Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni wants to amend the Social Security Act to ensure that welfare is administered through "a child impact lens".

"I think that's a really important starting point, because that allows us to analyse whether or not policies through the Ministry of Social Development are having a negative impact on children," Sepuloni told Newshub's The Hui this morning.

The welfare system is being reviewed, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has already signalled an end to penalising a solo parent for refusing to name the other parent of the child.

Sepuloni echoed that sentiment.


"We know that has had a negative impact on the woman and the child."

She said the level of benefit payments would be looked at "down the track" - but did not say when.

She said that 40 per cent of families in poverty were working households, which may be entitled to accommodation and childcare subsidies. She wanted to ensure that everyone entitled to state help was receiving it.

"That isn't happening to the extent that it should."

Sepuloni pointed to a number of other measures in the Government's 100-day plan to help poor families, such as a winter energy payment and the Families Package, which would boost Working for Families and give parents $60 a week for each child in the first year after paid parental leave.

Meanwhile Minister for Children Tracey Martin told Newshub's The Nation that there needed to be an independent authority to monitor the treatment of children in state care.

"Oranga Tamariki - the reason why it was set up by the previous government and part of the direction of travel it's in now is to make sure that we are more transparent, that we are working more closely with our communities, that the voice of children is heard more often.

"And so an independent body whereby complaints can be taken, I think, would be a really good and transparent thing. It would help both the ministry and our children."


Martin said she had yet to take the idea to Cabinet.