NZ Election 2020: Jacinda Ardern's debate claim on child poverty fact-checked as 'misleading'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been called out for a "misleading" statement on child poverty during the leaders' debate.

The Prime Minister went up against National's Judith Collins in the first televised leaders' debate on Tuesday where they discussed a range of issues including the COVID-19 response, border control, health, housing, employment, income inequality and climate change.

During the debate, Collins said the Government had done nothing to address the issue of child poverty, but Ardern rejected the claim.

"When we came into government, of all of the (child poverty) measures we use – and we use about nine – seven of them were getting worse. In the short time we've had, we've improved those so that seven are now better," Ardern said.

But AAP FactCheck has looked into Ardern's statement and found it to be "misleading".

"While recent figures show seven child poverty measures have slightly improved, the changes were not statistically significant and only partially cover the first year of the Labour coalition Government," they said.

"While 2017 figures show improvement in six measures, seven measures worsened in 2018. Longer-term, only two measures had been consistently declining, while the remaining seven measures had shown little change in the seven years for which figures were available."

AAP FactCheck concluded the claim "is accurate in parts but information has also been presented incorrectly, out of context or omitted".

But a spokesperson for Ardern suggested the AAP FactCheck "is wrong". 

"18,400 children so far have been lifted out of poverty as a result of the Government's Families Package, and Stats NZs first report on child poverty rates, as required under the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018 (the Act), show improvements in seven out of nine measures."