The Salvation Army has unintentionally highlighted the complete failure of our tax and welfare systems to address poverty and inequality, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

"The Salvation Army’s State of the Nation report says there are few signs government policies are addressing entrenched poverty in New Zealand.

"The government taxes one in every three dollars and spends $33.7 billion a year on social security and welfare – $18,500 for every single household.

"In effect, the Salvation Army is saying this approach has failed to address poverty and inequality.

"ACT agrees. The outcomes achieved by poorer New Zealanders are an indictment on the last 20 years of policy drift under Labour and National governments. 

"The report also talks about the growing gap in educational achievement between poor and wealthy communities.

"ACT’s charter schools were helping children in disadvantaged communities achieve outstanding results before the Government scrapped the innovative educational model, a move that prioritised the teachers unions over Māori and Pasifika children.

"ACT believes tackling poverty will require economic policies that allow firms to thrive, an education system that provides choice and competition, rules that allow the private sector to build more homes, and a welfare system that doesn’t create dependence.

"Neither the Government nor the National Party appear willing and able to provide such policies. ACT will."