'Not much has changed:' Salvation Army calls for radical action on poverty in State of the Nation report

The Salvation Army has found little to celebrate over children's wellbeing in its latest review of life in New Zealand.

The State Of The Nation report has found persistent inequalities between those who are living comfortably, and our most vulnerable.

It said there are more children in state care, violence hasn't abated, and youth unemployment rates remain high.

But there have been reductions in teenage pregnancies and prison populations.

The Salvation Army said there needs to be a radical review of welfare policies, and inequality in education should be addressed.

Report author Alan Johnson told Newshub the report was a mixed bag.

"Some good news and some not good news, much of it's really about not much changing the last couple of years."

Mr Johnson said the lack of movement is having dire consequences.

"Children from poorer communities or neighbourhoods are far more likely to fail and do so consistently."

Overall, he said the Government needs to step up.

"The gaps that still exist really haven't closed much and you would hope we would be doing much better."

National Party social investment spokesperson Louise Upston said the Government was all talk and no action.

"This Government talks about supporting the most vulnerable and improving wellbeing, but it's the results that matter. National's social investment approach is about changing lives - setting targets, measuring impact and improving accountability," she said in a statement

"Now we have a Government that talks a lot about aspiration, but this report makes it clear that good intentions don't make for good policy, or good outcomes."

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the Government was working on fixing inequality, but it would take time.

"I have a lot of respect for the work of Alan Johnson and the Salvation Army when it comes to their State of the Nation report," he said in a statement.

"I'm sure they realise that the scale of the challenge this Government inherited means that we won't finish our work in one year.

"The Coalition Government has already done an enormous amount in our first year to improve New Zealanders wellbeing and make our country the best place in the world to be a child."