Number of children in severe poverty reaches record high

There’s no cause for celebration with the latest Household Incomes Report showing the number of children living in severe poverty has reached its highest level this century, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

“New Zealand once valued itself as the one of the best countries, if not the best coun­try, in the world for bringing up chil­dren. Today's report shows this isn’t the case for too many Kiwi families and children.

“While there has been a small drop in the number of children in poverty overall, more than half of them  - 135,000 - are considered to be living in severe poverty, their families trying to get by on 40 per cent or less of the median household income.

“This country has never before seen such a high proportion of its children at the severe end of poverty. That is nothing to be proud of.

“Labour knows it can change this situation with properly targeted government policy.

“Once again we are calling on the Government to adopt our Private Member’s bill to set targets to reduce child poverty, and bring together all parties in Parliament to find enduring solutions to this issue,” Jacinda Ardern said.