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Barnardos welcomes the Government’s strong focus on children

MEDIA STATEMENT: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

14 December 2017

Barnardos welcomes the Government’s strong focus on children

Barnardos welcomes the Government’s strong focus on children in the Government’s Families Package and Budget Policy Statement 2018 announced today.

Claire Achmad, Barnardos’ Manager – Advocacy says “Barnardos’ vision is An Aotearoa New Zealand where every child shines bright. We believe that the Government’s Families Package will support more tamariki to shine, and achieve their full potential.”

“We know from the work we do with tamariki and their whānau every day that for many – especially those in low-income working households – the financial boost they will receive from the Families Package will have a real and tangible impact. For some children, it will be the difference between having enough of the basics, like food and warm clothing, and not having those things.”

Barnardos particularly welcomes the Best Start payment of $60 per week per child to help with costs in all children’s first year of life, and the second and third years for low and middle-income families. “Barnardos has been advocating for some time now for the introduction of a Universal Child Payment. This is because we know all families with children in their early years face significant costs and pressures, and we believe that Government providing financial support in children’s early years on a universal basis sends a strong message that all children are valued and their potential invested in equally. The Best Start payment will begin sending that message. It will help strengthen household resilience and give parents more choices about how they spend to support their children’s development, so they can flourish. We hope to see it increase in real terms in future and be extended to more children in their early years.”

Barnardos is pleased to see the Government’s projection that its Families Package will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2020/2021. “The commitments announced today give us encouragement that the Government is acting to put children’s well-being at the centre of its policies and investment. Listening to what children say about their experiences and aspirations will also be essential to ensure Government’s policies are as child-focused as they can be.”

Barnardos emphasises that although this is a positive start – and as Government likely recognises – there will still be much more work to be done to ultimately end child poverty in New Zealand. In particular, significant efforts will need to be put into addressing the seven per cent of kiwi kids experiencing severe poverty, living in low income households and in material hardship.

Ms. Achmad says “Barnardos welcomes the shape of the child poverty reduction legislation announced in the Budget Policy Statement 2018, in particular because we want to see long-term, enduring and sustainable change for children in Aotearoa. We look forward to Budget 2018 being the first Budget reporting on how we are tracking as country to reduce child poverty. We also hope that cross-party consensus on child poverty reduction will be reached, in the best interests of all tamariki.”

“Barnardos wants to see Aotearoa New Zealand become a country where all children enjoy a childhood where they are safe, secure and loved, and where every child is empowered to grow up and fulfil their potential. Today’s announcements from Government indicate a strong commitment to giving children’s issues the attention and action they deserve, so we can begin moving in a more positive direction for all children.”

ENDS


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