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Salvation Army welcomes Child Poverty Action Group

The Salvation Army
Media Release

Salvation Army welcomes Child Poverty Action Group report

Wellington, 1 May 2008. - The Salvation Army has welcomed the release of a new report by childrens' advocacy group the Child Poverty Action Group. The report titled Left Behind looks at how enduring and perhaps deepening social inequalities are damaging the lives of the poorest 20 per cent of New Zealand children.

Salvation Army Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit manager, Major Ian Kilgour, says that the report provides a comprehensive assessment of the position of New Zealand's poorest children.

'This report has been prepared by a small group of senior academics and health practitioners and has canvassed a broad range of topics with a particular focus on how social programmes are being delivered to New Zealand children.

'Left Behind breaks new ground in its discussion of tax policy and tax reform. Most discussion on tax focuses on the interests of middle and high income New Zealanders, with recent proposals for income splitting an example. Yet it is often the lowest paid including beneficiaries who face the toughest marginal tax rates.

'The report clearly identifies some of the growing inequalities in tax policy as well as the difficulty any Government faces in managing the interface between benefits and paid employment. The group's suggestion that tax rates should be cut at the bottom rather than the top and that New Zealanders could enjoy a tax-free band for the first part of their income has considerable merit.

Major Kilgour says that the Child Poverty Action Group are to be congratulated for their outstanding representation of the interests of poor children in Left Behind.

'Their sound research and passionate advocacy have provided us with useful insights into the impacts of social policies and the importance of a principled approach.'


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