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Children's Commissioner comment on updated child poverty statistics

Media releases

22 April 2021

Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft has today welcomed the correction of child poverty figures by Stats NZ but reminds New Zealanders to remain focussed on what’s really going on for tamariki and rangatahi.

Stats NZ today released updated poverty figures, corrected after a mistake was discovered in the calculation of the median household income. Measures in the Child Poverty Act are still trending downward, but today’s correction saw a slight improvement on some measures and a slight decline in others, including material hardship.

“While reliable statistics are vital when working towards child poverty reduction targets, it’s important to keep focussed on what’s really happening in children’s and young people’s lives,” Commissioner Becroft says.

“A different number behind a decimal point doesn’t change things for the thousands of tamariki and whanau doing it tough. Children who are growing up in a motel, or whose families are struggling to pay for the basics, still need big bold changes to unlock opportunities to live their best lives.

“Government efforts to target poverty reduction, improve incomes through the families’ package, expand the school lunch programme and peg benefits to wages have created the strongest foundations for making progress on poverty in decades.

“Poverty and hardship rates, particularly among Māori, Pacific and disabled children are still unacceptably high.

“We want to see benefits raised in line with the recommendations of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group, and a major shift in the availability of social and affordable housing for whānau.

“Covid-19 has shown what’s possible when we all come together to look after each other.  There’s still a fantastic opportunity to pull together again, and to eliminate poverty and material hardship for all our tamariki,” Commissioner Becroft says.