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Government deserves a "D" for child poverty

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) welcomes the Salvation Army’s State of the Nation report.  The report paints a picture of a lack of leadership on crucial social issues that have a significant impact on New Zealand children.  With one in five children growing up under internationally defined poverty lines the government deserves the D fail mark.

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) welcomes the Salvation Army’s State of the Nation report.  The report paints a picture of a lack of leadership on crucial social issues that have a significant impact on New Zealand children.

A ‘she’ll be right’ attitude is failing to provide the leadership needed to ensure that the future is not one of increasing inequality and alienation.  Child poverty figures remain a disgrace with a range of evidence that the depth of poverty and family distress is increasing.

The Ministerial Committee on Poverty has had plenty of time to put forward some solutions.  But there has been not a peep.  “Does the Government have any commitment at all to addressing the structural causes of child poverty?” asks CPAG economics spokesperson Associate Prof Susan St. John.

“With one in five children growing up under internationally defined poverty lines the government deserves the D fail mark.

“Moreover the report shows that the Government’s spending on income support for families under ‘Working for Families’ is actually falling despite the recession.” says St John

This reflects changes made in the 2011 budget that reduced over time the threshold at which the full Working for Families applies, and increased the rate at which it is clawed back.  As well, families lose entitlement to $60 a week when they fail to meet the required hours of work per week.

“The safety net for children does not work for low income families affected by the recession.”

CPAG says it is urgent that all child payments paid to the caregiver are given on the same basis to all low-income children