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New Zealand’s kids worse off under zero budget

Social Development Spokesperson
Spokesperson for Children


New Zealand’s kids worse off under zero budget

The budget is bad news, full stop, for children and their families, says Labour’s Spokesperson for Social Development and Children Jacinda Ardern

“All of the key indicators available to the Government point to a crisis for our kids. Rates of preventable hospitalisation and infectious skin diseases are up as are child protection notifications. There are now 270,000 Kiwi kids living in poverty.

“This budget, the Government needed to act urgently on their behalf. Sadly, it didn’t.

“Rather it makes life worse for them, with rates of income inequality set to grow and the share of income in the economy going to working people forecast to fall in every year to 2016,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“This failure is off the back of school principals noting just last week the rising numbers of working poor/working class families - some with parents working two jobs on the minimum wage - who are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.

“The principals are right to point out the strain that this is putting on those parents and on their kids’ learning.

“The reality is that New Zealand’s low-wage, low-growth economy is hurting our kids. The Government’s claim that it has invested, and is investing, in children is simply a fallacy.

“Early Childhood Education, which was touted as a flagship part of the budget, has also been hit with a funding freeze – and that’s on top of cuts that have already resulted in higher fees.

Another ‘flagship initiative’ of this government has been its welfare reforms, which it claimed in its pre-budget announcement would see $287.5 million spent over the next four years. A whopping $206 million of that is reprioritised money.

“With the budget for social development indicating there have been subsequent cuts to care and protection services, youth justice services, prevention services and family and community services, the Minister needs to come clean as to what she has sacrificed for her shallow welfare reforms - and what these cuts will mean in real terms for our families, our communities and the NGOs who do an incredible job on their behalf,” said Jacinda Ardern

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