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.
The facts are pretty simple. 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. Report after report after report has condemned the rate of poverty in this country, and called on the government to act. In a recent summary of the government’s targets and goals John Armstrong wrote: “Glaringly absent is a target for reducing child poverty”…
In relevant news this week a study estimates the cost of child poverty in NZ:
Child poverty costs NZ $10b a year – expert
Child poverty costs New Zealand as much as $10 billion a year and three-quarters of that cost is avoidable, a public health conference in Wellington has been told.
Independent researcher John Pearce, who spent two years studying the subject, said about 200,000 children grew up in poverty in New Zealand.
He told the Public Health Association Conference yesterday that the costs of child poverty were in four areas – poor education and its effect on productivity ($2.2 billion), health ($3 billion-$4.5 billion), crime ($2.2 billion) and social welfare ($1.4 billion).
Humanitarian arguments for reducing poverty don’t seem to move the Nats at all. But alleviating poverty would save money. Will this economic argument get results?
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