Reducing child poverty: Give kids the means to partake in society

Morning Talk 30/01/2018
Photo: Getty.

Listen to the full interview with Alex Penk above. 

The Prime Minister’s child poverty reduction law will be released Tuesday afternoon, which Jacinda Ardern has said will help ensure that the issue remains a priority.

Government departments will have to meet certain targets to reduce child poverty, and whether they succeed or not will be reported by the Treasury.

Alex Penk, CEO of the Maxim Institute (an independent research group), joined Mark Sainsbury to help define child poverty.

Poverty is defined as the relationship between people’s material needs and the resources that they have, according to Mr Penk.

“It’s not just about having enough stuff to be able to survive,” Mr Penk said. “But it’s also about being able to participate [in society].”

Ms Ardern’s child poverty targets intend to ensure that child poverty remains a priority across all departments.

"The fact that we're going to have to report on how we're doing at the Budget will shape the way that we look at child-wellbeing issues every time we write a Budget," Ms Ardern said on Monday.

But Mr Penk says that while measurement is important for child poverty, the Government should be careful which measures it selects.

“It’s important to have a range of measures,” he told RadioLIVE.

How does one measure child poverty? 

Listen to the full interview with Julie Chapman above.

Julie Chapman of KidsCan joined Morning Talk to share her thoughts on defining and measuring the elimination of child poverty.

The KidsCan CEO says that above all, she wants to hear from the people living in poverty whether the Government’s efforts are working.

For Ms Chapman, eliminating poverty means having families afford their rent; provide three meals to their children a day, and providing children with material things to help them participate.

“We need to work out a consumption-type model where we actually do work out how much a family does need to have to live with dignity.

If you don’t have hope, you don’t have much.

“When you don’t have these things you can’t participate as a child in society,” she said.

Poverty can often be defined simply as anyone who falls within an income threshold. Ms Chapman sees child poverty as more than a number, but rather giving children the tools and resources to stay hopeful.

“If you don’t have hope, you don’t have much,” she told RadioLIVE. 

Listen to the full interview with Alex Penk and Julie Chapman above.

Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury, weekdays from 9am-noon on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the ROVA app on Android and iPhone.