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Child poverty: No more wake-up calls

A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says.

“UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact that rates of child poverty in New Zealand hardly moved between 2008 and 2012, while National has been in government.

“It cannot be considered another wakeup call. It must be the impetus for addressing the problem once and for all.

“That means putting the well-being of our kids at the top of the to-do list and coming up with some real policies that help in the short and long term.

“Poverty is not just about kids going to school hungry or going without other basic necessities, it’s about not being able to fully participate in society.

“Child poverty rates have been shown to decrease in countries where measures have been introduced to improve income equity. Other practical steps include establishing a national child poverty reduction strategy, adopting an official definition and measure of child poverty, and ensuring policies address poor housing conditions and access to health care.

“Evidence overwhelmingly supports greater investment in the early years of a child’s life.

“Today’s children are tomorrow’s society. There is nothing more pressing than protecting their wellbeing,” Annette King said