NZ poverty result ‘appalling’ – Labour
… The report, Measuring Child Poverty, ranks New Zealand 20th out of 35 OECD countries based on the percentage of children living in relative poverty. That means children living in a household where disposable income is less than 50 per cent of the national median income.
Unicef said 11.7 percent of New Zealand children were living in relative poverty – ranking it behind countries including Australia and much of the EU. Iceland was the top-ranked country, on 4.7 percent. Below New Zealand were the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Japan and struggling EU economies including Greece, Spain and Portugal. …
Labour’s children spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand’s results are appalling. “An estimated 170,000 to 270,000 Kiwi children go without the basics and live in poor conditions,” she says.
Ms Ardern says Unicef had sent a very clear message that the wrong policy choices could have a profound impact on children and a country’s economic future. “Investing less than half of the OECD average on children’s early, and most critical years, proves this Government’s priorities are all wrong. “The Government can argue that we are in a recession and times are tough, but as the report card states, failure to protect children from poverty is one of the most costly mistakes a society can make.”
The UNICEF NZ summary and links to the full report are here.
Let’s be clear. Poverty (and inequality) were falling (albeit too slowly) under the last Labour government. Now they are on the rise again, in fact a Waikato University professor says that poverty is our biggest growth industry.
Before the last election Labour called for a cross party working group on poverty. Key turned the offer down. Here’s a prediction for you – the Nats will ignore this report too. They’re not particularly interested in the issue of kids in poverty.