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Child Poverty

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25% of children in New Zealand live in poverty. These children often go without food, new clothes, proper medical treatment, and live in unacceptable standards. Child poverty plays a huge role in children’s education. Each year, 7,000 children leave school without qualifications and 30,000 children bunk school each day. A survey in 2006 showed that 15% of children left to school without eating breakfast. In 2010, over 20,000 children were admitted into hospital for illnesses and diseases caused by poor housing. Children from low income families are three times more likely to get sick than children from higher income families, and they have a 1.4 times higher risk of dying prematurely. About 375,000 children live in cold houses because they cannot afford heating. Child poverty also increases the chances of criminal offences, poor physical and mental health, unemployment as adults, and the risk of dying at a younger age. Children who are born into poverty have a high chance of dying before they are one.

The lowest amount for a family to spend in a week on basic necessities such as food, rent, and power bills would total to about $1000. This is about the same amount of money a family of 4 would earn if one parent worked full time at the minimum wage, one was living on  a benefit, and they received a few hundred in Tax Credits and Accommodation Supplements. It would cost a family one week's earnings to pay for the basics, allowing no extra money for other things. Giving parents a child payment for the first few years of a child's life could lift many children out of poverty. This payment could be made in the form of an accommodation supplement to help the standard of the child's accommodation, or as a Working For Family Tax Credit such as the one Inland Revenue currently supplies. This could be designed so that the money would only be able to go towards the children. The money could be used for things such as school supplies, medical bills, and clothing.
It is vital that parents receive child payment to reduce the unacceptable rates of child poverty in New Zealand. 


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