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Tax cuts when kids go hungry shows National’s lack of moral compass

National’s campaign of tax cuts that give $400 million to the top 10 per cent of earners, at a time when 120 Kiwi kids every year are being hospitalised for malnutrition, shows they have lost their moral compass, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.

“It is shameful that in a modern country that the rate of children who are in hospital due to malnourishment has doubled in the time that National has largely been in power.

“According to recently released child hospitalisation data, the number of overnight stays for children suffering nutritional deficiencies and anaemia has gone up from 60 a year ten years ago, to 120 children a year now.

“There is now a total of 40,000 hospitalisations of children every year that are linked to poverty, many of which doctors say could also be linked to poor nutrition.

“This increase in hospital stays for children comes at a time when incomes have not kept up with food prices. While food costs have gone up 2.3 per cent in the last year, low incomes have remained static.

“Under National, families increasingly can’t even afford the very basic necessity of life: healthy food. In the June 2017 quarter there were 110,000 grants given out for food, a 34 per cent increase in the same quarter in 2012.

“This is shameful for any advanced country, and it’s happening on National’s watch.

“Bill English has so lost his moral compass he is giving himself, and other high income earners, a tax cut rather than putting money into vital social services and addressing rising living costs.

“Labour will instead invest in New Zealand families through our Families Package, which will make 70 per cent of families with children better off than under National’s package. We will also increase the minimum wage to address the rising number of working families who are struggling.

“Labour has a plan to address the housing crisis so that all families have a warm dry home to live in. Labour will also invest in boosting our health system and making education free and accessible for all children.

“This latest shame shows the clear choice New Zealanders have in this election. Three more years of drift under National as more families struggle, or a Labour Government ready and willing to take action on the issues that matter for Kiwi families,” says Carmel Sepuloni.