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Too many children living in poverty

Deputy Leader

Maori Social Development

1 September 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT
Too many children living in poverty

New Zealand needs to urgently change the way it looks at child health and wellbeing if we are to help lift children out of a life of poverty, Labour Deputy Leader Annette King and Maori Social Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta say.

A report released today by Every Child Counts shows there are nearly 200,000 Kiwi kids living in poverty, more than 100,000 of those children are Maori or Pacifika.

“We have to do more for our children we cannot doom a generation of Kiwi kids to lives of poverty,” Annette King said.

“Labour has made a commitment to eradicate child poverty in NZ and give every child a good start in life.

“Our policy, which will soon be released, tackles income, caring, education, housing and access to health care because poverty is made up of many interrelated issues.

“In the last two weeks there have been reports showing that more children and their families are becoming reliant on benefits, more are being admitted to hospital with respiratory illness and more families, because of the rising cost of living are cutting down on buying fresh fruit and vegetables.

“That’s why Labour says it’s time for politicians to come together on this issue and develop a cross-party agreement for the sake of our children.

“We need to work together across education, welfare, health, housing and employment to help lift people out of poverty,” Annette King said.

Maori Social Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta said it’s time for change.

“Our tamariki are precious and unless politicians are willing to change the way we work on issues such as child welfare then we will fail these kids.

“Having 200,000 children living in poverty, 60,000 of those Maori and 44,000 of them Pacifika, is a simply not good enough.

"I have just attended the Maori Women's Welfare League where they too recognize that far too many tamariki and mokopuna are living in poverty and a collective effort will be needed to improve the lives of vulnerable young children - the time to take action is now.

“New Zealand can and should do better for our children. Sadly National has ignored calls for cross party talks on child welfare and has buried its head in the sand on the issue of child poverty.

“How many reports will it take for National to finally realise that it cannot continue to sit back and do nothing while Kiwi kids live in poverty,” Nanaia Mahuta said


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