Save the Children New Zealand Re: 2021 Child Poverty Monitor

Save the Children New Zealand’s Advocacy and Research Director Jacqui Southey welcomed the findings of this year’s Child Poverty Monitor showing overall improvement in child poverty levels, but says more needs to be done to ensure every child in Aotearoa lives in a household with enough to thrive.

Ensuring Children Aren't Left Behind

"Sadly, some groups of children are not seeing the same lift and are still too far behind their peers. The Government needs policies specific to Māori, Pasifika and disabled children to ensure they are not being left behind.

"Children with disabilities have the right to expect the same standards of living and opportunities as their non-disabled peers, it is essential we recognise these rights and do much better as a nation for our disabled children and their whānau.

"Ensuring every child lives in a family with an adequate income means they are likely to have improved school attendance and achievement, better health outcomes, and reduced food insecurity.

"Incomes that are too low have significant effects for children long term - poorer education outcomes and health status leading to reduced opportunities in their future. Every child has the right to a good life now and a bright future to look forward to.

"The impacts of these challenges will be felt in Aotearoa New Zealand well into the future if we don’t put in the effort to get it right for our kids now."

Ms Southey says it was positive to see programmes such as food in schools making a difference for tamariki.

"We know that ensuring children have adequate nutrition will support their health and wellbeing, and contribute to their achievement at school in the short, and will benefit us all as a society through increased productivity in the future.

"When the spotlight is on poverty, positive change can be achieved. There is no reason that any child should be left behind due to poverty, and we urge the New Zealand Government to continue to invest in our tamariki that need greater support."