The Green Party will double the Best Start payment and make it available for every child under three years of age - and it will be paid for with a fair tax system.
“Parents all over the country are being forced to cut back on food to pay the bills. Our plan to double the Best Start payment will help make sure parents and caregivers have everything they need to give their children the best possible start in life,” says Greens Co-leader Marama Davidson.
“One in 10 children are growing up in poverty. For Māori, it is one in five. How is it possible that in a wealthy country like ours there are thousands of children without enough to eat, a good bed, warm clothes, and decent shoes?
“What happens in the first three years of a child’s life can have an impact on the rest of their lives. When these early years are a time of stress for whānau, it can have long-term consequences for our kids and their wellbeing.
“That is why the Green Party would ensure all families have what they need for these early years, by doubling Best Start from $69 a week, to $140, and make it universal for all children under 3 years.
“This universal payment for the first three years recognises that just like in our older years through superannuation, the very first years of a new baby’s life are a time when every family needs extra support.
“Doubling Best Start and making it universal is part of the Green Party’s Income Guarantee - a fully costed plan to make sure everyone has enough for a decent life.
“Under this plan we’ll also reform Working for Families into a simpler, fairer system. This will provide a payment of up to $215 every week for the first child, and $135 a week for every other child, in addition to the Best Start payments. With the Green Party in Government, we can take action to guarantee every whānau has enough to get by no matter what.
“We will also continue the existing school lunch programme and expand it to reach another 135,000 tamariki.
“There is no reason for any child in Aotearoa to go hungry or to live in a damp, cold house. Poverty is a political choice. Our plan will provide lasting solutions that will guarantee everyone has what they need to live a good life and cover the essentials - even when times are tough.
“A vote for the Green Party is a vote for decent income and housing for all whānau, in climate-safe communities where people and nature. It’s a vote to pukids and their future first. Ko tēnei te wā,” says Marama Davidson.