NZ lagging behind Australia in child poverty rates

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A United Nations report has shown that New Zealand is lagging behind Australia in helping deprived children.

UNICEF International says even with the Government's "ambitious" programme of tax cuts six years ago, Australia still has policies that better deal with child deprivation.

It says Australia's policy of delivering one-off cash payments to low-income families has "had a more positive impact".

UNICEF compared the changes in child poverty in 41 developed countries since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, and ranked New Zealand 16th best overall.

There has been a 0.4% drop in child poverty rates here.

That's behind similar-sized countries like Norway and Finland, which saw reductions of 4.3% and 3.2% respectively.

The National Advocacy Manager for UNICEF NZ, Deborah Morris-Travers, says the Government needs to review how it is tackling child poverty.

"The report points to Australia where cash payments were made available to low-income families, protecting the poorest children and stimulating consumption to promote recovery. This is contrasted with New Zealand's policy of tax cuts, which have done nothing to improve the situation for child poverty."

Prime Minister John Key admits there is a lot more to be done.

"Child poverty, particularly in high levels of deprivation, is a key focus and you will see the Government doing more in that area," he said.

Unicef defines poverty in New Zealand as families who earn 60 per cent or less of our national median income.

At the time the report was written those on the poverty line were on less than $345 a week.

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