Act’s new deputy leader’s claim that Labour’s support for families could “extend the misery of child poverty and even child abuse” is ill informed and offensive, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern.
“Labour’s Best Start policy is about making sure every Kiwi kid has access to the best possible start in life. It’s also about striving to make New Zealand the best place in the world to raise happy, healthy kids.
“Our policy to give additional financial support to families in the first three years of a child’s life is based on evidence from groups including the Children’s Commissioner. In a 2012 report the Commissioner made it very clear that when it comes to tax credits, ‘providing a higher rate for younger children reflects the significant research literature on the importance of giving children the best possible start in their first few years of life.’
“The idea that tax credits targeting the period of a child’s life where it is most difficult for families to juggle care and work somehow contributes to child abuse is not only offensive, it is wrong.
“OECD nations frequently use the kinds of tools we have to successfully support families.
“What we have done is essentially boosted Working for Families, but with a focus on the early years. If they have a problem with Best Start, they clearly have a problem with the entire Working for Families Tax Credit regime.
“Labour’s priorities are about those things that provide opportunity and security. The choice between Labour, National and National’s support parties at this election is clear. Labour’s fresh approach to support those who need it most and to invest in the services that benefit all New Zealanders,” says Jacinda Ardern.