The Green Party has unveiled its plan to bring 100,000 children out of poverty by 2014 at a cost of $360 million a year.
In a policy launch at Ranui Community House in Auckland this morning attended by former Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro and actor Nicole Whippy, co-leader Metiria Turei said a quarter or about 270,000 of New Zealand children were living in poverty.
"These solutions are so simple and affordable there's really no excuse not to implement them,'' she said.
"They would make a huge dent in our shameful child poverty statistics and make life better for hundreds of thousands of Kiwi kids.''
Ms Turei said children who lived in poverty didn't get the start in life they needed and deserved, and missed out on opportunities to fulfil their potential.
Citing international research, she said the cost of not addressing child poverty was about 3 percent of GDP, or about $6 billion a year.
"Our solutions to bring 100,000 kids out of poverty by 2014 would cost just $360m a year, less than 0.3 percent of GDP,'' she said.
The solutions were:
* Extending Working for Families to parents on benefits, providing an extra $60 a week for 140,000 of the poorest households;
* Providing better study support for sole parents and beneficiaries, helping 10,000 people get a higher education and take better care of their children;
* Raising the minimum wage to $15 a week, which would help 275,000 people and would be worth about $60 a week for someone working full time on the minimum wage; and
* Making sure rental properties were warm and healthy. Ms Turei said 375,000 children lived in cold, damp houses and most of them were rented. ``We would create minimum performance standards for rental properties which would ensure warm, healthy homes for thousands of children.''
Ms Turei said reducing child poverty made economic sense as well as humanitarian sense.
"Child poverty costs us all, but it doesn't cost much to end it,'' she said.