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Greater focus on work will reduce child poverty – Louise Upston

Worsening child poverty rates support the Coalition Government’s focus on reducing the cost of living and getting people into work, Child Poverty Reduction Minister Louise Upston says.

Figures released by Stats NZ today show child poverty rates have increased, with the rising cost of living, driven by inflation, making it harder for families to afford the basics.

Stats NZ data for the three primary measures show that in 2022/23:

  • 12.5 per cent of all children (143,700) were in material hardship – up 2 per cent compared to 2021/22 
  • 17.5 per cent of children (202,100) were in poverty, based on household income after housing costs have been paid – up 3.1 per cent
  • 12.6 per cent of children (146,000) were in poverty, based on household income before the costs of housing are paid – up 0.9 per cent
  • “This Government has inherited major challenges, and it’s clear a new approach is needed to addressing child poverty.

    “The number of children living in material hardship has barely shifted in six years. In 2016/17, 139,600 kids lived in households that were unable to afford essentials. This increased to 143,700 in 2022/23.

    “Another 50,200 children are also living in benefit-dependent households compared to when National last left office, and I’m committed to turning this around.

    “Supporting parents into paid work and breaking the shackles of welfare dependency will be the cornerstone of this Government’s strategy for lifting families out of hardship and reducing child poverty rates.

    “We also plan to lift the incomes of working households experiencing hardship by providing tax relief, easing mortgage pain, unlocking housing supply, making childcare more affordable, and lifting skills and education to provide our children with greater opportunities.

    “We’ve already committed to increasing the Working for Families In-Work Tax Credit from next year, putting up to $25 more per week into the pockets of low-and-middle-income working families. This tax credit hasn’t gone up since the National Government increased it in 2015.

    “We’re also bringing in our FamilyBoost childcare tax rebate, which is expected to help 130,000 low-and-middle-income families keep more of what they earn, with up to $75 more in their after-tax pay each week.

    “This Government is committed to bringing down the cost of living and helping lift more families and their children out of hardship.”

     

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