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Source: ACT Party

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“ACT will continue to oppose the Child Poverty Reduction Bill despite National’s change of heart becuase it is still the same bill,” says ACT leader David Seymour

“Child poverty is a serious problem that deserves a serious policy response but Jacinda Ardern’s Child Poverty Reduction Bill is not it. Despite National’s triumphialism, the bill has barely changed and still does more harm than good.

“As ACT’s Free Press reported last December, the Bill is actually a political exercise that focuses on household income rather than children’s welfare. It is a destraction from the real issue and therefore destructive.

“The changes National have gained in exchange for support do not change the bill at all. The original 10 income focused measures remain, while in return one more measure defined as: The Minister must identify, for monitoring reports, 1 or more child poverty related indicators related to all or any of the following areas… or, (e) any other area or areas. In other words the National Party’s big change is really just a requirement for the Minster to put any one thing at all in the bill.

“Meanwhile the National Party claims they have required the bill makes sure policy is evidence based. This is clearly meaningless as the Party would surely claim to have been carrying out evidence based policy for nine years without such legislation.

“Child poverty is an important problem that requires proportionate policy responses in housing, education, and welfare policy. However, all this bill has achieved is to show how little committment the National Party have to public policy substance when a little stardust is on offer.

“What they should have required is what ACT called for last year, below, or continued to oppose the bill.

If the Prime Minister is serious about measuring child poverty she’ll do it like this: Have a division of Statistics New Zealand (the specialists we all pay to do statistical things) to track a significant number of children, perhaps 200 born each year from birth to age 18. Statistics NZ should never reveal the identities of these kids to any other department. They should interview the families and children twice per year to measure their actual consumption of food, housing, clothing, and education. (Source: Free Press December 11, 2018)