Kieran Madden

By Kieran Madden - 06/04/2018

Kieran Madden

By Kieran Madden -

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Submission: Child Poverty Reduction Bill

Maxim Institute supports this Bill and proposes amendments to strengthen it.

We welcome this Bill and its potential to increase focus on poverty reduction, government accountability, and promotion of policies that transform lives.

Read our full submission here: 
Submission to the Social Services & Community Committee: The Child Poverty Reduction Bill

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

As a “commitment device,” this Bill offers a solid legislative framework to promote policies that will reduce poverty and material hardship for whanau and families with children in New Zealand. We also believe the Bill could be improved and strengthened.

In particular, we support:

  • The broad suite of measures and inclusion of material hardship and persistent poverty
  • The mandatory setting of targets and flexibility for successive governments

We propose the following amendments:

  • Refine and advance the persistent poverty measure
  • Promote the combined low income and hardship supplementary measure to a primary measure
  • Include Child Poverty-Related Indicators in the suite of measures
  • Improve efficiency of data collection and analysis
  • Incorporate a consensual budget standards measure

We uphold the following principles:

  • Families and whanau should be at the centre of this Bill
  • Taking a whole-of-society approach is critical for success

Overall, there is significant merit in the Bill as it stands to promote accountability and spur action—but there are also several opportunities for improvements. We can do better. We believe our proposed amendments are a good first step to strengthening this Bill for the sake of struggling families and whanau in New Zealand.

Whether the Government will achieve a “significant and sustained reduction in child poverty” will largely come down to their resultant policies. We welcome the requirement for the Government Strategy to improve child well-being and the Oranga Tamariki Action Plan, and look forward to seeing proposals for how these targets will be reached.

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Kieran Madden

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