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Working for Families reduces child poverty

Media statement
3 July 2008

He Mana tô ia Tamaiti/ Every Child Counts*

Working for Families brings necessary reduction in child poverty

Figures released today show Working for Families has brought a necessary reduction in child poverty and improved circumstances for a substantial number of New Zealand children. However, the figures highlight the plight of those in homes where no adult is in paid employment and where the household has a sole parent, says Every Child Counts.

"It is clear from the data released today that we need a political commitment to reaching children in all low income families, whether or not they are working," said Murray Edridge, Chairperson of Every Child Counts.

"As a nation, we should welcome the great progress in reducing child poverty announced today as evidence that we can address this important social issue if we are prepared to do so.

"To continue making progress, we need to support all low income families through family assistance and a universal child benefit. We should also look at increasing abatement thresholds in the tax and income support system to allow people to earn additional income.

"Adequate housing and income are essential for families with young children because of the detrimental, and lasting, impact of poverty on children. If we don't pay now, we will pay later. All political parties, and all New Zealanders need to recognise just how important it is to continue making progress - and to start reaching those living in the most severe hardship.

"Addressing the hard end of child poverty is in the interests of all New Zealanders if we want secure and inclusive communities. We encourage political parties develop policies to make progress on this as soon as possible," concluded Mr Edridge.


* Every Child Counts is a coalition including Barnardos, Plunket, Save the Children, Unicef NZ, CCS Disability Action, Te Kahui Mana Ririki and AUT's Institute of Public Policy, supported by 380 other organisations and thousands of individual supporters. www.everychildcounts.org.nz


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