Child poverty report shows need for urgent action

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

The Green Party is calling on the Government to immediately step up and provide families on the lowest incomes the support they need to thrive, the Green Party says.

MSD’s Child Poverty Report 2022 out today makes for sobering reading. More than one in ten children are growing up in material hardship. For kids in single parent households, the number growing up in material hardship shoots up to nearly one in three.

“Poverty is a political choice. With the right action, the Government can make sure every child has the best possible start in life, and are supported to grow up and thrive. That action needs to start with the urgent reform of Working for Families,” says the Green Party’s spokesperson for child poverty reduction, Jan Logie.

“Everyone in and out of work should have enough to live on and provide for their families. But as this new report shows in startling detail, incomes in Aotearoa right now are severely out of balance.

“While there has been some marginal improvement over the years, the number of children trapped in poverty is unacceptable. When combined with recent data on food prices, rising rents, and high energy bills, the findings of this report are even more sobering.

“And for children growing up with one parent, it’s even harder. The hardship rate is typically three to four times higher than for two-parent households. One of the main reasons for this is that there are fewer opportunities for paid work in a one-adult household, and Working for Families credits continue to discriminate against parents on benefits.

“Even so, MSD’s report pours cold water on the idea that work is the best route out of poverty, labelling such claims as “naïve and misleading” – which once again proves why National is utterly bereft of ideas about how best to support whānau.

“The message could not be any clearer: we need one simplified Family Support Credit that provides whānau with the income they need, no matter whether parents are in work.

“Kids’ prospects depend not only on benefit levels but also on public investment in education, housing, health and public transport.

“The Green Party has a plan for a fairer, more equitable Aotearoa where everyone has what they need to provide for their families, a roof over their heads, and food on the table. It is this kind of bold and transformative plan we need right now – and with more Green MPs we can make it happen,” Jan Logie says.

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