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


Poverty report: fair go for all children essential


Media release

Embargoed until 12 noon, 7 August 2008

7 August 2008

Poverty report: A fair go for all children is essential

The report released today by the Office of the Children's Commissioner and Barnardos New Zealand makes it clear that the enormous social and economic impacts of child poverty in New Zealand are unsustainable. The report also identifies a range of initiatives and policies that would go some way towards addressing this issue.

"A Fair Go for all Children: Actions to address child poverty in New Zealand highlights a profound concern for New Zealand society - that we cannot afford to sacrifice the healthy development of our children and therefore our productive human capital. Poverty leads to developmental delay, lower educational attainment and ill health. It also puts children at higher risk of physical abuse and neglect, and even death," said Barnardos New Zealand Chief Executive, Murray Edridge.

"Along with the report, which was written by economists, youth have contributed to the work through a Photovoice project, providing images, poems, stories, and statements. According to young people in Dunedin, "Poverty is not getting proper opportunities, choices you can't make, choices taken away".

"This is precisely the impact of poverty: social and economic exclusion. It means missing out on many things considered to be basic to a good childhood, such as good nutrition, a warm home, stimulating experiences, family holidays, participation in sport and other pursuits, and school outings", added Mr. Edridge.

"In the longer term, child poverty is associated with worse employment and earnings outcomes, alcohol and drug dependence, and poor health. Further, it leads to higher welfare, remedial adult education and other community costs".

"When we look at the scale of the problem, and the potential solutions, it becomes apparent that this issue is surmountable as long as there is adequate political and public will".

"Progress is already being made through Working for Families. With an integrated package of both short and medium-term actions we can assist those hardest hit by poverty. Among the most urgent actions identified in the report are: raising core benefit rates; providing higher tax credits for young children; increasing the supply of early childhood care and education and out-of-school care; and passing on Child Support payments directly to sole parents".

"Barnardos and many other social service agencies see the impact of poverty on families daily. We know the pressures it places on families and on children, and we urge all New Zealanders to accept that this is a significant issue. It is the responsibility of all of us, and requires both political and community action".

"We want all MPs and political candidates to take a stand against child poverty and commit to the implementation of the key recommendations of this report. We want all New Zealanders to understand that child poverty is unsustainable and that we must work together to ensure the resources are available and directed to address the issue".

"There is an obvious self-interest argument for all New Zealanders to support policies that will address child poverty. In the future, we will depend on the ability and will of today's children to sustain our society and economy as the population ages. If we continue to allow a significant proportion of our children to live in poverty, we will create irreparable damage to them and to the future wellness of all of us", concluded Mr. Edridge.


Background information and key statistics

According to the latest figures (2006/07), 230,000, or 22 percent of New Zealand children, live in poverty. This is more than the entire population of North Shore City (205,605) or the Manawatu-Wanganui region (222,423), and equates to one adult and one child living on $305-$430 a week before housing costs. The measures are based on households with incomes below the 60 percent of contemporary median income, after taking housing costs into account.

Child poverty is unevenly distributed across society. For children living in sole-parent families, the rate of poverty (49 percent) is over five times as high as that for children in two-parent households (nine percent).

Based on 2003/04 figures, poverty rates are also significantly higher among Maori (27 percent) and Pacifica and other children (40 percent) than rates of Pakeha children (16 percent). Disabled children are more likely to live in poverty than non-disabled children.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

The Government has approved a negotiating mandate for Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11), which will ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>




Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>


Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>


Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>


(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>






Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election