Child poverty not im­prov­ing

Central Leader - - SITUATIONS VACANT - STAFF RE­PORTER

‘‘We do have a cri­sis.’’

New Zealand child poverty has hit a ’’cri­sis’’ point ac­cord­ing to Auck­land City Mis­sion CEO Chris Far­relly and we ’’need to take ac­tion’’.

New Zealand’s child poverty rates aren’t greatly im­prov­ing but we are start­ing to ‘‘wake up to the se­ri­ous prob­lem’’, re­sults from the 2016 Child Poverty Mon­i­tor show.

The mon­i­tor, re­leased on Tues­day morn­ing, shows 90,000 kids are liv­ing in se­vere poverty.

Four­teen per cent of chil­dren are liv­ing in ma­te­rial hard­ship where they are liv­ing with­out seven or more nec­es­sary items for their well­be­ing and 28 per cent of chil­dren are liv­ing in low in­come homes, up from 14 per cent in 1982.

‘‘We do have a cri­sis. It’s not a catas­tro­phe where we’re go­ing to be com­pletely swamped by it and we can do this if we set our­selves tar­gets,’’ Far­relly said.

He said we are on a jour­ney to end child poverty in New Zealand, not man­age it.

Cre­at­ing a plan to re­duce the num­ber of chil­dren in poverty in New Zealand must be a pri­or­ity if we are go­ing to pre­vent a third gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren in poverty, Chil­dren’s Com­mis­sioner Judge An­drew Be­croft said.

‘‘This is not the New Zealand I grew up in nor is it the New Zealand most of us want.

‘‘The cold re­al­ity to­day is that be­tween 85,000 to 90,000 chil­dren un­der 18 years old at least are in se­vere and pro­found and deep poverty,’’ Be­croft said.

‘‘It’s a sit­u­a­tion that has been around for 20 years. This Child Poverty Mon­i­tor says to­day it has got no worse but it has not got sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter.

‘‘I ac­cept it’s not the sort of ab­ject poverty you see on the banks of the Ganges River - but it’s not what we want for our chil­dren. It is sig­nif­i­cant, en­dur­ing and se­ri­ously af­fects a child’s abil­ity to grow.’’

Child poverty has been iden­ti­fied by New Zealan­ders in re­cent opin­ion polls as one of the most sig­nif­i­cant is­sues fac­ing our coun­try.

‘‘New Zealan­ders are start­ing to wake up to the se­ri­ous prob­lem we face.

‘‘We are in real dan­ger of cre­at­ing pock­ets of a third gen­er­a­tion of in­grained poverty - which se­ri­ously im­pacts chil­dren’s health, abil­ity to learn and con­trib­ute to so­ci­ety.’’

New Zealand has a goal to halve all poverty by 2030.

New Zealand Child and Youth Epi­demi­ol­ogy Ser­vice di­rec­tor Dr Jean Simp­son said liv­ing in poverty has se­ri­ous im­pli­ca­tions for a child’s health, well-be­ing and life out­comes.

She said chil­dren liv­ing in the low­est in­come house­holds were more likely to be liv­ing in crowded, damp and mouldy spa­ces, which can lead to ill­ness.

123RF.COM

New Zealand has a goal to halve poverty by 2030.

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