Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft says the passing of the Child Poverty Reduction legislation third reading today
is “an historic cause for celebration”.
It represents a cross-party commitment to a fundamental shift of policy for our most disadvantaged children and should
help undo 30 years of damage to children from our most vulnerable families.
“It’s great news. The real beneficiaries of this new legislation will be those 100,000 New Zealand children who are
doing it really tough,” the Commissioner says.
“It’s hard to exaggerate the importance of what this could achieve - nothing less than the reversal of 30 years of
marginalisation for our poorest children.
“Make no mistake. Child poverty continues to be a persistently harsh reality for far too many New Zealanders,” the
Commissioner says. “The Child Poverty Reduction Act is good news because it demands a concerted focus to make life
better for these children.”
Addressing child poverty has been a focus for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for more than 20 years. It has
worked long and hard to keep the issue in front of New Zealanders.
“Especially over the last 18 months, there has been a groundswell in public concern demanding change. Ordinary Kiwis
have made it clear they will not tolerate things remaining as they are,” the Commissioner says.
“We are genuinely delighted that Parliament has listened and acted decisively with such shared commitment. It reflects a
determination, shared by almost all members of Parliament, to act effectively and collaboratively.
The Act will also help New Zealand meet its international obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights
of the Child and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“The passing of the legislation today changes the game,” Commissioner Becroft says.
“It demonstrates a willingness to change the system in the interests of moving children out of poverty. And it puts in
place measures to identify progress.
“Today’s vote is an affirmation of the years of work by many, many people in New Zealand. We’ll all be celebrating.
“But the job isn’t done yet. We will also be watching closely to make sure the legislation is implemented to make the
difference we hope it will.”