Tuesday, October 29, 2013

National doesn't care about child poverty

Today the Children's Commissioner's Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty released its progress report on child poverty [PDF]. They looked hard to find areas of progress, and they found some - but on the big issues the government refuses to move. The government refuses to even formulate a formal strategy on how to reduce child poverty, let alone address core problems such as income adequacy and poor housing quality. The Minister's response is simply to giggle at the issue. I guess hungry kids look funny when you're on $250,000 a year...

But the worst part of it is that National doesn't even care enough about child poverty to bother measuring it - and so the Children's Commissioner has had to ask a charity for $500,000 to do it themselves. Think about that: child poverty rates are a key social statistic and a fundamental accountability mechanism, and National is simply abrogating its responsibility for even measuring it. So, the Children's Commissioner has had to go begging. The good news is that they've found the money. The bad news is that National will simply dismiss their annual findings as "one of a range of measures" - and probably giggle some more.