Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced the Government's official child poverty reduction targets for the short-term and next 10 years.
Three year targets:
- 70,000 children out of poverty in low income households (before housing costs) – from 16 percent down to 10 percent
- 40,000 children out of poverty in low income households (after housing costs) – from 23 percent down to 19 percent
- 30,000 children out of material hardship – from 13 percent down to 10 percent
10 year targets:
- 120,000 children out of poverty in low income households (before housing costs) – from 16 percent down to 5 percent
- 130,000 children out of poverty in low income households (after housing costs) – from 23 percent down to 10 percent
- 80,000 children out of material hardship – from about 13 percent down to 6 percent
Ardern, the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction, said the targets are an "important step in tackling head-on the long-term challenge of child poverty in New Zealand to make our country one of the best in which to be a child".
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"The Coalition Government's plan will halve child poverty within a decade and establish New Zealand as one of the best performing countries for our kids."
The Government announced in 2017 it would spend $5.3 billion over the following four years on an ambitious plan to help low-income families and cut the child poverty rate by nearly 50 percent.
"The Government has already taken action on lifting between 42,000 and 73,000 children out of poverty through the $5.5 billion Families Package," Ardern said.
The package comprised three core components: Working for Families tax credit increases, a new payment for new-borns called Best Start, and a new winter energy payment for beneficiaries and pensioners.
Ardern has been a prominent spokesperson for child poverty reduction, with her Child Poverty Reduction Ac passing with cross-party support late last year.
It introduced the requirement for governments to report on rates of child poverty every year in the Budget and to set clear targets to reduce them.
Statistics NZ will be required to provide annual reports on all of the child poverty measurements.
"To maintain our ambition for halving the rate of material hardship within 10 years, we are seeking a reduction from 13 percent down to 6 percent, compared to the interim 7 percent target," Ardern said.
"All other interim targets have been confirmed."
According to the Child Poverty Monitor, one in five children live in a household without access to enough food or healthy food.
It also says children in the most disadvantaged circumstances are two times more likely to end up in hospital than those living in the most advantaged communities.
Ardern said the Wellbeing Budget - to be announced next week - "will continue to tackle the long-term challenge of lifting children out of poverty".