Only ACT opposes own-goal child poverty bill

Thu, 01 Nov, 2018

ACT continues to provide the only opposition to the Government’s left-wing agenda, with National supporting a meaningless bill that will do nothing to alleviate child poverty, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Prime Minister’s bill does nothing more than measure inequality – the gap between some families and others. It doesn’t get to the heart of whether children are going without the basics. Worse, it distracts from real welfare by focusing on income statistics.

“The incomes of all New Zealanders could double and the same number of children would still be in poverty according to the bill’s measures.

“Strategies, committees, and reports required by the bill will similarly do nothing for our most disadvantaged kids.

“The Government believes higher taxes and more welfare will help it deliver on the aims of the bill. New Zealand has taken this approach for 80 years and yet we still have an underclass.

“The United Kingdom passed identical legislation in 2010 and, in five years, child poverty rates didn’t budge. The Prime Minister should know this – her bill is modelled on it.

“ACT would ensure that the Chief Statistician interviews 200 children each year and report to Parliament on whether they are receiving the basics – if they are going to the doctor and dentist, whether they are clothed and fed, and going to school.

“Bringing New Zealand kids out of poverty will require more jobs, higher productivity and wages, fewer people on welfare, a high-quality education system, and a house building boom.

“New Zealand deserves better than a naïve and meaningless attempt to help our most disadvantaged kids.”