Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Entrenched child poverty no cause for celebration

Entrenched child poverty no cause for celebration

Child Poverty Action Group says high child poverty rates have become normalised and New Zealand's poorest children should expect a far greater level of ambition for their well-being.

Spokesperson Assoc Prof Michael O'Brien said, "We are living in an era of severely diminished expectations if a small reduction in child poverty, back to 2008/9 levels, is hailed as progress. These numbers have been around now for the best part of two decades and give no cause for celebration. In effect we have accepted a terrible situation, which affects the lives of one in four children, as the 'new normal'. Clearly, child poverty is too big to be dealt with by the Government's current piecemeal approach. This problem requires an immediate and substantive response from government, especially around income improvements for our most vulnerable citizens."

Michael O'Brien said new data released by the Ministry of Social Development indicates those living below the poverty line are worse off than before, and that children in beneficiary households are in a desperate position due to the inadequacy of benefits.

"Government spending on income support for families under Working for Families is gradually falling over time and many parts of it are not properly adjusted for inflation. Poorly designed children's income support is a major factor perpetuating child poverty. Removing the discrimination of the In Work Tax Credit would significantly reduce poverty."

The MSD's Household Incomes report says, "there is evidence here that there is a growing gap between the incomes of those heavily reliant on the safety net provided by main working-age benefits, and the rest." Michael O'Brien said, "Given there was a rise of 4% in median real income for households between 2011 and 2013 it is clear that beneficiary incomes are falling behind wages at an even faster rate than previously.

"The Minister has said the government recognises more needs to be done to support our most vulnerable families. Acknowledging that child poverty is a problem for New Zealand is an important first step to finding effective solutions."

Michael O'Brien said government needs to take a comprehensive strategic approach to child poverty, to address the issues effectively. This requires having an official measure of child poverty and targets to reduce it. "While child poverty is already monitored and measured by the Ministry of Social Development in these comprehensive annual reports, what is missing is the commitment to achieving improvements in a meaningful way."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Minister of Finance: Plan Shows $100 Billion Infrastructure Projects

Finance Minister Bill English has today launched the Government’s Ten Year Capital Intentions Plan (CIP) which shows a pipeline of $100.9 billion worth of infrastructure projects over the next decade. More>>


Werewolf: Safe Landings Gordon Campbell on the safety challenge to the Wellington runway extension.

The safety-related legal challenge revolves around the size of the 90 metre long Runway End Safety Area (RESA) being proposed for the runway extension. More>>


Environment Commissioner: We Need To Work Together On Climate Change And Farming

“The debate around agricultural emissions and the ETS has been polarised for too long,” said the Commissioner. “But the ETS is not the only way forward – there are other things that can be done.” More>>


NZ Super Fund: Seeking To Put A Market Price On Climate Change

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Superannuation Fund says it will devise a set of rules to assess investment winners and losers under climate change, a strategy that could rule out fossil fuels or producers such as current portfolio member Exxon ... More>>


Rejuvenation: Parata Will Not Contest 2017 Election

Education Minister and National List MP Hekia Parata has today announced that she will not be contesting the next election. She advised the Prime Minister of her decision earlier this year. More>>

Prisons Grow: Government Approves Plans For Increased Prison Capacity

Despite significant progress in reducing crime the number of prisoners has increased faster than projected. This is because the proportion of offenders charged with serious crimes has risen, meaning more people are being remanded in custody and serving more of their sentences in prison. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Plastic Bag Activism, And Street Harassment

Amusing to see the Act Party experiencing another outbreak of young fogey-ism. What has aroused the ire of Act Leader David Seymour this time is the introduction of a Greens private members bill to the ballot process, calling for a 15 cents levy on plastic bags to reduce pollution. More>>


Unclear Weapons: US Navy Ship Cleared To Visit NZ For Navy's 75th

United States Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key... “The process for considering the visit by the USS Sampson is the same as that used for all ships attending the International Naval Review." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news