Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Child Poverty Action Group Wants To See Children At The Heart Of This Budget

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) applauds the Government for the skilful way it has led our country through this COVID-19 health crisis, inspiring an unprecedented cohesion not seen from Kiwis in many generations.

Clearly, many New Zealanders have become emboldened by working for the collective good and there now seems to be a growing desire to extend kindness to each other across our society.

CPAG would like the Government to take this opportunity and deliver a budget that extends that kindness to all, but primarily to our children who are at most risk from an economic downturn.

CPAG executive officer Georgie Craw says the existing high levels of child poverty are distressing, as we know they are to the Prime Minister and her cabinet.

"What is even more concerning is the impact of a COVID-19 related recession could have on swelling these numbers and further entrench those living in poverty," she says.

"To date we have been underwhelmed by aspects of the Government’s response when it comes to what will be most effective for supporting children."

Benefit reforms

Susan St John, economics spokesperson for CPAG says there are clear choices in this budget and the measures made to ensure the recovery of the economy must be carefully designed to also reduce inequality and poverty.

"The budget offers a unique opportunity to make long-lasting beneficial reforms that reflect sound principles which ensure all families and their children are adequately supported throughout this crisis and beyond," she says.

"The aim should be to have benefits high enough that supplementary payments are rarely necessary, and penalties for additional earnings are greatly reduced. The current penal treatment of relationship status in the benefit system must be removed. CPAG would like to see all married person rates lifted to the single rate, and all benefits given on an individual basis.

"In a world of great uncertainty about employment, the discrimination in Working for Families that denies the full package to the worst-off children in families with benefit income makes no sense."

CPAG urges the government to immediately implement policy that allows all low-income families to have the full Working for Families support. It would deliver at least another $72.50 a week to the very worst-off children in low-income families to help parents keep their children safe and well at an annual cost of around $450 million.

"This change would accord with the principle of valuing the activities of caregiving and volunteering as work, greatly simplifying child payments, and reducing the worst child poverty in a highly cost-effective way," St John says.

"It would also reduce the risk of low income families having to rely on predatory lenders."

CPAG notes these recommendations are in line with many community groups and the recommendations of the Government's own Welfare Expert Advisory Group.

Health

Professor Innes Asher, a paediatrician and Health spokesperson for CPAG, says the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a number of vulnerabilities in our healthcare system but these issues can be remedied.

"Currently, children living in poverty are more likely to get sick. Therefore we would like to see free healthcare, including dentistry, prescriptions and specialist hearing and vision care for all children and adolescents under 18 years of age. It is vital that all our teenagers can easily access appropriate and timely primary healthcare. Their health and futures should not have to rely on their families’ ability to afford healthcare, as is currently the case."

Education

COVID-19 has highlighted existing educational inequalities, most obviously in the digital divide between those students who have been able to continue their learning from home, and those who are severely restricted by the lack of access to devices.

"CPAG has long called for the removal of the hidden costs of a so-called ‘free’ public education, which many families struggle to afford." says Professor Peter O’Connor, CPAG Education spokesperson.

"The economic impacts of COVID-19 will impact on the mental health of children and young people disproportionately in existing areas of social deprivation. In recognising the vital role that schools will have in meeting the ongoing mental health needs of children post-COVID, increasing investment in support systems in schools will become even more critical."

He says, it will also be vital to ensure greater investment in funding for public education to ensure that expenditure on education becomes less of a household burden, and introduces systems to ensure that a genuinely free public education in New Zealand can be guaranteed.

Housing

Frank Hogan, spokesperson on Housing for CPAG says part of valuing the wellbeing of our children is to also have good housing policy.

"A greater emphasis must be placed on building additional public housing, with less emphasis on the Accommodation Supplement and more government involvement to reduce rents in the rental market."

Craw says some children will be severely impacted by this crisis, but this challenging time has also shown us what’s possible when a nation unites.

"The social changes we have committed to in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in our community is impressive. What else do we value enough to change? What about a world with better income support so all families can retain financial independence for themselves and fully participate in our society."

Child Poverty Action Group’s annual Post Budget event will be held at 11am, May 15.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Todd Muller Needs To Own The Privacy Leak Scandal


Whenever a political scandal breaks, party leaders have two basic options. They can confess to being in boots and all, and try to brazen it out : nothing to see here, move on. This tended to be the John Key approach. Very hard to pull that off in this case, given that it involved violating the privacy of sick New Zealanders for party political gain.
The other option is to claim innocence of this terrible, no good, highly regrettable “error of judgement” and apologise profusely for the sins of others, while absolving your own good self of any responsibility. This has been Todd Muller’s chosen path.... More>>
 

Govt: Statement From Rt Hon Winston Peters

Deputy Prime Minister and New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters has announced he is taking a short stint of medical leave this week. More>>


Isolation: Government And Air NZ Agree To Manage Incoming Bookings

Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: New Investment Creates Over 2000 Jobs To Clean Up Waterways

A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today. The $162 million dollar package will see 22 water clean-up projects ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: David Clark Resigns As Health Minister

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accepted David Clark’s resignation as Health Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Election 2020: Green Party Unveils Income Policy

The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity. The scheme resets income support payments to ensure everyone not in full-time paid work gets at least ... More>>

ALSO:


Conservation: New Protection For Dolphins

Extensive new protections are being put in place as part of an updated plan to look after New Zealand’s native Hector’s and Māui dolphins, announced Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash and Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today. More>>

ALSO:

Auckland: Water Consent Referred To Board Of Inquiry

Environment Minister David Parker has today “called in” Auckland’s application to the Waikato Regional Council to take an extra 200 million litres of water a day from the lower reaches of the Waikato River for Auckland drinking water and other municipal uses... More>>

ALSO:




Covid-19 Patient Info Leak: Hamish Walker - A Personal Statement And An Apology

I have spoken to National Party Leader Todd Muller and informed him that I passed to members of the media, by email, information containing Covid-19 patient details that was given to me by a source. I did this to expose the Government’s shortcomings ... More>>

ALSO:

PM: Labour Will Extend Loan Scheme 'lifeline' For Small Business

Labour has announced its plans to extend the Small Business Loan Cashflow Scheme and spend $162 million on a waterway clean-up package. More>>

ALSO:


Biosecurity: Winston Peters On EU Travel: 'We're Not Going To Compromise Our Country's Health'

Foreign Minister Winston Peters says New Zealanders who head to Europe on holiday should pay for their two weeks' hotel quarantine when they return. More>>

Economy: Infrastructure Investment To Create Jobs, Kick-Start COVID Rebuild

A new package of infrastructure investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister ... More>>

ALSO:

Covid-19: Isolation System To Be Beefed Up After Stress

A range of improvements are already underway to address issues identified in the rapid review of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system released today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. The review was commissioned just over a week ago to identify ... More>>

ALSO:

Election 2020: Parties Get Into Gear

ACT has today announced its list for the 2020 General Election. “The calibre and experience of our candidates will impress voters of every persuasion. We have candidates from all walks of life. People who have built their homes, families and businesses ... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels