Coalition for kids urges bold action on child poverty
Coalition for kids urges bold Government action on child poverty
The Tick for Kids* coalition is welcoming early indications from the Prime Minister that the Government will take continued action on child poverty as it begins its next three year term. Tick for Kids partners will work with the new Government to support this action and the positive outcomes it will bring to children in New Zealand.
Tick for Kids spokesperson and National Advocacy Manager for UNICEF NZ, Deborah Morris-Travers, said, “The previous Government took some steps to reduce the impact of poverty on children, with breakfast in schools, screening for Rheumatic Fever, insulating more homes and trialling a Warrant-of-Fitness for State houses.
“There is however a recognised need for more systematic and coordinated action to help families meet the basic needs of their children, by ensuring adequate income and affordable housing, supporting and educating parents, strengthening social infrastructure in communities, and providing accessible, affordable, and quality early childhood education.
“Public opinion polls in the lead up to the election showed a high level of public interest and concern about children living in poverty and nearly every political party announced new policies to address children’s health and well-being. The message that it takes a child to raise a country is resonating with New Zealanders and across the political spectrum.
“The Prime Minister has said he wants to govern for all New Zealanders. One quarter of the population comprises children and they are our most vulnerable citizens. Their development and contribution to our society depends on living in families, communities and a society that values them and provides what they need.
“Children have a right to a standard of living that supports their physical and mental development (Article 27 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child). However, successive Governments have failed to ensure this right is upheld, leading to 260,000 children missing out on nutritious food, warm housing, and educational opportunities.
“We welcome all government measures to meaningfully improve the lives of these children and encourage the Government to forge cross-party agreements so that investment in children is sustained.
“Every year that child poverty is ignored costs the nation another $6-8bn in public expenditure and means children miss out on achieving their potential. All New Zealanders will benefit from measures that improve child health and well-being because of the contribution healthy, educated, protected and participating children will make to our society and economy,” said Ms Morris-Travers.