Another report on the state of child poverty in New Zealand has been released, and although it shows some improvement, many children are still living under pressure.
10% of New Zealand children are living in severe poverty. Māori are still the worst affected followed by our Pacific Island relations.
The new Minister for Māori Development had strong words for the Government.
“The time for talk is over, the time for reports is over, we know the problem and it's time for government departments to change the way they operate,” says Te Ururoa Flavell.
Minister Flavell says the problem in past years has been the Government's tunnel vision approach. He says that's changed only recently.
“I've heard both the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance put the challenge out for there to be more focus on people in poverty. I've only just heard that," he says.
So how do they plan on addressing the issue? The Government is refining its focus to those communities most affected by poverty, as well as having ministries working more cohesively.
Minister Flavell says, “The Ministry of Health is talking to the Education Ministry, who is then talking the Ministry of Māori Development. That's a first for them to be talking to each other.”
Education Minister Hekia Parata explains, “The first problem is many have no education qualifications, so they can't get jobs that see an increase in salary, they can't own their own homes, the list goes on.”
Meanwhile, the Opposition says at the moment everything being said are just empty words.
“We think that although they're talking the talk, nothing yet has come of it,” says Labour's Nanaia Mahuta.
There was some improvement in the report which showed a drop in poverty rates by 3%. However, MP Mahuta says there's still plenty to be done.
She says, “This report challenges the Government to establish benchmarks to achieve government aspirations and I support that idea.”
In the new year, the Government's targeted approach towards areas more affected by poverty will begin.