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Reducing Poverty Key To NZ’s Future

28 August

Reducing Poverty Key To NZ’s Future

Reducing poverty in NZ needs to be a key priority for this government according to a report released today by the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services.

The latest results from the Poverty Indicator Project show that, despite a slight drop in the overall numbers surveyed, those coming to foodbanks are in extreme need.

According to the report, nearly all those coming have annual after-tax incomes of below $18,900, the unofficial poverty line1, after household size has been accounted for.

It also shows that at most foodbanks, when housing and basic food costs are paid for over half of the households have less than $45 a week to spend on everything else. Many have nothing left over.

‘Our research reveals that many low income families do not have enough income to consistently pay for their necessities. People make choices -go hungry, don’t pay the bills or go into debt. Some do all of three’, said Campbell Robinson, NZCCSS spokesperson.

‘We think eliminating poverty is a vital issue facing New Zealand. The previous government began to address it with changes to state house rents and our research shows that people are between $10-40 better off if they live in a state house.

‘However poverty is so entrenched that it continues to require immediate action by the incoming government. A key first step would be to pick up on Labour’s promises to invest in families by reviewing Family Support and the Family Tax Credit.

‘Family Support was last increased in the 1996 budget, but by only a small amount for NZ’s poorest children. Its level and income thresholds need to be adjusted for the last decade's inflation, and then indexed.

‘Over the years many low-income families have slipped behind. This has placed pressure on family relationships, as parents find they cannot even provide the simple basics for their children. This erosion should not be allowed to continue’, concluded Mr Roberts.

-ends-

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