Bill takes bold steps to tackle child poverty

A bill to tackle the causes of New Zealand’s child poverty shame will deliver genuine change for our most vulnerable kids, its sponsor Labour MP Jacinda Ardern says.

“Around 270,000 Kiwi children are now living in poverty. That means they are missing out on things most of us take for granted – basic health care, good nutrition, educational opportunities.

“My Bill is about giving those kids a chance in life and not simply treating the short-term symptoms.

“It sets goals to achieve a sustainable reduction in the numbers of children living in poverty and alleviate the socio-economic disadvantage those children experience.

“It sets a definition of poverty, establishes methods to measure it and ensures that government becomes a champion on behalf of our kids and puts their needs at the heart of future decision-making.

Put simply, the Bill will require the government to identify, act, and report. It is about delivering change, and being accountable if improvements aren't delivered for kids.

The United Kingdom is one of the few countries in the world that has similar legislation to what I am proposing.

“Similar framework has also been recommended by the Children's Commissioner Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty in its recently released working papers.

“To borrow a quote from leading academic Dame Anne Salmond, ‘an ageing society that doesn't care for its young has a death wish.’

“Those are wise words and ones we can’t afford to ignore any longer.

“My Bill gives New Zealand a chance to, if not lead, then definitely punch above its weight on this really important social issue.

“It sets these children on a pathway to a far better future,” Jacinda Ardern says.


Download a copy of Jacinda Ardern's bill here.