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UNICEF Report = NZ has lost way on child wellbeing

10 April 2013: News from CPAG

UNICEF Report = New Zealand has lost its way on child wellbeing

CPAG says the Unicef Innocenti report card is another verification that New Zealand has lost its way on child wellbeing.

There is not enough data from New Zealand for most of the rankings but it is clear that too many of our children continue to endure material deprivation.

Report after report from child advocacy groups have been ignored. The latest voices are from the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine. President Dr Julia Peters warns of the very serious consequences for New Zealand’s future given the depth of child poverty and the health consequences they are seeing every day.

What is needed is government’s commitment to a plan of action to make children’s rights and wellbeing a priority. That commitment needs the support of all political parties.

The Innocenti report card highlights that good policies improve child wellbeing. New Zealand still has very badly designed policies for families and their children. The flagship Working for Families policy that is supposed to address child poverty, actually excludes 230,000 of the poorest children from a significant part of it.

The very first thing that needs to be done, says CPAG, is to give all low income children the full Working for Families amount.

The In Work Tax Credit worth at least $60 a week per family should be added to the Family Tax Credit now. That would give all low income children financial support on the same basis. Only the poorest families would gain while not creating extra spending on those further up the income scale.

This change would cost about $450 million a year. That may seem a lot, but without dramatic and immediate changes in this and other areas we can expect to be even more shamed by the next Innocenti report.


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