Mixed reaction follows govt plan to end child poverty
There's been mixed reaction to the government's plan to end child poverty.
Child poverty is a huge issue for the government.
The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern herself is the Minister for Child Poverty.
“Child poverty is a top priority for this government.”
While most child advocacy agencies support the thrust of the government’s proposed measures, some advocates, including Lisa Woods of Child Poverty Action Group, believe it doesn't go far enough.
“We support the legislation. For the first time, we're going to have a set of targets, measures and a reporting process by which to hold the government to account directly for child poverty.”
The government believes as many as 290,000 children are living in poverty, around 80,000 in severe hardship.
To combat this issue the government has laid down measures to inform them on the prevalence of poverty.
On defining child poverty, the government will measure it through income, before and after housing costs, material hardship and whether a child persistently lives in poverty.
But experts like Anton Blank say Māori children are more impoverished, so the governments need to create measures that are relevant to Māori children.
“For some time Māori advocates have been saying we need our own measurements of poverty, because how we define poverty and western ideas around poverty are two different things, so I think that that's the next step.”
Woods also agrees.
“One of the things we'd also like to see a focus on is 'the how', not just the 'what'. So, rather than an approach that's always doing to people, we want to see an approach that walks alongside people.”
However, Woods realises that this won’t be fixed overnight.
“We need to be willing to invest time and that's where the cross-party support is really important.”
Blank feels similar.
“The child poverty monitor is published every year keeps a running brief on what's happening, so let’s hope that we'll see some changes in the very near future.”
The children are the leaders of tomorrow.