Government leaves disadvantaged children to face "most severe" COVID-19 effects
Children and their families are likely to face "significant and wide-ranging" negative effects from COVID-19, according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's own advisors.
"The most severe negative effects are likely to be felt by those who are already disadvantaged," states the official briefing to Ardern as Minister for Child Poverty Reduction.
Child Poverty Action Group Executive Director Laura Bond says the official briefing shows that inequality has worsened due to the government’s current policies. "Children need to be our central focus now more than ever. The government has a moral responsibility to ensure all families have liveable incomes, and they are not currently meeting that responsibility."
Family job loss and reduced earnings, increased anxiety and mental distress, financial and family stress, increased social isolation, and long-term effects on the education and employment of young people are listed in the official briefing to the Prime Minister as some of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"CPAG’s own research supports the official advice that child poverty will increase as a result of the pandemic: we estimate a further 70,000 children will be locked into income poverty due to the current inadequacy of government policies to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 economic fallout," says Bond. "The impacts of COVID-19 have not fallen evenly, and our recovery must prioritise supporting children who are already disadvantaged.
"There is wide-ranging consensus that liveable incomes for all our children need to be an immediate priority," says Bond. "Currently policy settings are not going to get us where we need to be and we urge the government to show leadership and act now before these negative impacts become entrenched.