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Green Party Member’s Bill will reduce child poverty

16 August 2012

Green Party Member’s Bill will reduce child poverty

The Green Party is calling on the Government to reduce New Zealand’s shameful rates of child poverty by supporting their Member’s Bill, drawn from the ballot today, that will boost the incomes of the poorest families.

The Income Tax (Universalisation of In-work Tax Credit) Amendment Bill replaces the current system by amending the support criteria to low income families so that the payment is based on income, rather than work.

“This Bill will replace the in work tax credit with a targeted payment for all children who need it, regardless of whether their parents work,” said Green MP Catherine Delahunty.

“One quarter of New Zealand children grow up in poverty and three out of five of them are in beneficiary households. Supporting this Bill is a tangible action this Parliament can take to reducing our high rates of child poverty.

“Children have the same needs, whether their parents are in paid work or not, but Working for Families doesn't currently provide the same help to kids whose parents receive a benefit.

“The current rules are supposed to provide parents with an incentive to find work, but it doesn’t work in times of high unemployment and simply punishes their children.

“We have to ask ourselves, are we a country that is happy with a quarter of our children growing up in poverty? Or are we prepared to do something about it.

“We estimate the cost of the Bill to be around three hundred million dollars annually. That is small compared to the costs of poverty which are estimated to be around six billion dollars annually.

“We need to invest now to eradicate poverty in New Zealand. Boosting incomes and giving kids a great start in life is a compassionate action to build a more equal society.

“If the Government is serious about ending child poverty then it should support this Bill.”

ENDS

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