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Te Pāti Māori: Govt Response To Child Poverty Rates ‘Disgraceful’

Te Pāti Māori is taking the Government to task after the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction called child poverty statistics released last week ‘encouraging’, despite there being no change in poverty rates from the previous year.

Stats NZ’s child poverty statistics for June 2022 showed 1 in 10 children in Aotearoa live in material hardship. The story is much worse for Māori and Pasifika, with 1 in 5 Māori and 1 in 4 Pasifika tamariki living in poverty. The rate of poverty for tamariki with disabilities is 1 in 5, but Stats NZ have no data on tamariki Māori with disabilities.

“This is a blight on our country that shows our government is not investing in our tamariki and their whānau. For the Minister to call these stats ‘encouraging’ when 120,000 children, and 1 in 5 tamariki Māori live in poverty is disgraceful” said Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

“The reality is likely worse than these figures show, given the that the whānau struggling the most, who are homeless, living in cars, garages, and motels, were not even surveyed.

“The government cannot reach our most vulnerable people unless we empower whānau, hapū, iwi and community leaders on the ground who are connected to and trusted by our Māori, Pasifika, and transient whānau.

“Aotearoa is experiencing the worst cost of living crisis in generations. Everything has gone up but people’s wages and benefits. Food has gone up by 12% in the last year alone, so to have no real change in our poverty stats means whānau are actually worse off” said Ngarewa-Packer.

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“We need transformative policies that uplift struggling whānau instead of exploiting them through an unfair tax system. This means new taxes on wealth, capital gains, financial services, ghost houses and pollution. This means removing GST from kai.

“Our government’s goal should be to eliminate poverty, not maintain it. We cannot settle for ‘steady’ when it comes to our tamariki” Ngarewa-Packer said.

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer will be asking the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction, Jan Tinetti, to clarify her comments at Question Time today.

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