News

Crucial for Government to monitor and measure child poverty

The government currently lacks a comprehensive strategic approach to child poverty, to address the issues effectively. This requires having an official measure of child poverty and targets to reduce it. “While child poverty is already monitored and measured by the Ministry of Social Development in comprehensive annual reports, what is missing is the commitment to achieving improvements in a meaningful way.”

Dr Turner says, “Child Poverty is simply too big to be dealt with by the Government’s current piece-meal approach.  An annual child poverty monitor from the University of Otago, supported by the Children’s Commissioner and the JR McKenzie Trust, to be released in December would provide valuable data and analysis on which to base a comprehensive plan to reduce child poverty.”

CPAG spokesperson Associate Professor Nikki Turner says it is commendable the government has programmes in place such as the Rheumatic Fever Prevention Programme to help tackle aspects of child poverty.

However Dr Nikki Turner says child poverty in NZ is a national disgrace. The government currently lacks a comprehensive strategic approach to child poverty, to address the issues effectively. This requires having an official measure of child poverty and targets to reduce it. “While child poverty is already monitored and measured by the Ministry of Social Development in comprehensive annual reports, what is missing is the commitment to achieving improvements in a meaningful way.”

Dr Turner says, “Child Poverty is simply too big to be dealt with by the Government’s current piece-meal approach.  An annual child poverty monitor from the University of Otago, supported by the Children’s Commissioner and the JR McKenzie Trust, to be released in December would provide valuable data and analysis on which to base a comprehensive plan to reduce child poverty.”

“The Minister for Social Development Hon Paula Bennett has questioned the relevance of official poverty measures and pointed out that the government is more interested in action.”

 Dr Turner says, “We agree with the Minister that poor children can’t wait while we argue over measures and we applaud her commitment. However just cherry picking isolated pieces alone will not suffice. We would have more confidence in government initiatives to effectively tackle child poverty if they were part of a comprehensive plan, with transparent targets, measurement and monitoring.  Tinkering around the edges will not solve this difficult problem.  It requires an immediate and substantive response from government, especially around income improvements for our most vulnerable citizens.”