Govt inaction on poverty killing kids

The Government’s refusal to end child poverty is putting children lives at risk as a report reveals the rate that children are dying from conditions associated with poverty has skyrocketed in the past few years, the Green Party says.

The Children’s Commissioner’s Child Poverty Monitor, out this morning, shows an additional 45,000 Kiwi kids have been forced into poverty in the past year alone, and that illness and death caused by poverty is on the rise particularly among Pacifika children..

“Something’s gone drastically wrong when Kiwi children are dying from preventable medical conditions, just because their families don’t have much money,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

“Ministers can say what they like about their management of the economy, but when increasing numbers of children are dying from preventable conditions associated with poverty its clear the Government is on the wrong track.

“The report shows that the rate that Pacifica children are dying from medical conditions associated with poverty has doubled since the year 2000, from 5.2 deaths per 100,000 to 10.3 deaths in 2012.  Children in the poorest fifth of families are now six times as likely to die from medical conditions associated with low income, like respiratory illness, than children in the wealthiest fifth.

“These are the rchilden living in cold,mouldy homes, whose families can’t afford to eat fresh healthy food, and whose parents are working for minimum wage, or out of work.

“No New Zealand child should die, or end up in hospital because their parents don’t have enough money to house or feed them properly.

“This report absolutely must be the final jolt the Government needs to enforce a basic warrant of fitness for all rentals so that kids growing up in New Zealand are at least guaranteed a home that will keep them warm and dry and won’t make them sick.

“It’s not rocket science, kids rely on their parents bringing home enough money to meet their needs. The Government can choose to make this happen by having a plan to end poverty, and by lifting the minimum wage to the living wage level, reviewing benefits so they’re enough to survive on, and ensuring houses are safe and warm.

“Our kids deserve everything the Government can possibly do to help them,” Mrs Turei said.

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