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Time-Bomb of Polynesian kids growing in poverty in NZ

17 June 2014

Polynesian Time-Bomb is still the central concern when it comes to New Zealand kids

Leading into the election the large numbers of Maori and Pasifika children living in poverty should be the central concern for all political candidates, says Mana Ririki’s Executive Director Anton Blank.

“Child poverty is unevenly distributed, with over half of the 300,000 New Zealand children living in poverty being Maori and Pasifika. These populations are youthful – in ten years 40% of all New Zealand children will be Maori and Pasifika,” Anton Blank said today.

“This is a Polynesian time-bomb. It is in the interest of all New Zealanders to lift Maori and Pasifika children out of poverty, engage them more meaningfully in education and prepare them for employment.

“New Zealand’s poor investment in children already costs the country $6billion every year. These costs will increase if we don't move quickly to address Maori and Pasifika child poverty.”

Mana Ririki is one of the organisations supporting the Tick for Kids campaign, which is a national movement to create the political will to improve the status and wellbeing of Kiwi Kids in the lead up to the election and into the new parliament.

“We are proud to be part of this collective action to improve the wellbeing of New Zealand children. Within this broader debate our role will be to ensure that the priority needs of Maori and Pasifika children are articulated.

“This is no level playing field, and what we are watching is the emergence of a brown underclass in New Zealand.”

Mana Ririki advocates two specific strategies to address child poverty:

1. A Universal Child Benefit
2. Increase parents reading to children

“There have been a number of reports on child poverty and child maltreatment, and they typically offer a very broad range of solutions.

“What we propose are two reasonably straight-forward, but highly impactful policy solutions to address family income, and lift literacy and educational achievement in low decile areas.”

Anton Blank will speak at the launch of Tick for Kids today in Auckland.

ENDS

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