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Bennett dodges serious poverty issue

Social Development Spokesperson
Spokesperson for Children
16 August 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Bennett dodges serious poverty issue

Child poverty will never be resolved by a Government that refuses to acknowledge the scale of the problem, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson and Spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says.

After releasing submissions on her Green Paper on vulnerable children earlier this week Paula Bennett said that ‘there is, in New Zealand, no actual poverty line’ and that she does not see the measurement as a ‘priority.’

“That is in complete contradiction to a call from Treasury - made to the ministerial committee on poverty - that, as a country, we need to gain a better picture of poverty.

“Now Ms Bennett also appears to be unwilling to stand by that Green Paper, which clearly states that ‘nearly 20% of New Zealand children live in poverty’.

“When asked if she agreed with this statement, she refused to answer, instead replying that children move in and out of poverty on a daily basis and that ‘she hasn't measured [how many were in poverty] today’.

“Given Ms Bennett’s frivolous treatment of what is a hugely serious issue, the public have every right to question her commitment to it.

“As UNICEF rightly points out in the scorecard of OECD nations on child poverty issues; ‘what is to be gained by measuring and comparing....the answer lies in the maxim to improve something first measure it’.

“The message is clear. Either Paula Bennett doesn't want to admit to the scale of the problem, or she is afraid of exposing her government’s lack of progress in fixing it.

“Either way, she is letting the Kiwi children who are living in poverty down,” Jacinda Ardern said.

© Scoop Media

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