Maori Party applauds release of child poverty and hardship measures

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Maori Party Co-leader and the deputy chair of the Ministerial Committee on Poverty, Tariana Turia has applauded the brave partnership that has produced the Child Poverty Monitor.

The Childrens Commissioner, Otago Universitys Child and Youth Epidemiology Service and JR McKenzie Trust have stepped up where successive governments have failed to, in providing specific child poverty and hardship measures, says Mrs Turia.

If we dont have the data, we wont know what we need to do, or more importantly who we need to target to make the greatest difference.

The data clearly reveals that one in three Maori and Pasifika children are in poverty, compared to one in seven European children. It also tells us that the rate of poverty severity where households are both income poor and experiencing material hardship is twice as high for Maori and Pasifika children aged 0-17 years than for the New Zealand population as a whole.

This is absolutely shocking stuff which no government can or should ignore.

Child poverty is inseparable from whanau poverty. Unless we are all prepared to address whanau poverty, were only going to get more people calling for the state to feed our tamariki.

Poverty is far more complex than a lack of money. It includes poverty of aspiration and opportunity, lack of control over destiny, and cultural and spiritual poverty. When I was growing up we never had a lot, but we had one another, and we were never short of kai. The commercialisation of our kaimoana the polluting of our streams, the depleting stocks of tuna, have severely limited our roles as hunters, growers and gatherers.

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  • Click here to read the report

We need to restore to ourselves our own capacity to manage thats Whanau Ora.

Its no good criticising people for being on the benefit if on the other hand there arent enough jobs to go around or sufficient income to help get our families out of hardship.

Last week’s statement from the Minister of Finance that the economy is improving and that accounts are on track indicates that we can be doing more to invest but we need that investment to be ramped up for our poorest peoples.

Budget 2013 made some significant inroads towards addressing the issues around poverty, and I am really proud of the changes made in terms of home insulation, partnerships with community organisations and financial institutions to offer low or no-interest loans, whiteware procurement,addressing rheumatic fever and the warrant of fitness trial for Housing New Zealand homes. These were an important cross-sector approach, which we have to build on if we want to turn this around.

We need to place serious investment where we know the greatest return will be achieved, says Mrs Turia.

Investing in a living wage where whanau can manage their own lives, independent of the state would be a great Christmas present for the nation. Whanau Maori who are committed to becoming Whanau Ora are showing us the way forward.

Media contact: Makere Edwards 021 221 4950

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