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Treasury off track in search for sound policies

Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group. 

Co-convenor Janfrie Wakim says the current 'investment approach' to welfare is heavily focused on ensuring children become productive members of society for the benefit of the economy, at the lowest possible cost, without regard for the total needs of children and families.  "This reflects an ideological shift away from the social goals which underpin the provision of social welfare in New Zealand, including the right of every child to security, food, shelter, education and healthcare." 

She says, "Treasury is looking at the problem through the wrong end of the telescope.  If we focus on creating an environment where all children can thrive, our economy and our country will thrive also." 

Wakim says, "Where is the evidence that Treasury is part of a joined-up government service? CPAG is sceptical about the value of contributing to Treasury's poorly publicised wool-gathering exercise, especially in such a short time-frame.  It already has access to sound research on policy that supports and protects children - from academics and community organisations like CPAG, as well as the Ministry of Social Development and the office of the Children's Commissioner.  It could also consult directly with groups like Auckland Action Against Poverty, who actually work with beneficiaries affected by welfare policy every day." 

CPAG is concerned that this is simply an attempt to put a gloss of democratic consultation on further reductions in social assistance.