Child Poverty Action Group welcomes focus on children
Child Poverty Action Group has welcomed the renewed focus on children of some of the major parties heading into the election. The Greens and Labour have made a commitment to dealing with New Zealand’s high rates of child poverty through policies that aim to directly assist families with children. The Green Party initiative on extending tax credits to cover all children regardless of their parents’ work is a particularly significant step forward.
CPAG social policy spokesperson Dr Mike O’Brien says the focus on children is well overdue. “Policies that improve financial assistance for the poorest, help parents into education so they can earn better salaries in the long run, and provide more support for very young children in vulnerable families are all to be welcomed. New Zealand’s child poverty rates have barely budged in the last few years, and it is no longer sufficient to cut social services and hope outcomes for children will somehow improve. The evidence from budgeting agencies and foodbanks suggests we need policies that target children living in poverty. We are pleased this message is finally getting through.”
However Dr O’Brien said he was disappointed that the government had refused to work with other political parties to address New Zealand’s child poverty.
“The government has stated it wants to have a discussion about child abuse and neglect. This discussion is pointless without talking about the stress caused by poverty for thousands of New Zealand households. This focus on short-term savings is just storing up big trouble for the future. We hope the government reconsiders its position, and puts up some policies that will help children, not leave them further behind,” he said.