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Statistics New Zealand Reports Concerning Increase In Child Poverty Rates For 2023

Statistics New Zealand's latest report on child poverty in Aotearoa paints a concerning picture of growing hardship for tamariki nationwide. The figures for the financial year ending June 2023, demonstrate a “statistically significant increase” in child poverty rates, with two out of three primary measures showing a worrying trend upward.

Key findings from the report include:

- 17.5% (1 in 6) of children now reside in households with less than 50% of the median household equivalised disposable income after housing costs.

- 12.5% (1 in 8) of children are currently living in households experiencing material hardship.

Barnardos’ vision is ‘an Aotearoa where every child shines bright’. Statistics emphasise the harsh reality that not every child in Aotearoa is shining brightly. Barnardos sees every day the impacts of child poverty through its Child and Family Services, Early Learning Services, and its 0800 What's Up helpline for children and teenagers.

"We believe that every child in New Zealand deserves a safe and stable home, free from hardship. Barnardos continues to provide long-term and immediate support to numerous families who are going through tough times due to the impacts of poverty, highlighting the pressing need for assistance," says Barnardos General Manager, Child and Family Services, Jo Harrison.

Barnardos' Early Learning services have taken proactive steps to address the challenges posed by increased living costs and rising inflation. Addressing those needs has meant Barnardos has wrapped support around families who are struggling to get by. We have incorporated plant boxes and community pantries to provide fresh vegetables for tamariki which have become a vital aspect of the centres’ efforts to support families in need.

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Barnardos supports the need to expand the data collection to include households in emergency housing and transitional accommodation, aiming to provide a more comprehensive understanding of poverty in Aotearoa. Barnardos welcomes the new government’s commitment to changes that will improve tamariki and whānau living in poverty and address the systemic issues fuelling these worrying trends.

“We support any positive steps the government will make to reverse this distressing trend of increasing numbers of children living in hardship. The government can’t do this alone. Barnardos is committed to working with government, iwi, communities, businesses, and other organisations to ensure all tamariki and whānau in Aotearoa can thrive” says Chief Executive Officer, Matt Reid.

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