Jacinda Ardern’s Child Poverty Reduction Bill passes third reading in Parliament

The Child Poverty Reduction Bill has passed in its third reading at Parliament on Tuesday.

The legislation requires all governments to set and monitor child poverty reduction targets, as well as publish a child-wellbeing strategy in the hopes of encouraging a greater focus on reducing child poverty and creating political accountability.

Three and 10-year targets on child poverty reduction will be required, as will updates in each Budget.

Ms Ardern gave a speech on the legislation, discussing how child poverty had been a big factor in her political career and thanking all those that had worked on the issue "over a number of years".

Ms Ardern has previously said her Government's goal was to halve child poverty in ten years, "taking the rate of poverty and hardship among our children to world-leading low levels".

The Child Poverty Monitor released last week showed 100,000 children don't get enough food, leading to increased demand for the Auckland City Mission's Christmas Drive.

The Bill received bi-partisan support during its second reading in October after the Government decided to include several changes favoured by the National Party.

Those include:

  • Reporting annually on one or more 'child poverty related indicators' related to the broader causes and consequences of child poverty
  • Having regard to principles of early intervention and evidence-informed policy when developing the Strategy
  • Setting out how the Government intends to evaluate the effectiveness of policies included in the Strategy

The Children's Commissioner, Andrew Becroft, said the Bill's passing was "an historic cause for celebration".

"It's had to exaggerate the importance of what this could achieve - nothing less than the reversal of 30 years of marginalisation for our poorest children," he said.

"It demonstrates a willingness to change the system in the interests of moving people out of poverty."

The ACT Party did not support the Bill.