The Prime Minister has announced with much fanfare that she is dialling back on her child poverty targets, National’s spokesperson for Children, Alfred Ngaro says.
“Jacinda Ardern has announced that she intends to reduce the number of children living in poverty by 70,000 over three years,” Mr Ngaro says.
“But in an interview she gave during the election campaign in September, Jacinda Ardern said that she was committed to lifting 100,000 children out of poverty by 2020.
“This is an extraordinary back-track from her pre-election promise.
“We don’t believe that a reduction of 70,000 children in poverty is anywhere near as ambitious as it could be given the previously-announced Families Package – which was a rebadge of National’s package – is likely to impact the lives of 64,000 kids.
“So essentially she’s saying her Government is only going to raise another 6,000 in this term of Parliament.
“During the campaign, National committed to lifting 100,000 children out of low income households by 2020 through the introduction of a second income package to build on the 50,000 children our first package would have helped.
“It should also be noted that it was the National Government that raised benefits for the first time in 40 years and the impact of that increase is yet to be seen in the numbers. Jacinda Ardern’s pet policy is wholly reliant on the economic management and evidence-driven initiatives of the National Government.
“We’re continuing to fight hard for any future legislation around reducing child poverty to have some real teeth to it.
“National has lodged three Supplementary Order Papers (SOPs) seeking to force the Government to be more ambitious with its targets, measures, and evidence.
“We supported the Prime Minister’s 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.
“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 agrees to allow an increase in the report-back time and for the public to be able to give feedback on our proposed changes,” Mr Ngaro says.