John Key cannot continue another term of ignoring the overwhelming statistics that child poverty is the biggest challenge facing New Zealand, said the Green Party today.
On Monday night, less than 48 hours after the election, John Key continued to refuse to acknowledge the mounting evidence from the Children’s Commissioner, the Expert’s Advisory Group on Child Poverty and his own Ministry of Social Development that child poverty in New Zealand is getting worse.
“Our national identity will be defined through our actions and the stance we take, it will not be defined through symbolism,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.
“The issue of our time is child poverty and our modern national identity will be framed through how we deal with it.
“New Zealand is known for being nuclear-free and being the first welfare state. We didn’t achieve these things by changing our national symbols. We did it through being proactive and having the courage to do the right thing.
“There is room in our political agenda to deal with symbolism like the flag, but before that, we need to deal with child poverty.
“John Key has stated he wants to leave New Zealand in a better place than how he found it, but he cannot do that until he acknowledges that over 205,000 children live in severe poverty.
“At the very least John Key needs to immediately work on implementing the recommendations made by the Children’s Commissioner.
“The Green Party, again, urges the Government to look at the real issues that affect the day to day lives of our children and work on making New Zealand prosperous for everyone.
“John Key can demonstrate his willingness to commit to this issue by welcoming calls for a cross party agreement on ending child poverty. Yet again, I offer to help with this work,” said Ms Turei.