The Green Party has today launched a bold plan to bring 100,000 children out of poverty by 2014.
"One quarter of all New Zealand children are living in poverty. These are not nameless, faceless kids, they are our kids, and they deserve better," Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.
"Kids who live in poverty don't get the start in life they need and deserve - through no fault of their own. They don't get the essentials, so they miss out on the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
"Reducing child poverty doesn't just make humanitarian sense, it makes economic sense.""International research puts the economic cost of not acting to address child poverty at around 3 percent of GDP, or about $6 billion per year. Our solutions to bring 100,000 kids out of poverty by 2014 would cost just $360 million per year, less than 0.3 percent of GDP.
Mrs Turei said the Green Party had developed four solutions which, if implemented, would bring 100,000 New Zealand kids out of poverty in the next term of Government.
These solutions were: 1) make Working for Families work for every low-income family; 2) provide better study support for sole parents and beneficiaries; 3) raise the minimum wage to help working parents; and 4) make sure rental properties are warm and healthy for kids.
"Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and making Working for Families fairer will give enough families the extra income they need to bring 100,000 children out of poverty just like that," Mrs Turei said.
"These solutions are so simple and affordable, there's really no excuse not to implement them.
"Providing better study support for sole parents and beneficiaries helps people to find a path out of poverty, and sets their kids up to stay out of poverty in years to come.
"And making sure we have warm, healthy rental properties helps to keep power bills down, leaving more for the essentials, and saves on health costs from the childhood illnesses associated with poor housing.
"These are easy, affordable, practical solutions that would make a huge dent in our shameful child poverty statistics, and make life better for hundreds of thousands of kiwi kids."
Mrs Turei said bringing 100,000 children out of poverty was one of the Green Party's top three priorities in 2011. The others were making our rivers safe to swim in, and creating thousands of new clean green jobs. The details of these plans would be released in the coming weeks.