National hiding numbers on effect of welfare penalty

The Government needs to start reporting the effects of welfare reforms on children, said the Green Party today.

A report released today by the Child Poverty Action Group notes that the Ministry of Social Development is providing no reporting on how children are impacted by benefit penalties and sanctions, which can see income support halved.

"Halving a family's income is likely to have a very negative impact on children but the Government isn't even looking into the effects of their policy on kids," said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

"If John Key is serious about tackling child poverty, he needs to come clean on how children are affected by his welfare reforms.

"It would be disingenuous for John Key to claim he wants to solve child poverty when he won't release the real extent of harm his welfare reforms are causing.

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to prove that cutting incomes to the poorest families will have a negative impact on kids. That is less money for the basics like food, health and clothes.

"We know the number of children living in poverty has gone up in the last six years, under National, with over 205,000 children now living in severe poverty.

"You don't solve child poverty by cutting incomes to the poorest kids.

"The Green Party's School Hubs policy is a great way to bring social services to children and families and ensuring that they are able to access health care and meals.

"The Green Party has a plan to help solve child poverty in this country and we once again call on John Key to engage on a cross party level to help the children of New Zealand," said Mrs Turei