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The Green Party is challenging the National Government to actually do something to stop child poverty, and back its Bill to give a child payment to all children who need it.
Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei's bill to extend the In-work Tax Credit to the children of beneficiaries, part-time workers, and students will get its first reading in Parliament today. The Bill would immediately lift 100,000 children out of poverty.
"John Key has ignored the plight of these children, who are denied warm homes and clothes, decent food and opportunities for fair futures that other children get," Mrs Turei said.
"Now is the time to do something about child poverty and the ball is in John Key's court.
"New Zealanders don't want to see little kids thrown on the scrapheap before they've even started school, it's just not the Kiwi way, but John Key just doesn't seem to care.
"He is prepared to spend money to drive the inequality gap wider, but says he can't afford to reduce inequality and help our most vulnerable children.
"John Key will say the National Government can't afford my bill yet there was money to give tax cuts to the wealthy, subsidise big business polluters, and hand out huge concessions to a big international casino.
"Every suggestion to make life a bit better for poor kids is slammed. He has even dismissed the Children's Commissioner's expert poverty group recommendation of a universal child payment as 'dopey'.
"My bill would transform the In-work Tax Credit into a child payment for all children who need it, including those whose parents can't work.
"The Green Party believes children are a priority.
"The ball is in the Government's court. If it won't back my bill what will it do?
"Our rally at 1pm today calls for poverty to be a political issue. We are offering ideas and solutions to give kids a good life and a great future.
"New Zealand should be a great place to grow up for all children. What's the Government got to say?"