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Child Poverty Measures Bill Welcomed

Child Poverty Measures Bill Welcomed

“It is the right thing to do to set clear measures to reduce poverty and make Government accountable for targets to achieve this,” says NZCCSS President Ian Hutson.

Setting measures to reduce child poverty is a vital step towards better lives for hundreds of thousands of children in this country.

Putting those measures into legislation and requiring the Government to set targets and report annually on progress to achieving them is also an important way to ensure that reducing child poverty becomes the central focus of Government policy. We look forward to seeing the Government announcing its specific targets to aim for.

Setting measures and targets is an essential step to ensure that the Government fulfils commitments it has already made to the rest of the world through the Sustainable Development Goals to halve all forms of poverty by 2030.

“We look to the Government to set ambitious targets. Achieving any significant reduction in child poverty will be challenging and will require structural changes to how we support low-income families. The government must provide strong leadership across all of its legislative programme if these targets are to be met,” says NZCCSS Executive Officer Trevor McGlinchey. “The income support currently provided through the welfare and benefit system is not enough for families to live with dignity. Changes to the benefit system coming into effect in April and the Families Package starting in July will make a difference and start progress towards achieving targets. But these changes alone will not be sufficient.”

“More will need to be done to lift the incomes for the low- income families with children. The simple steps of lifting core benefit rates further, reducing the rate at which benefits are abated and improving the way that Work & Income operates so that they ensure people get all the help they are entitled to, will all help to achieve the targets.”

Improving access to affordable housing is also critical to reducing child poverty. Housing NZ and community housing providers have central roles in housing and supporting families. Effective action to ensure in the private rental market provides healthy and affordable homes is also needed if the poverty rates, after housing costs are counted, are going to be reduced.

“NZCCSS works with social services agencies throughout the country. It is the feedback from these agencies working with families, whānau and communities living on low incomes that will help to report on progress to reduce poverty,” says Trevor McGlinchey. “In its work to reduce child poverty the Government must ensure that there is a strong and capable social sector to help achieve its goals.”

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