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A charity programme, launched to help underprivileged Kiwi kids, is further shameful evidence of the extent of child poverty in New Zealand, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson and Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern says.
“To have a dollar-a-day campaign like those usually associated with Third World countries started up in a country once proud of its egalitarianism, highlights just how dire things have become. It’s not something I ever thought I would see in New Zealand.
“The very fact that Variety has seen the gap that exists for our kids and has launched such a campaign should be another red flag to the government – and to Paula Bennett - that something is seriously wrong with current policies.
“Ms Bennett’s claim that child poverty is solely an issue of welfare dependency is fallacious. We have 270,000 New Zealand children living in poverty, and two out of five of those kids come from working households.
“No one is arguing that the job of parenting belongs to parents and caregivers, but the Government has a role to ensure they have all the tools they need to raise their kids as best they can.
“Inequality is growing – there’s a widening income gap and a growing chasm between the haves and the have nots. We have Third World diseases among children, preventable hospitalisations, over-crowded housing and kids turning up at school hungry.
“That’s hardly something to be proud of.
“That the Government is willing to stand by while charities, in desperation and exasperation, move to tackle the issue is disgraceful.
“The Children’s Commissioner’s expert advisory group on child poverty has given Ms Bennett some ready-made, workable ideas. It’s now up to her to act on them.