OECD child poverty report

Written By: - Date published: 10:19 am, September 4th, 2009 - 4 comments
Categories: poverty - Tags:

I’ve been having a look at the OECD’s report on child poverty. A lot of the data is quite of of date and so doesn’t reflect the every important impact of Working for Families, rising minimum wage, falling unemployment, and bottom-end tax cuts have had on child poverty in the last six years.  We’re doing a lot better than we were, thanks to those Labour-led government policies. Why the hell they are using 2003 numbers when they get get the data up to 2007,  don’t know. Nonetheless, the study still has some value in comparing how we’re doing compared to other countries. It isn’t pretty reading:

  • 21 of 30 in average disposable income ($17,200 US)
  • 19 of 30 for children in poor homes (15%)
  • 9 of 30 in educational deprivation (2.2% lack four of eight pieces of basic educational equipment)
  • 17 of 27 in overcrowding (31%)
  • 4 of 30 for literacy score
  • 19 of 30 in literacy inequality
  • 21 of 27 for youths not in employment, education or training (8.5%)
  • 11 of 30 for low birth weight (6.1%)
  • 20 of 30 for infant mortality (5.1 of 1000)
  • 12 of 29 for breastfeeding (87.8%)
  • 24 of 29 for vaccination rate – pertussis (88.6%)
  • 27 of 29 for vaccination rate – measles (83.8%)
  • 22 of 27 for child mortality (64 of 100,000)
  • 29 of 29 for youth suicide (15.9 of 100,000)
  • 16 of 30 for teenage births (23 of 1000)

I hope that the new government will keep up the good progress the Labour-led government made in these areas, as Labour called for in their press release. Unfortunately, listening to Paula Bennett yesterday on National Radio, it seems she is big on words but short on significant action where it counts – incomes, health, education. Tariana Turia gets it, repeating her party’s policies, which while expensive would certainly reduce child poverty: “GST removed from healthy foods, the in-work tax credit extended to families of the unemployed, the first $25000 of income being tax free and the minimum wage lifted to $15 an hour.” I do wonder though if she realises the government she is a part of will never take those measures.

4 comments on “OECD child poverty report”

  1. BLiP 1

    Basher Bennett is clearly out of her depth. By subjecting the poorest members of society, her own ministry’s own “clients”, to a public kicking is indicative of this government’s wider “blame the victim” approach to poverty. National Ltd’s politics are to insert into public consciousness the concept that people “choose” poverty and, thus, can be set aside.

    Of the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders in or approaching poverty levels, Basher Bennett’s first action is to set up a campaign aimed at assisting just 23 – ten months after gaining office and on the same day the OECD report is released. Don’t get me wrong, one should never, ever shake a baby – but – is this the best she can do? Or is it just a million dollar tax payer funded public relations exercise to reframe Basher Bennett and National Ltd as appearing to be “doing someting” and, actually, exploiting the plight of the babies?

    I wouldn’t put it past them.

  2. r0b 2

    To my mind this is what politics is – or rather should be – all about. Improving the lives of people and (within the constraints of the environment) making progress.

    Our stats in this area are terrible. Labour didn’t accomplish enough (though it’s a slow ship to turn, and they did actually turn it around and make the first small gains in decades).

    My fear is that we’re going to go backwards again under National. It is obvious that their priority is taking care of the wealthy, just look at who their April tax cuts benefited compared to the ones that Labour’s April tax cuts were targeted to. Why anyone around or below the median income votes National is a mystery to me…

  3. ieuan 3

    Marty G if ‘Tariana Turia gets it’ then why are the Maori party in a coalition with National?

  4. sweetd 4

    Are there any stats of child poverty and associated problems since the introduction of the DPB? I believe that a great cause as to the problem was the introduction of the DPB, and the resulting break down of the family unit; and as such, throwing more money at this problem will not fix it.

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