Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Good progress on child poverty but big task still ahead

29 October 2013
Good progress on child poverty but big task still ahead, Children’s Commissioner’s expert group says

Reducing child poverty is our most important social challenge and New Zealand needs to get more serious about the task ahead, an expert group on child poverty says.

Today the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group (EAG) on Solutions to Child Poverty released a progress paper on recommendations they made in December. While the EAG says good work is underway, it recommends some urgent next steps if a significant reduction in child poverty and deprivation is to be achieved.

These include the creation of a comprehensive child poverty strategy, steps to address income poverty and improved access to affordable, good quality housing and to healthcare.
Professor Jonathan Boston, EAG co-chair says it is heartening to see the work underway by the Government, business and in the community.

“We’ve seen a more concerted effort over the last year and the range of activity is very pleasing,” he says.

“A good example was this year’s Budget – with the Government committing additional resources to addressing child poverty. This included $100 million for the Warm-Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes programme, $21 million towards rheumatic fever and $9.5 million for the KickStart breakfast programme.

“The Government is also looking more closely at the impact of poor quality housing on our children, with a Warrant of Fitness scheme to be rolled out across the state housing sector and $2.9 billion funding to expand social housing.

“Business and communities have also stepped up.  For example, significant business funding has been put into food-in-schools programmes, Dunedin City Council is looking to improve the quality of private rental accommodation and a number of charities have put money into child poverty initiatives.

“While this groundswell of work is positive, it will not be adequate given the magnitude of the challenge.  Working in a piecemeal way, no matter how well-intentioned, is no way to tackle a complex problem like child poverty.”

The EAG’s report, Solutions to Child Poverty in New Zealand: Evidence for Action, recommended a comprehensive, holistic and sustained response.

“We need a proper strategic approach, with specific poverty reduction targets and a clear monitoring and reporting framework.  A good start would be to include child poverty in the Better Public Service targets,” Professor Boston says.

Dr Tracey McIntosh, EAG co-chair says there is also a pressing need to fill the gaps in areas where children experiencing poverty are most at risk of poor outcomes. These gaps are around inadequate family income and access to healthcare and affordable, good quality housing.

“We’re recommending that the Government review the Family Tax Credit system and target additional support to where it’s needed – for younger children and larger families,” she says.

“We also think more needs to be done to tackle the shocking health of our poorest children. While better healthcare will not solve the root cause of poverty, it will help those children suffering at the sharp end. Investing more in maternity services and universal 24 hour access to healthcare and medication for all children would be a good start.

“While there is positive movement on our recommendations to improve housing, we think much more needs to be done. Children are still living in poor conditions and this is having flow-on effects on their health, educational and social outcomes. We need more quality social housing and for the Warrant of Fitness system to be implemented and extended to private rentals.”

“We’re heartened by the growing public understanding of the harmful impact of child poverty and the amount of energy committed by so many around the country. There really is no better time than now to harness the momentum and get this right for children and New Zealand. “

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Yesterday’s Big Parliamentary Air Kiss To China

In order to obtain support from the two major parties, Act Party deputy leader Brooke Van Velden twice had to soften the language of her parliamentary motion yesterday condemning China’s persecution of the Uighurs. The key word “genocide” was deleted. Evidently, the kind of resolution passed by a conservative government in the UK proved to be far too tough for a centre-left Labour government and a centre-right National opposition to countenance. Yesterday, the two major parties were united in their fear of retribution from China... More>>

 

Government: Fair Pay Agreements To Improve Pay And Conditions For Essential Workers

The Government is delivering on its pre-election commitment to implement Fair Pay Agreements which will improve wages and conditions, as well as help support our economic recovery, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. More>>

ALSO:

Public Services: Government Sets Pay And Workforce Expectations For The Public Sector

The Government’s Workforce Policy Statement issued today sets out its expectations for pay and employment relations in the Public Sector, the Minister of Finance and Minister for the Public Service say. “New Zealand has had an exceptionally successful ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: Budget 2021 Reprioritises Nearly $1 Billion

Hon Grant Robertson Deputy Prime Minister Minister of Finance The Government’s strong pandemic response and the better than expected economic recovery means not all the money allocated in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund has been spent, ... More>>

ALSO:


PM: Statement On The Speaker And Annual Review Debate

“The serious issue of alleged sexual assault and harassment at Parliament was poorly managed and inappropriately politicised last night. The tone of the debate did not reflect well on Parliament as a whole,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. ... More>>

Parliament: Mallard Fails To Give Taxpayers A Straight Answer

Trevor Mallard has confirmed he is unfit to be Parliament’s Speaker by failing to answer several important questions relating to the false rape accusation saga that cost taxpayers more than $330,000, Shadow Leader of the House Chris Bishop says. ... More>>

Local Government: Independent Review To Explore Future

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says an independent review of local government will explore how councils can maintain and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders in the communities they serve long into the future. More>>

ALSO:

PM Ardern And PM Morrison: Commencement Of Two-Way Quarantine-Free Travel Between Australia And New Zealand

Joint Statement by Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern Commencement of two-way quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand Today, Australia and New Zealand have fulfilled their commitment to establish two-way quarantine free ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels