TODAY |

Child Poverty Reduction bill 'pioneering', unashamedly bold' says Ardern as it passes its final hurdle in Parliament

Jacinda Ardern's Child Poverty Reduction bill has passed the final hurdle in Parliament and is set to become law. 

The Prime Minister today described the legislation as "pioneering" and "unashamedly bold". 

"Measuring poverty is one thing, setting goals to reduce poverty is another, but making sure that we have an action plan that captures the voice of children is critical," she said.

She said if the targets set were successful it would put New Zealand "amongst some of the lowest levels of child poverty amongst countries that we would compare ourselves to".

"More importantly than that, it will make a substantial difference to the lives of children and their families."

National's Maureen Pugh spoke of her own "poor but happy upbringing, "being brought up on an old railway house with not a great deal of money".

"The issue of child poverty certainly transcends politics," she said. "[National] are very supportive of the move to enshrine the measures that are now embedded in this bill into legislation. It gives it longevity, and it gives it continuity across former Governments into the future."

All parties except ACT New Zealand voted in favour of the bill.

ACT leader David Seymour said in November the bill "does nothing more than measure inequality, the gap between some families and others. It doesn’t get to the heart of whether children are going without the basics. Worse, it distracts from real welfare by focusing on income statistics".

The details of the bill were released at the beginning of 2018, with the purpose being to encourage a focus on child poverty reduction and hold politicians to account for the targets. 

It requires government to set a ten-year target on defined measures, with targets published every three years, and the annual Budget will require Government to show its progress on reduction targets and highlight how the Budget would reduce child poverty.

The bill can be read here.