Child poverty package facts hidden

Claims by Anne Tolley that she had no idea how many Kiwi kids would be lifted out of poverty by the Government’s budget package have  been contradicted by documents showing she was told numbers would be minimal, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says.

“This was National’s flagship budget announcement. Both John Key and Ms Tolley were at pains to point out that while they were unsure exactly what effect it would have on poverty, it would help many of the 60,000 to 100,000 children worst hit by hardship.

“It turns out they were well aware of the impact, but chose not to share the facts when asked.

“Briefing papers prepared by the Prime Minister's chief public servant Andrew Kibblewhite on behalf of MSD boss Brendan Boyle, reveal they were told it might move less than one per cent of all kids – 10,000 at most – from living in severe poverty to living in less severe poverty.

“The extra $25 a week for the poorest families with children was welcome, but what this information shows is that the budget made it just a little bit ‘easier’ for some of those living in extreme poverty. That isn’t a plan.

"Labour’s offer still stands – we will happily work with the Government to develop long term solutions to child poverty, but there needs to be a lot more transparency and honesty about the difference policies and ideas will make,” Jacinda Ardern says.