Media Statement For Immediate Release; 20 August 2017
ACT NOW ON CHILD POVERTY
All political parties need to commit to boosting support for poorer families, especially beneficiaries with children, Peter Malcolm, spokesperson for the income equality project Closing the Gap, said today.
Closing the Gap endorses the call from the 37 organisations that make up the Equality Network for an extension of the $72.50 In-Work Tax Credit to all people on benefits as a first step toward tackling child poverty in New Zealand.
“Extending the $72.50 In-Work Tax Credit is a change that could be made now, and it would make a big difference to beneficiaries with children, like Maddy*, the solo mother with a 10-month-old, who told the Equality Network that she hasn’t been able to heat her home this winter,” Mr. Malcolm said.
To get the $72.50, solo parents must work a minimum of 20 hours a week. “Maddy* is living on $100 a week after paying rent and power, and simply can’t afford to heat her cold, damp house,” he said.
“295,000 children in this country live in poverty. That’s nearly a third of all children,” Mr. Malcolm said. “As Paul Barber of the NZ Council of Christian Social Services pointed out, nearly 200,000 those children are in families where no-one is in paid work, so they’re missing out on the $72.50 credit.”
“We’re heartened that tackling child poverty is on the agenda of several of the major parties campaigning for our votes, but we’d like to see all parties treating child poverty as the crisis it clearly is by committing to radical changes,” Mr. Malcolm said.
*Name changed to protect identity
Equality Network (for Maddy’s* story):
Child Poverty Monitor (for statistics on child poverty):