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Report provides more reasons to invest in children

Report provides more reasons to invest in children

Another report highlighting the plight of poor children provides more reasons to invest in bringing children out of poverty, the Green Party said today.

The report, He Ara Hou: The Pathway Forward, commissioned by the Every Child Counts coalition, documents the many factors that keep thousands of Maori and Pasifika children trapped in poverty.

"One quarter of all New Zealand children are growing up in poverty, and too many of these are Maori and Pasifika kids," Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

"Child poverty is a huge problem across the board, but it is particularly bad for our Maori and Pasifika whanau. A combination of low benefits, low wages, and inadequate support prevents Maori and Pasifika kids from getting the start in life they deserve.

"As a result they suffer significantly worse health, education, and social outcomes than other kids.

"This in turn hurts their kids, and the problem becomes intergenerational. This hurts whanau, and it costs the whole country in lost productivity and increased social spending - something in the order of $6 billion a year."

Mrs Turei said that despite the litany of alarming evidence documenting the extent of the child poverty problem, it was possible to turn the situation around with a firm commitment from government.

"The real tragedy of the child poverty problem is that we have allowed it to continue for so long when there are simple, affordable, and realistic solutions available to us right now," Mrs Turei said.

"The Green Party has a plan to bring 100,000 children out of poverty by 2014. We have costed this plan and we know we can do it.

"We have four solutions: 1) extend Working for Families to make it work for every low income family; 2) provide better study support for sole parents and beneficiaries; 3) raise the minimum wage to help working parents; and 4) make sure rental properties are warm and healthy for kids.

"These solutions would be hugely beneficial for thousands of Maori and Pasifika kids. Extending Working for Families to beneficiary families would provide an extra $60 a week for the essentials to 140,000 of the poorest families in the country.

"Likewise, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would provide an extra $60 a week to working parents struggling on low wages.

"If we guarantee our kids the essentials, we guarantee them the opportunities for life.

"We have plenty of evidence showing the scale of the problem - now it's time for some political leadership to do something about it," Mrs Turei said. References:

Every Child Counts: http://www.everychildcounts.org.nz/ The Green Party's plan to bring 100,000 children out of poverty by 2014: http://www.greens.org.nz/endchildpoverty

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