TAHA Press Release
New Zealand has made a commitment to achieving the sustainable development goal of “No Poverty” by 2030. Approximately 305,000 Kiwi kids live in poverty – an increase of 45,000 over the last year. Since ratifying the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, NZ has yet to articulate its plans for achieving no poverty.
148,000 Kiwi kids go without the basic essential items such as a warm home, vegetables, food, a bed and shoes. Many of our kiwi kids (16%) also live in crowded homes.
“Children are more likely to be in poverty than any other age group in NZ and that is due to NZ’s social policies” says Dr Nikki Turner, Child Poverty Action Group Adviser and Associate Professor at the University of Auckland. “Despite the belief that New Zealand is a great place for children, the statistics do no back up our romance. Being poor in childhood in NZ often means poor nutrition, getting sick more often, living in cold or crowded houses, often having to shift house, being chronically stressed and having stressed parents and being unable to participate in friends’ activities, sports, hobbies etc.”
Recent Statistics New Zealand figures showed the wealthiest 10 per cent of Kiwis now hold close to 60 per cent of the wealth with the gap between the richest and poorest growing fast.
While poverty is not just about financial lack, income is the single most important determinant of child health outcomes.
“How well we do as individuals in the short and long-term is a direct result of the income, education and the occupation environment we experience in our lives. For Pacific children and families in New Zealand, household income along with other measures of poverty are probably the most important determinant to be addressed” says Dr Teuila Percival, Director of TAHA and Paediatrician at Kids First Hospital.
Pacific people are most notably affected by poverty, with half of all Pasifika children living in crowded homes and nearly 40% living in significant or severe hardship, compared to nearly a third of Māori (32%) or less than a sixth of Asian or Pakeha ethnicity. The lived realities of children living in poverty however are far from what any number or statistic is able tell us.
People are demanding leadership on poverty and want action.
“Along with many other groups, the Expert Advisory Group to the Commissioner for Children have called for the government to acknowledge child poverty, and develop a strategic framework to address child poverty that would include measuring and monitoring, the setting of targets for improvement and putting in place a comprehensive plan of action” 1 says Dr Nikki Turner.
New Zealand is one of 192 countries who have agreed to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, comprising of 17 new Sustainable Development Goals, with ‘No Poverty’ being the first. All countries are responsible for achieving these 17 goals and measuring their progress.
TAHA together with the Pacific Society of Reproductive Health are hosting the Catalyst 4 Change - Achieving Sustainable Development Goals for Women, Children and their Families Conference (3-4 August 2016) which aims to raise awareness of the recently ratified SDGs and their impacts on women and children. For more information about the conference, visit www.c4change2016.com.