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Budget: A rain shower on drought-stricken land

May 26, 2016

Budget: A rain shower on drought-stricken land

Initial analysis of Budget 2016 indicates a failure to deliver adequately for children in the critical areas of housing and income, says UNICEF NZ.

“UNICEF NZ welcomes the announcement of increased funding for Whānau Ora, the investment in young people’s training and employment skills, and social investment to implement the CYFs Review to improve care and protection. These measures have the potential to improve outcomes for a small number of vulnerable children and young people, but once again the Budget misses the opportunity to invest in families and prevent vulnerability in the first place,” said UNICEF NZ Executive Director, Vivien Maidaborn.

“The new investment of $258m in social housing, including increased subsidies for income-related rents and special needs grants is desperately needed, but is insufficient to make the measurable improvements in housing availability and affordability needed in Auckland and other parts of the country.

“We can see from this Budget that there continues to be a gap between the size of the poverty and housing problems and the level of response to it. Essentially, this Budget is a rain shower on drought-stricken land – it will barely soak in to make the difference that families with children need. Children’s wellbeing requires sustained, year-on-year, investment in their families’ health, education, income and housing to ensure an adequate standard of living.

“We are also very concerned that schools appear to be taking a hit. No increase in the operational budgets of schools will increase the pressure on their ability to meet the needs of their students, and $43m over four years for 150,000 children who are at risk of underachieving works out to be just $72 per child per year. $72 per year will not make the difference needed for these children.

“The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will examine New Zealand’s performance for children in September. No doubt the Committee will welcome efforts to improve our care and protection system and other Government efforts for children, but in critical areas New Zealand’s public investment in children is missing the mark and it’s likely the Committee will criticise the limited efforts to create the social and economic conditions all children need to thrive,” concluded Ms Maidaborn.


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