Leading paediatrician tells John Campbell of disappointment at Govt’s progress on child poverty

Yesterday, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni spoke about the first year of the Government’s families package.

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Innes Asher responded to Government claims it has lifted 74,000 kids out of poverty. Source: Breakfast

The Government claims the $5.5 billion package is on track to lift 50,000 to 74,000 children out of poverty by helping low- and middle-income earners.

Breakfast host John Campbell today spoke with Innes Asher, a paediatrician and professor of paediatrics at the University of Auckland.

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Government's $5.5b Families Package on track to lift 74,000 children out of poverty - report

She’s also on the child poverty action group, and was asked about whether the Government is doing enough to lift children out of poverty.

Professor Asher said the package was a good "first step".

However, she said she was "surprised" the Government hasn't lifted benefit rates, as per a recommendation from the welfare expert advisory group.

That would help ease the burden on poorer families and help children in difficult circumstances. 

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Minister of Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said on TVNZ1’s Breakfast today the package aims to help those on middle and low incomes to reduce child poverty. Source: Breakfast

"We said to act immediately and with urgency and that report went to Cabinet on March 8. We'd like to see something in the budget next year," Dr Asher said.

"We need to see some bolder steps."

The group was disappointed so little attention had been paid into its report, in public at least, she said. 

See her full interview with Campbell in the video above.