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Child Poverty Monitor Shows Bold Action Required To Turn Tide On Poverty

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) welcomes the 2020 Child Poverty Monitor report released today by the Children’s Commission, Otago University and the JR McKenzie Trust, and agrees with the finding that ‘bold action’ is required to turn the tide on child poverty.

The report shows that 56% of children living in families receiving financial assistance don't always have enough healthy food to eat, and children living in high deprivation areas are twice as likely to end up in hospital than children in lower deprivation areas.

The report shows that to meet child poverty reduction targets by 2028, there needs to be ‘significant changes to the systems and structures to help families adequately provide for their children’. 20.8% of children currently live in low-income households, double the Government’s target of 10%-.

"While there have been some positive steps forward by Government, this report demonstrates we need urgent change and bold leadership to ensure no child is left behind," says Professor Innes Asher, CPAG’s Health spokesperson. "We agree with the report that there is a need for ‘sustained, transformative action’ particularly in relation to adequate incomes so every child has the same opportunities to thrive".

The release of the report coincides with the Child Poverty Action Group’s stocktake of progress by the Government in its implementation of recommendations by the Welfare Expert Advisory Group.

The CPAG stocktake found that of the 42 key recommendations, none have been fully implemented.

"After nearly two years since the release of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group recommendations, progress has been too slow, and it is to the detriment of children," says stocktake co-author Professor Asher who also served on WEAG.

"Our inadequate and ineffective welfare system continues to entrench poverty for children in households relying on income support. Children cannot wait - their minds, emotions, bodies are constantly developing and this development can be affected by chronic stress and lack of essentials," says Professor Asher

"We share the Government’s vision of a New Zealand that is the best place in the world to be a child but based on current policy settings, we're not going to get there. We need bold action, and we need it now".

-(As measured by households below 50% of median income, fixed-line, after housing costs).

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