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How to Tackle Child Poverty: Lessons from the Netherlands

22 August 2012

How to Tackle Child Poverty: Lessons from the Netherlands

A new report on child policy in the Netherlands highlights the need for a cross party action plan to tackle child poverty in New Zealand, the Green Party said today.

Child advocacy group Every Child Counts commissioned a study into outcomes and spending on children in the Netherlands after a previous report showed that, although the country did not spend the greatest amount on children out of all OECD countries, it had some of the best results.

"Child poverty in New Zealand costs us billions of dollars a year in long-term health, education, and justice spending. The Netherlands Study highlights the importance of building a social and political consensus on children, investing in universal support for children, and tackling related issues like ensuring adequate, affordable housing," Green Party Children's spokesperson Holly Walker said.

“At the heart of the Netherland’s successful approach is a culture of respect for children and a broad social consensus around the important role of parents. This is about supporting parents, as opposed to the judgemental and punitive approach the Government has been taking recently

“The Green Party is committed to a cross party, cross-sectorial action plan on child poverty which would could form the backbone of such a culture shift.

“The report also highlights the benefits of the universal approach to supporting children that the Netherlands has taken.

“New Zealand could take an immediate step in this direction by passing the Green Party’s bill to replace the In Work Tax Credit with a payment for all children who need it, regardless of whether their parents work, thereby eliminating a blatant discrimination against some of our poorest kids.

“Another area highlighted by the report for strategic investment in child outcomes is housing, where in the Netherlands wider provision of social housing has made a huge contribution towards eliminating child poverty.

“Smart, green policies like the insulation of rental homes and the provision of more social and affordable housing have the potential to make a big difference by ensuring that children grow up in warm, healthy houses.

“While it is obvious that the Netherland’s economic success has played a major role in their ability to fund social programs, we still have a lot to learn about the effect of smart investment in children.

“With the government spending approximately 6 billion dollars a year on poor social outcomes that have strong links to child poverty, we can’t afford to ignore the findings of this report.”


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