Under the last Labour government, child poverty was finally, too slowly, but encouragingly, starting to fall. April 2008:
Child poverty rate falling in NZ
Child poverty is finally on the way down in two of the three rich countries where it increased the most in the 1980s and 90s – Britain and New Zealand….
Children lifted out of poverty
… The Government’s Working for Families boost to low- and middle-income families with dependent children is a major factor – Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson said it was a key driver behind the survey finding that 130,000 children had been lifted out of poverty. More people in paid work was the other reason. …
Fast forward to now, and we’re going backwards again:
Warning: Income disparities impact on child wellbeing
“The overall picture painted by the updated 2010 Children’s Social Health Monitor is deeply concerning” said Dennis McKinlay, UNICEF NZ executive director. The 2010 Children’s Social Health Monitor (CSHM) released today at the Dunedin School of Medicine points out large disparities in child health status with children in families most affected by the economic downturn and dependent on benefits especially vulnerable. …
“That so many of our children are admitted to hospital for illnesses associated with socio-economic deprivation is a wake up call for all New Zealanders” he said “Almost 2000 more in 2009 than in 2007. Protecting all children during their vital, vulnerable years of growth is the means of building a better future for both the individual and for society.
Paula Bennett needs to front up:
Poverty hits children’s health levels
Children’s health is suffering because of the recession, with a “concerning” report revealing a rise in hospital admissions and prompting the children’s commissioner to call for urgent action from the Government.
Last year, 2000 more children were admitted to hospital with poverty-related illnesses than during 2007-08. These included admissions for respiratory problems, infectious diseases, and other conditions with links to poor housing and economic hardship – and could have been prevented if children were taken to see a doctor earlier.
… Social Development Minister Paula Bennett was unavailable for comment yesterday. …
It would be easy to start playing the blame game with this shocking trend. But in this post I want to look forward instead of back. My question to the National government is simple. What are you going to do to reverse this trend and lift children out of poverty? It’s your watch. What are you going to do?