Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

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


UN report on child poverty shows urgent action needed

UN report on child poverty shows urgent action needed

Source: Child Poverty Action Group


UN report on child poverty shows urgent action needed.

The recent United Nations report provides startling evidence that New Zealand has departed from its once past proud record on social issues to having a blatant lack of regard for children and families who are most in need.

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) says the report shows we are clearly failing our children. The Government must step up and take significant action.

One obvious place to start is to remove the discrimination inherent in Working for Families (WFF) to immediately improve the lives of the children in poorest families and reduce economic disparities, particularly for Maori and Pasifika families.

"Abolishing the In-Work Tax Credit and adding $72.50 to the first child Family Tax Credit at a cost of around $500m is the most cost effective way to immediately reduce child poverty. "Why doesn't the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) model this policy for its impact?" Asks Associate Professor Susan St John, CPAG economics spokesperson.

"The MSD itself says that denying this payment to ‘workless’ families’ has meant the poverty rates in those families did not improve when WFF was introduced."

The cuts to benefits in the 1990s meant families already living week to week fell further and further into poverty. Successive governments have done little to repair the damage and child poverty has recently been sidetracked intopointless debates over measurement.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

The Child Poverty Monitor reports more than 300,000 children living below the 60% measured poverty line after housing costs (AHC) - and nearly 150,000 children suffering persistent material deprivation - meaning they go without basic needs on a regular basis. The UN which has set out a number of remedial actions for New Zealand to take to honour its commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC).

"Historically our international reputation on social matters has been a source of pride but this UN report is a powerful reminder of the frailty of that reputation," says Frank Hogan, CPAG law and child rights spokesperson.

"The Government’s response to what clearly is a crisis of great proportion is a blight on our performance as a caring nation and we have failed our children, and will fail the next generation more drastically if we do not respond now, to ensure that ALL families are equipped with the means to provide their children’s basic needs from birth," said Hogan.

CPAG endorses the comments of Dr Sarah Te One, Action for Children and Youth Aotearoa (ACYA): "New Zealand is at a turning point in the way we, as a nation, regard children and their rights. We need to make sure there is increased concern on issues that impact on children, and that the measures to make sure policies, practices and service delivery are child-centred are implemented well."

CPAG says it is high time Government stopped quibbling over measurements, when we do in fact have ones that are effective and internationally recognised. Government should respond most urgently to the raw and staring facts. Poverty is escalating, children are suffering and homeless numbers are rising. We need only to look to the overwhelmed charities who are unable to meet the demand for financial support and food parcels for evidence. Fixing the flaws in Working for Families is the best place to start.




© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Perils Of Joining AUKUS Pillar Two

The lure for New Zealand to join the AUKUS military alliance is that membership of only its “second pillar” will still (supposedly) give us access to state of the art military technologies. As top US official Kurt Campbell said during his visit to Wellington a year ago:
...We've been gratified by how many countries want to join with us to work with cutting-edge technologies like in the cyber arena, hypersonics, you can go down a long list and it's great to hear that New Zealand is interested...


Government: Backs Police To Crackdown On Gangs
The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell. “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase... More

Government: Retiring Chief Of Navy Thanked For His Service

Defence Minister Judith Collins has thanked the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, for his service as he retires from the Royal New Zealand Navy after 37 years. Rear Admiral Proctor will retire on 16 May to take up an employment opportunity in Australia... More

Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More

Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More




InfoPages News Channels


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.