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

 

Child Poverty Monitor Launch And Technical Report

Bold action needed to prevent worsening of child poverty after Covid-19

One in every five children in Aotearoa New Zealand is living in income poverty, with bold action needed to prevent Covid-19 making low income and hardship even worse, according to the latest Child Poverty Monitor.

Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft, Otago University and the JR McKenzie Trust will launch the 2020 Child Poverty Monitor today at a special event at Parliament hosted by Prime Minister and Child Poverty Reduction Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“We all want every child in Aotearoa, no matter their background, to have the support and opportunity to flourish,” says Commissioner Becroft.

“But for the past 30 years New Zealand has knowingly excluded a large group of tamariki from that vision. Large numbers of tamariki are still being denied what they need to thrive, a situation that Covid-19 could make worse – if we let it.

On the most recent data, just over 13 percent or 150,000 of all tamariki experience material hardship. This means they live in households unable to afford six or more essential items including having enough to eat, fresh vegetables, and warm clothes.

About 235,400 children live in low-income households*. That’s about 20.8 percent of all people aged under 18 years.

“These are not statistics in a vacuum. The tentacles of poverty reach into every aspect of children’s lives,” Commissioner Becroft says.

“About a quarter of children live in damp and sometimes mouldy homes, and children living in areas with the highest levels of deprivation are twice as likely to end up in hospital than children in the least deprived areas.”

Income and hardship data in the Monitor are based on the period up to June 2019, and show the country was roughly on track to meet the Government’s 2021 targets under the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018. But Treasury has warned that COVID-19 may increase poverty and hardship rates further.

“Whether Covid-19 worsens outcomes for tamariki depends entirely on how Government and all of us respond,” Commissioner Becroft says.

“Just as we came together to keep each other safe from Covid-19, we can choose to solve poverty and set a better course for our children’s future.

“Covid-19 must the reason to do more for our tamariki, not an excuse to do less”.
Robyn Scott, Executive Director of the J R McKenzie Trust, says New Zealand is facing big decisions about the priority it puts on the wellbeing of children post COVID-19.

“Government responses to Covid-19 including wage subsidies, a small increase in benefits, and the temporary doubling of the Winter Energy Payment were a great start. But business also needs to play a part with better pay and conditions, and opportunities for people to develop,” Ms Scott says.

Dr Mavis Duncanson of the University of Otago says the response to Covid-19 showed transformational change was achievable. “It’s entirely possible, for example, to set family incomes at liveable levels, starting with immediate adequate income support. This is one way to relieve pressure on whānau and give children a real opportunity to thrive.”
Commissioner Becroft is calling for three key solutions:

1. Raise family incomes by increasing benefits, enabling people to live with dignity
2. Increase the supply of state and social housing and bring in new ways to manage rental costs and quality
3. Help families meet their immediate needs, for example by expanding the food in schools programme and extending free medical care to everyone under the age of 18.

“The Government, with cross-party support, laid strong foundations on which to build better progress for children. These include the Child Poverty Reduction legislation, the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, and linking benefits to wages. Now, our children need some walls built on those foundations – big, bold permanent changes that ensure all tamariki have what they need to flourish,” Commissioner Becroft says.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Demise Of The Tokyo Olympics

As the Covid vaccines roll out around the world, the Tokyo Olympics are looming as a major test of when (and whether) something akin to global normality can return – to international travel, to global tourism, to professional sport and to mass gatherings of human beings. Currently though, it looks like a forlorn hope that Japan will be able to host the Olympics in late July. Herd immunity on any significant scale seems possible only by December 2021, at the earliest... More>>

 

Oranga Tamariki: Chief Executive Grainne Moss Steps Down

Controversial Oranga Tamariki chief executive Grainne Moss has decided to step down. More>>

ALSO:

USA: Prime Minister Congratulates President Joe Biden On His Inauguration

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter ... More>>

ALSO:

New Zealand Government: Cook Islanders To Resume Travel To New Zealand

The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such ... More>>

ALSO:

A New Year: No politicians at Rātana in 2021

Annual celebrations at Rātana pā will be different this year, amid a decision to hold an internal hui for church adherents only… More>>

ALSO:

Government: New Public Housing Plan Announced

RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON DR MEGAN WOODS The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government ... More>>

Government: Pre-Departure Testing Extended To All Passengers To New Zealand

To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. More>>

ALSO:

Covid: Border Exception for 1000 International Students

The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began....More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels