Children of the Recession: NZ’s shame

“It is to New Zealand’s deepest shame that the latest Unicef report on children living in poverty ranks us 16th out of 41 developed countries.


“Every day groups like ours see the devastating consequences for families trying to survive in conditions to which John Key and his Cabinet colleagues appear wilfully oblivious,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty coordinator Sue Bradford.

“Children of the Recession notes that New Zealand’s situation has stagnated since the last report in 2008, indicating that for six years National-lead governments have done nothing effective to address child poverty.

“Until governments acknowledge that child poverty is actually about adult poverty, our standings in Unicef’s rankings will continue to slide.

“Wages and conditions for employed workers need to rise, backed by the ability of unions to bargain effectively – something the government is doing everything possible to undermine in the House right now.

“Our welfare system needs to offer parents sufficient income to meet the real needs of the family, rather than deliberately under resourcing those who rely on benefits for survival.

“Housing those who are homeless and in grossly substandard accommodation should be a statutory obligation. Instead, National continues to decimate state housing.

“In a news report this morning, new Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said that it “was unfair to make a comparison with Australia because that country did not go into an economic depression at that time.” (RNZ)

“Yet for years we’ve heard National boasting about our rock star economy.  New Zealand has never slipped into the depths of depression suffered by many of the other countries in this report.

“The Nats love to take kudos for any praise heaped on our supposed economic gains, while continuing to ignore the impacts of deepening poverty and inequality on adults and the children they support.

“It is a tragedy that the situation is only likely to worsen over the next three years.

“John Key does not need more reports from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and MSD to discover how to end child poverty.

“He and his newly minted caucus colleagues should instead take heed of all the research that has been done already and commit to real solutions to ending poverty and unemployment.”