Time For Action On A Child Poverty Act – Dunne

“UnitedFuture Leader, Hon Peter Dunne, is today calling on the Government to embrace a comprehensive child poverty strategy that contains codified measures and targets under a national child poverty eradication strategy.

“It is an undeniable truth that there are children living in hardship in New Zealand,” said Mr Dunne.

“I have faith that all parties in New Zealand have a strong interest in meeting the needs for these children but to do this properly we need to be a unified Parliament.

“That means we need to move beyond quibbling over the definitions of poverty and move towards a legislative framework that paves the way for current and future Governments to meaningfully make the lives of New Zealand children better.

“Poverty is complex and we need to do more than just call for setting a single target and pretend that that is a silver bullet to the problem”, said Mr Dunne.

UnitedFuture is instead calling for comprehensive framework in the form of a New Zealand Child Poverty Act modelled off the United Kingdom’s Child Poverty Act 2010.

“The United Kingdom passed legislation in 2010 with cross-party support from the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, that legislation created a framework to properly address the issue of child poverty.

“Under the United Kingdom’s Child Poverty Act, the government is required to release a national child-poverty strategy every three years, essentially putting its case on how it is reducing poverty and identifying key policy areas to create change.

“Moreover, the Act established four codified measures of child poverty and set reduction targets next to each measure, through doing that the argument over definitions ended and the political discussion could move towards a results-based debate.

“For the sake of those who are most vulnerable, I am calling for the introduction of a Child Poverty Act in New Zealand,” said Mr Dunne.

UnitedFuture’s call for child poverty legislation follows comments by Children’s Commissioner, Judge Andrew Becroft, called for poverty reduction targets to be set for material deprivation.

“The reason we have a Children’s Commissioner is to be an advocate for our future generations, when the Commissioner calls for change, we must take it seriously.

“UnitedFuture agrees with the Children’s Commissioner on setting targets but we think that any change needs to be future-proofed in legislation that can take account for the multi-dimensional nature of poverty,” Mr Dunne said.