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Plunket welcomes Govt investment in reducing child poverty

Published: Thu 14 Dec 2017 06:34 PM
Plunket welcomes Government investment in reducing child poverty
Plunket welcomes the Government’s Families Package as a positive step towards reducing child poverty and giving the welfare of New Zealand tamariki the priority it deserves.
“It is encouraging to see that the Government is taking action in its first 100 days to help make the difference of a lifetime in our tamariki’s first 1000 days,” said Plunket’s Chief Strategy and Performance Officer, Radha Balakrishnan.
Plunket nurses see 9 in 10 babies born in New Zealand, and sees first-hand the impact of poverty and poor housing on young families, with more and more whānau struggling to make ends meet: “The results are poor child health, stressed families and poorer outcomes for children – especially for our Māori and Pacific communities who bear the brunt of this burden on our children,” said Radha Balakrishnan.
The Government says its Families Package will put more money into the pockets of low and middle income kiwi whānau and is projected to lift 88,000 children out of poverty in the next three years. This is a 48 per cent reduction in the number of children living in poverty and provides a strong foundation for creating generational change for the tamariki of New Zealand.
“We welcome Government action to level the playing field, and address the inequity of health and wellbeing outcomes among New Zealand’s tamariki and whānau. We will be looking for further action to tackle systemic issues that are having an unacceptable impact on children’s health,” she said.
Plunket says the Best Start payment is a particularly important change, helping all families with a newborn by $60 a week in the first year after Paid Parental Leave ends, and for low to middle income families up to age three - providing families with more support during the most critical time of their children’s development.
The Best Start payment will provide universal benefit for tamariki in their first 1000 days and recognises that having a child changes everyone’s circumstances.
Plunket believes that seeing this in conjunction with other significant changes, such as the changes to Working for Families, will result in a positive change for all whānau.
Plunket looks forward to working with government and supporting them as they develop their living standards framework and child poverty reduction policy.
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