A new report confirms the National Government is failing our children, and shows the urgent need for policies to end child poverty in New Zealand, the Green Party said today.
"In the past year there has been no progress towards reducing rates of child poverty. 1 in 6 Pākehā, 1 in 4 Pacific, and 1 in 3 Māori children are now likely to live in relative poverty," Green Party Children's Spokesperson Holly Walker said.
"In the same period, there has been a massive increase in reported violence and neglect of children.
"Until the Government acknowledges the connection between high rates of material hardship and high rates of abuse and neglect, we will continue to fail our children."
Ms Walker was commenting on the release of the Salvation Army's State of the Nation Report, The Growing Divide, which gives New Zealand a C- for its efforts to deal with child poverty, a D for children and risk, and a C+ for children and violence.
"The report has some tough words for New Zealanders. It says we appear to lack the wit and insight to appreciate the links between the social environments we create and the social outcomes we reap." Ms Walker said.
"I hope the Government will reflect on this challenge when it considers submissions on its Green Paper for Vulnerable Children which close this month.
"The Green Paper's limited focus does not address why so many New Zealand children live in hardship and are at risk of violence, and until we do this we cannot hope to reduce high rates of abuse and neglect.
"If a large number of submissions are received urging the Government to address the underlying issue of Child Poverty, I hope this will be addressed in the eventual White Paper."
Ms Walker said the Green Party had four solutions that could help to bring 100,000 children out of poverty during this term of Government.
"We would extend Working for Families support to all low-income families, raise the minimum wage to help children whose parents earn low wages, introduce minimum standards for rental accommodation, and reinstate the Training Incentive Allowance to help sole parents up-skill and move into high-paid employment.
"These are the kinds of solutions we need to have on the table to address both high rates of child abuse and neglect, and the underlying causes of poverty and inequality."