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Reduction in Poverty Figures Welcome News

Media Statement
For Immediate Release

3 July 2008


Reduction in Poverty Figures Welcome News


A Government announcement today that there are fewer Kiwi families technically in poverty has been described as a welcome first step by Presbyterian Support New Zealand.

Ruth Dyson, Minister of Social Development and Employment, today announced the Ministry of Social Development's Household Income report figures show that, using a figure of 60% of median fixed line, and adjusting for housing costs, 130,000 fewer children are living in poverty.

National Executive Officer Dr. Jo Lake said the Government should be congratulated for the progress that has been made so far and should be encouraged to be even bolder in its drive to reduce poverty in New Zealand.

"What we need, as a community committed to eliminating poverty, is some concrete goals towards reducing poverty in New Zealand. Something that will focus policy development and delivery.

"Presbyterian Support New Zealand wants to sustain the work that has occurred to this point so we can build on it," Dr. Lake says.

Presbyterian Support New Zealand also welcomed the increase in access to Special Needs grants for food and other emergencies.

"This is another important step and recognises the economic hardship many families are experiencing.


"Higher petrol prices, food prices and housing costs are beginning to put the strain on all low and middle income New Zealand families, whether they are currently in work or not" she says.

"It is also pleasing to see the Government is adopting the Sector philosophy of putting the client at the centre of the process, with its changes to the core benefit system. This should herald an attitude change that will be evident in the way those responsible for implementing government systems and processes support and assist people on benefits to build on their strengths and to enhance their continued meaningful participation in our communities," says Dr. Lake.

ENDS


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