Three more years of National will see even more New Zealand kids growing up in severe poverty because John Key has announced no plans during the election campaign to reduce child poverty, says the Green Party.
Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is campaigning in Wellington today promoting the party’s $1 billion plan to reduce child poverty.
“Just last week John Key said he's confident his government has done everything it can to reduce child poverty. In fact, thirty five thousand additional children are growing up in severe poverty than before John Key came to office in 2008,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.
"The Prime Minister confirmed this last week when he told the Sydney Morning Herald ‘Our opponents say more children are living in poverty than when we came into office, and that's probably right."’ That’s the one statement on child poverty he is correct on.
“National has announced no child poverty alleviation policies this election, despite many polls identifying it as one of the most important issues facing the country.
“All the experts agree that a range of new policy measures are needed immediately to reduce child poverty and just crossing your fingers and waiting for the economy to grow isn’t going to cut the mustard. Children need food, housing and a decent income right now.
“The Green Party will roll up our sleeves and tackle child poverty and its effects on our kids.
“The Green Party has announced a billion dollar plan to reduce child poverty. Ensuring that every child in New Zealand has enough to thrive is one of the biggest moral and economic challenges of our times,” said Mrs Turei
The Green Party's billion dollar plan to reduce child poverty includes:
- A new Children’s Credit that will give an extra $60 a week to families currently missing out, at a cost of $400 million a year;
- A non-discriminatory Parental Tax Credit of $220 a week in the first weeks of life for the poorest children, costing $29.4 million a year;
- A $500 million per year investment in children’s health and education initiatives to reduce the harm caused by poverty, including free school lunches and nurses in decile 1 to 4 schools and free GP visits up to age 18.
- Increasing the minimum wage to $18 an hour by 2017
“National treats child poverty as inevitable, we say it is solvable. Child poverty can be eliminated. We have the tools and techniques. It is simply a matter of choice,” said Mrs Turei.
“The Green Party is committed to eliminating child poverty in New Zealand. Our suite of initiatives will significantly raise incomes for the poorest families in New Zealand.
“Voters have a real choice on September 20. A Government prepared to tackle poverty and inequality, or a Government in denial of both.”