Sat, Oct 8
Source: 1 NEWS
The United Nations says it is “deeply concerned” with New Zealand’s enduring high prevalence of child poverty and a systemic approach is needed to resolve it.
In a Committee on the Rights of the Child report, the UN has recommended a series of reforms including that the country adopt a comprehensive children’s code in compliance with UN conventions.
The committee also wants to see a national definition of poverty, an idea the government has rejected.
Prime Minister John Key said on Monday there were various ways to measure poverty and he wouldn’t commit to any one of them.
The report follows meetings in Geneva last month, attended by social development minister Anne Tolley.
Substantially increased allocations to tackle child poverty are also among the recommendations in the 16-page concluding document, which also makes particular mention of the rights of Maori and Pasifika children.
Unicef says New Zealand has made some progress but the government had still not demonstrated that laws or policies were being designed with every child and all rights in mind.
“Children’s rights should be a prime organising principle for how we build a better society, not just something we think about later, in a tick-the-box kind of way,” executive director Vivien Maidaborn said.
Labour’s children’s spokewoman Jacinda Arden said proper discussions to set bold targets and a definition of poverty are long overdue.
“We must all work together and be bold with ambitious definitions and decisions aimed at ultimately eradicating child poverty,” she said.
Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said nobody wanted to live in a country where child poverty is normal, and described Mr Key’s refusal to commit to a child poverty definition as “simply a failure of leadership”.