The Children's Commissioner's 'Solutions to Child Poverty' report, released today, reinforces the need to improve family incomes to ensure all New Zealand children get a good start in life and can fulfil their potential, the Green Party said today.
"New Zealand's future depends on us all making an investment in our poorest kids now," said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.
"The Children's Commissioner's expert report recommends a universal child payment as a key step towards ensuring all our children have the best possible start in life. The Government should listen to that recommendation.
"We support a universal child payment as the best and fairest way to ensure that all children, not just some, have the opportunity to have a good life, and a fair, bright and prosperous future.
"Poverty and low incomes prevent too many children from being able to enjoy the same opportunities that other children have to grow up and reach their full potential.
"That's unfair for children living in poverty now, and it is a tragic waste for our country. We have an opportunity to implement these recommendations to rebuild a fairer and more egalitarian society.
"This Government has refused to implement policies that would ensure all parents have enough income to provide for their children's needs. That has led to increases in poverty and is a trend we need to reverse.
"Yesterday saw the release of the 2012 NZ Children's Social Health Monitor Update, which clearly demonstrated the link between poverty and child illness and death.
"John Key showed how out of touch he was when he blamed culture for overcrowded houses rather than lack of income which is forcing families into unhealthy accommodation.
"John Key is trying to deny the effect that poverty has in sending our kids to hospital with third world illnesses and families into unsuitable housing.
"This Government has no aspiration for our poorest children. Their policies do not lead our kids to a brighter future at all.
"The Government needs to be doing all it can to allow these children to meet and exceed their potential, rather than building further road blocks to put in their way."