Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development
8 July 2014Media Statement
Child poverty reducing
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has welcomed the latest Household Incomes Report showing child poverty has
fallen three percent.
“Today’s release shows we are making progress. From a survey conducted between July 2012 and June 2013, findings show
that median household incomes rose four percent in real terms in the two years since July 2011,” says Mrs Bennett.
“While the gains since 2011 were shared reasonably evenly across incomes, the global recession in the two years previous
impacted slightly more on lower incomes. The report also shows that trend-line inequality has remained flat.
“This latest research shows New Zealand households have bounced back. In the past year 84,000 more jobs have been added
to the New Zealand economy, 8,600 sole parents have come off benefit in the past year and there are nearly 30,000 fewer
children in benefit dependent households compared to two years ago.
“Nevertheless the Government recognises more needs to be done to support our most vulnerable families.
“Which is why, on top of free breakfasts to all schools that want it, a social worker in all decile 1-3 schools and
warming up nearly 300,000 homes, we are in this year’s budget investing nearly $500 million over four years in services
and support for families.
• $171.8 million to boost the paid parental leave scheme. Paid leave will be extended by four weeks – starting with a
two-week extension from 1 April 2015, and another two weeks from 1 April 2016. The eligibility of paid parental leave
will also be expanded to include caregivers other than parents (for example, permanent guardians), and to extend
payments to people in less-regular work or who recently changed jobs.
• $42.3 million to increase the parental tax credit from $150 a week to $220 a week, and increase the entitlement from
eight weeks to 10 weeks, from 1 April 2015.
• $90 million to enable GPs to offer free doctors’ visits and prescriptions for children under the age of 13, starting
on 1 July 2015. Over 400,000 more children will benefit by including six- to 12-year-olds.
• An additional $155.7 million to help early childhood centres remain affordable, meet demand pressures and increase
participation towards the Government’s 98 per cent target.
• $33.2 million in 2014/15 to help vulnerable children, including eight new children’s teams around the country to
identify and work with at-risk children and their families, to screen people who work with children, and to support
children in care.
“Recognising that housing costs are a significant issue for low income families, the Government is investing $95.7
million of new money into social housing over the next four years.
“There’s more financial assistance to help people into private rentals to free up social housing for those who need it
most, there’s new funding to grow more social housing in partnership with NGOs, and easier social housing assessment
processes with the transfer of responsibility to Work and Income
“This Government is determined to improve the lives of children in low income families by targeting resources to
services and support that are guaranteed to make a difference for those children,” says Mrs Bennett.
The Household Incomes Report for the 2012 calendar year can be found at: www.msd.govt.nz