News

2012 Budget: Time to budget for children

For the past 12 years Child Poverty Action Group has monitored government budgets for their impact on children.  Reflecting unprecedented community interest, this Friday morning CPAG will host sold-out post-budget events in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Whangarei.   Growing awareness and outrage show people are no longer willing to accept that child poverty and increasing inequality are inevitable.

For the past 12 years Child Poverty Action Group has monitored government budgets for their impact on children.  Reflecting unprecedented community interest, this Friday morning CPAG will host sold-out post-budget events in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Whangarei.   Growing awareness and outrage show people are no longer willing to accept that child poverty and increasing inequality are inevitable.

Economics spokesperson Susan St John says, “Many people see an urgent need to redirect resources from the wealthy and the well-supported baby boomer generation toward the poorest children, who are struggling with some of the worst health outcomes in the OECD.”

Health spokesperson Innes Asher says, “The latest research indicates that over the last 20 years children have suffered the most as a result of poor policies and recession. Yet the 2012 budget looks set to continue to place the interests of the wealthy ahead of the nation’s most disadvantaged children.”

CPAG identifies key issues for children and teens as: access to quality health and education, warm and dry housing, and income support for low income families.

So far the signs are deeply worrying. For example, the changes already signaled for this budget indicate that children living in the poorest families in New Zealand will face:

  • higher doctor’s prescription charges;
  • bigger class sizes;
  • closure of some schools serving special needs pupils and possible cuts to out-of-school care programmes;
  • a more punitive approach to welfare support;
  • more limitations for student allowances and students expected to pay off their student loan faster, even on a low income.

The previous tax cuts for the rich are being paid for by already stretched families and communities. The increase in GST has been particularly severe.  Many foodbanks and budgeting services are at capacity, even before winter. 

CPAG would like the government to follow the lead of Australia and increase family tax credits to give both low income working families and families on benefits enough income to cope with these difficult times.

CPAG believes high income earners and wealthy superannuitants would prefer a much needed improvement in social equity in New Zealand now, rather than fund the future higher costs of a generation of neglected children.