December 19, 2018
Stronger kete as child poverty tackled
The almost unanimous passing of the Child Poverty Reduction Bill has been welcomed as an important step in tackling a major national problem.
National agreed to support the bill after some changes negotiated between leader Simon Bridges and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, so Act’s David Seymour was the only no vote.
Alan Johnson, the head of the Salvation Army’s social policy unit, says it means it’s more likely the frameworks in the law will endure even with a change in government.
He says the Government also needs to tackle the most in need, which will require changes to benefit levels and Working for Families.
"I think the kete is a great deal more robust and has less holes in it than it did say 18 months ago but it's still got holes in it. For example the sanctions against mothers that won't name the fathers of their children are still in place and don't have to be so there are still holes in that kete but they're small and there are less of them than they were 18 months ago which is good news," Mr Johnson says.
He says much of the work to reduce poverty will be done by specific programmes and budgets, and a lot of that has already been done by the coalition Government through increases in special needs grants and emergency benefits, the winter energy payments and the Early Start programme for families with newborn babies.
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