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Children's Commissioner urges Govt to take action on child poverty - 'We've got the money, now's the time'


The Children’s Commissioner says the Government needs to spend more money, including its surplus. on disadvantaged children.

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Judge Andrew Becroft says 100,000 children remain disadvantaged in a system that he calls fundamentally “flawed”. Source: Q+A

Judge Andrew Becroft told TVNZ1’s Q+A that recommendations from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group (WEAG) have not been addressed, meaning thousands of children remain in poverty.

The WEAG was established in May this year to advise the Government on the future of New Zealand’s social security system.

The Government has accepted 42 proposals from the group.

Judge Becroft says the country hasn’t seen the transformative structural change that it needs.

And he says structural change needs money.

For more on this story tune in to Q+A on TVNZ1 tonight at 9.30pm, or at TVNZ OnDemand.

“We do so well for our elderly and so we should, we do relatively badly for the poor end of our children. There’s a ratio of about six to one in terms of disadvantage from youth to elderly.

“No other country’s got that sort of structural imbalance, so in the first instance, yes, inescapably and fundamentally it gets down to spending.

“And we’ve got the money, it’s in the piggy bank, it’s a rainy day – now’s the time to spend it - on children,” says Judge Becroft.

He says the Government’s response to the WEAG’s recommendations are “inadequate”.

“The model’s got to change. Something fundamentally is flawed with the current system.

“The Welfare Advisory Group has made over 40 recommendations, we’ve spent a huge amount, we’ve got to deliver on those recommendations,” he says.

“We can’t fiddle, as it were, while Rome burns. While 100,000 children remain in disadvantage.

“Change and action is urgently required”.