A new report shows the Government has failed to improve New Zealand’s shocking rate of inequality in the seven years its been in power and when it comes to education it has made the outcomes for poorer kids worse, the Green Party says.
UNICEF’S Fairness for Children: A league table of inequality in child wellbeing in rich countries report shows that kids in the poorest ten percent of families received nearly 50 percent less income each week than the average Kiwi child. It found New Zealand has one of the most unequal educational outcomes in the developed world, with educational attainment for poorer children dropping even further under National. Out of the 41 EU and OECD countries, New Zealand is placed 35th in terms of a gap between the outcomes of poor kids and the rest.
“Nothing the Government has done in the past seven years has made life better for children from poorer families, and when it comes to education, it has made the outcomes for those kids worse,“ Green Party Co leader Metiria Turei said.
“It’s time for New Zealand to deal with the shocking income gap which means a huge numbers of Kiwi children are forced to have a quality of life that’s out of step with a compassionate first world country.
“It is a massive indictment that under this Government kids from poorer families have less of a chance of escaping poverty through education than they did before National came to power.
“The National Government’s focus on ensuring its wealthy mates stay ahead is costing kids from low income families who are falling behind.
“Instead of investing in school food, teacher aides, and the support that the experts know work, Government ministers have inflicted the charter school experiment on low income kids, and even tried to save money by increasing class sizes.
“The Green Party would introduce school hubs, which will cluster health, welfare and other support services in decile 1-4 schools in order to mitigate the impact of poverty and inequality on a child's learning.
“I am also very concerned that New Zealand didn’t provide the data other countries did to enable UNICEF to measure our progress on health and social factors related to equality.
“The Government needs to get good quality information about how it’s policies are impacting on Kiwi kids,” Mrs Turei said.