Newsletter July 2014

Kia ora and welcome to Child Poverty Action Group New Zealand's July round-up of our news and views. 

To view the formatted version with pictures please click here

New child poverty data nothing to celebrate

New data released by the Ministry of Social Development  indicates people living below the poverty line are worse off than before, and that children in beneficiary households are in a desperate position due to the inadequacy of benefits. CPAG is very concerned  that high child poverty levels have become normalised. The problem requires an immediate and substantive response from government, especially around income improvements for our most vulnerable citizens. 

Poorly designed children's income support is a major factor perpetuating child poverty.  A large part of New Zealand's tax-funded payments to relieve child poverty are not available to the very poorest children, whose parents are reliant on welfare support benefits. An example of this is the discriminatory Parental Tax Credit for new born babies. National is increasing the payment for those who don't get paid parental leave, from $1200 to a more generous $2400 but will continue to exclude the poorest babies - whose parents are judged not to be doing enough paid work.  As with the In Work Tax Credit, the ideological basis for this is that families must be kept very poor and denied support for their children to give them an incentive to get off the benefit system and into full time work.

This is simply not good enough.  The needs of low income children do not change when parental circumstances change.  It's time to disentangle support for children from work incentives for parents. We need to support all children fairly.


CPAG AGM and political forum - Wed 30 July

 Please join us on Wednesday 30 July for our Annual General Meeting. We'll be reporting back on the past year and looking forward to the next with the election of our Management Committee for the 2014-2015 year. Nominations now open - please click here for more info  

CPAG AGM, 6.30pm & Political Forum, 7.30pm

St Columba Centre, 40 Vermont St, Ponsonby,  Auckland  

RSVP or send in your apologies here

Following the AGM, we'll be asking the tough questions about child poverty at our political forum. Come and hear candidates and spokespeople from across the political spectrum answer your questions on children's rights to quality education, health, housing and income. Can't make it on the night, but have a burning question about children's welfare?  Email us and we'll make sure your question is raised. CONFIRMED: Jacinda Ardern (Labour), Alfred Ngaro (National), Metiria Turei (Green Party), Su Cullen (Maori Party), Asenati Lole-Taylor (New Zealand First)  and Hone Harawira (Internet-Mana) and Damien Light (United Future).


Our Children, Our Choice - putting children at the centre of policy

CPAG recently launched two new policy papers in the election year policy series Our Children, Our Choice.  The papers look at the quality of education in New Zealand, particularly for the poorest children, and make recommendations that would significantly improve long term educational outcomes for poor children, starting from their earliest experiences.  

ECCE and child poverty The first years of life are when the foundations are laid for lifelong well-being and learning and it's critical we get this right. One key recommendation is that all staff in early childhood centres should be qualified, registered teachers.  Qualified teachers have the skills needed to care for very small babies and toddlers and to cater to the growing diversity in our communities.

Compulsory schooling and child poverty  As a society, we have a wonderful opportunity to help level the playing field for the poorest children through public education.  Quality schooling, that also addresses children's disadvantages outside the school gate, can help counter the worst effects of poverty and inequality on children's lives.  CPAG's policy recommendations include a reduction in class sizes for low decile primary schools and salary incentives to encourage the best teachers to teach in poor areas.  We'd also like to see decile 1-4 schools developed as community hubs to provide education, health, parenting, budgeting, community law and social services;  and free lunch and breakfast provided in low decile schools.

CPAG is publishing two more papers in the lead up to the 2014 election, on housing and family incomes.  Each paper is written by experts and recommends policies to reduce child poverty in the long term and alleviate its effects on children right now.   Click here to read more.


Transience - the revolving door


Transience compounds children's other disadvantages and is too great a problem for schools to deal with alone, says CPAG in a new report.  The issue is so bad in some areas that one principal referred to his school as having "a revolving door". CPAG surveyed 52 schools in south and west Auckland and found transience was a significant issue for low decile schools.  

Download the full report here: The revolving door: student transience in Auckland schools.


CPAG Wellington Election 2014 Discussion Series

Education and child poverty were the focus of a public discussion held by Wellington CPAG in early July.  Our guest panel of inspirational educators, Prof Jenny Ritchie, Dr Sarah Te One and Principals Janice Shramka and John Russell, gave an overview of the impact of poverty on education and the lives of children.  This was followed by a spirited discussion in smaller groups on how we, as individuals and working together, can bring about meaningful change for our most vulnerable children.  The evening's discussion notes will be available shortly.  CPAG is also building an online discussion group for further action on education and child poverty - please contact to join!

Save the Date for the next Wellington Public Discussion on Housing and Child Poverty - Tuesday 12 August, further details to come.


Child poverty in Aotearoa - all episodes available FREE online

MUST SEE TV: All six episodes of this great series are available to watch online via CPAG's YouTube channel: cpagNZ.  Catriona MacLennan talks to leading experts from a range of disciplines and organisations about the impact of poverty on children and practical solutions for change.  This is a fantastic resource for schools, training institutions, community groups and anyone interested in how poverty affects children and what needs to be done. We'd like to send a huge THANK YOU to Catriona MacLennan and Face TV (Sky Channel 83) for making the series and helping us raise awareness of child poverty in the lead up to the 2014 general election.  


It takes a child to raise a country! 

Tick for Kids this election

Child Poverty Action Group is adding its weight behind the national Tick for Kids campaign launched on June 17th.  Tick for Kids is working to make sure children are a central focus in the lead up to the 2014 election and into the next parliament with the call, "It takes a child to raise a country!" The movement is focused on creating as many local events around the country as possible, to ensure that all parties and candidates know that New Zealand voters demand action on children's issues. You can help by organising or getting involved in local events; putting questions to your candidates about their policies for children; using our key messages to spread awareness; following Tick for Kids on social media; promoting Tick for Kids in your organisation and profession; enrolling to vote, and voting for the party who you think will do their best to put children first. Tick for Kids is supported by organisations such as UNICEF NZ, the Public Health Association, the National Council of Women, the Paediatric Society, Brainwave Trust, Every Child Counts and many more.

Find out more at the Tick for Kids website

Find Tick for Kids on Facebook

Follow Tick for Kids on Twitter @tick4kids 


The Big Picture Competition 

Drawing attention to child poverty solutions

Calling all teachers and young artists! The Big Picture Competition is a chance to learn about child poverty and be part of making a difference. It's open to all schools and youth groups in New Zealand. To enter, create a big picture showing what it would take for all kids in your neighbourhood to thrive. All entries will add to the call for a national strategy on child poverty, so that we have big picture thinking on this important issue. More than $5000 in prizes to be won, including cameras donated by Ricoh and a printer donated by Epson. What's more, selected entries will be displayed in an exhibition in Bowen House at the Parliament Buildings in Wellington! Teaching resources, child poverty facts and more at:


A picture is worth 1000 words

Our posts on Facebook are shared more widely if they have a great picture!  We'd love to hear from you if you have photos, original art or children's art that you'd be happy for us to use in our promotional material.  Help us connect with as many people as we can and raise awareness of child poverty in New Zealand.  Email Gillian,, for more info.


Stop Press! CPAG Hikoi for children

Auckland, 6th September, 11am

Join Child Poverty Action Group in a hikoi for children on Saturday 6th September, at 11am in Auckland (and hopefully some other places too!)  This is going to be a really positive, fun event to show the energy and passion of all the people in New Zealand committed to giving children the best possible start in life.  We hope to see you there - more details coming soon!