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Budget A Good First Step In Recovery, Acknowledging More Needed For Children, Whānau In Long-term

Budget 2020 a good first step in COVID-19 recovery, acknowledging more needed for children and whānau in the long-term

Barnardos says that although more investment will be needed to address the long-term challenges facing children, whānau, and the organisations that help them, Budget 2020 is a good first step as Aotearoa embarks on its COVID-19 recovery.

Barnardos Chief Executive Mike Munnelly says “we welcome the Minister of Finance’s statement today that the Government remains committed to making New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child, and that investing in children will help with COVID-19 recovery and long-term economic and social outcomes”.

Mr Munnelly says that Barnardos is pleased to see positive steps taken in Budget 2020 to support child and whānau outcomes – such as early childhood and family violence sector investment, more school lunches, increases to Foster Carer and Unsupported Child Benefit payments, disability funding, social support for rural communities, and investment in Māori outcomes and youth training and employment.

He says these things should have a positive impact, at a time when COVID-19 is affecting progress towards greater income equality, better mental and physical health for children, and towards all children being safe at home and in their communities. Barnardos is urging the Government to maintain momentum on addressing these long-term issues through the recovery and rebuilding phases.

Mr Munnelly says that “we know from the work we do every day at Barnardos that there’s still a long way to go before Aotearoa is a place where every child shines bright. Where poverty is replaced by equality, where every child is physically and mentally safe and healthy, and where children and young people’s views are truly valued. COVID-19 is a significant set-back towards achieving this progress. We are very pleased, though, to hear the Government say that economic and social recovery go hand-in-hand.”

Barnardos is hoping that follow-up Budget announcements will further support the sustainability of NGO social services, which were already stretched pre-pandemic. The socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 mean that Barnardos and other NGO and Iwi/Māori social services are entering a time when demand for help will continue to rise significantly. Alongside this, Barnardos is also continuing to call for a further lift in main benefit rates, in line with the recommendations of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group, as one key step in addressing family poverty.

Mr Munnelly says that Barnardos, which has been helping children and whānau throughout the pandemic, is committed to continuing to work with government and other NGOs and Iwi/Māori organisations through the recovery and beyond, to support positive child and whānau outcomes.

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