Skyrocketing child poverty shows Govt creating a country of two halves

The Government is creating a country of two halves, with child poverty skyrocketing by 45,000 and a third of all income earners getting no benefit from the so-called rock star economy, the Green Party says.


“The annual household income survey out today is a damning indictment on the Government’s economic plan and shows it is simply not working in the interests of all New Zealanders,” Green Party co leader Metiria Turei said.


“An economy that is not working for all of us, is simply not working. When a third of all households have not seen a real rise in their incomes and their housing costs have gone through the roof, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise the economy is not working for them.


“The survey shows that an additional 45,000 children have been moved into poverty – 15,000 of them into severe poverty - in the last year alone. That is a human disaster which the Government should have avoided.


“John Key’s hands-off approach to the housing crisis, and total lack of interest in seeing incomes at the bottom rise, has pushed more and more families into income poverty. That’s a comprehensive failure to govern in the interests of all New Zealanders.


“Of course children will go without if their parents are spending more than half their income on housing. Worryingly, the report points to growing numbers of older New Zealanders arriving at old age without a mortgage free home, and predicts the poverty blighting children is likely to shift to older Kiwis soon too.


“Under National, New Zealand is becoming a country of two halves, one where if you’ve got a house, and a good job you’re ok, but if you’re renting or in a precarious work you and your children are in real trouble.


“We need to reconfigure our economy so that it is designed to work for everyone, not just John Key’s friends and those he hopes will vote for him.


“Flicking off our state houses overseas, and fighting any move to increase wages for low income earners, is not helping to spread the benefits of the economy around. Its locking the benefits away for the few.


“The Government needs a plan to address the housing crisis by building more state homes, and to  borrow some of the Green Party’s ideas for a progressive home ownership programme that will allow New Zealanders to buy them. And it needs a plan for long- term sustainable jobs that will pay enough to survive, like the opportunities posed by the clean tech industries.


“In short, we need a plan to make the country work for all of us, and John Key doesn’t seem to have one,” Mrs Turei said.