Whangarei Child Poverty Action Group
27th May 2016
Disappointing Budget fails children again
80 community members who attended the Whangarei CPAG post budget lunch today left disappointed and angry at the lack of
solutions to child poverty provided by the Government in the 2016 Budget.
People came to find out how the 2016 Budget would address the hardships they see daily faced by children, young people
and families. People were aghast at the Government’s inaction in the face of the poverty crisis.
“This budget does nothing meaningful for children living in cars or sleeping in garages – my fear is that emergency
housing will become normalised. We need good quality affordable homes for families on low incomes – this budget does
nothing to deliver that,” says Adrian Whale, Whangarei CPAG member and chair of Tai Tokerau Emergency Housing Charitable
“We’ve begun to tolerate poverty in a way we’ve never done before, poverty has fallen off the agenda of this Government
and fallen completely off the agenda in this Budget. It is clear that the Government has no coherent strategy for
eliminating or even reducing child poverty,” says Ngaire Rae, Whangarei CPAG spokesperson.
The government has underinvested in social services for years and the line of investment they’ve undertaken will mean in
another five years the level of child poverty will be catastrophic.
We need to see an increase in benefit levels for families on low incomes, increased social housing availability, and the
inadequacies of the Working For Families package fixed. “Income matters and until incomes are increased for our poorest
families we will not see any real change,” said Ngaire Rae.
The gathering heard about health and housing by Nevil Pierse, from He Kainga Oranga, Wellington School of Medicine, Mike
O’Brien from CPAG who gave an analysis of the Budget. This was followed by a discussion on the issues faced by low
income families in Whangarei.
Nevil Pierse described the Budget as “tragically disappointing” considering what is known about the impact of poor
housing on our children’s health. He presented research which linked cold, damp, overcrowded, mouldy housing to 300
child deaths over the last 14 years. “While some people are making a killing on the housing market, our children are
being killed by poor housing” said Adrian Whale.
Whangarei CPAG stated clearly that the Government’s acceptance of child poverty is intolerable and we will continue to
demand a clear commitment from decision makers to take meaningful action to improve the lives of families in need.