Government can and must target child poverty

The Government needs to stop playing politics with children’s lives and agree to child poverty measures and reduction targets, the Green Party said today.

The Prime Minister refused to commit to a child poverty reduction target on Morning Report today, following the Children Commissioner’s call over the weekend for him to do so.

“It’s ridiculous that the Government is willing to spend time and money to come up with a target to eliminate possums in New Zealand, but refuses to put the same amount of effort into reducing the number of Kiwi kids living in poverty,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

“We’ve got hundreds of thousands of kids going to school hungry every day, living in cold, mouldy houses, and getting sick with poverty-related illness.

“The reality is that if the Government finally agrees on an official child poverty definition and a target to reduce it by, the onus will then be on National to actually do something about it – and I don’t think they want a bar of that.

“John Key said he wanted to address child poverty in this term of Government, but he’s refused to take the action needed to make it happen.

“I have just introduced a member’s bill which would set an official measure of child poverty, and would measure progress across a range of indicators.

“The Green Party is open to working with all political parties to reduce child poverty in New Zealand, and there does need to be cross party agreement on this important issue.

“John Key can and must commit to measuring and targeting child poverty – children who are growing up in poverty can’t wait any longer,” Mrs Turei said. 

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