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Jacinda Ardern admits it will take 'a few Budgets' to effectively tackle poverty

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says it will take her Government "a few Budgets" to tackle poverty in New Zealand.

Her comments come after front line workers at the Salvation Army, Auckland City Mission and the Child Poverty Action group told TVNZ1's Q+A programme that poverty has increased over the last two years.

Ms Ardern defended her Government's response to tackling poverty and outlined its longterm commitment to the issue.

"I can only tell you what I know from the modelling and the last two budgets there are between 50 and 74 thousand children we lifted out of poverty by what we've done.

"I am not going to argue that it's enough, it's not, we've always said it's going to take us a few Budgets to turn what is significant under investment around, be it our education system, health or child poverty.

"But I know we are making a difference, because I read the letters from the families that say we are and I hear the stories and when I visit people at Auckland City Mission I ask them 'are you getting your entitlements, has it made a difference', is there more to do absolutely," she told Q+A host Jack Tame.

The Prime Minister says she expects people to hold the Government to account over their policies.

"In our first 100 days we put in place a more than $5 billion package to try and lift people out of poverty in New Zealand, that included a universal child payment that focused on children in the early critical years.

"Increases to the family tax credit, the winter energy payment and in the last budget we also indexed benefits to wage increases.

"All I can say is we are holding ourselves to account by not only putting in place the goals to say what difference to children it will make," Ms Ardern says.

You can watch the full interview with Ms Ardern on Q+A tonight.

* Q+A is on TVNZ1 on Mondays at 9.30pm, and the episode is then available on TVNZ OnDemand and as a podcast in all the usual places.
 

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Her comments come after front line workers told Q+A poverty has increased over the last two years.