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'Tis the Season of Child Poverty And Hardship

11th Dec 2019


The grim statistics set out in the Child Poverty Monitor report issued this week underscore yet again the need for bolder action to reduce entrenched inequality, Peter Malcolm, spokesperson for the income equality project Closing the Gap, said today.

"The 80-page report paints a sadly familiar picture of inequality and child poverty across all areas of life, from health to housing to food security to education," Mr. Malcolm said.

"We strongly endorse the call of the Children's Commissioner, Andrew Becroft, for bold and sustainable action on the part of the government," he said. "So many opportunities have been missed, particularly around making the tax system, tackling the housing crisis. And significantly increasing benefits as per the WEAG report"

According to the report, housing continues to be huge factor in child poverty, with a quarter of a million children — 23 percent — living in households with less than half the median income after housing costs.

Mr Malcolm said the government would fail to achieve its child poverty reduction targets unless it stepped up its game and made structural changes to address inequality in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Child Poverty Monitor report itself notes that the 20 percent of New Zealand households with the highest incomes get 42 percent of the total income, whereas the lowest 20 percent receive only 7 percent of the total income.

"For tens of thousands of children and their families, it looks like the holiday season this year will again be a time of hardship, not joy," he said.

REFERENCES:

Child Poverty Monitor 2019: http://nzchildren.co.nz/
Children's Commissioner's statement: https://www.occ.org.nz/publications/news/childpoverty2019/

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