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Jacinda Ardern rejects criticism from Children's Commissioner over Govt's response to benefit recommendations


The Prime Minister has defended the Government’s approach to tackling child poverty after the Children’s Commissioner called its response to benefit recommendations “weak, supine and passive”.

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Andrew Becroft has called its response ‘weak, supine and passive’ but Ms Ardern says progress has been made. Source: Q+A

Last month, the Children’s Commissioner questioned why recommendations from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group (WEAG) have not been addressed by the Government. 

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 three of 42 proposals from the group.

Speaking to TVNZ1’s Q+A, Ms Ardern said she rejects Judge Andrew Becroft’s view and says the Government has done some “significant” and “enormous” investment into the incomes of families with children in the greatest need.

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

“He also said that we’d had transformative, generational change in politics on the issues of child poverty.

“Are we perfect? No. Do we have more to do? Yes. But I do not accept that what we have done has not been significant. It has,” she said.

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

However, some on the frontline dispute this, the head of Christchurch’s City Mission telling Q+A that it was underfunded, better off under a National government and that poverty has worsened.

Ms Ardern rejected this statement. 

“The idea that what we have done when we got rid of a blanket tax cut that would have given you and I a tax break instead of focusing on those in the greatest need in New Zealand - would somehow have been better off under the last government, I’m sorry, I just reject that,” Ms Ardern said.

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.