The third annual Child Poverty Report was released today, alongside Budget 2021. It describes what progress has been made in reducing poverty and what the Government is doing through Budget 2021 to reduce child poverty.
This includes lifting weekly main benefit rates, to bring them in line with a key recommendation of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group (WEAG). This will have a direct impact on children living in poverty by putting more money in the pockets of parents. Other initiatives have a more indirect impact and are designed to ease the pressures faced by families – such as changes to health, housing and education settings.
There are also several Budget 2021 initiatives aimed at breaking the cycles of disadvantage and intergenerational poverty over the longer term. These include initiatives related to child development, whānau wellbeing, mental health, prisoner reintegration, child protection and family violence.
These initiatives build on earlier actions aimed at lifting children out of poverty. Since 2017/18, all nine child poverty measures have been trending downwards. While the latest rates do not take into account the impact of COVID-19, Treasury modelling suggests that the Government’s income support measures have greatly reduced the negative economic impact of the pandemic.
Looking forward, the Government will continue to work on overhauling the Welfare system and addressing other recommendations from the WEAG.