The Children's Commissioner’s second Child Poverty Monitor is a further call for parties across the political divide to cooperate on finding solutions to child poverty, Labour's Children's spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.
“Today’s report shows that not only is the number of children living in severe poverty still shamefully high, but that poverty-related conditions continue to put tens of thousands of Kiwi kids in hospital each year.
“While the overall number of children living in poverty has improved slightly, 10 percent of children are still living at the hardest end of poverty, in low income households and in material hardship.
“Housing is a big part of the cause and effect and Government support is making little impact. Of the families receiving an accommodation supplement, almost half are paying 50 per cent of their income on housing costs.
“The result of that is 43 per cent of children in the poorest areas of New Zealand living in over-crowded homes.
“Poverty is also a contributing factor in the hospitalisation of more than 40,000 children with conditions such as respiratory infections and skin diseases each year. A child living in a deprived area is three times more likely to be hospitalised than one living in a wealthier area.
“We have had all the wake-up calls we need. While the government continues to argue that it doesn’t need to set targets to reduce child poverty, it is yet to come up with any reasonable excuse why it can’t, or won’t, work with other parties to tackle our shameful record.
“Labour will make the offer again to new Minister Anne Tolley, and hope it's one she'll take up,” Jacinda Ardern said.