing where children are constantly sick, often reinfected by the same illness. Skin infections, chestiness and of course meningococcal disease quickly spread in such living conditions.”

Down the track, Ms Robertson says the impact of this poverty will be widespread in our culture.

“We will have a generation of young adults whose ability to participate in and benefit from society will be hugely limited. You can imagine the social services we will need in the future to manage the results of what we’re not tackling now.

“Our mission is to help as many Auckland children as possible this winter, and that’s where we need support from Aucklanders for our winter appeal.”

The Auckland City Mission’s winter appeal runs for one month. It includes an envelope appeal in key magazines together with a TV, press, radio and outdoor advertising urging Aucklanders to dig deep for child poverty.

Ends

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