The number of Kiwi kids in poverty jumped by 60,000 in the
recent global recession - twice as much as previously
Revised figures show that children in homes with under 60 per
cent of the median income after housing costs, usually cited
as New Zealand's poverty line, leapt from 240,000 in 2007 to
300,000 in 2010, the highest since 2001.
The number has dropped back since then to 285,000, but this
is still 20,000 more than the previously reported figure of
The revisions, disclosed today, are mainly because the
accommodation supplement was double-counted in all estimates
of after-tax income reported by Statistics NZ, Treasury and
the Social Development Ministry since 2009-10.
A joint statement by Treasury and Statistics NZ said the
figures were produced jointly by the two agencies and
"neither agency had an overview of the complete process to
ensure the anomalies, once identified, were properly
"Statistics NZ and the Treasury have changed their quality
assurance and communications processes to ensure this problem
doesn't happen again," they said.
As a proportion of all Kiwi children, the revised figures
show that children in homes below the poverty line increased
from 22 per cent in 2007 to 28 per cent in 2010, and have
dropped back only slightly to 27 per cent - not 25 per cent
as reported previously.
Children's Commissioner Dr Russell Wills said the figures
were still too high.
"With 25 per cent it was already pretty important. At 27 per
cent it's still important. Really the message is the same,
and it's that child poverty is too common and we need to plan
for it," he said.
He said there were signs that child poverty had dropped since
the latest figures, which relate to 2012.
"I have been pleased to see that the number of children in
benefit-dependent households has fallen. There are more
parents in work," he said.
"For most, work is the best way out of poverty, and we
clearly still have a long way to go on that."
• Web: http://www.msd.govt.nz/
- By Simon Collins of the NZ Herald