Stuff: Child poverty declines, but Māori, Pacific poverty rates ‘profoundly disturbing’

Child poverty has improved overall since 2018 according to annual figures released on Tuesday, but the statistics for Māori and Pasifika are “profoundly disturbing for New Zealand”, says Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft.

… Dr Matt Roskruge (Te Atiawa, Ngāti Tama), a Massey University senior lecturer in the School of Economics and Finance, said it was important to set and monitor a standard, as the Government had done.

However, the data appeared to be treading water, with a little bit of change as a result of a natural cycle.

“Other than material hardship [data], there’s certainly not a clear pattern emerging – which is what you’d want to see, given the ambition of the Government’s goals.

“You would want to be seeing really quite clear patterns year-in, year-out, of decline, otherwise we’re not going to get there.”

Looking at income and income inequality was important, but the data was not capturing the different levels of wealth.

“In fact most of these families are probably in a net negative wealth position, where they owe more money than the value of their assets.”

Increasing benefits as part of the solution, but the Government needed to look at non-financial support, such as truly free education, rent freezes, and more public housing, Roskruge said.

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