Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Warning on child poverty

Just over half of all children in poverty live in sole-parent families. Photo /  Getty Images
Just over half of all children in poverty live in sole-parent families. Photo / Getty Images

The Government has ruled out another of the main recommendations in a major child poverty report - but the Maori Party has sent a warning it will make the Government's life uncomfortable if it ignores the report.

In a rare step, the Maori Party yesterday held a press conference with all three of its MPs and called on National to look at all 78 recommendations in a new report by an expert panel working with the Children's Commissioner.

However, the Government has already ruled out one of the top five recommendations - a universal children's allowance. Yesterday Prime Minister John Key also ruled out new legislation which would set out an official measure of child poverty and require the Government to set a target to reduce it. That legislation was considered a critical "first step" by the Children's Commissioner Expert Advisory Panel.

The Government has so far only voiced conditional support for a couple of the 78 recommendations - including a "warrant of fitness" for rental homes.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said the child poverty report was part of the Maori Party's support agreement with National and she did not expect National to simply brush the report aside.

Labour leader David Shearer said Mr Key was trying to dodge responsibility by refusing to adopt an official measure of poverty and set a target.

Mrs Turia said it was disgusting that in a land of "milk and money" there were still 270,000 children living in poverty and 120 dying each year.

- NZ Herald

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