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'That's factually incorrect' – Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins trade blows over child poverty

Judith Collins and Jacinda Ardern have clashed over child poverty at tonight's leaders' debate, with National's leader saying the issue has got worse under the last three years of government.

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Both Labour’s and National’s leaders think they’re best placed to end the issue in New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

Ardern took exception to the claim stating, "That's factually incorrect."

Undeterred, Collins pressed on with her line of attack.

"It is correct, and if you look at kids living in material hardship, which means they can't get to a doctor and things like that, are 4100 more than when she took office.

"If you talk to the food banks they will tell you things have got worse, they haven't got better. So when you're talking about transformational change, it has just got worse," Collins said.

Ardern once again claimed Collins' statement was not true.

"That's completely incorrect. There are nine measures for child poverty - seven of them were getting worse under the last Government and those seven we have turned around.

"I’m not denying there is more to do. That’s why we are doing food in schools and making doctors visits cheaper," Ardern said.

The two leaders agreed on the target of halving child poverty in New Zealand by 2030.

"If we can possibly do it we would love to get there," Collins said.

In 2018, Ardern’s Government passed the Child Poverty Reduction Bill.

Her Government aimed to halve child poverty in New Zealand in under 10 years, with three targets in that period including: reducing the proportion of children in low income households from 20 per cent to 10 per cent and reducing the proportion of children in material hardship from 13 to 15 per cent down to seven per cent.