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Experts group formed to find solutions to child poverty

Media statement – for immediate release

19 March 2012

Experts group formed to find solutions to child poverty

Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills has today announced the formation of an experts group to find solutions to child poverty.

“In New Zealand one in five children are growing up in poverty. The evidence overwhelmingly shows these children are doing badly and will continue to do badly throughout their lives.

“Which is why I’ve pulled together 13 of the best minds in the country - experts in fields such as health, social policy, business, law and education - to find solutions.

“It’s not going to be easy. The answers to child poverty are likely to be complex, plus we’re constrained by the current economic climate. But I’m confident this group will come up with recommendations that will make a difference.

“I’ve asked to them to find realistic, pragmatic and effective ways to combat child poverty – both short-term answers and longer-term solutions. The group will examine the best available local and international evidence and experience, and make recommendations that will make a tangible difference in New Zealand.

“I’m looking for advice that is broader than income because the issues of poverty are more complex than that. The group is likely to explore improving opportunities and outcomes for disadvantaged children through evidence-based interventions in health, social services, education and community development.

“And with Maori and Pacific children over-represented in the poverty statistics, I want to see the specific interests of these children addressed.

“The group will provide a final report to me by the end of this year. A discussion report will be made publicly available prior to this – and we will be consulting with the community at this stage,” he said.

Children and young people will also be included in this process.

The Commissioner will use the recommendations from the experts group to provide advice to the Government in time to inform the Ministerial Committee on Poverty.

“The Ministerial Committee has the same goals – to find tangible gains in both the near future and longer-term. And they’re focussed on getting value for money in a tight economic climate.

“The solutions I will be presenting will come from an independent and child-focussed perspective but also take into account the need to spend the tax dollar wisely,” he said.

The Expert Advisory Group will be co-chaired by Professor Jonathan Boston from the School of Government at Victoria University and Dr Tracey McIntosh from Auckland University. The other members of the group are listed below.

“We’ve selected each of these people because of their skill, knowledge and passion for what they do. I’m excited about what they will achieve as a group and confident their recommendations will contribute to better outcomes for children,” said the Commissioner.


Members of the Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty:


Professor Jonathan Boston
School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Tracey McIntosh
Sociology Department, Nga Pae o te Maramatanga, University of Auckland


Dr Airini
Head of School, Critical Studies in Education, University of Auckland

Dr Fiona Cram
Researcher, Consultant, Katoa Ltd

Professor Mark Henaghan
Dean of Law, University of Otago

Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman
Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington

Phil O’Reilly
Chief Executive, Business New Zealand

Professor Richie Poulton
Director Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit (DMHDRU),
Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine
Co-Director, National Centre for Lifecourse Research, University of Otago
Dunedin Study Theme Leader (Cardiovasular Health)

James Prescott
Senior Lecturer in Accounting & Programme Leader Accounting, Auckland University of Technology

Major Campbell Roberts
Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit, Salvation Army

Bob Stephens
Senior Associate, Institute of Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Nikki Turner
General Practitioner,
Director of the Conectus Centre and Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC)
Senior Lecturer in the Division of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Auckland

Sharon Wilson Davis
CE, Strive Community Trust


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