The staggering number of Kiwi workers living in poverty

More than 50,000 working households are living in poverty across New Zealand.

Research by the Human Rights Commission shows that being employed does not necessarily mean being above the poverty threshold.

The research, conducted by AUT's New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI), used 2013 census data to determine the number of working impoverished people. 

Due to increases in the cost of living since then, the true number of employed Kiwis living in poverty is likely much higher.

"At first glance, the answer to the question, 'is work the best antidote to poverty?' would seem to be a simple 'yes'," said director of NZWRI Professor Gail Pachero in a statement on Monday.

"But our study reveals the complex and pervasive nature of in-work poverty for more than 50,000 working households." 

The most vulnerable include single parents, Māori and Pacific peoples, disabled people, renters and households with low educational attainment. 

Families in which women were the main earner were more likely to live below the poverty line.

"The study's findings can help make public policymakers better assess the characteristics of working households that are struggling to make ends meet," said Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali'I Karanina Sumeo.

She says she hopes the study will inform the development of targeted policies to improve the lives of working households in poverty.