INDEPENDENT NEWS

A Xmas promise for Kiwi kids

Published: Thu 18 Dec 2003 04:40 PM
BARNARDOS NEW ZEALAND
Thursday 17 December 2003
MEDIA RELEASE
For immediate use
A Xmas promise for Kiwi kids
''It’s good news for New Zealand,'' said Murray Edridge, Chief Executive of Barnardos when welcoming Dr Cullen’s commitment to a 2004 social dividend in his Budget Policy Statement. “After bearing the brunt of economic policies for a generation, children of low and middle income families are promised long-overdue relief. It is exciting to know that Dr Cullen’s Future Directions package will be the centrepiece of next year’s budget.”
“Dr Cullen’s Budget Policy Statement is short on specifics however so we must await the budget itself for the detail. He is correct in focusing on income support, incentives to move from being on the benefit to paid employment, housing. Progress on the Early Childhood Education Strategy is essential as is the continued roll out of the Primary Health Care Strategy.”
“In making the transition from benefit to work more attractive we want to see
- an increase in the minimum wage to make work more attractive
- more assistance with the cost of early childhood education and care which is especially important for working single parents
- the removal of the discriminatory child tax credit which in practice has punished the children of beneficiaries, and
- its replacement with tax incentives which are non-discriminatory.”
“It is going to take more than one budget to eliminate child poverty. However the budget announcements reflect a necessary investment in the reduction of child abuse, improved health and education outcomes, and future national productivity,” Murray Edridge concluded.
For more information about Barnardos log on to www.barnardos.org.nz.
ENDS.

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