Source: Radio New Zealand, 8 October 2016
The United Nations has called on the New Zealand
government to devote more resources to tackling "deeply concerning"
high rates of child poverty.
A report by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said the
UN was particularly concerned by the economic disparities faced by
Māori and Pasifika children.
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley
travelled to Geneva last month to speak to the committee.
The report makes dozens of recommendations to the government on
how it could do more to help children.
These include settling on a specific measure of child poverty in
New Zealand, a move the government has declined to do saying it
would be too complicated.
The committee also said the government should consider a
different name for the proposed Ministry for Vulnerable Children,
as it could stigmatise children.
Other proposals included strengthening the Office of the
Children's Commissioner, and stamping out abuse of children in
Unicef New Zealand chief executive Vivien Maidaborn said the
report was a clear indication the government needed to stop talking
about measures it was putting in place and start measuring
She said the first step was to establish tangible measurements
of child poverty, and to create an action plan.
Such a measurement might be complicated, but Ms Maidaborn said
it was obvious a complex solution would be better than the status
Mrs Tolley said measuring and addressing child poverty was a
complex issue - and there was no silver bullet for addressing it in
one fell swoop.
The government did have a plan - but enacting change took time,
and those wishing for a quick-fix solution would be disappointed,