Time for a budget to end child poverty in New Zealand

CPAG supports a major online petition launched today by ActionStation, calling for the 2015 budget to create real change for children. 

ActionStation  developed  the campaign in collaboration with CPAG,  UNICEF, NZ Council of Christian Social Services, the Equality Network and Tick for Kids partners.   The petition calls on John Key’s government to treat all low income children equally and, by doing so, boost the incomes of the poorest families. 

CPAG economics spokesperson Susan St John says, “New and significant spending is required to fix flawed policies that act to exclude the poorest children.   The government needs to spend another $1 billion as the first step to addressing child poverty, with an immediate focus on the poorest children."

If all poor children are to have the opportunities they need to grow and thrive, government must do far more than tinker around the edges of this problem, says CPAG.  The most cost effective way to boost family incomes is by removing unjust rules that bar the worst off children from getting their full Working for Families tax credits.

Susan St John says, “We could relieve the worst child poverty significantly by simply joining the In Work Tax Credit to the Family Tax Credit.  This would not only remove significant structural discrimination, which unfairly impacts on Maori and Pacific children, it would give a significant boost of at least $60 a week to the income of the very poorest families.”

CPAG is also calling on the government to fully index all parts of Working for Families to reflect inflation since 2005, and provide adequate support for all newborns -  not just those whose parents  qualify for paid parental leave. 

CPAG health spokesperson Nikki Turner says, “New Zealanders recognise that widespread child poverty is incredibly damaging to children’s long term health and well-being  and they want to see real solutions.  We know what it will take to turn around the lives of New Zealand’s poorest children, and we have the resources as a country to make it happen.  We are calling on our political leaders to have the courage to do the right thing for our children.”