Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development
Minister of Youth Affairs
17 August 2012Media Statement
Combating poverty more important than measuring it
Addressing the causes of poverty instead of debating how it’s measured is the Government’s main focus, says Social
Development Minister Paula Bennett.
‘’The Government is committed to taking action to combat poverty. This is in stark contrast to the Labour Party which
just talks about how it should be measured,’’ Mrs Bennett says.
‘’Following recent debate on the issue, I have been misquoted in various media as saying there is no poverty line, or
it’s been reported that I don’t acknowledge that a poverty line exists.
‘’What I’ve actually said is that there is no official measure of poverty in New Zealand, and that is correct. The
actual work to address poverty – insulating homes, getting people into work, ensuring children have access to free
health care - that is the priority for this Government’’ says Mrs Bennett.
‘’Of course there is poverty in New Zealand. This has been acknowledged by the Government but it’s not a priority to
have another measure on it.
‘’Under nine years of Labour, they did nothing about introducing an official measure of poverty, yet all they do is talk
about measuring it instead of providing solutions.’’
‘’Alongside addressing poverty, the Government is also working to combat child abuse and neglect through the White Paper
for Vulnerable Children.’’
On the issue of poverty mobility, Mrs Bennett says research released this year by Otago University showed many New
Zealanders, including low income groups, regularly moved in and out of different income bands.