New child poverty data for New Zealand shows there has been "no significant change" in material hardship rates since 2017.
The data, published by Stats NZ, shows that, in the year ended June 2019, about one in eight children - 13.4 percent - lived in households reporting material hardship.
The data published on Tuesday notes: "There was no significant change from 2017/18 to 2018/19 in material hardship."
The data also shows that, while there are children from all ethnic groups living in households with low income and in material hardship, the rates for Maori and Pacific peoples were high.
Material hardship is defined as households that cannot afford specific items that most people regard as essential, such as eating fruit or vegetables, putting off a doctor visit or not being able to pay the electricity bill.
It is considered to be a more direct measure of child poverty than income measure, for example, because two households with the same income may receive outside financial benefits from family or other means.
The data found that, when looking at material hardship, almost one in four Maori children - 22.3 percent - lived in households that are going without six or more of the 17 material basic needs, as of June 2019.
The rate was even higher for Pacific children at 28.6 percent. By comparison, the rate for European children was 1 in 10 or 9.8 percent.
Material hardship rates
- European: 72,000 kids (9.8 percent)
- Maori: 64,000 kids (28.6 percent)
- Pacific Peoples: 40,600 kids (28.6 percent)
- Total Population: 151,700 kids (13.4 percent)
The figures were produced from the Household Economic Survey with more than 20,000 households conducted over 12 months.
The Child Poverty Act 2018, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, requires Stats NZ to report annually on a set of nine measures - one of them being material hardship.
The legislation passed into law on 20 December 2018.
The primary measures
The percentage of children living in households with less than 50 percent of the median disposable household income before housing costs
- Annual change: 183,400 kids in 2018 compared to 168,500 kids in 2019 (-1.6 percentage points)
The percentage of children living in households with less than 50 percent of the median household income after housing costs are deducted
- Annual change: 253,800 kids in 2018 compared to 235,400 in 2019 (-2.0 percentage points)
The percentage of children living in households that experienced material hardship
- Annual change: 147,600 kids in 2018 compared to 151,700 kids in 2019 (+0.2 percentage points)
The Government announced in 2017 it would spend $5.3 billion over the following four years on a plan to help low-income families and cut the child poverty rate by nearly 50 percent.
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.
You can read the Government's child povery reduction targets here.