The Government is failing to acknowledge the findings of a damming report from the Salvation Army which shows high levels of child poverty that have persisted under National, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.
“The Salvation Army’s State of the Nation report reveals high rates of child poverty are now entrenched in New Zealand due to the Government’s failed welfare policies.
“The Minister refuses to acknowledge these high rates of child poverty and hardship in New Zealand, and is more interested in defending the Government’s poor track record.
“The report clearly states that children living in material hardship have not felt any positive impacts from welfare reforms, yet the Minister claims the miniscule benefit increase implemented last year was positive. Rather, these reforms are to blame for the persistence of child poverty.
“What’s worse, the Leader of the House went so far as to call the report’s conclusions ‘tripe’, undermining the frontline work and independent analysis conducted by the Salvation Army.
“The Government is failing New Zealand families and their children by refusing to acknowledge the seriousness of child poverty in our country. Rather than addressing the issue, they are worsening poverty by continuing to focus on cutting benefit numbers, reducing support through programmes like Working for Families, ignoring the housing crisis, and making social support more conditional.
“We need a Government that really invests in New Zealanders, and ensures all children have the best start in life. Labour is committed to eradicating child poverty, and we have a plan to tackle the housing crisis. After eight years of continued inequality and child poverty, we need to take action and work toward a New Zealand we can be proud of again,” says Carmel Sepuloni.