The latest Salvation Army report reinforces the need for a new Government committed to action on the biggest issues facing New Zealand, the Green Party said today.
The 10th State of the Nation report from The Salvation Army, Off the Track, released today shows entrenched rates of child poverty, the highest prison muster ever, and an alarming lack of safe and affordable housing.
“The barriers that many New Zealanders are facing to living a happy life are not being addressed by this National Government,” Green Party Co-Leader Metiria Turei said.
“Child poverty has become ‘normal’, prison numbers are up, and putting a roof over your family’s head is becoming harder and harder. This isn’t the New Zealand we know and love.
“The Green Party has the solutions to ending child poverty in New Zealand, by increasing incomes, ensuring secure housing, having school lunches available for the kids that need them and many other policy initiatives.
“The thousands of children growing up in poverty right now can’t wait any longer; their health and education is seriously impacted by inadequate standards of living, leading to huge downstream costs for us all.
“John Key said he wanted to address child poverty this Parliamentary term, but failed to. Now the challenge to Prime Minister Bill English is to do better by our kids.
“The progress of a country cannot be measured just by GDP growth; it has to be measured by living standards that enable people to reach their potential and participate in our society. At the moment, lots of us aren’t.
“National’s refusal to implement the solutions needed is leading to skyrocketing emergency financial support, with more and more New Zealanders struggling to keep food on the table. The sheer amount of last-ditch financial assistance that people are having to rely upon is scary, and exemplifies runaway inequality.
“Millions of New Zealanders care about the lives of children and know that we are all in this together. The Salvation Army State of the Nation report is evidence that New Zealand works better when it’s working for everyone,” Mrs Turei said.