A new report released by UNICEF today reveals that 30 million children – across 35 countries with developed economies – are living in poverty. The report maintains that poverty is not an inevitable situation but is susceptible to the influence of government policy.
“The report reinforces what we already know. We can alleviate child poverty by making good policy choices.” Ririki’s Executive Director Anton Blank said today.
Last year every Child Counts released the report He Ara Hou – The Pathway Forward (Getting it right for Aotearoa/New Zealand’s Māori and Pasifika children). The report showed that just over half of the New Zealand children living below the poverty line are Māori and Pasifika.
“Brown families bear the brunt of child poverty in New Zealand, and the outcomes for these children are dire. They experience two to three times poorer health than other groups, and are less likely to succeed at school. Moving into adulthood they are less likely to be employed, and they are more likely to experience mental health issues – and a raft of other social issues.
“Because Māori and Pasifika populations are growing what we ar
e watching is the development of a massive brown underclass, which will have serious social and economic consequences for New Zealand in the future. This is a Polynesian time bomb.”
He Ara Hou evidences the success of Māori -centric policy-making. With most Maori children now located in kura kaupapa Māori, or a Māori dimension of a mainstream school, Māori educational achievement is trending steadily upwards.
“This is one example of how savvy policy-making can address the outcomes of child poverty. We need to see more of it however, across the health, educational, and social spheres.
“Māori and Pasifika children must be the number one priority in policy making about children. This means the government must engage with Māori and Pasifika experts to develop solutions and direct more public funding to Māori and Pasifika initiatives.”
Press Release: Te Kahui Mana Ririki