Child poverty group calls for bold Budget changes

Child poverty group calls for bold Budget changes

The Child Poverty Action Group is not happy with the Government's Band-Aid approach to child poverty and wants bold announcements in the Budget.

So far $41 million has been promised to provide emergency housing; however, justice spokesperson Michael Timmins says this doesn't change long-term inequality.

"We want a serious attempt at looking at improving the social housing stock," he says. "There are clear gaps in the stock that's available now. We've seen people in vulnerable situations be forced into horrible living conditions."

The Child Poverty Action Group is suggesting the Government announce a tax break for Housing New Zealand to free up money to build hundreds more houses. The group says the Government should give Housing New Zealand a tax break to put them at even par with private landlords.

The organisation believes more than $200 million would be freed up to build 500 state houses if this were in the upcoming Budget.

Mr Timmins says the current situation is unwise.

"If we want to have a level playing field, it seems we should be playing by the same rules. It's just pointing out the clear discrimination there in terms of private landlords being able to access a tax break, which the public entity can't."

The organisation also wants the Government to include generous weekly payments for children in the upcoming Budget.

Mr Timmins says some children are currently being disadvantaged because their parents don't meet the requirements for Working for Families.

"You have children living on the same street, and some children are getting more support from the state, and it's purely because of their parent situation. So why punish the children? We feel that by addressing that, we'd be fixing a huge inequality and discrimination."

Mr Timmins says having the Government introduce weekly payments for children could create an overnight difference to child poverty.