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Maori advocacy group supports child poverty report

7 August 2008

Strictly embargoed until 12.00pm

Maori advocacy group supports latest report on child poverty

Maori child advocacy agency Te Kahui Mana Ririki (TKMR) said that it supported the findings and plans contained in A Fair Go for all Children – the latest report on child poverty which was released by the Children’s Commissioner and Barnardos today.

“The report shows that 27% of Maori children live in poverty – and this must account, at least partially, for our disproportionately high rates of child maltreatment. Addressing Maori child abuse means putting an end to Maori child poverty.” TKMR Chairperson Dr Hone Kaa said.

“Pasifika children are even more likely to live in poverty, yet child maltreatment rates in their communities are lower. This tells us that there are other factors that we must continue to explore as Maori if we are to address this most critical issue for our people.”

Apart from maltreatment and abuse the report highlights the impact that poverty has on children’s health. Children who are poor are significantly more likely to be sick or injured.

“For many years the Ministry of Health has recognised that Maori have the poorest health profile in the country, and this new report reinforces how especially vulnerable our children are.”

The report shows an increase in child poverty during the 1990s, created by increasing unemployment, low wage growth and benefit cuts.

“Maori were especially hard hit by these developments. For the sake of all New Zealand children, we must never again allow a New Zealand government to reduce benefit rates. When society acts out its hatred and disapproval of the unemployed in this way, children are the group most affected.”

“I congratulate Barnardos and the Children’s Commissioner for this fine piece of work. Dr Kiro has been especially supportive of our work and has always been a strong advocate for Maori children and young people.”


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