This year's Child Poverty Monitor highlights a worsening public
health issue that will cost the country dearly over the long-term,
says the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine.
"The Monitor shows clearly that child poverty creates health
impacts that affect our society as a whole and create a
considerable ongoing cost burden on society," says College
president, Dr Caroline McElnay.
"This is not just a case of one or two children or families
suffering -child poverty is a persistent problem for New Zealand
with long term risks and costs to the health and prosperity of all
"A lot of government spending goes towards addressing the issues
associated with poverty. Healthy and affordable housing, high
quality maternity and child health services, quality early
childhood education, and good quality nutrition in schools can all
help mitigate the impacts of child poverty on health and well-being
but we can and should be doing more to reduce the level of child
poverty in the first place. This will require society to
re-consider its spending priorities. Are our children - and
the future of our society - important or not?"
The College of Public Health Medicine wants a national,
cross-sectoral strategy to reduce child poverty, embedded in
legislation, with measurable targets that are monitored.
"In particular we need to reduce hardship amongst Māori and
Pacific children, and give priority to the very young and those
living in persistent material poverty," Dr McElnay said.
"Child poverty is actually a choice - a choice by our society
and by our politicians."
For further information contact Dr McElnay 027 241 2652