The principal of a Northland school hopes the Far North will get urgent support after the Government's new Child Poverty Reduction Bill was announced.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last week released details of the Child Poverty Reduction Bill which will require governments to set long term 10-year targets as well as shorter term milestones to reach every three years and to report on progress in every Budget.

Kaeo School principal, Paul Barker, said he had always "been disgusted we've allowed child poverty to take hold" but was heartened the bill would require future governments to take action on child poverty.

"What I'd be hoping is that the Government, when they set these targets, understand that there are some areas that need greater priority than others and that the Far North, including Kaeo and Whangaroa who have been identified for many studies as being a place of high deprivation, will get some urgent attention, support, and action."


Ms Ardern visited Kaeo School in September last year and when asked by a student what she would do for children she said she would make sure every child had a warm dry house. Mr Barker said housing was just one of many issues Kaeo faced.

"When I look at students who need the most support at school nothing is easy. It's like opening an onion. You'll find that housing is a problem, you'll find that employment is a problem, it could be a health problem."

Ngaire Rae, Whangarei Child Poverty Action Group spokeswoman, said it was great to see legislation introduced so early into Labour's term and thought the 10 year targets were appropriate and realistic.

"It is really good to see that there is both a target for before housing costs and after housing costs. The cost of housing, security of tenure, provision of warm, dry, healthy housing, increases in social housing, and improvements to housing quality are all important issues that need to be addressed in Northland if we are to address child and whanau poverty," she said.

The three 10-year targets under the bill are:

* Reduce the proportion of children in low income households before housing costs from roughly 15 per cent of all children to 5 per cent. This reduces the number by more than half from 160,000 to 60,000.
* Reduce the proportion of children in low income households after housing costs from roughly 20 per cent to 10 per cent. This is a reduction of 90,000 children from 210,000 now to 120,000.
* Reduce the proportion of children in material hardship from between 13 and 15 per cent now to 7 per cent. This reduces the number of children in this group from 150,000 to 80,000.