More than 30 organisations supporting the Tick for Kids campaign leading up to the General Election on 20 September are disappointed to see the latest Household Incomes Report and Economic Survey showing there are still far too many children living in poverty, leading to many going without the basic good and services they need. Children carry a disproportionate burden of poverty in New Zealand, with 22 percent of those aged 0-17 years in poverty because policies do not maintain adequate income levels for young families and housing costs lead to high outgoings.
Director of Mana Ririki, and Tick for Kids spokesperson, Anton Blank said, “The report confirms the difference that can be made to New Zealanders’ standard of living when the right policies are in place. Older people are a powerful lobby group – consequently the political parties have responded with policies that provide a guaranteed minimum level of income that keeps up with inflation and wage growth. Just 7 percent of those over 65 years live in poverty.
“The report released today is a reminder of what happens when voters and political parties ignore children. It shows a widening gap in the incomes of those on benefits and those on wages, particularly for sole parent families. It also shows that half of families living in rental accommodation and receiving the Accommodation Supplement are paying more than 50 percent of their incomes on housing costs.
“Successive governments have neglected children and voters have allowed them to do so. As a result, children are those most likely to live in poverty – with all of the negative health and education impacts that result from it. The reports shows that:
- half of poor children are Maori/Pacific (34% of all children are Maori/Pacific).
- half of poor children are from sole parent families and half from two parent (24% of all children are from sole parent families).
- half of poor children are from households where the highest educational qualification for parent(s) is school or less (31% of all children are in these families).
“Anyone concerned to ensure that New Zealand is a secure, productive and creative nation needs to call on political parties to prioritise children. It is time to build the political consensus that ensures children have a standard of living that supports their development and meets our nation’s legal obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Mr Blank.