Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Child poverty: The core problem

Yesterday, I commented that child poverty in New Zealand was primarily a problem of income adequacy, largely as a result of Ruth Richardson's 1991 benefit cuts, which reduced benefits to sub-starvation levels. The Child Poverty Action Group's report, Hunger for learning. Nutritional Barriers to children's education [PDF], has a graphic depiction of this problem:


This is just the DPB, but its a similar story across all core benefits. And while Labour did a little to help, through Working For Families' tax credits, its clear that they didn't undo the damage Richardson caused. While it will undoubtedly help, government funding for school breakfasts is just a sticking plaster on this problem, addressing just a tiny aspect of it. In the long term, we need to solve the big problem too.