Reducing child poverty by half 'aspirational but achievable' - Children's Commissioner

Ryan Bridge 22/05/2019

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed the Government's official child poverty reduction targets. The government is promising to halve child poverty within a decade.

Some of the targets to be achieved within 10 years include; 120 thousand children out of poverty and low-income households before housing costs. Taking into account housing costs the targets are for 130 thousand children out of poverty and low-income households.

That's a decrease from 23% down to 10% joining Ryan Bridge on Magic Talk Drive Andrew Becroft the Children's Commissioner.

The first question Ryan asked is what does he think of the targets, are they useful?

The Commissioner told Ryan, “Absolutely, outstanding.”

I welcome them to have them officially set out and confirmed is really encouraging.

“If we mean business about New Zealand beat the best place in the world for children than this is where we start and it’s important that the government doesn't shy away from them’, he continued.

Now they’re there and achievable.

Ryan explained that's the material hardship that are laid out in the targets which ‘is a kid missing out one of the basics of life like shoes on their feet or food on the table.’ Becroft confirmed this.

“Yeah the material hardship is the best measure and to halve that in ten years I think that is a wonderful aspirational but achievable target.”

We’ve had so much talk for so many years it's good to see an agenda for action.

“You know what's also good is it's cross-party it’s great this has been taken out of the political agenda and that two younger leaders have united to say we're going to make a difference.”

Ryan made sure to impress the “very important distinction here between material hardship and lifting children out of poverty because one of those lifting children out of poverty is an arbitrary line in the sand when it comes to income for the household, right?”

Ryan made sure to ask how confident the Children's Commissioner was to achieving those targets?

I'm cautiously optimistic, it is certainly achievable.

The early signs are encouraging,” according to Andrew Becroft who explained the reason it is so important is because “the tentacles of poverty affect so many areas of the child's life.”

You can watch the full interview above.