PM thanks National for child poverty support

Simon Bridges. Photo: NZ Herald
Simon Bridges. Photo: NZ Herald

Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern

National has agreed to support a government bill which would ensure child poverty in New Zealand is properly measured.

“No child should be living in poverty and National is committed to lifting children out of hardship,” Bridges said this morning, announcing his party’s support of the Child Poverty Reduction Bill.

Bridges and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have been working behind the scenes for much of this year to come to an agreement on the legislation.

Ardern said this morning she welcomed the support of National.

“It’s important to the long-term welfare of our children that this Bill is enduring and survives changes of Government. I thank the National Party for their amendments and their support of our Bill."

The Bill, if passed, would encourage a focus on child poverty reduction, facilitate political accountability against published targets, require transparent reporting on child poverty levels, and create a greater commitment by government to address child well-being.

National was able to get some concessions to the bill, which was introduced by Ardern in January this year.

They include reporting annually on one or more child poverty related indicators, having regard to principles of early intervention and evidence-informed policy when developing the strategy, and setting out how the Government intends to evaluate the effectiveness of policies included in the strategy.

Bridges said the changes mean poverty will be measured not just in simple financial terms, but in areas such as income and employment, housing, education and development and health.

”[This will] give a broader picture to what poverty means for some children and to help form our response.”

The changes also mean National’s approach to solving social issues will be adopted, as the Government will have to take into account the principles of early intervention and “evidence-informed policy.”

The bill has just come out of the select committee process where people were able to have their say on the proposed legislation.

The committee received 632 submissions on the Bill, with the bulk of the feedback overwhelmingly positive, Ardern said.

She said this helped strengthen the bill in a number of areas.

“I want to thank all the individuals and groups for their passionate and thoughtful contributions on the Bill. They have been extremely valuable in helping to strengthen this legislation.”

With the support of both major political parties, the bill is very likely to pass its second and third readings and become law.

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