Government trivialising child poverty

Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: Government trivialising child poverty

It is cruel and unreasonable to expect those children to wait for some kind of free market nirvana to rescue them

The National Government has trivialised child poverty, and the needs of a quarter of kiwi kids, by ignoring most recommendations from the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty, the Green Party said today.

“The National Government is in denial, both about the extent of child poverty in New Zealand and about the power it has to do something about it,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

“The Government’s official response to the Commissioner’s report yesterday is an insult to children and to the team of experts who delivered a comprehensive and doable plan to tackle child poverty.

“John Key told Parliament today that he didn’t think that setting a target for child poverty was necessary.

“John Key must tell New Zealanders what, in all honesty, he thinks is more important than committing to a plan to ensure every kid gets a fair go.

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“The experts group found that more than 20 percent of children in New Zealand are living in material deprivation – up from 15 percent just four years ago.

“That’s one in five of our precious children, who don’t own a raincoat, can’t afford to go to the doctor, and will never have friends over for a birthday party.

“John Key admitted in the house today that the children of beneficiaries are living in material deprivation. Yet he ruled out a child payment that would lift them out of poverty.

“It is cruel and unreasonable to expect those children to wait for some kind of free market nirvana to rescue them.

“The Expert Advisory Group on Child Poverty reports clearly that the immediate cause of child material deprivation is low family income and that government policy and tax income support can change that.”

The Child Poverty Action Group is back in the Appeal Court again today seeking a declaration that the in-work tax credit is unjustified discrimination against the children of beneficiaries.

“Giving all children in lower income families a child payment would lift 100,000 children out of poverty. This is the right thing to do,” Mrs Turei said.

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