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Child Poverty outrage nothing new, laments City Missioner

Child Poverty outrage nothing new, laments City Missioner

Successive governments have failed to address child poverty, years after the Auckland City Mission first championed the cause of eliminating child poverty, says City Missioner Diane Robertson.

Inside New Zealand: Inside Child Poverty - A Special Report screens on TV3 on Tuesday at 7.30pm. It explored the last 100 years of child welfare in New Zealand, focusing particularly on child health and how much it has deteriorated during that time.

Diane Robertson says the Mission was one of the first social service organisations to raise the issue of child poverty 12 years ago.

“Since that time we have watched the situation for our children get worse, not better.

“Here at the Mission, we are seeing more and more families coming to us in desperate need, with children who are not being fed, clothed or housed adequately, and who are not receiving adequate medical care. The demand for food parcels alone has skyrocketed.

“While successive governments have said they will do everything they can to address the issue, nothing much has changed. While they are talking and not acting, more and more children are going hungry, suffering from preventable third-world diseases and well on the way towards becoming dysfunctional adults.”

Diane Robertson says the endless delays in implementing effective change have condemned thousands more children to living in poverty in New Zealand for years to come.

“Meanwhile organisations like the Auckland City Mission are left to pick up the pieces, while struggling to secure funding and receiving very little government assistance.”

This Christmas the Auckland City Mission will give out thousands of food parcels, Christmas presents and Christmas hampers to families and individuals in need. It will also host New Zealand’s largest Christmas Dinner at the Viaduct Events Centre on Christmas Day.

“But this is just a small part of our work. We are committed to offering support and practical assistance to those who need it 365 days a year, as well as advocating strongly on issues such as injustice, inequality and child poverty in this country. We cannot afford to stop fighting on behalf of our children,” says Diane Robertson.

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