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Child Poverty Action asks Peter Dunne to solve child poverty

13 November 2012

Child Poverty Action challenges Peter Dunne to solve child poverty

United Future MP Peter Dunne should now reveal the concrete steps he would take to address child poverty in New Zealand.

Child Poverty Action Group says an obvious way to alleviate child poverty is to give more family assistance to families on benefits, many of whom cannot provide adequately for the needs of their children. A cost effective and fair way to do this would be to add the In Work tax credit to the Family tax credit so that all children in low income families are treated the same.

But this simple, cost effective solution was rejected by Peter Dunne last week. His vote determined the outcome of the Green’s Income Tax (Universalisation of In-Work Tax Credit) Amendment Bill. His lack of support meant the bill was defeated 61 to 60.

In explaining his position, Peter Dunne said on Morning Report (7th November) ‘there are other ways’ of dealing with child and family poverty.

CPAG spokesperson Associate Professor St John said, “That places a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of Peter Dunne. He belongs to a party that is supposed to care about families and pledged during the last election to fight for a reduction in inequality. It is time for him to show us the concrete steps he would take, rather than invoking imaginary packages of assistance from WINZ that have no substance.”

Susan St John said, “The Green Party ran an admirable campaign promoting and publicising this Bill and we applaud their commitment to New Zealand’s children. If the Bill had progressed to Select Committee stage it would have opened the issue up to public submissions and wide scrutiny, which the original Working for Families legislation never received. Badly designed government policy, such as the IWTC, has contributed to New Zealand’s appalling level of child poverty. This was the opportunity to begin to remedy that.”

“We are particularly critical of Mr Dunne’s choice to support a narrow view of the In Work Tax Credit as a work incentive, ignoring its central purpose to alleviate child poverty. What, Mr Dunne, is the way forward to reduce child poverty?”

ENDS

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