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Household Incomes Report: action on child poverty needed

8 July 2014

Latest Household Incomes Report reiterates need for urgent action on child poverty

The latest Household Incomes Report paints a bleak picture for Kiwi children. While the report shows a small drop in the number of children living in poverty, the number remains astoundingly high, with 60% of children in poverty living in chronic poverty.

The report also provides insight into the challenges faced by families on low-incomes. For example, almost half of people renting who receive the accommodation supplement are spending 50% or more of their income on rent.

“Across the board we are seeing a commitment from political parties to prioritising children and addressing issues such as child poverty. As people head to the polls in several months, it is a real opportunity for parties to take action and show what they will do to eliminate child poverty” says Lisa Woods, Every Child Counts Executive Officer.

“While we welcome initiatives from many different political parties to improve child wellbeing, including many positive initiatives in the last budget, the sheer magnitude of children living in poverty, and the numbers in chronic poverty, indicate a comprehensive plan is required rather than isolated policies”.

Every Child Counts wants to see every party commit to the development of an action plan on child poverty, including measures and targets. And the Children's Commissioner's Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty provides a blue print.

“Ending child poverty is morally, socially and economically imperative. As the population grows older, we will be more dependent on today’s children and young people to pay taxes and keep our economy going. Given we have solutions at our finger tips, there can be no excuse for inaction.

"When we look at the rate of poverty in older people, it's much lower than for children (22% of those aged 0-17 live in poverty and 7% of those aged 65 and over). It seems clear that the cross party accord that exists for supporting older people is pivotal. Parliament needs to also act in concert for our poorest and most vulnerable children" says Lisa Woods.

About Every Child Counts
Every Child Counts is a coalition of organisations working to improve the status and wellbeing of NZ children, driven by Barnardos, Plunket, UNICEF, Save the Children, and Mana Ririki.
www.everychildcounts.org.nz

ENDS

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Gordon Campbell:
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