The latest Child Poverty Monitor has provoked widespread coverage with its figures showing 305,000 or 29% of New Zealand children live in income poverty, two-thirds of them for long periods of time.
The report has also prompted debate about the nature and causes of poverty, and has launched the ‘It’s Not Choice’ campaign.
The Child Poverty Action Group welcomed the release of the report, a collaboration between the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, Otago University’s New Zealand Child and Youth Epidemiology Service and the JR McKenzie Trust.
The Child Poverty Monitor shows child poverty is now significantly worse
than the 1980s. In 1985 the percentage of children in families experiencing relative after housing costs income poverty was 15%. Now it is 29%.
CPAG spokesperson Assoc Prof Michael O’Brien said, “New Zealand has the power to change the dreadful statistics revealed by this report right now, with committed leadership. Children are far more likely to experience poverty than retired people. We have excellent policies in place to support older people and could do the same for children.”
However, Auckland Action Against Poverty’s Sue Bradford warned that: “Nothing will change until those in power take poverty seriously.”