Kids need help now, Prime Minister

Children in poverty can’t wait for the Budget to bring them enough food, or shoes -  they need urgent Government action in the wake of evidence that one in six kids are going without the basics, the Green Party says.

In their latest book, The Child Poverty Debate, Professors Jonathan Boston and Simon Chapple contrast the country’s focus on the needs of older New Zealanders with the poverty crisis facing children, and say one in six kids are suffering from material deprivation.

“The Government’s been making vague noises about something for kids in May’s budget, but children with empty tummies shouldn’t have to wait any longer,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said,

“The Prime Minister has access to funds that could provide schools with enough money to help meet kids urgent needs right now. If John Key knows that one in six kids are going without basics like a raincoat, a bed of their own, or enough food, he has an obligation to step in to help immediately.

“Meanwhile, the Government could put its money where its mouth is next week by voting for my Feed the Kids Bill, which would allow MPs across Parliament to work with the experts on a proper solution to feeding kids at school.

“As Professors Boston and Chapple point out, two decades ago political parties banded together to form a consensus on providing universal superannuation for older New Zealanders. The Green Party wants to be part of a modern cross-party agreement to provide the same kind of long-term commitment to children.

“All the experts agree that children need a two-pronged approach to solving their poverty problems: Kids need their parents to earn enough money, either through wages or benefits, while their immediate need for food, shelter and healthcare is met.

“A decent society ensures its children have what they need to thrive,” Mrs Turei said.