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National has today lodged three Supplementary Order Papers (SOPs) seeking to give some teeth to the proposed law to reduce child poverty, Children’s spokesperson Alfred Ngaro says.

“In its current form the Bill simply codifies the actions National was already taking to reduce child poverty. The SOPs have been designed to take the next step in that journey, and to force the Government to be more ambitious with its targets, measures, and evidence.

“We supported the Bill to select committee but have always said that our ongoing support would depend on the Government agreeing to make changes that will ensure it measurably improves deprivation.

“The first SOP asks the Minister responsible, Jacinda Ardern, to ensure there is regular reporting of outcomes around a selected number of child poverty-related indicators such as household material conditions, educational development, health and safety.

“The second SOP asks the Minister to set a target to reduce the number of children in material hardship by 100,000 in three years – just as she committed to during the election campaign. This was a target National had committed to with support from initiatives such as the Family Incomes Package last year.

“The final SOP requires all Budget initiatives or proposals with an impact on child poverty reduction to take into account the principles of the Social Investment approach. This could include subjecting any proposals to a cost benefit analysis and a Social Investment Analytical Layer (SIAL).

“This will ensure data and evidence is a cornerstone of the decision-making around investing in, and funding, initiatives to reduce child poverty, rather than just encouraging Labour’s habit of throwing money at a problem.

“In the spirit of bipartisanship, National has three times sought to discuss our concerns with the Prime Minister about the Bill, as well as our proposed solutions.

“I look forward to discussing these SOPs as they come in front of the Social Services and Community select committee and I hope the Government makes good on its commitment to remove the politics from child poverty and supports these proposals,” Mr Ngaro says. 

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