As part of its efforts to improve the wellbeing of all children and young people, the Government is committed to reducing child poverty.
Why it matters
New Zealand should be a place where all children and young people are loved, confident, happy and healthy, and are empowered to reach their full potential.
While most of our children and young people enjoy relatively high living standards, this isn’t the case for a significant proportion of them. Too many children and young people live in families where it’s a struggle to meet every day needs and do things that others take for granted.
Evidence shows that the experience of poverty, especially when that experience is severe and persistent, adds a burden of stress on families and can have a negative impact on the lives of children. It can negatively affect children’s development and health, and can reduce their educational and life opportunities. The harmful effects can last into adulthood and impact on society as a whole.
Improving the material wellbeing of households affected by poverty will have significant impact on their overall wellbeing and help unleash the skills and capabilities of our children, young people and their whānau.
Child Poverty Reduction and Wellbeing Legislation
Legislation, introduced by the former Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, who was also the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction, aims to help achieve a significant and sustained reduction in child poverty and to improve the wellbeing of children and young people in New Zealand.
The legislation, passed in December 2018 with near unanimous support, establishes an ongoing level of political accountability that we’ve never had before. It is a key lever in ensuring policy momentum endures through successive governments.
Minister Jan Tinetti, in her new role as the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction, is the lead Minister of this work.
Child poverty measures, targets and indicators
The Child Poverty Reduction Act requires current and future Governments to set three year and ten-year targets for reducing child poverty. It also establishes a suite of measures that will track progress on reducing child poverty, and requires annual reporting on identified child poverty related indicators.
Regular reporting requirements provide a high level of transparency and accountability.
Actions to reduce child poverty
Reducing child poverty links to the Strategy’s outcome ‘Children and young people have what they need’.
The focus of this outcome is on reducing child poverty by improving the material wellbeing of households living in poverty and hardship. This focus has the potential to impact other wellbeing outcomes as well.
Actions are grouped in the following focus areas:
- Improve earnings and employment
- Create a fairer and more equitable welfare system
- Improve housing affordability, quality and security
- Help families with the cost of essentials.