In 2007 and 2008 the Office of the Children’s Commissioner examined the incidence of poverty among children and young people in New Zealand and its impacts on them. As part of that work a project was set up to get the views and experiences of children, young people and young adults. Between August 2007 and June 2008 the Office worked with nine community partners, 56 children, 32 young people and eight young adults living in low socioeconomic communities throughout New Zealand. The purpose of the project was to explore the following questions:
This report sets out the project findings. Part I provides background. Part II outlines and discusses the findings from the project. Part III sets out some conclusions. Appendix 1 discusses the methodology used, including the design, process and management of safety and ethical issues and Appendix 2 gives some of the words used by the participants in their descriptions of poverty.
This report will contribute to building knowledge and understanding on how poverty affects children and young people in New Zealand. It is hoped the valuable information it contains and insights it provides will better inform communities, policy advisors and decision-makers about the impact of economic hardship on children and young people.
The full report can be downloaded in pdf format below.
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A Fair Go for all Children, Actions to address child poverty in New Zealand, is an analytical look at the extent and characteristics of child poverty in New Zealand and what can be done about it.
The purpose of this report is to suggest actions New Zealand can take to address child poverty. It includes a summary of proposals for action and 10 chapters, the final chapter summarising conclusions. The report looks at the case for action, the consequences of child poverty including the impact of poor health and housing, child poverty in New Zealand, economic arguments for reducing child poverty and setting goals.
The full report can be downloaded in pdf format as a whole document, or as separate chapters, below. The full report is not yet available in HTML format but check back soon, click here to access the foreword and executive summary.
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The executive summary and Chapter 1 provide a summary of the report, an overview of its structure and the case for action on child poverty.
Download the executive summary and Chapter 1 (239.8 kb) pages 8–17
Chapter 2 summarises key evidence from the available literature on the consequences of child poverty. The biggest direct effects are on children’s – especially young children’s – development, resulting in susceptibility to illness, and poor health outcomes and educational achievement. These effects flow through to increase their risk of various poorer outcomes as adults.
Download Chapter 2 (193.3 kb) pages 18–21
Chapter 3 sets out some of the key data on child poverty in New Zealand. It reports the number of children living in poverty, using the most recently available data, describes the trend in child poverty rates over time, and how New Zealand compares with other developed countries. It provides data on which children are in poverty and poverty rates among particular groups of children. In addition to income-based measures of poverty, it reports information from the Ministry of Social Development Living Standards Survey. The chapter also provides information on poverty among children living in benefit-dependent households.
Download Chapter 3 (579.1 kb) pages 22–33
Chapter 4 discusses the support and community services that are crucial if children are to thrive and parents are to stay connected to the paid workforce. It discusses the case for good early childhood and out-of-school services to support families to combine employment and parenting. It looks at the areas of labour market policy that are central to better supporting parents to work.
Download Chapter 4 (362.2 kb) pages 34–40
Chapter 5 focuses on what needs to be done to ensure adequate financial support for all families with children whether or not they have paid employment. There will always be some children whose families depend on benefits for some of their lives. This may be due to illness, disability, unemployment or caring responsibilities - circumstances that can strike anyone. In some cases, benefits will be long-term arrangements. The countries that are most successful in keeping benefit dependency to a minimum and in maintaining low child-poverty rates, are those that provide generous support for both parents in work, and all families with children.
Download Chapter 5 (320.6 kb) pages 41–47
Chapter 6 discusses making the child support system work better for children and parents. It looks at changes for children in benefit-dependent families that could make an important contribution to reducing child poverty, while promoting better contact between children and their separated parents. This chapter makes a case for a review of New Zealand’s child support scheme.
Download Chapter 6 (224.0 kb) pages 48–51
Chapters 7 and 8 outline ways of ensuring opportunities and adequate living standards for children. They cover education and skill development from the early years through schooling; ensuring that children live in healthy housing and get appropriate health care; and galvanising of resources and support in deprived neighbourhoods. Such actions are critical for the long-term prevention of child poverty and for breaking the intergenerational cycle of disadvantage.
Download Chapter 7 (334.9 kb) pages 52–58
Download Chapter 8 (292.8 kb) pages 59–66
Chapter 9 discusses the importance of setting goals and targets and monitoring progress towards ending child poverty.
Download Chapter 9 (227.7 kb) pages 67–68
Chapter 10 draws some brief conclusions.
Download Chapter 10 (174.6 kb) pages 69–71
Download the references (253.2 kb) pages 72–78