Welcome to Poverty watch, a weekly update on the National government’s lack of response to the urgent and growing issue of poverty in NZ. A lot of background issues and links are set out in Poverty Watch one two and three.
In related news this week, Labour MP Jacinda Ardern’s new Child Poverty Bill was put in to the ballot:
Poverty eradication focus of Labour bill
The bill will set a definition of poverty, establish methods to measure it and goals to reduce the number of children living in poverty. … The bill also requires the Minister of Finance to include a child poverty reduction statement in the Government’s annual budget policy statement, and will establish a child poverty reduction board of the heads of relevant Government departments.
A University of Otago study found:
Otago study reveals ‘hard to ignore’ child poverty
A “difficult to ignore” proportion of New Zealand children have lived in persistently low income households in the past decade, research shows.
University of Otago researchers today released data showing that 16 per cent of a sample of almost 5000 children experienced persistent low income from 2002 to 2009.
…Researcher Fiona Imlach Gunasekara said Maori and Pacific Island children were much more likely to experience persistent low income, with 23 per cent of Maori children and 29 per cent of Pacific Island children falling into the category.
Maori and Pacific children more likely to live in poverty? I wonder if that could possibly be related to poorer educational outcomes? Thank goodness we have expensive and damaging national standards to tell us what we already know. But I digress – back to the Otago study:
…Dr Gunasekara said exposure to many years of poverty or deprivation in childhood increased the risk of poor child development and health. “These children are also more likely to grow up to be adults with worse health outcomes and lower socioeconomic status.” She said this level of child poverty was difficult to ignore.
Ohh I think you’ll find that the government is doing just fine in that respect.
“We also need ongoing monitoring of the levels of persistent child poverty, so we can tell if what we are doing is making a difference, which could be done through the establishment of a Children’s Act and targets for reducing poverty, as the EAG (Expert Advisory Group on solutions to child poverty) have suggested.”
The Nats believe in ongoing monitoring and modeling of social welfare spending, but not of child poverty. Their priorities are clear, and reducing poverty is not on the list.
Poverty Watch always ends with the following list, the National government’s response to rising poverty in NZ:
• National has not yet set any target for reducing poverty