Jacinda Ardern addresses MSD's 'uncertain' poverty figures

The Government could struggle to set specific targets for the Child Poverty Reduction Bill due to the Ministry of Social Development's (MSD) recent decision not to publish key data.

MSD did not include child poverty statistics in its 2018 Household Incomes and Material Wellbeing report, released in October, due to "uncertainty" with data going back to 2016.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Newshub Nation the ministry raised the issue with her immediately, and that sample sizes were at least partially to blame.

"The Household Incomes Survey is a small sample. We do need to make that data more reliable," she told Newshub Nation on Saturday.

Statistics NZ received additional funding in Budget 2018 to increase sample size in the Household Income survey which Ms Ardern says should affect "the next few" surveys.

"If we are going to place more weight on what we're generating around those income surveys and the actions we take as a consequence, we need those numbers to be robust."

Asked how the Government would be making decisions in the short-term, the Prime Minister pointed to its Families Package as an action that was already underway.

"We already know that we have an issue with poverty in New Zealand. It's a relative measure. We will establish a baseline from more robust numbers, and from there, we then set our targets. But what really matters though is what action we're taking,"

That's why the families package was so important for us - that extra $5 billion going to those middle and low-income families."

The Child Poverty Reduction Bill has passed its second reading on Thursday, with cross-parliamentary support from National.

Newshub Nation.

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