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Budget delivers small change not real change for children

Budget delivers small change but not real change for children

UNICEF NZ says the Budget did not deliver the comprehensive package promised by Government but the small increase in benefit rates is an important acknowledgement of the importance of incomes in ensuring children’s wellbeing.

UNICEF NZ National Advocacy Manager, Deborah Morris-Travers, said, “The Budget is an opportunity to set policy directions, identify priorities and invest where the need is greatest, so the increased Government focus on children in poverty is important and welcome.

"However, figures show that the increase of $25 per week will not lift large numbers of children out of poverty, and in some cases families will receive less than the $25 announced yesterday.

“To lift a sole parent with one child above the poverty line, additional income of $148 per week is needed after housing costs. For a sole parent with two children, the amount is $194.* These figures indicate the Budget has delivered small change, but not real change for children."

A comprehensive package to address child poverty would require changes to taxation, much higher income support, increased Accommodation Supplements, more investment in parental literacy and education, a greater focus on quality ECE, more school-based health and social services, and freeing up resources for community-led development. It is also important that the free healthcare for children up to age 13 is available from all GPs when it takes effect on 1 July.

“Despite this, UNICEF NZ congratulates the Government for taking steps in the right direction.

"The Prime Minister has confirmed he is committed to making progress on child poverty and we will continue working with his Government to achieve real change for children.

"It is important for the nation to be clear that it is the Government’s role to create the conditions for social and economic wellbeing of families – and Government has a responsibility to do so to uphold human rights. Protecting human rights is not a function of the market,” concluded Ms Morris-Travers.

*Prof Jonathan Boston and Simon Chapple, Child Poverty in New Zealand, see: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/abb717fd0b5566533999d5d11/images/4d92fce1-ee90-4aca-8fb6-3a1487f3adcb.jpg

ENDS

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